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Security Dilemma in Pakistan and Iceland Essay

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Updated: Mar 23rd, 2020


Security is paramount when a nation is planning its resources and strategies. Having better security instils faith and determination in foreign investors and even citizens who in turn work towards maintaining the good status of their country. The issue of security in Pakistan, which is one of the weak Asian countries, has always been a dilemma since independence.

It is worth noting that the independence of Pakistan in 1947 was achieved through religion. Today, different religious groupings in Pakistan are always at loggerheads. Religion has ever divided this nation right across its heart. By rating Pakistan as a consociation nation, one will undoubtedly expect that its various religions are ever in conflict due to small irrational issues.

It is also evident that the Pakistanis are in most instances divided by classes, religion, language, wealth status, and creed. These differences have resulted in political, economic, and social instability in Pakistan. Similarly, addition, security situation in most European countries is relatively good. In fact, there is zero tolerance on insecurity in some states.

One such state where security is abundant is Iceland. Iceland has always topped the list of countries with a better life index. Therefore, it stands out as amongst the European strong countries that have attracted the attention of many people who want to visit and even live in the nation.

The first part of this paper seeks to discuss the security dilemma in Pakistan narrowing down to it inefficient processes, weak institutions, inefficient media, wrangle between the elites and the non-elites in politics, and poor leadership. Besides, it will address the state of good security in Iceland narrowing down to its foundations like high communal responsibility, quality education, availability of resources, high levels of employment, and good gender balancing.

Security Dilemma in Pakistan

The security situation in Asian countries is wanting. A good number of nations in Asia have been on the spot over insecurity. Religious conflict has strongly emerged as the leading cause of insecurity in most Islamic countries from the time the cold war ended. This conflict has been the leading cause of fear in the world. Today, terrorism that has been heavily linked with Islamic faith is the greatest threat to world peace.

Being the largest continent in the world, Asia has had its fair portion of security dilemmas. In Asia, Pakistan amongst countries such as Israel, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq have always cried foul concerning security issues. These countries have always been on the limelight due to their security status. To what extent does religion influence the state of insecurity in such nations? The concept of the security dilemma can be traced back to the period of the cold war.

According to Jervis, security dilemma enabled social scientist to analyse the reason and method that states used to neutralise others (169). On the same note, Snyder and Walter confirmed how the theoretical structure of the security dilemma served to offer insight on social conflicts (15). Religion ought to play the role of a uniting force to the society rather than disintegrating it. Jervis also affirms that, when the society is grounded on buffer sectors, it alarms those involved. In fact, security dilemma is a social situation that has perceptual and social causes (Snyder and Walter 24).

When religion poses any security dilemma to the society, it is likely to affect all the involved people. As Snyder and Walter (294) say, security dilemma ignites the movement of insecurity spirals that touch all the involved parties. Since there is always competition for security among Pakistani citizens and state officers, security dilemma here needs to be tacked soon after it emerges. Jervis also posit that all states experience competition for power and security.

The economic situation in Asian countries is also to blame for some of the security problems. When people compete for scarce resources, they are likely to set on conflicts in order to secure more resources relative to their counterparts. However, governments in these countries are charged with the role of protecting the citizens at all time. Pakistan is an incapacitated country in terms of its ability to overcome security dilemma. This nation has insufficient resource powers. It has no reliable development schemes, support, and legitimacy from within its population.

Besides, it does not have territorial control. Worse off, it depends on foreign aids. Due to this failure, the population of Pakistan seems to have entirely lost faith in their government. The situation has become a core cause of religious and euthenics wrangles. The coming in of advocates of too much democracy has also widened the insecurity gap because democracy offers an opportunity for each group to voice its concerns and demands. In the process, the groups that are being oppressed begin to fight back thus marking the beginning of inter religious wars.

The media in Pakistan is also equally blamed for misinforming and manipulating the public via fabricated information that portrays the country as a failed state. With such an image painted by the media, the level of foreign investments has deteriorated. The tycoons who run the media are extremely much money-minded. They therefore fabricate stories that promote the views of the rich extremists. The media neglects the poor and their views thus making them rise against the odds to cause mayhem in this state.

The euthenics groups that live in Pakistan consider religion a crucial factor since the independence of their nation was attained through it. The former leader of Pakistan worked hard to ensure that every person in Pakistan was free to worship as per his or her religious values and norms. The state of insecurity that has been witnessed over the years in Pakistan can be traced back to the death of its founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah. His death was so unpredictable. Hence, the state was left in critical suspense.

The situation became even worse when the prime minister was assassinated. Since then, insecurity set in the beginning from religious, regional, cultural, and linguistic conflicts. From this initial conflict, few elites took over large tracks of lands and resources. They became the ruling class that wanted to control others. This class divided the Pakistani people into castes, linguistic groups, clans, and cultural groups.

At this point, religion of the people became the most powerful tool, which was exploited to make people oppose the government and any other institution that was deemed unfavourable to the wealthy class. It became a tool for exploiting the people of Pakistan especially by the property owners. The Eulemas also found livelihood from religion. This exploitation resulted in divisive religious groupings: the Sunni and the Shia Islamic religious groups.

These groupings have been the core cause of insecurity in Pakistan for the last three decades. Killings of both Sunni and Shia faithful were witnessed in the eighties. The situation intensified the level of insecurity in Pakistan. Each group promotes its doctrines, which are contrary to the other thus making it hard to unite the two. Other security threats are political. After overthrowing the government of Nawaz Sharief in 1999, the incumbent government has ruled Pakistan with an iron fist.

Although Pakistan championed the fight against terror, the government of Prvaiz Musharaf has become unpopular after the massacre of Lal Masjin who was then the Supreme Court chief justice. The massacre has always raised ethnics and religious heat. Another cause of insecurity is the crises over energy and the sky rocketing prices of goods.

Pakistanis have been fighting over high prices of consumer goods. This fight was evident by the failure of the people to elect Muslim league Q group, which was the favourite party for the president. This case set in another problem with the legitimacy of the current president being questioned. The judiciary and other structures of this government are helpless.

Security Dilemma in Iceland

Iceland has had a long history of security. The Vikings and the Irish monks are considered the earliest people to settle in Iceland. The first functional government was set in 930. The government was referred to as the Althing. However, the Althing had no head of state: it relied on chiefs. This kind of administration existed for about 300 years thus making the country tremendously successful. The nation enjoys vast resources from the fish industry, cattle, and poultry keeping.

The chieftaincy of the Althing provided enough security. In fact, most of power was vested on people. Iceland is a country that is ruled through Christian values since the year 1000. Christian leadership arbitrated and overthrew pagan leadership in the country. However, Iceland has had its fair share of the security dilemma too. The former king of Denmark assumed autocratic rule and forced the leaders in Iceland to recognise that Iceland was a monarchy.

The king used armed threat to ensure that Iceland’s leader obeyed his command. At this point, there was no security in Iceland. Furthermore, the 18th century turned out to be the worst point for the Icelanders. Volcanic eruption in Liki, smallpox outbreak, and famine hit the nation. However, things began looking up in the 19th century. The great revolution in the European countries led to the end of monarchy and absolute authority in Denmark.

From this point, Icelanders also began claiming their national rights. In 1843, the Althing government was reconstituted to make the nation a free trade area. The government also inaugurated a new constitution that would guide the nation just after 20 years of its rule. Iceland became an independent state in 1904 from Denmark. Vigdis Finnbogadottir became the first female president who was elected through a popular vote in 1980. Her term ended in 1996 with the office being taken over by Ragnar Grimson. Ragnar’s government became popular. However, in 2006, he was replaced by Geir Haarde. During the presidency of Ragnar and that of Geir, the country enjoyed impressive economic upward trend with the level of security intensifying.

From a different perspective, the cause of sufficient security and hence security dilemma in Iceland is the availability of money and other resources. In fact, Jervis posits that security dilemma has an economic aspect since it reflects economic changes occurring within certain people (169). Money has enabled Icelanders to secure better standards of living. The average earning per person in Iceland is above 22378 dollars per year meaning that nobody lives below the poverty line.

The serene security in Iceland can also be attributed to the high rate of gainful employment in this state. In Iceland, 79% of the population between the age of 15 and 64 is in gainful employment. Out of this number, 81% of men are employed while 77% women are also employed. This finding means that most people are able to cater for their families’ needs. This serenity has reduced instances of insecurity, which in most instances are caused by unemployment.

The other root cause of high security in Iceland is education. In this state, a good chunk (approximately 66%) of mature men and women between the age of 25 and 65 has a high school degree. Out of them, 67% are men and 65% are women. The education system in Iceland is also of high quality. In Iceland, girls normally outdo boys to the tune of 13 scores implying that most women are educated and hence likely to take care of financial needs of the children.

The other reason for good security in Iceland is cohesiveness in the society. According to Gurr and Hurff, when ethnic conflicts are witnessed in a certain nation, they manifest the level of incoherence in the society. In this nation, there are high levels of communal responsibility. In Iceland, 98% of the population can assist those in need. The public trust of the government is also remarkably high. Hence, people have accepted the rule by the existing leaders regardless of their ethnicity.

In the recent elections, voter turnout was 84 %. The level of social inclusion is also exceptionally high since the top candidate is on the 80% count while the lower one is on the 20% count thus indicating that there is substantial uniformity in voting issues during elections. Finally, the population of Iceland is the most satisfied with life compared with that of other nations because 87% of it has positive encounters each day. They experience pride, restiveness, and success. These factors therefore make Iceland one of the most secure places on earth. People of Iceland and foreigners therefore enjoy the best security ever. The security index of Iceland therefore translates to 9.2, which is a very high rate.


In conclusion, security dilemma is a term that was coined during the cold war period to evaluate state security in various nations. In many countries today, security is a pressing issue that has hindered economic and social development. The whole world lives in fear of terror attack. In Asia, many countries experience high levels of insecurity.

Hence, they are less developed. Pakistan is one of these countries whose insecurity levels are extremely high. This situation has resulted from poor governance and failed structures. On the other hand, Europe enjoys a relatively better security compared to Africa and Asia. In Europe, many countries have relative security.

One of the countries in Europe that enjoys high levels of security in Europe is Iceland based on its good social structures, good resource base and wealth, high levels of education, and its quality, gender balancing, and good governance. On average, the security status of the world is wanting. Therefore, each society should develop cohesion among its cities so that the world’s security levels can be boosted.

Works Cited

Gurr, Ted and Barbara Hurff. Ethnic Conflict in World Politics. Boulder: Westview Press, 1994. Print.

Jervis, Robert. “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma”. World Politics 2.1(1978): 167–213. Print.

Snyder, Jack and Barbara Walter. Civil Wars, Insecurity and Intervention. New York: Columbia University, 1999. Print.

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