Collective security has been both supported and criticised as a method of preventing the outbreak of war. It’s an idea that has been around for centuries but it wasn’t until post World War I when it was truly utilized. Throughout my paper I will discuss in further detail what is meant by collective security and how the theory of collective security has been implemented. I will discuss the criticisms of collective security and what conditions help it succeed. I will go into additional detail upon the prospects of collective security with modern challenges such as terrorism, civil wars, and secessionist revolts.
What is Collective Security?
Collective security originated from former President of the United States of America Woodrow Wilson (Krause, 2004), and is defined as “a security regime agreed to by the great power that set 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” (Kegley, 2010). In other words, a security system is created in which each state within the system develops a security agreement to collectively respond to attacks or threats to their peace.
The theory of collective security is intended to protect the security and maintain peace through an organization of sovereign states by entering an agreement that will prohibit them from attacking one another. When joining the “alliance”, states agree to, and must rise in defence if one of their member states is attacked. With this theory, it is believed that it will serve better to have a multilateral agreement rather than a large, confusing set of bilateral treaties. According to Inis Claude (1956):
“The twentieth-century hope that international organizations might serve to prevent war, or, failing that, to defend states subjected to armed attack in defiance of organized efforts to maintain the peace, has been epitomized in the concept of collective security. . . .
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