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Michael F. Palo

Edited by Jan Melissen and Jian Wang

This book is a much-needed update on our understanding of public diplomacy. It intends to stimulate new thinking on what is one of the most remarkable recent developments in diplomatic practice that has challenged practitioners as much as scholars. Thought-leaders and up-and-coming authors in Debating Public Diplomacy agree that official efforts to create and maintain relationships with publics in other societies encounter unprecedented and often unexpected difficulties. Resurgent geo-strategic rivalry and technological change affecting state-society relations are among the factors complicating international relationships in a much more citizen-centric world. This book discusses today’s most pressing public diplomacy challenges, including recent sharp power campaigns, the rise of populism, the politicization of diaspora relations, deep-rooted nation-state-based perspectives on culture, and public diplomacy’s contribution to counterterrorism. With influential academic voices exploring policy implications for tomorrow, this collection of essays is also forward-looking by examining unfolding trends in public diplomacy strategies and practices.

Neutrality as a Policy Choice for Small/Weak Democracies

Learning from the Belgian Experience

Michael F. Palo

In Neutrality as a Policy Choice for Small/Weak Democracies: Learning from the Belgian Experience, Michael F. Palo has three main objectives. First, he employs a counterfactual approach to examine the hypothesis that had permanent neutrality not been imposed on Belgium in 1839, it would have pursued neutrality anyway until war broke out in 1914. Secondly, he analyses why, after abandoning obligatory neutrality during World War I, the Belgians adopted voluntary neutrality in October 1936. Finally, he seeks to use the historical Belgian case study to test specific International Relations’ Theories and to contribute to Small State Studies, especially the behaviour of small/weak democracies in the international system.