Contemplations: Sovereignty, Collective Security and Use of Force Humankind’s experience on scourge of war during World War I & II can

be considered as the birth of an idea of collective security. It was this scourge that led to the formation of “The league of nations.” Though considered as a failure primarily owing to the different dynamics of world political system1 in those times, it cannot be ignored that this very notions of states coming together for the “collective security” to not to witness anymore such scourge did lead to the formation of United Nations. The very idea of the “Collective Security” stands tall on the premise of having a global peace. It is primarily because of this noble vision that this concept possesses in itself makes it alive. However, due to changing dynamics of the world political system over the years, this notion has also faced the challenges every now and then owing to the fact that every state in the world has different yet unique ideas and actions to achieve global peace primarily based on their interest. While nations such as Costa Rica portray an exemplary idea that a state can be secured and peaceful without an army, then the states such as USA argue on how war is important to achieve peace and for their national security. As Barrack Obama, the president of United States argued in his noble peace prize acceptance speech on how war is necessary for the sustainable peace. The failure of “The League of Nations” owes to the idea of collective security put forth among the states during its formations. The whole idea of power was different during those times. States such as Germany, USA, Soviet Union, and The Great Britain etc. were determined and convinced that the more territory they expand, the powerful they are. The very notion of power was based on the territorial reach you have in the world. Putting forth an idea of sovereignty/collective security implying to non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states were against the very idea of nations becoming powerful. And, thus it failed. I think, we have come a long way from this understanding of powerful states and the changes are happening rapidly contrary to the idea of powerful states with the notion of territoriality. China and India are the perfect examples. The silent growth of both of these nations has evidenced the fact that states can be superpower not because of their strategic importance but because of their economic and technological influence. While both these facets are critical, the important point to be noticed is that economic and technological influence surpasses the notion of strategic importance. The change can also be evidenced from the fact that during the birth of United Nations- that fundamentally stands on the ideals of “Collective Security”, there were not even 50 states present but today there are almost 200 states standing by its side. At times supporting it, most of the times criticizing it but however, acknowledging it. There may be very arguments for and against sovereignty and collective security. In this time in the history, the international law discourse situates itself upon the two pillars on “sovereignty and human rights” that are constantly opposing itself theoretically (possibly not practically). While the idea of sovereignty promotes and advocates of non-intervention, the need to act upon the preservation of human rights does embark to the intervention, and thus goes against the theoretical idea of sovereignty (not practical). Analyzing the history of power relations and international politics, we may find that each time the issue of collective security and its relation with sovereignty discussion is coupled with a suspicion. And I think this is the very problem. We should evolve ourselves out of this


The statement is built on the premise that the worldview prioritized power in terms of expansion of the territory. The notion has changed in the contemporary times. States are perceived powerful based on their hold on the international community due to their economic and technological capacity and the role thus they can play in the world political systems.


Mohit Pant, Asia Leaders Program, ADMU, 2011

EU has set forth an example where states are still cherishing their sovereignty when the entire monetary identity of the respective state has been changed with one identity as Euro. which is small country that barely makes any role in the world politics.suspicion of possible interference in the nation’s sovereignty when we talk about the idea of collective security. It would have just gone in. We should spend more time on how to ensure mechanism for not allowing actors play a role that would violate the idea of collective security in the name of intervention. We should contemplate more on how mechanisms can be set to ensure the preservations of human rights and global peace through collective security and yet making the state’s identity intact and infact developing the state. Sovereignty has and will always be a subjective idea with no clear definition on how a state can be considered sovereign. Would USA really have waited for the response from UN general assembly or the Security Council to go on war with Iraq and Afghanistan if the dynamics of the world politics was similar to that in the 18th or early 19th century? No. the idea of collective security do not violate the sovereignty of any state should the intervention takes place to ensure the human rights. ADMU. Yet. I believe we should overcome this suspicion that is associated with the idea of “collective security”. In this regard. No nation state can cherish their sovereignty by violating the human rights of their own people. Nepal. Asia Leaders Program. China has interference in the USA economy. in retrospect all the state are sovereign in a better way than what they used to be in the last century. We should not forget that the idea of collective security is based on the visions of global peace. actually has interference in the defense of world’s two superpowers: India and UK both hosts “Gorkha” soldiers in their armies. Word count: 1124   Mohit Pant. then no state can be sovereign because every state is interdependent on other state in some ways. If sovereignty is to be perceived through the notion of independence. There can be many arguments to support the nature of sovereignty as being a very subjective idea and thus no states are and will ever be experiencing the pure state of sovereignty unless there is one world with one nation. 2011 . Similarly. every state has and will have some interference in some level in every state. Today. no nation state can walk into another territory with force with the purpose of expanding their territory. This debate will much yield productive results than debating on how the collective security has violated the state’s sovereignty.