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Small States foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities




(MENAFN - Afghanistan Times) ‌By : Mohamad Mosa Ahmadzai

Small
states are those entities which are intrinsically small in size, population,
face acute shortage of natural resources and have weak economic capabilities.
The forum of small states (FOSS) a voluntary and informal grouping at the UN
defines small states as those with population of fewer than 10 million. (FOSS)
was established in 1994 in New York upon the initiative of Singapore and
currently it has 105 members from the 1993 members' states of the world
organization. The reason behind the creation of (FOSS) was that the small
states can feel that if they cooperate more closely with each other they can
have a real influence in world affairs. Half of the members of the United
Nations are small states; the UN provided a fora for small states to exercise their
role in international arena, while better economies, large population, abundant
natural resources, large size and strong military are needed by states to play
a greater role in international relations. Developed, underdeveloped, resource
rich, resource scarce, islands and landlocked states are included in the
unofficial category of small states. Size is a matter in international
relations, states with big size have more resources and are mostly dependent on
its own natural resources but small states are dependent on large states for
their own survival, terroritory is an important element of state without which
we cannot imagine the existence of state, Shortage of resources and economies
determine the power and influence of a state. 
Small states to exercise influence in international relations they must
be economically and politically resilient, this resilience is adaptive and
policy making in order to overcome the vulnerability of their size, Qatar is a
good example while it has more influence in international relations due to its
active diplomacy, rich natural resources. The
emergence of Qatar as an influential powerbroker in the Middle East and beyond
over the past decade has puzzled students and observers of the region alike.
How can a small state, with little previous history of diplomatic engagement
regionally or globally, have emerged as such an influential and significant
player in shaping unfolding events across the Middle East and elsewhere?   

Smaller European Union member states face size-related
challenges in the EU multilevel system, such as weighted voting in day-to-day
policymaking in which EU secondary law is produced or high workloads and fewer
resources during intergovernmental conferences (IGC) to set EU primary law.
Coping with these challenges is paramount to smaller states' success. Thus,
they can use different strategies, most notably selective engagement and
negotiation strategies that do not require much material power, such as
persuasion, framing, and coalition-building, as well as the Council Presidency
as a window of opportunity to influence the agenda. Applying these strategies
allows small states to punch above their weight. Yet, doing so is easier the
longer states have been members of the EU. Older, smaller states have more extensive
networks, more insights about past policies, and in-depth knowledge on best
practices that help them in effectively navigating day-to-day EU negotiations.

Small
states are always prone to foreign invasions, threats, interferences and need
to make to upgrade their economic capabilities. Here strong military is needed
but a small state does not have strong military capabilities so it has to make
alliances with large states for their survival and protection. Small states are
left only to the mercy of large states. Large states always misuse the needs
and vulnerabilities of small states and threaten small states. Thanks to
multilateralism and the transnational organization for striking a balance in
the relations between small and large states. No state can threaten or invade
another state sans the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.  Therefore states are bound to obey the rules
of internationalism. Small states adopt different foreign policies for achieving
their favorable policy outcomes than large states. So they show preference for
multilateral organizations for reducing the power gap between states and impose
constraints on large states. According to scholars small states use
multilateralism both as a path to influence and as a means to constrain large
states. Security polices of small states are influenced by both internal and
external conditions while large states are not mostly influenced by external
conditions. Small states are military weak due to the constraints of small
population and economies. Military weaknesses leave small states to foreign
coercion. The main reason for that could be that small states do not invest in
military technology, do not upgrade their military capabilities and maintain
military campaigns for short period of time. Weak economies also limit economic
negotiations of small states and therefore they cannot attract to make trade
partners. Small states follow different security strategies, they can either
remain neutral or join alliances or they show preference for balance. Rather
than to rely on their counterparts, small states rely on multinational
organizations from which they can benefit the most. These include the
gathering, analysis of, and dissemination of data; forum for exchanges of views
and decision-making; the defining of norms; the creation of rules; the
monitoring and enforcing of rules; the settling of disputes; and the allocation
of resources, provision of assistance. Multilateralism has paved the way for
small states to exercise their influence in international relations. In the age
of globalization and the growing interconnectedness of the world economic
cooperation has become more important and countries need to come together and
address the common challenges the world faced with.  Globalization influences with no doubt big
and small states, developed and developing states with an impact which is
positive for some states in some aspects and areas but negative and difficult
for some other states which makes globalization be considered uneven, because
of the different reach and effect in various parts of the world; Small states
are able to work with and more quickly respond to international issues than
large states due to their simple policy making processes and fewer internal and
international constraints. Small states are
attracted to the notions of legitimacy and the rule of law. They recognize
the valuable role that multilateral diplomacy plays in enhancing their
engagement and amplifying their voices on regional or global issues, small
states .tendency toward international cooperation and obeying the rule of
international law and their flexible diplomacy make them efficient
international players and this is due to their active diplomacy which make them
to engage in international cooperation with other states. A small population
and a small economy set limits on the military and diplomatic resources of
small states. Small states rely on international organizations for defense and
diplomatic support and small state become important and influential actors in
international relations. The major dilemma small states are facing with is
their inability to protect themselves either economically or militarily against
stronger powers encroachments. According to The cuddies, the strong do what
they will while the weak suffer what they must. Small states are rarely in the
focus of international media attention and there is lack of research aimed at e
understanding the way they are conducting their foreign relations. Enough
research is needed for states to conduct their affairs in international
relations. Small states have lack of recognition and visibility by foreign
public so they have to struggle to gain international attention while large
states have more audiences, large number of notions and the pictures associated
to them by foreign public. Small states are unpopular in the comity of nations
but there are states which are small but rich and developed and they are
exercising more influence in international relations.

References:

1_ ANDREA Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN, Small States at
the United Nations: Diverse Perspectives, Shared Opportunities, International
Peace Institute(IPI), MAY 2014.

2_ Babak Mohammadzadeh, Status and
Foreign Policy Change in Small States: Qatar's Emergence in Perspective,
THE INTERNATIONAL SPECTATOR 2017,VOL. 52, NO. 2, 19,36,2017.

3_ Baldur
Thorhallsson, Studying small states: A review, Small States &
Territories, Vol. 1, No. 1, Islands and Small States Institute,
University of Malta, Malta, 2018.

4_  Baldur Thorhallsson, Sverrir Steinsson, Small State Foreign Policy, From The Oxford
Research Encyclopedia of Politics (Oxford University Press),
researchgate,2017,https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313769977_Small_State_Foreign_Policy

5_ István Lakatos, The
Potential Role of Small States and their „NicheDiplomacy' at the UN and in the
Field of Human Rights, with Special Attention to Montenegro, Pécs Journal of
International and European Law - 2017/I,

6_
Macklin Scheldrup, Lilliputian Choice: Explaining Small State Foreign Policy
Variation, Undergraduate Honors Theses,University of Colorado, Boulder CU
Scholar, Spring 2014.

7_  Maria Nilaus Tarp and Jens Ole Bach Hansen,Size
and Influence How small states influence policy making in multilateral arenas,DIIS
Working Paper 2013: :11, Danish Institute for International Studies(DIIS),
Copenhagen, Denmark, 2013.

8_ Peya Mushelenga and Jo-Ansie Van
Wyk, THE DIPLOMACY OF SMALL STATES IN THE INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL
SYSTEM,University of Namibia, Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences,
Volume 6, Number 2, 2017 – ISSN 2026-7215 .


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Small States foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities

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