Collective Security

Topics: United Nations, Rwandan Genocide, World War I Pages: 7 (2449 words) Published: June 16, 2014
Collective security is both supported and criticized as an approach to prevent the outbreak of war. It has existed for many centuries but began to be practiced more prominently after World War I. The purpose of this paper is to define collective security to produce a detailed understanding of what it essentially represents, its theory, how it succeeded, and the prospects for collective security being used against modern challenges, such as terrorism and civil war. Collective security is a defense mechanism that has been used during times of war, peace and external threats. It has been praised and criticized, and today it faces many questions with regards to modern day issues in terms of internal and external state conflicts. In the context of the modern world, collective security has become the best system for cohesiveness and cooperation on the international level.

Collective security is an international arrangement; this portion of the paper will first define the term collective security and some of its theories. Both realists and liberals have criticized it. Collective security is defined as, “a security regime agreed to by the great powers that sets rules for keeping peace, guided by the principle that an act of aggression by any state will be met by a collective response from the rest.” The United Nations (UN) created the collective Security Council on October 24, 1945. The theory of collective security is focused on the sovereign equality of states. One of the most famous forms of collective security was the institutional mechanism. This vision creates problems today by the role that was given to the great powers in the UN Security Council. In theory, collective security is created on the basis of respect for the political independence and territorial integrity of states; therefore, it does not allow any interference into the internal affairs of the states. There have been attempts at creating peace during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The reality of the international system in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries existed because of the balance of power. The book World Politics Trend and Transformation defines balance of power as the theory that peace and stability are most likely to be maintained when military is distributed so as to prevent any state from acquiring a disproportionate amount of power. Balance of power, a realist paradigm, is where each state is invested with equal power to avoid conflicts between states; this is considered a utopian way of maintaining peace. Collective security became the first principle of the new order instead of balance of power. Moreover, collective security is used during war, but balance of power is intended to maintain peace among nations.

This part of the paper will examine some criticisms collective security faces from the realist point, as well as the liberals. In theory, balance of power requires armies and diplomacy, the perennial instruments of foreign policy. On the other hand, collective security systems require an international organization that organizes cooperation among the states in order to maintain peace. Both the League of Nations and the United Nations have lacked resources to stop states when they have continued to use war as a tool of statecraft. Realists have said failures of good intentions to make peace led to attacks against the theory of collective security. According to realist thinking, the failure of the League of Nations and the United Nations cannot be explained because of institutional imperfections in a bipolar international context. According to the realist critic, international politics is the arena of power politics par excellence. There are two sides when looking at collective security. First, collective defense relates to realism, while collective security relates more to liberalism. In the realist perspective, regardless of the effort of a common authority, the state will always be legibus-solutus (free from...
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