Regional powers shape the polarity of a regional area. Typically, regional powers have capabilities which are important in the region but do not have capabilities at a global scale. Slightly contrasting definitions differ as to what makes a regional power. The European Consortium for Political Research defines a regional power as: "A state belonging to a geographically defined region, dominating this region in economic and military terms, able to exercise hegemonicinfluence in the region and considerable influence on the world scale, willing to make use of power resources and recognized or even accepted as the regional leader by its neighbours".
define the regional security agenda to a high degree
be appreciated as a regional power by other powers in the region and beyond, especially by other regional powers
be well connected with regional and global fora
Current regional powers
Major Regional Powers in North America (United States)
Major Regional Powers in Latin America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Brazil and Mexico)
Major Regional Powers in Europe (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom)
Major Regional Powers in Africa (Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa)
Major Regional Powers in North Asia and Eastern Europe (Russia)
Major Regional Powers in Western Asia and Southeast Europe (Turkey)
Major Regional Powers in Western Asia and North Africa (Egypt, Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia)
Major Regional Powers in East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea)
Major Regional Powers in Southeast Asia (Indonesia)
Major Regional Powers in South Asia (India and Pakistan)
Major Regional Powers in Oceania (Australia)
Below are states that have been described as regional powers by international relations and political scienceacademics, analysts, or other experts. These states to some extent meet the criteria to have regional power status, as described above. Different experts have differing views on exactly which states are regional powers. States are arranged by their region, and in alphabetic order. Primary, or major, regional powers (also known as pivotal powers) are placed in the major regions as identified by analysts. Secondary, or minor, regional powers are listed within their subregions. Major regional powers in bold and minor regional powers in normal font.
The United States is the primary geopolitical force in the Western Hemisphere. Canada, despite being a middle power, is not a regional power because it is militarily secured by U.S. hegemony and financially comfortable by its dependence on the robust U.S. economy.
Historically, China was the dominant power in East Asia. However at the beginning of the early 20th century the Empire of Japan first became an important player in World War I as one of the Allied powers, then economic turmoil, its expulsion from the League of Nations, and interest in expansion of mainland caused Japan to become a major player in World War II as one of the Axis powers while China became a key player in World War II as one of the Allied powers. In recent years, a re-balancing of military and economic might towards countries such as China and India has made significant changes in the geopolitics of Asia. China and Japan have also earned greater influence over regions outside Asia. With close economic and military ties with the United States, South Korea and Japan are seen as major regional powers "containing" the communist regimes of China and North Korea.
^"Southern Africa is home to the other of sub-Saharan Africa's regional powers: South Africa. South Africa is more than just a regional power; it is by far the most developed and economically powerful country in Africa, and now it is able to use that influence in Africa more than during the days of apartheid (white rule), when it was ostracized." See David Lynch, Trade and Globalization (Lanham, USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010), p. 51.
^Alice Bothwell, "Can Canada Still Be Considered a Middle Power?," Master's Thesis (University of Stellenbosch), p. 34
^"Argentina has been the leading military and economic power in the Southern Cone in the Twentieth Century." See Michael Morris, "The Srait of Magellan," in International Straits of the World, edited by Gerard Mangone (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishes, 1988), p. 63.
^ ab"Secondary regional powers in Huntington's view include Great Britain, Ukraine, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Argentina." See Tom Nierop, "The Clash of Civilisations," in The Territorial Factor, edited by Gertjan Dijkink and Hans Knippenberg (Amsterdam: Vossiuspers UvA, 2001), p. 61.
^"The US has created a foundation upon which the regional powers, especially Argentina and Brazil, can developed their own rules for further managing regional relations." See David Lake, "Regional Hierarchies," in Globalising the Regional, edited by Rick Fawn (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 55.
^"The southern cone of South America, including Argentina and Brazil, the two regional powers, has recently become a pluralistic security community." See Emanuel Adler and Patricia Greve, "Overlapping regional mechanisms of security governance," in Globalising the Regional, edited by Rick Fawn (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 78.
^"[...] notably by linking the Southern Cone's rival regional powers, Brazil and Argentina." See Alejandra Ruiz-Dana, Peter Goldschag, Edmundo Claro and Hernan Blanco, "Regional integration, trade and conflicts in Latin America," in Regional Trade Integration and Conflict Resolution, edited by Shaheen Rafi Khan (New York: Routledge, 2009), p. 18.
^ abSamuel P. Huntington, "Culture, Power, and Democracy," in Globalization, Power, and Democracy, edited by Marc Plattner and Aleksander Smolar (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), p. 6.
^""The driving force behind the adoption of the MERCOSUR agreement was similar to that of the establishment of the EU: the hope of limiting the possibilities of traditional military hostility between the major regional powers, Brazil and Argentina." See Anestis Papadopoulos, The International Dimension of EU Competition Law and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 283.
^""Iran is a strong regional power, in a far better shape than Pakistan because f its economic capabilities, rich mineral and energy resources, and internal stability, added to its far greater geostrategic importance." In Hooman Peimani, Nuclear Proliferation in the Indian Subcontinent (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2000), p. 30.
^Gabriele Abbondanza, Italy as a Regional Power: the African Context from National Unification to the Present Day (Rome: Aracne, 2016)
^"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.
Buzan, Barry; Wæver, Ole (2003), Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 55, ISBN 0-521-89111-6
Godehardt, Nadine; Nabers, Dirk, eds. (2011), Regional Orders and Regional Powers, Routledge, pp. 193–208, ISBN 978-1-136-71891-5
Stewart-Ingersoll, Robert; Frazier, Derrick (2012), Regional Powers and Security Orders: A Theoretical Framework, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-56919-4
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