The concept power in international relations can be described as the degree of sources, capabilities, and influences in the international affairs. It is often divided up into the concept of hard power and soft power.

1. Hard Power

It refers to coercive tactics the threat or use of armed forces, economic pressure or sanction association and subterfuge, or other forms of intimidation. Hard power is generally associated to the stronger of nations, as the ability of other nations through military threats.

2. Soft Power

Instruments of soft power include debates on cultural values, dialogues on ideology, the attempt to influence through good example, and the appeal to commonly accepted human values. Means of exercising soft power include diplomacy, dissemination of information, analysis, propaganda, and cultural programming to achieve political ends.


Modern discourse generally speaks in term of state power, indicating both economic and military power, indicating both economic and military power. Those state that have significant amounts of power within the systems are referred to (although there’s no commonly accepted standard for what DEFINE):

  1. Middle Power

a subjective description of second-tier influential states that could not be described as Great Powers. Ex: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, etc.

  1. Great Power

refers to any nations that have strong political, cultural, and economic influence over nations around it and across the world. Ex: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States

  1. Superpower

Fox (1944) defined the Superpower as ‘great power plus great mobility of power’. Ex: United States, Soviet Union, and British Empire.

  1. Hyper power

coined to describe the post-Cold War, United States or the British Empire shortly after the Napoleonic wars.


  1. Regional Power

It used to describe a nation that exercises influence and power within a region. Being a regional power isn’t mutually exclusive with any of the above categories.

  1. The term energy Superpower

It describes a country that has immense influence or even direct control over much of the world’s energy supplies. Ex: Russia and Saudi Arabia, given their abilities to globally influence or even directly control prices to certain country.

  1. Entertainment/ Culture Superpower

It describes a country in which has immense influence or even direct control over much of the world’s entertainment or has an immense large cultural influence on much of the world. Ex: United States, United Kingdom, and Japan given their abilities to distribute their entertainment and cultural motivation worldwide.

  1. Agricultural Superpower

It describes a country that has immense influence and direct control over much of the world’s food supplies, and even has immense ability to control food prices on a worldwide scale. Ex: Thailand and Brazil.


  1. Realist and National Power

National power has an absolute meaning since it can be defined in terms of military, economic, political, diplomatic, or even cultural resources. But for a realist, power is primarily a relative term: “Does a state have the ability to defend itself against the power of another state? Does a state have the ability to coerce another state to change that state policies?”

The realist believes that all nations work for their own benefit, for their gain, without pause regarding their own safety and security.

This emphasis on relative, and not absolute power, derives from realist conception of the international system which is, for the realist, an anarchical environment. All states have to rely upon their own resources to secure their interest, enforce whatever agreements they may have entered into with other states, or to maintain a desirable domestic and international order. There is no authority over the nation-state, nor, for the realist, should there be.

Since, however, the natural tendency of state is to increase their power, the preservation of a decentralized system must be purchased with force, by a system called Balance of power.

In short, realist deifies power: the power to maintain the state, to perpetuate the state and to push forward the state’s interest onto the anarchic international playing field.

  1. Liberalist and Power

Liberalism believes that state inclinations, rather than state capabilities, primarily determine the behavior of the state. As opposed to realism, in which the state is perceived as solo force, plurality of action is the cornerstone of liberalist thought. Varying aspects like economic system, government type, or cultural will shape preferences for a state’s practices.

Liberalism believes that “instead of an anarchic international system, there are plenty of opportunities for cooperation and broader nations of power, such as cultural capital and other forms of ‘soft power’. The ability to get what you want through relations with allies, economic assistance and cultural exchanges with rhetorical support for democracy and human rights and more generally, maintaining favorable public opinion and credibility abroad.” (Spear)


Domain power defined as power that done to society, territory and wealth. Then, range power is decision or rule of state as gift (to good action) or punishment (to bad action). And scope is all environments that obey government’s power.


I think that the world has need of mutual understanding. The liberal mindset may have shortcomings and failings, but it is only through cooperation and communication that we can abolish war and engender war.


–          Morghenthau, Hans. J. 1978. Six Principle of Political Realism, Politic Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, Revised. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, pp 4-15

–          Griffith, Mochn & O’Callaghan, Terry. 2002. International Relation: The Key Concepts. London & New York: Routledge

–          Evans, Graham & Newnham, Jeffrey. 1998. Dictionary of International Relations. London: Penguin Book pp. 522

–          Oxford Learner’s Pocket Dictionary

– (diakses 2008)

– (diakses 2008)


About Devania Annesya

Devania Annesya, born in 1989 email us at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s