In the article, the author analyzes how the understanding of the concept of neutrality of European states and its implementation in their foreign policy strategies changes at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries, along with the change in the international system of relations. The interesting case of a truly neutral country is Switzerland, whose foreign policy behavior is a challenge to the negative expectations of observers regarding the pessimistic prospects of neutrality as an option for the implementation of the foreign policy course. In this article, the author considers the neutrality of Switzerland from the point of view of three conceptual approaches to the understanding of neutrality: realist, neoliberal and constructivist. From the realist point of view, Switzerland has long been aware of its status as a “small” state and, respectively, uses it as an important mean of self-preservation in a territory surrounded by “big” states. From a neoliberal point of view, the key trend today is Switzerland's increasing attention to bilateral and multilateral defense cooperation. And from the standpoint of constructivism, neutrality is an important “symbol” of the common identity of the diverse population of Switzerland. Therefore, the author concludes that Switzerland was able to maintain a controversial foreign policy of neutrality, emphasizing its national identity and independence, while at the same time benefiting from international economic interdependence. Switzerland's neutrality allows it to develop and deepen international economic relations very well.
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