Bras. Political Sci. Rev.2018;12(1):e0007.

Defense Cooperation: The South American Experience

Janina Onuki

DOI: 10.1590/1981-3821201800010007

One of the main challenges for theories of international relations and trade policy is the ‘security dilemma’. International security and national defense are central issues in the area of international relations; they have always been variables related to the anarchic nature of the international system, associated with the prevalence of distrust in the relationship among states. For this reason, the classic academic debate between the neorealists’ and the neo-institutionalists’ contrasting views has basically revolved around the quest to overcome instability, while looking for alternatives that could create space for cooperation, precisely to avoid any return to Hobbesian anarchy.

The dilemma concerns how to create state-to-state cooperation in the security and defense field. Unlike a contract in other areas such as trade, the environment, or human rights – where the premise of cooperation justifies the creation of international regimes – the area of ​defense and security has an element that precedes the discussion of the regime: overcoming distrust (). Given a history marked predominantly by the balance of power between great powers – known for competition, relative gains and individual protection of countries – the tendency has been to turn to arms for protection, and for this reason cooperation has always been treated with caution.


Defense Cooperation: The South American Experience