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National Power

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National Power,Importance,Elements & Features:

Definition:

Concept of ‘Power’ in international relations is defined in terms of of state power or national power.National power means the sum of all resources available to a nation in the persuit of national objectives.
There are two dimensions of national power-
i) The Internal Dimension: Internal power refers the capacity to insulate from outside influence. ii) The External Dimension: External power means the capacity to control or to influence the behavior of others.

Importance:

National power is the currency of international relations.Each nation seeks to use its power for securing its interests.Infact international relations is a process of struggle for power.The most powerful nation would exert enormous influence in any particular international issue and try to take the situation in its favour. Historically Great Powers have shaped the international order through economic and political power,alliances,colonial hegemonies,wars and aggressiveness and such other methods,in order to perpetuate their influence.Before the second World War,some European states-Britain,France,Spain,Portugal-were considered as great powers as they largely shaped international politics.But the war hit them hard and their powers were reduced.Instead,two other non-European nations-the USA and the USSR-emerged as the two superpowers after the war,and began to exert their influences in international politics and shape the world according tp their calculations.Due to their ideological and political rivalries,the world got distinctly divided into two warring camps.Scholars described this situation as the Cold War.However the collapse of the Soviet Union marked its end.In post-Cold War period,the USA remained the only Super Power with sufficient economic and ilitary strength.It is now trying to be the prime controlling power in international politics.
Beside the great powers,there are other states-medium and small powers-which often play significant roles in international relations.
Elements of National Power:

The national power of a state is the product of a number of elements.These are divided as tangible(population,military strength) and intangible(leadership,nationalism).The different elements of national power are described below-
i) Geography:

According to Nepoleon,
“The foreign policy of a country is determined by its geography”
Influence of geography is undisputedly accepted in politics and international relations.The best proof of this influence is the birth of a new field of study as ‘geopolitics’ which directs the study of politics in relation to geography.This factor can easily be proved by the naval power of contemporary super powers,especially the UK.Their naval power helped them to discover new territories and their establishment of colonies around the world made them greatest empire in the history.
Geographic factors include location,size,topography,climate,boundaries and physical features of a state.
a) Location:
An important aspect of geopolitics is the location of a state.A state surrounded by sea,mountains or other natural boundaries will have a different degree of power than a state which is surrounded by other staes.During two world wars Germany was encircled by Britain,Fance and Russia for it’s locatin.Moreover,location affects a country’s culture and economy because it allowes influence by surrounding countries.
b) Size and Shape:
The size of a state is important because it can support a large population and facilitate large scale agricultural activities and industries.Moreover only having big territory can not make a state powerful.Argentna,Brazil,Kazakhastan are all big in size,but they are not bog power.Conversely countries like Israel,Singapore are powerful being small in size.
c) topography:
The topography also contributes for national power.Rivers,mountains,plainlands may facilitate agriculture,economy and security of a country.

d) climate:
Excessively hot or cold climates are never conductive to human survival.A country having sufficient rainfall and temperate climate can enjoy a very good advantage. ii) Population:

The trends in population growth.the sex ratio,the percentage of working people and the literacy rate are some of the factors that can contribute to national power.A sizeable population proportionate to a country’s resources is ideal for the power of a state.Over population and inderpopulation both can be burdens for a state. iii) Natural Resources:

Natural resources not only include flora and fauna,but also minerals,cultivable soil for agricultural products ,resources from the sea.Some states abound in them,while others suffer from scarcity.Fossil fuels presently constitute about 95% of global energy consumption.Countries rich in these fuels have an edge over others in terms of national power. iv) Economy:

Economy of a state is perhaps is the most important element of national power.It encompasses all fields of influences.A state with a high economic capacity can have a high authority as in the case with the USA.It has the ability to influence the whole international system.
v) Military Strength:

Military power is thelongest surviving element of national power.For centuries states have paid more attention to national security and therefore,military preparedness has been their priority. vi) Advances in Technology:

Advances in technology in the last few centuries have profoundly changed theglobal society.Technological innovatins in the field of transportation and communication,information systems,production facilities,agriculture,industries,medicine have brought about significant changes in the world.

vii) Ideology:

Ideology has long been used as a technique to strengthen foreign policies and to promote it worldwide.Powerful states do not hesitate to imploy ideogies to influence other states,that caused the Cold War. viii) Polular support and National Unity:

A nation with a popular government is likely to exercise greater power both al national and international levels.If people get united in their national issues the states performance at the international level will be at it’s best. ix) Diplomacy and Policy Making:

Diplomacy is the principal instrument for engaging with other states and foreign groups to advance influence.Sound policy making for strategic issues are vital for a state.
x) Leadership and Adminstration:

Effective leadership of certain leaders are highly acknowledged by the entire international community that it becomes an asset or a national power to the state he belongsto.Leaders like Abraham Lincon,Josef Stalin,Winston Churchill are still remembered by the people.Good governance and adminstrationis also necessary to make a state more powerful.

Features of National Power:

i) National power is both a Means as well asan End in International Relations. ii) National power is the ability to secure goals of national interest. iii) National power is Dynamic and Relative in character. iv) No two nations have equal power at the same time.
v) There are several elements of national power. vi) Power can be not only actual but also potential. vii) National power is the currency of international relations. viii) National power is the backbone of a nations foreign policy. Conclusion:

National power is essentially a relative concept.It needs to be analysed in term of powers of other states.According to Hans J. Morgenthau, “The struggle for power is universal in time and space and is an undeniable fact.”
So,the concept of power will be developing by the passage of time.…...

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