Prestige, Power, and International Relations

Philosophy in the Contemporary World 20 (2):1-13 (2013)
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Abstract

Paradigm cases of national power usually focus on material assets: military or economic power, natural resources etc. This article, though, considers a less "material" kind of national power: "relationship power" and "interactive power" that nations have when accorded a high prestige ranking. This is a more subtle type of power than that attached to material assets. But it is highly effective, even though trivialized and overlooked in international debate. This form of power can be more dangerous than it appears. And obvious solutions to these dangers are doomed to fail even if seriously attempted . This paper examines how national status is acquired. It draws attention to some oversimplifications . It considers the connection between national status and interactive power, and shows how this skews the process and steers outcomes in international debate, to the detriment of international justice

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