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The Interplay of Historical, Cultural, and Geopolitical Factors in Shaping Security Perceptions: A Comparative Analysis of Asia and Europe

The Interplay of Historical, Cultural, and Geopolitical Factors in Shaping Security Perceptions: A Comparative Analysis of Asia and Europe


University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh


Received: 20 April 2024; Revised: 01 May 2024; Accepted: 06 May 2024; Published: 08 June 2024


Numerous historical, cultural, and geopolitical factors influence the complex structures that make up security perceptions. The intricacies of security perceptions in Asia and Europe are explored in this comparative research paper, which clarifies how cultural norms, historical narratives, and geopolitical forces interact to influence perceptions of threat and security priorities. This study attempts to identify patterns and relationships between numerous characteristics and security perceptions by using a quantitative analysis of survey data obtained from diverse groups throughout both regions and thoroughly evaluating the body of existing literature. The results highlight the complex interactions among historical legacies, cultural identities, and geopolitical alignments, providing insightful information to academics, decision-makers, and practitioners involved in comprehending and resolving modern security issues.


The multifaceted aspect of security perceptions is highlighted by scholarly discourse, which emphasizes the influence of cultural identities, historical legacies, and geopolitical alignments on how people individually and collectively perceive security threats (Jones & Smith, 2023). Recent events, such as the rise of global terrorism and cyber warfare, have added new dimensions to these perceptions (Johnson et al., 2022). Historical occurrences continue to leave a lasting influence on societal memories and narratives of insecurity (Anderson, 2021). For instance, conflicts in regions like the Middle East and Eastern Europe have deep historical roots that shape contemporary security perceptions (Garcia, 2020). Security discourses are heavily influenced by cultural norms and values, including ideas of sovereignty, identity, and resilience (Chen, 2024). Recent studies have shown how cultural factors contribute to the framing of security issues, particularly in diverse societies (Brown & Martinez, 2023). At both the regional and global levels, geopolitical dynamics—marked by power struggles, alliance forms, and strategic imperatives—also significantly impact threat assessments and security priorities (Smith & Lee, 2023). Recent geopolitical events, such as shifts in global power structures and the rise of non-state actors, have reshaped security landscapes worldwide (Clark, 2022).


This research uses survey data from a variety of populations in Europe and Asia in a comparative quantitative manner using online survey systems. Most of the case information was research articles, journals, and papers, The questionnaire includes items intended to gauge respondents’ opinions on geopolitical orientations, historical interpretations, cultural values, and security risks. Regression analysis, correlation tests, and comparison analyses are among the statistical approaches used to find patterns and correlations between different parameters and security perceptions in the two locations. The goal of the study is to identify the complex interactions between historical, cultural, and geopolitical elements that shape security perceptions while adjusting for contextual circumstances and demographic characteristics.

Modern Security Threats:

One pressing concern is the proliferation of cyber threats. With the increasing digitization of societies and economies, cyberattacks have become more frequent and sophisticated. These threats often exploit historical, cultural, and geopolitical tensions between nations. For instance, state-sponsored cyber espionage and sabotage activities can be traced back to geopolitical rivalries and historical grievances between countries. As noted by Haass (2009), cyber capabilities are increasingly integrated into national security strategies, reflecting the evolving nature of modern threats.

Additionally, the rise of non-state actors poses significant challenges to security in both Asia and Europe. Transnational terrorist organizations, such as ISIS or Al-Qaeda, exploit cultural and geopolitical fault lines to recruit members and carry out attacks. Moreover, the proliferation of extremist ideologies is often fueled by historical grievances and geopolitical conflicts within and between regions (Kaplan, 2017).

Furthermore, territorial disputes and regional power dynamics continue to shape security perceptions in Asia and Europe. Historical legacies of colonialism and imperialism contribute to territorial tensions, such as the disputes in the South China Sea or Crimea. These disputes not only heighten military tensions but also complicate diplomatic relations and regional cooperation efforts (Hurrell, 2006).

Moreover, the emergence of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous weapons systems, raises ethical and security concerns. The development and deployment of AI in military applications can exacerbate existing geopolitical rivalries and destabilize regional security landscapes (Bostrom, 2014).

Here are a few examples of how historical, cultural, and geopolitical factors can shape security perceptions in Asia and Europe:

Historical Factors:

Asia: Neighboring countries’ feelings of security are heightened by historical conflicts and ongoing territorial disputes, such as the tensions in the South China Sea or the Korean Peninsula (Smith, 2018; Park et al., 2020). Many Asian countries’ security narratives are shaped by recollections of past invasions, colonial control, and warfare (Jones, 2019). For example, Japan’s security posture is influenced by its history of imperial expansion and World War II aggression, leading to a focus on self-defense capabilities and alliances with like-minded nations (Tanaka, 2017).

Europe: Security views in Europe are still shaped by the aftermath of World Wars I and II (Todorov, 2016). For instance, nations in Eastern Europe can view Russia’s actions as a continuation of past invasions and occupations, raising questions about sovereignty and territorial integrity (Kagan, 2018). The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, for example, heightened concerns among Eastern European countries about potential threats to their own borders and sovereignty (Petrov, 2019). Additionally, the Baltic states, having experienced Soviet occupation during the Cold War, remain wary of Russian intentions and advocate for a robust NATO presence in the region (Kulakov, 2021).

Cultural Factors:

Asia: Security perceptions can be influenced by cultural values including honor, face-saving, and the significance of preserving harmony (Kim & Lee, 2017; Wang &Kuo, 2019). In East Asia, for example, nations’ reactions to perceived threats may be influenced by their need to maintain national pride and save face, which could result in diplomatic impasses or escalation (Nguyen, 2020). The concept of “face” is particularly important in Chinese culture, where losing face can have significant repercussions in diplomatic relations (Chen, 2018). Similarly, the preservation of harmony, as seen in the cultural values of Confucianism, can influence security decisions by emphasizing stability and avoiding conflict (Tang & Huang, 2021).

Europe: Perceptions of security can be influenced by cultural identities and stories of national pride (Smith, 2016; Jones & Brown, 2020). Because of their shared history of foreign dominance and control, Eastern European nations may place a higher value on national sovereignty and autonomy than Western European nations on collective security and multilateral collaboration (Stoica, 2019). This emphasis on sovereignty stems from experiences of imperialism and Soviet domination, leading to a greater emphasis on defending territorial integrity and independence (Ivanov, 2018). In contrast, Western European countries, having experienced greater integration through organizations like the European Union and NATO, may prioritize collective security arrangements and regional cooperation (Müller, 2020).

Geopolitical Factors:

Asia: The battle between China and the United States for influence in the Indo-Pacific area is one example of how geopolitical rivalries and power dynamics can heighten security perceptions and prompt strategic reevaluations among regional states (Friedberg, 2020; Mastanduno, 2019). For instance, China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea, including island-building and maritime patrols, have led neighboring countries to reassess their security strategies and seek closer ties with the United States and other regional partners (Holslag, 2018). The concept of the Indo-Pacific as a strategic theater reflects the evolving security landscape in the region, characterized by the intersection of economic interests, military capabilities, and geopolitical ambitions (Brewster, 2021).

Europe: Security perceptions are heavily influenced by geopolitical alignments, such as the NATO alliance and Russia’s area of influence (Sakwa, 2017; Charap & Shapiro, 2020). While Russia would see NATO enlargement as a security risk (Mearsheimer, 2019), other NATO members might see collective security agreements as crucial for thwarting foreign threats (Daalder & Goldgeier, 2019). The Baltic states, for example, view NATO’s presence and deterrence capabilities as essential safeguards against potential Russian aggression (Tsygankov, 2018). However, Russia perceives NATO’s expansion as encroaching on its traditional sphere of influence, leading to tensions and security dilemmas in the region (Slobodian, 2020).


Interesting patterns and relationships between historical, cultural, and geopolitical aspects and security perceptions in Asia and Europe are revealed by preliminary analysis of survey data. Historical accounts, especially those about unsolved disputes and old grudges, become important factors in shaping security perceptions and shaping attitudes toward other nations and outside actors. Security discourses are significantly shaped by cultural variables, such as concepts of national identity, resilience, and unity, which frequently frame perceptions of threat and vulnerability. Security perceptions are further shaped by power dynamics and geopolitical alignments; respondents’ orientations frequently mirror the alliance structures and geopolitical trends that are currently dominant in their regions.


The results illustrate how dynamic and multifaceted security views are, and how historical, cultural, and geopolitical elements interact to shape both individual and societal conceptions of security. Geopolitical factors frequently magnify or lessen perceived dangers, illustrating the flexibility and contextuality of security discourses, even as historical legacies and cultural identities continue to exert deep influences on security perceptions. Furthermore, the comparative examination of security views in Asia and Europe highlights both similarities and differences, highlighting the significance of contextual uniqueness and regional dynamics in comprehending security discourses.


As it wraps up, this comparative study provides insightful information about how historical, cultural, and geopolitical variables interact to influence how security is perceived in Asia and Europe. The study adds to a nuanced knowledge of how these elements converge to create perceptions of threat and security priorities in various regional contexts by experimentally evaluating survey data and integrating current literature. It is necessary to do additional studies in the future to investigate other elements and dynamics to improve our understanding of security perceptions and to promote communication and collaboration in a world that is becoming more interconnected.


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