Security Regionalism Concepts : NATO as ‘Security Factor’ in the World Politics


This question examines the concept, theories, and realities of security regionalism issues that have expanded to include challenges to the international corporation’ in the area of peace building, peacekeeping and security agendas’. After the post-cold war, starting in the early 1990s, the regional dynamics were perceived to be more independent, and a ‘new body’ of literature focusing on regional security emerged, including the comparison of major regional systems and the notion of porous regional orders’. Some scholars have argued that ‘peace building and security issues’ have expanded to include security threats, challenges, growing involvement of non-state actors, and a greater emphasis on the role of norms and practices of cooperative and common security. According to Haacke and Williams, there is ‘a number of different security challenges and to do so in different ways’. For example, in most African nations, ‘internal challenges remain more serious than external threats’.

Moreover, at the international level, security governance allows identifying developments that give greater weight to non-state actors and transnational security issues in peacemaking and peacekeeping.

Similarly, security governance provides large states and intergovernmental organizations and emphasizes on changes in the nature of confronting security threats, including the emergence of non-state actors and complex security arrangements(for example, multilevel cooperation in Asia to counter-terrorism and piracy).

In this paper, I discuss peace and security concerns that contributed to the formation of regional organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the predecessor of what is today the European Union ( EU), the Organisation of America States (OAS), the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the Arab League and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that ‘contributed to the trend towards regional security cooperation with peace building, peacekeeping security issues including maritime boundary and disputed territories.

For the theoretical approach, security regionalism focus on the political challenges and goals of national and domestic actors demanding peace and security.6 Here, ‘realism argues that regional security governance design, the institutional design reflects the interests of the powerful member states of a certain regional security complex’. For instance, Nigeria joined hands with South Africa in an impressive new AU in 2002 to increase regional burden-sharing in peacekeeping operations and its disproportionate active role in peacekeeping operations via the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) ‘came under public criticism’.

Furthermore, ‘the rationalist approach with security challenges that the member states face shapes the institutional design of regional security governance role improvises security cooperation.

Arguably, since the Post-Cold War, security regionalism has developed in the context of the transformation of the global order. In addition, ‘the EU and NATO promotion of regional security’, in particular, to cater for the need to resolve conflicts ( in Africa, for example) came to be seen as essential for peace, stability, developments, and security challenges. Overall, I conclude that NATO and the EU remain the only organizations to collectively deploy soldiers beyond borders when there is a conflict in a member state of regional organizations (for example, Kosovo in 1989).

Evolution of Security regionalism

After the end of the Cold War, the evolution of security regionalism ‘shared values and norms of liberal democracy which have always been recognized as being crucial for the existence of the transatlantic security community for peacebuilding’. Since 1990, the EU and NATO have started to pay unprecedented attention to the development of the institutions in neighboring Europeans and other regional organizations ‘to step in’ an effort to respond to threats and challenges for peace and security communities in larger Europe.

It argues that the EU and NATO are the two organizations that have contributed to creating the conditions for democratic security communities in Europe both for international identity and by external, and for what they do (policies and communicative practice). The NATO and EU roles have co-existed since the early 1990s, but NATO was established in 1975 and was ‘predominant’ on peace building, peacekeeping, security threat, and security strategies a direct reference to the concept of democracy.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

The evolution of ECOWAS ‘peace and security’ was part of their strategy to promote economic development and prosperity for respective states.14 In 1980 the ECOWAS protocol spelled out the circumstances that required ‘action’. In addition, it created response groups including the Allied Armed Forces of the community (AAFC), it heavily focus on external threats and the internal conflict prevention management resolution that swept coups through the West African States.15 As many have observed, ECOWAS confronted challenges and sent its peace-keeping mission to cote d’Ivoire, and a peace-keeping mission was deployed in Liberia following the country's relapse into violent conflict.

It also argues that the security cooperation between the UN and ECOWAS in Liberal, Sierra Leone, and Cote d’Ivoire provided a ‘useful strategy for peace and security interventions in West Africa’, the basis of an emerging framework for task-sharing between the AU and ECOWAS.

Similarly, an important role that NATO played including the use of the responsibility to protect civilians was normative to human security. Also, the concept to frame the NATO security council resolutions mandating the use of force against Libya rebels in 2011, and the NATO responsibility to protect civilians’ as the challenges to adopting human security as a policy framework on human rights, development agendas that are integrated.

Turning to South East Asia, post-Cold War, confronted ‘most dramatically challenges of strategic uncertainty of peace, as it was unclear to what extent the United States was still committed to regional security, nor china’s intentions or Japanese orientation’.18 Today, the ASEAN security community is effective in terms of promoting regional peace, securing political stability, protecting human rights, and developing a shared regional norm. However, some international relations scholars regard China as the greatest challenge to the ASEAN states in the area of peace, economic development, and security cooperation. I argue that China increasing ‘power of political influence, economic resources, and military capability serves an ultimate threat to regional peace and security stability’.

Theoretical approaches to security regionalism: critics and challenges to international cooperation

Scholars of the EU have argued that the EU contribution adapts ‘an outward-looking perspective in re-engaging peace theories of security regionalism’.19 Realism Support the EU’s ability to play a contributing role in defending the international, liberal order which is constrained, all above, ‘by its internal tensions, threats, and challenges’. Those tensions are linked to the growing power of illiberal ideas and political forces in Europe including Hungary, Poland, and more recently Italy. There were combined clashes between supporters of a liberal vision of handling refugees in France and in Italy that were ‘aggravated bitter problems and challenges in Europe politics’.

Some scholars stress that NATO/EU, there should be one voice to respond to reinforce Syria's fight with liberal democratic norms. Here, I argue that the two organizations (NATO/EU) decision-makers see security regionalism as a way to maintain some control over challenges and threats, the theories of security regionalism which match ‘the liberal thinking cannot solve the problems and challenges arising from globalization.’

Sakyi and Opoku (2014) stress that ‘neoliberalism is not entirely different from neorealism when dealing with peace and security regionalism’. however, both theoretical approaches ‘share some issues of national security challenge and security cooperation among states’ should not be undermined.

The theoretical approaches to ASEAN and its development in order ‘to help understand the emergence of peace and security issues associated with threats and challenges in the region. Here, constructivists have started ‘to challenge the central position occupied’ by realists and neo-realists as they have their critics. It argues that the great use of international relations theory has helped to advance the ASEAN to understand alternative ways for organizing regional relations, including cooperative, security/peace, and community building, approaches.

In addition, some arguments provide whether realists and neo-realists on the one hand and constructivists on the other, the China and Japan balance of power prevail, particularly China will guarantee peace and security of an ASEAN state. Here, I argue that constructivism has its own weaknesses when it comes to dealing with cultural factors and the formal institutions they created that are ‘not consistent with rationalist and materialist framework theories like neo-liberalism and neo-functionalism. Moreover, there are no threats or challenges when dealing with ASEAN at the international corporate level.

Regionalism in Africa is taken within the context of rationalist theories of neorealism and neoliberalism when dealing with peace and security issues.29 Within the context of cooperation, the community may not seem feasible because states are more interested in relative gains from a face of cooperation, a state having the sentiment of insecurity.

Moreover, the OAU's core objectives are in line with neorealism in order to ensure the security, promotion of, and solidarity of its members.

Regional and national security concerns: NATO and EU promotion of peace

The relationship between ‘regional and national sovereignty is crucial for explaining security cooperation’, but there is linked between sovereignty and regional cooperation. The tension between regional and national are permanent arms race and make it harder to address the more universal components of threat and security peace.


The NATO/EU form a factor of security community building in Europe. For NATO and its normative influence and contribute to peace operation in Kosovo in 1999.

Security regionalism concepts have contributed to the EU, Africa, and Southeast Asia including NATO, an organization that played a role as a ‘security factor’ in world politics. Security issues go together with regional and national security integration to combat threats, peace-keeping Operations, and peace-building human security. In the light of peace and security, it would appear that ‘NATO and the EU remain the only organizations to deploy their armed forces’ in a peacekeeping operation in Kosovo in 1999 under the UN charter.


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  9. Sakyi, D. and Opoku, E.E.O. (2014). Regionalism and Economic integration in Africa: A conceptual and theoretical perspective. The African Capacity Building Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.netpublication-2701612080-Region
  10. Acharya, A., Stubbs, R. (2006). Theorizing Southeast Asian Relations: an introduction. The Pacific Review. Retrieved from,
07 July 2022
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