The concept of weak states presents a serious challenge to the Westphalian understanding of the international system and orthodox IR respectively. Weak states lack eﬀective institutions, a domestic consensus on the idea of the state and a monopoly on the instruments of violence and thus become vulnerable to internal, external and transnational threats. The nature of threats becomes instrumental to the analysis of the inter-and intra-state dynamics in weak states. However, existing approaches to the study of foreign policy of weak states are rather limited and centred on the idiosyncratic, great power and reductionist themes. Although these frameworks provide an easy explanation of foreign policy decision-making, one-level analysis is insuﬃcient for the genuine understanding of complex political phenomena in the turbulent and vibrant developing regions, as the case of Central Asia will demonstrate. Certain concepts such as ‘domestic/foreign policy’ or ‘national/regime security’ are extremely perplexed in weak states and demand greater scrutiny. Accordingly, a quest for unpacking the international behaviour of weak states should commence not at the domestic or systemic level but in between, incorporating external environment, internal insecurities and transnational links.