Buffer states—countries geographically and/or politically situated between two or more regional or global powers—function to maintain peace between the larger powers. Contributors to this book, the first devoted to the buffer state concept, analyze the geographical and political factors necessary for the establishment and maintenance of a buffer state and examine its role in helping to maintain world peace. The problems and prospects of buffer states and buffer zones and the multiple roles played by the buffer in international politics are also explored. Using information from a number of countries, including Lebanon, Afghanistan, Korea, and Uruguay, the contributors argue that the function of the buffer state has not diminished with the advance of modern technology, but that the prospects for a long life for any particular buffer state are tenuous. Nevertheless, they conclude that although the international benefits from any one buffer state tend to be short term, the continued existence of the system will be an important element in preventing armed conflict in many parts of the world.
Preface -- Introduction -- Review and Theory -- Buffer States: A Geographer's Perspective -- Buffer States: The Issue of Sovereignty -- Southern Africa: Buffer States without a Conventional Buffer System -- Buffer Systems of Middle America -- Region and Country Case Studies -- Eastern Europe: The Buffer Effect of a Cordon Sanitaire* -- The Albanian Lands: Continuity and Change in a Buffer Region -- The Geo-Political Demise of Lebanon: Consequences of a Political and Military Buffer -- Asia's Pivotal Buffer States -- The History of Afghanistan as a Buffer State -- Korea, a Buffer State -- Uruguay: The Quintessential Buffer State -- Buffer States: Outlining and Expanding Existing Theory