Soft Means and Hard Ends: Assessing Hugo Chavez's Efforts to Counter United States' Preponderance   [open pdf - 449KB]

"Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has maintained the dominant role in the international system, a role that has come to be challenged by certain small states. Presenting a four-tier model of the international system, this thesis examines how United States' preponderance is being challenged. In focusing on Venezuela as a case study, this thesis addresses the question: How has Hugo Chavez challenged U.S. preponderance regionally and internationally while protecting his Bolivarian Revolution for Venezuela? The research analyzes the methods small states utilize to challenge great power spheres of influence. Analyzing the elements of soft power and the processes of soft balancing as employed by small states, this thesis seeks to fill a void in the academic literature concerning both concepts as applied to small states. Furthermore, pursuing research into this topic provides a better understanding of the threat perceptions behind small state rejection of American unilateralism. If international peace, or at the very least stability, is to be actualized, then understanding the third and fourth order effects of U.S. foreign policy is imperative to such purposes."

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