Creative Writing Summer Session

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Security Dilemma Piece
kknox0009 wrote in jctc_summer2014
There are many aspects of international politics that affect the way states perform in everyday life. How these states work together affects each of their outcomes in the political realm. However, when a state wants to obtain more power than others it creates a security dilemma among states.

Security dilemmas are ultimately about power and have been around in international politics for many years. In 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia ended the 30 years war between Spain and Austria. This is important because it allowed states to obtain sovereignty. Sovereignty plays a huge role in security dilemmas because when a state’s sovereignty is threatened they will do just about anything to protect it. If you don’t know what another state’s intentions are and you don’t know the consequences of your own power then this leads to a security dilemma. A good example of this took place in January of 2002 when President Bush gave a speech and in this speech he labeled North Korea as one of the “axis of evil.” In this example, if you were North Korea, would you feel threatened? When you feel threatened and you don’t know the other states intentions it leads to an arms race spiral. If you don’t build up your weapons for defense purposes then there really isn’t another option for protection. By Bush labeling North Korea it led them to accelerate their weapons programs immediately after his speech which is a typical case of a security dilemma. Another example that created a security dilemma and involved North Korea happened during the Clinton Administration. In 1992 the United States noticed from the space station that North Korea had more activity going on in a certain area than usual. This led the U.S. to question whether or not North Korea had the intention of creating weapons of mass destruction. Clinton ended up opening up peace talks with North Korea and both states tried to cooperate with one another. However, for this to happen, the U.S. and Japan had to agree to fund two light water reactors and to provide oil each year to North Korea. By agreeing to this it looked like the U.S. was giving into blackmail but the U.S. had a lot more at stake. The U.S. and South Korea have an alliance and if North Korea was to invade South Korea it would completely obliterate their military. The U.S. also has a large amount of troops stationed in South Korea and the U.S. would have significant amount of casualties if North Korea was to invade. By North Korea trying to acquire WMD’s it created a huge security dilemma among more than two states.

States have tried many methods to try and overcome the security dilemma or at least reduce it if nothing more can be done. One method that has been attempted more than once is collective security. Collective security renounced the use of force in settling disputes. It was the idea that if one state became an aggressor that the non aggressor states would come together and stop the aggressor. This goes along with the idea of prevention by threat, that if an aggressor state knows that other states will gang up on it if it decides to obtain more power or become a hegemon, that state will be less likely to even try. Woodrow Wilson came up with the idea of starting the League of Nations. This league was designed to “create a world of independent nation states, free of outside interference; the secret diplomacy of the old order would be replaced by the open discussion and resolution of disputes; the military alliance blocs would be replaced by a system of collective guarantees of security; and agreed disarmament would prevent the recurrence of the kind of arms race” that had happened in the past. However, there were several problems with the League of Nations that led to its failure. One of the league’s biggest problems was the fact that the great powers were not in it. “In 1919, the U.S. Senate refused to ratify it,” . It was quite interesting that the President of the United States came up with the idea to form the league, yet the government was not behind his idea. This caused a problem because if a state in the league works with a great power that is not in the league, then they have a big advantage. For example, in 1928 a crisis arose between Bolivia and Paraguay, both whom were a part of the league. The Paraguayan military captured and destroyed a Bolivian fort. Afterward, Bolivia decided to attack and try to take back their fort and another fort as well. Bolivia also notified the League of Nations for help during this crisis. However, the main problem is that “the prime mover in mediation was the Pan American Conference of Conciliation and Arbitration, a body that had been organized by the Pan American Union, a predecessor of the Organization of the American States (OAS).” When a great power, like the United States works from the outside like in this case with Paraguay and Bolivia, the league doesn’t really work. In this case, the league was also slow to react when Bolivia notified them of what had happened. When the league doesn’t respond right away or help its members then other states, like the U.S. could possibly get involved. The league being slow to react pretty much opened the door for a great power to step right in.

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What assignment is this, or was this just a thought provoker?

It is a piece I wrote in undergrad for one of my political science courses. I wanted to revise it because it is something I am truly interested in and it is about 3 years old. I would like to see how my writing has evolved since then.

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