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 securitywithout resorting to armed coercion. Given the extended scope of security sectorsfalling within the ambit of soft security regional co-operation is indispensable – aphenomenon most visible in European security architecture and that of NorthernEurope in particular. Not only European decision-makers, however, pursue the softsecurity option. As Africa entered the twenty-first century, co-operation and animplicit realisation of the importance of soft security threats increasingly configuredits regional security arrangements. A new wave of warfare simultaneously enteredthe African realm and any security approach had to contend closely with theinhumane profiles of these so-called new wars. Subsequently, African securityarchitecture had to straddle the resultant hard-soft security domains more acutelythan that of Europe. This required appropriate military options and the adjustmentof African armed forces towards softer security policy instruments. For Africa inparticular, the maintenance of a hard divide (even if only conceptually) betweenhard and soft security as imposed by Northern Europe in particular, remains moredeclaratory than real.
Published
2011-08-03
Section
Articles