Geographical Determinism: Finnish Neutrality Revisited

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This article explores the effects of two types of geostrategic location, i.e., buffer-state and rimstate status, on small states' policy of neutrality. The major proposition set forth is that while neutrality constitutes a viable option for a rimstate it is not a foreign policy instrument a buffer state can afford. Finland's historical experience provides a vivid illustration of this state of affairs: given its geostrategic position as a buffer state between Germany and the USSR, Finland's pre-World-War-II policy of neutrality was doomed to fail. On the other hand, Finland's transformation from a buffer state into a rimstate in the post-World-War-II era, diminished the stragetic threats projected to the USSR from Finnish territory and enabled it to adopt and pursue successfully a policy of neutrality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-57
Number of pages15
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1986
Externally publishedYes


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