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Power in International Relations

[Pentagon - The US Department of Defense]


 - Power in International Relations

Power is defined as a specific set of attributes that people use in their interactions and social processes that determine the various identities and abilities of those who exercise power. 

Most actors in international relations have various definitions of power, such as the American political scientist Joseph Nye Jr. defined power as “the ability to influence the behaviors of others to obtain desired results”. Likewise, historical theorists conceptualize power as goals, influence, security, and capacity.


- Hard power, soft power and smart power

There are three main types of international power: hard, soft and smart.

  • Hard power is defined as a state's use of economic and military coercion to influence the interests or behavior of other states or political groups. This political power is considered aggressive because it is usually imposed by a stronger power on a smaller institution or government with immediate effect. Furthermore, it is often supported by superior forces with natural resources, economic advantages and even larger populations.
  • As opposed to coercion, soft power is a force that attracts and persuades others to change and influence the preferences of others and nations. This power uses negotiation and influence to attract others. Soft power is necessary to improve interpersonal relationships and build lifelong bonds between parties. Soft power is best used on complex issues to help achieve a state of mutual benefit without too much difficulty.
  • Intelligent power includes hard power and soft power. It involves the strategic use of diplomacy and persuasion. This genre projects power and influence in a very cost-effective way to legitimize political and social aspects.


Stanford University_080921A
[Stanford University]

- Comprehensive National Strength (CNP)

Comprehensive national power (CNP) is the sum of a country’s economic, military and political strength in a certain period of time. It reflects a country's overall development level and status in the international system.

CNP can also be defined as a country's ability to mobilize and utilize its strategic resources to achieve national goals. It is an analytical tool that can identify gaps and boundaries in national power and balance interests in international relations.

CNP consists of three main parts: human capital, soft power (culture and policy), social harmony. The sources of state power may be different in each country and are subject to change. A country can exercise power through four means: economic, diplomatic, information, and military. Some indices that can be used to predict the CNP include: GDP, energy use, steel production.

The CNP of a country includes not only "hard power" expressed by economy, technology, and military strength, but also "soft power" expressed by culture, political values, and foreign policy. "Cultural soft power" is an important part of a country's soft power, which refers to the strong cohesion reflected by the advanced culture of a country, a nation or a region. 


- Silicon Chip Supremacy

The battle for semiconductor supremacy is intensifying as companies such as Intel and TSMC try to meet demand for smaller, more advanced chips.

Semiconductor chips are the hottest commodity in the race for global technology supremacy. Silicon is a semiconductor, which means its conductive properties can be enhanced by mixing with other materials such as phosphorus or boron. This makes it possible to turn the current on or off.

The smallest chips produced today are around 3nm, with 2nm chips expected to be available around 2025.

Some companies that make silicon chips include:

  • TSMC: The largest semiconductor chip manufacturer, producing about 90% of the world's high-performance chips
  • Intel: An integrated device manufacturer (IDM) that both designs and manufactures chips
  • Samsung: IDM that both designs and manufactures chips

The impact of the epidemic (COVID-19) on semiconductor manufacturing in South Korea and Taiwan is considered to be one of the reasons for the global chip shortage.

[More to come ...]


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