The United States and the Security Council: Collective Security Since the Cold War

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The United States and the Security Council: Collective Security Since the Cold War

By Brian Frederking
Routledge, 2007
197 pp. $35.95
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Can the world's leading states agree on rules about the use of force and collectively provide a stable peace -- or is the world doomed to great-power rivalry and security competition? This unassuming little book provides one of the best expositions yet of the dilemmas that plague current efforts to forge agreement on global security. Frederking notes that security cooperation today must cope with two historically unique realities: high levels of "security interdependence," in which threats such as nuclear proliferation and terrorism can be tackled only through sustained cooperation, and U.S. military supremacy, in which one state stands above all the others. The dilemma for the United States is that it would like to maintain its position, but if it acts unilaterally, it risks undermining its role as a legitimate leader and alienating states whose cooperation it needs. Frederking traces this conundrum as it has played out in post-Cold War UN Security Council debates over peacekeeping, economic sanctions, judicial tribunals, and the use of force. He nicely illuminates the difficulties of constructing collective security rules in a one-superpower world while also making a strong argument for why the United States should work through the Security Council nonetheless.