Following World War II and the end of the Cold War there has been a proliferation of small states, renewing interest in their security and in their capacity to survive today’s international system. The dilemma small states face does not lie, necessarily, in their small size, but in the impact of other characteristics, such as resources, population and defensive capability, on their regional standing, especially when situated in a region with disparate military powers and political systems.
Due to their lack of resources, small states are susceptible to the influence of stronger powers and, concomitantly, are constrained in their ability to influence international and regional agendas. They must also consider various options to maintaining their self-defence, such as increasing military capability and establishing regional and international cooperation alliances.
The small states of the GCC have weathered regional instability and global financial crisis with remarkable robustness. Cognizant of their limitations and vulnerabilities, they have adopted diverse survival strategies, developing niche diplomatic trajectories and forming strategic security alliances to protect their interests and project their influence.
This seminar will review and discuss the security of small states amidst the changing dynamics of the Middle East region, including:
- The emergence of small states in the international system
- Threats and challenges to small state security in the Arabian Gulf region
- Strategic security alliances and defensive options