Small states in world politics

The story of small state survival, 1648–2016

Author: Matthias Maass

Small states are survival artists. Understanding the story of small state survival requires a clear focus on the international states system. This book finds that different variations of the Westphalian states system had very different effects on small state survival. The most hostile environment for the small state was the late nineteenth-century concert system; the most supportive environment was the bipolar world of the later twentieth century. The book investigates the era of the classic balance of power which began after the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648 and ended during the French Revolutionary Wars and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. Surprisingly, the crude balance-of-power system of the eighteenth century proved fairly accommodating of small state survival. Looking to the future, a modest rise in the number of small states can be predicted. The book views international relations since at least the mid seventeenth century to be driven by concerns over state power. Consequently, it deals with power, weakness, and power politics. To do so properly, a theoretical framework was needed that puts power and power balancing front and center. Power and power politics are important concepts in the academic discipline of International Relations theory, and particularly in Realist thinking.

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