Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A buffer state is a country lying between two rival or potentially hostile greater powers that by its sheer existence is thought to prevent conflict between them. Buffer states typically pursue a neutralist foreign policy, which distinguish them from satellite states.
Examples of buffer states include:
- Afghanistan, between Russia and British India
- Mongolia, between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union, now Russia
- Poland following World War I, located between Germany and the Soviet Union
- North Korea during and after the Cold War, whom some analysts see as a buffer state between the military forces of the People's Republic of China and American forces in South Korea
- Belgium before World War I, serving as a buffer between the United Kingdom, France, and Germany
The invasion of a buffer state by one of the powers surrounding it will often result in war between the powers.
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