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Lecture 5

POL208Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Fungibility, Osama Bin Laden, Hegemony

Political Science
Course Code
Lilach Gilady

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Power 15:10
What is power?
Who has power?
Obama will not negotiate with anyone
Speak of the house (Boharner) will not compromise for anyone
In this case, who has more power?
Canadian Soldiers vs. the Taliban – Who Has More Power?
When you discuss power in its simple terms you will miss a lot of concepts
Power politics – What is power?
Morgenthau: Power is “mans control over the minds and actions of other
Or: A gets B to do something s/he would not otherwise do.  how would
you measure this?
This is a very common definition of power
Tanks, military expenditure, military personnel, GDP, steel production,
population, level of technology, power production; Social indicators:
education, infant mortality, rate of tax collection, corruption
People were trying to create indicators of who had more power  this was
very common in the 60s and 70s
Many indicators are hard to measure: morale, skill, intelligence, quality of
diplomacy, determination
How do you quantify any of this indicators
Variables bring into question our ability to create power indicators in the first
Stalin: “the Pope! How many divisions has he got?”
The Pope’s can be counted as a pretty powerful if we understand power as
the ability to change another actor’s behaviour
How to aggregate the measurements?
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How do we create the power equation?
Power is dynamic  Russia is more powerful then the United States at the
beginning of the 20th century and it switches half way through the century
Power is a tricky concept
Power is multi dimensional
Power is coming from anything  constitutional, ideological, normative,
How do we aggregate these concepts to define power
Power is dynamic
Power is relative
Is the United States powerful vis a vis Syria?
Relative relationship between the actors involved
Power may be contextual (the fungibility of power)
Certain contexts power is completely irrelevant and cannot come into power
Ex. Trade negotiations
One context cannot be translated into the other which makes the issue even
more complicated
Power and influence
First equation equates power with influence
You can measure power through influence
How can you separate personal motivation or interest from the power of
influence from the other party?
There is no direct way to measure power, you can only look at influence
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Power and Force
A lot of times power and force are equated though this is not accurate
Power and force are not synonymous
Force can compel an actor to change their behaviour but it can also make
them less likely to change their behaviour
Force can reduce power
Four Functions of Force (Robert J. Art)
1. Defensive (actual use)  self-defence
a.i. 2nd strike – reactive  Always legitimate
a.ii. 1st strike – pre-emptive (imminent)  can be
a.iii. 1st strike – preventative (inevitable)  not legitimate
EX. Iraqi war
EX. Drone warfare
2. Deterrence (threat)
a.i. Keep arms and military to deter
a.ii. Do not actually use force
a.iii. Actor is not actually doing anything yet
3. Compellence (threat vs. actual use)
a.i. Trying to stop an actor from doing something they’re
already going
a.ii. Higher threshold  adversaries are already
4. ‘Swaggering’ (demonstration/ subtle threat)
a.i. Showing off assets
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