Forms of Power:

Broadly, power can be characterized into three forms. These are as follows:

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1. Economic Power

2. Military Power

3. Psychological Power

Economic Power:

This form of power is the most crucial constituent of power in contemporary time. It signifies the ability of a nation to fulfill its own requirements and also to control the behaviour of other states by enabling or prohibiting access to goods and services.

Its importance is highlighted by Palmer and Perkins, “Economic power is inseparable from military power, for it is one of its basic components, to say that under conditions of modern warfare economic power is military power is only a slight exaggeration”.

The multipolarity of contemporary world is exclusively due to ascendance of economic giants like Germany, Japan and South East Asian countries. Lack of economic power remains a major factor for lower power position of third world countries.

The economic power of a country is calculated in terms of raw material, natural resources, industrial output, technological advancement, and favourable balance of trade, modern and speedy means of transportation and alike.

Military Power:

This form of power has remained the most important form of power for a long time. Its major objective is to secure a nation from outside forces. It remains a crucial ingredient for a country’s victory in a war with other states.

Its importance has been highlighted by E.H. Carr “Every act of the state, in its power aspect, is directed towards war, not as a desirable weapon but as a weapon which it may require in the last resort”.

In the same vein, Palmer and Perkins say “The paramount importance of military power lies in the fact that it is the end-argument, the last word and the final court of appeal”. As a matter of fact, no state can attain the status of a super power without being a military power.

For example, even though Japan and Germany are big economic powers, they are not accorded the status of a super power or great powers because of their being weak military powers.

Nevertheless, the states cannot solely rely on the military power. It has to be supplemented by other forms of power.

Psychological Power:

This form of power has its own utility in the realm of international relations. According to Schleicher “Psychological power consists of symbolic devices which appeal to the minds and emotion of men”.

Propaganda and persuasive negotiations are important ingredient of psychological power. Its obvious advantages are: ward off escalation of conflict, uplift national morale, cost effective and alike.

Its importance has increased in recent times. As Ghai and Ghai observes “The improvement in the means of communication and increased role of mass media and public opinion on foreign policy, the emergence of open and conference diplomacy, the change in the character of war from limited war to total war, the popularities of alternative/ideologies and the development of group loyalties conflicting within the main sphere of loyalty to the state, have been the factors which have increased the role of propaganda international relations”.