In International relations, power is the state’s ability to govern its actions so as to increase its interests. According to Hartmann power is the sovereign nation’s ability to attain its benefits. According to George Schwarzen Berger, power is the capability to inflict a person’s willpower on others by dependence on operative approvals due to incompliance. Palmer and Perkins suggested that power is the capability of states in the political world. International relation is a discipline that deals with the interaction between states and non-states (Brown & Kirsten 3). International relations mainly focus on the security, political, socio-cultural, and economic in states and non-states. Sovereign states are modern states which are either industrially developed or developed nations.
(Brown & Kirsten 4) Power balance theory perceives power as a possession, not a relation. It could be difficult to define the balance of power if based on relational ideas due to low standardized processes. Suppose a state uses resources from its native economy to escalate its soldierly power, as the Soviet Union did. Its military force may be growing with economic power reduction.
Hans Morgenthau clearly states that international politics in the context of international relations clearly indicates the existence of the state’s struggles for power. Morgenthau further states that political power relates to the common associations of regulators among people in municipal authority and the individuals (Morgenthau 30). To clearly understand the struggle of competence realist school of international relations must be explored and looked upon in full context. Realism has three main categories namely, classical realism, structural realism and neorealist realism.
Realists argue that international relation is all about states struggle for power with the focus to increase their interests. This theory displays a picture of an armed energy and collaboration thus focusing on making power balance it’s beneficial. For struggling states to maintain their power, they need to consider energy balance and its accompanied regulations. However, political may not be the immediate cause of power, but according to Morgenthau power is always the major focus of politics (Morgenthau 29). Therefore if power is the direct aim of policy, then anything achieved through politics results from the struggle for power.
According to political theorists, the fight for power by sovereign nations results from policies, and actions used in decision making in politics (Morgenthau 4). Political and security are believed to dominate international relation. Traditional realists view acquisition power as a means of achieving security. States may address several issues such war, peace and other global issues but may however not treat them as priorities. This behavior may be as a result of the struggle for power.
Waltz established the theory of neorealism (aka structural realism or defensive realism) that overwhelmed debates of international relations philosophy during the last section of the twentieth century, much as Morgenthau’s concept of the realism theory controlled consultations during 1950 and 1975. The primary focus of neorealism is the aim of power and abilities in the idea. The neorealist state is a cold, impersonal entity, with no friends, but also no enemies. Neorealist emphasizes on the dangers of the circumstances that sovereign nations encounter. These countries interact to focus on power status existing in the world (Brown & Kirsten 46). According to Hobbesian intellect, these states should be more careful since international relations are often a state of war. Hobbes further elaborates that the nature of states is always associated with war and insecurity, not that there is always constant fight but it is a mere current possibility.
According to Waltz, the structure of an international system is characterized by capability distributions. He further states that however judgments are based on the allocation of capacities, measuring of skills are also important. The structural theory requires classification arrangement of nations rendering their capabilities. Waltz rejects the ranking identification scope and the needed field by relational power believe (Brown & Kirsten 47). If power is viewed as multidimensional classification, the power states become involved, and thus Waltz says the Nations’ military, economic and capabilities weighed and sectored together. Since nations excel differently they cannot be located in the top rank. However the positioning is done in consideration to factors such as: population and regional size, political stability, economic competence, resource benefaction and military power. States should employ the use of a measuring rod, standard to evaluate different the national power elemnts instead of consuming more time estimating their capabilities.
“(Baylis, Smith, Owens 95) Classical theory states that political important qualities such struggle for power are hereditary from a man nature. According to Thucydides the urge of persistent behavior of seeking power are from human biological drives. (Baylis, Smith, Owens 96). Morgenthau’s argument that politics is the result of power applies when there is need of immediate power gain (Morgenthau 30).
Offensive theory of realism elaborates on the question of states power satisfaction. Mearsheimer states that all nations are continuously struggling for power contentment at the disadvantage of other countries. All the states are not satisfied (Baylis, Smith, Owens 99). Mearsheimer advances that the major aim of international politics would be to have a system with an environment that favors the nations’ behavior of power struggle.
Leaders’ perception on power distribution will determine the purpose of international politics. Neoclassical realists indicate that states differ not only on their interests but also on their capability to acquire and utilize resources from their states (BAYLIS, SMITH, OWENS 99). The political nature of a state also depends on its status in regards to international and local situation, development stage, and nation needs. (MORGENTHAU, 2006: 29), whenever nations struggle to achieve their goals through international politics, they always strive for power. According to realists, they believe that power is exercised on regards to another body and is controls have to be made over individual and other states power abilities.
Waltz states that the main aim of international politics has to be survival but not power as Morgenthau states. However, there arises confusion on which is the priority between security and power in states. Waltz argues that security is the priority and power is only sought for survival. Though, offensive realists argue that the crucial goal of all nations is power (BAYLIS, SMITH, and OWENS 101). Therefore, it can clearly be stated that politics relates to strive for power as nations struggle for positions at other states disadvantage. It is important to understand the confusion between power and security as most realists argue that in Realists claim that in our revolutionary system, nations compete among themselves for security and power.
Political realists ascertain that wars are unavoidable in the international system However; some realists disagree with the political realists. Pluralists for example highlight that power is not essential for people to have or not but it streams from varied resources. Therefore states turn out powerful by regulating several resources. Pluralists also oppose Waltz thought of measuring states capability, as they state that it is impossible to calculate power from political stability and military strength among others. Moreover, pluralism illustrates that economic prosperity, human rights and welfare need to be considered when highlighting international politics. According to Marxist, major issues to consider in international politics are economic factors and global inequity.
In sovereign states international relations are about struggling for power. Many of these nations tend to strive for power at the expense of others. They perceive power as end result of politics. There is fusion among many states on decision making on which one between security ad power comes first. Many states do not put in more attention when addressing war ad safety instead they aim at attaining high positions. Measuring power of a state is not so much clear however it requires standards for calculations. Majority of modern states need to understand in depth between security and power and decide on which one to be a priority. International politics can be determined by the ability of a nation to acquire and direct resources, it can also be measured by determining economic efficiency, political stability and also by looking at human rights and welfare.
Baylis John, Smith Steve and Owens. “The Globalization of World Politics.” introduction to politics and international relations. Book 6th ed. Oxford press 2008
Brown Chris & Kirsten Ainley. Understanding International Relations Book 3rd ed. palgrave macmillan 2005
Morgenthau Han J, Clinton David W. “politics among nation.” Struggle for power and peace. Book 7th ed.. Lyn Ubl 2006.