National Power 

National Power 
National Power 

National Power 

National power is defined as the sum of all resources available to a nation in the pursuit of national objectives. Assessing the national power of political entities was already a matter of relevance during the classical antiquity, the middle ages and the renaissance and today. Classics Shang Yang, Guan Zhong and Chanakya, widely discussed the power of state. Many other classics, such as Mozi, Appian, Pliny the Elder, also concerned the subject. Herodotus describe whence derives the power of Babylon. The considerations of Hannibal on the matter are found in Titus Livy. National power stems from various elements, also called instruments or attributes; these may be put into two groups based on their applicability and origin – “natural” and “social”.

Natural: Geography,Resources,Population


1. Geography- Amongst the elements of National Power, geography is the most stable, tangible, permanent and natural element. Its importance as a factor of national power can be judged from the fact that Geo-political scientists, like Moodie, Spykman, Haushofer, Mackinder and others, regard Geography as the determinant of international politics.

2.Natural Resources: No nation can hope to be a powerful nation if its territory is not adequately graced by natural resources. Natural resources are indeed “gifts of nature of established utility.” The industrial and military capabilities of a nation as well as its economic well-being are dependent upon the existence of natural resources.

3. Raw Materials: Raw materials can be further subdivided into three categories:

(i) Minerals— Coal, Petrol, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Tin, Manganese, Uranium etc.,

(ii) Natural Products— Rubber, Jute, Bamboo, Medicinal Plants, Wood Pulp, Wood, Plants, Colours, Varnishes, Forest Products etc., and

(iii) Animal Products—Milk, Eggs, Meat, Wool etc.

4. Population: Another basic element which affects national power is population. “As long as men are needed for production and fighting, other elements being equal, the state with a large number of men and women to perform such tasks shall be more capable of becoming a major power.” Manpower continues to be a key factor which determines the industrial and military capacities of a nation and its status as a power in international relations.

These are some major elements of national power. Besides these, Wolfe and Couloumbis refer to several other elements like:

(i) Reputation, i.e. reputation for action in response to challenges,

(ii) Foreign Support and links, i.e. nature of alliances, treaties, agreements that a nation has with other nations, and

(iii) Accidents in the form of sudden natural calamity or calamities can be a source of weakness whereas a sudden accidental discovery of vital raw materials like oil in the offshore basin can be a source of strength.

A supreme fact that must be kept in mind is that no element of national power is or can be individually a determinant of national power. No one element can lead to power if a nation is deficient in respect of several elements. All the factors of national power are interdependent and these have to be evaluated as a one group.

Author – Khushi Singh, a student of Dr.BR Ambedkar National Law University, Sonepat

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