Shoestring Diplomacy: Aspiring States and International Lobbying for Self-Determination
22 Pages Posted: 8 May 2019
Date Written: March 15, 2019
How do self-determination groups and de facto states use diplomacy to advance their international legitimacy? Lacking diplomatic recognition, aspiring states still manage to foster productive relationships with external actors — trading, allying, and partnering to pursue economic, diplomatic, and military objectives. They do this through ad hoc executive visits, participation in international summits, and contact with party leaders, judicial bodies, and other subnational actors in third-party states. To explore the breadth of these diplomatic relations, I employ original data on five years of diplomatic visits of the representatives of the Polisario Front and Kurdish Regional Government. I find: (1) that these governments employ extensive resources to establish a constant presence in third-party states; (2) that they employ their resources strategically based on the domestic characteristics and international positioning of these states; and (3) that their efforts are highly effective, extracting statements of diplomatic support from most of the third-party states they engage.
Keywords: secession, self-determination, separatism, civil war, sovereignty, foreign policy, intervention, diplomacy, legitimacy, Polisario, Western Sahara, Morocco, Kurdistan, Iraq
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