Seminar | 12-Nov-2018
Posted on | 23-Jan-2019
RTD ON COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL POWER JOINTLY CONDUCTED BY THE CENTRE FOR JOINT WARFARE STUDIES (CENJOWS) AND THE SHIV NADAR UNIVERSITY (SNU)
ON 12 NOV 2018
BY | SHRI R CHARNDRASHEKHAR
WELCOME ADDRESS AND OPENING REMARKS
BY | LT GEN VINOD BHATIA, PVSM, AVSM, SM (RETD), DIRECTOR CENJOWS
Welcoming participants and attendees, Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, Director CENJOWS expressed happiness that the TRD was being held under the auspices of the MOU between CENJOWS and SNU. Emphasising the imperative to study China.
On the aspect of CNP, Lt Gen Bhatia raised the issue of whether it was National Interests that drove CNPor the other way around. Quoting examples from history when small nations such as England, Portugal, Spain and France had wielded enormous power as has been subsequently done by the USA and Russia as also the Chinese and to an extent, event India, which is a responsible risingpower to suggest that there are lessons to be learnt from history.
On CNP itself, he raised the aspect of why we need CNP at all, considering that we already have soft power, hard power smart power and / or various combinations of these. CNP itself is often taken as DIME +2, DIMI=3, DIME+4 and there are add-ons. India too has a lot of these powers but somehow it does not work.
The objective, he added, is not just protecting national interests but also enforcingyour will in your area of interests.Ideally, we would like a friendly neighbourhood with friendly Governments, but if they are not friendly, what do we do about it? How do we use soft power, or hard power or smart power?
At the global geo-strategic plane, India is doing well. We have strategic partnerships with32 nations, but we are not doing well at all in the neighbourhood. Our ‘Neighbourhood first’ policy is in tatters.
Where does CNP come intoplay when we can do so well in the strategic relations with the US, with Russia, China and we do a balancing act between them.But when it comes to our neighbourhood, we are lacking in CNP.
Do we have synergy amongst all elements of national power? Do we have structures and systems in place to synergise all these elements? Mentioning the example of India’s borders, he added that there are major stake holders. As many as three central ministries are involved – the MEA to delineate and demarcate the borders, the MHA for border management and the MOD who have a direct responsibility for unsettled borders. There are in addition the governments of the various states with as many as 19 states having international borders.
The Constitution stipulates the Govt to ensurethe territorial integrity of India and that objective has to be safeguarded.There isno need to be apologetic about India, which is the largest democracy in the world, the 2nd largest population, the 4th largest economy,the 2nd largest Army and the 4th largest armed forces, the 4th largest economyand the 6th largest natural resources and the 7th largest real estate.
We have the culture to look down upon ourselves – a legacy left of the British raj days. India also did not lack the politico-military will when the occasion demanded. Whether in 1947 to push out the raiders, the accession of J&K, the 1962, 65 and the 721 ops, the PNE in 1974, theSri Lanka and Maldives ops, the will was always shown.
In 1947, when we got independence, Germany and Japan were completely destroyed, yet they rose to be great economic powers. Somehow, we could not replicate their growth curves. We have now caught up.
We need to understand CNP and fore which we have an eminent panel comprising of Prof Siddharth, Brig HS Cheema, Dr Atul Mishra, Brig Rajiv Bhutani and Prof. Partho Chatterjee and look forward to an enriching discussion.
Talk by Prof SiddharthMallavarapu, Professor of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University
Commencing by expressing gratitude to CENJOWS for the collaborative effort, he wished to flag a few dimensions looking at it as student of international relations as to what are elements relation to national power that we ned to focus on.
On the notion of power itself, there have been a legacy and a good body of work in social sciences thinking about power.
The first dimension of power was effectively getting people to do things that they would otherwise not do. Power was viewed in terms of its exercise or application.The second generation of research looked at power more in terms of ts mobilisation, in successfully mobilising resources or successfully legitimising certain moves. The third generation looks at power not so much as bereft of values but intrinsically a contested concept and value laden and there are interesting pieces of work that seek to understand, theoretically as well as empirically.
Referring to the book ‘Power in Global Governance’ (edited by Michael N. Barnett, Cambridge University Press, 2009), and looking at power generically within the spheres of international issues, there are four idioms of Power.
– Notion of compulsory power – a more direct form of power which is quickly recognised. A powerful state in the international sphere almost dictates sometimes to a weaker player.
– Notion of institutionalpower. Institutionaldesign which allows certain players to have greater say in how decisions are made – eg. Treaty outcomes, who decides, why these are decided to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others. Is there something in the design of institution itself that privileges certain players?
– The notion of structural power. Where the politico-economic relations are structured ina certain way. Power is exercised through dominant patterns of economic organisations round the world.
– Notion of power as productive power. Tethered to the very notion of power. How does power help us frame certain notions in a particular way? By example, take the concept of modernisation. Is there a dominant conception of what modernisation means? What development means? There is power involved in defining certain elements. To take these definitions as granted and adopted is itself an index of power. We don’t contest it and take them as given definitions. Hinges on definition, conception and the ability to frame the way we look at a particular issue.
In the context of India, one may wish to ask as to how the policy menu constructed? How are policies pursued once they are decided to be the most desirable policies? How are they legitimated and eventually how are they sustained over a period of time so that we have some continuity once we’ve decided that this is the best way. So, power is built around the narrative of how we view power itself and how we view questions of security understood in terms of what is important in our own vision. Its realisation depends on the instruments used to bolster that possibility.
Another way is to look a debate in the larger sphere of international security. In the post-cold war world, there was a lot of interest in widening our notion of what is security. There were a whole set of debates around what is traditionalsecurity (about the security of state itself) and what are non-traditional concepts of security (issues like the environment, energy, food security, potable drinking water,
There were some who argued that we should stick to the traditional concept of security. If there has to be anucleus around which security has to be defined, there have to be some core postulates. The ‘wideners’ who argue we must have abroader concept of security arguing that the other issues re not unrelated and concern the overall wellbeing of the state and the citizenry within that state.
There is no one size fits all approach. some argue that the old paradigms that definesecurity need to be revisited in the context of afast changing world. Part of the challenge for students of international reltions is to keep pace with real world developments to understand and explain what is going on within a particular sphere.
There is also a recognition that institutions matter. Prof. Siddharth referred to the book ‘How India manages its national Security’ by Arvind Gupta who makes two claims which are important to think about.
First, (and to what Gen Bhatia had earlier referred) – about creating a fair synergy between departments and bureaucracy to forge a clear security policy. There is urgency on this as there isan interconnection between different elements.
Second, is the aspect of Institutional design – the requirement for a coherent framework that allows for security policies to be followed with rigour without losing too much time to act. Concern is on bureaucratic arrangements, institutional environments.
There are certain notions that are worth thinking about in the realm of national security:-
Does the normative dimensionalways involve trade-offs? Such as the guns and butter predicament? Need to allocate resources in a manner that optimises the use of these resources to meet our strategic interests and our security purposes.
We need to give some thought to institutions associated withsecurity and bringvarious orgs like the MEA, the MOD etc under a framework that allows them to build synergies when they are both working towards the same goal of national interest.
Forging coalitions – both internally and externally.
Strategic community small but there are a while set of issues to deal with and make sense of the information coming from very diverse sources.
Two other issues worthy of consideration are:
State capacity – when we need to translate int o tangible and real, it also builds on state capacity – fund raising, legitimacy and right to rule, monopoly over the use of force
CMR and institutions and integration
Albert O. Hirschman (author of several books on Political Economy and Political Ideology) has viewed paradigms to be sometimes a hinderance to understanding. Too clear a template and too clear a model of how things work we may be missing something fundamental and therefore we mud have some room for revisiting our conceptions for what we treat as sacrosanct and what we treat as worthwhile.
In conclusion, Prof. Siddharth emphasised that the US had the advantage of Security knowledge producers who resource knowledgethat is relevant and worthwhile for anyone formulating policy relating to national Security. We need to strengthen our own pool of security knowledge producers within our complex democratic space.
Presentation on ‘Understanding ‘Comprehensive National Power’
Brig HS Cheema, Senior Fellow, CENJOWS
There is a requirement to delve on the concept and ingredients of CNP, on how the West and the Chinese have defined CNP and eventually how the Arthashastra defines it and emphasised the need to revisit our scriptures to understand this phenomenon.
The 21st century, has seen economic globalization resulting into integration of the world economy at the same time there is also competition among/between countries, especially that among big powers. International competition is dynamic in nature and depends how a nation utilizes its strategic resources. They often come into conflict with one another and are locked in contention while being, in a complex way, interdependent and interconnected.
In the development process, which is quite out of balance, some countries have grown in national power while others are losing relatively. It is those changes that have brought about significant changes to the pattern of the world. The status (or position) of a country in the international community is in essence associated with the rise and fall of its national power, the increase and decrease of its strategic resources.
The Concept of Comprehensive National Power (CNP)
CNP is a concept that is based on the contemporary political thought of the PRC and refers to the general power of a nation-state.Calculating CNP can aid a nation not just for war but also to “coordinate a political and diplomatic offensive, to psychologically disintegrate the enemy forces and subdue them.”According to the Chinese Politician Yuan Chunqing.
CNP can be calculated numerically and there are a number of indices, which combine various quantitively indices to create a single number to measure the power of a nation-state. These indices take into account both military factors (known as hard power) and economic and cultural factors (known as soft power).
CNPgenerally means the sum total of the powers or strengths of a country in economy, military affairs, science & technology, education and resources and its influence (China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, 2000). More abstractly, it refers to the combination of all the powers possessed by a country for the survival and development of a sovereign state, including material and ideational ethos, and international influence as well. (Huang Shuofeng, 1999).
Foreign scholars usually use National Power in its specific sense, that is, “the strategic capabilities by which a sovereign state uses its overall resources to influence others.”(Ashley Telis et al, 2000).
There is no unified definition or method of computation with regard to CNP or national power of a country.CNP may be simply defined as the comprehensive capabilities of a country to pursue its strategic objectives by taking actions internationally and the core factors to the concept are strategic resources, strategic capabilities and strategic outcomes, with the strategic resources as the material base.
The Components of CNP
Michael Eugene Porter (an American academic known for his theories on economics, business strategy, and social causes. He is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School) lists five major resources: – Physical resources, Human resources, Infrastructure, Knowledge resources and Capital resources. The national strategic resources are divided into eight categories, with 23 indictors. Those categories constitute CNP.
These are measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is the sum of the gross values added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources.
GDP is calculated on the basis of nominal exchange rate which method often underestimates the economic power of developing countries but overestimates the economic power of developed countries.
The other method to calculate is on the basis of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The international comparison project recommended by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) takes 1993 as the base and calculates the gross national product (GNP) of 118 countries and uses PPP to estimate the value of the international dollar per capita GNP and per capita GDP.
The opportunities and capabilities of education, is regarded as the decisive factor in the process of economic growth. Human capital is expressed in the number of years of education received by a population. The more the number of years of education received, the more skilful the workers and the higher the labour productivity to stimulate economic growth. The number of working-aged people- people aged 15-64. Average number of years of education received by people over 15. constitute the total human capital of a country.
Human Resource is accordingly defined as the multiplication of labour forces and the average number of years of education received by the population. Labour forces conform to the definition by the International Labour Organization, that is, people of economic vitality.
Natural resources refer to the abundance, quality, reachability and costs of major natural resources.These are the necessary conditions for economic development, but they are limited or the conditions or upper limits for restricting economic growth.
There are four major indicators of natural resources:
Annual fresh water withdrawals refer to total water withdrawal, not counting evaporation losses.
Commercial energy use referring to apparent consumption, which is equal to indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and fuels supplied to ships and aircraft engaged in international transport.
Electricity production measured at the terminals of all alternator sets in a station. In addition to hydropower, coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power generation, it covers generation by geothermal, solar, wind, and tide and wave energy, as well as that from combustible renewable and waste.
As per Michael Porter, capital resources include three major indicators:
Gross domestic investment.
Foreign direct investment (FDI).
Market capitalization (also known as market value).
Knowledge and Technology Resources
Most important strategic resources and with the inset of the knowledge and information society, the importance is growing daily. Knowledge & technology resources include five major indicators:
Scientific and technical journal articles refer to scientific and engineering articles published by about 4,800 international academic publications.
Patent applications by residents of a country. It reflects the technology innovation capability of country.
Personal computers. It reflects the capabilities of applying new technologies of a country.
Internet hosts, i.e., computers with active internet protocol (IP) addresses connected to internet. All hosts without a country’s code identification are assumed to be located in the US. It reflects the capabilities of a country in spreading information.
Government spending on R&D, that is, the potential knowledge and technology innovation capabilities of a country in a long run.
Military Power reflects the abilities of a country in maintaining social stability and stops separatism and also reflects the external power for seeking the maximization of interests abroad. In the view of Ashley Tellis, “Military power is also a kind of “output” of the national power. It is an important strategic asset, because military power is not only an explicit function of CNP but also an expressive function of the will of a state”.
Military resources too have two major categories of indicators:
Military expenditures cover military-related expenditures of the Defence Ministry (including recruiting, training, construction, and the purchase of military supplies and equipment) and other ministries are excluded.
Armed Forces personnel refer to duty military personal, including paramilitary forces if those forces resemble regular units in their organization, equipment, training, or mission.
They include four categories of indicators:
The volume of exports and services.
The volume of imports and services.
Royalty and license fees receipts.
Royalty and license fees payments. They are receipts or payment between residents and non-residents for the authorized use of intangible, non-produced, non-financial assets and proprietary rights.
Measuring Comprehensive National Power
The Western Method
KlauseE Knorr(Author of Power and Wealth – The Political Economy of International Power)defined National Power as “Power that includes economic capabilities, administrative competitiveness and the ability of war mobilization”.
In 1960 Clifford German, produced a world power index that took the following form:
G=N (National Power)=N (L + P + I + M)
(Where N stands for nuclear capability, L stands for territory, P stands for population, I stands for the industrial base, and M stands for military size. This is a national power equation centring round nuclear capabilities. The national power is in direct proportion to nuclear capability).
In 1965 Wilhelm Fucks sought to derive national power from three summational variables – population size (P), energy production (Z), and steel production (Z1)—arranged in one of nine formulas for measuring the national power (M), all of which were variants of one another and took the form:
M=(P^ (3/2)) ×Z1
(The equation is based on the traditional resources in the era of industrialization. The strategic objectives are to obtain more energy in the world and to raise the industrial productivity).
In 1975 Ray Cline’s national power equation (Ray Cline, 1975):
(where C stands for population and territory, E stands for economic capacity, M stands for Military capacity (including the strategic balance plus combat capabilities and a bonus for effort), S stands for the national strategy coefficient, and W stands for national will (including the level of national integration, the strength of leadership, and the relevanceof strategy to the national interest).
This is a CNP formula. The first part of the equationreflects the objective strength or hard factors and the second part reflects the subjective strength or soft factors. CNP is the multiplication of the two, reflecting the attentionattached by the author to soft factors. But it is difficult to calculate the soft factors.
Ashley Tellis and other scholars at the RANDhold that traditional indicators and methods are unable to reflect the national power in the information age. They have introduced their new concepts but have not produced any calculation equation or results of computing for international comparison.They focus mainly on hard powers, hence do not represent true “comprehensiveness”. The core of all indices is mainly economic and military dimensionsand treat “power-assessment-formulas” as ‘resource containers’, giving more emphasis to “material resources”. It is a widely understood fact that there exist many intangible factors which play heavily on the manifestation of state-power, without which the approach to CNP would remain hollow. The soft-power, though recognised, is unduly underplayed when it comes to practical formulation vis-à-vis hard-power.
The Chinese Method
Method that evolved by the Chinese Military Academy represented by Huang Suofeng who holds that CNP should be the organic integration of capacities of survival, development and coordination, so he designed a “CNP dynamic equation”, which takes the following form:
(where P is CNP of a given year; K is the coordination system, including factors such as the capacities of national leaders to coordinate and unify; H is hardware, including all physical factors; S is software, including ideational ethos, intelligence and other factors).
Though the non-material resources are included in formulation, their importance is not correspondingly expressive. For example, in CASS index the weightage-coefficient of diplomacy, which is 0.07, is significantly lesser than that of economic factor which is 0.35.8. Economic and military domains form the core of the CNP concept. Many intangibles are not taken into account.
If seen scientifically, assessing CNP from the present capability only paints a partial picture. A genuine assessment should cater for futuristic ‘price-factor’ for present day development. This includes future challenges/negative consequences, either intended or unintended, which may stem from the present-day unbalanced growth, uneven development, environmental degradation, and political environment. In case of China, this argument gets more pronounced.
It is evident that the Chinese indices are more or less designed to fit China’s advantage, not surprisingly elevating China’s position in the CNP merit. This narrative is hugely being supported by the Chinese leadership.
The question of quality versus quantity has not been factored as a determining factor. Assessing CNP quantitatively alone would remain a half-truth. A true power assessment deserves both quantitative and qualitative analysis.
Kautilya’s Saptanga Model
Kautliya speaks of seven constituent elements of state, called seven Prakritis. Their sum total manifests in “power” of a state. The components in descending order of importance are:-
Swamin – The Ruler
Amatya – Councillors.
Janapada – The territory/ resources.
Durga – Forts.
Kosa – Treasury.
Bala – Army.
Mitra – Friend / Ally
The word ‘Sapta’ means seven, and ‘anga’ means body parts.Saptangatherefore means seven body parts. As an analogy, a state can be considered as a growing organism, and the above Prakritisas its body parts. All seven body parts are essential for holistic growth of state.
Kautilya assigned priorities to them with leadership atthe top: thus, Kosa is more important than Bala, Durg more important than Kosa, Janapada more important thanDurg, and Swamin is the most important Prakriti for manifestation of power.Each preceding Prakriti is not only more important but also strengthens the latter; if one rots, it rots the latter doubly. Hierarchical interaction determines sound and cumulative health of Prakritis and their “Power”.
The Three Shakti(s)
The SevenPrakritis together manifest into Shakti of state. Arthashastra identifies three Shaktis:
Prabhava-Shakti – power to generate “effects” like Hard Power and encompasses economy and military power.
Mantra-Shakti– the power to influence, counsel, and induce co-opting (such as Soft Power) and incorporates diplomacy.
Utsaha-Shakti-representingthe personal power of the leader which provides drive, energy, and direction to other six prakritis.
Kautilya rates Mantra-Shakti as the most important of the three and that the three powers interact “qualitatively” to produce CNP.
For qualitative analysis, Arthashastra outlines two parameters: “Sampator Excellences” and “Vyasanas or Vices” of each Prakriti. His construct is pragmatic as on one hand, he defined the “excellences”, on the other, he cautioned the king about the Vyasana(s): vices/calamity or nemesis of each Prakriti.A leader should be vigilant in foreseeing, averting and overcoming Vyasanas to decay of the “organic-body”.Priority of Vyasanas is same as that of Prakritis: that means to save Treasury before Army; Resources before Fortifications; and the ruler before all.
Kautilya compares the king as “head” of the body. If the king is weak, the enemy will find it easier to intrigue against the state. Cumulatively, “Prakritis”, “Sampat”, “Vyasanas” and “Shakti” manifest into CNP through Kautilyan lens.
Shadgunya– The six foldForeign Policy
The Arthashastra rationally determines which of the six foreign policies a state should adopt for peaceful growth. Mandala (the international relations) remains in eternal flux, it changes dynamically, producing opportunities for some states, while exposing others.
The “power equation” among the states keeps fluctuating: foes become allies, allies become foes;fluidity is ubiquitous. To exploit this fluidity, Kautilya introduces the “Shadgunyas”, and decrees that “He who sees the six measures of policy as being interdependent in this manner, plays, as he pleases, with the rival kings tied by the chains of his intellect.”
Sandhi (“making peace”), Vigraha (“hostilities”), Asana (“remaining stationary”), Yana (“marching/preparing for war”) ,Samshraya (“seeking protection/coalitions”), and Dvaidibhava (“dual policy” or “collaboration-cum-competition”).It is truly comprehensive in approach giving due weightage to non-material and material factors. Interactive inclusion of “Prakritis”, “Sampat”, “Vyasanas” and “Shakti” make it more holistic an approach.
It does not treat power as a “resource-container” (western thought).It establishes relative hierarchy of the seven constituent-elements of state and yet make them interactive with capability to augment/decay other “Prakritis”.It caters for “qualitative” analysis of constituents for CNP determination through “Excellences” and “Vices”.
Unlike the Chinese approach, Kautilya’s construct goes beyond mere inclusion of non-material constituents, but also gives greater weightage to them. It identifies Mantra-Shakti as the strongest power component amongst all forms of power. It recognises Mitra as an inherent constituent element of power determination matrix of a state, which is a unique argument in itself. It assigns “leadership” the highest priority in seven Prakritis.
Talk on ‘‘Power in International Affairs”
Dr Atul Mishra, Shiv Nadar University
Mentioning that he taught a course on Power, he added that when the student of power meets the practitioners, rather the constituents of power, it is the student who must listen to what the latter’s understanding of power is. He intended to Share notes from the course in three areas – the basic conceptual dimensions of power; How some elements of power politics have been framed in international relations; andPower in the context of India and specifically the power of India’s promise.
Key Propositions regarding the Conceptual Dimensions of Power
Dr Atul Mishra expounded four key propositions regard to the conceptual dimensions of power, which he considered could be controversial.
First, according to him, it not too helpful in getting too bogged down regarding definitional quibbles about power – because power, as also emphasised by Siddharth is an essentially contested concept. In social sciences, any proposition which is contested will not have a reasonably stable definition. The definition one works with depends on the purpose to which one is applying the concept. And beyond a point a discussion on the definition itself would really not be productive.
Second, the understanding of power does not involve a high degree of enumeration of the resources that constitute power – power is not something that is necessarily amenable to quantitative analysis. The reason I say so is that when we reduce power to competitive terms, we reduce powe to resources. Resources are no doubt the elements of power but it’s the resources plus the X factor that establishes whether power is present or absent. So there are limitations to the enumerative measurement exercises relating to the exercise of power.
The third proposition, which comes up repeatedly during the course is that we think of power generally as ‘power over’. Referring to Prof Siddharth’s mentioning the definition of power which comes from Robert Dahl. If A has power over B if A can get B to do what B would otherwise not do.
Within the literature on power we have complemented the idea of ‘power over’ with ‘power to’. So ‘power over’ captures, encapsulates, comprises the controlling, the dominating, the coercive elements of power, but ‘power to’ talks about the cooperating, the productive and essentially the positive dimensions of power. So I could have power over you or you could have power over me or we could have power to do things. That’s the conceptual innovation which has been brought about in the literature on power. The philosopher who brings this to fore in the starkest manner is named Hannah Aren in a book ‘On Violence’ where she introduces this idea of ‘power to’ alongside ‘power over’.
Power and Morality
Propose three ‘framings’ of the relationship between power and morality. All who have pondered the question of power would have realised that at some level, there is a relationship that is at work. The demands of power politics and the commands of moral framework do not necessarily overlap all the time. What is the relationship that exists between the two?
Three framings that have been offered in the literature on power.
Power politics is considered an immoral activity being violative of everyday moral frameworks. Power politics demands killingpeople, moral commands say don’t kill people, so power politics is an immoralactivity. Quoting from the Melian Dialogue in Thucydides’’ History of the Peloponnesian War in which the Melians are appealing to the Athenian’s sense of justice to which the Athenians say that the question of justice as such does not arise because this is power politics. The Melian’s stance at that point of time is essentially that of those who believe that power politics is essentiallyimmoral. This has also been the position of Gandhi who has empahasised that power politics is immoral and we should make our choices in International Relations.
The second relationship between morality and power, which is slightly nuanced and seductive relationship is the one that Machiavelli gives which is that power and morals are two dimensions of human activity. They are related but essentially different from each other. The difference being that when we indulge in power politics, we are engaged with questions of success, or failure. But when we are dealing with moral frameworks, it is about what is right and what is wrong which in itself will depend upon what results in a success or a failure. We are onto two different domains and therefore power politics is not immoral, it is amoral. This essentially Machiavellian idea is nuanced in the 20th century by the American philosopher Hans Morgenthau who says is that there are moral consequences of power political actions andtherefore there is a tension between power politics and moral commands.
The third proposition regarding the relations of power and morality is the one articulatedby Reinhold Niebuhr (in his book ‘Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics’ published in 1932)where he says that power politics is not immoral or amoral but is ‘differently moral’. There is a set of moral frameworks that govern power politics and so long as a practitioner of power abides by the purpose of power. As long as it is associated with a larger public purpose, there is a case for association of morality to power politics.
Power in International Relations
The standard refrain is that the essential characteristic of international affairs is power politics. Why does power politics exist? Why is the international arena marked fundamentally by power politics?
Of those who have given answers, the most robust of the answers belong to the realist camp who boil to down to two elements. They say that we do have power politics in the international arena because states are led by statesmen who are driven by the essential laws to compete and a desire to dominate, which is a part of all human endeavour. So, when human beings come into the leadership position and they act on behalf of their states, they end up acting in an aggressive manner and therefore you have power politics.
The second explanation is that there is power politics because there is nothing to prevent power politics, which is to state that there is no higher level of authority above that of the states. In other words, anarchy – which, in the absence of world government createsthis peculiar situation where each state has to look out for itself. There is no 9/11 type situation to take recourse to and because each state has a sense of insecurity in regard to all the others each seeks to enhance its power. It is therefore in the nature of international relations that states indulge in power politics.
If that is the case and if anarchy or human nature are responsible for why there is power politics? We cannot wish away power politics because, if its due to human nature, we cannot change human nature and if it is anarchy, the only condition under which anarchy will disappear is if you have world government, which will not come about due to very complex reasons.
Managing Power Politics
Hence, how do we go about managing power politics? We do so by establishing what is called the ‘balance of power’. Balances, as such, can be stable or they can be unstable. There are some conditions under which balances are products of diplomacy and some conditions they are products of conflict and war. We would not know what sort of balance exists between for example US and China currently – all of itis speculation unless there is a conflict in which it will become clear as to what is one country’s power standing in relation to another. That’s the realist framing of power politics and the conceptual way which they think of power politics internationally.
What are the responses to it – several, but for paucity of time, we focus on the dominant response that comes from the liberals or liberal institutionalists who argue that we cannot wish away power politics. One cannot wish away power politics and accept it being there but also think of doing something more ambitious which is to moderate and tame power politics and tame it enough so that the very nature of international relations. To which the realists ask as to how do we go about doing it. There are four responses suggested:
The world is composed on human beings who have two characteristics – the faculty for emotion and the faculty to reason. If we can strengthen each one of us for the rational quality amongst us to strengthen at the cost of the passionate or emotional quality, we can possibly do something about this human nature business. How do we go about doing so – by creating modern societies that are rational and scientific that cultivates the faculty to reason over the faculty of passion.
Create international institutions and a network of international institutions. What will they do? Forma gentle cage to check ambition and prevent states from running away from each other if conflict escalates. More benignly, this becomes a platform for socialisation. The come together and socialise and the more they socialise, the less they begin to misunderstand each other and the less they misunderstand, the greater the possibilities for cooperation.
Importance of Trade. The more nations trade, the more interdependence happens, the more wealth circulates and the lesser the incentives for power politics.
Make as many systems for the world liberal democratic as you can. It is empirically established that with regard to liberal democracies, that they tend to be peacefully disposed. The claim is not that they do not go to war with each other but they tend to be peacefully disposed in their relations with each other.
Now, putting together the liberal recipe, we have amodern education that is liberal and scientific, there are a network of international institutions, we make sure that as many nations of the world as possible are locked in beneficial trade. We then would have a world that is more optimistic and presents a better view.An examination of developments in the 20th century shows how liberal democracies have gone about taming power.
Quoting the example of the US, International relations give us reasons to be cautious about an unbridled, unrestrained use of power. In the eight years of Obama’s presidency he ended up restraining use of power. In the eight years preceding Obama, we had George W Bush unleashing American power around the world that created antagonisms and not possibly achieving the goals sought to be achieved. Then came Obama and he very gradually restrains America. One of the central aspects of power is to learn to restrain. Just because we have resources does not mean that we necessarily got to use them and second, the mere possession of power is no guarantee to success. The starkest example of this is the Afghan war. You do not get victory in the Afghan war regardless of the imbalance of power.
India’s ‘Power of Promise’
The minimalist version is that it is only in the past two decades that India has started speaking the language of power. Till then we relied more on the power of language. For the first four decades of our existence as a sovereign state we seemed to be cagey about our power. Another way of putting it is that we almost had a moral disgust to power politics. So, we turned our backs to that dimension of international affairs. Narratives are powerful and sometimes its useful to nuance some narratives.
If indeed it is the case that India turned its back to power politics, then what explains the very subtle changes India made to changing power alignments during the first four decades of its foreign policy.To say that India did not pursue hard power is not to say that India was not a student of international power politics. We read international situations to our advantage quite significantly and one objective of that was that we did not want to get entangled in power politics. It is not that we were in disgust over power politics as such but that we did not want to get caught into power politics. We were however reading international power dynamics closely.
The assessment was that we did not necessarily have to pursue overwhelming amounts of hard power in order to guarantee security. Once the aftermath of the partition problem was addressed, there was indeed no mortal threat to India’s security. The belief seemed to be that whatever excessive security India required, its diplomacy would somehow gain that for India as and when necessity arose. Hence it is is not fair to view India’s engagement with power politics in such crude and ungenerous terms.
Over the past two decades, we have invested substantially in augmenting our hard power capability, economic abilities included. While this is welcome, a question arises before us which is that once we start speaking the language of Power, what is the purpose to which we commit our power? It’s a question to which answers at the moment seem to be open.
With regard to power politics per se, there are some propositions to be made. Expressing discomfort with the proposal made in certain quarters that we need to augment our military power to the extent that we are for example able to match up to that if the Chinese. Prof Bharat Karnad makes this argument to great lengths, but is sceptical on this as they do not necessarily fit in with our grand strategic goals, which are: internal development and internal security. If we can continue to improve the lives of our citizens and ensure that our borders are secure and our investments internationally are secure, we are fine.
Both these elements do not require us to rat race with the Chinese. Some combination of diplomacy at the forefront backed up by our incredible Armed Fo0rces would be the best way to speak the language as far as power is concerned. Diplomacy at the forefront and make diplomats feel comfortable to go ahead and do their job. The utility of a military first approach is not clear.
Those who would have taken interest in the anti-colonial discourse that marked us between 1910s and the 40s and which was an argument for seeking independence was that a free India would be a boon for the world. It has great potential and great promise and by virtue of its freedom and by virtue of what it would do toits own citizens and its own share of humanity, it would be a power of great significance to world generally.
Fast forward to the period of 2005-08 when we are negotiating the nuclear deal with the Americans and what are the arguments we are putting forth – make this exception for us, give us access to nuclear commerce because we got the potential to be the force of stability internationally. It is fascinating as it shows there is something different about India regarding the question of power. This that one of the great assets of India is the promise of its potential and the promise of its influence over world affairs. Hence the argument is that if you can do this for us, we could get the following done in the global community. This a dimension of power that I find interesting and I call it the power of India’s promise.
Power Politics in the Context of India
The last point with which he sought to conclude is that the notion that liberals tend to associate with power politics in the context of India which is to say that we are thinking about the purpose of power in the Indian context of foreign policy and think about India s an exemplary power – a power that leads by example – by virtue of what India does to itself, the virtue of the performances we register domestically, we end up becoming examples for othersto follow.
This a slightly nuanced idea that that which gets captured under the ‘soft power’ idea -which isthat some resources of yours are so attractive that others get converted to it. Here it just what you do to yourself domestically that becomes a source for others tofollow you. – and we become an example to emulate.Four things for India to do – Manage this combination of pluralism and democracy successfully; provide human development; have a government regime that is marked by efficiency and transparency; have both traditional and non-traditional security given to ourselves. If we can have a combination of these elements in place and we do this well domestically, we would have done a lot to augment or identity and our status as an ‘exemplary power’.
Presentation on ‘Leveraging Comprehensive National Power to Enhance National Security‘ by
Brig Rajeev Bhutani Senior Fellow, CENJOWS
Commenced the presentation with a pertinent quote from Deng Xiaoping that ‘In measuring a country’s national power, one must look at it comprehensively and from all sides” adding that Comprehensive capability of a country to pursue its strategic objectives by taking the necessary actions internationally”. Comprehensive National Power is thereby the capacity of a country to pursue strategic goals or attain its strategic objectives through purposeful action
Elaborating on his perception of national Power, Brig Rajeev Bhutani stated that in his understanding, power is simply military capabilities calling for finances to manufacture, procure and purchase weapons&equipment, the capabilities of individuals who serve in the armed forces, the scientific and technologies that a nation possesses and its superiority over those of other nations, the aspect of morale, both within the Armed Forces and the nation at large. At the strategic and decision level, this includes the capabilities of its leadership.
The significant component factors of national power are hence Technology, Enterprise, Human Resources, Financial & capital resources and Physical resources. National Performance is therefore predicated on External constraints, Infrastructural capacity, Ideational resources.The Military capability of a nation is an aggregation of Strategic resources and a ‘Conversion capability’ that sums up to Combat proficiency.
Comprehensive National Power
Comprehensive National Power is a larger canvas that incorporates firstly, the soft, internally oriented indicators of strength e.g.Economic prosperity, Domestic cohesion and cultural influence. Second is the hard, externally oriented measures e.g.Size of a state’s nuclear arsenal, Territory, Military capability, the diplomatic influence, economic influence besides International prestige. For a ‘Balanced Power Profile’ he emphasised that ‘the Ying of economic power must be balanced with the Yang of military, political and moral heft’.
The concept of national security has been traditionally linked with political independence and territorial integrity as values to be protected; but on other occasions, other values may be further added. Harold Brown, the former American Secretary of Defence (under President Jimmy Carter – 1977-81), included in his conception of national security, the maintenance of ‘economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms’.National Security therefore has an External dimension (that is affected by and in turn affects the global environment) and an Internal dimension (that transforms the resources of its society into ‘Actionable knowledge). The capacity of a country to pursue strategic goals or attain its strategic objectives through purposeful action
How Much Security?
In the words of General Jacob L. Devers (who commanded the 6th Army Group in the European Theatre during WW II), “National security is a condition which cannot be qualified. We shall either be secure, or we shall be insecure. We cannot have partial security. If we are only half secure, we are not secure at all”. Yet, in common language, we speak of varying degrees of security.
On the question ‘Security from What Threats?Brig Bhutani explained that Security is generally used when the nation faces particular kinds of threats – which can be internal, external or even non-traditional threats such as economic threats ideological threats and so on.
On the aspect of ‘Security by What Means and at what cost, he elaborated that that the goal of security can be pursued by a wide variety of means.National Security is defined in terms of the protection of core values, which are the interests that are pursued, notwithstanding the costs incurred.Cost always matter but it is inevitable for there to be a conflict between the goals of maintaining a large and powerful mil establishment & other goals as we compete for scarce resources which are to be allocated for different goals.
This is a term understood and used variously over the time. For example, in 1827, it was the “Power or force of a lever” whereas in 1858, it was more the “Advantage for accomplishing a purpose, power or influence”. By 1933 leveraging was more “The ability to influence a system, or an environment, in a way that multiplies the outcome of one’s efforts without a corresponding increase in the consumption of resources.”
Leveraging Power in International Politics
This is achieved by working strategically with others in a ‘clever’ way, in order to lever a bigger change than we could ever achieve on our own. It depends on developing a rich web of mutually beneficial relationships and alliances at country, regional and global levels. Leverage emerges out of that connectivity.
US-China Trade War
On the aspect of whether the ongoing trade war offers an Opportunity to India to Leverage its Economic Strength and specifically whether India benefit by reducing its Trade Deficit with China, it is pertinent to examine the specific items of import and export to suggest that India should look to replacing China in the Low-End Manufacturing or in Supply Chain of Electronic Goods and to assist America in Designing new America-Based Value-Chains & Factories through its IT Companies. India has a Strategic Partnership with the United States that requires to be exploited to further its economic aims and aspirations. Strategic Partnership with Japan to leverage India’s Economic & Military Strength and Counter China’s BRI
Japan-India Collaboration in the Field of Defence, Security & Economy
India is the biggest recipient of Japanese ODA of over $ 3 billion per annum ($ 40 billion by 2016). The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was concluded in 2011, Japan is now the third largest source of FDI into India – $ 4.7 billion in 2016-17 alone, which is increasing Japan-India Collaboration in the Field of Defence, Security & Economy with Japan setting up a string of Technology and Industrial parks in India. Besides, Japan is providing India extensive loans for the proposed 505 km bullet train, the Delhi Metro as also the 1500 km Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). There is also the export of Japanese US-2 Amphibious aircraft with technology transfer to India and collaborative research in UGV/robotics.Besides Japan-India Collaboration in the Field of Defence, Security & Economy, infrastructure development in collaboration with Japan in India’s immediate neighbourhood, Asia-Africa growth corridor & International North-south Transport Corridor (INSTC) will wean away the influence of China and act as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Both nations are committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and both Nations look to leveraging ‘Soft Power’ in the Immediate Neighbourhood to Counter Chinese Influence.
Talk on “Contemporary Economic Dimensions of Power” by Dr Partho Chatterjee, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Shv Nadar University
Professor Partho Chatterjee commenced his talk by stating that it is interesting that the forum has a combination of not just academicians and practitioners of power but also includes a macro-economist like himself. Macroeconomy in the context of power and security is an interesting dimension. He added that there was very little work on economics as a dimension of power particularly in the context of India, which is surprising as we are in the process of a dramatic shift of economic focus towards to east.
‘Quantifying’ Power ‘
While Dr. Atul Mishra had said that quantification is not going to be useful in the definition of power, from an economics perspective, it is probably more useful to think of a way to quantify power even if its imperfect, or just a proxy so that it gives us an idea so that it gives us an idea as to where we are or where the country is and changes that are happening.Several people have spoken about economic power and the growth of economic power solely through GDP, but that is grossly inadequate. There is a thriving business of experts who are predicting as to whether India is the world’s fourth largest economy or the fifth and when India would cross Germany etc. Mercifully no one has predicted as towhen India would cross US or for that matter, China. But GDP is inadequate as it does not capture the several components that form constituents of economic power. That is where the CNP of China, which has several components of economic power comes to fore.
Dr. Kaushik Basu(former Chief Economist of the World Bank from 2012 to 2016 and presently the C. Marks Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics at Cornell University), was the Chief Economic Advisor for India, he along with some others had prepared a paper in which they had sought to quantify economic power. While CNP has 23 indicators and is much broader concept, it is also that much more difficult to compile and capture all the requisite data. Kaushik Basu came with a narrow index of economic power – Government expenditure, foreign currency reserves, production of goods and services etc. The idea was to capture the sophistication of an economy in some ways and think about economic power in that context. Though this may be grossly inadequate as anyone can see, but these are some correlations in terms of which we would like to think about economic power. Some of these indices are interesting to examine as they provide an index to the shift of power say, to see how much the clout of Asia has been increasing along with some other economies such as Brazil and South Africa.
‘GDP’ as Index of National Power
To understand the nature of economic power and what strategic policies would be useful we need to think about this change and understand why power is shifting from theWest to Asia. We can even think about this in terms of acycle commencing from 1700s and observe how GDP has risen. The share of GDP for India and China then was about 45% and along with Japan and other Asian countries, it was well above 50%. Yet by 1950s, the share of GDP of these countries fell to below 5%.So, a huge shift had happened then which changed to distribution of economic power across the world.
What then caused that imbalance? As per Prof. Chatterjee, It was largely the industrial revolution. But if we think of the change that is happening now whichJoseph Samuel Nye Jr. (American political scientist and co-founder, along with Robert Keohane, of the international relations theory of neoliberalism, developed in their 1977 book Power and Interdependence. Also Assistant Secretary for Defense under President Bill Clinton) calls Restoration of Asia, or how Asia is getting back its due after a couple of centuries or so. At the heart of this restoration is some of these technological changes, particularly lowering of transportation costs, increased connectivity and information technology. Along with a large part of the population share, these countries now have the comparative advantage. So, a confluence of technologies and other factors have enabled China and India as well as countries of SE Asia (the Asian Tigers) to grow rapidly. It is worth mentioning that we take growth as a de facto status. We in India are in that part of the globe which is experiencing high growth. But if we study the rise of humanity, it will be seen that sustained growth over aperiod of time,suchas two decades, is rare.
The ‘Drivers’ of Economic Growth and the Role of MNCs
It will however be foolish to imagine that this is all government’s doing. When we consider economic power therefore, it is really not only the state but also a host of’non state actors’we have to think about, particularly firms or companies including the MNCs. The Governments of course hada role and if we see China or India, it was much about opening up. But the whole process of economic growth was largely driven by firms of different sizes as also interaction between firms across borders and not necessarily interactions between Govt to Govt or State to State.
A tell-tale sign of growth in economic power is the number of MNCs that are operating in that country. At one stage the whole world was covered with MNCs such as Nestle and Unilever and Glaxo Smith Kline, all from Europe. Then came GM, Coca Cola McDonald which are US based MNCs. The first of Asian MNCs came through Japan, which itself was the first country to experience this high rate of growth post WW II. While speaking of Japan, it is significant that even without military power, it had substantial power, even if it was not a super power.
The Japanese MNCs were followed by Hyundai and Samsung and LG, all from Korea. And now we are talking about Huawei, Lenovo, etc from China. From India too TCS, HCL and Infosys have emerged as globally present and globally known. Some of these companies wield much power and have revenues exceeding the GDP of some small states.
‘Data’ as Future Determinant of Power
It is not just the revenues they have but also the data they control in today’s complex world that gives them power. If we have to understand power in terms of conflicts, we see that there are conflicts it also conflicts between Governments and firms. Right now, the hot controversy is about large companies holding data and who gets to controlthe data and hold itand control the flow and who gets tosee that data. That’s a question of enormous security consequence. Clearly the position of the government and the firms is at variance and we have not been able to resolve the issue as yet. The conflict is therefore between motives – of profitability and of greater public good and it may not be long before governments themselves get involved. The US has access not only to data that is stored in the US but also to any data that flows through th