A great power is a sovereign state that is recognized as having the ability and expertise to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence, which may cause middle or small powers to consider the great powers' opinions before taking actions of their own. International relations theorists have posited that great power status can be characterized into power capabilities, spatial aspects, and status dimensions.
In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.
A military is a heavily-armed, highly-organised force primarily intended for warfare, also known collectively as armed forces. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force and in certain countries, Marines and Coast Guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and national honor guards.
An economy is an area of the production, distribution, or trade, and consumption of goods and services by different agents. Understood in its broadest sense, 'The economy is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources'. Economic agents can be individuals, businesses, organizations, or governments. Economic transactions occur when two parties agree to the value or price of the transacted good or service, commonly expressed in a certain currency. However, monetary transactions only account for a small part of the economic domain.
While some nations are widely considered to be great powers, there is no definitive list of them. Sometimes the status of great powers is formally recognized in conferences such as the Congress of Viennaor the United Nations Security Council. Accordingly, the status of great powers has also been formally and informally recognized in forums such as the Group of Seven (G7).
The Congress of Vienna, also called Vienna Congress, was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815, though the delegates had arrived and were already negotiating by late September 1814. The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was not simply to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. The leaders were conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution, both of which threatened to upset the status quo in Europe. France lost all its recent conquests while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania and 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy. Russia gained parts of Poland. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created just months before, and included formerly Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with ensuring international peace and security, accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its charter. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations and international sanctions as well as the authorization of military actions through resolutions – it is the only body of the United Nations with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. The council held its first session on 17 January 1946.
The Group of Seven (G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries, with the seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world, represent 58% of the global net wealth ($317 trillion). The G7 countries also represent more than 46% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on nominal values, and more than 32% of the global GDP based on purchasing power parity. The European Union is also represented at the G7 summit.
The term "great power" was first used to represent the most important powers in Europe during the post-Napoleonic era. The "Great Powers" constituted the "Concert of Europe" and claimed the right to joint enforcement of the postwar treaties.The formalization of the division between small powers and great powers came about with the signing of the Treaty of Chaumont in 1814. Since then, the international balance of power has shifted numerous times, most dramatically during World War I and World War II. In literature, alternative terms for great power are often world power or major power, but these terms can also be interchangeable with superpower.
Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
The Concert of Europe represented the European balance of power from 1815 to 1848 and from 1871 to 1914.
The Treaty of Chaumont was a series of separately signed but identically worded agreements between the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom dated 1 March 1814, although the actual signings took place on 9 or 19 March. The treaty was intended to draw the powers of the Sixth Coalition into a closer alliance in the event that France rejected the peace terms they had recently offered. Each agreed to put 150,000 soldiers in the field against France and to guarantee the European peace against French aggression for twenty years.
There are no set or defined characteristics of a great power. These characteristics have often been treated as empirical, self-evident to the assessor.However, this approach has the disadvantage of subjectivity. As a result, there have been attempts to derive some common criteria and to treat these as essential elements of great power status. Danilovic (2002) highlights three central characteristics, which she terms as "power, spatial, and status dimensions," that distinguish major powers from other states. The following section ("Characteristics") is extracted from her discussion of these three dimensions, including all of the citations.
Early writings on the subject tended to judge states by the realist criterion, as expressed by the historian A. J. P. Taylor when he noted that "The test of a great power is the test of strength for war."Later writers have expanded this test, attempting to define power in terms of overall military, economic, and political capacity. Kenneth Waltz, the founder of the neorealist theory of international relations, uses a set of five criteria to determine great power: population and territory; resource endowment; economic capability; political stability and competence; and military strength. These expanded criteria can be divided into three heads: power capabilities, spatial aspects, and status.
Realism is a school of thought in international relations theory, theoretically formalising the Realpolitik statesmanship of early modern Europe. Although a highly diverse body of thought, it can be thought of as unified by the belief that world politics ultimately is always and necessarily a field of conflict among actors pursuing power. Crudely, realists are of three kinds in what they take the source of ineliminable conflict to be. Classical realists believe that it follows from human nature, neorealists focus upon the structure of the anarchic state system; neoclassical realists believe that it is a result of a combination of the two and certain domestic variables. Realists also disagree about what kind of action states ought to take to navigate world politics and neorealists are divided between defensive realism and offensive realism. Realists have also claimed that a realist tradition of thought is evident within the history of political thought all the way back to antiquity to Thucydides.
Alan John Percivale Taylor was a British historian who specialised in 19th- and 20th-century European diplomacy. Both a journalist and a broadcaster, he became well known to millions through his television lectures. His combination of academic rigour and popular appeal led the historian Richard Overy to describe him as "the Macaulay of our age".
Kenneth Neal Waltz was an American political scientist who was a member of the faculty at both the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University and one of the most prominent scholars in the field of international relations. He was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War.
As noted above, for many, power capabilities were the sole criterion. However, even under the more expansive tests, power retains a vital place.
This aspect has received mixed treatment, with some confusion as to the degree of power required. Writers have approached the concept of great power with differing conceptualizations of the world situation, from multi-polarity to overwhelming hegemony. In his essay, 'French Diplomacy in the Postwar Period', the French historian Jean-Baptiste Duroselle spoke of the concept of multi-polarity: "A Great power is one which is capable of preserving its own independence against any other single power."
Hegemony is the political, economic, or military predominance or control of one state over others. In ancient Greece, hegemony denoted the politico-military dominance of a city-state over other city-states. The dominant state is known as the hegemon.
This differed from earlier writers, notably from Leopold von Ranke, who clearly had a different idea of the world situation. In his essay 'The Great Powers', written in 1833, von Ranke wrote: "If one could establish as a definition of a Great power that it must be able to maintain itself against all others, even when they are united, then Frederick has raised Prussia to that position." [ clarification needed ]These positions have been the subject of criticism.
All states have a geographic scope of interests, actions, or projected power. This is a crucial factor in distinguishing a great power from a regional power; by definition the scope of a regional power is restricted to its region. It has been suggested that a great power should be possessed of actual influence throughout the scope of the prevailing international system. Arnold J. Toynbee, for example, observes that "Great power may be defined as a political force exerting an effect co-extensive with the widest range of the society in which it operates. The Great powers of 1914 were 'world-powers' because Western society had recently become 'world-wide'."
Other suggestions have been made that a great power should have the capacity to engage in extra-regional affairs and that a great power ought to be possessed of extra-regional interests, two propositions which are often closely connected.
Formal or informal acknowledgment of a nation's great power status has also been a criterion for being a great power. As political scientist George Modelski notes, "The status of Great power is sometimes confused with the condition of being powerful. The office, as it is known, did in fact evolve from the role played by the great military states in earlier periods... But the Great power system institutionalizes the position of the powerful state in a web of rights and obligations."
This approach restricts analysis to the epoch following the Congress of Vienna at which great powers were first formally recognized.In the absence of such a formal act of recognition it has been suggested that great power status can arise by implication by judging the nature of a state's relations with other great powers.
A further option is to examine a state's willingness to act as a great power.As a nation will seldom declare that it is acting as such, this usually entails a retrospective examination of state conduct. As a result, this is of limited use in establishing the nature of contemporary powers, at least not without the exercise of subjective observation.
Other important criteria throughout history are that great powers should have enough influence to be included in discussions of contemporary political and diplomatic questions and exercise influence on the final outcome and resolution. Historically, when major political questions were addressed, several great powers met to discuss them. Before the era of groups like the United Nations, participants of such meetings were not officially named but rather were decided based on their great power status. These were conferences which settled important questions based on major historical events.
Different sets of great, or significant, powers have existed throughout history. An early reference to great powers is from the 3rd century, when the Persian prophet Mani described Rome, China, Aksum, and Persia as the four greatest kingdoms of his time.However, the term "great power" has only been used in scholarly or diplomatic discourse since the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The Congress established the Concert of Europe as an attempt to preserve peace after the years of Napoleonic Wars.
Lord Castlereagh, the British foreign secretary, first used the term in its diplomatic context, in a letter sent on 13 February 1814: "It affords me great satisfaction to acquaint you that there is every prospect of the Congress terminating with a general accord and Guarantee between the Great powers of Europe, with a determination to support the arrangement agreed upon, and to turn the general influence and if necessary the general arms against the Power that shall first attempt to disturb the Continental peace."
The Congress of Vienna consisted of five main powers: the Austrian Empire, France, Prussia, Russia, and the United Kingdom (UK). These five primary participants constituted the original great powers as we know the term today.Other powers, such as Spain, Portugal, and Sweden, which were great powers during the 17th century, were consulted on certain specific issues, but they were not full participants. Hanover (its elector was also king of the UK), Bavaria, and Württemberg were also consulted on issues relating to Germany.
Of the five original great powers recognized at the Congress of Vienna, only France and the United Kingdom have maintained that status continuously to the present day, although France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War and occupied during World War II. After the Congress of Vienna, the British Empire emerged as the pre-eminent power, due to its navy and the extent of its territories, which signalled the beginning of the Pax Britannica and of the Great Game between the UK and Russia. The balance of power between the Great Powers became a major influence in European politics, prompting Otto von Bismarck to say "All politics reduces itself to this formula: try to be one of three, as long as the world is governed by the unstable equilibrium of five great powers."
Over time, the relative power of these five nations fluctuated, which by the dawn of the 20th century had served to create an entirely different balance of power. Some, such as the United Kingdom and Prussia (as the founder of the newly formed German state), experienced continued economic growth and political power.Others, such as Russia and Austria-Hungary, stagnated. At the same time, other states were emerging and expanding in power, largely through the process of industrialization. These countries seeking to attain great power status were: Italy after the Risorgimento era, Japan during the Meiji era, and the United States after the Reconstruction era. By the dawn of the 20th century, the balance of world power had changed substantially since the Congress of Vienna. The Eight-Nation Alliance was a belligerent alliance of eight nations against the Boxer Rebellion in China. It formed in 1900 and consisted of the five Congress powers plus Italy, Japan, and the United States, representing the great powers at the beginning of the 20th century.
Shifts of international power have most notably occurred through major conflicts.The conclusion of the Great War and the resulting treaties of Versailles, St-Germain, Neuilly, Trianon and Sèvres witnessed the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States as the chief arbiters of the new world order. In the aftermath of World War I the German Empire was defeated, the Austria-Hungarian empire was divided into new, less powerful states and the Russian Empire fell to a revolution. During the Paris Peace Conference, the "Big Four" – France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States – held noticeably more power and influence on the proceedings and outcome of the treaties than Japan. The Big Four were leading architects of the Treaty of Versailles which was signed by Germany; the Treaty of St. Germain, with Austria; the Treaty of Neuilly, with Bulgaria; the Treaty of Trianon, with Hungary; and the Treaty of Sèvres, with the Ottoman Empire. During the decision-making of the Treaty of Versailles, Italy pulled out of the conference because a part of its demands were not met and temporarily left the other three countries as the sole major architects of that treaty, referred to as the "Big Three".
The victorious great powers also gained an acknowledgement of their status through permanent seats at the League of Nations Council, where they acted as a type of executive body directing the Assembly of the League. However, the Council began with only four permanent members – the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Japan – because the United States, meant to be the fifth permanent member, did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles, thus preventing American participation in the League. Germany later joined, and left along with Japan, and the Soviet Union joined.
When World War II started in 1939, it divided the world into two alliances: the Allies (the United Kingdom and France at first in Europe, China in Asia since 1937, followed in 1941 by the Soviet Union and the United States) and the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan).During World War II, the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and China were referred as a "trusteeship of the powerful" and were recognized as the Allied "Big Four" in Declaration by United Nations in 1942. These four countries were referred as the "Four Policemen" of the Allies and considered as the primary victors of World War II. The importance of France was acknowledged by their inclusion, along with the other four, in the group of countries allotted permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council.
Since the end of the World Wars, the term "great power" has been joined by a number of other power classifications. Foremost among these is the concept of the superpower, used to describe those nations with overwhelming power and influence in the rest of the world. It was first coined in 1944 by William T. R. Foxand according to him, there were three superpowers: the British Empire, the United States, and the Soviet Union. But after World War II the British Empire lost its superpower status, leaving the United States and the Soviet Union as the world's superpowers. The term middle power has emerged for those nations which exercise a degree of global influence, but are insufficient to be decisive on international affairs. Regional powers are those whose influence is generally confined to their region of the world.
During the Cold War, the Asian power of Japan and the European powers of the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany rebuilt their economies. France and the United Kingdom maintained technologically advanced armed forces with power projection capabilities and maintain large defence budgets to this day. Yet, as the Cold War continued, authorities began to question if France and the United Kingdom could retain their long-held statuses as great powers.China, with the world's largest population, has slowly risen to great power status, with large growth in economic and military power in the post-war period. After 1949, the Republic of China began to lose its recognition as the sole legitimate government of China by the other great powers, in favour of the People's Republic of China. Subsequently, in 1971, it lost its permanent seat at the UN Security Council to the People's Republic of China.
According to Joshua Baron, a "researcher, lecturer, and consultant on international conflict", since the early 1960s direct military conflicts and major confrontations have "receded into the background" with regards to relations among the great powers.Baron argues several reasons why this is the case, citing the unprecedented rise of the United States and its predominant position as the key reason. Baron highlights that since World War Two no other great power has been able to achieve parity or near parity with the United States, with the exception of the Soviet Union for a brief time. This position is unique among the great powers since the start of the modern era (the 16th century), where there has traditionally always been "tremendous parity among the great powers". This unique period of American primacy has been an important factor in maintaining a condition of peace between the great powers.
Another important factor is the apparent consensus among Western great powers that military force is no longer an effective tool of resolving disputes among their peers.This "subset" of great powers – France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – consider maintaining a "state of peace" as desirable. As evidence, Baron outlines that since the Cuban missile crisis (1962) during the Cold War, these influential Western nations have resolved all disputes among the great powers peacefully at the United Nations and other forums of international discussion.
Referring to great power relations pre-1960, Baron highlights that starting from around the 16th century and the rise of several European great powers, military conflicts and confrontations was the defining characteristic of diplomacy and relations between such powers."Between 1500 and 1953, there were 64 wars in which at least one great power was opposed to another, and they averaged little more than five years in length. During this approximately 450-year time frame, on average, at least two great powers were fighting one another in each and every year." Even during the period of Pax Britannica (or "the British Peace") between 1815 and 1914, war and military confrontations among the great powers was still a frequent occurrence. In fact, Baron points out that, in terms of militarized conflicts or confrontations, the UK led the way in this period with nineteen such instances against; Russia (8), France (5), Germany/Prussia (5) and Italy (1).
China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are often referred to as great powers by academics due to "their political and economic dominance of the global arena".These five nations are the only states to have permanent seats with veto power on the UN Security Council. They are also the only state entities to have met the conditions to be considered "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and maintain military expenditures which are among the largest in the world. However, there is no unanimous agreement among authorities as to the current status of these powers or what precisely defines a great power. For example, sources have at times referred to China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom as middle powers. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, its UN Security Council permanent seat was transferred to the Russian Federation in 1991, as its successor state. The newly formed Russian Federation emerged on the level of a great power, leaving the United States as the only remaining global superpower (although some support a multipolar world view).
Japan and Germany are great powers too, though due to their large advanced economies (having the third and fourth largest economies respectively) rather than their strategic and hard power capabilities (i.e., the lack of permanent seats and veto power on the UN Security Council or strategic military reach).Germany has been a member together with the five permanent Security Council members in the P5+1 grouping of world powers. Like China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom; Germany and Japan have also been referred to as middle powers. In his 2014 publication Great Power Peace and American Primacy, Joshua Baron considers China, France, Russia, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States as the current great powers.
Italy has been referred to as a great power by a number of academics and commentators throughout the post WWII era.The American international legal scholar Milena Sterio writes:
The great powers are super-sovereign states: an exclusive club of the most powerful states economically, militarily, politically and strategically. These states include veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia), as well as economic powerhouses such as Germany, Italy and Japan.
Sterio also cites Italy's status in the Group of Seven (G7) and the nation's influence in regional and international organizations for its status as a great power.Italy has been a member together with the five permanent Security Council members Plus Germany in the ISG for Lebanon grouping of world powers. Some analysts assert that Italy is an "intermittent" or the "least of the great powers", while some others believe Italy is a middle or regional power.
In addition to these contemporary great powers mentioned above, Zbigniew Brzezinskiand Mohan Malik consider India to be a great power too. Although unlike the contemporary great powers who have long been considered so, India's recognition among authorities as a great power is comparatively recent. However, there is no collective agreement among observers as to the status of India, for example, a number of academics believe that India is emerging as a great power, while some believe that India remains a middle power.
The United Nations Security Council, NATO Quint, the G7, the BRICs and the Contact Group have all been described as great power concerts.
With continuing European integration, the European Union is increasingly being seen as a great power in its own right,with representation at the WTO and at G7 and G-20 summits. This is most notable in areas where the European Union has exclusive competence (i.e. economic affairs). It also reflects a non-traditional conception of Europe's world role as a global "civilian power", exercising collective influence in the functional spheres of trade and diplomacy, as an alternative to military dominance. The European Union is a supranational union and not a sovereign state and has its own foreign affairs and defence policy. Anyway these remain largely with the member states of the European Union, which includes France, Germany and the United Kingdom (referred to as the "EU three").
Brazil and India are widely regarded as emerging powers with the potential to be great powers.Political scientist Stephen P. Cohen asserts that India is an emerging power, but highlights that some strategists consider India to be already a great power. Some academics such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and David A. Robinson already regard India as a major or great power. Others suggest India may even have the potential to emerge as a superpower.
Permanent membership of the UN Security Council is widely regarded as being a central tenet of great power status in the modern world; Brazil, Germany, India and Japan form the G4 nations which support one another (and have varying degrees of support from the existing permanent members) in becoming permanent members.[ citation needed ] The G4 is opposed by the Italian-led Uniting for Consensus group. There are however few signs that reform of the Security Council will happen in the near future.[ citation needed ]
Israeland Iran, are also mentioned in the context of great powers.
The political scientist, geo-strategist, and former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski appraised the current standing of the great powers in his 2012 publication Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power. In relation to great powers, he makes the following points:
The United States is still preeminent but the legitimacy, effectiveness, and durability of its leadership is increasingly questioned worldwide because of the complexity of its internal and external challenges. ... The European Union could compete to be the world's number two power, but this would require a more robust political union, with a common foreign policy and a shared defense capability. ... In contrast, China's remarkable economic momentum, its capacity for decisive political decisions motivated by clearheaded and self centered national interest, its relative freedom from debilitating external commitments, and its steadily increasing military potential coupled with the worldwide expectation that soon it will challenge America's premier global status justify ranking China just below the United States in the current international hierarchy. ... A sequential ranking of other major powers beyond the top two would be imprecise at best. Any list, however, has to include Russia, Japan, and India, as well as the EU's informal leaders: Great Britain, Germany, and France.
According to a 2014 report of the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies:
Great Powers... are disproportionately engaged in alliances and wars, and their diplomatic weight is often cemented by their strong role in international institutions and forums. This unequal distribution of power and prestige leads to “a set of rights and rules governing interactions among states” that sees incumbent powers competing to maintain the status quo and keep their global influence. In today’s international system, there are four great powers that fit this definition: the United States (US), Russia, China and the European Union (whereby the EU is considered to be the sum of its parts). If we distil from this description of great power attributes and capabilities a list of criteria, it is clear why these four powers dominate the international security debate. The possession of superior military and economic capabilities can be translated into measurements such as military expenditure and GDP, and nowhere are the inherent privileges of great powers more visible than in the voting mechanisms of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), where five permanent members have an overriding veto. The top ten countries ranked on the basis of military expenditures correspond almost exactly with the top ten countries ranked on the basis of GDP with the exception of Saudi Arabia which is surpassed by Brazil. Notably, each country with a permanent seat on the UNSC also finds itself in the top ten military and economic powers. When taken as the sum of its parts, the EU scores highest in terms of economic wealth and diplomatic weight in the UNSC. This is followed closely by the US, which tops the military expenditures ranking, and then Russia and China, both of which exert strong military, economic, and diplomatic influence in the international system.
Timelines of the great powers since the end of the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century:
|1815||1878||1900||1919||1939||1945||c. 2000||c. 2010|
The Central Powers, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria—hence also known as the Quadruple Alliance —was one of the two main coalitions that fought World War I (1914–18).
A superpower is a state with a dominant position characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers.
Power in international relations is defined in several different ways. Modern discourse generally speaks in terms of state power, indicating both economic and military power. Those states that have significant amounts of power within the international system are referred to as small powers, middle powers, regional powers, great powers, superpowers, or hegemons, although there is no commonly accepted standard for what defines a powerful state. NATO Quint, the G7, the BRICS nations and the G20 are seen by academics as forms of governments that exercise varying degrees of influence within the international system.
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural, economic, military, or political exclusivity, accommodating to the interests of powers outside the borders of the state that controls it.
The Aftermath of World War I saw drastic political, cultural, economic, and social change across Eurasia, Africa, and even in areas outside those that were directly involved. Four empires collapsed due to the war, old countries were abolished, new ones were formed, boundaries were redrawn, international organizations were established, and many new and old ideologies took a firm hold in people's minds.
In international relations, a middle power is a sovereign state that is not a superpower nor a great power, but still has large or moderate influence and international recognition. The concept of the "middle power" dates back to the origins of the European state system. In the late 16th century, Italian political thinker Giovanni Botero divided the world into three types of states – grandissime (empires), mezano and piccioli. According to Botero, a mezano or middle power "...has sufficient strength and authority to stand on its own without the need of help from others."
In international relations since the late 20th century, a regional power is a term used for a state that has power within a geographic region. States which wield unrivalled power and influence within a region of the world possess regional hegemony.
Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement, political, regional, or global, in which each state in the system accepts that the security of one is the concern of all, and therefore commits to a collective response to threats to, and breaches to peace. Collective security is more ambitious than systems of alliance security or collective defense in that it seeks to encompass the totality of states within a region or indeed globally, and to address a wide range of possible threats. While collective security is an idea with a long history, its implementation in practice has proved problematic. Several prerequisites have to be met for it to have a chance of working. It is the theory or practice of states pledging to defend one another in order to deter aggression or to exterminate transgressor if international order has been breached.
Polarity in international relations is any of the various ways in which power is distributed within the international system. It describes the nature of the international system at any given period of time. One generally distinguishes three types of systems: unipolarity, bipolarity, and multipolarity for four or more centers of power. The type of system is completely dependent on the distribution of power and influence of states in a region or globally.
Western civilization traces its roots back to Europe and the Mediterranean. It is linked to the Roman Empire and with Medieval Western Christendom which emerged from the Middle Ages to experience such transformative episodes as the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, scientific revolution, and the development of liberal democracy. The civilizations of Classical Greece and Ancient Rome are considered seminal periods in Western history; a few cultural contributions also emerged from the pagan peoples of pre-Christian Europe, such as the Celts and Germans, as well as some significant religious contributions derived from Judaism and Hellenistic Judaism stemming back to Second Temple Judea, Galilee, and the early Jewish diaspora; and some other Middle Eastern influences. Christianity and Roman Catholicism has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization, which throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture.. Western civilization has spread to produce the dominant cultures of modern Americas and Oceania, and has had immense global influence in recent centuries in many ways.
A potential superpower is a state or a political and economic entity that is speculated to be – or to have the potential to soon become – a superpower.
A Maritime power is a nation with a very strong navy, which often is also a great power, or at least a regional power. A Maritime power is able to easily control their coast, and exert influence upon both nearby and far countries. A nation that dominates the world navally is known as a maritime superpower.
An emerging power or rising power is a term used as recognition of the rising, primarily influence of a nation—or union of nations—which has steadily increased their presence in global affairs. Such a power aspires to have a more powerful position or role in international relations, either regionally or globally, and possess sufficient resources and levels of development that such goals are potentially achievable. A term also used to describe such a state is "rising power". Rising powers such as China and India may also be viewed as coincidental to the perceived decline of American hegemony in world politics.
The Big Four, also known as G4 or EU4, refers to France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. These countries are considered major European powers and they are the Western European countries individually represented as full members of the G7, the G8, the G-10 and the G20. France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom have been referred to as the "Big Four of Europe" since the interwar period. The term G4 was used for the first time when French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a meeting in Paris with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to consider the response to the financial crisis during the Great Recession. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development describes them as the "Four Big European Countries".
The least of the Great Powers is a label used to conceptualize Italy's international status. Italy is part of great power concerts such as the EU trio, the NATO Quint, the G7 and various International Contact Groups. Italy, one of the UN's major funders, is the leading nation of the Uniting for Consensus and serves as one of the states of "chief" importance in providing shipping services, air transport, and industrial development. Alternative terms used by academics and observers to describe this concept include "intermittent major power" and "small great power".
As long as Russia's rationality of government deviates from present-day hegemonic neo-liberal models by favouring direct state rule rather than indirect governance, the West will not recognize Russia as a fully fledged great power.
Russia must deal with the rise of other middle powers in Eurasia at a time when it is more of a middle power itself.
The Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, which includes senior figures believed to be close to Putin, will soon publish a report saying Russia's superpower days are finished and that the country should settle for being a middle power with a matching defence structure.
This year there’s a new name on our list of the Eight Greats: Israel. A small country in a chaotic part of the world, Israel is a rising power with a growing impact on world affairs. [...] Three factors are powering Israel’s rise: economic developments, the regional crisis, and diplomatic ingenuity. [...] [B]eyond luck, Israel’s newfound clout on the world stage comes from the rise of industrial sectors and technologies that good Israeli schools, smart Israeli policies and talented Israeli thinkers and entrepreneurs have built up over many years.
The proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran continued unabated throughout 2016, and as we enter the new year Iran has confidently taken the lead. [...] Meanwhile, the fruits of the nuclear deal continued to roll in: high-profile deals with Boeing and Airbus sent the message that Iran was open for business, while Tehran rapidly ramped up its oil output to pre-sanctions levels. [...] 2017 may be a more difficult year for Tehran [...] the Trump administration seems more concerned about rebuilding ties with traditional American allies in the region than in continuing Obama’s attempt to reach an understanding with Iran.
While no longer a superpower (a position it lost in the 1940s), the UK remains much more than a 'middle power'.
Trident as a pillar of the transatlantic relationship and symbol of the UK's desire to remain a great power with global reach.
As long as Russia's rationality of government deviates from present-day hegemonic neo-liberal models by favouring direct state rule rather than indirect governance, the West will not recognize Russia as a fully fledged great power.