A system for maintaining world peace and security by the concerted action and agreement of all nations. The central idea of collective security is to institutionalize a permanent arrangement of the balance of power in which the entire international community agrees to oppose military aggression by any member. The logic of the scheme is that no state can stand up to all of theother members of the system together, and that aggression will therefore be permanently deterred (an assumption made difficult when there are nuclear powers in the system). The necessary conditions for collective security are very demanding. First, all states must accept the status quo sufficiently to renounce the use of force for any purpose other than defence of their own territory. Second, allstates must agree on a clear definition of aggression so that paralysis can be avoided if cases arise. Third, all states, and especially the large powers, must be willing to commit their own armed forces and/or funds (or to create, pay for, and find means of controlling, an international armed force) to prevent aggression even if it is remote from, or opposed to, their immediate interests.Fourth, all states must prevent actively any breaches of sanctions that might assist the declared outlaw. Attempts by the League of Nations to implement collective security failed because of inability to meet these conditions. The United Nations Security Council is a mechanism for collective security, and its operation in 1991 against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait might be seen as an instance of successfulimplementation of the idea.
The term collective security was coined in the 1930s, but the concept that each nation's security depended upon that of all other nations, that peace was universal and indivisible, was not new. Earlier advocates, especially President Woodrow Wilson, had affirmed this concept during World War I. The victorious Allies had institutionalized it in thepostwar League of Nations. Despite the Senate's rejection of the League, and the League's failures to stop aggression during the 1930s, Wilson's legacy—his vision of a “new world order”—continued to shape U.S. foreign policy throughout the twentieth century. As one of the world's great powers, the United States by midcentury abandoned its earlier policy of neutrality in favor of collective security.Wilsonian collective security presupposed U.S. hegemony. Drafting the Covenant for the postwar League at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Wilson ensured that it would conform to his vision of world order. He viewed the League as the worldwide extension of the Monroe Doctrine. He expected the United States to control the League so that it would extend U.S. influence abroad without jeopardizingU.S. independence. A veto over potentially unacceptable decisions by the League Council would guarantee that its actions would coincide with U.S. preferences.
Rejecting Wilson's globalism, Republican senators doubted that the United States could control the League. Led by Henry Cabot Lodge, they feared that the League would endanger U.S. independence and entangle the United States indiscriminatelyin foreign wars. They did not want Wilson or any president to use the League to involve the United States in foreign wars without congressional approval. Although most had supported war against Germany in 1917, these senators repudiated the Wilsonian vision of collective security.
After World War I, Republican presidents largely shunned the League in Geneva, Switzerland. The closest they cameto global collective security was the Kellogg‐Briand Pact of 1928 and the Hoover‐Stimson Doctrine of 1932. President Calvin Coolidge approved the multilateral treaty that Secretary of State Frank Kellogg had negotiated with French foreign minister Aristide Briand to renounce war except for self‐defense. The Kellogg‐Briand Pact did not, however, prevent Japanese aggression against China...