The Challenges of Formulating National Security Strategies (NSS) in the Presence of Overarching Existential Threats

By Constantinos Adamides

The overall objective of the paper is to examine how states that face an overarching (perceived) existential threat may be at a disadvantage when developing their National Security Strategies (NSS). The main hypothesis is that states facing an overarching threat tend to focus almost exclusively on that and may subsequently ignore or under-estimate other potential great threats, while at the same time they may miss out on opportunities to enhance their domestic, and even regional, security and geopolitical standing. A secondary hypothesis aims to test whether these myopic situations develop due to the sociopolitical expectations for a single-issue NSS focus. Furthermore, being an EU Member State may potentially exacerbate a false sense of both insecurity ( from the overarching threat) and security ( from other potential threats). This raises questions on i) whether the EU is in a position to understand the localized security perceptions and thus provide the necessary support to mitigate those fears, and ii) whether it can act as a security provider, not only in real terms (point i), but also by re-orienting the Member States’ view of security and threats.

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