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When considering this idea of collective security one cannot view it as a single entity as many derived forms exist. Instead this essay will strive to consider each of these possible derivatives and analyse how this applies to the UN to uncover which one they implement. To discover if collective security is articulated in their aims the UN charter will be examined to see whether it actually does bring about a plausible form of security or whether it lacks in certain areas due to contradiction and its writing being post-war.

In addition to this, modern case studies can be used to uncover if the UN has been successful is achieving the aims laid out in the charter or whether they have become dated in today’s global politics. When trying to define this concept of collective security one would think that a clear, simple definition would exist so that upon any discussion of security issues, it would allow the people involved to have a concise understanding of the notion, thus avoiding any ambiguity and confusion.

However, as if so often the case, this has been far more challenging to achieve and even ‘academics and so-called experts in legal departments and diplomatic services, are guilty of perpetrating and propagating the confusion surrounding the concept. ’ The problem faced is that the term “collective security” can be easily broken down into two parts, whereby this idea of “security” can be viewed as a prevention of any form of conflict that could affect the current state of peace on any level. Collective,” on the other hand, is seen as more than one state acting together to maintain this, through the means of agreeing and adhering to a certain set of rules.

Therefore, we could draw the conclusion that the combination of both of these would lead to the understanding that collective security is ‘any multilateral arrangement or action taken in the name of defence, peace and morality. The difficulty faced is that beyond this point of understanding ‘many forms of collective security are possible, varying by the substance of the rules, who determines the rules, and how to enforce these rules’ and so what has spawned from a single concept of security is three varied ideas, namely pure collective security, procedural security and hegemonic collective security, each of which can be analyzed accordingly. Pure collective security is seen as ‘an agreement among all states to protect their territorial integrity by establishing a legal obligation to punish those that start interstate wars.

This form is seen as a legal obligation to protect the sovereignty of all states and ensures that even the most powerful do not stand as a threat to the territorial integrity of others, through the use of punishment if rules are broken. Critiquing of collective security by political theorists is no surprise, however, when realists go after this concept their focus shifts towards the idea of pure security, as they believe that ‘institutions do not have a significant independent effect on state behaviour. They put forward the argument that the pursuit of collective security creates a link between national and international security and so if they were to act on the belief that an attack on one equates to an attack on all it would mean damaging their own national security for a conflict that could be strategically irrelevant to them and possibly launch minor wars onto the global stage.

In addition to this pure security would mean that all rule breakers would have to be punished, even if they were friends, something realists see as highly unlikely to take place as this would break ties with the countries allies and possibly lead to isolation. Now, procedural security, on the other hand, differs from pure collective security as it is seen as a political, rather than legal, obligation that ‘establishes political institutions to maintain international security, not legal institutions to enforce international law. The problem is that tensions can easily arise between states as the interests of the great powers are protected while they are not held accountable to community rules, such as the blatant human rights violations in Chechnya by Russia which, as one reporter noted, were ‘terrifying acts of murder.

The final form of collective security, which is based around the most hierarchical set-up, known as hegemonic is ‘an arrangement in which the most powerful state claims the right to unilaterally enforce agreed-upon rules. The predicament of pursuing this type of collective security is that states can be easily swung into two mind frames, either that they accept the regulations put forth by the state as they see it as a genuine attempt to uphold international security, or, as is most often the case, they view it as an attempt by the state to further its own personal objectives thus leading to their support being withheld and security being replaced with suspicion and hostility.

As realists critique the pure aspect of collective security radicals focus on procedural and hegemonic, as their fundamental belief is that collective security ‘is a tool of powerful states to impose their interests on everyone else. Their main critiquing arguments centre around the Security Council, one of six principal organs of the United Nations which is ‘arguably its most influential’ with its function being best defined in the UN charter as aiming to ‘promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources’ The radicals view the security council as a part of the UN that only defends the desires of its permanent members and grants veto powers to states so that they can avoid reprimand for the breaking of rules.

As is seen radicals draw attention to the political aspects of collective security, and while they would agree that the security council does follow the principles of the UN and does not have total free reign they do ‘presume there are no legal limits on the security council. It is purely an instrument of power politics. ’ With this definition of collective security we are now able to examine the set-up of the UN and thus which of these security principles it lends itself to. As mentioned before the UN Charter founded the Security Council to maintain peace and security across the globe.

It has 15 members, five of which are permanent and are made up of the international powerhouses of Russia, China, France, the UK and the US with each of these possessing veto powers. The council will not act until 9 out of 15 members are in favour of a decision and none of the permanent members are opposed. What we see here from the established hierarchy and permanent memberships is that a procedural form of collective security has been created whereby each countries political institution is working to try and uphold international peace.

However, if one is to fully understand how this principle of collective security is articulated in the aims of the UN it would be best to consider it, for now, in the simplified form, whereby its meaning is ‘an international agency with the capacity to invoke the threat of military sanctions in order to deter contemplated aggression or to defeat attempted aggression. ’ With this in mind we can now turn to the UN charter, a “constitution” of the United Nations that all members have to abide by, which came into effect on October 24, 1945.

It is in this document that we can clearly see the aims of the UN laid out and thus allows us to identify where exactly collective security has been articulated. Article 43 of the charter is a clear example of where this is trying to be achieved as it calls upon ‘all members of the united nations, in order to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, undertake to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with a special agreement or agreements, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the maintaining international peace and security. The problem that the UN has faced is that the members have continually failed to meet these responsibilities and so the Security Council has repeatedly found itself under resourced when trying to fulfil its security obligations, as the historian Inis Claude writes ‘the capacity to assemble a United Nations force that will intimidate such a state or nip its aggression in the bud – is simply not available. ’ One historian who has put forward some highly thought provoking works on collective security is man called Naidu who, based on the Claude model, has drawn what he considers to be the ideal system of collective security.

While not all aspects of his system can be examined in this essay due to word constraints, certainly a number of them can be considered and then by carrying out careful analysis it can be seen exactly if the UN has been able to articulate his ideas through the articles of the charter. To begin with the prohibition of arbitrary force is considered and is obviously a key part of the charter with Article 2 stating “all members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means” and that they will refrain from the threat or use of force.

The use of the word force is not explicitly defined in the article, however, it can be assumed that it represents the use of physical or armed force, which means ‘coercion through economic or diplomatic or psychological methods is to be excluded from the scope of the term force. ’ The charter seems to base its aims of maintaining peace around the idea of collective measures, as demonstrated in Article 1, and is best shown in the report by the framers of the UN charter which states that ‘the use of force, therefore, remains legitimate only to back up the decisions of the organization,’ however, contradiction exists when examining the

Charter’s stance on self-defence. The right to self-defence is limited by Article 51 to a state only being able to react to armed force but its effectiveness is lost in reality and with this idea of collective self-defence, which ‘is a newcomer to legal terminology and might even be considered a contradiction in terms,’ it allows for states to call to others for help and take action without the approval of the UN. As we see ‘by introducing the concept of self-defence, and especially by legitimizing collective self-defence, the Charter paved the way for the inevitable weakening of the United Nations security system. Another integral part of collective security is this guarantee of deterrence whereby the system should have the power to deter any aggressor by convincing them that their collective force would be far to overpowering. However, as we have seen the creation of a UN army is simply not possible and this therefore means that the system demands a reduction in military capabilities of states, something that could be achieved through either worldwide disarmament or arms control.

The charter surprisingly does not seem to stress this idea of disarmament as strongly as one would assume and when the initiative is considered it seems to lack any real urgency. The word disarmament is only used twice in the charter and when considering the idea of arms it refers only to regulation rather than control, with only article 26 referring to the suggestion of ‘the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments. This, however, should almost be expected considering the time in history the charter was formed. The makers had just experienced WWII and therefore it is understandable that they would not want to focus on disarmament and instead see that military force would be the only plausible way to maintain international peace. Of course, looking at it now it is clear that their judgment was misleading, as deterrence cannot be achieved if a states national military capabilities are not limited.

Now this is not to say that the creators of the charter did not have collective security in mind as ‘the planners of the United Nations were at odds on many questions, but they were in agreement from the outset that the new organization must have the power to maintain the future peace of the world through the use of international force,’ however with modern perspective we see that their way of going about it was not the best path. Overall, what we observe is that the makers of the charter do articulate this idea of collective security in their aims; owever, the running theme appears to be that they are only able to achieve it to a certain extent as ‘the post-war world has not produced the conditions that could have facilitated the translation of the Charter theory of collective enforcement measures into a political theory. ’ While the UN’s charter may not have been capable of achieving ideal collective security it is not fair to fully judge until actual case studies have been considered to see whether it has been implemented at times that truly call for it. One instance that can be looked at is the Falklands war in 1982.

It all began on April 2nd, 1982 when the Argentines landed on the Falklands and, despite diplomatic discussion, refused to remove their military force. For the British this was a blatant violation of international law and due to this their only option was to respond through armed force. If we are to look at this with the idea of collective security in mind one would assume that it would have invoked a response from all members of the UN as an attack on one is an attack on all. This simply was not the case however and many of them decided to refrain from offering help, as it was not a direct concern of theirs.

This is an instance in history that is often cited as a limitation by realists because, as mentioned before, they do not believe that a nation would damage its own national security for a conflict that is irrelevant to them. Despite this the UN has been successful at working as a peacekeeping organization with such examples as Cambodia, Yugoslavia and ethnic conflicts. The UN forces in Cyprus and Lebanon have worked together in preventing ethnic conflicts and achieved grand success as ‘ such operations have undoubtedly contributed towards the stabilization of violent ethnic conflicts and have saved lives. To conclude, what can be seen with the UN is that they have been able to partially articulate this idea of collective security into its aims in the charter, thus meaning that the security system at current cannot be considered a fully developed collective security system, as displayed by the Falklands war. Instead, what the world is faced with, at current, is an intermediate organization that still does not have the necessary and proper instruments to achieve ideal collective security.

With this in mind we see that the United Nations is only able to achieve success within the boundaries of its own limitations. If an ideal system of collective security had been established then incidents such as the Falklands would not occur, however, since this is not the case the UN can only be expected to achieve as far as its restricted aims will allow. One cannot help but wonder if an ideal system of collective security could ever exist in the modern world but the answer to this lies only ‘in the realm of conjecturing on the future of world politics! ’

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