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In
international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek historian Thucydides. International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions betwe ...
, power is defined in several different ways. Material definitions of state power emphasize economic and military power. Other definitions of power emphasize the ability to structure and constitute the nature of social relations between actors. Power is an attribute of particular actors in their interactions, as well as a social process that constitutes the social identities and capacities of actors. International relations scholars use the term
polarity Polarity may refer to: Science *Polarity (mutual inductance), the relationship between components such as transformer windings *Polarity (projective geometry), in mathematics, a duality of order two *Polarity in embryogenesis, the animal and vegeta ...
to describe the distribution of power in the international system. Unipolarity refers to an international system characterized by one hegemon (e.g. United States in the post-Cold War period), bipolarity to an order with two great powers or blocs of states (e.g. the Cold War), and multipolarity refers to the presence of three or more great powers. Those states that have significant amounts of power within the international system are referred to as
small power The international system is for the most part made up by small powers or small states. While a small power in the international system may never equal or surpass the effect of larger powers, they can nevertheless influence the workings of the i ...
s,
middle power In international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek historian Thucydides. International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scienti ...
s,
regional power In international relations since the late 20th century, a regional power is a term used for a state that has power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit ti ...
s, great powers,
superpower A superpower is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

superpower
s, or
hegemons Hegemony (, () or ) is the political, economic, or military predominance or control of one state over others. In ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek h ...
, although there is no commonly accepted standard for what defines a powerful state. Entities other than states can have power in international relations. Such entities can include multilateral
international organizations An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of states and other actors in the international system. Organizations m ...
, military alliance organizations like
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
,
multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporation, corporate organization that owns and controls the production of goods or services in at least one country other than its home country. Control is considered an important aspect of an MNC, to distingui ...
s like
Wal-Mart Walmart Inc. (; formerly Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) is an American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores from the United States The United States of Americ ...

Wal-Mart
,
non-governmental organizations upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the launch of the "Europe in a suitcase" project by two NGOs (the EGI and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation), which aims to increase ...
such as the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's old ...

Roman Catholic Church
, or other institutions such as the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse; nl, label=Dutch language, Dutch, De Hanze; la, Hansa Teutonica) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchan ...
and technology companies like
Facebook Facebook is an American online social media Social media are interactive technologies that allow the creation or sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and Network ...

Facebook
and
Google Google LLC is an American Multinational corporation, multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising, online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud comp ...

Google
.


Concepts of political power

Michael Barnett and Raymond Duvall define power as "the production, in and through social relations, of effects that shape the capacities of actors to determine their circumstances and fate." They reject definitions of power that conflate power as any and all effects because doing so makes power synonymous with causality. They also reject persuasion as part of the definition of power, as it revolves around actors freely and voluntarily changing their minds once presented with new information.
Political scientists This is a list of notable political scientists. See the list of political theorists for those who study political theory. See also political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with s ...
,
historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are con ...
s, and practitioners of
international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek historian Thucydides. International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions betwe ...
(
diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for ...
s) have used the following concepts of
political power In social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refe ...
: * Power as a goal of states or leaders; * Power as a measure of
influence Influence or influencer may refer to: *Social influence, in social psychology, influence in interpersonal relationships **Minority influence, when the minority affect the behavior or beliefs of the majority *Influencer marketing, through individua ...
or control over outcomes, events, actors and issues; * Power as victory in conflict and the attainment of
security Security is freedom from, or resilience against, potential Potential generally refers to a currently unrealized ability. The term is used in a wide variety of fields, from physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), phys ...
; * Power as control over resources and capabilities; * Power as status, which some states or actors possess and others do not.


Power as a goal

The primary usage of "power" as a goal in international relations belongs to political theorists, such as
Niccolò Machiavelli Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (; ; rarely rendered Nicholas Machiavel (see below See or SEE may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Music: ** See (album), ''See'' (album), studio album by rock band The Rascals *** "See", song by ...
and
Hans Morgenthau Hans Joachim Morgenthau (February 17, 1904 – July 19, 1980) was one of the major twentieth-century figures in the study of international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek histo ...
. Especially among Classical Realist thinkers, power is an inherent goal of mankind and of states. Economic growth, military growth, cultural spread etc. can all be considered as working towards the ultimate goal of international power. The German military thinker
Carl von Clausewitz Carl Philipp Gottfried (or Gottlieb) von Clausewitz (; – ) was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral" (meaning, in modern terms, psychological Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology incl ...

Carl von Clausewitz
is considered to be the quintessential projection of European growth across the continent. In more modern times,
Claus Moser Claus Adolf Moser, Baron Moser, (24 November 1922 – 4 September 2015) was a British statistician who made major contributions in both academia and the Civil Service (United Kingdom), Civil Service. He prided himself rather on being a non-mathe ...
has elucidated theories centre of distribution of power in Europe after the Holocaust, and the power of universal learning as its counterpoint.
Jean Monnet Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet (; 9 November 1888 – 16 March 1979) was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, ...

Jean Monnet
was a French left-wing social theorist, stimulating expansive Eurocommunism, who followed on the creator of modern European community, the diplomat and statesman
Robert Schuman Jean-Baptiste Nicolas Robert Schuman (; 29 June 18864 September 1963) was a Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=n ...
.


Power as influence

Political scientists This is a list of notable political scientists. See the list of political theorists for those who study political theory. See also political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with s ...
principally use "power" in terms of an actor's ability to exercise
influence Influence or influencer may refer to: *Social influence, in social psychology, influence in interpersonal relationships **Minority influence, when the minority affect the behavior or beliefs of the majority *Influencer marketing, through individua ...
over other actors within the international system. This influence can be
coercive Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threat A threat is a ''communicated'' intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. Intimidation is widely observed in animal behavior (particularly in a rituali ...
, attractive,
cooperative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject in Russia">Federal subjects of Russia">federal subject in Russia, close to borders of Finland. Picture of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the ...
, or
competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. The relationship itself may also be called "a riv ...

competitive
. Mechanisms of influence can include the threat or use of force, economic interaction or pressure, diplomacy, and cultural exchange. Under certain circumstances, states can organize a
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and ...
or a bloc within which they exercise predominant influence. Historical examples include the spheres of influence recognized under the
Concert of Europe The Concert of Europe refers to a general consensus among the Great Powers of 19th Century Europe to maintain the European balance of power and the integrity of territorial boundaries. Never a consensus, and subject to disputes and jockeying fo ...
, or the recognition of spheres during the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its sta ...
following the
Yalta Conference The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code name, codenamed Argonaut, held 4–11 February, 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union to dis ...
. The
Eastern Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc, the Socialist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the influence of the Soviet Union and its ideology ( ...
, the
Western Bloc The Western Bloc, also known as the Anti-Communist Bloc, Capitalist Bloc and the American Bloc, was a coalition of the countries that were allied with the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United S ...
, and the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide. The movement originated in the ...
were the blocs that arose out of the Cold War contest. Military alliances like
NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries. Th ...
and the
Warsaw Pact The Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO), officially the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, commonly known as the Warsaw Pact (WP), was a Collective security#Collective defense, collective defense treaty signed in Warsaw, Poli ...
are another forum through which influence is exercised. However, " realist" theory attempted to maintain the balance of power from the development of meaningful diplomatic relations that can create a
hegemony Hegemony (, , ) is the political, economic, and military predominance of one state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (new ...
within the region.
British foreign policy The diplomatic foreign relations of the United Kingdom are conducted by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, headed by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs. The Prime Minister and numerous other a ...
, for example, dominated Europe through the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
after the defeat of France. They continued the balancing act with the
Congress of Berlin The Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878) was a meeting of the representatives of the era's six great powers in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by conventio ...
in 1878, to appease Russia and Germany from attacking Turkey. Britain has sided against the aggressors on the European continent—i.e. the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
,
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was t ...

Nazi Germany
,
Napoleonic France The First French Empire, officially the French Republic (until 1809) then the French Empire (; ), was the empire An empire is a sovereign state consisting of several territories and peoples subject to a single ruling authority, often an e ...
or the
Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was a Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural i ...
, known during the Great War as the
Central Powers The Central Powers, also known as the Central Empires,german: Mittelmächte; hu, Központi hatalmak; tr, İttifak Devletleri / ; bg, Централни сили, translit=Tsentralni sili was one of the two main coalitions that fought World W ...
and, in World War II as the Axis Powers. International orders have both a material and social component.
Martha FinnemoreMartha Finnemore (born 1959) is an American constructivist scholar of international relations, and University Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She is considered among the most influential in ...
argues that unipolarity does not just entail a material superiority by the unipole, but also a social structure whereby the unipole maintains its status through legitimation, and institutionalization. In trying to obtain legitimacy from the other actors in the international system, the unipole necessarily gives those actors a degree of power. The unipole also obtains legitimacy and wards off challenges to its power through the creation of institutions, but these institutions also entail a diffusion of power away from the unipole. David Lake has argued along similar lines that legitimacy and authority are key components of international order.
Susan Strange Susan Strange (9 June 1923 – 25 October 1998) was a British scholar of international relations who was "almost single-handedly responsible for creating international political economy". Notable publications include ''Casino Capitalism'' (1986 ...
made a key contribution to International Political Economy on the issue of
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
, which she considered essential to the character and dynamics of the global economy. Strange was skeptical of static indicators of power, arguing that it was structural power that mattered. In particular, interactions between states and markets mattered. She pointed to the superiority of the American technology sector, dominance in services, and the position of the U.S. dollar as the top international currency as real indicators of lasting power. She distinguished between relational power (the power to compel A to get B to do something B does not want to do) and structural power (the power to shape and determine the structure of the global political economy). Political scientists
Henry Farrell Henry Farrell (September 27, 1920 – March 29, 2006) was an American novelist and screenwriter, best known as the author of the renowned gothic horror story ''What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (novel), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?'', which ...

Henry Farrell
and Abraham L. Newman argue that state power is in part derived from control over important nodes in global networks of informational and financial exchange, which means that states can "weaponize interdependence" by fighting over control of these nodes.


Power as security

''Power'' is also used when describing states or actors that have achieved
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or para ...

military
victories or security for their state in the international system. This general usage is most commonly found among the writings of historians or popular writers.


Power as capability

American author Charles W. Freeman, Jr. described power as the following: ''Power'' is also used to describe the
resources A resource is a source or supply from which a benefit is produced and that has some utility. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. They can also be classif ...
and capabilities of a state. This definition is quantitative and is most often used by geopoliticians and the military. Capabilities are thought of in tangible terms—they are measurable, weighable, quantifiable assets. A good example for this kind of measurement is the ''Composite Indicator on Aggregate Power'', which involves 54 indicators and covers the capabilities of 44 states in
Asia-Pacific 300px, Map showing the general definition of Asia-Pacific. Dark green refers to the core Asia-Pacific countries, while light green refers to regions that may be included. The Asia-Pacific is the part of the world The world is the Earth and ...

Asia-Pacific
from 1992 to 2012. Hard power can be treated as a potential and is not often enforced on the international stage.
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...

Chinese
strategists have such a concept of national power that can be measured quantitatively using an index known as
comprehensive national power Comprehensive National Power (CNP) (; pinyin: zōnghé guólì) is a putative measure, important in the contemporary political thought of the People's Republic of China, of the general power (international), power of a Nation state, nation-state. CN ...
. Michael Beckley argues that gross domestic product and military spending are imprecise indicators of power. He argues that better measurements of power should take into account "net" indicators of powers: "
rossRoss or ROSS may refer to: Astronomy * Ross (lunar crater) * Ross (Martian crater) * Ross 248, a star People * Clan Ross, a Highland Scottish clan * Ross (name), including a list of people with the surname or given name Ross, as well as the mean ...

ross
indicators systematically exaggerate the wealth and military capabilities of poor, populous countries, because they tally countries’ resources without deducting the costs countries pay to police, protect, and serve their people. A country with a big population might produce vast output and field a large army, but it also may bear massive welfare and security burdens that drain its wealth and bog down its military, leaving it with few resources for power projection abroad."


Power as status


Definitions

Much effort in academic and popular writing is devoted to deciding which countries have the status of "power", and how this can be measured. If a country has "power" (as influence) in military, diplomatic, cultural, and economic spheres, it might be called a "power" (as status). There are several categories of power, and inclusion of a state in one category or another is fraught with difficulty and controversy. In his famous 1987 work, ''
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers ''The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000'', by Paul Kennedy Paul Michael Kennedy (born 17 June 1945) is a British historian specialising in the history of international relations, econom ...
,'' British-American historian
Paul Kennedy Paul Michael Kennedy (born 17 June 1945) is a British historian specialising in the history of international relations, economic power and grand strategy. He has published prominent books on the history of British foreign policy and Great Power ...
charts the relative status of the various powers from AD 1500 to 2000. He does not begin the book with a
theoretical definition A theoretical definition defines a term in an academic discipline, functioning as a proposal to see a phenomenon in a certain way. A theoretical definition is a proposed way of thinking about potentially related events. Theoretical definitions conta ...
of "great power"; however he lists them, separately, for many different eras. Moreover, he uses different
working definitions A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols). Definitions can be classified into two large categories, intensional definitions (which try to give the sense of a term) and extensional definitions ...
of great power for different eras. For example; Neorealist scholars frequently define power as entailing military capabilities and economic strength. Classical realists recognized that the ability to influence depended on psychological relationships that touched on ethical principles, legitimacy and justice, as well as emotions, leaders' skill and power over opinion.


Categories of power

In the modern geopolitical landscape, a number of terms are used to describe various types of powers, which include the following: * ''
Superpower A superpower is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Superpower
'': In 1944,
William T. R. Fox William Thornton Rickert Fox (January 12, 1912 – October 24, 1988), generally known as William T. R. Fox (or occasionally W. T. R. Fox), was an American foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focu ...
defined ''superpower'' as "great power plus great mobility of power" and identified three states, the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
, the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a Federalism, federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a Political union, union of multiple national Republics of t ...
and the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
. With the decolonisation of the British Empire following World War II, and then the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, e ...
in 1991, the United States has remained to be the sole superpower.
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...

China
is now considered an by many scholars. * '' Great power'': In historical mentions, the term ''great power'' refers to the states that have strong political, cultural and economical influence over nations around them and across the world. * ''
Middle power In international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek historian Thucydides. International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scienti ...
'': A subjective description of influential second-tier states that could not quite be described as great or small powers. A middle power has sufficient strength and authority to stand on its own without the need of help from others (particularly in the realm of
security Security is freedom from, or resilience against, potential Potential generally refers to a currently unrealized ability. The term is used in a wide variety of fields, from physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), phys ...

security
) and takes diplomatic leads in regional and global affairs. Clearly not all middle powers are of equal status; some are members of forums such as the
G20 The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative defi ...

G20
and play important roles in the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
and other international organisations such as the
WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of ...
.Rudd K (2006
Making Australia a force for good
''Labor eHerald''
* ''
Small power The international system is for the most part made up by small powers or small states. While a small power in the international system may never equal or surpass the effect of larger powers, they can nevertheless influence the workings of the i ...
'': The International System is for the most part made up by ''small powers''. They are instruments of the other powers and may at times be dominated; but they cannot be ignored.


Other categories

* ''
Regional power In international relations since the late 20th century, a regional power is a term used for a state that has power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit ti ...
'': This term is used to describe a nation that exercises influence and power within a region. Being a ''regional power'' is not mutually exclusive with any of the other categories of power. The majority of them exert a strategic degree of influence as minor or secondary regional powers. A primary regional power (like
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
) has often an important role in international affairs outside of its region too. * ''Cultural superpower'': Refers to a country whose
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...

culture
,
arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...

arts
or
entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delight. It can be an idea or a task, but is more likely to be one of the activities or events that have develo ...

entertainment
have worldwide appeal, significant international popularity or large influence on much of the world. Countries such as
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...

China
,
India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous country, the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest ...

India
,
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by the Alps, a Italian Peninsula, peninsula and List of islands of Italy, se ...

Italy
,
Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Golden circle subdiv ...

Japan
,
Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_ ...

Spain
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, several overseas regions and territories. The metro ...

France
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
, and the
United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., federal di ...

United States
have often been described as cultural superpowers, although it is sometimes debated on which one meets such criteria. Unlike traditional forms of national power, the term cultural superpower is in reference to a nation's
soft power In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social sci ...
capabilities. * '' Energy superpower'': Describes a country that supplies large amounts of energy
resources A resource is a source or supply from which a benefit is produced and that has some utility. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. They can also be classif ...
(
crude oil Petroleum, also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isocho ...
,
natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas; sometimes just gas) is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting of methane and commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxide ...

natural gas
,
coal Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata (Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half o ...

coal
,
uranium Uranium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence elect ...

uranium
, etc.) to a significant number of other states, and therefore has the potential to influence world markets to gain a political or economic advantage.
Saudi Arabia (''Shahada The ''Shahada'' ( ar, ٱلشَّهَادَةُ ' , "the testimony"), also spelled Shahadah, is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan. It reads: "I bear witness that none deserves worship e ...

Saudi Arabia
and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russia
, are generally acknowledged as the world's current energy superpowers, given their abilities to globally influence or even directly control prices to certain countries.
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, smal ...

Australia
and
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocea ...

Canada
are potential energy superpowers due to their large natural resources.


Hard, soft and smart power

Some political scientists distinguish between two types of power: Hard and Soft. The former is coercive (example:
military invasion An invasion is a Offensive (military), military offensive in which large numbers of combatants of one geopolitics, geopolitical Legal entity, entity aggressively enter territory (country subdivision), territory owned by another such entity, gene ...
) while the latter is attractive (example:
broadcast media Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencie ...
or cultural invasion). Hard power refers to coercive tactics: the threat or use of
armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct m ...
,
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods and Service (economics), services by different a ...

economic
pressure or sanctions, assassination and subterfuge, or other forms of intimidation. Hard power is generally associated to the stronger of nations, as the ability to change the domestic affairs of other nations through military threats. Realists and neorealists, such as
John Mearsheimer John Joseph Mearsheimer (; born December 14, 1947) is an American political scientist and international relations scholar, who belongs to the realist school of thought. He is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor at the Universi ...

John Mearsheimer
, are advocates of the use of such power for the balancing of the international system.
Joseph Nye Joseph Samuel Nye Jr. (born January 19, 1937) is an American political scientist. He is the co-founder, along with Robert Keohane, of the international relations theory of neoliberalism Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism is a terminology used ...
is the leading proponent and theorist of soft power. Instruments of soft power include debates on cultural values, dialogues on ideology, the attempt to influence through good example, and the appeal to commonly accepted human values. Means of exercising soft power include diplomacy, dissemination of information, analysis, propaganda, and cultural programming to achieve political ends. Others have synthesized soft and hard power, including through the field of
smart power In international relations, the term smart power refers to the combination of hard power and soft power strategies. It is defined by the Center for Strategic and International Studies as "an approach that underscores the necessity of a strong mili ...
. This is often a call to use a holistic spectrum of statecraft tools, ranging from soft to hard.


See also

*
Balance of power in international relations The balance of power theory in international relations The field of international relations dates from the time of the Ancient Greece, Greek historian Thucydides. International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international s ...
*
Global policeman Global policeman is an informal term for a state which seeks or claims global hegemony. It has been used, firstly for the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or ...
*
International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919) This article covers worldwide diplomacy Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Dipl ...
* Lateral pressure theory *
National power National Power was formerly an energy In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Mot ...
*
Peace through strength"Peace through strength" is a phrase that suggests that military power (social and political), power can help preserve peace. It is quite old and has famously been used by many leaders from Roman Emperor Hadrian in the first century AD to former US P ...
* ''
Power Politics Power politics is a theory in international relations which contends that distributions of power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the Internat ...
'' *
Power (social and political) In social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refe ...
*
Power transition theory Power transition theory is a theory about the nature of war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), ...


References


Further reading

* Bennett, Andrew (2013). " The mother of all isms: Causal mechanisms and structured pluralism in International Relations theory." ''European Journal of International Relations.'' * Barnett, Michael; Duvall, Raymond (2005).
Power in International Politics
. ''International Organization'' 59 (1): 39–75. {{DEFAULTSORT:Power In International Relations Geopolitical rivalry Political history