Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Geopolitical Realities, and Existential Challenges that Small Nation-States Contend with for their Survival: The Case of the State of Kuwait
by Obaid, Fouad Farouk Abdallah Al-, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2013, 94; 10305746
Abstract (Summary)

This paper will explore how Kuwait; a small hydrocarbon resource-rich country encircled by three substantially more powerful nations has thrived, sustained and evolved into an viable independent sovereign state. It will further address how an astute use of diplomacy ensured its survival against multiple odds in a region chronically plagued by conflict. Furthermore, it will analyze the duality, and paradox of a military failure, and diplomatic victory; when for a brief period of time it ceased to exit during a seven month Iraqi occupation between: August, 1990–February, 1991. In essence this paper will explore the historical geopolitical realities Kuwait had to contend with, and the multiple challenges to its very existence throughout its recent history. Despite its small size, and relatively small citizenry population, through different non-military means survived against adversity, despite its lack of hard power; a variation of influence, coupled with an astute regional balancing act, Kuwait effectively developed into an unquestioned partner for peace and stability in a region lacking both.

The paper will address the challenges Kuwait faced from the early 20 th Century all the way into our contemporary time, addressing the challenges to its sovereignty that culminated in its invasion by Iraq in 1990. It will address Kuwait’s security dilemmas, both; internal and external. As it had/has to contend with three major regional powers; Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, but more pressing in the post-Arab Spring, it has to deal with a citizenry that is young, dynamic, and in look for change. The thesis will address the regional climate and institutions such as the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League, and their failure as entities capable of sustaining peace in the wider region. Pivotal is the question of Iran, which becomes more, pressing insight of the recent U.S. rapprochement.

Fundamentally, this thesis will examine, and explore, the geopolitical challenges and threats, that the State of Kuwait historically had to deal with; and will attempt to shed light on a foreign policy strategy that rendered Kuwait viable to many states through its vast oil wealth through both its Investment Arm (Kuwait Investment Authority), and by the use of its unilateral foreign-aid agency (Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development) that prompted many countries to either side with; and or, directly intervene, in defense of Kuwait.

Key Words: Kuwait, Political History, GCC, Geopolitics, Foreign Affairs

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gardner, Hall
Commitee: Fraser, Mathew
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Global Communications and Civil Society
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle Eastern history, International Relations
Keywords: Foreign affairs, Geopolitics, Kuwait, Small nation-states
Publication Number: 10305746
ISBN: 9781369493108
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