REVISITING THE SOFT SECURITY DEBATE: FROM EUROPEAN PROGRESS TO AFRICAN CHALLENGES

Francois Vreÿ

Abstract


Proponents of soft security strive to ensure the goal of individual security
without resorting to armed coercion. Given the extended scope of security sectors
falling within the ambit of soft security regional co-operation is indispensable – a
phenomenon most visible in European security architecture and that of Northern
Europe in particular. Not only European decision-makers, however, pursue the soft
security option. As Africa entered the twenty-first century, co-operation and an
implicit realisation of the importance of soft security threats increasingly configured
its regional security arrangements. A new wave of warfare simultaneously entered
the African realm and any security approach had to contend closely with the
inhumane profiles of these so-called new wars. Subsequently, African security
architecture had to straddle the resultant hard-soft security domains more acutely
than that of Europe. This required appropriate military options and the adjustment
of African armed forces towards softer security policy instruments. For Africa in
particular, the maintenance of a hard divide (even if only conceptually) between
hard and soft security as imposed by Northern Europe in particular, remains more
declaratory than real.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5787/33-2-9

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Copyright (c) 2018 Francois Vreÿ


ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

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