How Paraguay Gets By

Even small countries can affect their neighbors on a small scale.

Not all countries are created equal. Geopolitics revolves around power – its acquisition, maintenance and loss relative to other countries. How much power a country has stems from the resources it has, the challenges it must overcome, the constraints that inhibit its ability to act, and so on. Some countries are simply better positioned to acquire and wield power than others. The rest must play the hand they are dealt. Even so, relatively weaker countries still abide by the same geopolitical principles of their stronger counterparts, which means they can still shape the behavior of other nations albeit on a much smaller scale. Paraguay is a case in point. Nestled inland between regional giants Argentina and Brazil, Paraguay is marginal as a global force. It’s home to just over 7 million people and covers just about 157,000 square miles (407,000 square kilometers). Its economy relies heavily on agriculture and very modest manufacturing. In 2019, its gross domestic product was $38.15 billion, accounting for a mere 0.03 percent of the global economy. Exports comprised just under 35 percent of GDP, a little over half of which – primarily soybeans and related products, mineral fuels and meat – go to Brazil and […]

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Allison Fedirka
Allison Fedirka is the director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures. In addition to writing analyses, she helps train new analysts, oversees the intellectual quality of analyst work and helps guide the forecasting process. Prior to joining Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Fedirka worked for Stratfor as a Latin America specialist and subsequently as the Latin America regional director. She lived in South America – primarily Argentina and Brazil – for more than seven years and, in addition to English, fluently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Fedirka has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in international relations and affairs from the University of Belgrano, Argentina. Her thesis was on Brazil and Angola and south-south cooperation.