Scholars such as Martin Wight and Carsten Holbraad, whose earlier writings about middle powers were overlooked in mainstream IR, are now. The terms “middle powers” and “regional powers” are increasingly used by politicians, pundits, and scholars, even though both words remain. Giovanni Botero, a mayor of Milan in the 15th century, defined a “middle power” as an actor with sufficient strength and authority to stand on its.


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The traditional and most common way is to aggregate critical physical and material criteria to rank states according middle powers their relative capabilities.

Because countries' capabilities differ, they are categorized as middle powers or great powersmiddle powers or small powers.

A Critical Review of the Concept of Middle Power

More recently, it is possible to discern a second method for identifying middle powers power status by focusing on behavioural attributes. In this way middle powers are countries that use their relative diplomatic skills in the service of international peace and stability.

If you are a student or academic complete our librarian recommendation middle powers to recommend the Oxford Research Encyclopedias to your librarians for an institutional free trial.


Please subscribe or login to access full text content. A World of Regions: Asia and Europe in the American Imperium.

Cornell Middle powers in Political Economy. Cornell University Press, Katzenstein argues that regions are interacting extensively with an American imperium that combines territorial and nonterritorial powers in a more porous world middle powers to globalization and internationalization.

Middle power

Regional Great Powers in International Politics. Analytical Concepts and Research Topics. Can Japan be described as a middle power? As Britain exits from the Middle powers Union, is it likely to be categorised as a middle power, or did its membership of the EU confer on middle powers middle power status?

A survey of the literature — diversely scattered and unsystematic though it is — suggests that we can usefully identify three kinds of middle powers: Without a great power ally a dependent middle power would normally have little or no influence in regional and global affairs.


Australia is a proto-type of a dependent middle power because of its close alliance with the United States defined by the so-called Middle powers treaty — originally inclusive of Australia, New Zealand and the United States, although New Zealand is no longer a treaty member.

The assumption is that these nations, such as Australia, Mexico or South Korea, have limited power to middle powers international outcomes.

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They do not have the economic heft or military strength middle powers match it with the largest nations in the world. Yet in the G20, where power is now diffused among multiple nations, rather than simply dominated by the US, the attributes traditionally associated with middle powers powers, such as agenda-setting and coalition-building, could provide the capacity to influence international outcomes across a range of policy domains, from finance and trade to energy and the environment.

In this context, it is important for Australian policymakers to identify what strategies they can use to shape G20 outcomes.

Middle powers also typically possess highly institutionalized foreign services and are able to disseminate their ideas and foreign-policy objectives through the relatively middle powers network of diplomatic missions they maintain. Some theorists and researchers have also sought to differentiate between types of middle powers, mainly between traditional and emerging middle powers.

Australian Outlook

An important trait for emerging middle powers e. In other words, the established middle power perspectives presuppose that individual-level features of a country are the first judge of whether or not it meets the criteria of a middle power.

However, it is questionable whether defining middle powers without middle powers interaction with other middle powers entities is appropriate.