The New Security Dilemma

Philip G. Cerny

in Rethinking World Politics

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199733699
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776740 | DOI:
The New Security Dilemma

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International security is undergoing a particularly radical transformation: the New Security Dilemma (NSD). States and people are no longer most threatened by interstate wars — that is, wars between nation-states — as was the case in the “modern” state system of the 17th through 20th centuries. Violent conflict today overwhelmingly involves civil wars, ethnic and religious conflicts, cross-border wars, transnational terrorism, and the like. Indeed, attempts by states to provide international security through traditional state-based military modes and mechanisms are proving increasingly counterproductive in today's environment of complex economic interdependence, multiculturalism, and asymmetric power relations. At the same time, some states are increasingly prioritizing interdependent economic development, the promotion of global governance (despite its structural weaknesses), and “pooled sovereignty” rather than national sovereignty, national interests, autonomy, and the threat of defection. This chapter argues that the Traditional Security Dilemma is being subsumed in a wider and more complex NSD, in which the roles of a more pluralistic universe of social, economic, and political forces are challenging the capacity of states as such to provide security.

Keywords: international security; globalization; New Security Dilemma

Chapter.  12251 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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