Regional Powers

The international system deals with states that differ to some extent in many respects, including their size, population, military influence, and economic development. Classifying power into several categories, we can distinguish states into so-called hegemonic states, major powers, regional powers, medium-sized states, and small (weak) states. The concept of regional power is often used in international relations, but there is no clear consensus among scholars on how to define regional power

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Although all sovereign states are legally equal, an important element in the international system is the ability of states to leverage their privileged position in the world market in terms of the distribution of certain material resources held by a given state. This fact determines the so-called relative power of states. It is the geographical location of the state, i.e., whether the state belongs to a particular region or not. This also relates to the predominance of material resources. Elements of a state\’s material means of power are, for example, its military, its strong economic position, and its demographics. These distinctive aspects can be seen as the means by which a state demonstrates its power over neighboring states. In addition, it is important that regional power be recognized by regional neighbors or by the world\’s major powers. States must also be aware of the obligations that come with establishing and maintaining regional stability and not have their position threatened by other states with similar ambitions. This contributes to regional stability and makes the region more predictable.

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For example, one approach seeks to evaluate regional powers in terms of their economic performance. The latter defines regional powers by the size of their markets or by the size of their population and GDP. Such large countries are highly skilled and attractive to outside investors. Thus, the effect is to increase the competitiveness of both the targeted nation and the region. Another of the many definitions speaks to whether these powers are willing to accept this status and the obligations to the region that come with it. A regional power in the region must meet several conditions: 1) the state must play a stabilizing and leading role in the region; 2) therefore, the state must accept the role of leader or stabilizer and peacemaker; 3) the state must be recognized by its neighbors as a regional security mediating hegemon recognition by neighboring countries as a hegemon in mediating regional security. While there are myriad definitions of “regional power,” the main definitions a regional power should have are:

1) articulates the concept of regional leadership as defined geographically, economically, and politically ideologically;
3) has a truly significant influence in regional affairs;
4) is economically, political and cultural ties to the region;
5) has a significant influence on the geopolitical demarcation and political ideological construction of the region;
6) exercises influence through the instrument of regional government structures;
7) forms and defines a common regional identity;
8) provides collective welfare for the region or provides such welfare 8) provides for the collective welfare of the region or participates in a significant way in the provision of such welfare;
9) defines a regional security agenda;
10) leadership within the region is recognized or at least respected by other countries within and outside the region, especially other regional powers;
11) is international, not only articulating its own interests, but also seeking to integrated into international and global fora and institutions that seek to act on behalf of them.