The politics of the developing countries, or rather political decisions made by their elites, are often interpreted as “irrational”. Media news and commentaries often put them in contrast to the politics of the developed, “modern” world. Such approach is also mirrored by political science – particularly when trying to explicate such phenomena as “terrorism”, religious extremism, or ethnic conflicts, but also when interpreting “regular policies”, like, for example, economic policy. Looking into how external environment, i.e., international system on the one hand and intrastate system on the other infl uence decisions of the political elites in the Third World could be one of the ways of overcoming such Eurocentrism. For this, we will compare the usability of different theoretical approaches for specifi cconditions in the developing world. The first part of the paper analyses the nature of international system, its structure and the substance of the concept of “national sovereignty”. The second part investigates specific features of a (semi)peripheral state and factors that create them. The final part studies the influence of the international system and of the specific features of a (semi)peripheral state on the decisions of its political elite. Due to the limited size of the current paper, the author cannot cover particular displays of similarities in the policies of the Third World countries; the paper only presents theoretical approaches to their investigation. The former topic is discussed in more detail in the author’s dissertation thesis.