Small state diplomacy: Cambodia's foreign policy towards Vietnam

Thearith Leng
2016 The Pacific Review  
words maximum: (PLEASE TYPE) This thesis is a case study of how Cambodia as a small state managed its relations with Viet Nam, a larger state. A review of the literature on small states in general and Cambodian foreign policy in particular identified three major state strategies -balancing, bandwagoning and hedging. The literature review also revealed that there was wide divergence among specialists about the specific instruments used by small states to pursue their chosen strategy. Field work
more » ... as carried out in Cambodia and Vietnam to access archives and library holdings of pertinent documents and publications to supplement library research in Australia. Interviews were conducted in Cambodia and Vietnam with government officials and subject matter experts to supplement these primary and secondary source materials. This thesis examined Cambodia-Vietnam relations in seven historical periods from 1620 to 2017 during which Cambodia experienced marked changes in regime type from a weak pre-colonial state (97) and one-party state (1997-17). Cambodia's foreign policy was analyzed through the framework of three levels of analysis -decision-making, nation-state and systemic. The first level of analysis focused on key decision-making structures, the worldview of decision-makers and the kinds of decisions they made (crisis, declaratory, program). The second level of analysis focused on the internal characteristics of the state such as geography, natural resources, economy, and the political system. The third level of analysis focused on the impact of changes in the distribution of regional and global power on Cambodia. The major conclusion of this thesis was that although various Cambodian regimes pursued a hedging strategy towards Viet Nam they each used different instruments. The major finding of this thesis is that the academic literature neglected two unique instruments used by Cambodia as a small state as part of its hedging strategy towards Viet Nam -influence denial and hard balancing. The thesis concluded that the present government of Cambodia pursues a hedging strategy best characterized as cooperative hedging. Declaration relating to disposition of project thesis/dissertation
doi:10.1080/09512748.2016.1239128 fatcat:bvp74qr44zcddi6lztxt5qfocy