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Neutrality as a Policy Choice for Small/Weak Democracies

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Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent

2A Boulevard Louis Schmidt

1040 Etterbeek

Belgium

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Book discussion: Neutrality as a Policy Choice for Small/Weak Democracies: Learning from the Belgian Experience.

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In his talk, Dr. Palo first examines neutrality as a policy choice, and then, using a counterfactual approach, he argues that had permanent neutrality not been imposed on Belgium in 1839, it would have been neutral anyway until 1914. Next, he analyses why, after deciding to abandon obligatory neutrality by 1918, the Belgians adopted a policy that was tantamount to voluntary neutrality in October 1936. He looks at relevant IR theories and how the interaction between system and unit led to the policy decisions that were made. Finally, he examines how the Belgian case study can help us understand the choices facing small/weak democracies in the international system today.

Michael F. Palo (Ph.D., 1978, University of Illinois) served as a director of study abroad programs in France during the 1980s. He taught several undergraduate history courses at Vesalius College in Brussels between 1990 and 2012 and a number of graduate modules at the Brussels School of International Studies between 2001 and 2012.

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Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent

2A Boulevard Louis Schmidt

1040 Etterbeek

Belgium

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