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Economic Power and International Security

International security theories generally identify economic power as the key determinant of military power, and thereby of security, but there is usually not much explanation about the determinants of economic power. In this article, a comprehensive model of economic power is introduced and integrated with an international security model. The integrated security model explicitly identifies how the determinants of economic power affect international security. The integrated model yields policy implications for security and also suggests economic policies for enhancing the international security of a regional or of a major power.

Economic Power and International Security
A U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, purchased by states like Israel, Turkey and the UK, on static display while stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. YICHUAN CAO / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Introduction1

International security theories generally identify economic power as a key determinant of military power, and thereby of security, but there is usually not much explanation about the determinants of economic power.2 In this paper, a simple yet comprehensive model of economic power is introduced and integrated with an international security model. The economic power model is unique to this article although it was influenced by well-known theories of economic growth that emphasize the role of exports and technical progress. The international security model is a Realist-type model based on the assumption of states functioning in an anarchic world order. The integrated security model explains how the determinants of economic power affect international security. The integrated model yields policy implications for security and suggests policies for enhancing the international security of a regional or of a major power.

International security theories are in general conceived and articulated for explaining and predicting the behavior of major powers.3 However, there are key states, with significant economic and military power in important regions of the world, whose behavior have a significant impact on the political fortune of these regions if not on the world. This article provides a discussion of the determinants of economic power and international security applicable to both major and regional powers.4

The objective of this paper is to present a straightforward theoretical framework, a model, which can be used to explain and predict the impact of developments in economic power on the security of a major or regional power.5 In the following section, characteristics of major and regional powers are discussed. In the next section a detailed discussion of the determinants of economic power is presented. This is followed with an identification of the international political system in which states function. The international system is presumed to be anarchic and, accordingly, regional and major powers concerned about their security are motivated to maximize their military power. The determinants of military power are discussed next. The following section contains policy implications of this approach to international security. The final section includes concluding remarks.

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Call for Paper | Politics of the Balkans and Future Perspectives