International political theory, especially its various realist strands, is derived from the central notion that the international system is a system of great powers; that neither the existence or the foreign policy of small states is important because they are totally subordinate to the great powers
survive in an environment characterized by chaos and governed by the notions of self-interest and self-sufficiency, necessarily adopt one of two approaches
the state come
nder the wing of a great power in a ‘bandwagoning’ relationship in order to protect itself against local threats; or it enters into alliances with other states to take on the threats posed by a stronger power, a strategy known as ‘balancing
Qatar adopted both these strategies between the years 1971–2011
ependency with Saudi Arabia to defend itself against Iran, especially after the Shah’s regime fell; then a protective relationship with the United States when it signed the 1992 Defense Pact
Qatar has continued to receive intense media attention as a result of the effectiveness of its foreign policies and the disproportionately large role they have played in the regio
Whereas small states, especially in periods of unrest and uncertainty, tend to avoid any roles or policies which challenge the status quo
Qatar has opted for the exact opposite rout
atar complicated its relations with its two largest neighbors at a moment in which it lacked sufficient guarantees of protection from the USA
Qatar defied the most widely-accepted assumptions in international relations and foreign policy, namely the notion that small powers either obey larger powers in exchange for protection or enter alliances that aid their survival and independence.
aterial wealth discourages states, especially small ones, from adopting active foreign policies, and that the ruling elite in such states has only a limited role in making foreign policy compared to that played by systemic regional and international factors and the restrictions they impose
country’s foreign policy is the product of the interaction between a set of factors and internal and external structures, an interaction which determines the set of options, policies and choices available to decisionmakers
ationality and seek at a minimum to guarantee the state’s survival and preserve its independence and at maximum to dominate the particular regional or international system in which it exists
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