Non-Alignment Spirit as a Small State’s Grand Strategy: The Case of Belarus

This paper argues that, when structural conditions in international relations are increasingly shaped by great power confrontation and, thus, produce heightened risks and uncertainties for the small states that sit in-between competing great powers, such small states naturally turn to non-alignment ideas, even when existing institutional affiliations (i.e., membership of collective security organizations) prevent them from pursuing fully-fledged non-alignment policies. In that case, their overall foreign and security policy behaviour tends to be driven by the non-alignment spirit – that is, the concept of the ‘non-use of collective defence pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers.’ The non-alignment spirit thus effectively becomes the foundation of their grand strategy, even as small states might remain formally aligned. The paper analyses Belarus’s foreign and security policies in the context of two post-Cold War structural shifts as a case study.

Authors: Yauheni Preiherman