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Buffer state

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A buffer state is a country geographically lying between two rival or potentially hostile great powers.[1] Its existence can sometimes be thought to prevent conflict between them. A buffer state is sometimes a mutually agreed upon area lying between two greater powers, which is demilitarised in the sense of not hosting the armed forces of either power (though it will usually have its own military forces). The invasion of a buffer state by one of the powers surrounding it will often result in war between the powers.

Research shows that buffer states are significantly more likely to be conquered and occupied than are nonbuffer states.[2] This is because "states that great powers have an interest in preserving—buffer states—are in fact in a high-risk group for death. Regional or great powers surrounding buffer states face a strategic imperative to take over buffer states: if these powers fail to act against the buffer, they fear that their opponent will take it over instead. By contrast, these concerns do not apply to nonbuffer states, where powers face no competition for influence or control."[2]

Buffer states, when authentically independent, typically pursue a neutralist foreign policy, which distinguishes them from satellite states. The concept of buffer states is part of a theory of the balance of power that entered European strategic and diplomatic thinking in the 18th century. After the First World War, notable examples of buffer states were Poland and Czechoslovakia, situated between major powers such as Germany and the Soviet Union. Lebanon is another significant example, positioned between Syria and Israel, thereby experiencing challenges as a result.[3]







See also[edit]


  1. ^ "buffer state". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Fazal, Tanisha M. (2004-04-01). "State Death in the International System". International Organization. 58 (2): 311–344. doi:10.1017/S0020818304582048. ISSN 1531-5088. S2CID 154693906.
  3. ^ "The A to Z of international relations". The Economist. Retrieved 2023-11-27.
  4. ^ Bolivia (1826). "Colección oficial de leyes, decretos, ordenes, resoluciones &c. Que se han expedido para el regimen de la Republica Boliviana".
  5. ^ "Uruguay – From Insurrection to State Organization, 1820–30". countrystudies.us. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  6. ^ Phelps, Nicole (1 January 2014). "Review of Knarr, James C., Uruguay and the United States, 1903–1929: Diplomacy in the Progressive Era". www.h-net.org. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Paraguay: Regional Geopolitics and a New President". Stratfor. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  8. ^ "The Colonies | Georgia". www.smplanet.com. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  9. ^ Zepeda, Beatriz (2009). Ecuador: Relaciones exteriores a la luz del bicentenario. Flacso-Sede Ecuador. ISBN 9789978672242.
  10. ^ "Getting China to Become Tough with North Korea". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  11. ^ Pholsena, Vatthana (2007). LAOS, From Buffer State to Crossroads. Silkworm Books. ISBN 978-9749480502.
  12. ^ Macgregor, John (1994). Through the Buffer State : Travels in Borneo, Siam, Cambodia, Malaya and Burma. White Lotus Co Ltd; 2 edition. ISBN 978-9748496252.
  13. ^ Alan Wood, "The Revolution and Civil War in Siberia," in Edward Acton, Vladimir Iu. Cherniaev, and William G. Rosenberg (eds.), Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914–1921. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997; pp. 716–717.
  14. ^ George Jackson and Robert Devlin (eds.), Dictionary of the Russian Revolution. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1989; pp. 223–225.
  15. ^ Debarbieux, Bernard; Rudaz, Gilles; Todd, Jane Marie; Price, Martin F. (2015-09-10). The Mountain: A Political History from the Enlightenment to the Present. University of Chicago Press. p. 150. ISBN 9780226031118.
  16. ^ "Nepal: Dictated by Geography | World Policy Institute". www.worldpolicy.org. Archived from the original on 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2016-02-10.
  17. ^ The World Today; Bhutan and Sikkim: Two Buffer States Vol. 15, No. 12. Royal Institute of International Affairs. 1959. pp. 492–500.
  18. ^ "Mongolia, the uncontested buffer state". Russia Direct. Archived from the original on 4 February 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  19. ^ Kader, Ariz (July 2019). "Iraq: Battleground or Buffer State?". CIDOB.
  20. ^ "Bahrain as the area of Saudi‑Iranian rivalry in the second decade of the 21st century". Studia Politicae Universitatis Silesiensis.
  21. ^ Cory, Stephen (2016). Reviving the Islamic Caliphate in Early Modern Morocco. Routledge. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9781317063438.
  22. ^ Ram, J.R. (16 March 2019). "Botswana: The best kept African secret". The Telegraph.
  23. ^ "THE RUHR: Rhineland Republic?". Time. 27 August 1923. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  24. ^ Andrew Wilson (2011). Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship. Yale University Press. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0-300-13435-3.
  25. ^ Witzenrath, Christoph (2016). Eurasian Slavery, Ransom and Abolition in World History, 1200–1860. Routledge. p. 198. ISBN 9781317140023.
  26. ^ Suvorov, Viktor (2013). The Chief Culprit: Stalin's Grand Design to Start World War II. Naval Institute Press. p. 142. ISBN 9781612512686. Retrieved 1 January 2015. Chapter 25: Destruction of the Buffer States between Germany and the Soviet Union.
  27. ^ Stent, Angela E. (1998). "Russia and Germany Reborn: Unification, the Soviet Collapse, and the New Europe". Princeton University Press. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. Moscow's German Problem before Detente – The Federal Republic – In 1945, the major Soviet preoccupation was to prevent any future German attack; hence the imposition of Soviet-controlled governments in a ring of buffer states between Germany and the USSR.
  28. ^ "Papua Nugini Diharapkan Jadi Bufferzone Indonesia" [Indonesia Hopes Papua New Guinea to be Indonesia's Buffer Zone] (in Indonesian). Retrieved 18 October 2017.