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National conflicts in former Yugoslavia, Transylvania and the former Soviet Union have triggered re-definition of the traditional concept of security. If before security was viewed from the military point of view, now it gets more complicated. Today’s threats are not just military but also social. They concern questions of identity and internal balance of a state.

The newly emerged states after the collapse of the Soviet Union chose to pursue the European Union. Its increased integration within the EU led to “decoupling of state and nation” (Waever et al 1993, p. 23) and posed a threat to national constituencies. This desire to pursue a post-sovereign nation-state was due to internationalization process (as well as Europeanization). As higher international institutions take power over the domestic affairs, people feel threatened by this and cannot ask for help their government. Thus, if decoupling is not possible, new conflicts emerge (e.g. as it happened in Yugoslavia). In this sense, weak states are usually not prepared to deal with differences in culture and identity.

Societal insecurities happen when a society questions its own survival. The loss of political sovereignty, the loss of cultural autonomy (e.g. Euroscepticism in regards to EU integration) and migration are the main threats to the national identity. In contrast to the national security, societal security does not depend on the territory. A specific attention is drawn to the problems of migration, minorities and multiculturalism. This resembles the ideas of Huntington in the “Clash of Civilizations?” (See Huntington 1993).

For example, migration has impact on common identity and culture. It has an ability to alter the composition of the population linguistically, ethnically, culturally and religiously. Meanwhile the cultural diversity is welcomed to some extent, until it penetrates norms and traditions. However, migration is a question of numbers. That is why the recent migration crisis sparked tensions among the countries, accepting the refugees. It has the possibility to prevent the society “to reproduce itself in the old way” (Buzan 1991). In the age of the human rights and tolerance, the questions of race, religion and culture are becoming quite tricky.

Migration itself in the recent years has been becoming easier. Transportation and travel is not a matter of concern anymore. Determined young people are ready for anything in search of a better life. If in the last centuries there were migrating Europeans, now the flow usually comes from the South-Eastern side, from less developed countries to developed ones. It is impossible to avoid the clashes of civilizations, especially considering the numbers.

In the UK, for instance, the Arabs, who came to the country long time ago, are now not only following their traditions and preserving their culture, but also gaining more power at the political level. In Latvia there is an issue with the Russian-speaking population, who are trying to preserve their language and culture. Similar situation is in Pakistan, which shares different kind of cultures and identities. Many more countries are trying to deal with their minorities, and now there is unprecedented influx of refugees, fleeing the countries from the conflicts. Inevitably, this should be taken into consideration when talking about security. It is also clear that this societal element is interconnected with other types of security, particularly with military and political.

Some people view migration as a threat; others try to be more optimistic about it. Some states try to defend themselves by controlling migration flows and constructing legal and physical barriers; others are welcoming migrants and offering them entitlements. At any case, this societal security approach gave the beginning to a new branch of security, called “the identity security” (qtd in Buzan, Hansen 2009, p. 213). This security primarily focuses on the cases where the state and its societies do not align, for example the cases of minorities facing their governments.

Interestingly enough, as far back as 1987 a clear rivalry between the West and other periphery societies was noted in academia. What the West does is it constructs the image of others as underdeveloped, uncivilized, authoritative, poor, so this impacts the status of the country and the attitude towards it. Of course, the advancement of the West influenced the weaker opponents, expanding concepts, ideas and Western styles. It has an ability to threaten local customs and identities. In contrast, Islam is thought capable of expanding as another form of collective culture (See Buzan 1991).  

Not only development played the role in this Western-based representation, but also the historic events of the XX century. Back then, the West became the main writer of the history, using West-centered approach. For example, the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact condemns actions of the Soviet Union and Germany. Yet, another agreement is rarely discussed, – the Munich Agreement of 1938, signed by France and the United Kingdom, permitting Germany to annex Czechoslovakia. Having more resources to transmit information, the West could draw attention to certain facts. Even now the Western capabilities are far greater than the rest to expand its culture, political ideas and identity. Not surprisingly, other countries might not like it.

Now there is an obvious confrontation between the West and Russia (similarly as with Islam). It is also the case that the negative image is being constructed by the West in order to reach its political objective. Likewise, Russia answers with the similar pattern, targeting the West instead. Here one can see a societal element in it and how it is linked to the national security. After the Cold War, it was Buzan who suggested that another kind of the Cold War was possible: he called it “a Societal Cold War”. Now, 26 years after, it sounds quite true.

Today’s conflicts are more about cultural, identity, and civilizational clashes. This is why it is important to recognize importance of cultures and identities (and languages! As they lead right to the heart of understanding another culture | linguistic remark) and strive to achieve a balance between them. Once it is there, well…

References:

Buzan, B. (1991). “New Patterns of Global Security in the Twenty-First Century”, International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), 63:3, 431-451.

Buzan, B., Hansen, L. (2009). The Evolution of International Security Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Huntington, S. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs, 72:3, pp. 22-49.

Waever, O., Buzan, B., Kelstrup, M., & Lemaitre, P. (1993). Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe. Lonon: Pinter.

 

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Specialist in global security and nuclear disarmament. Excited about international relations, curious about cognitive, psycho- & neuro-linguistics. A complete traveller.

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Miniature painting: how to get started in this addictive hobby

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Painting a miniature may seem as easy as pie at first; however, any veteran will tell you that giving color to a miniature figure can be a tedious and painstaking job if you are not truly passionate about it. If you do not have the patience, it is advisable that you look for another hobby or hire a good miniature painting service. But for those who are still determined to enter the world of miniatures, here are some tips that can help you paint those little figures more easily.

Keep your workspace organized and clean

Any artist needs their own studio, so if you are going to embrace the art of miniature painting, you will need your own workspace. And, since we are dealing with small figures, having neat, clean one does not only positively affect your work flow, but the output as well. One of the benefits of having an organized workspace is that it saves a lot of time, because it will take you a lot less time to find a tool from a tidy table than from a messy pile of objects, right?

Watch your posture while you paint

Painting miniatures can be a long and tedious process, which means you will have to sit in your chair for hours. Having a correct posture while painting can avoid possible pains in the body that you may experience after working hours. Try not to stoop much when approaching to look at the miniature. You can solve this problem by using a shorter chair, or bringing the miniature closer to your face when you paint it, but your hands might shake a bit – so be careful there to not ruin the work.

Do previous material research

A great deal of people have lost money by not buying the right materials for their figures. So, before going to the mall to get you all set, make sure to research about the right tools, paints and brushes that you will need. Luckily for our generation, Internet i sour best friend, so all you have to do is to type into your Google search the type of figure you are going to Paint, and you will surely find a forum or web where you can answer all your questions. Just be careful to not let your attention deviate from what you were looking for.

Take care of the lightning

When we paint a miniature, we must artificially simulate the lights / shadows that the light would produce if this miniature were to real scale. And that we can do by color variations, Lights and shadows can produce visual changes in volumes and proportions. For example, if we have a face with wrinkles, we can highlight them more or less by playing with the volumes and thus going from creating a face with small facial marks, to creating a very old, creepy one.

Plus, a correct location and shape of lights and shadows can also give a surface the appearance of being composed of one or another material, since light does not reflect in the same way in a plastic as in a metal. In the case of the Warhammer, for example, the same lighting techniques will not work to paint the classics figures and the 40k ones because, as they are set in different time, the costumes are not supposed to be the same material. If you are not sure about how to manage this yourself, there are also warhammer 40k painting service that you can use.

Get started

  • Choose a combination of two or three light colors and a dark one as a balance.
  • Use water to dilute them to make their application easier.
  • Apply a first black or white layer depending on whether you’ll apply metallic or non-metallic colors later, respectively. To apply this first layer you can use spray paint, airbrushing or a hand brush.
  • Apply the following layer with the technique of your choice: dipping, gradients, dry brush, dotted, vitrified, petrified …
  • Small parts such as shields and weapons are best left to the end.

Be patient… And practical

Miniature painting is something that requires patience -a lot of patience, indeed, and it is not enough that you like the theme. For example, in the case of the Warhammer, if you are more interested in playing than in painting itself, it is better not to waste your time and use a warhammer painting service to not get frustrated and be able to focus just on what you really like. But if you are truly interested in doing the painting yourself, don’t despair. It’s not easy at first, but you’ll get better results with time. Even the greatest miniature painters took years to make the works that they exhibit now. You could be the next one.

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5 Simple Additions That Will Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

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When you think of a kitchen renovation, you probably get intimidated by the very thought of having to overhaul everything, replace components, and commit to expensive upgrades. However, you don’t necessarily need such fancy and costly improvements to bring your kitchen to life. In fact, many times it’s a collection of little things that add up to create a desirable and diverse kitchen space. With that said, here are 5 things you can add to your kitchen in one day to make it look like a different place.

1. Sink or Faucet Upgrade

A tarnished faucet neck that has lost its shine can really make the whole sink area look dull and outdated. Other than cooking, the primary kitchen activity is washing dishes, so you’re going to be staring at that faucet neck for quite a while, which is why it has such a strong visual impact on the room – it’s a clear focal point. Thus, you’ll want to take your time comparing models on platforms like Best Kitchen Faucets Hub to ensure you’re choosing one you won’t mind looking at every day during dish duty.

2. Countertop Garbage Disposal Button Upgrade

Even if you already have a conventional garbage disposal system, replacing the standard wall switch setup with a countertop push button system can add a subtle yet convenient feature to your sink area. Instead of having to walk over to the wall switch, you’ll have a convenient “air switch” button right next to your sink, and they come in all sorts of colors to match your décor.

3. Island Bar

If your kitchen is spacious enough, you can install a new island bar in a single afternoon and have additional counterspace as well as another surface for organized cooking accessories and decorative items. Many prefab islands are easy to assemble and come with instructions as well as drawers for utensil storage space.

4. Painted or Wallpapered Cabinets and New Handles

Replacing your cabinets altogether can be costly and time consuming but going over them with a couple layers of paint and gloss is much easier. You can also use cabinet wallpaper to add some nice designs for a more noticeable and unique change. Likewise, handles are cheap and can really make your cabinets look brand new. All of this can usually be done for $50-$200 depending on the size of your cabinet setup and the materials you select.

5. Laminate Countertop Sheets

Finally, you’re probably going to want your countertops to match the niceness of everything else you’ve added thus far. The easiest way to do that without investing a lot of money or effort is to simply install some countertop laminate sheets.

Throw in a Welcome Mat and Consider a Flooring Upgrade

To finish it off you might as well slap down a nice decorative welcome mat at the kitchen’s entrance just for an extra touch of homeliness. While you’re looking at the mat, you might notice that your flooring isn’t up to par with the rest your newly improved kitchen. Before you start fretting about the cost of changing the flooring, consider taking a DIY laminate approach to save money.

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Why You Should Consider Volunteering

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If you are looking to gain a whole range of life skills, and give something back to your local community, then why not consider signing up to volunteer? Volunteering enables you to meet new people, not to mention you will be reaching out and touching another individual’s life for the better. When you decide to volunteer it is up to you to decide how much time you want to dedicate and set aside to make a difference. So if you are looking to make new friends, learn new skills and enrich your life through meeting some wonderful and unusual people, then volunteering is the activity for you.

 Health and wellbeing

If you decide to volunteer you are not only going to improve the health and wellbeing of others, it will also have a great impact on your own. When you volunteer, you will experience a natural ‘helper’s high’, the instant buzz that you get through assisting other people. When you volunteer, you may be put in situations that place you under pressure, meaning that you get a boost as endorphins or happy hormones course through your entire body. Not to mention when you volunteer you will also be having a positive impact on the health and well-being of the people or communities that you are going to help. From the elderly to young children, if you want to see your energy levels increase and help both yourself and others to feel healthy and well, then consider volunteering.

Quality time

Volunteering will also see you learn how to work better in a team of new and interesting people from all different walks of life. So, it is up to you to learn how to get on with your new team and work closely with them. Consider booking a visit Escape Room in Charlotte, so that you can learn how to bond and make a difference together. Team building activities are the perfect way so that you can learn how to grow together with your new team so that you are prepared to make a difference for the better.

Be realistic

If you are looking to dedicate your time towards volunteering, then you will need to remain realistic right from day one as to how much time you are willing to spend towards helping new projects and communities. Volunteering could quickly become a top priority in your life as you make new friends and get more involved in new and exciting projects. So, it is important before you even sign up that you are clear and realistic as to how much time you want to give back – although be prepared to enjoy yourself so much, that these hours soon increase.

Volunteering is the perfect way to meet a range of interesting and unusual people from all walks of life, as you give back and help communities or individuals. Not only does volunteer benefit your own health and wellness levels, but you will also positively impact that of others. So, if you are looking to learn new skills, meet new people and make a change for the better then be sure to sign up today.

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