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Political Power and Geopolitics

In political science, political power is defined as a type of power help by a group of individuals in a social setting which allows administration of some or all public resources. Public resources include labor, natural resources, and wealth (in the form of capital). Chuck Fahrer and Martin Glassner (2003) classified political power based on three distinct but related criteria. According to them, the main criterion of political power is the trait of public decision-making (Fahrer and Glassner, 2003).

Public decision-making allows power holders to determine the proper allocation of resources in the state, create a system of national defense, and integrate the aspects of the state into one political system. Some political scientists argued that public decision-making is the means to preserve the integrity and unity of the state. The second criterion of political power (second dimension of power) is agenda-setting. Agenda-setting is the ability to transfer issues of importance from their political base to public agenda.

The last criterion is preference-shaping. According to Fahrer and Glassner, preference-shaping is the process of influencing public opinion, exerting indirect control over the medium of political communication, and control of information (Fahrer and Glassner, 2003). Fahrer and Glassner (2003) argued that this criterion of power provides power holders the ability to simplify the aggregation of interests (in a democracy) and facilitate the maximization of political power.

Power, however, is difficult to quantify. According to Fahrer and Glassner (2003), power is an ethereal concept, manifested only by its effects rather than its cause. There are, however, rough measurements of power. Here are as follows: 1) the relative unity of the state and the government, 2) the strength of political office relative to their holders, and 3) integration of non-political aspects of the state (religion, culture, and human development).

Based from this measurement, one can clearly see extent to which political power can be used to integrate the aspects of the state into one unity. Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Nazi Germany, was able to assume absolute power because of the ability of the Nazi Party to unite all aspects of the German state under a single ideology. This is assertion, however, is subject to the scrutiny of political scientists. Reference Fahrer, Chuck and Martin Glassner. 2003. Political Geography. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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