Communication as a Source of National Power

Topics: Military, International relations, War Pages: 13 (3897 words) Published: April 9, 2013

Power has always been central theme of International Relations. States interact on the basis of relative national power to safeguard national interests. In this anarchic world definition and quantification of National power has been an area of interest of theorists like Nicolo Machiavelli, David Hume, E.H Carr and Hans J. Morgentheu.[1] National power was divided in to elements of Geography, Demography, Natural resources, Industrial Capacity (Tech), Military preparedness, National Character and Morale.[2] These elements were also classified as tangible and intangible in an effort to quantity them.[3] The nature of power is complex and ever changing.[4] It is never stagnant and thus needs to be studied and evaluated to foresee future events and conflicts. During the last few decades communication revolution has emerged as a crucial source of national power. Like other elements of power, communication work in coordination with others and increase the net ability of national power of a state manifold. Information and communication are two ends of the same coin. However, communication is the nucleus of modern advancements without which information is worthless. The ‘communication revolution’ terminology is also characterized as ‘Information and Communication revolution (ICR)’. The technical advances in the field of information sensors, computers, satellite communication systems, TV channels and internet have changed the social, political, economic and military dynamics of the world affairs. Two major phenomena have occurred. One is of ‘globalization’ encompassing social, political and economic aspects of communication revolution and other is of changing dynamics of modern warfare generally termed as ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’. These revolutionary changes have also affected political thought and Grand strategy mechanism. The hard power concept was added with ‘soft power’ concept. National Power is in a state of flux after communication revolution. Power of a state could be increased and also decreased. States have lost control and authority to non-state actors. States have to adjust to better benefit from this revolution. In order to include communication as a determining source of national power; its evolution has to studied carefully, its impact on modern society and warfare and its correlation with other sources of power. Communication without doubt has emerged as an important determinant of National Power. Communication Revolution

Communication is a process of transferring information from one entity to another. It’s an interaction between at least two agents and defined as “the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions or information by speech, writing or signs”. It is a process in which information enclosed in a package is imparted by sender to receiver via a channel or medium. It may be one way however preferably should be two way process.[5] The history of communication is that of man itself. Man being a social animal since dawn of history used to live in groups.[6] This group behaviour necessitated evolution of language and physical signs for communication needs.[7] The evolution of communication can be divided into three revolutions. The 1st communication revolution occurred when writing happened in shape of pictographs (symbols and cave paintings). The communication however was not mobile. The 2nd communication revolution occurred when alphabets in different languages were created and books were made. Communication was now storable and portable. Egyptians had developed Alphabets around 2700 BC. The 3rd and most important communication revolution saw transformation of information via waves, bits and other electronic signals. The present revolution could be sub-divided depending on technological advancements.[8] It is believed that it all started after industrial revolution.[9] Semaphore or Optical system...
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