Strengthening National Power and Security for National Development

By Dr Than Lwin Tun


National power is of utmost importance in international relations. A powerful state is often in a po­sition of wielding influence over international relations. There­fore, every country is trying to strengthen their national power. In that regard, it needs to know the definition of power. Power car­ries a variety of definitions. The most explicit definition of power is measuring the capability of an or­ganization that could control the behaviour of other organizations.


National power is a combina­tion of population, size of a nation, natural resources, territorial in­tegrity, wealth, military strength and social stability. National pow­er with a disadvantage or some disadvantages does not come with a guarantee. Similarly, just the lack of a disadvantage does not bring any impact on national power. For example, Organ ski divided national power into two categories; natural and social. The natural category includes geography, resources and popula­tion. The social category includes economic, political, military, psy­chological and information.


A state’s geographic par­ticularities, i.e., both its natural resources and geographic loca­tion, will have an impact on its national-security agenda.


National security means pro­tecting and guarding against the state and its citizens, applying po­litical power, diplomacy, econom­ic power and military capability. National security encompasses safety, development and rule.


National security concepts have expanded in recent years, especially since the end of the Cold War. Most developed coun­tries are no longer primarily occu­pied with securing their territorial integrity and political independ­ence. Their state borders enjoy a high degree of international le­gitimacy, and the United Nations’ legal framework, which includes nearly every country in the world, outlaws territorial conquest. In­stead, socalled non-traditional threats have begun to play an in­creasingly important role in na­tional-security concepts around the world.


In an interconnected and interdependent world, security challenges are multidimensional. Our multi-sum security principle discusses that any comprehensive security concept today needs to include five security dimensions; human, environmental, national, transnational, and transcultural.


We can identify the following key challenges to na¬tional secu­rity in the 21st century:


Changing Global Power Structures, State Failure and Regional Conflicts: various fac­tors affecting international power relationships and international stability, including the increased influence of multinational corpo­rations, state failure, rogue states, and ethnic, tribal and religious warfare;


Security Implications of Population Growth, Illegal Mi­gration and Refugee Flows: all three developments can lead to shortages of local resources, so­cial tensions, and ethnic conflicts;


The Information Revolu­tion and National Security: new communi¬cation and information technology can be used in harm­ful ways against states through information warfare and cyber-at­tacks, and as a tool to organize international terrorist or criminal activities;


Transcultural Interactions: the intensification of transcultural inter¬actions due to globaliza­tion;


Growing Economic Cleav­ages and Energy Security: per­sistent pov¬erty and continuous­ly growing economic inequality among the world’s population can lead to state instability, increased violence within and between states, national economic collapse and global eco-nomic instability; the uneven geographic distribu­tion of finite energy resources may increasingly lead to struggles among energy-importing states over the control and influence of energy-rich territories;


Transnational Organized Crime: transnational organized crime can undermine a state’s economic development and inter­nal political stability; it can also weaken a state’s social fabric and promote violence;


Terrorism and Asymmetri­cal Warfare: threats to state sta­bility posed by armed intrastate groups or international terrorists using unconventional means of warfare and often harsh brutality against civilians;


Proliferation: the horizontal proliferation of weapons of mass de¬struction (WMD) and conven­tional small arms pose security threats to individual states and the international system;


The Privatization of Secu­rity: the increased use of private security companies by states lessens state accountability for military actions and may lower the threshold for states to engage in adventurous ac¬tions;


Health, Diseases and Bi­osecurity: the uncontrollable spread of diseases can be caused by, or result in, state instability; countries af¬fected by epidemics may suffer an economic decline, social and political tensions, and conflicts;


Environmental Security: environmental degradation and pollution, droughts, and rising sea levels as a result of global warming may make entire areas uninhabitable; food shortages and the loss of people’s livelihoods can lead to many environmental refugees and in¬creasing social conflicts.


Educational Security: Brain drain is the departure of different professionals, usually from one nation to another, in search of a better quality of life, a higher standard of living, better technol­ogies, and more stable political conditions. The companies and in­dustries that cannot keep up with the rapid changes in technology and society see an exodus of their brightest employees, resulting in organizational and industrial brain drain.


Myanmar faces many do­mestic and international secu­rity threats from all sides. Rec­onciliation with Ethnic Armed Organizations is also of great importance to Myanmar’s peace and development. In order to achieve the functions and duties of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center, the Government, the public, the military, and Ethnic Armed Organizations must be implemented.


The foreign policy of Myan­mar explores independent, active and non-aligned. Meanwhile, our traditional thinking must move beyond the zero-sum game and focus on a multi-sum game and symbiotic realistic interstate re­lations in line with foreign pol­icy. At the same time, we need to realize the concept of the bal­ance of power and survival of the fittest theory. Myanmar has to safeguard three main national causes (non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of na­tional solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty) as the national policy and Myanmar people al­ways genetically value national characteristics. Hence, we need to preserve and promote these national characteristics.


The first line of defence of our country is diplomacy tool and the second line is national power so we need to strengthen national power including natural category (geography, resources, population) and social category (economic, political, military, for­eign relations, psychological and information).


Understanding National workforce needs and the demo­graphics of the current manpower supply enables a detailed assess­ment of the shortages and gaps. This is an essential first step in the development of actions to successfully retain, attract and develop the appropriate work­force for the nation. Currently, skill shortages exist in a range of critical professions. Demand for workers is increasing across all areas and there is a need to recruit a wide variety of skilled and semi-skilled workforce to fully resource the requirements of the Nation. As such, it is time that government takes advantage of a range of training programs (like training of Civil Service Academy) to upskill and retain current staff and invests in ongoing training and professional development of staff to enable them to be more productive.


Investment in skills devel­opment to adapt to the changing situation should be increased. Re­search should be conducted on the impact analysis of changing Myanmar and the global situa­tion. The inter-ministerial bodies on human resource development across the areas of education, training, industrial develop­ment, and governance should be strengthened. It is important to promote the development of inno­vative mechanisms that promote key human resources to promote the national economy which may include entrepreneurs, scientists and technologists, management personnel from both governmen­tal and non-governmental sectors and highly skilled workers.


Myanmar’s development policy is a public-centred devel­opment policy. Information on the development project com­patible with Myanmar must be used among the development projects set for Myanmar. The National Comprehensive Devel­opment Plan (NCDP) and the Myanmar Sustainable Develop­ment Plan (MSDP) are set up for Myanmar’s development project. The development programs com­patible with Myanmar’s current situation must be used in conjunc­tion with the NCDP, MSDP and Myanmar Economic Recovery Plan (MERP) programs for My­anmar’s development.


In addition, we call for strengthening National power and security to the respective sector on a regular basis to as­sist with the implementation of the national development.


Reference; Lecture notes from Management Course for Executive Level Officials No 9, the Civil Service Academy (Up­per Myanmar)