chapter  5
15 Pages

Human security in extremis : East Asian reactions to the responsibility to protect


Although human security has a growing number of academic and practitioner adherents, a cursory skim of titles and subjects in mainstream security journals in North America and Europe indicates that the phrase remains far less popular than more familiar concepts such as national security or cooperative security. 2 Human security operates on the margins of security thinking except in a handful of countries such as Canada and Norway. 3

The impact of human security on intellectual and policy circles in East Asia is still growing, but remains limited. The conventional wisdom regards Asia as resistant to innovative concepts of security that, in normative terms, have the potential to erode traditional conceptions of sovereignty; and in policy terms demand a new allocation of resources to manage an array of non-traditional security challenges well beyond military threats to territorial integrity. States in the region jealously safeguard their sovereign prerogatives. Especially in Northeast Asia, a neighbourhood where the Cold War continues, where historical legacies remain unresolved, where divided states exist, where defence spending remains high, and where there is little experience with regional institutions or cooperative security, human security appears to many an alien and even dangerous transplant.