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Austria's International Position after the End of the Cold War

 | 
Günter Bischof
, 
Ferdinand Karlhofer

Austrian foreign and security policy

What Does It Mean To Be Neutral?

Postwar Austria from a Comparative Perspective

James J. Sheehan

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In the closing paragraph of an essay on the study of international relations, first published in 1977, Stanley Hoffmann listed a number of subjects that the discipline has neglected. “Another zone of relative darkness,” he wrote, “is the functioning of the international hierarchy […] the nature of relations between the weak and the strong.” The strong, Hoffmann argued, are less successful in dominating the weak than simple calculations of power suggest — or it might be better to say that calculations of power are rarely simple.1 The strong, to modify Thucydides’s famous, and often misunderstood formulation, do not always do what they can nor do the weak always suffer what they must: as the history of international relations clearly shows, there are sometimes significant limitations on strength and effective strategies for overcoming weakness. A study of these limitations and strategies can tell us things about the functioning of the international system that a concentration on the r...

© innsbruck university press, 2013

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