International Relations: National Power: Meaning and Forms

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National Power

  • Power is a key concept in international politics .

  • Vital in conduct of relations among states.

  • For securing interest and promoting interests.

  • Also, a limiting factor, power of state is limited by its own resources and capabilities as well as by the adverse power of other states too.

  • Morgenthau’s – “International politics like all other politics is a struggle for power. Whatever be the ultimate aim of international politics , power is always the immediate one.

  • As such, power is an incontrovertible fact of international politics.

  • Carl Becker – “politics is inseparable from power. States and government exists to exert power……political power exists in the world and will be used by those who have it”.

  • Statesman always act to keep or increase power in international politics.

Meaning

  • Morgenthau – “the power of man and as man’s control over the minds and actions of the other man”.

  • Dyke – power as “coercive influence distinguished from persuasive influence”.

  • Power is not a tangible thing , it is a relationship in which one is powerful and the and is in a position to affect a desired change in the behavior of those who are less powerful, by means of force or by threat of use of force.

  • Hartman – “National Power denotes the ability of nation to fulfill national goals. It tell as to how much powerful or weak a particular nation is in securing its national goals”.

Forms of National Power

Basically, three forms –

  1. Military Power

  2. Psychological Power

  3. Economic Power

Not organic, almost arbitrary but an essential.

Military Power

  • essential for achieving the objective of security of the nation.

  • Key means for securing purpose.

  • It’s an instrument of foreign policy.

  • It’s a source of strength and prestige for any nation.

Economic Power

  • ability of nation to satisfy its own needs and to control the behavior of other states by affording or denying access to economic goods and services.

  • No state can become a military power without economic power.

  • Lack of economic power has been the basic factor behind the weak position of third world countries.

Psychological Power

it’s a power of opinion.

Schleicher

  • “Psychological Power consists of symbolic device which appeals to the minds and emotions of man” .

  • Noted examples are – persuasion and propaganda as widely recognized strategy of international relations.

Means

Four basic means.

Persuasion

  • most common and effective method.

  • Defining or logically explaining a particular problem or issue or a dispute.

  • Attempts are made to persuade other nations to adopt a particular and desired view or perception of the nature of issues in any bilateral or multilateral problems.

Rewards

  • can be material , economic or psychological.

  • A nation can give material help to another in times of crisis.

  • Giving economic aids , loans , grant in aid are another methods of winning support and inducing a change in the behavior of another states.

  • Other examples – lease of territories or bases or equipment, grant of right to allow passage of ships etc.

Punishment

  • a powerful nation by its act of commission or omission can inflict punishment upon a weak and dependent nation.

  • Withholding of reward, cut in aid or loan , a stoppage or cut of trade , imposition of high duties, expulsion of diplomats etc.

  • The most effective punishment is the one which secures the desired objectives without the actual infliction of punishment.

Force

  • by exercising actual use of force or physical violence.

  • By use of military force a nation can compel another for a desired objectives.

  • The difference between the force and punishment is the actual use of force versus the threat of use of force.

  • Resorting to war is the last option, which is quite dangerous and risky, nations usually avoid this.

MCQs

1. Who said – “International politics like all other politics is a struggle for power. Whatever be the ultimate aim of international politics , power is always the immediate one”?

  1. Morgenthau

  2. Frankel

  3. Kenneth Thompson

  4. Carl Becker

Ans. A. Morgenthau

Explanation: Power is a key concept in international politics .Vital in conduct of relations among states. For securing interest and promoting interests.

2. Which among the following is ‘power of opinion’?

  1. Military

  2. Economic

  3. Psychological

  4. None

Ans. C. Psychological

Explanation: it’s a power of opinion.

  • Schleicher – “Psychological Power consists of symbolic device which appeals to the minds and emotions of man” .

  • Noted examples are – persuasion and propaganda as widely recognized strategy of international relations.

3. Who defines power as – “the power of man and as man’s control over the minds and actions of the other man”?

  1. Dyke

  2. Morgenthau

  3. Carl

  4. None

Ans. B. Morgenthau

Explanation: to ability to use force is determined by the existence of certain elements as well as by the ability of actors seeking to secure the objectives and goals.

4. Power is

  1. Intangible

  2. Tangible

  3. Avoidable

  4. Relatable

Ans. A. Intangible

Explanation: Power is not a tangible thing , it is a relationship in which one is powerful and the and is in a position to affect a desired change in the behavior of those who are less powerful, by means of force or by threat of use of force.

5. Which among the following is not a form of national power?

a. Military

b. Economic

c. Physical

d. Psychological

Ans. C. Physical

Explanation: there are basically three forms of national power –

  • Military Power

  • Psychological Power

  • Economic Power

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