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The promise of the 1970s: Ratu Mara on the world stage

The promise of the 1970s: Ratu Mara on the world stage
The promise of the 1970s: Ratu Mara on the world stage
The present era of global governance presents enormous possibilities for small island states owing to their sovereign status in international organisations. Despite these apparent advantages asymmetries prevail as human resource constraints pose major obstacles for countries seeking to maximise their influence in global forums. This, however, was not the case in the late 1970s when Pacific leaders were far more assertive in regional and international forums. The most prominent such leader was Ratu Mara, the prime minister of Fiji. Examination of his role suggests the unusual nature of the decade of independence for most Pacific island states. This highlights the importance of both broader trends—the global push for self-determination, in the immediate post-colonial era, the particular dynamics of domestic Fijian politics, including Ratu Mara’s dominance of the government executive and the administrative support of close aides—and his own personal capabilities, specifically his international educational history and chiefly lineage. Four decades later such circumstances no longer exist. While that era provides a powerful illustration of the promise that global governance offers small island states and their leaders, the combination of circumstances that surround Ratu Mara’s political tenure simultaneously reaffirm the more general theme of limited influence.
0035-8533
301-310
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Connell, John
9405090c-a745-4334-9e7d-9264e70f9e20
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Connell, John
9405090c-a745-4334-9e7d-9264e70f9e20

Corbett, Jack and Connell, John (2014) The promise of the 1970s: Ratu Mara on the world stage. Round Table, 103 (3), 301-310. (doi:10.1080/00358533.2014.918712).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The present era of global governance presents enormous possibilities for small island states owing to their sovereign status in international organisations. Despite these apparent advantages asymmetries prevail as human resource constraints pose major obstacles for countries seeking to maximise their influence in global forums. This, however, was not the case in the late 1970s when Pacific leaders were far more assertive in regional and international forums. The most prominent such leader was Ratu Mara, the prime minister of Fiji. Examination of his role suggests the unusual nature of the decade of independence for most Pacific island states. This highlights the importance of both broader trends—the global push for self-determination, in the immediate post-colonial era, the particular dynamics of domestic Fijian politics, including Ratu Mara’s dominance of the government executive and the administrative support of close aides—and his own personal capabilities, specifically his international educational history and chiefly lineage. Four decades later such circumstances no longer exist. While that era provides a powerful illustration of the promise that global governance offers small island states and their leaders, the combination of circumstances that surround Ratu Mara’s political tenure simultaneously reaffirm the more general theme of limited influence.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 27 May 2014
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 388386
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/388386
ISSN: 0035-8533
PURE UUID: 87cba906-ac2f-4e4f-b18a-ab83409405bc
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

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Date deposited: 24 Feb 2016 13:52
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:50

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Author: Jack Corbett ORCID iD
Author: John Connell

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