oa Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies - Revisiting the soft security debate : from European progress to African challenges

Volume 33, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1022-8136
  • E-ISSN: 2224-0020



Proponents of soft security strive to ensure the goal of individual security without resorting to armed coercion. Given the extended scope of security sectors falling within the ambit of soft security regional co-operation is indispensable - a phenomenon most visible in European security architecture and that of Northern Europe in particular. Not only European decision-makers, however, pursue the soft security option. As Africa entered the twenty-first century, co-operation and an implicit realisation of the importance of soft security threats increasingly configured its regional security arrangements. A new wave of warfare simultaneously entered the African realm and any security approach had to contend closely with the inhumane profiles of these so-called new wars. Subsequently, African security architecture had to straddle the resultant hard-soft security domains more acutely than that of Europe. This required appropriate military options and the adjustment of African armed forces towards softer security policy instruments. For Africa in particular, the maintenance of a hard divide (even if only conceptually) between hard and soft security as imposed by Northern Europe in particular, remains more declaratory than real.

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