Relations at the LSE and honorary professor at the University of Copenhagen and Jilin University. Until 2012 he was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics. Buzan sketched the Regional Security Complex Theory and is therefore together with Ole Wæver a central figure of the Copenhagen School.
According to Barry Buzan, the original definition of a security complex was: “a group of states whose primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely that their national securities cannot reasonably be considered apart from one another” (B. Buzan, 1983). Buzan and Waver in 1998 in their book reformulated the above definition of RSCT to shed the state-centric and military-political focus and to rephrase the same basic concept for the possibility of different actors and several sectors of security: “a set of units whose major processes of securitization, desecuritisation, or both are so interlinked that their security problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from one another” (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, p. 44).
One of the purposes of RSCT is to combat the tendency to overstress the role of the great powers, and to ensure that the local factors are given their proper weight in security analysis. For example in the Persian Gulf region local factors are interaction between government and nation inside of each eight states that can have its role on the regional level between the states in the region. The standard form for an RSC is a pattern of rivalry, balance-of power, and alliance patterns among the main powers within the region: to this pattern can then be added the effects of penetrating external powers. Normally, the pattern of conflict stems from factors indigenous to the region – such as, in the Middle East – and outside powers cannot usually define, desecuritise, or reorganise the region (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, pp. 46-47)
Regional security complex is not just a perspective that can be applied to any group of countries. In order to qualify as a complex, a group of states or other entities must possess a degree of security interdependence sufficient both to establish them as a linked set and to differentiate them from surrounding security regions (Khalilzad 1984: preface).
The theory specifies what to look for at four levels of analysis:
1. Domestically in the states of the region, particularly their domestically generated vulnerabilities (is the state strong or weak due to stability of the domestic order and correspondence between state and nation);
2. state-to-state relations (which generate the region as such);
3. The region’s interaction with neighboring regions;
4. the role of global powers in the region – the interplay between the global and regional security structures (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, p. 51).
Briefly, This theory offers the possibility of systematically linking the study of internal conditions, relations among units in the region, relations between regions, and the interplay of regional dynamics with globally acting powers (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, p. 52)
Buzan and Waever then explain the sub-complexes and believe that sub-complexes have essentially the same definition as RSCs, the difference being that a sub-complex is firmly embedded within a larger RSC. Sub-complexes represent distinctive patterns of security interdependence that are nonetheless caught up in a wider pattern that defines the RSC as a whole. The clearest example is in the Middle East, and in the Persian Gulf (Iran, Iraq and GCC). Sub-complexes are not a necessary feature of RSCs, but they are not uncommon either, especially where the number of states in an RSC is relatively large (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, p. 52)
Buzan and Waever believe that the Persian Gulf sub-complex was formed after Britain’s withdrawal from the area in 1971. It centered on a triangular rivalry among Iran, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf Arab states led by Saudi Arabia (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003, p. 193).
Buzan and Waever believe that the contemporary structure of international security is almost the reverse of that set out in Huntington’s widely read Clash of Civilizations (1993). They are similar in emphasizing the importance of a distinct middle level between state and global system. Huntington emphasizes how large civilizations like Islam, the West, and Asia clash, and how the really dangerous conflicts emerge at the fault lines of these culturally-based macro-units (Huntington, 1993). However, conversely, Buzan and Waever stress that security regions form sub-systems in which most of the security interaction is internal. At last they conclude that Huntington’s delineation of the regions/civilizations differs at several points because his are seen as reflections of underlying cultural affinities, whereas RSCs are defined by the actual patterns of security practices (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003)
Regional Security Complex Theory (Barry Buzan)
Figure 3: Regional Security Complex Theory
1.9 Definition of Terms
1.9.1 Regional security
There are multiple definitions of security by security scholars worldwide, but generally the definition of security by How San Khoo (1999) a Chinese scholar in regional security analysis defined it as an absence of threat and the preservation of core values. “Threat” can be threat to the national interests through external invasion and “core values” are vital interests for a state such as sovereignty, territory, independence and so on. On the other hand, Waltz (1979) declared that in anarchy, security is the highest end. In the view of Waltz, insecurity equals to anarchy. The assumption of this definition is that the highest end of the state is national security. Jervis (1978) defines a security regime as a group of states which cooperate to manage their disputes and to avoid war. Definition of Robert Jervis is familiar to Buzan and Waever’s (1983) definition of a security complex. They defined a security complex as “a group of states whose primary security concerns link together one another”. In this definition “primary security concerns” are issues such as sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity that cannot be ignored. Ten years later in 1993 Buzan and Waever (1993) presented a new definition of security complex as “a set of states whose major security perceptions and concerns are so inter-linked that their national security problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from one another”. Second definition also states that “major security perception and concerns” are vital elements of a state that without them there will not be a state. As a result, it should be noted that for a series of regional states some of the security issues are common between states so are interlinked and can’t be analyzed apart from other states.
1.9.2 Regional Security Complex (RSC)
As defined by Buzan and Waever (2003), a Regional Security Complex is a set of units whose major process of securitization, de-securitization, or both are so interlinked that their security problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from one another (Barry Buzan & Waever, 2003). Most proponents of the Regional Security Complex Theory are prepared to accept that constructivism can be used to explain much of what happens in regions, although when it comes to the question of security, Regional Security Complex Theorists accept that realism holds sway: it is largely, if not exclusively, about power and boundaries and zero-sum games.(Jones, 2008) Ole Waever and Barry Buzan (2003), define securitization as a successful speech act “through which an inter-subjective understanding is constructed within a political community to treat something as an existential threat to a valued referent object, and to enable a call for urgent and exceptional measures to deal with the threat”.
The application of RSCT to my study is that according to Regional Security Complex Theory, there are four levels under the systemic level of a Complex: local, regional, interregional and global and each level is in the interaction with other levels. For example governmental structure of one state in local level has its impact on the relation with other states inside the region. In this study focus is on regional level and it emphasis on penetration by the dominant polar system as the weakness of states in such sub-systems (regional states) that invites intervention by the super powers, and which, in turn affects the autonomy of the sub-systems. In this study also the subsystems or regional states do not operate as self-contained units and are influenced by the penetration of the superpowers and the involvement of other global actors like the U.N or U.S.; however, they in turn generate influences into the international system as a whole.
In this study the Persian Gulf is as the regional level, eight Persian Gulf region states are as local level, Middle East and for example southeastern countries are as interregional level and global level is the worldwide countries. According to this theory indigenous regional rivalries between the eight regional states of the Persian Gulf will led to balance of power because the global power (US) has many interests in the region and its trend is to maintain statisque in the region. So it will result to penetration of the global power (US) in the Persian Gulf that the region suffered for a long time with different US administrations and different security policies.
1.9.3 Balance of Power
This concept of international relations originated in Europe in the mid-1600s and asserts that hegemonic ambitions of nation-states will lead inevitably to war in the absence of power balancing, whereby weaker powers either strive to increase their own military power or counter the superior military capacity of neighboring nations.
Along with containment and deterrence, balance-of-power geopolitics has been a core component of