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Collective Security System Essay

3083 words - 13 pages

Collective security system as a limitation to State’s sovereignty

Collective security system as a limitation to State’s sovereignty Alexandra Foucaud Since 1648 and the Treaty of Westphalia and the recognition of the sovereignty of each State, States have been commonly accepted as the key feature of world politics. Nevertheless, the Westphalian system did not prevent the outbreak of the two World Wars of the 20 th Century. After, the First World War emerged, at the instigation of President Wilson, a first try to set up a collective security system with the creation of the League of Nations, which would, eventually, not last long. After the Second World War, all “free” States affirmed ...view middle of the document...

By joining this CSS, States seem, in an exercise of sovereignty, to voluntarily abdicate a part of their sovereignty in order to protect it. Nevertheless, an historical analysis tends to show that the CSS have more far-reaching consequences on State sovereignty than expected. Accordingly, this paper shall examine the intertwining relationship of collective security system and State’s sovereignty. To do so, we shall observe that the international order is currently based on a “sovereigntycentered collective security”4 system before analyzing how State sovereignty can be limited and challenged in particular situations.

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United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945, Preamble United Nations, Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1945, Chapter I, Article 1(1) 3 UN Charter, Preamble 4 Cuellar M.F., Stanford Journal of International Law 40:211 (2004), “Reflections on Sovereignty and Collective Security”


Collective security system as a limitation to State’s sovereignty Alexandra Foucaud


A “sovereignty-centered collective security” system
A. State sovereignty as one of the founding principle of the UN Charter 1. The UN Charter : a treaty between States First, it seems important to remind that the UN Charter is a treaty between States as it is

emphasized in its Preamble : “Governments (…) who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations (…)”5. The Charter also accentuate that “Membership (…) is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, (…) are able and willing to carry out these obligations”6. Thus it seems that surrendering a part of national sovereignty is just an exercise of the very same sovereignty. This choice can be understood while focusing on the costs and benefits of joining the system. The current CSS could be assimilated to a social contract between States that voluntarily decided to give up a part of sovereignty in order to maintain peace and security. If one might argue that States lost sovereignty, it appears that the benefits of such surrender overweigh the costs. Hence, signing this “Pacta Sunt Servanda” is not synonymous with an abdication of national sovereignty. 2. The UN Charter as a protection of State sovereignty The UN Charter clearly states that it respect and protect the national sovereignty of all the signatories as “The Organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members”7… Moreover, even if Article 2(4) specifies that « All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations»8, it also highlights that «Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially...

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