“Security dilemma” is one of quintessential concepts in realism international relations theory, and is frequent situations in interstates relations. In 5 century B.C., ancient Grecian historian Thucydides had ever described this case. In the early 1950’s, American and Britain scholars John Herz and Herbert Butterfield formally put forward this concept. Because of the cold war between America and Soviet, at the same time, realism and neorealism lying in the leading position of international relations theory academia, security dilemma plays eminent role in interstate relations after World War Two. This dissertation begins with the analysis of theory, and utilizes it to analyze the security situations of northeast Asia in the post-cold war era.
The first part of this dissertation mainly discusses the basic theoretical mechanism of security dilemma. Through the definition of security dilemma, the analysis of its type, produce reasons and the possibility of elimination as well as theoretical rethinking, the origin and the primary feature of security dilemma are believed as the distrust and fear among counties under anarchy. So, the measure that a country adopts for ensuring safety signifies to reduce the safe sense of other countries, becomes the source of their worrying. Therefore, even if a country expands its power for the purpose of defense, it will render the others to feel more insecure and compel them to prepare for the worst. This situation will result to the vicious circle of “action-reaction”. So far, security regimes (mechanism) constructed are the best way of eliminating security dilemma, forming certain norm and specification, making participators get mutual benefits and limits.
Second part is the main part of this dissertation. It elaborates mainly the reality of security dilemma in northeast Asia, and analyses the consequence and reason that causes this dilemma.
As far as reality is concerned, there is a classical security dilemma between South and North Korea. Mutual distrust results in worrying about the attack from the other’s opponent. Consequently, South Korea modernizes its weapons and attends the joint military maneuver with America. North also develops advanced weapons especially nuclear weapon to get itself “safety”. At last, the vicious circle is formed on safety. The security dilemma between China and Japan embodies on 4 aspects: national affection, military safety, Diaoyu Islands and seeking great power position. In order to get favorable opportunity, Japan strengthens the alliance relations with U.S. and promotes the development of military force. Based on protecting its security, China will make the certain reaction correspondingly. The security dilemma between Japan and North Korea concentrates on the former’s treating aggression in history and the latter’s development of missile and nuclear. Because of its economy strength relative weak, North Korea often adopts initiative behavior to avoid passive when it deals with its opponent. At the same time, U.S. and Japan make use of North Korea’s deed as direct excuse of their actions. This practice has much more aggravated the unsafe sense of North Korea.
The reasons of producing security dilemma are mainly following:
Historical factor, the aggression war of Japan has left the memory of pain to East Asian countries, today, Japan can not carry out self-examination thoroughly for it, how could make its neighbor trust a nation that does not eliminate militarism thoroughly and has military tradition? In addition, the Korean War broke out before half much century, not to solve national unification, but to aggravate the split and distrust in both sides.
Exterior factor, the existence of America has increased a lot of undetermined factors to this area. The powerful military existence and tightly coordinative network have formed huge strategic pressure to some relevant countries in this area, and have also stimulated to form security dilemma.
Realistic factor, the rise of great power will bring to impact on the present situation. In history, there are not old hegemony defending its domination no through war, and not new hegemony getting world central position no through war, either. China and Japan are rising great power, therefore, the American advantage position is being faced with challenge in this area, on the other hand, there are competition between China and Japan.
Mechanism factor, form long term, northeast Asia safe guarantee is mostly embodied with bilateral military alliance and communication, lacks the general safe mechanism. Though every country proposes to establish this kind of mechanism, their proposals are based on their interest, and striving to occupy important position in the new safe mechanism. The existence of various contradictions makes this area fill with brambles to establish cooperation mechanism. Consequently, there are a lot of danger, such as guarding mutually and the possibility of arm race.
Geographical factor, the special geography environment is an important factor of security dilemma in northeast Asia. Around Korean peninsula, there are four great powers, whichever power gets this area, it will aggravate others’ security dilemma. As an insularity and lack of source country, Japan pays close attention to sea transportation line and control sea power. China has too much sea and land neighboring countries, which offsets the increase of material strength to certain extent.
The biggest consequence produced by the security dilemma of northeast Asia stimulates the arm race in this area. In the post-cold war era, a lot of countries increase the military expenditure, update military equipment, and appear de-disarmament phenomenon. At the same time, there are two security benefit coordinative bodies: U.S.-South Korea-Japan and China- North Korea-Russia. Each side of these bodies has more common security benefits, and realizes its benefit through coordination.
The part three is countermeasure and perspective. At present, there are some security dialogue forms in this area. In a word, the form of intergovernment is underdeveloped (only ARF), and the second orbit dialogue just starts. Although the opportunity, which establishes regional safe guarantee, is not ripened, it is not equal to say that countries can give up effort. Northeast Asian countries should stress long-term benefits, say goodbye to accustomed thoughts, increase trust and eliminate doubt, make joint efforts, convert the security reduced mutually into the common security.