In today’s complex and interconnected world, achieving security for a state is no easy feat. But cooperation, not isolation, can be the key to success.
Under a wide range of conditions, research has shown that states are more likely to achieve security by working together.
In fact, cooperation has become an urgent need in prevalent times, as unique global challenges such as pandemics and climate change demand collective action.
Interdependence, liberalism assumes that states are not the only important actors, social welfare issues share center stage with security issues on the global agenda, and cooperation is as dominant a characteristic of international politics as conflict.
Moreover, economic interdependence lowers the likelihood of war by increasing the value of trading over the alternative of aggression. It assumes that increased interdependence between countries reduces the chance of them engaging in conflict.
The liberal perspective promotes the use of institutions, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to encourage cooperation for similar goals.
These institutions provide states with absolute gains from complex interdependence while neglecting the idea of power.
Cooperation may be achieved through complex relationships among states, limited to the liberal lens. Such cooperation leads to a peaceful world order among states to provide peace from shared cooperation as long as there are mutual gains.
Economic gains through trade and foreign investments negate any power struggles among states, addressed by liberal theorists. Extending the complex interdependence, especially economically, works to better stabilize peace among states.
On the other hand, in terms of military forces, cooperative policies could include arms control and unilateral restraint. An arms control agreement that limits the size of deployed forces can provide protection against losing an arms race.
An arms control agreement that limits forces that are especially effective for attacking can enhance both states’ abilities to defend and deter, leaving both more secure than if they had competed in that type of offensive weaponry.
Russia-Ukraine crisis raises nuclear fears
In the case of Russia and Ukraine, arms proliferation has played a major role in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.
Russia has provided military support to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, which has exacerbated regional tensions. Meanwhile, Ukraine has increased its military spending in response to Russia’s assistance to separatist forces.
As a result, further arms proliferation could lead to an escalation of the conflict and a greater risk of war. Factually, we can’t afford war because it will have extremely adverse effects not only on Ukraine and Russia but on the whole region.
Therefore, it is important to avoid arms proliferation in the Russia-Ukraine conflict in order to prevent a possible conflict from escalating.
The potential for a nuclear conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a serious concern for the international community. Such an escalation would have devastating humanitarian, economic, and political implications for the region and the world.
International organizations such as the United Nations have been working to promote dialogue and cooperation between the two countries to reduce the risk of an armed confrontation.
It is also essential that all countries in the region work together to prevent an unnecessary armed conflict involving nuclear weapons.
It is important that all countries involved in the situation work together to find a peaceful resolution. Negotiations and diplomacy are key to avoiding a potentially catastrophic nuclear conflict and allowing both sides to find a way to move forward.
All nations should also commit to upholding their obligations under international law and treaties, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to ensure the safe and responsible use of nuclear weapons.
In addition to enhancing states’ military capabilities, cooperative policies can improve their political relations, and in turn, increase their security.
Cooperation among states: A need of the hour
By cooperating, a state may be able to communicate information about its motives, leading the adversary to conclude that the state is more likely to be a security seeker; cooperation becomes less risky, so states adopt cooperative policies that make cooperation still more attractive.
As of now, the international system encourages moderate behavior and enough power; anything else must be explained at some other level of analysis. Overexpansion, self-encirclement, and overextension should be considered pathological.
Thus, great powers are often satisfied with the existing balance of power, rarely seek to change it through military force, security is abundant rather than scarce, and states have little incentive to seek additional power.
We need to understand that all the movement of people and goods between two states leads to more interdependence and less tendency to solve disputes in a military way. Thus, “war” and “arms proliferation” should be seen as something to be avoided.
*The writer is a Fellow at The Diplomatic Insight, published by the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies
**The Diplomatic Insight does not take any position on issues and the views, opinions & findings represented herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Diplomatic Insight and its staff