What Is 'Power' in International Relations? Use Examples to Illustrate Your Argument

1426 Words Mar 22nd, 2011 6 Pages
What is 'Power' in International Relations? Use Examples to Illustrate your Argument

Power can be seen as a very complicated concept within International Relations. Power in
International Relations does not only refer to military might but also includes economic power, cultural power and also, 'soft' and 'hard' power.

Brown defines power as not just one thing but three things all working at the same time. They are; the attributes that the actor has and can use, the relationships between actors and the ability an actor has to influence others and thirdly the actors structure,when its system makes actors behave in a certain way. The first two parts of this definition of power in International Relations are most relevant to
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It can be seen as the ability to negotiate with other actors and make deals which can benefit all parties involved. The United States and the United Kingdom are two examples of actors who utilise their resources for political advantage. The United States showed its political power in 1990 when it lobbied China and Russia not to veto the UN Security Council Resolution 678 to authorise the invasion of Iraq (http://www.cfr.org/publication/11205/). Although China did not vote, the United States successfully gained the support of Russia and prevented China from vetoing, which would have meant the invasion could not be authorised.

Military power in International Relations can be seen through the size and destructive capabilities of an actors armed forces. Military power can be measured by the amount of personnel, weapons, military vehicles and nuclear potential an actor has. Traditionally the United Kingdom and the United States have a very large amount of military power. Actors tend to use their military power when their political power has not worked and it is used to either a deterrent or to make another actor comply with their wants and needs. There are many examples of the use of military power throughout history. Iraq used its military power to invade Kuwait as did the United Kingdom during the Falklands War. The Argentinian military invaded the Falkland Islands to reclaim them for Argentina. An example of

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