The Rise and Fall of Collective Security: Terrorism, US Hegemony, and the Plight of the Security Council
Terrorism as a Challenge for National and International Law: Security vs Liberty? (Christian Walter et al., eds., 2004), 879-908
31 Pages Posted: 24 May 2014
Date Written: May 22, 2004
This essay argues that the system of collective security undergoes a radical transformation at this time, yet one the direction of which is not at all clear. What we currently see is a rise of collective security, as well as its fall, and both simultaneously. Collective security has been strengthened in several ways, and it has developed powerful tools to deal with terrorism – tools that will be used in other contexts as well and so will bolster the powers of the Security Council in general. But collective security has also been significantly weakened: it has been marginalized on issues of high politics, and it has been sidelined when insisting on different means or goals than the major actors. Both tendencies are, to a large extent, the result of an instrumentalization of the Security Council by the current hegemonic power, the United States, and its Western allies. From a realist standpoint, not much else was to be expected; and certainly not with respect to an issue such as terrorism that is of so much importance to the sole remaining superpower. Yet the instrumentalization of collective security severely limits its potential in the fight against terrorism – a potential that lies not so much on the technical as on the ideological level.
Keywords: Collective security, United Nations, Security Council, hegemony, international law
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