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Voting Behaviour: What is ‘security’ in international relations? Free essay! Download now

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Voting Behaviour: What is ‘security’ in international relations?

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What is ‘security’ in international relations and why is the concept so contested?


The first is the traditional approach to national security which in brief describes states to be the ‘most powerful actors’ (International relations book) and for a state to be secure in a self help world, they must seek their own protection through more of a military approach. The next concept is the idea of contingent realism that unlike their traditional colleagues has a very bleak view on co-operation between states, have more of a positive approach on co-operation with one of the main examples being that of the Cold War. Another realist concept is the security dilemma, this refers to a common situation wherein two or more states are drawn into conflict, possibly even war, when none of the states involved actually wanted conflict. Going away from the neo-realists thinking, liberal institutionalism is another concept that has emerged where the general consensus is that international institutions such as the UN, EU and NATO have a much more important role than neo-realists give to them. The democratic peace theory is another liberal approach to international security and this opinion centres on the view that democratic states do not fight other democratic states. ‘Collective security is one type of coalition building strategy in which a group of nations agree not to attack each other and to defend each other against an attack from one of the others, if such an attack is made.’( ). I must stress that these are only the core views on security and there are also many alternative views such as social constructivist theory, feminist approaches and post modernist views which should also be taken into consideration when discussing why international politics is so contested.
International security consists of the measures taken by nations and international bodies, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military action, and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions. Grave New World: Security Challenges in the 21st Century
edited by Michael E Brown

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