When could new ‘potent small states’ emerge? A study of the recent metamorphosis of Czech human rights foreign policy

  • Štěpánka Zemanová
Article

Abstract

Human rights have featured among the foreign policy priorities of both big and small countries for several decades. Smaller countries, constrained by the lack of political and economic power, sometimes seem to be more effective and achieve more recognition than bigger ones facing intensive clashes between traditional, political and economic interests and value-based requirements. However, not every small state that begins promoting human rights in its foreign policy succeeds. This article summarises key capabilities that have to be proven by small states attempting to create successful human rights foreign policy agendas and qualify as ‘potent small countries’. It addresses the issue both theoretically, with the use of the adapted ‘potent small state’ concept, and empirically in a case study of the recent metamorphosis of Czech human rights foreign policy. It argues that the Czech Republic aspires to ‘potent small-state’ status, though it is prevented from achieving this both because of several instances of incoherence between its human rights foreign policy agenda and its other but related policy stances and to shortfalls in its ability to promote a positive perception of its past accomplishments.

Keywords

Czech Republic foreign policy human rights ‘potent small state’ public diplomacy small state 

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Štěpánka Zemanová
    • 1
  1. 1.Jan Masaryk Centre for International Studies, University of EconomicsPragueCzech Republic

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