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14 Seton Hall J. Dipl. & Int'l Rel. 9 (2013)
The Dynamics of Middlepowermanship

handle is hein.journals/whith14 and id is 145 raw text is: The Dynamics of Middlepowermanship
by Ronald M. Behringer
The concept of 'middlepowermanship,' or middle power diplomacy, was first used
by John W Holmes and Paul Painchaud in separate papers presented at a 1965
conference on global development.1 While middlepowermanship has been analyzed
by scholars interested in the foreign policies of middle powers, the concept has
unfortunately not received the attention or respect from the broader academic
community that it deserves due to the predominance of the realist paradigm      for
analyzing international relations. Realists tend to focus their attention on the great
military powers of our world. Other states are often dismissed as lesser followers
of great power leadership.2
While middle powers have been relatively neglected in terms of scholarship,
empirical evidence leaves no doubt that middle powers are significant actors in global
politics. To illustrate this point, one only needs to recall Canada's contributions to the
domain of peacekeeping or the Scandinavian states' generous donations in foreign
aid and development assistance. Not only are middle powers relevant in international
relations, they are also capable of exercising effective leadership to resolve
fundamental issues in global affairs, contrary to the presumptions of the realists. As
I revealed in my recent book The Human Security Agenda: How Middle Power
Leadership Defied US Hegemony, middlepowermanship was instrumental for the
successful achievement of certain 'human security' initiatives, where focus is placed
on the security of human populations rather than nation-states. These initiatives
include the formation of the Multinational Standby High Readiness Brigade for
United Nations Operations (SHIRBRIG), the achievement of the Ottawa
Convention banning anti-personnel landmines, the creation of the International
Criminal Court (ICC), and the establishment of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
This article illuminates some of the dynamics of middlepowermanship. Two
central questions are posed: how do the middle powers assume leadership roles in
international relations, and what mechanisms do they use to convince other states-
even some that are perceived to be far more powerful-to follow their lead? I will
answer these questions and illustrate the components of effective middle power
Ronald M. Behringer is an international relations scholar from Montreal, Canada. He has held
faculty positions at Concordia University, James Madison University, the University of Florida, and
the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Seton Ha//Journal of Diploma0 and International Relations

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