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PSIR 2A-6.6 Collective Security – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Discuss the conceptual dimensions of collective security. [2022/15m/200w/3b]

In January 1918, Woodrow Wilson issued a fourteen-point statement, the fourteenth point called for a general association of nations to be formed affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike. Wilson, here, wanted to change global politics based on the balance of power to one based on collective security. For him, security had to be a collective responsibility.

In the concept of collective security, the focus is on the aggressive policies of a state rather than its capacity, unlike the balance of power concept. In collective security, the alliances can’t be predetermined because it is not known which country will be the aggressor. Moreover, collective security is designed to be global and universal with no neutrals or free riders. If too many countries were neutral, the coalition of the good might appear weak and diminish the coalition’s ability to deter the aggressor.

The concept of collective security was institutionalized with the emergence of the League of Nations. By signing the pact, the states would voluntarily give up some sovereignty in exchange for the guarantees of collective security and international law.

Collective Security has been instrumental to the establishment of regional security arrangements, it has also been adopted in many instances around the world to maintain international peace and security, a responsibility which is generally referred to as peace-keeping, peace-making, peace support and in some instances peace enforcement operations. [235 words]

2] Enumerate the challenges in the operation of the principles related to collective security in the UN Charter. [2020/15m/200w/2b]

Article 1 of the UN charter calls for effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace. But most often the concept of collective security fails to be applied in real-world crises.

One of the problems of the United Nations Collective Security system is the unwillingness of countries to subordinate their sovereign interests to collective action.

Another problem that has resulted in the failure of the United Nations collective security system is the overdependence of the Security Council on the member governments for assistance, especially the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, etc. This overdependence has made these nations act unilaterally in conflict situations without the approval of the Security Council of the United Nations. In some situations, they flout the orders of the Security Council not to act unilaterally. The Iraq crisis and the role of the coalition forces, which were formed by the United States and Britain is a clearer example.

The United Nations Security Council does not represent the whole world and the major powers play politics of their interest. US, Russia and now China veto important decisions based on their individual leanings rather than with a collective security approach.

An organisation considered a terrorist by one nation might be an offshoot of another’s ally. This totally defies the purpose of collective security as not all members of the UN may consider an issue of an organisation as a threat to their security.

Some scholars see the United Nations’ collective security as a one-sided system whereby lesser and medium powers are ignored during aggression. They argue that the United Nations has not completely applied the principle of collective security on a universal scale. Hence, collective security would be meaningful only if it applied to great as well as lesser powers. [309 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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