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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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What is Hydroponic Gardening and Why Everyone Should Consider Giving it a Try

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Gardening has always been a popular hobby. However, not everyone has a space to convert, while others may be reluctant to turn their little patch of grass into a planting area. This is where hydroponics comes in. Hydroponic gardening is perfect for people living in flats or homes without an outside space. But what is hydroponic gardening? And why should everyone consider giving hydroponic gardening a try?

An Overview of Hydroponic Gardening

Simply put, hydroponics is gardening without soil. Plants don’t actually need soil, but they do need light, water, vital nutrients, and mechanical support. This means you only need a way to deliver the nutrient solution the plants require. You could raise the plants floating in water or sitting in a moist soil substitute.

Now that we know a little more about hydroponic gardening, let’s take a look at some of its benefits.

You Can Raise Plants Almost Anywhere

You don’t have to set up the garden in the only window in the kitchen. Instead, you can set up a hydroponic system wherever you have space or where it is the most convenient. The hydroponics system delivers water and nutrients, and most of them have artificial lights that can replace natural light. That’s why you could raise your herb garden in the closet as well as the corner of the kitchen. You can

The Yield Will Probably Be Much Higher than Traditional Gardening

There are many reasons why hydroponics systems produce much more food than a garden plot. You’re raising the crops indoors, so you can raise herbs and vegetables year-round. You can control the nutrients and light levels, so you can adjust environmental parameters to maximize yield or flavour.

The plants don’t waste resources expanding their roots because everything is delivered directly to the plant. The plants also grow faster, allowing you to get your crop significantly sooner. For example, greens often grow twice as fast in a good hydroponic system as they do in soil, and the average crop is 30% larger.

It Is Less Work

You’re not very likely to find weeds growing in your hydroponics system. Your plants are protected from diseases that require soil to survive. They aren’t exposed to pests crawling on the ground, either. This eliminates the need to spray your crops with pesticides. You only have to pick up organic matter to prevent rotting from occurring near the plants. Furthermore, you can control the nutrients delivered to the plants. This simplifies the process of managing soil pH and eliminates the need to check on plants and add fertiliser. A side benefit of hydroponics systems is that you tend to get higher quality crops each and every time.

However, you have to make sure that you start with the right equipment. Suppliers like ProGrow, for instance, offer a variety of growing systems and kits that allow you to get everything you need in one place, no matter what you want to raise or how much space you have.

You’ll Use Fewer Resources

Most hydroponic gardens recirculate the water. This means they don’t need much water except what is required to replace that taken up by the plant’s roots. There’s very little water lost to evaporation. This is why hydroponics systems typically use less water per kilogram of produce produced than traditional gardening. Plants raised in hydroponic systems need relatively little space, too.

Hydroponics allows everyone to raise their own fresh, healthy food with minimal effort. So, we strongly suggest you start looking into it, and see how it could benefit you and your family.

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Here’s Why Everyone Can Get Stacked At Home During Lockdown

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Has the lockdown been tough on your body? Without the gym to lean on, it can feel as if you don’t have space, specialist equipment, or motivation to maintain a hefty amount of muscle mass. 

Sadly, this leads you to one conclusion – you’re going to lose all of your hard work from the past couple of years. Sure, the home workouts that everybody talks about are cool, but only if you have space and freedom to exercise at home. Not everybody owns their property, and not everybody has a spare room that doubles as a gym.

The good news is that you don’t require any of that stuff, and here are the reasons why.

Basic Exercises Are Your Friend

When you review home workouts, your eyes instantly gravitate to the exotic activities as they seem harder and more challenging. Considering that you want to get your pump on, you don’t want the session to be straightforward. However, the basic exercises feature on pretty much every home workout plan, and it’s because they’re effective and adaptable.

If, for example, you find push-ups and sit-ups too easy, you can try bicycle crunches or place a weight on your back as you press down and push back up. They’re also multifaceted activities and will train a range of muscles.

Reps, Reps, And More Reps

Do you find home workouts to be less stimulating than your gym sessions? Do you lack the motivation to build muscle in your bedroom or living room? If you are, all you have to do is up the number of repetitions. Suddenly, the constant pressure from the plank will rattle your bones until you can barely rest on your forearms without feeling a burn in every inch of your body.

Whether it’s core or strength exercises, two to three sets of ten reps each will make you reconsider your opinion on home workouts!

Readymade Equipment Already Exists

You’d love to perform a few of your gym sessions at home but lack the tools. The one thing about a gym is that it contains all the specialist equipment you require to focus on muscle groups and increase mass. Well, your home also does; you just don’t realize it yet. Take a look at every door frame and you’ll see a ledge for pull-ups. How to do a pull-up is your decision, but as long as you grip the top of the wood with plenty of friction, you’ll always have the option.

Some people go as far as installing a pull-up bar, which is a walk in the park with thanks to the video below.

You’re Always Connected To The Internet

If you’re wondering why this matters, it’s because home workouts can get boring if you stick with the same exercises. However, there are tons of different activities available on the internet, and you’ll always have a connection at home. As a result, you can research and prepare new sessions in minutes before going into the next room and smashing it out.

Come on – do you still think you can’t get stacked at home during the lockdown?!

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Irrefutable Truths About Having Kids in the Modern World

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There are so many things that play a role when you have kids, and you need to understand that there are plenty of things that you need to bear in mind. Having children is a massive responsibility, and there are a lot of things that you need to think about to help you make you the most of this. Understanding what parenthood entails is one of the things that plays a massive role in helping you hit the ground running. 
There is no rulebook or manual for telling you the right way to parent, but there are plenty of tips and hints you should be looking at that can help with this. Every child is different and every parenting approach will be different, but there are a lot of things that you have to keep in mind to help with this. Make sure you focus on trying to make the best possible decisions you can, and there are a lot of issues you can look at that will help you with this. Check out these irrefutable truths about being a parent these days that apply to everyone.

You’ll Always Worry

One thing that is absolutely certain about being a modern parent is that you are going to worry. It’s part and parcel of the process, and this is something you need to work on. Don’t be afraid that you are worrying too much, as this is something that all parents do, you are not alone here, and it’s important to understand that. Worrying is part of having kids, and it’s the part you’ll never quite get used to, so you are going to need to do as much as possible to work on this and do what you can to try to stop worrying and panicking quite so much, but this can be hard. 

It’s Expensive

Something else to think about when you have a kid is the fact that this is very expensive, and you are immediately going to be having additional costs to contend with. Make sure you look at what you can do to save money as much as possible. Whatever you can do to cut the costs of having a child is something you need to look into right now. That means saving where you can, using hand me downs if possible, using coupons and vouchers to save money on travel or days out, and preparing and cooking meals at home as opposed to eating out all the time. Everything you can do to slash costs, even slightly, is going to have a major impact on this process. 

Kids Change Your Life

Children will change your life, there is no question about that. This is something nobody can really be prepared for until it actually happens to them, and there are so many factors that will change in your life as a result, such as family holidays. Try to think about some of the best ways of making sure you work on this as much as possible. There are a lot of things that will change forever when you have children, such as your responsibilities, and your approach to life in general. You will now start to base your life around your children and helping to nurture them as much as possible.

State Help is Available

A lot of people forget or overlook the fact that state help is available to those with children. Whether it’s Taiwan’s childbirth allowance or the UKs Child Tax Credit, government help is available to parents all across the world. Having a child can be tough, and it can especially be tough for couples or parents who have low incomes. Sometimes the money received from government support can be crucial for improving your livelihood and helping you feed and clothe your kids as much as possible. So this is definitely something you’re going to want to know about and look into as much as possible. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Something a lot of new parents seem to struggle with is asking for help when they need it. Being a first-time parent can be incredibly hard, and this is something you are going to have to get right as much as possible moving forward. Try to come up with ideas that will help make things easier for you, but also, make sure you ask for help if you need it. There are plenty of ways you can get help from the state, and, of course, family and friends can play a big role in the process of helping you out as well, especially your parents who have done this before so do have wise words to impart on the matter of parenting.

Nighttimes Might be Stressful

One thing that is for sure is that nighttimes are going to be stressful. You can kiss goodbye to that 8 hours of blissful and uninterrupted sleep, and this is something a lot of people struggle with. Getting into a good nighttime routine early in the process is really important, and this is something you should try to work on. Alternatively, you could get in touch with a sleep therapist who can give you advice for some of the things you should look to do when it comes to getting your child to sleep better. With a structured routine in place, it is going to get a little bit easier to deal with this, and you should have a baby that sleeps better as a result. 

There are a lot of things you need to bear in mind as a parent, and you need to try to do as much as you can to make this process easier for you. Try to do as much as you can to understand the important parts of being a parent, and try to work on being as good as you can be for your kids. There are so many things that you need to make the most of right now, and this is something that plays a big part in the process of improving your approach to parenthood. 

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