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In international relations, a middle power is a sovereign state that is not a superpower nor a great power, but still has large or moderate influence and international recognition. The concept of the "middle power" dates back to the origins of the European state system. In the late 16th century, Italian political thinker Giovanni Botero divided the world into three types of states – grandissime (empires), mezano (middle powers) and piccoli (small powers). According to Botero, a mezano or middle power "...has sufficient strength and authority to stand on its own without the need of help from others."
No agreed standard method defines which states are middle powers. Some researchers use Gross National Product (GNP) statistics to draw lists of middle powers around the world. Economically, middle powers are generally those that are not considered too "big" or too "small", however that is defined. Economics is not always the defining factor. Under the original sense of the term, a middle power was one that had some degree of influence globally but did not dominate in any one area. This usage is not universal, and some define middle power to include nations that can be regarded as regional powers. The international relations scholar Enrico Fels employs k-means clustering in order to identify six regional middle powers in Asia-Pacific based on a composite index that involves 54 indicators and covers the aggregated power base of 44 regional states. Based on a Realist ontology he conducts mixed-method research to analyse these six regional middle powers' balancing and bandwagoning strategies in order to outline whether a relational power shift between China and the United States has taken place since the end of the Cold War.
According to Eduard Jordaan of Singapore Management University:
All middle powers display foreign policy behaviour that stabilises and legitimises the global order, typically through multilateral and cooperative initiatives. However, emerging and traditional middle powers can be distinguished in terms of their mutually-influencing constitutive and behavioural differences. Constitutively, traditional middle powers are wealthy, stable, egalitarian, social democratic and not regionally influential. Behaviourally, they exhibit a weak and ambivalent regional orientation, constructing identities distinct from powerful states in their regions and offer appeasing concessions to pressures for global reform. Emerging middle powers by contrast are semi-peripheral, materially inegalitarian and recently democratised states that demonstrate much regional influence and self-association. Behaviourally, they opt for reformist and not radical global change, exhibit a strong regional orientation favouring regional integration but seek also to construct identities distinct from those of the weak states in their region.
According to Enrico Fels from the University of Bonn:
Firstly, just like great powers, middle powers must have sufficient control over material (and non-material) resources. Secondly, middle powers must be willing to exercise some form of responsibility in regional affairs, e.g. by successfully taking a diplomatic lead on important issue areas or using their means to shape other nations' behaviour in order to contribute to regional stability. Finally, with regards to security and related to the first first point, a middle power must be militarily self-sufficient enough to inflict great costs upon an actively aggressive great power. 
Another definition, by the Middle Power Initiative: "Middle power countries are politically and economically significant, internationally respected countries that have renounced the nuclear arms race, a standing that give them significant international credibility." Under this definition, however, nuclear-armed states like India and Pakistan, and every state participant of the NATO nuclear sharing, would not be middle powers. There remains substantial confusion regarding the definition of middle powers, which limits "the ability to pursue meaningful research programs, communicate practical policy advice, and instruct future generations".
Middle power diplomacy
According to Laura Neack of Miami University (Oxford, Ohio, USA):
Although there is some conceptual ambiguity surrounding the term middle power, middle powers are identified most often by their international behavior–called 'middle power diplomacy'—the tendency to pursue multilateral solutions to international problems, the tendency to embrace compromise positions in international disputes, and the tendency to embrace notions of ‘good international citizenship’ to guide...diplomacy. Middle powers are states who commit their relative affluence, managerial skills, and international prestige to the preservation of the international order and peace. Middle powers help to maintain the international order through coalition-building, by serving as mediators and "go-betweens," and through international conflict management and resolution activities, such as UN peacekeeping. Middle powers perform these internationalist activities because of an idealistic imperative they associate with being a middle power. The imperative is that the middle powers have a moral responsibility and collective ability to protect the international order from those who would threaten it, including, at times, the great or principal powers. This imperative was particularly profound during the most intense periods of the Cold War.
According to international relations scholar Annette Baker Fox, relationships between middle powers and great powers reveal more intricate behaviors and bargaining schemes than has often been assumed. According to Soeya Yoshihide, "Middle Power does not just mean a state's size or military or economic power. Rather, 'middle power diplomacy' is defined by the issue area where a state invests its resources and knowledge. Middle Power States avoid a direct confrontation with great powers, but they see themselves as 'moral actors' and seek their own role in particular issue areas, such as human rights, environment, and arms regulations. Middle powers are the driving force in the process of transnational institutional-building." (Soeya Yoshihide)
Characteristics of middle power diplomacy include:
The Middle Powers Initiative (MPI), a program of the Global Security Institute, highlights the importance of middle powers diplomacy. Through MPI, eight international non-governmental organizations are able to work primarily with middle power governments to encourage and educate the nuclear weapons states to take immediate practical steps that reduce nuclear dangers, and commence negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons. Middle power countries are particularly influential in issues related to arms control, being that they are politically and economically significant, internationally respected countries that have renounced the nuclear arms race, a standing that gives them significant political credibility.
Self-defined by nation states
The term first entered Canadian political discourse after World War II. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, for example called Canada "a power of the middle rank" and helped to lay out the classical definition of Canadian middle power diplomacy. When he was advocating for Canada's election to the United Nations Security Council, he said that while "...the special nature of [Canada's] relationship to the United Kingdom and the United States complicates our responsibilities", Canada was not a "satellite" of either but would "continue to make our decisions objectively, in the light of our obligations to our own people and their interest in the welfare of the international community." Canadian leaders believed Canada was a middle power because it was a junior partner in larger alliances (e.g. NATO, NORAD), was actively involved in resolving disputes outside its own region (e.g. Suez Crisis), was not a former colonial power and therefore neutral in anti-colonial struggles, worked actively in the United Nations to represent the interests of smaller nations and to prevent the dominance of the superpowers (often being elected to the United Nations Security Council for such reasons), and because it was involved in humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts around the world.
In March 2008, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defined his country's foreign policy as one of "middle power diplomacy", along the lines of similar criteria. Australia would "influence international decision-makers" on issues such as "global economic, security and environmental challenges".
Middle power or great power?
The overlaps between the lists of middle powers and great powers show that there is no unanimous agreement among authorities.
Nations such as France, Russia and the United Kingdom are generally considered to be great powers due to their military and strategic importance, their status as recognised nuclear powers and also their permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. Some academics also believe that Germany and Japan are great powers, due to their large advanced economies and global influence as opposed to military and strategic capabilities. Italy also has seen much discussion among academics and commentators regarding its status as a great power, particularly for its position in the G7 and the nation's influence in regional and international organisations. Although broad academic support for India as a great power is uncommon, recent years have seen some in the field of political science, such as Malik Mohan (2011) and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski (2012) put forward the assertion that India holds the status of a great power.
List of middle powers
As with the great powers, there is no unanimous agreement among authorities as to which countries are considered middle powers. Lists are often the subject of much debate and tend to place comparatively large countries (e.g. Canada) alongside relatively smaller ones (e.g. Switzerland). Clearly not all middle powers are of equal status; some are considered regional powers and members of the G7 (e.g. Canada), while others could very easily be considered small powers. Some larger middle powers also play important roles in the United Nations and other international organisations such as the WTO.
The following is a list of countries that have been, whether in the past or more recently, considered middle powers by academics or other experts (primarily for their key roles in their respective regions rather than for influence on international relations):
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- ^ a b Jordaan, Eduard (2003). "The concept of a middle power in international relations: distinguishing between emerging and traditional middle powers". Politikon. 30 (1): 165–181. doi:10.1080/0258934032000147282.
- ^ Fels, Enrico (2017). Shifting Power in Asia-Pacific? The Rise of China, Sino-US Competition and Regional Middle Power Allegiance. Springer. p. 213. ISBN 978-3-319-45689-8. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
- ^ a b Middle Powers Initiative (2004) Building Bridges: What Middle Power Countries Should Do To Strengthen the NPT Archived 14 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine., GSI
- ^ Robertson, Jeffrey (March 2017). "Middle-power definitions: confusion reigns supreme". Australian Journal of International Affairs. 71 (3): 1–16. doi:10.1080/10357718.2017.1293608. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- ^ Bishai LS (2000) From Recognition to Intervention: The Shift from Traditional to Liberal International Law Archived 28 February 2002 at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ Fox, Annette Baker, The Politics of Attraction: Four Middle Powers and the United States (Columbia University Press, 1977).
- ^ a b Yoshihide, Soeya. "Middle Power Diplomacy". Retrieved 2006-->.
- ^ Patrick James; Mark J. Kasoff (2008). Canadian studies in the new millennium. University of Toronto Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-8020-9468-1. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
- ^ H.H. Herstien, L.J. Hughes, R.C. Kirbyson. Challenge & Survival: The History of Canada (Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall, 1970). p 411
- ^ Shanahan D (2008) Time to go global, urges Rudd, The Australian
- ^ Mehmet Ozkan. "A NEW APPROACH TO GLOBAL SECURITY: PIVOTAL MIDDLE POWERS AND GLOBAL POLITICS" Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs XI.1 (2006): 77-95
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- ^ Canada Among Nations, 2004: Setting Priorities Straight. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. 17 January 2005. p. 85. ISBN 0773528369. Retrieved 13 June 2016. ("The United States is the sole world's superpower. France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom are great powers")
- ^ a b Sterio, Milena (2013). The right to self-determination under international law : "selfistans", secession and the rule of the great powers. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. p. xii (preface). ISBN 0415668182. Retrieved 13 June 2016. ("The great powers are super-sovereign states: an exclusive club of the most powerful states economically, militarily, politically and strategically. These states include veto-wielding members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia), as well as economic powerhouses such as Germany, Italy and Japan.")
- ^ The Routledge Handbook of Transatlantic Security. Routledge. 2 Jul 2010. ISBN 1136936076. Retrieved 11 June 2016. (see section on The G6/G7: great power governance)
- ^ Strategic Vision: America & the Crisis of Global Power by Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, pp 43–45. Published 2012.
- ^ Malik, Mohan (2011). China and India: Great Power Rivals. United States: FirstForumPress. ISBN 1935049410.
- ^ a b P. Shearman, M. Sussex, European Security After 9/11(Ashgate, 2004) - According to Shearman and Sussex, both the UK and France were great powers now reduced to middle power status.
- ^ Otte M, Greve J (2000) A Rising Middle Power?: German Foreign Policy in Transformation, 1989-1999, St. Martin's Press
- ^ Sperling, James (2001). "Neither Hegemony nor Dominance: Reconsidering German Power in Post Cold-War Europe". British Journal of Political Science. 31 (2). doi:10.1017/S0007123401000151.
- ^ Verbeek, Bertjan; Giacomello, Giampiero (2011). Italy's foreign policy in the twenty-first century : the new assertiveness of an aspiring middle power. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-4868-6.
- ^ "Operation Alba may be considered one of the most important instances in which Italy has acted as a regional power, taking the lead in executing a technically and politically coherent and determined strategy." See Federiga Bindi, Italy and the European Union (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2011), p. 171.
- ^ "Italy plays a prominent role in European and global military, cultural and diplomatic affairs. The country's European political, social and economic influence make it a major regional power." See Italy: Justice System and National Police Handbook, Vol. 1 (Washington, D.C.: International Business Publications, 2009), p. 9.
- ^ a b c d Tobias Harris, 'Japan Accepts its "Middle-Power" Fate'. Far Eastern Economic Review Vol. 171, No. 6 (2008), p. 45: 'Japan is settling into a position as a middle power in Asia, sitting uneasily between the U.S., its security ally, and China, its most important economic partner. In this it finds itself in a situation similar to Australia, India, South Korea and the members of Asean.'
- ^ Efstathopoulos, Charalampos (2011). "Reinterpreting India's Rise through the Middle Power Prism". Asian Journal of Political Science. 19 (1): 74–95. doi:10.1080/02185377.2011.568246.
India's role in the contemporary world order can be optimally asserted by the middle power concept. The concept allows for distinguishing both strengths and weakness of India's globalist agency, shifting the analytical focus beyond material-statistical calculations to theorise behavioural, normative and ideational parameters.
- ^ Robert W. Bradnock, India's Foreign Policy since 1971 (The Royal Institute for International Affairs, London: Pinter Publishers, 1990), quoted in Leonard Stone, 'India and the Central Eurasian Space', Journal of Third World Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2007, p. 183: 'The U.S. is a superpower whereas India is a middle power. A superpower could accommodate another superpower because the alternative would be equally devastating to both. But the relationship between a superpower and a middle power is of a different kind. The former does not need to accommodate the latter while the latter cannot allow itself to be a satellite of the former."
- ^ Cartwright, Jan (2009). "India's Regional and International Support for Democracy: Rhetoric or Reality?". Asian Survey. 49 (3): 403–428. doi:10.1525/as.2009.49.3.403.
India’s democratic rhetoric has also helped it further establish its claim as being a rising "middle power." (A "middle power" is a term that is used in the field of international relations to describe a state that is not a superpower but still wields substantial influence globally. In addition to India, other "middle powers" include, for example, Australia and Canada.)
- ^ Fels, Enrico (2017). Shifting Power in Asia-Pacific? The Rise of China, Sino-US Competition and Regional Middle Power Allegiance. Springer. p. 507-566. ISBN 978-3-319-45689-8. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
- ^ Cox, Robert W. (1989). "Middlepowermanship, Japan, and future world order". International Journal. 44 (4): 823–862. doi:10.1177/002070208904400405.
- ^ Soeya Yoshihide, 'Diplomacy for Japan as a Middle Power, Japan Echo, Vol. 35, No. 2 (2008), pp. 36-41.
- ^ Neumann, IverB. (2008). "Russia as a great power, 1815–2007". Journal of International Relations and Development. 11: 128–151 [p. 128]. doi:10.1057/jird.2008.7.
As long as Russia's rationality of government deviates from present-day hegemonic neo-liberal models by favouring direct state rule rather than indirect governance, the West will not recognize Russia as a fully fledged great power.
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- ^ a b Cooper AF (1997) Niche Diplomacy - Middle Powers after the Cold War, palgrave
- ^ a b c Bernard Wood, 'Towards North-South Middle Power Coalitions', in Middle Power Internationalism: The North-South Dimension, edited by Cranford Pratt (Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990).
- ^ Fels, Enrico (2017). Shifting Power in Asia-Pacific? The Rise of China, Sino-US Competition and Regional Middle Power Allegiance. Springer. p. 365-436. ISBN 978-3-319-45689-8. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
- ^ a b Yasmi Adriansyah, 'Questioning Indonesia's place in the world', Asia Times (20 September 2011): 'Countries often categorized as middle power (MP) include Australia, Canada and Japan. The reasons for this categorization are the nations' advanced political-economic stature as well as their significant contribution to international cooperation and development. India and Brazil have recently become considered middle powers because of their rise in the global arena—particularly with the emerging notion of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China).'
- ^ a b c d Buzan, Barry (2004). The United States and the Great Powers. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Polity Press. p. 71. ISBN 0-7456-3375-7.
- ^ Hazleton WA (2005) Middle Power Bandwagoning? Australia's Security Relationship with the United States, allacademic
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- ^ Caplan G (2006) From Rwanda to Darfur: Lessons learned?, SudanTribune
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- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
- ^ a b c d Behringer, Ronald M. (2005). "Middle Power Leadership on the Human Security Agenda". Cooperation and Conflict. 40 (3): 305–342. doi:10.1177/0010836705055068.
- ^ Crosby, Ann Denholm (1997). "A Middle-Power Military in Alliance: Canada and NORAD". Journal of Peace Research. 34 (1): 37–52. doi:10.1177/0022343397034001004. JSTOR 424829.
- ^ Petersen K (2003) Quest to Reify Canada as a Middle Power, Dissident Voice
- ^ Heine J (2006) On the Manner of Practising the New Diplomacy, ISN Archived 7 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
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- ^ "THE UN DISARMAMENT CONFERENCE IN KYOTO". disarm.emb-japan.go.jp. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- ^ Heine, Jorge. "On the Manner of Practising the New Diplomacy". The Centre for International Governance Innovation. Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- ^ Vukadinović R. (1996) Croatian Foreign Policy: From State Building to the Regional Power. Politička misao, 13(5): 148—165. - "From almost empty handed people that have opted for creation of their state, back in 1990, through the painful process of state building in war conditions, liberation of the country and moving towards a normal life, Croatian foreign policy has considerably helped to cross the road from fighting for independent state to the situation where Croatia is nowadays being considered as a regional power in South-Eastern Europe."
- ^ Central Europe Top 500: An era of digital transformation (2016) - Croatian conglomerate Agrokor is the largest enterprise in the modern Balkans.
- ^ D. Zubrinic, Croatia: an Overview of its History, Culture and Science (2006) - Apart from its languishment under Yugoslav rule, Croatia has been a leading contributor to Western culture. The Croatian people have developed the necktie, the Mohorovičić discontinuity, and Glagolitic scripts.
- ^ R. Rreci, Was Nikola Tesla a Serbian? or, the Origin of Nikola Tesla (2015) - The famous Croatian scientist Nikola Tesla was one of the foremost contributors to human understanding of electromagnetism, although Titoist propaganda later reinvented him as half-Serb and half-Croat on the basis of selective evidence.
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- ^ a b Ploughshares Monitor (1997) Scrapping the Bomb: The role of middle power countries
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- ^ a b Jonathan H. Ping, Middle Power Statecraft: Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Asia Pacific (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2005).
- ^ a b Anoushiravan Ehteshami and Raymond Hinnesbusch, Syria and Iran: Middle Power in a Penetrated Regional System (London: Routledge, 1997).
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