Defining Of The Various Security Dilemmas Politics Essay

Human security is a promising concept for understanding global vulnerabilities whose proponents challenge the traditional notion of national security by arguing that the proper referent for security should be the individual rather than the state. Human security holds that a people-centered view of security is necessary for national, regional and global stability. Realism in international relations theory is one of the main schools of thinking within the international relations field. Realism or political realism give attention or focus to national interest and security over ideology, moral concerns and social reconstructions. This term is often equal with power politics. The security dilemma, according to Realists, is known as a spiral of insecurity. This stems from the idea that if one state has military preparations which can be questioned as defensive or offensive, other states become worrying. States begin not to trust one another in fear that one might become too powerful and risk the security of another state. It is a dilemma because all states begin competing over security measures, yet in the end no state feels more secure. Most states feel insecure since they feel like they are all in competition for better amounts of security. Realists consider that a balance of power is a consequence of diplomacy, as well as a natural tendency. They said it give more benefit because all states will stay at the same level within a balance of power. If one state becomes overly powerful, other states will become worried and join alliances in opposition to the excessively powerful state. Germany before World War I is an example of how balance of power was upset in Europe. This “German Problem” lead to the outbreak of World War I. Realists understands that if Germany had not upset this balance of power, then WWI may have been avoided. Realists think it is required to return a new balance of power if one is destroyed in order to keep the world in check and not have states in competition with each other.

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Definition of security dilemma

Security dilemma refers to a situation where two or more states are involve into conflict, maybe even war, over security concerns, even though none of the states actually desire conflict. These happen when two or more states each feel insecure in relation to other states. None of the states involved want relations to get worse, let alone for war to occur, but as each state acts military or diplomatically to make itself more secure, the other states interpret its actions as threatening because the other states has the higher value of security compare to their state and it cause the worried feeling among them.

The word security dilemma has a lot of meaning based on the person. According to John Herz (Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma World Politics 2 [January 1950]: 157-180), security dilemma refer to the situation in self help anarchic society whether individuals or groups, try hard to reach security from attack, focused to get more power to escape the impact of the power of others. That means it can be view as the condition in which actions by a state proposed to enhance its security, for example, improve military strength or making alliances with another countries in order to get the support from them if anything happen. All of this can guide other states to react with similar measures, because increased stress that can bring toward conflict, even though they do not want involve in conflict or war.

Security dilemma also said as the source of arms races and the rise of diplomatic crises into war, even though the states not have intention to war each other. Majority of states increase the security through arming strategy. Herbert Butterfield, British historian give the opinion that security dilemma can be explain as same situation in History and Human Relations, but it more focused on the absolute predicament and irreducible dilemma. Security dilemma has related with cognitive and international theories concept that said who regard war as essentially arising from failures of communication. This because communication very important in order to avoid miscommunication and next, can avoid the war occur.

Security dilemma started with World War 1. The major European powers felt forced to let war happen because feel insecurity over the alliances of their neighbours, not they want desire war. They competed for power and influence. Germany’s fear of fighting war on two fronts lead it to the form of the in popular Schieffen Plan, which is particular accelerated mobilization timetable. They forced to star mobilization early. But, other scholars have the other perception and said dispute that explanation of the beginning of the war, challenge that has several states really want to involve in the conflict.

Security dilemma just arises in certain condition. It same as the mainly from leader perceptions of the military consequences, specifically whether the offense has significant benefit over the defence and whether self-protective capabilities can be differentiate from offensive ones. Mountains and bodies of water facilitate defence and ease the security dilemma in Switzerland and Britain, plains at the western region of the former Soviet Union make worse it. Technology became as the strong land fortifications ease the security dilemma, and highly accurate but vulnerable nuclear weapons make worse it. These became as the factors that make security dilemma more severe.

Besides that, security dilemma related with additional weapons and forces that can increase a state security until build up reaches a turning point where neighbouring states fear the offensive potential of the new military. This only natural reaction to the potential threat and threatened states add weapons and forces to enhance their security, declining the security benefit sought by the original state. Decisions to add the weapons number during periods of relative peace describe the greatest amount of suspicion, especially when undertaken by a main military power.

According Wheeler and Booth 1992, p.29, stated that of all the dilemmas in world politics, the security dilemma is quintessential. It goes right to the heart of the theory and practice of international politics. The basic idea but is the same in that it is a dynamic action reaction cycle with insecurity breeding insecurity. That means security dilemma be as the common situation that exist in people head at this time because of the importance or desire to has their own weapons and can increase the safety feeling. Patrick Morgan (2007) explain how the security dilemma commonly used in international politics to describe a situation where a government arms itself to develop its security but as a result scares other governments into arming as well, the net result being decreased security for all.

This concept has applied to help the understanding of similar dynamics and the intra-state level where is used to more understand internal conflict that arise for example ethnic conflict and used for the individual give explanation how personal security can be impeded as an inadvertent result of a state pursuit for improve national security. Porsen argue that even when they are aware of it “the nature of their situation compels them to take the steps they do”. It seems like anarchy. Herbert Butterfield, stated that the Security Dilemma was behind all inter-state conflict. He used the words ‘Hobbesian fear’ to describe the cause of what he termed a “condition of absolute predicament or irreducible dilemma. ‘Hobbesian fear’ is used as shorthand to refer to Thomas Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’. That means “a state of continuous war of every individual against everyone else” (Warburton 2006, p. 66).

Herz felt that the Security Dilemma was fuelled by the self-help life of the anarchical international system as opposed to the distrustful view of it being the product of self-interest and faulty human nature that characterises classical realism. Wheeler and Booth (1992) define security dilemma as “situations which current governments, on matters affect their security, with a choice between two equal and unwanted alternatives” (1992, pp. 29-30). They focus that “security dilemmas of whatever diversity are comprised of dilemmas of interpretationaˆ¦and then dilemmas of response”. It is this issue of interpretation over which participants exhibit ‘unresolvable uncertainty’.

Security dilemma happens between India and Pakistan. The potential destabilising effect of this incomplete conflict in the most compactly populated region of the world is of great concern. Furthermore the strength of concern has been exacerbated in light of both parties becoming nuclear states as the possible ‘fall-out’ from a full range conflict is now significantly increased. The result of these relations between these two states can only lead to enhanced distrust and hesitation of intentions. In May 1998 the two countries received international criticism for back to back nuclear tests, igniting fears of a nuclear arms race. Pakistan’s conventional armed forces are significantly lower to those of India and it has a weaker industrial and economic base able of satisfying a conventional campaign. The inception of Pakistan’s nuclear programme can be traced back to the 1960s when India’s nuclear infrastructure began to enlarge. The actual decision to opt for nuclear weapons came after Pakistan’s beat and dismembers the Security Dilemma in action. Pakistan feels that by establish its nuclear means it can increase its security. India’s nuclear test in 1974 was the next crucial milestone. Thereafter Pakistan responded by adopting a policy of nuclear uncertainty, justified by them on the grounds of an Indian threat rent in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. (Ahmed 2000, p. 782). Pakistan’s decision to test in the get up of Indian tests might have been partly the result of a failure amongst the international community to penalize India. Ahmed (2000) focus that the Pakistani response intensify the view of those in India who advocate obvious weapon and thus if India next chooses to organize its weapons systems Pakistan will be pressure to follow suit. We can conclude that characteristic of the Security Dilemma that Wheeler and Booth highlight regarding “a choice between two equal and undesirable alternatives”. Both states are looking for improved security but the resulting action-reaction cycle of insecurity breeding insecurity achieves the complete opposite.

China is approximate to have between 300 and 600 nuclear warheads (BBC 2003), which needs to be considered as an influence behind India’s nuclear aspirations. Should bi-lateral tensions rise between India and Pakistan, the worst result for Pakistan is near obliteration given its nuclear and conventional weakness. in addition, as Pakistan’s uncertain economy struggles to maintain an expensive nuclear programme, internal security is likely to be increasingly destabilized. It is partly this that leads Ahmed (2000, pp. 791-792) to argue that for Pakistan “the best way to ensure national security is to dispose of an unsustainable nuclear competition with India”.

Kenneth Waltz, a major contributor to neorealism, expressed in his book, “Theory of International Politics” that “if there is any distinctively political theory of international politics, balance-of-power theory is it.”. However, this assertion has come under criticism from other schools of thought within the international relations field, such as the constructivists and the political economists.

Balance of power has associated with security dilemma that exists when there is equality or stability between the states that compete the forces. Since a term in international law for a ‘just balance between the members of the family of nations, it say the doctrine planned to avoid any one nation from becoming sufficiently strong so as to allow it to enforce its will upon the rest. Balance of power is a concept in neorealist theory. Within a balance of power system, a state may choose to connect in balancing behavior. In a time of war, the decision to balance may well determine the survival of the state. A Balance of power can function in two methods which are:

a. Multiple states means it can form a balance of power when alliances are fluid. That means when they are easily formed or broken on the basis of convenience, regardless of values, religion, history, or form of government. Irregularly a single state plays a balancer role, shifting its support to oppose whatever state or alliance is strongest. For example, Britain played this role in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in its relations with France, Russia, and Germany.

b. Two states can balance against each other by matching their increases in military development. For instance, in the Cold War, the Soviet Union and United States both expanded their nuclear arsenals to balance against each other.

First of all, the main objective of states, according to the Balance of Power theory is to protect their own safety, consistent with political realism or the realist world-view. Secondly, states attain a balance because of this objective of self-protection. States, by trying to avoid the domination of one particular state, will helper themselves with other states until an equilibrium is accomplish.

The disadvantages of the balance of power concept are difficulty of measuring power. Ultimately a state’s power derives from the size of its land mass, population, and technology. But this potential power measured approximately by a state’s gross domestic product (GDP)-translates incorrectly into military ability. The effective use of military force depends on such elements as leadership, morale, geography, and luck. Furthermore, leaders’ misperceptions can seriously distort the calculation of power. For example, during the Vietnam War (1959-1975), U.S. presidents constantly underestimate the power of the Vietnamese Communists because by conventional measures of power they were much weaker than the United States.

Cold War

Cold War occurs between United States and the Soviet Union. It was the most important political and diplomatic issue of the early postwar period. The Cold war got its name because both sides were afraid of fighting each other face to face. So, they fight indirectly by using words as weapons, threatened and try making each other look stupid. The term “Cold War” was used in 1947 by Bernard Baruch, as refer to the often occurring and exacerbating crises between the United States and the former Soviet Union, regardless of having fight side-by-side against Nazi Germany in the Second World War. The Cold War started in the 1945-1948 timeframe, and ended in 1989, having been a disagreement over the division of Europe. By another version, the Cold War began in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution, and ended in 1991 with the fall down of the Soviet Union, having been a conflict between Bolshevism and Democracy. The Cold War has the conflict in long term between the Soviet Union and the United States after the Russian Revolution formation of 1917. The Soviet Communist Party under V.I. Lenin thinks itself as the lead of an international movement that would replace the already political orders in the West, and really throughout the world. The Cold War can be said to have begin in 1917, with the problem in Russia of a revolutionary Bolshevik regime dedicated to spreading communism throughout the industrialized world. The leader of that revolution, Vladmir Lenin such gains were very important. He wrote in his August 1918 Open Letter to the American Workers, and said that “We are now, as it were, in a besieged fortress, waiting for the other detachments of the world socialist revolution to come to our relief.” (Vladmir Lenin). Western governments understand that communism to be an international movement whose adherents foreswore all national allegiance in favor of transnational communism, but in practice still received their orders from and were loyal to Moscow. In 1918, the United States together briefly and unenthusiastically in an failed Allied attempt to bring down the revolutionary Soviet regime. Doubt and hostility thus categorized relations between the Soviets and the United States long before the Second World War made them reluctant allies in the struggle against Nazi Germany. As at 1918 and 1920, the United States and Great Britain fight with Bolsheviks, but unsuccessfully to win. In 1918, show that American group involved in the Allied intervention in Russia on behalf of anti-Bolshevik forces. After two decades, Soviet attitudes towards the West oscillated wildly. American diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union did not come until 1933. Even then, doubts feeling arise among United States. During World War II, however, the two countries found themselves allied and ignore their differences and disagreement in order to counter the Nazi threat. The Cold War was a decades-long fight for global domination that showed the capitalist represent by United States against the communist Soviet Union. Even though there are some disagreements as to when the Cold War began, it is generally accepted that mid- to late-1945 marks the time when relations between Moscow and Washington began weakening. This deterioration arise at the early Cold War and set the stage for a dynamic struggle that frequently said as mythological overtones of good versus evil.

Between 1945 and 1948, of the early Cold War, the conflict was tending to political compare military. Both sides squabbled with each other at the UN, required closer relations with nations that were not committed to either side, and spoken their differing visions of a postwar world. However, on 1950 certain factors had made the Cold War become more militarized struggle. The communist takeover in China, the statement of the Truman Doctrine, the beginning of a Soviet nuclear weapon, tensions over occupied Germany, the outbreak of the Korean War, and the formulation of the Warsaw Pact and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as rival alliances had all make the Cold War’s military dimension more enhance. United States foreign policy returns this transition when it take on a position that sought to “contain” the Soviet Union from further development. By and large, through a variety of manifestation, the containment policy would stay the central strategic vision of United States foreign policy from 1952 until the ultimate end of the Soviet Union in 1991.

From the Cold War, we can see the successive American presidents and successive Soviet premiers tried to handle the Cold War in different method, and the history of their interactions reveals the mere balance-of-power that needed to be maintained between both superpowers. Dwight Eisenhower campaign as a hard-line Cold Warrior and spoke of “rolling back” the Soviet empire, but when given a chance to dislodge Hungary from the Soviet sphere-of-influence in 1956, he declined. The death of Stalin in 1953 prefaced a brief thaw in East-West relations, but Nikita Kruschev also found it more politically expedient to take a hard line with the United States than to speak of cooperation. Despite improved East-West relations, however, Gorbachev’s reforms were not capable to avoid the fall down of a system that had grown rigid and unworkable. By most measures, the Soviet economy had failed to grow at all since the late 1970s and much of the country’s populace had grown weary of the aged Communist hierarchy. In 1989 the impulsive destruction of the Berlin Wall signalled the end of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe, and two years later the Soviet government itself fell from power.

September 11th 2001 Tragedy and security dilemma

Security dilemma refers to the states faced when they seek to recognize enemy and scale of threat that the enemy may cause. The tragedy September the 11th formed a new situation in which United States need to face the security dilemma that had not risen from a specific country but the enemy that was not identifiable and did not perform like states. George W. Bush declared war on terrorism and it was supported by Congress and Americans strongly. It became the beginning moment form of new grand strategy for the first time since end of the Cold War. United States highlight more on independent approaches than joint ones especially in shaping nature of the threats and the ways of confronting them (Ikenberry, Sep 1, 2002). The tragedy showed security dilemma which dominated politics of the Cold War era did not misplaced, new threats provided security dilemma in which United States faced security problem with new actors. The new security dilemma did not come from strong states but come from weak states and groups hence, increase in power of one does not necessarily mean increase in security of it and may even be irrelevant. Because strong states are more open to new challenges such as terrorism. According to Jackson & Towle, 2006 stated that security of the states cannot be just founded on weapons and soldiers but needs new approaches. It give the opportunity to George W. Bush a introduce war against Iraq regime as war against terrorism. Even though not have the strong evidence show that Iraq involves in the attack. The main reason Iraq attack by United States because Iraq is regime and cannot be trusted and President United States during at the time claimed regime of Iraq used chemical weapons against its own people and Iran in the war.

The feeling of fear of United States because of new threats arise form the recognizable person and states. Security dilemma which arose in this condition was more complicated than security dilemma happen in previous time, because in state of security dilemma among countries, the competitor at least they recognize the country they do not trust. In security dilemma which was formed after September the 1 lth, there were both lack of trust and lack of recognized identity of the threat and enemy for United States. Therefore, United States not only was not able to trust any other actors including states and non-state ones, but it even was not sure about identity of enemy. Therefore, United States had to find the real enemy before evaluating scale of threat.

The measures that need to take to avoid this quandary

The first one that can be done through the role of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) represent international security regimes that was formed with the objectives want to promoting security of member states. The first objective of the NPT is to support cooperation among states on peaceful use of nuclear energy and ensure other states that they will not be depressed from nuclear energy if they do not tend to achieve nuclear weapons. While, CTBT was created by General Assembly of United Nations in 1996 with purpose of banning any nuclear explosion test in any place they must give focus on the security in order to ensure that the safety of human not threatened. To ensure the world security is guarantee, it not the easy job because needs the cooperation from all states. The challenge or obligations of security dilemma is partly to be found in its instability and partly in the emerging non- traditional security threats for example, terrorism, weapons and cyber attacks. NATO as the membership organization and has the relationship with the EU and the members, and has the relations with Russia, the requirement for structural restructuring and suggestion on NATO’s need to hold with political class of its member nations and survey the people opinion. So, this organization must come out with the new strategic concept of security environment to guarantee the safety of peoples. NATO must defend society within it, the territory of its member,, it and must create to peace and stability of security environment. NATO should give attention to threats like Weapons, and international terrorism. Besides that, this organization must concrete action that need be taken in the locale of joint military training and exercises as well as reform the procurement procedure for military equipment, build up points of contact and interface for get better cooperation with civilian soft-power institutions.

Besides that, the second way is the countries or states that have the conflict about security dilemma must engage in diplomacy and not just see war as the tool to solve the problem. This because if they are fight, the society will be the victim with majority of them will dead and it waste the money and time. So, to cover this problem, they can engage in diplomacy. Here, we look the role of leader most important to form the state in the future whether they want to stay involve in security dilemma or not. Diplomacy refers to the negotiating and comprising process with nation or the leader. Diplomacy not the guarantee to stop the war but it became as the first step to avoid the war. The leaders also can use collaboration means work together to get the mutually beneficial solution. According to Thomas Kilman, collaboration as the win-win solution to solve the conflict, and it can also be time intensive and unsuitable when there is not enough trust, respect feeling among respondents for collaboration to occur. They also can bring the problem into the open and use the third party. The goal of conflict resolution is to attain agreement and this mean compromise.

The third is roles Security Council is “may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute”. The Council may suggest the suitable method of adjustment. if it decide that the situation might cause danger to international peace and security. The Council has wide power to decide what way are to be taken relating “threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression”. In certain condition, the Council is not limited to give suggestion but may take action, including the use of armed force “to keep or return international peace and security”. For instance, UN armed action in Korea in 1950 during the Korean War and the use of alliance forces in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. The Security Council must investigate the fight situation, came out with the solution to solve the problem, encourage the cooperation among member nations and enforce decisions military if situation became worse.

The Comment

The comment about this topic is security dilemma cause many states want to increase the security field because fear the another country can declared the war if they not has enough security equipment. This because they feel that security most important and this element close related with defend aspect. The leader need to defend the country from involve in conflict that can bring into war. So, to defend, they always increase the level of security equipment that they has. For example, the conflict or disagreement that occurs between Pakistan and India about the nuclear. Pakistan feels that created nuclear capability means it can increase its security. India test the nuclear in 1974 was the next crucial milestone. After that, Pakistan respond toward the matter by adopting a policy of nuclear, justified by them on the grounds of an Indian threat.

The second comment is security most important, but if more focused on the security element, it will cause the security dilemma among the states. Previously, security dilemma is role as the tool to understand internal conflict such as ethnic conflict, but now the situation quite different. When many states only concentrate toward security by add the number of security equipment, create the new like nuclear that can give more disadvantages toward the world society. These happen when two or more states each feel anxious in relation to other nations. None of the states involved want relations to get worse, let alone for war to occur, but as each state acts military or diplomatically to make itself more secure, the other states interpret its actions as threatening because the other states has the higher value of security like has the weapons compare to their state and it cause the worried feeling among them.

The last opinion is the strategy in security dilemma. If previous time, if security dilemma happen in any conflict, the nations and person that cause this problem, we can detect. By now the changes happen in security dilemma strategy by the person and states that done this job we can identify and recognizable. For instance, the September 11th that happens in United Stated. United States claimed that terrorism done the tragedy and said that Iraq is state that must be responsible for the tragedy. But, United Stated not has the clear evidence to claim Iraq. By using the reason, UN declared the war against Iraq. Fear which strengthened by threat of nuclear terrorism was the first impact of the terrorist attacks among citizens of the United States. So, it show that the ways of attack are cannot predict in the future, but we can prepares itself how to face unpredictable situations in the future


As the conclusion, security dilemma has the advantages and disadvantages. This concept different and had faced the changes from time to time. For the country, national security is most important because it represent the main aspect to build a country. For example, the tragedy that was happen at America and the society cannot preserve their national security like before and have to make change in their perceptions and strategies. In contrast to world risk society, some explanations argue that September 11th is not the started of new era or new world, but it is tensions within post-cold war era that showed difficulty of the roles that are created in this period and are playing custom, so, rules in international relations are central tools to understand the power to mobilize, to justify and legitimize action, or they are necessity of creating new order (Hurrell, 2002). The factors that make security dilemma more severe is the attitude of leader for each state, the geography location, offense defense balance and the others. All the states in the world must not be ego and selfish because when the several countries act like this, it have can cause the conflict between them and directly can let the war happen.