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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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DIY Bathroom Repairs Everyone Should Know

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They say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but if something is stuck or clogged, one should be on the know-how. Reaching almost a year since quarantine began, people have been spending longer than average locked inside their homes. With this, homes may have experienced more wear and tear than usual, especially bathrooms.

It can be frustrating to feel helpless when dealing with something as tedious as a leaky faucet, a broken toilet, or a clogged drain. Considering this, small do-it-yourself remedies may be resourceful. 

That began said, if challenges are too drastic, larger renovations may be in order. If that is the case, consider commercial bathroom renovations instead. 

For the meantime, these are some nice and easy-to-do remedies than can offer your bathroom a quick fix. 

Uncloging a Bathroom Drain

When taking a shower or washing your hands, having water rise from the drain is the least you would want. Slow bathroom drains are often caused by a build-up of soap-scum and hair. Many resort to using chemical drain cleansers to remedy this; however, these products carry toxic chemicals and can be ineffective at times. 

Instead, use a plastic hair snake. This product resembles a long zip-tie which can bend inside pipes to snag the accumulated gunk.

To begin, remove the drain stopper before inserting the wand. This will require unscrewing and disconnecting the stopper’s horizontal and vertical rods. After doing this, you may finally insert the snake. Once the cleaning process begins, beware: it’ll get gross. As a tip, try to girate or make sweeping motions with the snake in order to grab as much gunk as possible. 

Fixing a Broken Toilet

Dealing with a broken toilet can be a common issue. 

If the toilet won’t flush, check inside the it’s tank. To do so, remove the toilet’s rectangular lid; the lid can be found behind the toilet seat. Look for the chain which connects the flush lever to the plug at the bottom of the tank; the plug is also known as the flapper. If a toilet isn’t flushing, the likeliest answer is that the chain is disconnected from the lever. To resolve this, simply reattach the chain. 

Meanwhile, if water keeps on filling your toilet, it most likely means your toilet is flushing by itself. This isn’t good as it is wasteful. The likeliest reason would be that the toilet has a leaky flapper. To fix this, turn off the water valve from behind/ underneath your toilet. Flush your toilet until emptied. Check the flapper’s size and purchase another flapper. Brands do not matter as long as they match in size. Replace the old flapper with a new one, and voila! 

Replacing a Leaky Faucet

Fixing a leaky faucet often requires replacing the parts inside the handles. To do so, first turn off the hot and cold water valves. Doing this will help prevent any unwanted water geysers from jumping out of the faucet or handles. 

Once you’ve turned off the water valves, check if water is still trickling down. If so, rather than replacing the handles, this means your faucet is in need of a plumber. If it isn’t leaking, you may proceed. 

Pry off the handles and loosen the screws underneath. Once both items are removed, remove the top with an adjustable wrench and pull out all the parts. The best tip is to use needle nose pliers to do this. Head to a home improvement store and ask for help in searching for new replacements. To reassemble, repeat the steps in reverse and test the faucet.

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The 8 Best Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Family

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Movie with Friends

Christmas is the perfect time of year to get together with family and friends and spend as much time as possible with them, but it’s also a time to curl up on the couch and watch those Christmas movies we’ve seen a thousand times. Don’t know which one to choose, though? To inspire you over the next few days, we’ve created a top 8 Christmas movies list to watch with your loved ones during the incoming Christmas holidays. You can easily find them all online in platforms such as movie 4k, Netflix, Hulu or HBO.

Love Actually

One of the most romantic movies of recent times is also one of the most adorable Christmas films, so why not watch or the billionth time? In this movie, director Richard Curtis mixes 10 small love stories that at the beginning do not seem to have anywhing in common, but end up intertwined at the end. Apparently, as he didn’t have them all developed enough to make their own movies, he just left them as optimistic pills. They are very different stories -some euphoric, others tender, others surprising- but all of them to make you grab the handkerchief and want to wish Merry Christmas to the first person you come across.

Serendipity

Some may think that this is one of the most cheesy films in the history of cinema, but there is no denying that the chemistry between Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack is enormous. Serendipity’ is related to chance and the possibility of two people meeting over time and that’s what happens to Jonathan and Sara. The two meet in a department store while looking at a pair of wool gloves; they will connect in such a way that they are going to have a drink and skate to Central Park. When that ‘casual date’ is over, doubts will arise: to exchange the phone or not? To reveal their true identity or not? Destiny will play a key role in them.

Elf

The film follows the story of an abandoned baby who manages to slip into Santa’s sack and ends up at the North Pole. There, he will become one of the elves who help Santa make toys all year round. However, as soon as he learns that he is human, he will go to New York to look for his father. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s definitely hilarious.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

A classic among Christmas movies starring 90’s TV stars such as Connie Sellecca, Corbin Bersnen and Cole and Dylan Sprouse. The film shows how little Justin sees his mother kissing Santa Claus -and doesn’t recognize his father in the costume-, and he beleives that his mother’s affair is the prelude to their parents divorce, so he tries to keep Santa far away from the house with his bad behavior.

While you were sleeping

A classic romantic comedy that tells how Lucy, a subway ticket vendor, is in love with a man that she sees every morning catching a train. One day, he accidentlly falls on the track; she rescues him and, for some reason, she ends up pretending to be his girlfriend to his whole family. Everyone receives her with much affection except the brother of the victim, who did not buy her story.

Bridget Jones

A good dose of Bridget Jones never hurts anyone, not even at Christmas, and especially if you choose the first movie of the saga -since the second one wasn’t as good and the third and last wasn’t successful at all. Renée Zellwegger brings to life the most clumsy journalist in history who struggles between two men: Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy, an old friend of her family who seems a dull, boring guy, but also charming and caring.

Home Alone

Just in case you missed the huge cultural phenomenon that was John Hughes’ big Christmas movie, it needed to be on this list. Starring Macauly Culkin, it tells the story of a young boy who is forgotten at home when his family leaves to Paris to spend the holidays. While the parents try to come back for him, the boy ends up having to defend his home from thieves who are determined to celebrate their own Christmas party by robbing everything in the house.

It’s a wonderful life

Only a director as skilled as Frank Capra could turn a film about a suicidal man into a Christmas classic. Jimmy Stewart leads the cast as George Bailey, a guy who plans to end it all until an angel named Clarence shows him what his life (and that of all his neighbours in Bedford Falls) would be like without him. In a story taken directly from Dickens, it turns out that George has a much bigger impact than he thought.

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Try These Tips out to Simplify Your Everyday Life

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Everyday life naturally has a way of getting complicated, and spiralling out of control in one way or another.

Especially if you are an ambitious person and want to achieve the most you possibly can in your professional life, while also having a lively and uplifting personal life, it can be very difficult to avoid the experience of being drowned in excessive complexity from time to time.

The thing is, there are many downsides to excessive complexity in your everyday life, ranging from significantly increased stress levels, to a real difficulty with regards to being able to effectively juggle assorted projects and responsibilities.

Try these tips to simplify your everyday life.

Declutter your home and make sure everything has a place

A lot of excess complexity can sneak into your life via a cluttered home, where things just naturally feel overwhelming because of the fact that your mind and attention are constantly drawn to the chaotic nature of your living environment.

There are many different potential benefits to decluttering your home, but one of the key benefits that various home tidying gurus and productivity experts praise about the act of decluttering, is that it helps promote a state of mental tranquillity, focus, and an overall reduced sense of complexity.

So, do what you can to declutter your home and make sure that everything has a place. Contact e-waste recyclers, load bags of clothes to donate to charity shops, and do whatever else you need to do in order to begin simplifying your life and your mindset by simplifying your home environment.

Identify one or two big goals to work towards, and put the rest aside for later

Most of us have all sorts of different dreams, projects, and potential goals that we would hypothetically like to explore and devote our time and attention to, at some point or another over the course of our lives.

Unfortunately, however, trying to juggle too many goals at once is usually a recipe for stress and failure – not to mention a sense of overwhelming complexity, as we are constantly trying to figure out the best way to allocate our time and energy to the various projects we want to make headway on.

One of the best ways of simplifying your life and of focusing your energy, is to identify just one or two big goals to work towards at any given time, and put the rest aside for later.

Do your most important tasks at the start of each day

“Analysis paralysis” is a very real phenomenon, and it tends to occur when we have too many different options at our disposal, and have to try and figure out how best to juggle a variety of factors – such as where to fit in the different tasks and chores that we are committed to each day.

A great simplicity-boosting exercise here is to always do your most important task at the start of each day. That way, everything else is more or less a nice optional extra, and stress decreases dramatically.

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