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How does security K propose we deal with threats if we don't securitize? for example, what should we do about terrorism just let them do whatever they want, or is there a way to deal with threats without falsely constructing them.

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Yeah, so terrorism is a really interesting instance of threat construction. First, it's important to understand how it's securitized and what that results in. When Bin Laden, for example, was theorized to possess nuclear weapons, it justified a disproportionate political reaction and military response. More broadly, the exaggerated threats of "nuke terror → ☠" or that terrorists could inflict mass catastrophes ends up creating a securitized response - drone strikes, torture, indefinite detention, military occupation. Now, a lot of security K debaters will refer to it as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" - when you declare that Islam is an evil and anti-American religion and invade a bunch of countries, stealing their resources and destroying their fabric of society, you can see how that might make some people resent America and respond in turn with violence. So long as violence is responded to with violence, mutual securitization occurs causing militarism.

 

The "alternative" in the context a non-securitized counterterrorism strategy would mean a few things. First, we should understand that existing terrorist "threats" were created as a result of our securitization in the past. It doesn't mean saying terrorists aren't a threat. Terrorists kill people and that's bad. It's about understanding how those threats evolved and that they are not naturally or intrinsically violent, but rather violent as a product of security logic. Second, it means we should attempt to be more realistic about how we represent the world, specifically, de-securitizing existing perceptions. Not realism in the context of "that's our Mearsheimer evidence," but in terms of using our existing securitized representations as a starting point instead of using our ambiguous knowledge about terrorists as a starting point. I'm going to post part of a card that I think explains how knowledge production should function:

 

The alternative is epistemic disobedience – as academics we have an obligation to deconstruct the dominant discourse of counter-terrorism.

Jackson 15 [Richard Jackson is professor of peace studies at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author and editor of eight books on terrorism, political violence and conflict resolution, and more than 50 journal articles and book chapters, 2015, “The epistemological crisis of counterterrorism”, Critical Studies on Terrorism, P. 49-50]//dickies

Given the vast suffering engendered by the global war on terrorism since 2001, the spread of unethical, illegal and counterproductive practices such as torture, rendition, extrajudicial killings, mass surveillance and control orders (among others), and the economic and social costs of contemporary counterterrorism, there is a clear normative responsibility to try and resist and deconstruct the current epistemological crisis and all its harmful effects. Notwithstanding the iron logic of the epistemological crisis, its widespread acceptance and its inherently expansionary and self-replicating nature, there are a number of potential avenues for resistance. However, to initiate resistance, it is crucial that we first adopt an attitude of what Walter Mignolo (2009) calls “epistemic disobedience” to the dominant paradigm. Although this term is employed by Mignolo in the context of de-colonial thought, it can readily be applied to the hegemonic counterterrorist paradigm and the urgent need for the “epistemic de-linking” of the unknown and the imperative to act; “the unveiling of epistemic silences” or knowledge de-subjugation (Jackson 2012b) about risk, actors and political violence; the challenging of the “epistemic privilege” held by security experts and officials; and the need to “change the terms of the conversation” regarding how we as a society deal with potential threats of political violence, particularly in terms of the material and legal sacrifices we are prepared to take. More specific suggestions for resisting the epistemological crisis include Zulaika and Douglass’s (1996) suggestion of employing strategies of exorcism to try and rid society of its ontological terror. In this regard, Charlotte Heath-Kelly (2012b) argues for the important role of laughter and humour as a way of creating space within which terrorism fears and obsessions can be exorcised and deconstructed. In a similar vein, Zulaika (2012) suggests a strategy aimed at heightening the contradictions within the epistemological crisis through encouraging more fantasy and cooperating with official activities, particularly those that are obviously bizarre. In this respect, proliferating fantasy scenarios and engaging in constant reporting of “suspicious” activities could overload and overwhelm counterterrorist structures, thereby making the paradigm practically unworkable. Other more traditional modes of resistance include the employment of academic research and counter-evidence to contradict official statements and justifications, fill purported knowledge gaps and demonstrate alternative policy options (see Mueller and Stewart 2011, 2012). While providing an evidentiary base cannot break down the epistemological crisis on its own (due to the built-in rejection of evidence and knowledge), it is nonetheless crucial in the broader struggle to win legitimacy for change in the dominant policy paradigm.

 

This evidence mentions "academic research and counter-methods ... demonstrate alternative policy options" - I suppose a less securitized approach to counter-terrorism would be a "hearts and minds" approach, attempting to establish cultural connections, breaking down discourses and forms of knowledge and thinking that surround terrorism, separating religion from politics - it's all a starting point, not really an end point.

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Yeah, so terrorism is a really interesting instance of threat construction. First, it's important to understand how it's securitized and what that results in. When Bin Laden, for example, was theorized to possess nuclear weapons, it justified a disproportionate political reaction and military response. More broadly, the exaggerated threats of "nuke terror → ☠" or that terrorists could inflict mass catastrophes ends up creating a securitized response - drone strikes, torture, indefinite detention, military occupation. Now, a lot of security K debaters will refer to it as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" - when you declare that Islam is an evil and anti-American religion and invade a bunch of countries, stealing their resources and destroying their fabric of society, you can see how that might make some people resent America and respond in turn with violence. So long as violence is responded to with violence, mutual securitization occurs causing militarism.

 

The "alternative" in the context a non-securitized counterterrorism strategy would mean a few things. First, we should understand that existing terrorist "threats" were created as a result of our securitization in the past. It doesn't mean saying terrorists aren't a threat. Terrorists kill people and that's bad. It's about understanding how those threats evolved and that they are not naturally or intrinsically violent, but rather violent as a product of security logic. Second, it means we should attempt to be more realistic about how we represent the world, specifically, de-securitizing existing perceptions. Not realism in the context of "that's our Mearsheimer evidence," but in terms of using our existing securitized representations as a starting point instead of using our ambiguous knowledge about terrorists as a starting point. I'm going to post part of a card that I think explains how knowledge production should function:

 

The alternative is epistemic disobedience – as academics we have an obligation to deconstruct the dominant discourse of counter-terrorism.

Jackson 15 [Richard Jackson is professor of peace studies at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author and editor of eight books on terrorism, political violence and conflict resolution, and more than 50 journal articles and book chapters, 2015, “The epistemological crisis of counterterrorism”, Critical Studies on Terrorism, P. 49-50]//dickies

Given the vast suffering engendered by the global war on terrorism since 2001, the spread of unethical, illegal and counterproductive practices such as torture, rendition, extrajudicial killings, mass surveillance and control orders (among others), and the economic and social costs of contemporary counterterrorism, there is a clear normative responsibility to try and resist and deconstruct the current epistemological crisis and all its harmful effects. Notwithstanding the iron logic of the epistemological crisis, its widespread acceptance and its inherently expansionary and self-replicating nature, there are a number of potential avenues for resistance. However, to initiate resistance, it is crucial that we first adopt an attitude of what Walter Mignolo (2009) calls “epistemic disobedience” to the dominant paradigm. Although this term is employed by Mignolo in the context of de-colonial thought, it can readily be applied to the hegemonic counterterrorist paradigm and the urgent need for the “epistemic de-linking” of the unknown and the imperative to act; “the unveiling of epistemic silences” or knowledge de-subjugation (Jackson 2012b) about risk, actors and political violence; the challenging of the “epistemic privilege” held by security experts and officials; and the need to “change the terms of the conversation” regarding how we as a society deal with potential threats of political violence, particularly in terms of the material and legal sacrifices we are prepared to take. More specific suggestions for resisting the epistemological crisis include Zulaika and Douglass’s (1996) suggestion of employing strategies of exorcism to try and rid society of its ontological terror. In this regard, Charlotte Heath-Kelly (2012b) argues for the important role of laughter and humour as a way of creating space within which terrorism fears and obsessions can be exorcised and deconstructed. In a similar vein, Zulaika (2012) suggests a strategy aimed at heightening the contradictions within the epistemological crisis through encouraging more fantasy and cooperating with official activities, particularly those that are obviously bizarre. In this respect, proliferating fantasy scenarios and engaging in constant reporting of “suspicious” activities could overload and overwhelm counterterrorist structures, thereby making the paradigm practically unworkable. Other more traditional modes of resistance include the employment of academic research and counter-evidence to contradict official statements and justifications, fill purported knowledge gaps and demonstrate alternative policy options (see Mueller and Stewart 2011, 2012). While providing an evidentiary base cannot break down the epistemological crisis on its own (due to the built-in rejection of evidence and knowledge), it is nonetheless crucial in the broader struggle to win legitimacy for change in the dominant policy paradigm.

 

This evidence mentions "academic research and counter-methods ... demonstrate alternative policy options" - I suppose a less securitized approach to counter-terrorism would be a "hearts and minds" approach, attempting to establish cultural connections, breaking down discourses and forms of knowledge and thinking that surround terrorism, separating religion from politics - it's all a starting point, not really an end point.

2 More questions

1. How can the security K have impacts without linking in from their own threat construction?

2. For IR how does the US protect themselves without securitizing with an army and nuclear weapons?

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2 More questions

1. How can the security K have impacts without linking in from their own threat construction?

It doesn't argue that threats and violence aren't real, just that they shouldn't be exaggerated. Usually focuses on impacts that are occurring now like the militarism/structural violence I mentioned.

2. For IR how does the US protect themselves without securitizing with an army and nuclear weapons?

I mean, there's probably a lot of potential strategies. Not engaging in securitizing behaviors is a form of protection because people hate us less. There's nothing wrong with having weapons and fighting back when attacked. It's just that we shouldn't try to use those weapons to control and dominate the globe by predicting and thwarting threats in advance.

Misleadingly, it's not a criticism of being secure, but of violently acting on insecurity. Edited by TheSnowball
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Ryan hit the nail on the head, but another (possibly easier) way of conceptualizing the impact chain of the security k is just "don't spook people, because when people are spooked they do dumb shit." A great example in the context of terror is post-9/11 when everyone was scared af of terrorism, so passed the Patriot Act because we were overly afraid of the threat of terror, so not only is security a "self-fulfilling prophecy" as everyone says, but there are also a lot of external impacts to securitization, namely govt oppression and exclusion of groups we're "afraid" of - another great example is McCarthyism in the 60s, with us throwing communists in jail because "AH SOVIETS GONNA GET US."

 

If you've ever hit an apocalyptic rhetoric k (not a true arg imo and definitely not on the level of a real security k but people run it), it's a similar (albeit simpler) link chain. "Making stuff overly spooky causes people to freak out and do stupid shit - let's not"

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