John Herz introduced the idea of security dilemma in early 1950s; a structural notion in which the self help attempts of states to look after their security needs try automatically to rising insecurity for others as each interprets its own measures as defensive and the measures of others as potentially threatening.
In the international system nearly all the states are concerned about their security against the other power, in order to remove those vulnerabilities the security they need strengthen and when they try to achieve it, this process creates insecurity for other because insecurity of one is insecurity of other, and thus the vicious cycle of security and power begins. One of dilemma is that no state is sure whether the security measure of other is just for security or for aggression. In this race nation get too much power and too little power because one gets power it enables her to make aggression against other and too little when other state adopts the same measure makes its gains ineffective. In this situation there should be the policy of self-restraint and moderation. However, compromises and cooperation are the best solutions but states having fear from one another that such cooperation would be exploited by the other state.
The “security dilemma” of Third World states is the core concept. This is applied to states without cohesive nationalism, with weak institutional capacitates to maintain peace and order, with a preoccupation with internal threats rather than external ones and with legitimacy problems, all these elements make the survival of third world countries vulnerable. Limited resources, poverty, need for modernization and weak political institutions, lack of consensus on national issues, expectations of dignity and respect, contribute towards security dilemma of third world. The need for creating an environment conducive to national cohesion is compromised over defending the territorial integrity and political sovereignty of state. Giving priorities to territorial integrity and political sovereignty by third world is that most of these countries remain under control of colonial power for long period of time and when they get independence the above mentioned concept of security overwhelmed the mind of the policy makers. Between 1945 and 1989 there were 21,809,000 casualties in ‘interstate wars and internationalized civil wars’. Of these victims of armed conflicts 99.2 percent were in the third world.
According to Barry Buzan; “the principle distinguishing feature of weak state is their high level concern with domestically generated threats to the security of the government, in other words weak states wither do not have or have failed to create a domestic political and social consensus and sufficient strength to eliminate the large scale use of force as a major and continuing element in the domestic political of the nation.”
In strong state, national security can be seen as protecting state from the outside threat and interference. There exists clear idea of the states, its institutions and its territory and with good mechanism of adjustment and change with sufficient supports, so that are not seriously threatened from within the states, whereas in weak states only its physical territory is defined as a national security objective because its ideology and institutions are internally contested to the point of violence, they do not offer clear referents as objects of national security. A weak state has more ambiguous concepts of national security, the security of government becomes confused with the security of state and factional interests are provided with legitimacy which do not merit, in contrast, strong state defined itself from within and fills the gap between its neighbours with solid political reason.
Most of the third world countries are dependent over great power for protection of their economics, technological gains, and financial aid. Mohammad Ayoob defines it as “the security and developments concerns of individual Third World states make most if not all of them dependent on varying degrees on the super powers and its allies for arms, political support, capital, and technology. These ties are in most cases strong enough to neutralize, for all practical purposed save occasional rhetoric, the confrontational tendencies of Third World ruling elites.”
The security of state and regime forces the decision makers of the third world countries to concentrate on immediate regional threat it is because of geographic proximity and weak state structure, narrowly based regime lacking unconditional legitimacy. This acute sense of security places them to maintain international order to promote status quo. There is proliferation of mutual security agreement and less formal agreement with super power or other. It gives security assurance to ruling elite in case of threat from external or internal side. This arrangement gives super power opportunity to extend their influence in third words and gives them access to strategic regions of the world in order to continue their global competition with other great powers.