Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2012


The tectonic geopolitical shifts that have taken place since the end of the Cold War have led many to put forth a need to rethink and revise the concept of international security. The traditional definition, they assert, is no longer sufficient in the face of the modern era’s most pressing security issues and threats. What are and will be the distinguishing features of international security problems? What should be considered an international security issue, and what should not? How can “international security” or “international security issue” be defined to allow academics and policymakers to most capably think about and deal with the world they face? Here it is argued that while there is no doubt that a revision of the traditional notion of security is in order, it would be wise to avoid excessive expansion of the concept. It is also argued that the most appropriate definition of an international security threat is one that retains the all-important aspect of human agency. Over-broadening of the concept will only lead to a variety of problems for theory and policy in the field of international security.