What are the different methods of Exercising National Power?



Having discussed the meaning of the term power, we will now turn our discussion to the methods by which one nation can make another nation to do what it wants it to do or to prevent another nation from doing certain acts considered undesirable.

Let us assume that Nation A wishes to influence Nation B. The question arises how can Nation A influence Nation B. How can it exercise power? Here we shall con­sider the ways or methods by which Nation A can influence the behavi­our of Nation B.

Generally, there are four methods by which Nation A can make Nation B to do certain acts: it can persuade Nation B for doing what Nation A wishes. It can offer rewards to Nation B for doing certain things what Nation A wants, it can threaten Nation B with punishment if it does not do what Nation A wants, or it can use force to compel Nation B to do what Nation A wishes.

These four methods of exercis­ing power are respectively called persuasion, rewards, punishment, and force. Let us now examine all these methods in detail.

1. Persuasion:

Persuasion is the most effective and widely used method of exercising power. In this method, what Nation A does is to influence Nation B by way of argument or to redefine the whole situation so that Nation B changes its mind about what it ought to do.

In this, way, persuasion guarantees lasting results for Nation A. In fret most of the work of international organizations consists of the efforts of various delegates to persuade each other. Small nations, indeed, often use this method because they lack the power to use force, and also because it is cheap.

2. Rewards:

Another method of exercising power is by offering rewards. Nation A can influence Nation B for doing what Nation A wants by offering it various rewards. Most of the rewards that Nation A can offer to nation B are psychological, material, economic and politi­cal.

The rewards may be only psychological, when a diplomat may change his State's policy to win the appreciation of his fellow diplomats from other nations. Most often the rewards are material in the shape of territory, military aid, weapons, troops and training facilities.

The rewards may also be economic in the form of loans or gifts. This has been the major method adopted by USA and USSR in recent years. Political rewards consist of freedom or support for another nation's position in international conferences etc.

3. Punishment:

A third way of exercising power is punishment. As a matter of fact, rewards and punishment are very closely related. The most effective punishment is to withhold the reward, just as one of the most effective rewards is to refrain from some punitive actions which would otherwise be taken.

Acts of punishment, however, should be threatened in advance and not actually carried out. The most effective punishment is rarely meted out because the very threat of it succeeds in preventing the action of which the punisher disapproves.

If punishment is most likely to be carried out, it should be given in such a way that it can be withdrawn at once the offending party mends his way according to the satisfaction of the punishing party.

4. Force:

The last method of exercising power is by using force. Punishment, however, is distinguished from force. Punishment implies threats to make another nation from doing or following particular course. But threat when actually carried out, assumes the shape of force.

The most extreme form of the use of force is war. As a method of influencing other nations, force is the last resort. It is only used when the other methods i.e. persuasion, rewards, punishment fail to exercise power over others.