II. Challenges to Collective Security



Task 1. Read the text carefully paying special attention to the words and word combinations in bold.Look up all the words which you do not know in the dictionary.

I. The Expanded Conception of Security

Security is an elastic and diverse concept that can be understood in different forms, depending on its objects: the perception of threats, the protected values, and the means through which these values can be protected. The changing perception of security threats that already emerged in the 1980s, and ways in which these threats are addressed, has led to comprehensive and scientific studies of security concept. While the multidimensionality of security is now widely acknowledged in the discourse of security, its impacts on and challenges to international law are yet to be fully examined.

International security law, at the present stage of development, is primarily found in the United Nations (UN) collective security system. This is based on the norm of non-use of armed force under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and the institution of the UN Security Council vested with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under Article 24 of the Charter. Thus, collective security is a product of law, based on the delegation of power by sovereign states to a collective entity, providing the normative foundation for and means of regulating the behaviour of sovereign states and conflict among them. Collective security provides institutionalised procedures for legalising collective response, designed at least originally to address traditional, military-oriented threats to the maintenance of international peace and security. However, challenges to the sovereign-centred collective security have arisen, particularly after the end of the Cold War, due to the diversity of perceived security threats, the rise of transnational security concerns, the greater role played by non-state actors, and the alleged ineffectiveness of existing international arrangements in responding to dynamic security challenges.

The traditional view of security is defined in military terms, with the primary focus on state protection from threats to national interests. Thus when Hans Kelsen published Collective Security under International Law in 1957, he confined the scope of his study to ‘the protection of men against the use of force by other men’. It was inextricably linked to national security, meaning the protection of territory from external military threats and attacks, which was recognised as the ultimate raison d’être of sovereign states. However, such a traditional notion of security, as defined by reference to national survival, physical protection of state territory, and military power, has expanded its scope in the second half of the 20th century, particularly since the end of the Cold War.

First, the idea of international security, as distinct from national/state security, emerged with the development of a collective security system. The League of Nations recognised an act of aggression and an act of war that commenced in disregard of the war avoidance procedures under its Covenant as security threats for all members of the League. The establishment of the UN Security Council with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and its operation in practice, has gradually fostered an acceptance among states of the idea that the security of the international community, not simply the security of one state, can be undermined. This was no exception during the Cold War, when strategic balance of power rivalries and nuclear deterrence to stabilise international relations remained the dominant international security concerns.

The notion of ‘human security has also added a new dimension to the expansion of the security concept, since the UN Development Programme (UNDP) captured it into policy discourse in its 1994 Human Development Report. Human security has subsequently provided a theoretical foundation for the development of the ‘responsibility to protect’ concept as a policy agenda, which was officially endorsed in the 2005 World Summit Outcome. One of the novel aspects of this concept is that human populations, as distinct from sovereign states and the international community, are recognised as objects to be protected from threats of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Second, the territorial context for security has changed. Security has traditionally been understood in relation to state sovereignty and its territorial integrity, as expressed in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. However, as technological advancement has enabled exploration and exploitation beyond state borders, security concerns have extended geographically and spatially to different maritime zones, outer space, the Arctic, Antarctica, and even cyber space. Those new security frontiers are also not immune from the influence of an expanded concept of security, posing challenges to the existing legal regimes governing extra-territorial and non-territorial activities. Unlike the traditional territorial context in which sovereign states are the only objects of security concerns, it is possible to find a range of different objects which raise security concerns in these new frontiers. Thus, the international legal regimes that govern extra-territorial and non-territorial activities may form the subject of security inquiry in their own right.

Third, there has been a gradual move towards recognising more diverse issues as posing security threats, spawning a growth of security literature in the areas of economic security, environmental security, energy and resource security, food security, bio-security, and health security. The expansion of security issues was formally acknowledged when state leaders gathered to meet at the Security Council in 1992 and referred to a range of non-military sources of instability in the economic, social, humanitarian and ecological fields as threats to international peace and security. The 2004 Report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel identified economic and social threats,transnational organised crime, as well as inter-state conflict, internal conflict, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction as global security threats. The former UN Secretary-General’s 2005 Report, In Larger Freedom, adds poverty, deadly infectious disease, and environmental degradation to the list, on the grounds that these can have equally catastrophic consequences. However, many of those ‘global security concerns’ are still closely linked to the national security of (often powerful) sovereign states, and those non-traditional security threats tend to become significant only to the extent that states themselves recognise the causal relationship between non-traditional security threats and potential armed conflicts – traditional international security threats.

II. Challenges to Collective Security

As discussed above, the expansion of the security concept, in terms of both security objects and security threats, provides not only opportunities for legal developments but also challenges to the existing norms and rules of international law. Those legal challenges have been testing and stretching the limit of the UN collective security system in various ways. Yet, the extent to which the UN collective security system, primarily through the Security Council’s practice, is capable of responding effectively to the expansion of the security concept is limited, insofar as its institutional competence is premised upon the traditional conception of international security – physical protection of sovereign states from external military attacks in the common interest of the international community. Although its institutional development has to a certain extent accommodated a greater range of security threats such as internal armed violence and transnational terrorist threats, the Security Council’s role in collective security will not always provide a solution to non-traditional security concerns.

For example, when the relationship between energy, security and climate was discussed in the Security Council in 2007, there was a sharp division of views as to whether it was a proper forum to discuss and take action on climate change. Even those countries in favour of the Security Council playing a role in addressing climate change stopped short of calling for forcible measures, expecting instead that the Council would “sound an alarm bell”, or envisaging its role as part of conflict prevention.

The traditional understanding of security as military-oriented and focused on national security is inevitably linked to the idea that it is by military means that security goals are achieved. Even though the concept of security has expanded with a wider variety of referent objects, the tendency to seek military solutions to non-military threats remains strong. Thus, commentators have warned against understanding climate change as a security issue, because it risks militarising a foreign policy problem. There is little doubt that armed forces are incapable of meeting the challenges posed by non-traditional security threats such as climate change, which rather require policy responses such as more effective re-allocation of budgets and resources.

Likewise,collective enforcement mechanisms are inadequate as a response to non-traditional security threats and even in dealing with traditional security threats, such as physical violence, when the security concern lies with national security (as distinct from international security) or human security. The prevailing military-oriented approach has been criticised as inadequate in dealing with national security threats common throughout the world, such as those posed by transnational terrorist groups. Also, as discussed above, the Security Council has faced difficult challenges in directing military enforcement and peacekeeping missions with a mandate to protect civilians, which can be considered an attempt to embrace human security within the collective security mechanism. The military-oriented approach to civilian protection in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been reinforced through a greater strength of troop deployment and further clarification of their civilian protection mandate, has reportedly hindered effective operations. Critics have urged a more holistic, ‘bottom-up’ approach to civilian protection to harness the potential of human security.

(from Hitoshi Nasu, The Expanded Conception Of Security And International Law: Challenges To The Un Collective Security System, The Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol 3, No 3 (2011), http://amsterdamlawforum.org/issue/view/22 )

III. National Security versus Global Security

In many forums on the topic of security, there has been an attempt to establish a divide between national and global security. Although, in theory, a boundary exists between these two conceptual frameworks, such a boundary is not sufficient to maintain a clear-cut delimitation between them. Rather, they have a symbiotic relationship, although limited to the local security sphere, which states lack the capacity to handle unilaterally. Equivalently, there are issues at the international sphere that will require a domestic security apparatus to deal with.

National security has been described as the ability of a state to cater for the protection and defence of its citizenry. Global security, on the other hand, evolved from the necessity that nature and many other activities, particularly globalization, have placed on states. These are demands that no national security apparatus has the capacity to handle on its own and, as such, call for the cooperation of states. The global interconnection and interdependence among states that the world has experienced and continues to experience since the end of the cold war, makes it necessary for states to cooperate more and work together.

One of the major challenges that the field of global security has to contend with is the concept of security complex, a situation in which the security concerns of states are deeply interconnected to the point that one state’s security needs cannot be realistically considered without taking into consideration the security needs of the other states. The fear or threat content of security complex breeds rivalry among states. The remedy for such rivalry lies in cooperation which can only be found in global security initiatives among states.

Aside from spillouts resulting from deliberate human activities, another area of concern is the consequences of internal conflicts, which include refugee problems and which transcend geographical contiguity. Environmental and climate change issues are other areas that call for more cooperation among states, especially when dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake or a tsunami.

Disarmamentand non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are other areas that make global collaboration and cooperation necessary. The acquisition of nuclear weapons and similar armaments, which started as a national security option, has become today a major threat to national and global security. The seemingly hard-line posture of many state actors towards disarmament requires the development of a moral consciousness that can only be reinforced by cooperation and collaboration at the international level.

The global community stands to benefit from greater intra-states collaboration and cooperation, for greater interaction will help build trust and confidence. National and regional security breakdowns are a global security problem. Therefore, it is in the interest of all that no national security challenge be allowed to escalate into a global problem.

(from National Security versus Global Security by Segun Osisanya, UN Chronicle, May 2015, http://unchronicle.un.org/article/national-security-versus-global-security/ )


ü the UN Charter - УставООН

ü the UN Security Council – СоветбезопасностиООН

ü Covenant of the League of Nations - УставЛигиНаций

ü UN Development Programme (UNDP) - ПрограммаразвитияООН

ü the 2005 WorldSummitOutcome - Итоговый документ Всемирного саммита 2005 года

ü theUNSecretary-General’sHigh-LevelPanel – Группа высокого уровня Генерального секретаря ООН

ü collectivesecuritysystem – система коллективной безопасности

ü collectivesecurity – коллективная безопасность: Международное соглашение о создании союза государств, готовых координировать свои действия и совместно использовать силу против потенциального агрессора в целях сохранения мира во всем мире. Крупнейшими органами коллективной безопасности в XX в. были Лига Наций и ООН.

ü nationalsecurity – национальная безопасность

ü internationalsecurity - международная безопасность

ü humansecurity - безопасность человека; безопасность человечества

ü globalsecurity – глобальная безопасность

ü disarmament - разоружение

ü non-proliferationofweaponsofmassdestruction – нераспространение оружия массового уничтожения/поражения

ü nucleardeterrence – ядерное сдерживание / устрашение противника ядерным оружием / сдерживание путём ядерного устрашения


ü toreducenuclearweapons – сократить количество ядерного оружия

ü nuclear strategic missiles – ядерныестратегическиеракеты

ü nuclear warheads – ядерныебоеголовки

ü short-rangemissile – ракета ближнего радиуса действия, тактическая ракета

ü medium-rangemissiles – ракеты среднего радиуса действия

ü high-tech weapons – высокотехнологичноеоружие

ü to deploy weapons in outer space – размещатьоружиевкосмосе

ü anti-missiledefencesystem – система противоракетной обороны

ü arms-race – гонкавооружений

ü warehouses with ammunition – склады с боеприпасами/оружием

ü flexiblefrontlineAmericanbases – американские передовые базы быстрого реагирования

ü constructingafairanddemocraticworldorder – строительство справедливого и демократического мироустройства/миропорядка

ü weaponsdestruction – уничтожение вооружения

ü TreatyontheNon-ProliferationofNuclearWeapons – Договор о нераспространении ядерного вооружения

ü TreatyonConventionalArmedForcesinEurope - Договор об обычных вооруженных силах в Европе

ü WarsawPact –Варшавский договор


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