Small States in World Politics: Explaining Foreign Policy Behavior

Small States in World Politics: Explaining Foreign Policy Behavior

Small States in World Politics: Explaining Foreign Policy Behavior

Small States in World Politics: Explaining Foreign Policy Behavior

Synopsis

A comprehensive examination of small state foreign policy, offering empirical richness within a consistent theoretical framework.

Excerpt

Jeanne A. K. Hey

The international system has undergone fundamental changes in the past fifteen years, with strong implications for small state foreign policy. Small states today enjoy more international prestige and visibility than at any other time in history. In most cases, their physical security is ensured, while the rise of such transnational efforts as the European Union (EU), the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) put them on a legal and diplo- matic footing with larger countries. The end of the Cold War means that small states in the third world are no longer pawns in a global competi- tion for superpower status. The Gulf War, the first major global conflict to occur after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, was fought to defend the sovereignty of a tiny state, Kuwait. Luxembourg and Belgium, the smallest members of the European Union, are not only seats of the EU's major institutions, but also active and often influential players within the European bloc. Kofi Annan, the widely popular Secretary-General of the United Nations and now a Nobel peace laureate, is from Ghana, a country that has for years played a role in regional affairs that is greater than its small status would suggest.

That said, many poor small states, no longer able to play the super- powers off one another, have fewer policy options now than at the height of the Cold War. They often find themselves caught between the demands of the international economic power brokers—including the United States, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank—which call for fiscal restraint, and those of their own citizens, who are eager to receive the benefits of government spending. Meanwhile, wealthy small states that have pursued regional integration to advance their own goals and influence now find their pro- tected status threatened by the expansion of such regional institutions as . . .

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