Globalisation is a term used to describe the growing interdependence of the world’s economic, social, and technological exchange within the framework of capitalism. It also refers to the integration of markets in the global economy, leading to increased cooperation between national economies. Countries have built economic partnerships to facilitate these movements over many centuries but the term gained popularity after the Cold War in the early 1990s, as these cooperative arrangements shaped modern everyday life. Thomas Friedman, an American political writer, stated that ‘Globalisation is a system that replaced the Cold War.’ The wide-ranging effects of globalisation are complex and politically charged. As with major technological advances and development, it benefits society as a whole, while also harming certain groups.

Globalisation has also created new jobs and economic growth through the flow of goods, capital, and labour but on the other hand; this growth and job creation are not distributed evenly across industries or countries. If we look at the development of industries in certain countries, such as textile manufacturing in the US or corn farming in Mexico, they have suffered severe disruption or outright collapse as a result of increased international competition. Regarding the objectives and goals of globalisation, we can see that this phenomenon is idealistic, as well as opportunistic, but the development of a global free market has also benefited large corporations based in the Western hemisphere. Its impact remains mixed for workers, cultures, and small businesses around the globe, in both developed and emerging nations.

Globalisation has increased the production of goods and services throughout the world. There are several driving forces which play a key role in globalization, like technology. Advanced information technology has transformed our economic life as well as the business sector since developing tools were used to avail new opportunities, including faster and more informed analyses of economic trends around the world and communication with partners. Thomas Friedman has said that today, globalisation is a ‘farther, faster, cheaper, and deeper phenomenon.

Low barriers to trade and investment drive globalisation significantly. Many of the world trades are currently done through free trade, bilateral, and multilateral agreements. Interestingly, countries which were very hostile or unfriendly to foreign investment a few years ago, are inviting other countries for inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). China is a very good example in this regard. Communication is faster and more convenient due to the improvement in technology. For example, we can communicate through telephone, e-mail and 3G video conferencing easily all the while satellites allow messages to be sent and received instantaneously.

There has also been improvement in transportation technology in air, sea and rail systems to accelerate globalisation activities. Also, the decline in transportation costs and less time needed to travel from one place to another is evidence of this progress. The high-tech transport system has reduced the travelling time and increased the efficiency of transferring goods as well, thus boosting globalisation. For example, in the 19 century, steam engines were used for transport. In the 20 century, commercial jet aircraft, large ocean vessels and containerization were practised.

Globalisation has many advantages but there are only a few disadvantages. It affects the national security of a state. National security faces both benefits and risks from globalisation. The consequences of globalisation for national security, however, need not be limited to war or insurgency, but include its effect on the balance of power, changes in the offence-defence balance or other factors that might affect the security dilemma and the likelihood of war, or transform the ability of the state to defend its interests. Developments such as decreased defence budgets, increased military use of civilian products and technology, privatisation of defence research and development, consolidation of defence industries, and increased military use of sophisticated information systems are the results of decisions based on changes in the foreign threat, technological innovations, and domestic political and economic changes.

Globalisation and other developments affecting the defence industry and government research, acquisition, security, and export control policies have shaped a security environment sharply different from that of the Cold War era. Globalisation may reduce the risks of conflict among closely connected nations. Economic integration probably contributes to international political stability by increasing economic interdependence and helping the spread of democracy. In conjunction with related defence developments, globalisation has contributed to enhanced U.S. military capabilities through the efficient application of commercial technologies and commercial services and has improved the interoperability of allied forces.

If we see globalisation in the political context, the role of the US as a unipolar power remains to be important. The forces of globalisation such as technology may make it much easier to transmit information, or more difficult to control capital flows, but if the world’s only superpower had different policy preferences, say those of caution, closure, and control, then the pressures of globalisation, while still present and powerful, would not be as pervasive. Globalisation also plays its role to minimise the role of the flow of capitalism. As there are mainly three ways in which national security is affected such as it affects state capacity and autonomy, that is, the relative power of the state vis-à-vis non-state actors, social forces, and market pressures. It also affects the balance of power between states, because even if changes in the system leave each state less able to advance its interests, there would still be a reshuffling of relative capabilities. And by creating new sources of conflict between states, new opportunities for entrepreneurs of political violence, and reshaping the costs and benefits of both warfare and conquest, the forces of globalisation can recast the nature of the armed conflict.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

The writer is a freelance journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan.

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