Power – in international relations and Civilization IV

It can be difficult to define the word ”power”, because the word has such a wide field of application. We use the word in our everyday life, like for instance with family and friends about who “who is the leader in the group of friends” or “does mum and dad decide whether I should clean the dishes, or not?” In addition to this we also hear about power in the media connected to power in one individual country, as well as in international relations. And this is what I am going to tell you more about in this text, power in international relations. NDLA.no defines the word power in international relations like this: “Power in international relations means power to affect other nations to get the ability to enact for it´s own nation´s values and interests in the world society.”

Like in the real world, Civilization IV has international relations with other nations. We can divide the term power into three categories; economic power, military power and ideological power. In Civilization IV, we can use all of these different types of powers to conquer the other nations and win the game.

Economic power is most often about wealth and dividing benefits. It is not always about how much money a country has, but also about their national resources, and how much they are worth. An example of how a country can make use of their resources can be to boycott another country´s resource supply. Sometimes it is not even necessary to do this, but just threaten the other country that “if you don´t do as we want we will stop supplying you with our resources”. An example of this in the real world is Norway and Uganda.NRK´s article from February this year tells about the new law in Uganda that forbidden homosexuality. The punishment for being homosexual in Uganda is now fourteen years in jail, which Norway does not agree to. To stop this new law, Norway discussed what effect it would have if they cut the financial assistance to Uganda. When Norway cut their financial assistance, it was a way using thwir economic power to influence Ugandan decision-making.

Like I already mentioned, one can also use economic power in the game. It can be a good idea to stick to one playing strategy during the game, like for example to settle for having a stable and good economy. You can for example start extracting oil. The oil can help you in several ways, it is up to you whether you want to use the oil yourself, sell it to other nations, or trade it exchanged with something else you maybe need more. Like in the real world, you can use ether of these strategies to get what you want. One example can be that one nation that you is selling oil to, are going to war against another nation, that´s stronger than you are. You also have negotiation with this stronger nation, because you are trading oil against something else. Let´s say that the country you are selling oil to is Denmark, and the nation you are trading with is Russia. Russia do not like that you are having negotiations with Denmark, because Denmark is declaring war against them. Your solution in this situation can be to tell Denmark that if they are going to declare war against Russia, you will not be selling oil to them anymore. I believe Russia would easily win this war, and Denmark would end up with nothing.

Military power is about military forces. The main point in this category is about having as big and strong forces as possible. However, the most important about having a lot of military power is not the use of these forces, but that other nations are aware of how big the forces are and what they can be able to do. An example of this can be Ukraine and Russia. A while ago Ukraine started a military practice. This was not just because they needed to practice, but also to show Russia how strong they were and that it would be a bad idea for them to attack. In the game, this can happen the same way. If you see that the nation you want to attack has a stronger military force than you, it´s a bad idea to attack them.

This is a picture of the US military forces. USA has a lot of military power.

This is a picture of the US military forces. USA has a lot of military power.

The last category is ideological power, which is about thoughts, values and feelings. Ideological power is about getting through with it´s own nations values and interests without using military- or economic power. One way you can show your power is through common values and thoughts to achieve support, and in this way have ideological power. The best example I can come up with is the Vatican State. The Vatican State do not have any military forces, and do not even have their own economy, because they´re a part of the Italian economic system. (Globalis.no, 2014). However, the Vatican State is a strong nation because the Pope is the leader of the country, in addition to being the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Because the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church is so important to so many people, the Vatican State has a lot of power. So if you attack the Vatican State, you kind of attack the whole Roman Catholic Church.

This is the Vatican State, and as you see, it does not have any military forces, yet is has a lot of power.

This is the Vatican State, and as you see, it does not have any military forces, yet is has a lot of power.

My conclusion is that there are similarities between the Civilization IV and the real world when it comes to power. For me it was not that easy to in the ideological power, but especially the military power has many similarities with the real world society.



Globalis.no 2014 http://www.globalis.no/Land/Vatikanstaten Downloaded 28.04.2014


NRK.no 25.02.2014http://www.nrk.no/verden/full-gjennomgang-av-uganda-bistand-1.11567692Downloaded 18.04.2014


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s