This chapter shows how hegemonic attempts to define and solidify Australian national identity have always been contested and unstable. It elucidates how Australian national conflict has been linked with tangible conflicts over land, injustice and power, and how they have been closely intertwined with anxieties about insecurity. The chapter argues that such a politics forestalls the achievement of a holistic and non-militarized security based upon the emancipation of human beings. It also argues that the operation of security politics gravely distorts Australian defence and foreign policy and directly endangers both others and the state's own citizens. The chapter suggests a range of ways in which the practices and conceptualizations of security, identity and sovereignty in Australia need to be refigured if Australian defence and security policy is to be rebalanced. It is important to place systems and processes of representation in security affairs, and politics more generally, under critical scrutiny.
This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the connection between the United Nations' (UN) evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community. This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the UN is and how it relates to peace and security. It explores the interest-norm complexes within which the cases in the Congo, Cyprus, Angola, and Cambodia were handled by the UN. This volume shows how relevant actors' normative preferences were resolved in specific peacekeeping environments where the UN was especially active in addressing intra-state conflicts.