Protecting Which Peace for Whom against What? A Conceptual Analysis of Collective Security
37 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2017
Date Written: 2015
The UN Charter (the world constitution, if there is one) leaves no one in doubt about its preeminent goal: ‘We the peoples of the United Nations, [are] determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’; and it was to safeguard peace that the system of collective security was created, with the most powerful organ — the Security Council — at its helm. And yet, ever since its inception, the collective security system has been fraught with political and practical problems.
These problems can all be associated with unavoidable conceptual contradictions and it is, in fact, very difficult to imagine a truly effective collective security system. These conceptual difficulties — which I will analyse further — do not necessarily mean that collective security is impossible — practice sometimes demonstrates that the existing one can produce good. However, they mean that both the architecture of the system and its application in concrete cases will suffer from tragic dilemmas, in which any solution will entail costs.
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