Satellite state

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Satellite state or client state is a political term that refers to a country which is formally independent but which is primarily subject to the domination of another, larger power. The term has been coined by analogy to stellar objects orbiting a larger object, such as planets revolving around the sun, and was initially used to refer to Central and Eastern European countries of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. It implied that the countries in question were "satellites" under the hegemony of the Soviet Union. Other countries in the Soviet sphere of influence during the Cold War - such as North Korea (especially in the decades surrounding the Korean War) and Fidel Castro's Cuba (particularly after joining the Comecon) - were often labelled satellite states.

The term is sometimes used more loosely (and with a less sinister overtone) to refer to small countries whose foreign policy is aligned with a larger power: the so-called Anglosphere is a good example.

[edit] History

This can occur in many varying ways, most commonly by treaty, military occupation, and/or economic dependence. Client states have existed for millennia as stronger powers made subservient those around them as they grew. In ancient times states such as Persia and Greek Polis' would create client states by making the personal leaders of that state subservient. One of the most prolific users of client states was Republican Rome which, instead of conquering and then absorbing into an empire, instead chose to make client states out of those it defeated, a policy which was continued up until the 1st century BC when imperial power took over. The use of client states continued through the Middle Ages as the feudal system began to take hold, and in a way the entire society was based upon various divisions of a realm being clients to middle level nobility, who in turn were client to the powerful nobility, who were in turn client to the monarch, who, in the case of Catholic states, was often a client of the Pope.

In modern times, client states have developed based upon imperial possessions of the great European powers of 19th century. These client states were especially obvious during the Cold War as almost the entire world divided based upon being a client state of either the Soviet Union or the United States.

[edit] Relationship to "puppet state"

The term "satellite state" is often seen as close in meaning, or even synonymous, with other terms such as "puppet state", which typically have a much more pejorative connotation. However, the precise relationship between the two terms is not always clear; in many instances the practical meaning of the two cannot be distinguished.

The phrase "puppet state" is used frequently to connote the dependence of small nations on a larger power, especially implying that without necessary support of the larger power the "puppet state" would simply collapse. It was thus a reciprocal effect of the Cold War that the United States and Soviet Union were said to hold many "puppets" - countries with US-supported anti-communist and authoritarian governments such as South Korea and Taiwan. Similarly, Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and support of Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam during the Cold War also exemplified this type of relationship, as well as other contemporary great powers such as Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and many long-gone empires are sometimes said to have acquired or ruled satellites, but terms such as "puppet states" are also commonly found.

[edit] See also

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de:Satellitenstaat it:Stato satellite nl:Satellietstaat ja:衛星国 no:Vasallstat ro:Stat satelit sv:Satellitstat zh:卫星国

Satellite state

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