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Small States In The International System: At Pe...

Size matters in international relations. Owing to their unique vulnerabilities, small states have different needs, adopt different foreign policies, and have a harder time achieving favorable foreign policy outcomes than large states. Small states show a preference for multilateral organizations because they reduce the power asymmetry between states, decrease the transaction costs of diplomacy, and impose constraints on large states. Small state security policies vary widely depending on domestic and international conditions. Despite the inherent disadvantages to being small, small states can compensate for the limitations of their size and exert influence on world politics, provided that they use the appropriate strategies.

Small States in the International System: At Pe...

The effectiveness of hard and soft power approaches depends on the accessibility of power resources (see Heywood, 2011, Figure 9.1). Large states such as the USA or Russia with a higher national income are financially able to maintain large armed forces and to put other states economically under pressure. For smaller states, these traditional tools of hard power are more difficult to obtain. The accessibility of soft power resources though depends much less on the size of a state. As the example of Norway shows, small states have definitely the ability to build soft power (cf. Nye, 2004, pp. 111-112; and Leonard, 2002, p.53).

Moving on from the definitional part of this paper. The characteristics of the contemporary world order weaken the effectiveness of hard power strategies. Based on Nye (1990), Hackbarth defines the following characteristics (2008, pp. 2-3): globalisation-driven economic interdependence; the rise of transnational actors; the resurgence of nationalism in weak states; the spread of military technology; and the changed nature of international political problems. In 2008, Nye added the wide-spread access to information to this list (p. 99) and Gallarotti stresses that also the growth of democracy hinders the effectiveness of hard power (2011, p. 40).

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Andorra does not have its own armed forces,[3] although there is a small ceremonial army. Responsibility for defending the nation rests primarily with France and Spain.[136] However, in case of emergencies or natural disasters, the Sometent (an alarm) is called and all able-bodied men between 21 and 60 of Andorran nationality must serve.[137][138] This is why all Andorrans, and especially the head of each house (usually the eldest able-bodied man of a house) should, by law, keep a rifle, even though the law also states that the police will offer a firearm in case of need.[138] Andorra is a full member of the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and has a special agreement with the European Union (EU), it also has observer status at the World Trade Organization (WTO).[139] On 16 October 2020, Andorra became the 190th member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), during the COVID-19 pandemic.[140][141]

The debate between IR scholars is not the centre of gravity of this article. What then are the implications of reviewing IR pieces and Thai foreign policy? At the outset, it seems irrelevant. A closer inspection reveals quite a number of puzzles to rethink as regards the issues of Thai foreign policy. Firstly, the number of small states in the world far exceeds the number of great powers. Hence, the foreign policy behaviours of Thailand from past to present are not distinguished from other weak states. The patterns of Thai foreign policy behaviours, as described by Corrine, bear a striking resemblance to other small-state cases investigated by IR circles. That is, the small states cherish survival, tender reactive and passive policy, and choose bandwagoning and balancing depending on circumstances. These are the pragmatic and flexible qualities for the small states to maximise national security and interest.

Another stepping-stone effort is to formalise the Thai foreign policy descriptive variations into a social scientific manner. As Corrine, and many others have identified different policy responses and characters of Thailand, it is vital to question how, when, and under which conditions that shape the Thai foreign policy behaviours. In IR, there have been attempts to discuss the conditions which drive any small states to seek balancing and bandwagoning if they are dictated by the versatility of the international structure. For example, Stephen Walt (1987, 29-30), Jack Levy (1989, 231), and Randall Schweller (1997, 928), despite differences in stating which conditions shape the bandwagoning practice of the small states, assess how the small nations would generate a bandwagoning policy. On the contrary, Eric Labs (1992) resorts to contrast the others by studying cases from the past and arguing that the small states throughout history would prefer balancing to bandwagoining.

In fact, an interest in the middle powers and small states has resurfaced in recent years (see selected publications Aaltola 2011; Armstrong & Read1998; Browning 2006; do Céu Pinto 2014; Doeser 2011; Elman 1995; Goetschel 1998; Gvalia, Siroky, Lebanidze, & Iashvili 2013; Lee 2006; Maass 2009; Neumann & Gstöhlkt, 2004). These works approach the question of the small states from an angle of non-realist perspective. They examine how the small states behave different from the neo-realists would anticipate. 041b061a72


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