Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 11: Small states in Europe as a buffer between East and West

Revecca Pedi


This chapter investigates whether the often misused and misunderstood concept of the buffer state remains significant in the post-Cold War era. With this in mind, the chapter focuses on the case of Ukraine and its relations with Russia and the West. It is suggested that, as the conditions of cooperation and competition between Russia and the West have been significantly different from those of the past, both of them do not perceive small states between them as buffers. Nudged in between great powers, small states that in the past could have played the role of buffer, have now become objects of the competition between great powers and their integration projects. The chapter concludes that small states lying uncomfortably in between great powers remain vulnerable to pressures from their more powerful neighbours: their domestic politics and policies and their external relations are invariably influenced by their geography. However, their own decisions at home and abroad still matter.

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