As the year comes to a close, a bit of news on my 2022 books.
A Small State’s Guide
A senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Jennifer Kavanagh, listed A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics as her “favorite wonky read” [as in policy wonk, or at least I hope!] of 2022. You can find all the fellows’ pick here. Thank you Jennifer!
She wrote: “The New York Times, leading political science journals, and international relations textbooks share one thing in common: they tend to focus on major powers (like the United States, China, India, and Germany) with large economies, powerful militaries, or global geopolitical sway and push aside smaller states (think of Estonia, Nepal, or Bolivia) and their interests.
Tom Long’s A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics does the opposite, recasting small states as protagonist. He suggests that because small states greatly outnumber major powers, students of international relations miss a lot by not carefully considering their independent role.
Long argues that small states can wield meaningful influence and shape the behavior of major powers, but only under specific conditions—for example, where the small state’s preferences are aligned with those of a major power, on issues of high importance to the small state and low importance to the large one, and when small states band together to fill a gap left by major power initiatives. He then offers a range of strategies that small states can use to maximize their influence depending on the context. A set of twenty case studies, instances of small state success and failure across regions and issues, provides the reader with a close-up view of the opportunities and constraints small states face.
The book serves as a reminder that small states not only have agency but also matter a great deal to global outcomes, especially in an increasingly contested world.”
North America 2.0
A second op-ed with Alan Bersin was published last week in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
We write: “Because our societies and economics are so interconnected, investments in building bigger and better North American relationships can pay crucial, needed dividends at home. But what sort of North American agenda can strategically enhance regional competitiveness, while remaining politically viable from standpoints both of implementation and popular acceptance in Canada, Mexico and the United States?”
The piece is entitled, “It’s time for a bigger, better North America” and you can access the whole piece here.