What Is a Small State?

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What is a small state?

The relativity of influence
 In the period before the Cold War, the size of a state and its power within the international arena were mainly determined by traditional criteria. Factors that were taken into account included a state´s military capabilities, the size of its territory and its population. In times that a state´s main concerns were to survive and, preferably, to enhance its territorial gains along the way, a large population was essential in a way that it could provide a solid and large army as well as enough people to maintain the economic development of the state.  Over the last decades however, the international arena has developed into a more integrated and globalised environment. This changed environment presents us with new criteria for defining the size of states. Amongst others, Archer and Nugent (2002) stress that there is not one perfect method to define the size of states. Endogenous or exogenous factors can be taken into account: does the size depend on internal aspects of the state or does it depend on the state´s relations with other states? Another axis examines objective and subjective evaluations: is size based on ´measurable´ elements (for example: territorial size or population) or on ´impressionistic´ elements (perception of the state´s size and capacities by the state itself or others)? According to Archer and Nugent (2002), at least all four of the elements should be analysed in order to arrive at a sound definition of the size of a state. One could say that many states, especially in the Western world, are less concerned with survival nowadays, in terms of expansionary, direct military threats. When a state is, for example, a member of the European Union, no matter what the size is of this state, it is highly unlikely that it will be attacked by a power from outside the European Union, as its protection by all the other members of the European Union is guaranteed. Thus we can conclude that military...
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