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Global Security Upheaval: Armed NSGs Usurping State Stability Functions, Robert Mandel

Reviewed by Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham



This book challenges the existing idea that states are the best providers of security and stability. In this book, Robert Mandel takes a self‐professed “devil’s advocate” position in exploring the global shift in security provision from public to private hands—arguing that armed non‐state groups (NSGs) can play a positive role in creating security and stability (p. 12).

To persuade us to take armed NSGs seriously as providers of security, Mandel uses a multi‐pronged approach. He demonstrates that a shift is underway in global security that entails a decreasing ability of sovereign states to provide stability and security along with increasing demands for stability and an increasing ability of armed NSGs to provide it. He defines armed NSGs (categorizing them into five types) and defines security stability, synthesizing existing approaches to stability and ultimately stripping the concept down to four elements (security authority, public welfare, internal harmony, and exter­nal autonomy). Employing 12 cases drawn from different types of armed NSGs, he highlights patterns of how these groups succeed or fail in providing a stable and secure local environment and draws inferences from these patterns about which armed NSGs are most likely to be security enhancing and when.

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