Does Anyone Still Understand the “Security Dilemma?”

Source: Foreign Policy
by Stephen M Walt

“The ‘security dilemma’ is a central concept in the academic study of international politics and foreign policy. … [It] describes how the actions that one state takes to make itself more secure — building armaments, putting military forces on alert, forming new alliances — tend to make other states less secure and lead them to respond in kind. The result is a tightening spiral of hostility that leaves neither side better off than before. If you’ve taken a basic international relations class in college and didn’t learn about this concept, you may want to contact your registrar and ask for a refund. Yet given its simplicity and its importance, I’m frequently struck by how often the people charged with handling foreign and national security policy seem to be unaware of it — not just in the United States, but in lots of other countries too.” (07/26/22)