what is security dilemma?I still confused that security dilemma is dilemma between national security and global security or defense security against offense security? does it still  relevant in...

what is security dilemma?

I still confused that security dilemma is dilemma between national security and global security or defense security against offense security? does it still  relevant in post-cold war era?


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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The security dilemma revolves around this paradox: anything that a country does to make itself more secure will often make it less secure.  This is because its actions will make other countries more likely to fear it and want to attack it before it gets too strong.

Let's say that China feels threatened by America and tries to build aircraft carriers so it can project force out farther.  China feels aircraft carriers will make it more secure.  But what will America think?  It will think China is going to attack it or its interests.  This makes conflict more likely between China and the US.

So, by trying to become more secure, China has actually increased the chance of conflict with the US.

As you can see from the example, it is certainly still relevant in the post-Cold War world.


brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Post #2 explains it quite well.  To give you an example, sending large armies out to the Middle East to fight wars that keep friendly governments, or to maintain the flow of oil is good for our short term economic security, as well as our short term military security, but it limits our options in Asia, where we already have security threats from countries like North Korea and China.  So in pursuing security in one area of the world, we have reduced our security in another.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think a security dilemma is still definitely relevant in a post-cold war period. As #2 suggests, security dilemmas are common problems in today's world, with new super-powers rearing their heads alongside the old ones. Certainly there appears to be no end to security dilemmas - just consider the rising powers of China and India, not to mention the "old" superpower, Russia.

moustacio | Student

The security dilemma revolves around the idea that a state, in the process of building up its military strength to defend itself against others, often prompts other countries to do the same. The adaptation of deterrence therefore creates a self-defeating vicious cycle since states would engage in a never-ending arms race or military build-up to strengthen themselves and deter their enemies, which in turn respond in the same manner. Their efforts to increase their physical security thus produce the ironic effect of reducing it.  

epollock | Student

The security dilemma is that you give up something to make yourself safer. For example, one might have to give up liberties, and comfort in exchange for safety and security. It is happening all the time in personal freedoms being curtailed in order to prevent terrorism. This includes waiting in line longer at airports, having personal messages read, and having ourselves searched.

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