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Buffer state

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Title: Buffer state  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: 21, Thailand, Buffer, Far Eastern Krai, London Conference of 1830
Collection: States by Power Status
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Buffer state

A buffer state is a country lying between two rival or potentially hostile greater powers. Its existence can sometimes be thought to prevent conflict between them. A buffer state is sometimes a mutually agreed upon area lying between two greater powers, which is demilitarized in the sense of not hosting the military of either power (though it will usually have its own military forces). The invasion of a buffer state by one of the powers surrounding it will often result in war between the powers.

Buffer states, when authentically independent, typically pursue a neutralist foreign policy, which distinguishes them from satellite states.

The concept of buffer states is part of the theory of balance of power that entered European strategic and diplomatic thinking in the 17th century.


  • Distinction from militarized marches 1
  • Historical buffer states 2
    • Americas 2.1
    • Asia 2.2
    • Europe 2.3
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Distinction from militarized marches

A march is a fortified non-homeland territory for defense against a rival power. A march is controlled by a greater power, whereas a true buffer state is deliberately left alone by rival powers situated either side of it.

Historical buffer states

Other examples of buffer states include:


  • Paraguay was maintained after the end of the Paraguayan War in 1870 as a territory separating Argentina and Brazil.


  • The Himalayan nations of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim were buffer-states between the British Empire and China, later between China and India, which in 1962 fought the Sino-Indian War in places where the two regional powers bordered each other.


  • Poland and other states between Germany and the Soviet Union have sometimes been described as buffer states, with reference both to when they were non-communist states before World War II,[1] and to when they were communist states after World War II.[2]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b c
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