JESSE, DREYER BOOK
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
In matters of international relations, size matters, according to Drs. Neal Jesse, political science, and John Dreyer, an associate professor of political science at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and BGSU alumnus. They are the authors of a new book on comparative foreign policy titled “Small States in the International System: At Peace and at War,” published by Lexington Books.
Although the importance of the relative size of the players in international relations might seem obvious, Jesse and Dreyer’s research shows that both historically and today, large states like the U.S. and Russia tend to make foreign policy decisions based on the realist theory, which assumes that the smaller states they are dealing with are just like them — only smaller — and will react as they would.
Except that they don’t. Jesse and Dreyer expose the limits of the prevailing theory by demonstrating that small states only act in keeping with realism when threatened by states close to their own size. When they are threatened by much larger states, factors such as the sense of national identity and who is in power at the moment will determine their response.
“Small States in the International System” is the first book to test and compare the three major International relations theories about how states behave, using small states as case studies. It looks at the realist theory, the social constructivist theory (which concerns establishing and defending norms and identity) and the domestic/liberal theory (which holds that foreign policy will be based on who is in power at a given time) and applies them to conflicts in and among Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bolivia and Paraguay, from 150 years ago to the present.