Nowhere to Hide: Nation States' Security and Stability in the Age of Globalization

Nowhere to Hide: Nation States' Security and Stability in the Age of Globalization
Author: Taiwo, Bello
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 8, Number 2 / November 2017

Nations of the world have become closely connected and interdependent today than they were many centuries ago. This development did not emerge in a flux; it happened as a result of the active globalization mission or project championed by the United States beginning from the 1990s after the end of the Cold War. Globalization, since then, has played many roles in the lives of people as well as the nation states. While some have viewed the impacts of globalization as negative, others have argued that globalization has several benefits to offer countries that subscribe to its philosophy. This paper examines the impacts of globalization on the stability or security of nation states. Using some key literature and drawing on case studies from current global developments, the paper argues that globalization, though does not have the capacity to reduce the power of the nation states, has a high capacity to challenge and threaten the security and stability of nation states.

Keywords: globalization, nation states, United States, security.


One of the major questions generating controversies among scholars of international relations and global economic history remains that of the origin of globalization. To be specific, they often ask: when did the world truly become globalized? In an effort to answer this question, scholars have given and presented divergent and contradictory views as regard its origin (Grinin and Korotayev 2013: 2). For instance, while some claim that it begun during the fifteenth century, others argue that it started in the nineteenth century. Some have even had to conclude that globalization must have started earlier or later than these two periods, fifteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively. Stearns (2010) argued that the process of globalization started around 1000 CE, hence, what is being experienced in the world today is a sophisticated form of that process (Stearns 2010). However, while this claim by Stearns may be plausible and indisputable, some scholars have argued that globalization only attained its full maturity around the nineteenth century. Kevin O'Rouke and Jeffrey Williamson, in their work titled ‘When did Globalization Begin?’ have concluded that ‘globalization did not begin 5000 years ago, or even 500 years ago. It began in the early 19th century. In that sense, it is a very modern phenomenon’ (O'Rouke and Williamson 2000: 30). In the same vein, Grinin and Korotayev maintained thus, ‘we consider the period of the late 15th century to the early 19th century as a special era when oceanic intercontinental links were being established.’ They further added, ‘we believe our designation for this period reflects the scale and character of links in this period in a more accurate way’ (Grinin and Korotayev 2013: 5). To Grinin and Korotayev, the period of the nineteenth century was an era of ‘big hit’ for globalization. This was a turning point era for the interconnection and interrelations of people across the globe. Hence, the term ‘global’ was introduced basically to describe the process of human interactions in different spheres and across different national boundaries within the international system. To further justify their position that the nineteenth century period was the major breakthrough era for globalization, they emphasized thus:

That is why we use the term ‘global’ for links in this period which continued till 1970s, after which the level of intersocietal interconnectedness began to grow very rapidly (especially from the early 1990s). It was during this period that it was recognized that we had entered a new period of interconnected that was termed ‘globalization’ (mondialisation in French) (Grinin and Korotayev 2013: 5).

From the above, it is evident that the term ‘globalization’ attained its maturity and popularity in the nineteenth century, though its root and origin remains a matter of debate amongst the scholars of globalization. This is because, as Stearns puts it, ‘globalization has a complex history’ (Stearns 2010: 158). However, throughout this paper, the period identified as the peak period (or perhaps, origin) of globalization as argued by Grinin and Korotayev (2013); and O'Rouke and Williamson (2000) which is the nineteenth century would be the major period of reference as it is more suitable in describing the issues that would be developed in this work than any preceding periods of human linkages and interconnectedness.

There has been a wide belief among scholars and practitioners that modern globalization is a neoliberal invention. According to Steger, ‘soon after the collapse of Soviet-style communism in Eastern Europe, various power elites concentrated in the global North stepped up their efforts to sell their neoliberal version of ‘globalization’ to the public’ (Steger 2005: 31–32). Taking ‘globalization’ to the public (meaning the ‘world’) was not an easy task for the neoliberals or globalists. The success of this ‘globalization’ project must have been due to the relentless efforts of the neoliberals toward developing strategies and ideas that would capture the attention of the other nations of the world as well as portray the globalization doctrine as beneficial to the states and their citizenry. It must also have been influenced by their ability to gather resources, both for economic and security purposes, devoted to propagating this neoliberal belief or agenda as had been demonstrated by the USA in the last decades. In a nutshell, in order:

to make a persuasive case for a new global order based on their values, these powers constructed and disseminated narratives and images that extolled the virtues of deregulation and globally integrated markets. Throughout the 1990s they advanced a globalization discourse sufficiently systematic to add up to a comprehensive political ideology (Steger 2005: 32).

Globalization, thenceforth, graduated from being an ideology solely conceived by some countries in the global North championed by the United States to becoming a philosophy, value and ideology embraced by virtually all countries of the world. Even some countries, especially China, that claim to be communist nations are all eclipsed in this globalized world of interdependency and interconnectedness.

Further, just as there have been debates about the roots of globalization, there have also been debates as to the extent to which globalization has contributed to either the growth or security dilemma of modern nation-states. There is a very high level of divisions amongst scholars over this development. While some are pleased with the pace at which globalization is going and have argued that it is beneficial to the growth and development of the nation-states, others have refuted this claim by emphasizing on the fact that globalization threatens the security and stability of the nation-states. This paper seeks to examine the extent to which globalization ‘threatens’ the stability or security of the nation-states around the globe. It argues that globalization, though does not have the capacity to ‘reduce’ the power of the nation-states (Sending and Neumann 2006: 652), has the capacity of undermining or threatening the existence of the nation-states. This position will be supported by citing examples from relations among nation-states ‘trapped’ in this globalized terrain.

The paper is divided into four sections. The first section examines how globalization threatens the political roles of nation-states. The second section examines its socio-cultural impacts on the stability of nation-states. The third section examines impacts of economic globalization on the states' security and stability. Lastly, the final section will conclude with the argument that globalization, though has its own merits, has done lots of damages to the stability and security of states within the international or global system.

Globalization and Political Authority of Modern Nation-States

Globalization, defined as the expansion of global linkages, the organization of social life on a global scale, and the growth of a global consciousness (Ibrahim 2013: 86), has the huge capacity to threaten the existence of the nation-states. Going by this definition, it means that the world has become smaller and closer to one another than ever. It further implies that the world is interlinked and people, goods, ideas, technology, beliefs etc., can flow across one national boundary into another without any restriction. Globalization promotes interdependence amongst countries, and the consequences are felt more by countries that do not have the resources and military capacities to withstand the demands of this global phenomenon which, most time, breeds competition and conflicts due to intensified trade or economic relations across national boundaries. For instance, China and America as global economic giants will have the capacity to protect and build security around themselves for the purpose of minimizing the impacts of globalization on their national economies and citizenry than say, Nigeria or Sudan, which do not have the equal level of resource capacities as China and America, yet they exist within the same global environment made possible by globalization. What this depicts is that globalization encourages competition between the ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ states, hence, the perpetual dependence of the ‘weak’ states on the strong ones. One should, however, not rule out the fact that despite the continuous dependence of the weak states on the strong ones in an era of globalization, the weak ones also have the opportunities to enjoy the good things which globalization has to offer (Ibrahim 2013: 88).

How then did globalization threaten the authority of the modern-nation states? Sovereignty presupposes that the state is a territorially bounded unit with an inside and an outside. Internally, the sovereign state is conceived to be an entity that can exercise supreme authority within its own territorial boundary. Thus a state is sovereign because it is acknowledged that there is no external organization that can exercise authorities within the territorial boundaries of that state (Vaughan 2011: 6–7). This was the level of importance attached to nation-states during the Westphalia era (Westphalia Treaty 1648: 67), but it has changed in this era of globalization.

States no longer have control over their territories or jurisdictions. The ultimate authority of the state, which is autonomy, is now threatened by globalization (Behr 2008: 362). This authority, either directly or indirectly, is threatened in so far states are dependent on one another for some certain support, especially military, in this globalized world. Emerging as the sole hegemony after the end of the Cold War, the United States ultimately assumed the right to guide, protect other states, as well as expand its globalization agenda beyond its shores. Consequently, several countries, both big and small, have been made dependent on the USA for military support, hence, the possibility of the USA controlling their military apparatus, which automatically means undermining the political authorities of such states.

This development affected (or affects) mostly countries that fall within the orbits of Third World. However, some countries in the West, including Great Britain, are also dependent on her for military aid or support. According to Shaw, these countries have become structurally, militarily and financially dependent, on the USA (Shaw 2000: 116). The US unipolarity and world globalization mission have made this possible (Weber et al. 2007: 51). The continuous dependence of these states implies one thing: that the USA will have dominance and control over these states and their security. The USA could determine for the states when to and not to go to war, the level of military weapons such countries need to use or acquire, and also have the opportunity to control the internal and external security agenda of such states.

The US security dominance in the internal affairs of the nation-states across the globe is mostly felt in the developing world, especially Africa. For instance, in order to increase its military presence on the continent, the US ‘successfully secured agreements with 8 to 10 African countries to allow the US military to utilize air fields and other suitable sites to establish “cooperative security locations” from which it can launch military strikes’ (Tarabinah and Okolo 2015: 50) against its perceived enemies. This action would not only threaten the political authorities of the African nations that agreed to this deal proposed by the United States, it could also expose them to risk in the hands of the US opponents during wartime as defenseless allies. This was the case with Georgia which was dragged to war on the side of the US against Iraq in 2003 as a way of fulfilling its cooperative security agreement with the USA (Sullivan et al. 2011: 280). To complete this project of dominance made possible by globalization

The US established several bilateral and military cooperation in Africa; such as Trans Saharan Counter Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP), African counter-insurgency operation training and assistance program (ACOTA), International military education and training program (IMET), foreign military sales program (FMS), African coastal and border security program (ACBS program), excess defense article program (EDA), anti-terrorism assistance (ATA), section 1206 fund, combined joint task force-horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), naval operation in the gulf of Guinea, Flintlock 2000 and 2007, and joint task force Aztec silence (Tarabinah and Okolo 2015: 51).

With the above statement, one can infer that the US has control of virtually all the military and security apparatus of most of the countries involved in these agreements. The United States could decide for the governments what to do and what not to do in terms of both internal and external security. Thus, the states lacked absolute control over their political authorities and security. With this development, the states remained what they were conceived to be, however, their political autonomy and security would be undermined through the incursion and infiltration of the US security ideal into their supposedly ‘defined territories’. This is so, majorly because the political authority of any state, is mostly built on, or enforced by, its military capacity as is the case with Russia, and the US, and perhaps the rising Iran and North Korea. And for this political authority to remain intact, states must guide and protect their territories from external control or incursion. But with the possibility of the US incursion and control of the internal security of several states in the West and developing countries, the stability and political authorities of such states become threatened before the ‘eyes’ of globalization.

The periods after the unfortunate 9/11 incidence which led to the bombing of the World Trade Centre by the Al-Qaeda had also led to the emergence of the US military and security dominance in the Middle-East, especially Afghanistan and Iraq through the claims of fighting against the terrorist organizations in that region. This led the Bush Administration to instantly declare ‘War on Terror’ as response and a retaliation for the damage done by the terrorist organization through that attack as such development was viewed as ‘acts of war against the United States of America and its allies, and against the very idea of civilized society’ (Reese and Lewis 2009: 779). However, as revealed by Reese and Lewis, the USA had had the intention of facilitating regime change in the countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq but was cautious about interfering with the political regimes in these countries without any reasonable provocation on their ends. Hence, the attacks on the USA by the Al-Qaeda whose origin was from Afghanistan gave the USA the opportunity to execute its long-drafted and planned policies against Afghanistan and Iran. This is clearly presented in their words below:

In the now well-known evolution of the administration's policy, influential neo-conservatives within the administration had advocated regime change in Iraq for some time, but the Events of 9/11 gave them a compelling way to fast-track their ideas and justify a new Policy of pre-emptive war, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq (Reese and Lewis 2009: 779).

The instant reactions of the USA toward the Al-Qaeda through declaration of war against the terrorists, mobilization of military resources and the eventual deployment of American military which led to the establishment of its strong military presence in Afghanistan, and later, Iraq in 2003, could be understood from the point of view of Reese and Lewis. The fact that the USA and its allies had established military bases in Afghanistan, and later in Iraq (Lansford 2012) during the invasion which had been widely criticized as unreasonable, and unjustifiable, as well as not conforming with the ethics and standards of international relations and politics by some Western countries, scholars, journalists and policy makers globally (Collins 2010: 37; Reese and Lewis 2009: 777–778), must have posed threats to the political regime in both Afghanistan and Iraq at the time of its incursion into those territories. The US, within the first one month following the attacks by the Al-Qaeda, had mobilized ‘about 4,000 U.S ground troops and special operations forces were sent into Afghanistan between October and December 2001’ (Lansford 2012: 44–45). More so, in Afghanistan, after winning victory against the Taliban through the application of a large array of ‘military force in terms of weaponry and firepower… and the deployment of two aircraft carrier battle groups and an amphibious landing groups by the end of September’ (Lansford 2012: 44) during the fight, ‘the US-led coalition destroyed the Taliban regime and installed a favorable regime in office in Afghanistan’ (Collins 2010: 34).

The control of the government within Afghanistan had the implication of making the government the puppets of the USA and its allies, as well as strictly following the order, rules, and policies of these Western states to the detriment of the people of Afghanistan. It also had the capacity of undermining the political authority, freedom, and sovereignty of the Afghan state or government. The United States, through the installation of its preferred regime in Afghanistan, would have had access to the national security details, the control of the Afghanistan forces, dominance over the country's resources and even the power to dictate how the political machinery of Afghanistan was to be structured. In the light of these, both Afghanistan, and Iraq, were made the grounds for the display of power and military superiority by the Western powers and this was made possible through the existence of a world system where the smaller countries are perpetually dominated, exploited, and made to remain dependent on the bigger and stronger ones (Chase-Dunn 2010). And since human interactions are imminent and unavoidable, the international system would continually be characterized by the maxim ‘survival of the fittest’ (Spencer 1864) which militarism and political hegemony remain key.

Globalization, Social Cohesion and Security of Nation States

Terrorism is the manifestation of globalization's negative impacts on the security or stability of nation-states. Though the world had witnessed terrorism prior to the propagation of globalization in the 1990s, the destructive capacities of terrorists through the spread of radical ideologies and free movements of people, as well as the access to destructive weapons have been enhanced by the existence of globalization. As Weber et al., argue, ‘today's international terrorism owes something to globalization. Al-Quaeda uses the Internet to transmit messages, uses credit cards and modern banking to move money and it uses cell phones to plot attacks’ (Weber et al. 2007: 53). This statement, as it is true of Al-Qaeda, is also true of all the terrorist groups and networks around the world such as Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Hezbollah, Taliban and a host of them.

These terrorist groups have successfully inflicted several damages on the lives of innocent people, destroyed individuals and state-owned properties and have succeeded in making the nation states ungovernable, through the use of ‘Internet which has proved just as adept at spreading deadly, extremist ideologies’ (Weber et al. 2007: 49). Terrorists now have access to their own personal websites through which they disseminate their ideologies and recruit young and innocent people as followers. Most of these terrorist groups even send their ideologies across to their followers for possible radicalization through such medium as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Skype. In this light, there is no need for them to move from one place or country to another in search for followers to recruit; the most important thing needed is the Internet, and provided that is available, anywhere they are in the world, they can communicate with their potential recruits, disseminate their ideologies, assign destructive roles to their members and even transfer money for execution of projects within few seconds.

The availability of the Internet has enhanced the capacities of the terrorists' networks, while undermining or threatening the security and stability of nation-states. For instance, the terrorist group in Nigeria, Boko Haram, since 2009, has been constituting security threats and challenges to the Nigerian government through killings of thousands of innocent citizens, destruction of properties, abduction of Chibok girls in 2014 and the radicalization of young boys and girls as suicide bombers. The Boko Haram terrorist network is not only strengthened through their access to the Internet, but also the porous nature of the Nigerian border which globalization has fostered. Billions of dollars have been spent on fighting against these terrorists, joint international task forces have also been put in place by the government, yet, they (terrorists) continue to get stronger and expand their territories despite the presence of the military stationed around the terrorists' enclave. According to a recent report, Boko Haram has killed about 20,000 people and US$ 5.9 billion worth of properties have been destroyed in Borno (Somorin 2016), the northeastern part of the country where the terrorists are mostly domiciled. There is even a possibility that the Internet avails the terrorists the possibilities of organizing and coordinating global terrorist conferences through Skype, Facebook video calls and so on. As Boko Haram threatens the Nigerian state, so do Al-Shabaab to Kenya state, ISIS to Syria, Taliban in Iraq just to mention a few. Terrorism has also threatened the security and political authorities of the United State leading to the 9/11 incidence, the UK, France and Belgium. Now no place is safe. States have no place to hide, and globalization is responsible for this.

The use of the Internet has also made it possible for countries to spy one another and this has led to encroachment on the civil liberties and fundamental human rights of the affected citizens as well as compromised internal security of the states involved. The EU had recently expressed its dissatisfaction about the extension of the surveillance procedures by the US secret service on its soil or territories. The EU believed that such activities would have negative impacts on its citizens, especially the limitation of their freedoms, liberties and security. The EU, therefore, was of the view that,

The EU citizen is particularly fragile in this configuration connecting US intelligence services, private companies that provide services at global level and the ownership they can exercise over their data. It is that if EU citizens do not have the same level of protection as US citizens, because of the practices of US Intelligence services and the lack of effective protection, they will become the first victims of this system (Bowden 2013: 7).

The USA claimed that the surveillance activity was being done for the protection of both the EU and US citizens, but this did not appeal to the leaders and policy makers within the EU. The EU considered such moves as capable of infringing upon the rights of the citizens, as well as exposing the Union to the danger of insecurity. Hence, the need for such timely reactions and disagreements by the EU is obvious (Bowden 2013). But while the EU was not in support of these actions by the US because it could lead to compromise of the security and privacy of its citizens, Germany has been reported as having given the US a back-up in that spying engagement. Reporting the involvement of Germany in this incidence that occurred in 2013 was Joanna Slayer. In her report, Slayer mentioned that

Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, allegedly carried out extensive Surveillance at the request of the U.S. National Security Agency. The targets reportedly included European companies, institutions and individuals, violating German policy and possibly breaking the law (Slayer 2015).

This development had not been taken lightly by the German public as the Chancellor, Ms. Merkel was consistently criticized by the Germans. As Slayer further revealed, ‘the spying controversy is already tarnishing Ms. Merkel's reputation for competence and credibility. A poll conducted this week found that 62 percent of those surveyed said the incidence had put her trustworthiness at risk’ (Slayer 2015). France and its companies were among the victims of Germany's alleged surveillance, ‘BND had also been helping the NSA spy on private European companies such as Airbus, the French defense manufacturer’ (McHugh 2015). This might have constituted a serious breach of trust and infringement upon the privacy of many EU citizens; but the Intelligence Services Worldwide, however, did not see anything wrong arguing that the action did not have any capacity of undermining the freedom and liberty of the EU citizens. As Bowden demonstrates below,

According to Intelligence Service worldwide, these technologies are not endangering civil liberties; they are the best way to protect the citizens from global terrorism. Intelligence Services screen suspicious behaviours and exchange the sharing of information at international level. Only ‘real’ suspects are, in principle, under surveillance (Bowden 2013: 7).

It would be unreasonable to think that the EU was not aware of the usefulness or importance of this surveillance in the capture and tracking of the people perceived as terrorists or dangerous to the security of the Union, its members and its citizens. What the EU was against was the lack of transparency in the surveillance procedures of the U.S. Intelligence services. If the procedures were fair, transparent and considered by the EU as beneficial to both its citizens as much as the U.S. citizens, there would definitely not have been disagreements of this sort. Similarly, there was also a report showing that there were some spying and secret surveillance incidences between Russia and the US, as well as how such development further led to the straining of the relations between the two countries (Plumer 2013).

The Internet Society (IS) in its report released in 2016 further lamented on the destructive roles of the Internet on global economy, especially how it was used by state and non-state actors in the execution of their projects, which most times, could upset the peace and stability in the international or global systems. Such projects include terrorism, criminal activities and so on. According to the report,

Large-scale data breaches, uncertainties about the use of our data, cybercrime, surveillance, and other online threats are eroding users' trusts and affecting how they use the Internet. Eroding trust is also affecting the way governments view the Internet, and is shaping the policy environment of the Internet around the world (Internet Society 2016: 8).

It becomes evident at this juncture that with the existence of the Internet, which is a by-product of globalization, the security and safety of the nation-states and their citizens remain incessantly under threats.

In addition, globalization has also contributed to the transfer and spread of deadly diseases across borders and this has resulted in massive deaths of people, hence, states' insecurity. The free movements of people and goods and services have led to the exportation and transmission of diseases from one country to another. In the words of Weber et al., ‘the airplane that flies passengers nonstop from New York to Singapore also transport infectious diseases’ (Weber et al. 2007: 49), and as found by Baylis and Smith in their work, ‘in 1988, just seven years after AIDs was recognized, there was 150,000 cases worldwide, and more than 400,000 by 1991 (Baylis and Smith 1999: 25). If this was the statistic of spread as of 1991, then the number of AIDs cases worldwide would be running into several millions by 2020 because of the rate at which countries are interlinked through globalization. According to UNAIDS facts sheet, ‘about 1.1 million people died of AIDs related diseases in 2015’ (UNAIDS 2016). HIV/AIDS alone has the potential of being an economic, communal, national and international security challenge. Economically, 10 per cent HIV/AIDS prevalence has the potential of reducing national income by one-third and damages communal security by collapsing national social institutions (Kapuwa 2012: 58). HIV/AIDS has been considered, even on the global terrain, to have the potential of threatening not only the security of member states, but international peace and security (Elbe 2006).

How about Ebola disease? Ebola is another manifestation of globalizing impact. This disease had its origin in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, but by 2014, it had spread to most countries along the Western Africa and led to deaths of many people including medical personnel. According to a press released by the World Health Organization,

The current outbreak in West Africa (first notified in March 2014) is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have been more cases of deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea, then spreading across land borders from Sierra Leone to Liberia, by Air (1 traveller) to Nigeria, and USA (1 traveller) and by land to Senegal (1 traveller), and Mali (2 travellers) (WHO 2016).

As shown, the rapid spread of the Ebola virus was enhanced by the porousness of the national borders of the affected countries, due to the ideologies of free movements of people and goods and services made possible by globalization. The fact that it was not only West African countries it affected, but including the United States, shows that Ebola, just like HIV/AIDS, has global impact on the stability of the nation-states. These diseases, because of how deadly they are, put the affected states on their toes in search for solution or cure. Ebola outbreak shook the world! Apart from the fact that it made a number of affected states to be dependent on foreign aids or support, it also altered the stability and orderliness in such states due to fears of who the next Ebola victims would be. Because of this, and whilst it lasted in most of the countries, citizens and governments were suspicious of one another. Ebola and HIV/AIDS are therefore other social vices whose spread is made possible by globalization, and they constitute challenges and threats to the security of many states across the globe.

Migration also became greatly enhanced by globalization, and in recent times, it has been considered as posing threats to the stability or security of nation-states. Globalization encourages countries to open their borders to immigrants but this has grave impacts for the receiver (or receiving) states and their citizenry. For instance, one of the reasons for the Great Britain's pull out from the European Union in 2015, was the influx of citizens of other EU countries into the UK, coupled with the fact that the EU immigrants were competing away the few available jobs in the country at the expense of UK citizens. In the light of this, prior to the referendum, David Cameron, then British Prime Minister, decided to introduce restrictive immigration policies to prevent influx of immigrants into the country. As stated by David Cameron in the Daily Telegraph, one of the objectives of introducing a restrictive immigration policy was to ‘ensure the British people get a fair deal’ (Cameron 2014). Again, before taking this decision, the Cameron government must have observed the negative trends of migration from other EU countries on the UK's economy, especially in terms of employment, hence, one of the reasonable measures to overcome the threat was to introduce some changes to the immigration laws of the country for UK citizens to have the fair share of what their government had to offer.

Refugee migration is a challenge which Germany, and other countries of the world have battled for years. Apart from the enormous capital investment required to spend in managing the refugee crisis, there is also risk of determining the true identities of some of the admitted refugee migrants. For instance, ‘on August 31, 2015, Angela Merkel appeared at her summer press briefing conference in Berlin and reiterated Germany's willingness to open its borders to all asylum seekers’ (Hammer 2016). In a very short while after this declaration by Germany Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the implications of the high surge of refugee migrants into Germany began to play out on the country. As Hammer further shows, ‘after New Year Eve's of 2016, in a chaotic scene outside the central train station in the Western German city of Colognes’, a group, better still, ‘gangs of young men, most of them, North African and Middle eastern, groped and sexually assaulted as many as one thousand women, while the police, heavily outnumbered and slow to comprehend the scale of violence, did little to stop the mayhem’ (Hammer 2016). Unfortunately, it turned out that ‘overwhelming majority of the men arrested had arrived in Germany as part of the 2015 wave of refugees. Coming in the aftermath of the November terrorist attacks in Paris (among the killers was at least one Jihadist with a Syrian passport who had slipped into the country with many other refugees, apparently from Greece)’ (Hammer 2016). This is a lucid example of how opening country's border as Germany has done could subvert the internal security of Germany, alongside other countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, the USA, Canada, UK, Sweden and so on, admitting influx of refugees. It is difficult to tell who is a terrorist and who is not, amongst those being allowed into the country as Hammer has revealed in the cases of both refugees allowed into Germany and France. That incidence did not pass without the reactions of Germans to the immigration policy of Chancellor Merkel. Hammer further writes:

Merkel's popularity began to fall immediately after the assault in Cologne. A feud spilled into open between Merkel and Horst Seehofer, the Minister- President of Bavaria and Christian leader of the Social Union, the smaller, more conservative partner of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Seehofer has threatened to sue the national government for failing to secure the country's borders, and called for the scaling back, blocking family reunifications, and quickly expelling those refugees who are not granted asylum (Hammer 2016).

These are all demonstrations of the effects of globalization on the stability and security of the states. As Germany experiences this, other countries would be experiencing the same with refugee migration, if not more. Some terrorists had recently launched attacks on Turkey, one of which led to the killing of former Russian Ambassador, Andrei Karlov, in Ankara in 2016 (The Guardian). It is not a dangerous thing to admit refugees into the states, what is dangerous is how it threatens the security and stability of the states in this era of globalization.

More so, it has been reported that the Muslim refugees admitted into the EU countries were infiltrated and indoctrinated by the ISIS, hence, the EU nations were made to face the consequences of opening their borders to the refugees and asylum seekers. This for instance, becomes evident in the findings of Rachael Alexander. She reports that ‘the terrorist attacks by refugees are continuing. On December 19, a radical Islamist refugee drove a truck into a market in Berlin, killing 12 people, and injuring 48 others. The refugees are raping women and destroying properties’. She continues by showing that this threat of opening European borders to refugees did not only affect the security of Germany, but Italy also shared part of the pain. According to her, there was a research conducted in Italy which showed that ‘where the immigrant population increases by 1 percent, the crime rate goes up to 0.4 percent. Italian businesses have lost billions of dollars due to refugee related problems such as counterfeiting, shoplifting, and illegal vendors’ (Alexander 2016). These are crystal-clear evidences that opening of countries borders to immigrants whose identities and missions are often difficult to detect is dangerous to the stability and security of any country and its citizens. Refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers often engage in activities that are detrimental to the stability of their host countries such as robbery, stealing, and drug trafficking, child trafficking as they, in most cases, lack access to the job market.

Most refugees and asylum seekers, especially the females amongst them, have been found to engage in prostitution activities over the years. There have been several cases of African prostitutes who migrated into Europe, or were smuggled into Italy, or Spain, through the Moroccan-Italian borders populating the host countries and polluting the environment with their bodily trades. All these have both short and long term implications for the host countries; apart from the fact that contagious disease such as HIV/AIDs are rampant amongst these prostitutes, their presence also constitutes social nuisance and disturbances to the host countries. These numerous negative impacts of open borders could be avoided if countries of the world, especially European nations, could beef up security along and across their borders, thus, preventing illegal immigrants from gaining access and entry into their territories.

Economic Globalization and the Impacts on the Nation States

In the words of Weber et al., ‘the bad news of the 21st century is that globalization has a significant dark side. The container ships that carry manufactured Chinese goods to and from the United States also carry drugs’ (Weber et al. 2007: 49). The impacts of free trade which globalization preaches most times have negative consequences for the security of nation-states. Through globalization of free trade, weapons of mass destructions also get smuggled by arms dealers from country to country due to lack of through checks or screening at the various national borders. The implication of this remains largely that some individuals, either internal or external non-state actors who control the delivery and distribution of the firearms, utilize this opportunity to threaten the states' security due to at the slightest opportunity, and most times, without provocation from the states or governments. Globalization, therefore, allows for criminals to move across the borders unhindered and even continue with illicit business with impunity (Akinyemi 2013: 1). These continuous border penetrations by the criminals are made possible through the various free trade and economic agreements which countries often sign to enhance regional, continental or global economic integration, growth and development. Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), founded in 1975, as an economic organization of the West Africa countries, is a good example of such organizations.

ECOWAS is, as part of its key principles, dedicated to the promotion of ‘equality and inter-dependence of Member States; solidarity and collective self-reliance; inter-state cooperation, harmonization of policies and integration of programs’ (ECOWAS 2015) amongst its fifteen member states. For this integration level to be achieved, it means that there would be no border controls amongst any of the member states in order to pave way for inflows and outflows of goods and services between member states. The organization has also made free movements possible through the introduction of ECOWAS passport which grants its carriers free access into member countries of the organization without any need for visa. These steps are very good in that they allow member countries to trade together, earn income for the development of their countries as well as have access to goods which they cannot produce in their own countries. However, the security implications on the states are enormous and a number of its member states are currently grappling with this.

Through the free trade arrangements and porous borders, criminals and terrorists have been able to surreptitiously smuggle weapons of mass destructions which they incessantly use in fighting against the organization's member states to unbearable points. Nigeria, for instance, is one country facing the consequences of such loose border control. The mass ‘Christmas bombings’ at Saint Theresa Catholic Church in 2011, the bombings of the United Nations building in Abuja, the bombings of three churches through suicide missions (Akinyemi 2013: 1), and thousands of deaths recorded through the Boko Haram's attacks on villages which have resulted in the displacement of victims in different parts of Nigeria and beyond were made possible through the insurgents access to destructive weapons which must have entered the country through the porous borders initially opened for legit trade by the ECOWAS. Today, the actions of the terrorist group not only pose threats to the security of Nigeria, but also Cameroon, Niger, Chad, and Benin Republic found within the neighbouring end. This is not peculiar to African countries alone, but majority of the countries where economic globalization has deepened, such as the USA, Canada, Great Britain, China, and EU.


Globalization was not launched by the neoliberals, championed by the USA, in the 1990s for the wrong or negative purposes. It was introduced with the ultimate belief that all nations of the world would have equal gains through the interlinkages, interconnectedness and interdependence on one another. It was with this vision of economic, political and socio-cultural relations among countries, (large or small, since no country was perceived to be self-sufficing and able to produce all that the citizens require to survive within its national borders or boundaries), that the globalization project got intensified to popularity amongst nation states today. The major aim of globalization became therefore, to integrate the world within a space through free trade and unrestricted movements of goods and services as well as persons across the national borders. This way, no doubt, many countries have benefited from the globalization project in that they have been able to access goods, ideas, technology, information and resources which they would not have been opportune to access if there was no globalization. Some states or countries have even enlarged their markets and made enormous economic profits through interactions in the globalized economies. However, globalization has its dark side too (Weber et al. 2007). The ultimate of these dark sides, as argued in this paper, is the way it threatens the states' stability and security, through its various manifestations such as terrorism, migration, spread of diseases (AIDS and Ebola), and arms smuggling and so on. The position in this paper remains ultimately that globalization has huge implications for the security and stability of the nation-states due to the laxities in border controls which it encourages. As shown, Germany is among the countries hit by the realities of globalization in terms of refugee migrants' influx into the country. The Nigerian state, France, Belgium, the UK and United States are parts of the countries currently facing the challenges of terrorism. In an effort to tackle terrorism, these countries expend billions of dollars which could have been used for national development projects, and a number of them have even lost their precious military personnel to insurgent's strikes on several occasions. Globalization, no doubt, has come to stay, though not without its sticky dark side or blemishes!


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