Qatari Foreign Policy and the Exercise of Subtle Power
The paper begins with a discussion of the typical roles, profile, and position of small states in the international system, explains the paradox that is Qatar’s outsized role and position in the international system, and argues that traditional conceptions of power no longer adequately describe emerging trends shaping the international system. Realist and neorealist thinkers have viewed power in terms of access to and control over tangible resources, especially manpower and military strength. More recently, notions of first soft power and then smart power have sought to rectify seemingly narrow and increasingly unfeasible focus of realists on force and military hardware. None of these conceptions, I argue, adequately describe the underlying dynamics that account for the position that Qatar—an otherwise small state on the margins of global power politics—was able to carve out for itself. That Qatar was able to create a distinct niche for itself on the global arena, that it played on a stage significantly bigger than its stature and size warranted, that it emerged as a consequential player not just in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula but indeed across the Middle East and beyond, all bespeak of its possession of a certain type and amount of power, that may be best viewed as “subtle power”.
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International Studies Journal, 14(2).
International Studies Journal
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Kamrava, Mehran (Middle East Institute, 2011)Uniquely for a country its size, Qatar has emerged as one of the world's most proactive mediators in recent years. Motivated by a combination of international prestige and survival strategies, the country has sought to ...