The Two Clubs: Major Powers, Regional Powers, and Status Considerations in International Politics



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APPENDIX A: Major Power Club Membership and Status Consistency, Five Year Intervals, 1951-2005.*

Club Members

Years US USSR/Russia UK France Germany Japan PR of China
1951-55 SC SU ns SU ns ns ns

1956-60 SC SU ns SU ns ns ns

1961-65 SC SU SU ns ns ns ns

1966-70 SC SU SU SU ns ns ns

1971-75 SC SU ns SO ns ns ns

1976-80 SC SU SU SO ns ns ns

1981-85 SC SO SU SO ns ns ns

1986-90 SC SO SU SO ns ns ns

1991-95 SC SO SU SC ns SO SO

1996-2000 SC SO SC SC SU SC SO



2001-2005 SC SO SU SU ns SU SO
SC = status consistent ; SU = status underachievers; SO = status overachiever; ns = not in club
APPENDIX B: Regions and Regional Powers, 1985-2005.45

East Africa

South Africa

West Africa

North/Central America

South America

East Asia

South Asia

Europe

Maghreb

Middle East

Oceania

Djibouti

Angola

Burkina Faso

Antigua

Argentina

Brunei

Afghanistan

Albania

Malta

Algeria

Bahrain

*Australia

Eritrea

Botswana

Benin

Bahamas

Bolivia

Cambodia

Bangladesh

Andorra

Moldova

Tunisia

Egypt

Fiji

Ethiopia

Burundi

Cape Verde

Barbados

*Brazil

**China

Bhutan

Armenia

Monaco

Morocco

Iran

Kiribati

Somalia

Comoros

Cote d’Ivoire

Belize

Chile

Indonesia

*India

Austria

Netherlands




Iraq

Marshall Islands

Sudan

Congo

CAF

Canada

Paraguay

**Japan

Maldives

Belarus

Norway




Israel

Micronesia

Yemen

DR Congo

Chad

Colombia

Uruguay

Laos

Nepal

Belgium

Poland




Jordan

Nauru




Kenya

Gambia

Costa Rica




Malaysia

Pakistan

Bosnia

Portugal




Kuwait

New Zealand




Lesotho

Ghana

Cuba




Myanmar

Sri Lanka

Bulgaria

Romania




Lebanon

Papua New Guinea




Madagascar

Guinea

Dominica




Palau




Croatia

**Russia




Oman

Solomon Islands




Malawi

Guinea-Bissau

Dominican Rep.




Philippines




Cyprus

San Marino




Qatar

Tonga




Mauritius

Liberia

Ecuador




North Korea




Czech Rep.

Serbia




Saudi Arabia

Tuvalu




Mozambique

Libya

El Salvador




South Korea




Denmark

Slovakia




Syria

Vanuatu




Namibia

Mauritania

Grenada




Singapore




Estonia

Slovenia




U.A.E.

Samoa




Rwanda

Mali

Guatemala




Taiwan




Finland

Spain













Seychelles

*Nigeria

Guyana




Thailand




**France

Sweden













*South Africa

Senegal

Haiti




Vietnam




Georgia

Turkey













Swaziland

Sierra Leone

Honduras










**Germany

**UK













Uganda

Togo

Jamaica










Greece

Ukraine













Tanzania




Mexico










Hungary
















Zambia




Nicaragua










Iceland
















Zimbabwe




Panama










Ireland






















Peru










Italy






















St. Kitts










Latvia






















St. Lucia










Liechtenstein






















St. Vincent










Lithuania






















Trinidad










Luxembourg






















**United States










Macedonia






















Venezuela

























* Denotes regional power

** Denotes both global power and regional power



1 Tabuchi, Hiroko. "China Passes Japan as Second-Largest Economy." New York Times, August 15, 2010.

2 In addition to overlapping memberships in the clubs of major powers and regional powers, states are also found in the global power club (Thompson, 2011), the elite power club (Morton and Starr 2001), the nuclear powers club, the P5 Club, the rising powers club, the OECD club, and the BRIC club.

3 For a short summary of the range of empirical findings connecting the status of major powers with varied forms of conflicts and interactions in international politics, see Corbetta et al. 2008.

4 Examples include Mercer 1995; Hymans 2002; Larson and Shevchenko 2003, 2010; and Sylvan, Graff and Pugliese 1998.

5 Although, as we note below, we disagree with previous measures used to identify what constitutes major power “status”.

6 According to our analysis, the only two states that have managed to keep the scope of their policies relatively narrow while flirting with major power status—Germany and Japan—have had to revise their posture considerably after achieving entrance into the club (Volgy et al. 2011b).

7 And unsurprisingly, generating substantial criticism from the community of states when intervention destabilizes a region.

8 For the importance of major power status considerations in Indian domestic politics, see Nayar and Paul (2003); for France, see Badie (2011).

99 For instance, the U.S. pressured states to increase the status of its allies and to minimize the status of communist states during the height of the Cold War.

10 Some are attributed major power status when they are no longer (a halo effect); some are denied their status while becoming a great power (latency effect). See the historical examples of Italy (Kennedy 1987: 206) and Austria-Hungary (Sylvan et al. 1998).

11 We assume this to be so for two reasons: they would benefit from more status and will be more aggressive in claiming it; and unlike overachievers, they have the wherewithal (capabilities) to act more aggressively.

12 Overachievers include both states with increasing (China) and declining capabilities (Russia). Policy makers operating in the realm of potential losses (consistent with prospect theory) may take more risks than those who are gaining. Those risks, however, would be most likely taken in their own regions where there may be potential, direct security threats or challenges to their regional leadership role (e.g., Russian confrontation with Georgia).

13 Military size is measured by military spending; military reach is military spending divided by the size of the armed forces; economic capacity is represented by the size of the economy (GDP); economic reach is trade divided by global trade.

14 We use events data, from COBDAB (Azar 1980), WEIS (Goldstein 1991), and IDEA (Bond et al. 2003, King and Lowe 2003), and apply to them the Goldstein scale, separating into dimensions of conflict and cooperation.

15 Being a major power entails great breadth and leadership (Levy 1983). Implicit in such traits is substantial foreign policy independence from other major powers. Capability-rich countries without an independent foreign policy are unlikely to be attributed major power status by the community of states (note Japan’s lack of major power status prior to 1989, noted in Volgy et al. 2011b).

16 Annual foreign policy profiles are formed by constructing a matrix of the mean foreign policy activity between two states, based on intensity-weighted international events data. Each directional entry in the matrix represents the central tendency of interactions from the row state towards the column state. The full row can be thought of as a country’s foreign policy profile. We measure the structural equivalence of states based on these foreign policy profiles, reporting the extent to which foreign policy profiles are similar (Wasserman and Faust 1994). The measure of foreign policy similarity can be interpreted as a correlation coefficient, ranging from complete dissimilarity (-1) to identical (1).

17 See Volgy et al. (2011a) for specifics regarding definitions of "unusual" capabilities, reach, activities, foreign policy portfolios and measurement procedures.

18 Diplomatic contacts data are from COW’s diplomatic exchange data (http://www.correlatesofwar.org/), and DIPCON DATA (http://www.u.arizona.edu/~volgy/data.html). State visits are extracted from the three events data sources noted above.

19 COW for instance designates the PRC as a major power starting in 1950; yet measures of capabilities and status attribution indicate that it barely registered as even a regional contender until well after the end of the Cultural Revolution in the mid-1970s (Grant et al. 2010). For further differentiation between the two measures, see Corbetta et al. 2008, and Grant et al. 2010.
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