Power politics is a theory in international relations which contends that distributions of power and national interests, or changes to those distributions, are fundamental causes of war and of system stability.
The concept of power politics provides a way of understanding systems of international relations: in this view, states compete for the world's limited resources, and it is to an individual state's advantage to be manifestly able to harm others. Power politics prioritizes national self-interest over the interests of other nations or the international community, and thus may include threatening one another with military, economic or political aggression to protect one nation's own interest.
Techniques of power politics include:
- Deterrence theory, in which a weaker state deters attack by bolstering its defensive capabilities enough to render attacking infeasible
- Conspicuous weapons development (including nuclear development)
- Pre-emptive strikes
- The massing of military units on a border, whether for stationing or for exercises
- The imposition of tariffs or economic sanctions (possibly to initiate a trade war)
- Proxy warfare
- Bait and bleed and "bloodletting" tactics
- Hard and soft balancing
- Buck-passing, in which a state attempts to coerce another state to confront a threat, in order to preserve its own capabilities and possibly intervene later
- The use of espionage to subvert another state's capabilities from within
- Covert and clandestine military operations, in which states obscure their role in an operation or conduct the operation in secret, respectively
- Shock and awe, in which a state uses a real (or played-up) show of force to deter potential attack
- Asymmetric warfare, in which a state uses unconventional warfare methods in order to exploit another's weaknesses
- Hans J. Morgenthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1946.
- —, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. New York NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948.
- Hans Köchler, "The United Nations Organization and Global Power Politics: The Antagonism between Power and Law and the Future of World Order," in: Chinese Journal of International Law, Vol. 5, No. 2 (2006), pp. 323–340. ABSTRACT
- John Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001.
- Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, voll. 1–4, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge-New York, 1986–2012.
- Geoff Mulgan, Good and Bad Power, Penguin, 2005.
- Martin Wight, Power Politics, 2nd ed., Pelican Books, 1979.
- Great power
- Global policeman
- Political midlife crisis
- Political realism
- Power (social and political)
- Power harassment
- Power Politics (Wight book)
- Resource curse
- State collapse
- The Anatomy of Power
- American exceptionalism