7.2.7 Self-Protection against External Threats
Theoretically, countries could choose to rely upon multinational and global institutions (6.6.5 and 6.6.6) to protect them – but most countries have decided that these are insufficiently robust to guarantee the safety of their inhabitants. They want to be able to protect themselves: a form of ‘realpolitik’ (188.8.131.52). Although the need for national armed forces might be expected to diminish, it is politically inconceivable in the short to medium-term that countries will feel able to manage without them.
Governments can lessen some risks by gathering intelligence, to be able to intervene before the threat becomes overwhelming, although intelligence-gathering is controversial – as discussed later (184.108.40.206). When threats are detected, action needs to be taken.
As described in the following sub-sections, countries can act to protect themselves independently or they can act collaboratively – by using formal legal agreements (220.127.116.11) or by creating ad hoc coalitions (18.104.22.168). Whether alone or in concert, they have several ways of putting pressure on other countries (22.214.171.124).