Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series
Edited by Sabino Cassese
Chapter 21: Globalization and sovereignty: global threats and international security
Security is a traditional mainstay and ‘legitimizing principle’ of the nation State. The past century has, however, witnessed a marked shift in the exercise of security operations from sovereign power to global coordination. This movement, which began with efforts to institute collective action in the Covenant of the League of Nations and the condemnation of recourse to war for the solution of international controversies in the 1928 Kellogg–Briand Pact, was consolidated with the establishment of the United Nations (UN) in 1945. The Charter of the United Nations (hereinafter, ‘Charter’) provided a radically new structure to the international security system that centralized primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in the Security Council, and otherwise outlawed the use of force, save in cases of individual or collective self-defence in the event of an armed attack. The Security Council’s exercise of the ‘overwhelming power’ with which it is vested has only expanded since its Cold War stalemate came to an end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Peacekeeping operations have assumed ever greater powers, sanctions have pierced the State veil to target individuals directly, and the very notion of ‘international security’ has extended to encompass new, diffuse global threats that do not emanate from any one State. The implementation of Security Council decision-making has engaged national actors, transnational networks and regional regimes in an intricate cooperative effort.
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