I am glad that my new article, “Small States, Great Power? Gaining Influence Through Intrinsic, Derivative, and Collective Power” is now available for online, full-text advance access at International Studies Review.
Abstract: In recent years, scholars have devoted increased attention to the agency of small states in International Relations. However, the conventional wisdom remains that while not completely powerless, small states are unlikely to achieve much of significance when faced by great power opposition. This argument, however, implicitly rests on resource-based and compulsory understandings of power. This article explores the implicit connections between the concept of “small states” and diverse concepts of power, asking how we should understand these states’ attempts to gain influence and achieve their international political objectives. By connecting the study of small states with more diverse understandings of power, the article elaborates the broader avenues for influence that are open to many states but are particularly relevant for small states. The article argues that small states’ power can be best understood as originating in three categories: “derivative,” collective, and particular-intrinsic. Derivative power, coined by Michael Handel, relies upon the relationship with a great power. Collective power involves building coalitions of supportive states, often through institutions. Particular-intrinsic power relies on the assets of the small state trying to do the influencing. Small states specialize in the bases and means of these types of power, which may have unconventional compulsory, institutional, structural, and productive aspects.
Apparently, the most widely thing I will ever write was less than 140 characters on UFOs in Argentina in 1947.
I am currently hard at work in the Harry Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. While digging through diplomatic cables, I found a funny letter that a guy in Argentina sent to Harry Truman, giving his take on the new “fenemenum” of “flying plates” appearing in night skies around the world. So, I tweeted out a picture of the letter (below).
UFO sightings explained in this 1947 letter from a guy in Argentina to Harry Truman. The truth was in the Truman Library all this time! pic.twitter.com/6gGFQI1iBd
— Tom Long (@tomlongphd) December 7, 2016
And now, through another funny coincidence, I have learned that by the end of the day, Argentina’s La Nación, one of the country’s biggest papers, wrote an article about the 70-year-old letter and tweet. Unfortunately, the signature isn’t legible, so the clever writer isn’t getting his dues.
From the records, Truman never answered, which of course leads one to wonder…what was he hiding? Perhaps some very aerodynamic china…