RSIS Panel Seminar on “Qatar and the Role of Small States in International Relations”
Senior Fellow, RSIS
Associate Professor Alan Chong
Associate Professor, Centre for Multilateralism Studies, and Coordinator of MSc (International Relations) Programme, RSIS
Associate Professor Ahmed Salah Hashim
Associate Professor, Military Studies Programme, IDSS, RSIS
Distinguished Fellow and Former Dean, RSIS
Qatar’s ‘independent foreign policy’ in the Middle East has raised the ire of larger regional states. A Saudi-led effort has seen several countries severing diplomatic ties and closing borders since early June. Small states may punch above their weight, but can rarely wholly transcend the territorial, population or resource limitations of their weight-class. Often dependent on external sources for food, commodities, labour and investment, to what extent can small states independently pursue their own national interest? What measures can they take to reduce their vulnerability and dependence on sometimes mercurial regional and global powers, and resist pressures to take sides in regional disagreements? Conversely, can the foreign policies of small states paradoxically threaten regional status quos and destabilize regional politics? Senior Fellow Dr. James Dorsey, Associate Professor Alan Chong, and Associate Professor Ahmed Salah Hashim discuss the role of small states in international relations.
About the Panelists:
James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow focused on the Middle East and North Africa who publishes widely in peer-reviewed journals as well as non-academic publications. A veteran, award-winning foreign correspondent for four decades in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Financial Times, James has met a multitude of the region’s leaders. As a journalist, James covered primarily ethnic and religious conflict, including some of recent history’s most dramatic events such as the 1973 Middle East war; the Lebanese civil war; the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the U.S.-backed insurgency that ultimately led to the withdrawal of Soviet troops; the Palestinian intifadas; the Iranian revolution, U.S. embassy hostage crisis and the Iran-Iraq war; the Iraqi invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein; the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia; the armed struggles in the Western Sahara, Algeria, the Philippines, Kashmir, Eritrea, Tigre, the Ogaden, Chad, Niger, Chechnya, the Caucasus and Georgia; the Columbian drug cartels; the fall of Noriega in Panama; the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador; the Kurdish insurgency in south-eastern Turkey, post-revolution Iran and Saddam’s Iraq; and the war on terror. James writes a widely acclaimed blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, has published a book with the same title, and authors a syndicated column. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences, workshops and seminars and is consulted by governments, corporations and judicial authorities. James won the Dolf van den Broek prize in 2003 and was a two-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 and 1988 as well as was a finalist for the 2012 European Press Prize; the Kurt Schork Award and the Amnesty International Media Award in 2002 and the Index on Censorship Award in 2012. James also co-directs the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Wuerzburg.
Alan Chong is Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. He has published widely on the notion of soft power and the role of ideas in constructing the international relations of Singapore and Asia. His publications have appeared in The Pacific Review; International Relations of the Asia-Pacific; Asian Survey; East Asia: an International Quarterly; Politics, Religion and Ideology; the Review of International Studies; the Cambridge Review of International Affairs and Armed Forces and Society. He is also the author of Foreign Policy in Global Information Space: Actualizing Soft Power (Palgrave, 2007). He is currently working on several projects exploring the notion of a ‘Asian international theory’. His interest in soft power has also led to inquiry into the sociological and philosophical foundations of international communication. In the latter area, he is currently working on a manuscript titled ‘The International Politics of Communication: Representing Community in a Globalizing World’. In tandem, he has pursued a fledgling interest in researching cyber security issues. He has frequently been interviewed in the Asian media and consulted in think-tank networks in the region.
Ahmed S. Hashim is Associate Professor in the Military Studies Programme at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, RSIS, and specialises in Strategic Studies. He received his B.A. in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick, Great Britain and his M.Sc and Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has worked extensively in the fields of Strategy and Policy dealing in particular with irregular war and counter-terrorism for the past 20 years prior to taking up his current position at RSIS in 2011 where he teaches courses on insurgency and counterinsurgency, terrorism, and defense policies at RSIS and SAFTI Military Institute (SAFTI MI).