What Is Power in International Relations

Topics: International relations, United States, Diplomacy, Political philosophy, World War II, Military / Pages: 6 (1364 words) / Published: Dec 6th, 2011
Power is a very complex concept such that most political scientist have different definitions of power or different ways of looking at it and explaining it .however power is one of the most important instruments in international relations , Hans Morgenthau an American political scientist suggests that “international politics like all politics , is a struggle for power. Power is central to realist thinking which can be dated back to Thucydides who said ‘the strong do what the have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept .” realists also believe that humans are naturally political animals they crave power and are self centred.
International relations as the study of relationships between states is a product of human nature .

The American scientist Robert Dahl suggests that power is the ability of an actor to get another actor to do what it otherwise would not have done , or not to do what it would otherwise have done (Dahl 1970) the first of these relationships we could call compel lance and the second deterrence Dahl has established what power can be used for however to get a broader understanding of power we need to look at other definitions of power Chris Brown argues that power is three things at the same time ; power is an attribute; it is something that states possess, or have access to , have at hand to deploy in the world to protect their national interests or sovereignty., power is relational; it is the ability that groups or states have to exercise influence over others and power is a property of a structure ;there are institution, rules codes and social practices which may influence our lives and thus have some sort of power example of this is a legal system .(Brown 2009) .
The realist approach to power in International Relations is that “power is based on the material capabilities that a state controls”. (Dunne, T. Kurki, M. Smith, S., 2007) This is the basic force model. That an actors power depends on its attributes

Bibliography: William nester (1995). international relations geopolitical and geo-economics conflict and cooperation. new York: HarperCollins college. Kegley , C and Wittkopf E (2006). world politics , trends and transformation. 10th ed. London: Thomson Wadsworth. p28-37 , p476-478.

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