Security policy


National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, military and political power and the exercise of diplomacy.

Wikipedia goes on to state that no generally accepted definition exists and lists a couple of alternative definitions.

I paid attention to this because I was repeatedly flabbergasted by responses to "national security policy" or "defence policy" topics and discussions that asserted the need for great power games in this or that region.
In my opinion, that's (stupid) foreign policy, but neither national security nor defence policy.

I consider defence policy to be the (military) subset of national security policy, and would define the latter as

National security policy is a policy to provide security without compromising sovereignty primarily and to maintain a good foreign political freedom of action secondarily.
To provide security means to minimise (net) harm done to the nation, and since war equals usually (major risk of) harm done to your nation, a successful national security policy is basically about maintaining peace
Warfare is either an indicator of failure or a result of extraordinarily bad circumstances (such as an aggressor hell-bent on war).

Great power games are not about security; they are at best about saving raw material import costs. A recurring problem of great power games is that the costs are typically higher than the benefit even in the event of success.



  1. LOL, yes, think we agreed to disagree before ;-)

    In my understanding national security & defence policy is not primarily a territorial thing and thus can very well be excercised in far-away dusty places populated by raucous brown people. And furthermore it has a strong component of competition, in the sense that what makes me strong leaves the other weak, or at least the other can't take it to make himself stronger. And one could even argue that factors like way and standard of life and cultural and religious characteristics factor into national security. And peace? Not a quality in itself (except you're Buddhist). Patrick Henry said some clever words about that. And your last sentence is very much modern German. Smells of leftist defeatism. Sorry to be so blunt - but I say this being German myself and oh how I hate this post-1945 PC attitude!

  2. You don't comment about national security or defence policy at all, but about military policy.

    A cost/benefit analysis is not PC - although it may be smeared as being PC, of course.

  3. Purely for the sake of improving standards of argumentation on the internet I point out that saying that a statment "smells" of something does not lead any conclusion other than those possible to make about the author of this statment based on this choice of smearing tactics.

    Incidentally, hating the post -45 political correctness seems to imply that the author wants us to constrast said political ideas with the political ideas prior to 1945, presumably those in Germany, and presumably those shortly prior to 1945. So in essence it's an invocation of Godwins law ;)