Middle Powers and Regional Powers

Publication Year



Şuhnaz Yılmaz, Ph.D. 2000

Online resource.

The terms “middle powers” and “regional powers” are increasingly used by politicians, pundits, and scholars, even though both words remain vague and their meanings are contentious. Middle powers often refer to states that occupy a middle-level position in the international power spectrum, just below superpowers or great powers. The middle powers project significant influence and reveal some capacity to shape international developments. … A regional power is a state that projects influence in a specific region. If this power capability is unrivaled in its region, the state could rise to the level of a regional hegemon. The regional powers display comparatively high military, economic, political, and ideological capabilities enabling them to shape their regional security agenda. Overall, the terms “middle powers” and “regional powers” convey capacity, hierarchy, influence, and aspiration. There are also cases in which there is a mismatch between the self-image of a regional power and its actual capabilities and influence. The domestic-international nexus plays a critical role in shaping the material and ideational impact of middle and regional powers.

Series Title
Oxford Bibliographies: International Relations
Oxford University Press
New York