Herausgeber:
Liechtenstein Politische Schriften
Bandzählung:
39
Erscheinungsjahr:
2004
PURL:
https://www.eliechtensteinensia.li/viewer/object/000240237/11/
to its neighbours. It is also necessary to emphasise the distinction be - tween a small state and a weak state and to realise that there is no direct correlation between these categories. A small state may be strong, success ful and, in some areas, fairly influential. Singapore is a good case in point. Typical of small states is a larger degree of economic openness since their limited internal space does not enable them as much as even contemplate voluntary isolationism or autarchy. The openness of the economy and the impact of foreign trade on a country’s prosperity, ho- wever, imply yet another development factor that is not subject to the di- rect control of a state. In terms of origins, most of currently existing small states in Europe came about as a result of disintegration of larger units that took place in the past century. On a global scale, the decoloni - sa tion process proved to be the driving force of a much more widespre- ad fragmentation and emergence of new states. Given the considerable depen dence of small sates on the external environment, it is only natural that they are so keen on seeing relations between states regulated by a system of international law and care so much about the advancement of international organisations. They view supranational institutions as a na- tural defence against the uncontrolled influence of larger neighbours and of big powers as well as an instrument of pursuing their own reason able interests. Notwithstanding certain justified reservations concerning the effectiveness of the United Nations, nowadays the prevailing view is that in a way multilateral political institutions epitomise democracy and the rule of law in the international system. And, as we all know only too well, although democracy is far from being perfect, humanity is yet to devise something better. Despite all the diversity represented by small states, there are cer- tain political elements that predetermine their choice of political strate- gies. I will probably not be far from the truth if I say that while for big states the choice of a proper strategy for international policy is im por - tant, for small countries this choice is more a matter of survival. To small states an error in determining the right strategy – whether imposed by external factors or poor judgement in assessing the internal capacity – may prove fatal. History is replete with such examples. At present, the behaviour of small states in the system of international relations is de- termined by political geography, historic interactions and their cur rent economic or military force. A major parameter is the influence of the in- ternational environment in the form of immediate neighbours and big 14Eduard Kukan
        

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