Security first approach : causes of security prioritization and implication of this prioritization on democracy in the cases of Singapore and Azerbaijan

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2009
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Aydınlı, Ersel
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Bilkent University
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English
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Abstract

The security-democracy relationship is an interesting issue that has drawn scholarly attention. The security first approach is a new input in the field. It looks the issue from the Western foreign policy perspective and discusses what should be done by Western powers in the failed and rogue states to build security and democracy. It claims that first security must be established, and then democracy would gradually consolidate, rather than democracy promotion. Such a shift in Western foreign policy would have significant impact for the developing world, facing the challenge of political-economic development and security-democracy building at the same time. This thesis aims to apply security first approach to developing world. It analyzes the causes of security prioritization and implications of this prioritization on democracy, in the cases of Singapore and Azerbaijan to verify the security first approach’s claims. Both of these countries have applied a security first approach after they gained independence. They have also established some democratic institutional and legal structures. However, the worry of the ruling elites about losing security and power led them constantly delay democratization and restrict political arena. The governments of both cases have been successful in maintaining security and stability, yet this did not give way to the gradual triumph of democracy as argued by security first approach. Western cooperation with the governments of these countries, due to the formers’ interest in the stability of both countries and regimes can be argued to have contributed to the security of the states and their ruling elites, but not to the democratization process and the security of the people. Hence, the thesis argues that the discussion in the Western foreign policy should not be about security versus democracy, but rather about striving for security and democracy concurrently in the developing world.

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