International Relations is a vibrant field of significant growth and change. This book guides students through the complexities of over 40 central concepts and core theories, relating them at all times to contemporary issues and debates.

Each concept is divided into five sections to allow rapid familiarization with the topic and provide signposts for further exploration:

Core questions to address; Definition; Theoretical perspectives; Empirical problems; Core reading and useful websites

In addition the major theories are covered by six-part entries that give a 360 degree view of the strengths, weaknesses, applications and methodologies of each one:

An introduction to the core questions; Overview and background; Methodologies; Empirical application; Central criticism; Core reading and useful websites

Clear and highly readable, Key Concepts in International Relations is an essential guide for students on politics and international relations courses.

Security Dilemma

Security dilemma

1. Core Questions Addressed

  • What is the ‘dilemma’ of security?
  • How can the security dilemma be overcome?
  • Does the security dilemma apply to non-traditional threats?

2. Definitions

The security dilemma describes a situation in which one state increases its means of defence in order to achieve a higher degree of security, which, however, is interpreted by another state as an act of aggression and thus countered with security measures on its side, thus possibly leading to an armament spiral. The dilemma consists in a choice between two options, both of which may lead to a lower degree of security: not to invest in defence and thus risk an attack, or to invest in defence and risk counter-measures by the other state, leading to potentially greater insecurity through ...

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