Sovereignty at the Extremes: Micro-States in World Politics
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Micro-states illustrate deep changes in the international system obscured by scholars’ traditional focus on great powers. Logically, the nature and systemic effects of international anarchy should be most apparent in relation to the smallest and weakest states, and least apparent in relation to great powers. Focusing on micro-states suggests a permissive contemporary international system facilitating the proliferation and survival of states independent of their military and functional capacities. Micro-states’ lack of great power allies illustrates the irrelevance of military threats under anarchy, while the presence of an international economic safety net attenuates problems of economic viability. The lack of association between smallness and delegating sovereignty questions functional explanations of hierarchy. Instead, varying micro-states strategies of à la carte hierarchy and selling sovereign prerogatives demonstrate that the current international system presents even its smallest and weakest members with choices rather than imperatives.
JC Sharman, Sovereignty at the Extremes: Micro-States in World Politics, Political Studies, Vol. 65(3) 559–575, 2017. Copyright 2017 The Authors. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Political Science not elsewhere classified