The global war on terror was used by the Bush administration and its allies to defend a US dominated geopolitical configuration. To this end, counterterrorism measures (CTMs) were introduced which strengthened the alignment of development aid with diplomacy and defence. The broad, adverse effects of CTMs on civil liberties and human rights are well documented. Despite the advent of a new US administration and a ‘soft power’ approach to international relations, the legacy of the war on terror remains embedded in the laws, policies and attitudes of many states and regimes that continue to enclose the lives of citizens. This article describes the experiences of civil society organizations (CSOs) as ‘securitization’ processes unfolded. Studies over two years involving some forty countries provide an on-the-ground view to probe the gains and losses of securitization, both for governments in the US-led ‘coalition of the willing’ and for civil society in terms of the pressures emerging from a development-for-security agenda. The authors identify some of the perverse zero-sum effects on governments of CTM philosophy and the means employed. Findings also show asymmetry between northern and southern CSOs in terms of their negative-sum subordination, found in the definition of security and in the vulnerability to new risks involved in undertaking development work.

, , , , , , , , ,,
ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development
Development and Change
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Fowler, A., & Sen, K. (2010). Embedding the war on terror: states and civil society relations. Development and Change, 41(1), 1–27. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7660.2009.01620.x