Lecture 1: Power
- Power is arguably the most important concept in international relations and politics
- Power is the capacity to control or influence the behaviours of others
- Most important thing of power is distribution
- If A influences or controls B to do something (X), how do we know A caused B to do X?
- Maybe power is the ability of A to get B to take the Action X…minus the probability that
B would take Action X anyways
o It is difficult to measure power and influence
- Old focus was upon tangible factors that can be measures (eg. Territory, nuclear
weapons, natural resources)
Tangible Sources of Power
- Military Capabilities
o Nuclear weapons, delivery systems such as ICBMS, MIRVs, cruise missiles
o Google Jane’s Defence Weekly
o Armaments, Disarment and International Security
SIPRI year is an annual compendium of data and analysis in the areas of
Security, Conflicts Military spending and armaments, Non-proliferation,
arms control and disbarment
o Realists argue this is the number one indicator of power
- Geo-political
o Territory, location, topography
- Economic wealth
o Mineral resources, oil, water, GDP
o GDP= the total value of economic goods and services produced and marketed
annually within a state
- Population
o The number of people, demographic profile, overpopulation, number of children,
diseases, health of women
Tangible Sources of Power (Hard Power)
- Hard power is the ability (through military or economic pressure) to make others do what
they otherwise would not
- The problem is that a state may be powerful in terms of tangible assets but unable to
translate power into actual influence (US under Clinton)
- New focus is upon intangible factors that cannot be measured (dynamic leadership, hard-
working population
Intangible Sources of Power
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