The 'Promise' of the 1970s: Ratu Mara on the World Stage
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The present era of global governance presents enormous possibilities for small island states owing to their sovereign status in international organisations. Despite these apparent advantages asymmetries prevail as human resource constraints pose major obstacles for countries seeking to maximise their influence in global forums. This, however, was not the case in the late 1970s when Pacific leaders were far more assertive in regional and international forums. The most prominent such leader was Ratu Mara, the prime minister of Fiji. Examination of his role suggests the unusual nature of the decade of independence for most Pacific island states. This highlights the importance of both broader trends-the global push for self-determination, in the immediate post-colonial era, the particular dynamics of domestic Fijian politics, including Ratu Mara's dominance of the government executive and the administrative support of close aides-and his own personal capabilities, specifically his international educational history and chiefly lineage. Four decades later such circumstances no longer exist. While that era provides a powerful illustration of the promise that global governance offers small island states and their leaders, the combination of circumstances that surround Ratu Mara's political tenure simultaneously reaffirm the more general theme of limited influence.
The Round Table
Copyright 2014 Taylor & Francis (Routledge). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The Round Table on 27 May 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00358533.2014.918712
Political Science not elsewhere classified