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Chapter

Filippo Andreatta and Lorenzo Zambernardi

This chapter focuses on the European Union as a ‘power’ on the world stage. The persistent inability to develop a truly common foreign and security policy may raise serious doubts about the idea of the EU as a major ‘power’. However, the concept and reality of power should not be confused with the threat or the use of coercive force alone. The chapter first considers the elusive concept of power before discussing the distinction between ‘destructive’, ‘productive’, and ‘integrative’ power and connecting them to realism, liberalism, and constructivism, respectively. It then considers the role of Europe in the world and concludes with an overview of factors affecting the prospects for a European foreign policy.

Chapter

David Owen

This chapter assesses power, a basic concept of political theory. In its most fundamental sense, power is a dispositional concept that refers to the capacity to affect some feature of the world and the capacity to produce effects with respect to those feature of the world. The concept of power is closely bound in social and political contexts to the concepts of freedom and responsibility. There are different modes of power: power to, power with, power over, and power of. The power of an agent typically depends on the context of power in which they are situated and on the relations in which they stand to other agents within broader social structures. Moreover, exercises of power are always mediated — and, indeed, we often distinguishes forms of social and political power in terms of prominent general media through which they are exercised. The chapter then considers the three-dimensional view of power.

Chapter

Joseph S. Nye Jr.

This chapter examines Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda. The Obama administration referred to its foreign policy as ‘smart power’, which combines soft and hard power resources in different contexts. In sending additional troops to Afghanistan, his use of military force in support of a no-fly zone in Libya, and his use of sanctions against Iran, Obama showed that he was not afraid to use the hard components of smart power. The chapter first considers power in a global information age before discussing soft power in U.S. foreign policy. It then explains how public diplomacy came to be incorporated into American foreign policy and concludes by highlighting problems in wielding soft power.

Chapter

Charlotte Burns

This chapter focuses upon the European Parliament (EP), an institution that has seen its power dramatically increase in recent times. The EP has been transformed from being a relatively powerless institution into one that is able to have a genuine say in the legislative process and hold the European Union’s executive bodies (the Commission and Council, introduced in Chapters 9 and 10) to account in a range of policy areas. However, increases in the Parliament’s formal powers have not been matched by an increase in popular legitimacy: turnout in European elections is falling. Thus, while the EP’s legislative power is comparable to that enjoyed by many national parliaments, it has struggled to connect with the wider European public. The chapter explores these issues in detail. In the first section, the EP’s evolution from talking shop to co-legislator is reviewed; its powers and influence are explained in the next section; the EP’s internal structure and organization are then discussed with a focus upon the role and behaviour of the political groups, and finally, the European Parliament’s representative function as the EU’s only directly elected institution is discussed.

Chapter

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter presents two opposing views on the question of whether US power is in decline, and if so, what would be the best grand strategy that the United States need to pursue. According to Christopher Layne, the United States is now in inexorable decline and that this process of decline has been hastened by the pursuit of global primacy in the post-Cold War era. He also contends that primacy engenders balancing by other great powers as well as eroding America’s ‘soft power’ global consensual leadership. On the other hand, William Wohlforth and Steven Brooks insist that the United States remains the sole superpower in the world and that it faces comparatively weak systemic constraints on the global exercise of its power. The chapter considers issues of unipolarity and multipolarity, along with the implications of China’s rise as a great power status for US foreign policy and hegemony.

Chapter

This chapter examines US foreign policy as ‘smart power’, a combnation of hard and soft power, in the twenty-first century. The beginning of the twenty-first century saw George W. Bush place a strong emphasis on hard power, as exemplifed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This was evident after 9/11. While the war in Iraq showcased America’s hard military power that removed a tyrant, it failed to resolve US vulnerability to terrorism; on the contrary, it may have increased it. The chapter first considers the Obama administration’s reference to its foreign policy as ‘smart power’ before discussing Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, the role of power in a global information age, soft power in US foreign policy, and how public diplomacy has been incorporated into US foreign policy.

Chapter

This chapter turns to the forms of government that cover specific areas within the UK. These territories fall into two general categories: devolved and local government. The chapter introduces the general roles of these tiers of government, their powers, their responsibilities and how they function. It introduces a number of theoretical perspectives to these subjects. It looks at the balance of power between the various systems that exist. It offers examples as to how that balance of power works in reality. The chapter also considers the mechanisms for regulating interventions by the UK Parliament into devolved spheres of operation; the process of expansion of Welsh devolution over time; the devolution of responsibility for police and justice in Northern Ireland; devolution to local government in England; and innovatory approaches in Scotland. The chapter provides an assessment of devolution and local government and gives some historical context as well. Finally, the chapter looks at the relationship between Brexit and devolution.

Chapter

This chapter turns to issues relating to political power and society. The goal of a contemporary democracy is to allow people to be both equal and different. The UK is a diverse society and people in the UK differ in many ways by their gender, sexuality, abilities, ethnicity, religious beliefs, age, and many other aspects. The importance of various ‘identities’ has recently been recognised in UK politics and they now co-exist alongside more traditional ways of classifying people which tend to lie along socio-economic lines. The chapter then looks at the effectiveness of scrutiny measures to protect people from unequal treatment in the political or legal sphere on the basis of their identity.

Chapter

Elisabetta Brighi and Christopher Hill

This chapter examines the ‘implementation phase’ of foreign policy making — that is, the period in which decisions are translated into action. It first considers the theoretical problems involved in deciding where a foreign policy action ends and its environment begins. It then explores the range of problems encountered by states when trying to implement their foreign policies, as well as the instruments — diplomatic, military, economic, and cultural — at their disposal. In particular, it explains the distinction between power as a means and power as a context. It concludes by highlighting the endless loops that connect — and blur together — ends and means in foreign policy, along with the key lessons which practitioners need to bear in mind. The chapter argues that foreign policy decisions are best understood through the strategic–relational model.

Chapter

This chapter examines how the United States evolved as a world power during the period 1776–1945. It first considers how Americans set out after the War of Independence to establish a continental empire. Thomas Jefferson called this an ‘empire for liberty’, but by the early nineteenth century the United States had become part of an empire containing human slavery. Abraham Lincoln determined to stop the territorial expansion of this slavery and thus helped bring about the Civil War. The reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned the United States into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. The chapter also discusses Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and concludes with an analysis of U.S. economic depression and the onset of the Cold War.

Chapter

John J. Mearsheimer

This chapter examines why states pursue power from the perspective of structural realism. It considers a body of realist theories that argue that states have deep concern for the balance of power and compete among themselves either to gain power at the expense of others, or at least to make sure they do not lose power. This competition for power makes for a dangerous world where states sometimes fight each other. There are, however, important differences among structural realists. The chapter first explains why states want power and how much power they want before discussing the causes of war. These theoretical issues are illuminated with a case study that assesses whether China can rise peacefully according to offensive realism vs. defensive realism. Along the way, concepts such as the security dilemma, offence–defence balance, central war, buck-passing, unipolarity, bipolarity, and multipolarity, and deterrence are analysed.

Chapter

John J. Mearsheimer

This chapter examines why states pursue power from the perspective of structural realism. It considers a body of realist theories that argue that states have deep concern for the balance of power and compete among themselves either to gain power at the expense of others, or at least to make sure they do not lose power. This competition for power makes for a dangerous world where states sometimes fight each other. There are, however, important differences among structural realists. The chapter first explains why states want power and how much power they want before discussing the causes of war. These theoretical issues are illuminated with a case study that assesses whether China can rise peacefully according to offensive realism vs. defensive realism. Along the way, concepts such as the security dilemma, offence–defence balance, central war, buck-passing, unipolarity, bipolarity, and multipolarity, and deterrence are analysed.

Chapter

Joseph Canning

This chapter examines St Thomas Aquinas' political ideas. Aquinas combined Aristotelian ideas with Christian concepts, distinguishing between the natural and supernatural orders, and attributing inherent validity to the natural order, including political life. His theory of law linked, through reason, the eternal law of God, natural law, human positive law, and divine law. According to Aquinas, government's justification was its purpose — securing the common good. He favoured limited monarchy in a mixed constitution. The chapter first provides a short biography of Aquinas before discussing his views on natural and supernatural orders, government, tyranny, and temporal and spiritual power. It concludes with an assessment of Aquinas' contribution to political thought in the area of just war theory.

Chapter

Stephan Keukeleire and Tom De Bruyn

This chapter examines how the European Union is challenged by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and other emerging powers, along with its implications for the world order. It first provides an overview of the nature of the BRICS phenomenon before discussing the EU's contractual and political relations, as well as ‘strategic partnership’, with the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It then considers the EU–BRICS relationship on the basis of three key perspectives: the EU as a subsystem of international relations, the EU as a power in international relations, and the EU as part of the wider processes of international relations. In particular, it explores the EU's capacity to generate external collective action towards the BRICS countries and other emerging powers. It also analyses EU–BRICS relations within the context of shifts in multilateralism and in the global governance architecture.

Chapter

This chapter examines the use of discourse analysis in the study of foreign policy. In the study of international relations, discourse analysis is associated with post-structuralism, a theoretical approach that shares realism’s concern with states and power, but differs from realism’s assumption that states are driven by self-interest. It also takes a wider view of power than realists normally do. Post-structuralism draws upon, but also challenges, realism’s three core assumptions: groupism, egoism, and power-centrism. The chapter first considers the theoretical principles that inform post-structuralist discourse analysis before discussing the research designs and methodological techniques employed by discourse analysts. It also offers examples and four learning boxes featuring mini-case studies and locates poststructuralist discourse analysis within the field of foreign policy analysis. Finally, it assesses the strengths and weaknesses of post-structuralist discourse analysis.

Chapter

This chapter offers an overview of the field of Global Political Economy (GPE)—also known as International Political Economy (IPE). It builds on themes introduced in previous chapters, including connections with theories of global politics. These are discussed from a historical perspective to enable a better appreciation of how ideas, practices, and institutions develop and interact over time. These theories arose substantially within a European context, although the extent to which these may be applied uncritically to issues of political economy in all parts of the globe must be questioned. Significant issues for GPE include trade, labour, the interaction of states and markets, the nexus between wealth and power, and the problems of development and underdevelopment in the global economy, taking particular account of the North–South gap. The chapter then discusses the twin phenomena of globalization and regionalization and the way in which these are shaping the global economy and challenging the traditional role of the state. An underlying theme of the chapter is the link between economic and political power.

Chapter

This chapter examines how conventional power shapes warfare in the contemporary world. It considers the present and emerging state of conventional military power, how conventional forces function in areas such as distant strike and urban warfare, and how their role differs from that of other forms of force, including terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The chapter first provides a historical background to demonstrate the important role played by conventional power in war before discussing the rise of new world orders in 1945, 1989 and 2001. It then describes states possessing power and hyperpower, along with the revolution in military affairs and how developing countries may trump it through various strategies. It also shows how the distribution of conventional power is changing, noting that Western countries are in decline and new world powers are emerging, especially China and India.

Chapter

This chapter examines possible futures for American foreign policy in terms of the interests and ideology of the U.S. elites (and to a lesser extent the population at large), the structures of U.S. political life, and the real or perceived national interests of the United States. It first provides an overview of the ideological roots of U.S. foreign policy before discussing key contemporary challenges for U.S. foreign policy. In particular, it considers American relations with China, how to mobilize U.S. military power for foreign policy goals, and the issue of foreign aid. The chapter proceeds by analysing the most important features of America’s future foreign policies, focusing on the Middle East, the Far East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, and Europe and the transatlantic relationship. It concludes by describing some catastrophic scenarios that could accelerate the decline of US power.

Chapter

This chapter examines the U.S. foreign policy process which encompasses the executive, Congress, and intelligence. It first considers American foreign policy as a primary agency of government adaptation before discussing the role of the executive as the lead agency of systemic evolution in response to foreign policy needs, taking into account the executive prerogative and judicial recognition of inherent executive power. It then describes the political and technical difficulties experienced by Congress in matching the executive in foreign policy. It also explores the ramifications of 9/11 and the war on terror for American foreign policy and concludes with an overview of U.S. foreign policy under Barack Obama.

Chapter

This chapter examines the impact of regionalism on U.S. foreign policy. In contrast to accounts that grant primacy to ideas or institutions, it argues that America’s regional diversity is the most important source of tension and conflict over foreign policy. It also shows that conflicts over the purposes of American power, as well as the constitutional authority to exercise it, are fundamentally conflicts over the distribution of wealth and power in American society among coalitions with divergent interests and claims on the federal government’s resources. The chapter develops this argument by analysing debates over American foreign policy in three different periods: the 1890s, the 1930s, and the current era. After discussing the link between regional interests and foreign policy, the chapter considers the great debate over expansionism, the struggle over internationalism, and American primacy and the ‘new sectionalism’.