A Comparative Foreign Policy Analysis of Weak States: The Case of the Caucasus States

Sari, Yasar, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Lynch, Allen, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Quandt, William, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Smith, Michael, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Urbanovich, Yuri, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

The key features of foreign policy formulation and execution in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are selected in an attempt to reveal the sources of foreign policy-behavior of new, post Soviet (and in effect post-imperial) states during the 1990s. More specifically, this is a comparative study of the foreign policies of the Caucasus states as new states toward the Russian Federation as the ex-imperial center. The purpose of the dissertation is to verify the relative significance of internal factors and level of external assistance in shaping the foreign policy of weak states. Therefore, the key theoretical contribution of the dissertation is to understand foreign policy change in weak states during their early years of independence. The newly independent Caucasus states are weak states. The most urgent problems facing these newly independent states following their independence were domestic ones. The time period covered is between 1991 and 1999, which in turn is divided into two sub-periods: 1991- 1995, the period of confusion and 1995 to 1999, the period of consolidation. This dissertation centers upon the explanation of two factors: the level of domestic strain of weak states and their relations to the external world. In short, both domestic and external factors influence the strength of the independent variables which in turn serve as the principal explanatory elements and determinant of the foreign policy-behavior of weak states. Therefore, the weak state foreign policy behavior is best explained based on the interaction of four different variables: the strength of the new state, the role of leadership or orientation of the leaders, type of threats and external support to the new states. Moreover, these states have three possible alternative relationship with the former imperial center: balancing, bandwagoning, and omnibalancing.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF text

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Caucasus states, Russia, foreign policy analysis, weak state
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: