Drivers of the foreign policies of Southern African small states

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: In international relations small states are either discarded as irrelevant, unimportant, or weak; held in high regard as potential movers and shakers in especially smart or niche diplomacy areas; powerful in blocs; or as a non-classification, that is undeserving of a unique type separate from the world body of states. Regardless of varying perceptions, small states exist and more so, they exist with foreign policies. This study examines what drives the foreign policies of the southern African small states of Botswana, the Comoros, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, the Seychelles and Swaziland. It finds that state size is important in shaping the foreign policies of these southern African small states but that it is not mutually exclusive from other typical domestic and international determinants which play roles in conditioning most states’ foreign policies. Moreover, defence of national interest features as a common and undeniable primary foreign policy objective of these states.