Old Europe, New Security: Evolution for a Complex World (Ethics and Global Politics)

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The declared ambition was to ensure that imperialism would prepare peoples who were not yet capable of standing on their feet for increasing self-reliance and eventual sovereign independence. As always, it is necessary to consider those developments in long-term perspective. European traders and travellers had little choice but to accept such realities. Local custom dictated that other powers should kowtow to the Emperor in ritual display of acknowledged inferiority. By bowing on one knee, he displayed the respect to which any foreign monarch was entitled as a matter of ancient custom, but he refused to comply with the traditional rituals that conveyed voluntary submission.

The Chinese were powerless to prevent the rapid, unexpected loss of traditional, great power status. Reference was made earlier to the importance of applying the working method of process sociology to specialist areas of world politics. The summation of the key organising principles stressed the importance of investigating any social figuration by analysing the forms of interdependence between people, the main power alignments, and the extent to which any stratum could monopolise critical resources and capabilities.

Process sociology points the way towards a deeper understanding of its political significance.


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The theme can be usefully illustrated by considering the phenomenon of secondary or imitative imperialism. Political developments in late nineteenth-century Japan are instructive. Although not uncritical of the West, the author was adamant that Japan had little choice but to replicate core features of Western political development which provided the yardstick for assessing the rate of progress. The harshness of Western involvement in China provided a dark reminder of what might lie ahead if Japan failed to make a rapid transition to modern statehood.

Fukuzawa Yukichi contended that Japan could not wait patiently for other Asian countries to become sufficiently civilised to want to join it in a coalition against the West. Similar patterns of state reconstruction and comparable strategies to promote national identification and imperial civilising missions appeared in other regions. Russian expansion into Central Asia in the nineteenth century was directly modelled on British rule in India.

For many non-European governments, securing that objective involved the labour of understanding and adapting to the central features of the society of states including international law.


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Translations of major Western international legal treatises followed in the mids. As for Tsarist Russia, Peter the Great ordered the compilation of selected instructions from European manners books in order to educate Russian diplomats in essential protocols that reflected the influence of the French court. Some governments had previously provided education on bodily comportment and in aristocratic court etiquette regarding spitting and nose blowing. The process was not exactly painless.

An eight-page letter to the Earl of Clarendon followed in which the delegation combined a plea for forgiveness with a request for instruction in the finer details of court etiquette.

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As part of that development, several Asian languages introduced their own concepts for civilisation in the latter part of the nineteenth century — siwilai in Siamese or Thai, wen-ming in Chinese and bunmei in Japanese. As for the overseas colonies, a large number became sovereign states and equal members of the United Nations in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Such paternalism fell into disrepute with changing power balances within the international system — on the one hand, between self-professed, anti-colonial powers such as the United and the Soviet Union and the European empires and, on the other, between the traditional great powers and Third World national movements. A particular moment symbolised the change in the dominant standards of international legitimacy. The United Nations General Assembly Resolution of December declared that self-government should not be delayed until such time as the Western governments were convinced that the colonies were capable of good government.

The old power asymmetries that had led to the stigmatisation of outsider groups had changed radically; organised counter-movements to end collective humiliation by achieving sovereign independence had become significantly more powerful.

Shifting political currents were reflected in international law. Universities have long been then the physical and intellectual space where academic endeavour meets security and intelligence agency, where, that is, two types of intelligence agencies have long met in the physical and intellectual space of the university. Our positioning is more sanguine than suspicious, and might simply be put by accepting that universities are part of the national and global communities which security and intelligence agencies seek to protect.

Recent debates in a leading UK educational research journal have brought such matters to the fore, the polarisations being evident by academics such as Durodie who argue for a distance, and the rarer voice of Anthony Glees who sees in university-security-intelligence relations a legitimate collaboration.

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This is part of a broader picture of securitization across a number of societal contexts. Securitization theory has for the past two or three decades has been delineating this process of securitization. This securitizing move argument can be applied to universities and all the academic disciplines contained therein.

Taureck provides a useful caveat here, analysing in her assessment of securitization theory the necessity of some existential threat to be present for there to be a genuine securitization; in other words the situation must be serious, a real threat to individual and or social and political stability. Universities themselves are here fully integrated — some would argue rightly, others not — into a programme of social and political protections. We accept that universities, then, like many public bodies, are subject to enhanced security concerns in a time of the unpredictable features of international terrorism.

Yet we do not by this presume a morally questionable development — security of campuses and their personnel is made legitimate by the necessity of protection — but we do think the broader and deeper relationship between universities and the security and intelligence agencies raises legitimate questions of direct concern to academics undertaking research which makes this relationship closer, and it is natural in this context to reflect upon research ethics.

World Politics: Continuity and Change Since 1945

The matter, then, of security and intelligence agencies relations with universities is, we argue, more nuanced than is sometimes seen in popular portrayals, and deserving of more balanced treatment. Our article is an attempt to contextualise specifically the ethical frameworks which arise from the relationship. The co-authors — to identify our own positioning — represent both the Academy and the Intelligence Community — one is an academic with theoretical interests in the relationship and no formal or covert operational connection to the security and intelligence agencies, the other is a senior officer from US Military Intelligence.

Addressing, then, the complex and longstanding relationship between universities and security and intelligence agencies, this article provides a tentative conceptual framework, a provisional mapping of the field in schematic terms, for research ethics in a global higher education environment. The article does so in the light particularly of intensified international terrorism threats which have brought this historic relationship to the contemporary foreground of academic life. The most important nexus of universities and the security intelligence agencies is in their reciprocal preoccupation with knowledge or intelligence, the academically inclined personnel who gather it, the universities where such knowledgeable people gather, and the contacts they make which can provide specialist insights.

On the surface there seems little obvious connectedness to activities of knowledge and or intelligence gathering in that sector of public civilian life known as the university and the security and intelligence agencies. Historical accounts of intelligence agencies in the UK and the US show however that the relationships with universities were not simply an additional aspect of the security operations but an integral part of the origins of the agencies themselves, and at times a threat to the security and intelligence agencies themselves.

Winks outlines in measured tones and informative ways the respective roles of the university as recruiting ground, the campus itself as a meeting place, the professoriate as a source of specialist knowledge and intelligence theorisation, the library as a storehouse of intelligence knowledge, and the sustained nature of the relationship between academics, staff, students and alumni.

In Edward Snowden, an employee of the National Security Agency NSA , as will be well-known, allegedly released information relating to apparently secret surveillance operations by the United States in collaboration with partner security and intelligence agencies worldwide, seeming to show interest not simply in standard military and defined enemy targets but the general populace Harding Yet there was an added dimension to the nostalgia. Part of the shock of the Edward Snowden revelations was the public sense that secret intelligence agencies were accessing data not simply on enemies but everyone.

This implied perspective of regarding the populace as potential adversaries has brought deep and serious questions not simply about State power but the operational jurisdictions under which security and intelligences agencies operate. A classic instance might be related from the Church Committee, led by Senator Frank Church, investigating covert and some had charged ethically questionable CIA activity. A then young Loch K. Johnson asked the CIA director of counterintelligence, the renowned James Jesus Angleton, about obeying executive orders. The Intelligence Community defence today would be less detached from due democratic process.

In the matter of secret intelligence gathering or any covert action, for example date gathering, would be that all such intelligence gathering must be undertaken in a targeted and lawful way. Challenges to this suggest that the bypassing of legislative process has become endemic, and the necessities of operational secrecy only seem to enhance such a perception. Public consternation however over intelligence operations and its military-security impacts arguably reached a pitch when the public realised that a lot of security and intelligence operations seemed to be as much towards them as towards any well-defined enemy of a hostile foreign power or terrorist non-state actor.

Above all else, the Snowden revelations seemed — again framed in often conspiratorial ways — to convey a notion new to the public: that intelligence gathering was not simply about the enemy but anyone, not only about known enemy targets but unexpected future ones, anyone that is and everything Harding ; Johnson et al. Yet the ethical implications of military, security and intelligence agency operational impacts on civilian populations, within and beyond the field of conflict, combat and war has received a considerable degree of attention in the research literature of security and intelligence studies as well as in the direct field of security-intelligence and military operations themselves Baker ; Lucas , ; Goldman , ; Johnson and Patterrson ; Omand and Phythian Operationally , there are three historically and contemporaneously complex levels of interaction between the security and intelligence agencies and public bodies such as universities: covert , overt and a blended overt-covert Gearon ; a , b , The covert illustrates the default, secret involvement of security and intelligence agencies with universities.

In Britain for example until the s there was an official cross-party agreement that matter of security and intelligence were not discussed in the UK Parliament, nor were the operational matters of security and intelligence agencies subject to scrutiny, indeed the very existence of agencies such as the Secret Intelligence Service SIS were neither affirmed nor denied Aldrich et al. The overt demonstrates the position, largely elicited by historic concerns over secret agencies within the State and parallel moves towards enhanced transparency in polity and governance in open, liberal democracies.

In Britain the Intelligence and Security Committee largely publicly holds the machinery of the security and intelligence agencies to account, and public inquiries do the same, most notably in the UK Government commissioned report on the Iraq war Chilcot The overt-covert is the grey and difficult territory of operational secrecy under the pretext of accountability, openness andtransparency. The Covert Model reflects the traditional, historical model of a secret and clandestine collection of intelligence.

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When Franklin D. Roosevelt recruited William J. The fledgling office was reborn as a key unit of the Office of Strategic Services, itself established a few months after Pearl Harbor. As the United States joined the Allied war effort, Donovan hired several senior, and a great many younger, academics, principally from the Ivy League, to coordinate the collection, sorting, and analysis of material relevant to the war. Langer, soon recognized the need for area-specific interdisciplinary teams Dirks Such historic, Cold War contexts are a critical backdrop to understanding the precedence to very different contemporary, present-day settings but the past here forms an important element of understanding the present Sinclair ; Winks a , b ; Witanek ; Zwerling Regardless of our moral assessments of this, universities have thus become critical loci for the security and intelligence agencies in ways which reflect an intensification of a complex, covert or secretive historical and reciprocal relationship which reached an apogee during the Cold War Gearon , b ; Aldrich ; Andrew ; Jeffery ; Weiner Today the covert relationship continues, incorporating but extending beyond terrorism and counter-terrorism and flourishing in ways which shows an ever deepening, a further embedding of security interests across universities.


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  6. Levels of enhanced security and operational secrecy are thus most apparent in those universities aligned with or integral to the security and intelligence communities themselves. In many cases the students earn college credits. These are effectively in-house college programs.

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    This research and course work is designed to benefit academically and operationally. The only difference is the courses offered at the agencies are voluntary and the military intelligence training is not. While the agencies in the IC offer in-house college-level courses in intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency DIA has taken this to a completely new level. The NIU offers three degree programs in intelligence and security studies.

    The BSI degree focuses on core intelligence concepts, issues and methods.

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    This fourth-year program enables students to become a true professional on issues of national-level intelligence and its consumer. The MSSI degree is designed to prepare students for the complexity of intelligence work in the twenty-first century. The credit curriculum focuses on three main themes: Globalization, Future-focused Intelligence, and Intelligence for National Security. You can obtain the degree at the NIU campus or through a cohort at several intelligence agencies.