Norms in Security

Topics: United Nations, Human security, National security Pages: 3 (1053 words) Published: June 14, 2014
Do international norms have an impact on security issues? Why?

Norms can be understood as rules for standard behaviour. Norms are a common belief or understanding usually shared by a majority. International norms are determined by the international community and they usually set the stage for the behaviour of individual countries. These norms shape international as well as domestic security issues. These norms shape inter-state behaviour, they also shape the security policies of nation-states and they also serve to set certain normative standards about how the world should be. In this paper we will look at how the emergence of certain norms, taboos and international laws have contributed to international security concerns and sometimes also problems of mistrust. The major schools of international relations theory such as neoliberalism and neorealism have not satisfactorily confronted the evolution of norms of interstate behaviour. However the constructivist literature draws on a variety of theoretical texts and empirical studies to argue that norms have illustrative power independent of structural and situational constraints. The belief that all norms are created by the powerful can be challenged. As international norms have come to be shaped by a number of factors such as newer democracies, pressure groups, international and humanitarian organizations. Humanitarian values, global security, moral ethical behaviour by powerful states are some of the values that have given direction to and reflect international norms as illustrated by the following quote. " The case of nuclear taboo is important theoretically because it challenges conventional views that international norms, especially in the security area, are created mainly by and for the powerful," (Tannenwald, 2005, 7). The use of certain weapons or their prohibitions rather are shaped by factors that are not limited to decisions by nation states. The stigmatisation of a weapon and the mass opinion...
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