chapter  8
16 Pages

The foreign policies of unrecognized states fRANCIS OWTRAM

Despite the growing literature on unrecognized states, up to now there has been relatively little systematic analysis undertaken on the foreign policy component. Yet unrecognized states invest a considerable amount of those resources available to them in conducting foreign policy: establishing a Ministry of Foreign Affairs or similarly named department offices in countries identified as significant. How can we explain and understand this phenomenon in global politics and what is its significance in terms of the possible outcomes for unrecognized states? The purpose of this chapter is to advance some initial lines of inquiry to the following research question: why do unrecognized states engage in foreign policy and what is the significance of this foreign policy as an explanatory factor in terms of movement of the unrecognized state towards recognition? It should be noted at this point that recognition is a matter of degree in quantitative terms of the number of states and international organizations extending recognition. The argument advanced, building on the existing literature (Pegg 1998; King 2001; Bahcheli et al. 2004; Kolstø 2006), is that unrecognized states engage in foreign policy for a number of reasons but that ultimately, in terms of outcomes, it is not the key factor in explaining whether they are initially reintegrated into another state either in a federal or confederal arrangement, or whether it gains significant recognition, durability, and admission as a member of international organizations, the ultimate recognition being admitted as a full member of the United Nations. The key factors identified in this initial process, building on commentaries by Halliday (2008) and Keating (2008), are the international system, great power politics, and political geography (Hill 2003: 171). However, the passage of time is an important factor, of particular significance in international law, and so in that part of the process I term consolidation, having achieved some kind of recognition that enables the entity to survive, the practice of foreign policy will be a significant factor both as indication that it fulfils the criteria for a state and also in practical terms in ensuring survival, militarily, politically, and economically. This chapter first reviews some key literature on unrecognized states and foreign policy to place the phenomenon in the relevant empirical and theoretical context. It then proceeds to examine examples and case studies of the foreign policy of unrecognized states in different parts of the world with regard to key characteristics. These case studies give ‘snapshots’ of recent

foreign policy activity, as well as paying particular consideration as to how these unrecognized states represent themselves to the world in terms of foreign policy aims and activity. It then engages in analysis and commentary to support the argument advanced. The chapter concludes with a consideration of the phenomena of foreign policies of unrecognized states in global politics.