The connection between Economy and National Security

The connection between economy and national security

The Connection between Economy and National Security:

Security is simply referred to as the protection or safety of some entity, protecting something that is precious to you, protection against any threat, protection from war, or protection against any threat like you hire a security guard to save your life from the threat of killer. It can also refer to the protection of values on a very basic level. We will try to make simple the highly contested concept of security, “Security is some action taken by the organization, individual, state to protect vital interests or assets”. ‘The connection between economy and National Security.

“The connection between economy and National Security”

Security revolved around the military in the past as realist values were dominating but things have changed with time and we see the rise of non-conventional prospects of security as well. Realist referent object was a state that was critiqued by Critical Security Studies. Motivated by Richard Ullman, Jessica Mathews, and Berry Buzan. Buzan in his book “People, States, and Fear”, pointed out the narrowness of the concept of security of realists who only considered state security as security. With time, States are accepting the importance of non-traditional security threats.

There are two major schools of thought about security.

  • Traditional Security
  • Non-Traditional Security

Traditional Concepts of Security rely on military concepts of security while the non-traditional concept of security broadens the concept of security talking about human security, critical security, personal security, economic security, food security, political security, environmental security, and other aspects of security as well.

Value of Security:

Security is a supreme value of human life. To be secure is to be untroubled by fear or danger-free. As Thomas Hobbes reminds us, without security “there is no place for industry… no arts, no letters, no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. Survival is what everyone is seeking.

Paradigms of Security:

On a smaller level, Security studies can be divided into six (6) paradigms,

Security for the individual (individual security).

  • Societal security( Security of State)
  • National security. ( Protection of Citizens)
  • Regional security. ( Protection of Certain regions by the cooperation of states)
  • International security. ( Institutions for security)
  • Security for the globe (Global security).

National Security:

Simply, National security is the ability of the state to protect its citizens from any external threat and preserve national secrets as well. On a broader level, national security means protecting the basic level individually as well as maintaining the territory of the state and countering the existential threats. Also, the protection of a state’s cherished values, beliefs, way of life, and culture is called national security.

On a basic level, “National Security is the safety of a nation against such as terrorism and war”

“It is a concept that a government should protect state and citizens against all kind of threats through a variety of tools like political power, economic power, military power, diplomacy and so on”

Mixing up conventional and non-conventional concepts of security, national security includes:

  • Maintain integrity and sovereignty
  • Just political and economic system
  • Strong and Effective Disaster Management System
  • Concepts like disarmament and non-violence

Seven elements of National Security are

  • Economic Security
  • Energy Security
  • Physical Security
  • Environment Security
  • Food Security
  • Border Security
  • Cyber Security

Importance of National Security:

The main goal of every individual is to ensure their survival. The ambition of the state is also the survival of its citizens. After survival, humans are concerned about their identity. National Security is the preservation of both survival and culture.

Pakistan National Security:

Just like the rest of the world, the focus of Pakistan was also on traditional-military concepts of security. We also didn’t have a clear national security policy in the past. India was considered the only threat to the national security of Pakistan. Securing our borders was the main concern and this may be quoted as the reason why we are seeing a military dominant system in Pakistan today. It is understood that Pakistan will be truly secure only if it has economic and human security alongside military security.

Former Premier Imran Khan has launched the country’s first-ever National Security Policy defining the direction of the country in coming years. The primary purpose of the National Security Policy is to fulfill the national vision and safeguard National interests. National Security Policy is formed in Dec 2021 which is citizen-centric instead of being state-centric and focuses on economic security according to Moeed Yusuf who had the designation of National Security Adviser in the previous cabinet.

The content of the recent National Security Policy is impressive but lacks a roadmap according to scholars. What makes this National Security Policy (2022-2026) unique is the distinction between traditional and non-traditional security which was done by modern states a long time ago. Not too late, Pakistan has recognized the role of the economy in National Security.

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Contemporary Economic Crisis in Pakistan:

Recently IMF has subjected its loan to petroleum price increases in Pakistan. Our economy is sinking downwards. Just as Sri Lanka is facing a severe balance of payment crisis, the condition of Pakistan may be different but our direction is the same. The current account deficit is crossing the $20 billion dollar figure. Pakistan’s current economic situation is dire by any definition. We have to take debts to repay our outstanding external loans. The recent ban on import items shows that Pakistan is on edge of an economic catastrophe that it has not seen for decades.

We have the worst economic conditions with political instability as well. Petrol prices on a record high, inflation, current account deficit, borrowed loans, poverty, tough conditions by IMF, electricity and gas prices hike, and most importantly currency devaluation-dollar crossing landmark of 200 shows adverse conditions of economy of our country.

The economy of Pakistan is in deep trouble and we are heavily dependent on IMF and other countries. Pakistan has to find a way to ensure its security in a new globally changing world order. Urgent measures should be taken to revive the economy of Pakistan. Revival of our economy should be our top-level priority and it is a matter of great urgency.

Defense and Economic Expenditure:

Obviously, Pakistan is spending more on the military than health and education. Some quote the dangers as the reason why Pakistan is doing so. High defense spending can halt the speed of socio-economic growth according to intellectuals.

No doubt Pakistan’s government’s bulk of expenditure is on the military but a state with so many security threats around him i-e India, China, Afghanistan case, and Iran is bound to have their focus on a military perspective. But it is also the fact that if not managed properly in upcoming years, military spending will definitely cost illiteracy, poverty, and under-development as well.

When it comes to a choice between economic prosperity and national security, one option is difficult to pick. Both things must be carried hand-in-hand. Pakistan can take the example of Malaysia and Turkey, how they carried along with two limelight concepts of economy and security.

The connection between Economy and National Security:

There is an intimate connection between the economy and national security. National security is a  fundamental need of any state for its survival and existence. The deteriorating economic conditions can threaten all segments of life and the power of the economy is viable in this modern world that is why China is trying to compete with America in terms of economic power.

National security is a requirement for maintaining the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection, and political strength. National security is a dynamic and ever-evolving concept that changes with time. From time to time, there were different concepts of National Security. Dollar Diplomacy can target weak economies very easily.

Economy and National Security cannot be separated in this modern world. The economy can be an element of National Power as well.

Regional and Geo-Strategic Context:

It is necessary for Pakistan to have a sound economy due to its geo-strategic location. American interest in Afghanistan, America’s mounting pressure on Iran, Kashmir as an existing dilemma, and Arch-rivals India are all factors that are heavily dependent on us. We have to face heavy international pressure due to our geo-strategic location.

Can we tolerate this international pressure without a sound economy? That is the point to ponder.

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It is a concept of how trade and technology have made the world an interdependent place to live. It is the integration and interaction of the world and the progress of technology in simple words. The world is shrinking day by day courtesy of globalization.

Impact of Contemporary Economic Crisis on National Security:

Security and the Economy are interlinked concepts. With economic diplomacy on the high, we are getting used by economic forces. Gone are the days when military and population were a measure of the power of a country/state. Nowadays, the economy is playing a prominent role in the security of the state. A country is not secure without having a sound economy.

“Can a country whose economy is deteriorated and is driven by debts take independent decisions is our topic of discussion”? That is the reason why the recent Pakistan National Security Policy is prioritizing economic growth. The problem is far more serious than it looks as the survival of the country is linked with the pressing economic problem.

The security of Pakistan is at stake with the deteriorating economic conditions of our beloved homeland. The economy must be revived for sake of Pakistan’s National Security. For military muscle, you always need economic prosperity. Economic resources can be translated into military strength.

The same happened in Baluchistan where an absence of real-time economic activities, political instability, and skewed policies have allowed the ethnic and regional forces to exploit the situation in their favor to add more grey areas in the country with a focus on Sindh and Baluchistan.

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In the context of globalization and further economic integration in recent decades, the relationship between the economy and national security has become increasingly interlinked. The current National Security policy of Pakistan is seeing the economy as pivotal to stability. Too late but we have realized that National Security lies in a vibrant economy.

Pakistan is undergoing a tumultuous period in its economy, in which it has been once again forced to knock at the doors of the IMF and the IMF subjected it to a petrol price increase. However, we are still having a political crisis in the country. We still don’t know whether our economy is heading towards a safe destination or not? But one thing is inevitable, a sound economy is necessary for our National Security.

Courtesy globalization, National Security, and the economy are interlinked concepts. We cannot achieve National security without a progressed economy. There is also a dire need to maintain the balance between military spending and our human security spending as well. “The connection between economy and National Security” is very strong.

This article is written by Ahmed Usman Ali and Shehryar Ahmed, currently studying at the Department of International Relations at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.  Both the young authors are interested in political crises, economic crises, national security, International affairs, and  Diplomacy. The opinion in this article is purely the author’s own ideas and thinking, it does not reflect the idea or policy of the youth diplomacy forum. 





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