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Hegemony (leadership Or Dominance)

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According to the oxford dictionary, Hegemony is defined as “Leadership or dominance, especially by one state or social group over others”. In the terms of international relations Hegemony means the state with the most power.

Power can be measured in many different ways, realist political theorists, such as Hans J. Morgenthau, think that to be power can be measured by goals. Economic growth, military growth, cultural spread etc. can all be considered as working towards the ultimate goal of international power, countries like America can be used as an example of this as they have a large military and their culture has spread across the world in the form of media and entertainment.

Some political scientists define ‘power’ as the ability to influence other actors or states. This influence can be coercive, cooperative, or competitive. They can do this by coercing other states using threats or force, cooperating by discussing with other states to come to agreements, or competing with states using trade deals with other countries.

States could simply consider being secure a sign of power, countries that have won military victories for their security as a state. For example countries that where once colonised becoming independent, this is a massive gain of power for these countries. Power can also be measures by the capability and resources of the state.

Charles W. Freeman, Jr. described power as “Power is the capacity to direct the decisions and actions of others. Power derives from strength and will. Strength comes from the transformation of resources into capabilities. Will infuses objectives with resolve. Strategy marshals capabilities and brings them to bear with precision. Statecraft seeks through strategy to magnify the mass, relevance, impact, and irresistibility of power. It guides the ways the state deploys and applies its power abroad. These ways embrace the arts of war, espionage, and diplomacy. The practitioners of these three arts are the paladins of statecraft” (From his book Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy, 1997, p3.)

There are also different categories of power in international relations.

The Superpower, also known as the hegemonic power. William T. R. Fox defined superpower as “great power plus great mobility of power” he identified three states, the British Empire, the Soviet Union and the United States. At the moment the only superpower considered is the United States. A great power, mostly used in historical mentions, it can be used to describe states and actors which have strong political, cultural and economical influence over nations around them and across the world.

Middle power, is a term used for states which have little power but not too little to be considered a small power. They are usually big enough to stand on their own with little to no help from other actors. They tend to be members of groups such as the United nations or WTO (World Trade Organisation). A Small power is a country with little to no power, they consider power to be security, they are used by larger powers and tend to be dominated.

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