The Foreign and Security Policy Interests of Small States in Today’s Europe

  • Laurent Goetschel


In traditional political thought, as reflected by Henri Rousseau or Charles de Montesquieu, the qualification of a state as „small“ in the context of foreign and security policy meant that such a state was perceived as no danger to neighboring states. Small states were seen as fragile creatures in the rough sea of international relations. They were internally well suited for democratic regimes but externally helpless and constantly threatened by extinction.1 This view of small states was partly a myth based on political romanticism and idealization of the small size of nations,2 partly explainable by the nature of the existing international system3 which was far less governed by the rule of law than it is today. With democracy well established in large states as well and the principle of sovereign equality of states generally accepted and anchored in the Charter of the UN, what significance does the concept of the small state retain? Does it still have any significance at all?


Foreign Policy Security Policy International System Small State International Environment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

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  • Laurent Goetschel

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