The independent resource on global security

Policies for Common Security

Common security.jpg
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISBN 0-85066-301-6
250 pp.

On 25 April 1982 the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues-commonly known as the Palme Commission-adopted its first Final Report. It was published that same year, under the title 'Common Security', thus introducing a new term into the language of debate.

The basic idea of common security is not complex. It is that no country can obtain security, in the long run, simply by taking unilateral decisions about its own military deployment. This is because security depends also on the actions and reactions of potential adversaries. Security has to be found in common with those adversaries. In the words of the Palme Commission's report, 'States can no longer seek security at each other's expense; it can be obtained only through cooperative undertakings'.

SIPRI convened a conference to undertake a critical examination of the concept of common security and to consider the implications of the idea for disarmament and arms control policy. This book contains the main papers presented at the conference.


This title was reissued by Routledge in August 2019. For further information, permission requests or to place an order, please contact the publisher directly.




R. Väyrynen


Part I. Conceptual and political underpinnings of common security

1. Common insecurity

S. Bok

2. Observations on the principle of common security

E. Bahr

3. The concept of common security

M. Kaldor

4. Thoughts on the concept of common security

S. Hoffmann

5. The Soviet concept of security

V. V. Zagladin

6. Common security and the Third World

L. Mojsov


Part II. Deterrence and common security: Alternative perspectives

7. Common security and deterrence

E. Rothschild

8. The death of deterrence

A. Krass

9. Common security and the limitation of war

T. C. Schelling

10. Unilateral actions as confidence-building measures

J. B. Wiesner

11. Atlantism, pacifism and common security in Europe

J.-P. Cot


Part III. Disengagement, alternative defence and common security in Europe

12. Policies of common security in Europe

S. Lodgaard

13. The détente process and common security

M. Saeter

14. Common security and defensive security

A. Mertes

15. Confidence building and nuclear weapons in Europe

J. J. Holst

16. On the issue of a chemical weapon-free zone

Kh. Lohs

Address by Dr Bruno Kreisky


Part IV. Reports of the Working Groups of the SIPRI International Conference on Common Security, September 1983

Report on the discussions in Working Group I: The concept of common security

M. Hellström and E. Rothschild

Report on the discussions in Working Group II: The USA-USSR relationship and common security

J. J. Holst

Report on the discussions in Working Group III: Europe and common security

A. Ferm and S. Lodgaard

Report on the discussions in Working Group IV: Common security and the Third World

K. Dadzie