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)