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Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and Thought Provoking. Opens up New Perspectives, 4 Jan. 2014
This review is from: International Security: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
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Coming to this book with my usual clutch of preconceived ideas I must admit to expecting the majority of the book to do with the various forms of security apparatus employed by governments against considered threats. Within a few pages I realised the author had a far wider and deeper perception of security to inform the reader about.

In this very compact volume are introduced other concepts of security which we in the West might from time to time overlook; such as security from life-threatening poverty, or the ravages of fatal diseases endemic to some regions. Then ones which we should be giving thought to such as security of resources, of our environment and economy. All very much thought provoking. In addition there are very stimulating and challenging essays upon the traditional aspects of the subject, War, Terrorism and Geo-Political implications.

One thing to bear in mind when reading this book the use of some words might not be used in the conventional context you might recognise them. For instance `Regime' here is not relating to a government but a system of co-operation, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty for Nuclear Arms. This I found challenging in the constructive way it stopped me skipping over a sentance and making me come back to read more carefully. (Another example is shown below)

I do like a book that gives me something of a metaphorical shaking out of my conceptions too. Turning to the subject of War; I was introduced to the concepts of `The Realists'; those who believe it is in human nature to engage in conflict and the `Neo-Realists' those who subscribe to the idea that the very existence of nations cause conflict in what the authors terms as an (quote to follow) `anarchic international system which militates against co-operation and fosters mistrust'. Oh, I thought, and here was me thinking I was an open minded thinking person, but by these standards I am a neo-realist. And the beauty of this was that I was not annoyed or disagreeing because of the explanation offered for the more optimistic view of the `Critical Approach' which suggests the two branches of the realists are not taking into account other variables and those in positions of power or influence fall into the trap of self-fulfilling prophecies. Made me think I tell you.

It says much about a book of but 117 pages that there is so much to consider and read over and over. The use of language is not overtly academic or arcane; it simply draws you into the truly thinking of the variety of issues contained within the word `Security'.

I would highly recommend this volume to anyone who has interests and concerns of a global scale; even if you have read books on this subject, as I have, there is much to learn and consider in this work. Even if you might end up not agreeing with the views I contend it will make you think about your position.
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