Brazil the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, its most populated city is São Paulo; the federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers, it borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats; this unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system; the ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following a military coup d'état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil's current constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. Due to its rich culture and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Brazil is considered an advanced emerging economy. It has the ninth largest GDP in the world by nominal, eight and PPP measures, it is one of the world's major breadbaskets, being the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country, with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. Brazil is a regional power and sometimes considered a great or a middle power in international affairs. On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Union of South American Nations, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is that the word "Brazil" comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast.
In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa and the suffix -il. As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders in return for assorted European consumer goods; the official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross", but European sailors and merchants called it the "Land of Brazil" because of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and supplanted the official Portuguese name; some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots". In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama"; this was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago; the pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, complex social formations such as chiefdoms. Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing and migrant agriculture; the indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups. The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, there were many subdivisions of the other gro
The Asian Century is the projected 21st-century dominance of Asian politics and culture, assuming certain demographic and economic trends persist. The concept of Asian Century parallels the characterization of the 19th century as Britain's Imperial Century, the 20th century as the American Century. A 2011 study by the Asian Development Bank found that an additional 3 billion Asians could enjoy living standards similar to those in Europe today, the region could account for over half of global output by the middle of this century, it warned, that the Asian Century is not preordained. The growing importance and emphasis of unity in Asia, as well as maturing and progressive relationships among countries in the region further solidify the creation of the 21st Asian Century. In 1924, Karl Haushofer used the term "Pacific age," envisaging the growth of Japan and India: "A giant space is expanding before our eyes with forces pouring into it which... await the dawn of the Pacific age, the successor of the Atlantic age, the over-age Mediterranean and European era."
The phrase Asian Century arose in the mid to late 1980s, is attributed to a 1988 meeting with People's Republic of China leader Deng Xiaoping and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in which Deng said that'n recent years people have been saying that the next century will be the century of Asia and the Pacific, as if that were sure to be the case. I disagree with this view.' Prior to this, it made an appearance in a 1985 US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing. It has been subsequently reaffirmed by Asian political leaders, is now a popularly used term in the media. Asia's robust economic performance over the three decades preceding 2010, compared to that in the rest of the world, made the strongest case yet for the possibility of an Asian Century. Although this difference in economic performance had been recognized for some time, specific individual setbacks tended to hide the broad sweep and general tendency. By the early 21st century, however, a strong case could be made that this stronger Asian performance was not just sustainable but held a force and magnitude that could alter the distribution of power on the planet.
Coming in its wake, global leadership in a range of significant areas—international diplomacy, military strength and soft power—might as a consequence, be assumed by one or more of Asia's nation states. Among many scholars have provided factors that have contributed to the significant Asian development, Kishore Mahbubani provides seven pillars that rendered the Asian countries to excel and provided themselves with the possibility to become compatible with the Western counterparts; the seven pillars include: free-market economics and technology, pragmatism, culture of peace, rule of law and education. Population growth in Asia is expected to continue through at least the first half of the 21st century, though it has slowed since the late 20th century. At four billion people in the beginning of the 21st century, the Asian population is predicted to grow to more than five billion by 2050. While its percent of the world population is not expected to change, North American and European shares of the global population are expected to decline.
The major driver is continued productivity growth in Asia in China and India, as living standards rise. Without converging with European or North American living standards, Asia's might produce half of global GDP by 2050; this is a large shift compared to the immediate post-cold war, when North America and Europe combined produced half of global GDP. A 2011 study by the Asian Development Bank stated that: "By nearly doubling its share of global gross domestic product to 52 percent by 2050, Asia would regain the dominant economic position it held some 300 years ago, before the industrial revolution; the notion of the Asian Century assumes that Asian economies can maintain their momentum for another 40 years, adapt to shifting global economic and technological environment, continually recreate comparative advantages. In this scenario, according to 2011 modelling by the Asian Development Bank Asia's GDP would increase from $17 trillion in 2010 to $174 trillion in 2050, or half of global GDP. In the same study, the Asian Development Bank estimates that seven economies would lead Asia's powerhouse growth.
Since China's economic reforms in the late 1970s and early 1990s, the Chinese economy has enjoyed three decades of economic growth rates between 8 and 10%. The Indian economy began a similar albeit slower ascent at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, has averaged around 4% during this period, though growing over 8% in 2005, hitting 9.2% in 2006 before slowing to 6% in 2009 reaching 8.9% in 2010. A Goldman Sachs report suggests that the Indian economy could surpass the US economy by 2043, but India "will remain a low-income country for several decades, with per capita incomes well below its other BRIC peers. If India fulfills its growth potential, it can become a motor for the world economy, a key contributor to generating spending growth". Both of these developments involved policy of a degree of managed liberalisation of the economy as well as a turning outwards of the economy towards globalization; the magnitude of this liberalisation and globalisation is still subject to debate. They were part of conscious decisions by key political leaders in India and the PRC.
The populations of the two countries offer a potential market of over two and a q
Nigeria the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal republic in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean; the federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular country. Nigeria has been home to states over the millennia; the modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century, took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practising indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960, it experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.
Nigeria is referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large population and economy. With 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under age 18; the country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by 250 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa and Yoruba. The official language is English. Nigeria is divided in half between Christians, who live in the southern part of the country, Muslims, who live in the north. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities; as of 2015, Nigeria is the world's 20th largest economy, worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. It overtook South Africa to become Africa's largest economy in 2014.
The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent. Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank. However, it has a "low" Human Development Index, ranking 152nd in the world. Nigeria is a member of the MINT group of countries, which are seen as the globe's next "BRIC-like" economies, it is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies set to become among the biggest in the world. Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union and a member of many other international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations and OPEC; the name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined in the late 19th century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator; the origin of the name Niger, which applied only to the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu prior to 19th-century European colonialism.
The Nok civilisation of Northern Nigeria flourished between 500 BC and AD 200, producing life-sized terracotta figures that are some of the earliest known sculptures in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further north, the cities Kano and Katsina have a recorded history dating to around 999 AD. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem–Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa; the Kingdom of Nri of the Igbo people consolidated in the 10th century and continued until it lost its sovereignty to the British in 1911. Nri was ruled by the Eze Nri, the city of Nri is considered to be the foundation of Igbo culture. Nri and Aguleri, where the Igbo creation myth originates, are in the territory of the Umeuri clan. Members of the clan trace their lineages back to the patriarchal king-figure Eri. In West Africa, the oldest bronzes made using the lost-wax process were from Igbo-Ukwu, a city under Nri influence; the Yoruba kingdoms of Ife and Oyo in southwestern Nigeria became prominent in the 12th and 14th centuries, respectively.
The oldest signs of human settlement at Ife's current site date back to the 9th century, its material culture includes terracotta and bronze figures. Oyo, at its territorial zenith in the late 17th to early 18th centuries, extended its influence from western Nigeria to modern-day Togo; the Edo's Benin Empire is located in southwestern Nigeria. Benin's power lasted between the 19th centuries, their dominance reached further. At the beginning of the 19th century, Usman dan Fodio directed a successful jihad and created and led the centralised Fulani Empire; the territory controlled by the resultant state included much of modern-day northern and central Nigeria. For centuries, various peoples in modern-day Nigeria traded overland with traders from North Africa. Cities in the area became regional centres in a broad network of trade routes that spanned western and northern Africa. In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to begin significant, direct trade with peoples of modern-day Nigeria, at the port they named Lago
In international relations since the late 20th century, a regional power is a term used for a state that has power within a geographic region. States which wield unrivalled power and influence within a region of the world possess regional hegemony. Regional powers shape the polarity of a regional area. Regional powers have capabilities which are important in the region but do not have capabilities at a global scale. Contrasting definitions differ as to what makes a regional power; the European Consortium for Political Research defines a regional power as: "A state belonging to a geographically defined region, dominating this region in economic and military terms, able to exercise hegemonic influence in the region and considerable influence on the world scale, willing to make use of power resources and recognized or accepted as the regional leader by its neighbours". The German Institute of Global and Area Studies states that a regional power must: form part of a definable region with its own identity claim to be a regional power exert decisive influence on the geographic extension of the region as well as on its ideological construction dispose over comparatively high military, demographic and ideological capabilities be well integrated into the region define the regional security agenda to a high degree be appreciated as a regional power by other powers in the region and beyond by other regional powers be well connected with regional and global forums Below are states that have been described as regional powers by international relations and political science academics, analysts, or other experts.
These states to some extent meet the criteria to have regional power status. Different experts have differing views on which states are regional powers. States are arranged by their region, in alphabetic order. Nigeria South Africa The United States is the primary geopolitical force in the Western Hemisphere. Canada, despite being a middle power, is not a regional power because it is militarily secured by U. S. hegemony and financially comfortable by its dependence on the robust U. S. economy. United States In the past and Portugal were the dominant powers in the region but following decolonization in the first half of the 19th century, the major powers became Mexico and Argentina. Argentina Brazil Mexico Historically, China was the dominant power in East Asia. But, at the beginning of the early 20th century, the Empire of Japan became an important player in World War I as one of the Allied powers. With economic turmoil, Japan's expulsion from the League of Nations, its interest in expansion on the mainland, Japan became a major player in World War II as one of the Axis powers.
China became a key player in World War II as one of the Allied powers. Since the late 20th century, regional alliances, economic progress, contrasting military power have changed the strategic and regional power balance in Asia. In recent years, a re-balancing of military and economic power among countries such as China and India has resulted in significant changes in the geopolitics of Asia. China and Japan have gained greater influence over regions outside Asia. With close economic and military ties with the United States, South Korea and Japan are seen as major regional powers "containing" the communist regimes of China and North Korea. China Japan South Korea India Indonesia Iran Israel Saudi Arabia France, Germany and United Kingdom are regarded as the Big Four of Europe. Dominant powers in this region created large colonial empires worldwide. Most of the continent is now integrated as a consequence of the enlargement of the European Union. France Germany Italy United Kingdom Australia Transcontinental countries like Russia are able to exert regional influence in large areas of the world.
Russia Turkey ^ Considered a great power ^ Member of Barry. Regional Orders and Regional Powers, Routledge, pp. 193–208, ISBN 978-1-136-71891-5 Stewart-Ingersoll, Robert.
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
Saudi Arabia the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of 2,150,000 km2, Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, the second-largest in the Arab world, the fifth-largest in Asia, the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south, it is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, most of its terrain consists of arid desert and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia enjoys one of the world's youngest populations; the territory that now constitutes Saudi Arabia was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations. The prehistory of Saudi Arabia shows some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world.
The world's second-largest religion, emerged in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity. Following his death in 632, his followers expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory in a matter of decades. Arab dynasties originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia founded the Rashidun, Umayyad and Fatimid caliphates as well as numerous other dynasties in Asia and Europe; the area of modern-day Saudi Arabia consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz and parts of Eastern Arabia and Southern Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud, he united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines.
The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spread financed by the oil and gas trade. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the two holiest places in Islam; the state's official language is Arabic. Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has since become the world's second largest oil producer and the world's largest largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves; the kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies. The state has attracted criticism for a multitude of reasons including but not limited to: its archaic treatment of women, its excessive and extrajudicial use of capital punishment, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists, its role in the Yemeni Civil War, sponsorship of Islamic terrorists, its strict interpretation of Sharia Law.
An autocratic monarchy, the kingdom has the world's third-highest military expenditure and, according to SIPRI, was the world's second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014. Saudi Arabia is considered a middle power. In addition to the GCC, it is an active member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and OPEC. Following the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd kingdoms, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʻArabīyah as-Suʻūdīyah by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz Al Saud. Although this is translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English, it means "the Saudi Arab kingdom", or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom"; the word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Suʻūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, a type of adjective known as a nisba, formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud. Its inclusion expresses the view. Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al, meaning "family of" or "House of", to the personal name of an ancestor.
In the case of the Al Saud, this is the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud. There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 125,000 years ago, it is now believed that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab-el-Mandeb connecting the Horn of Africa and Arabia. The Arabian peninsula is regarded as a central figure in our understanding of hominin evolution and dispersals. Arabia underwent an extreme environmental fluctuation in the Quaternary that led to profound evolutionary and demographic changes. Arabia has a rich Lower Paleolithic record, the quantity of Oldwan-like sites in the region indicate a significant role that Arabia had played in the early hominin colonization of Eurasia. In the Neolithic period, prominent cultures such as al-Magar whose epicenter lay in mod
Realpolitik is politics or diplomacy based on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism, it is simply referred to as "pragmatism" in politics, e.g. "pursuing pragmatic policies". The term Realpolitik is sometimes used pejoratively to imply politics that are perceived as coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian; the term Realpolitik was coined by Ludwig von Rochau, a German writer and politician in the 19th century. His 1853 book Grundsätze der Realpolitik angewendet auf die staatlichen Zustände Deutschlands describes the meaning of the term: The study of the forces that shape and alter the state is the basis of all political insight and leads to the understanding that the law of power governs the world of states just as the law of gravity governs the physical world; the older political science was aware of this truth but drew a wrong and detrimental conclusion—the right of the more powerful.
The modern era has corrected this unethical fallacy, but while breaking with the alleged right of the more powerful one, the modern era was too much inclined to overlook the real might of the more powerful and the inevitability of its political influence. Historian John Bew suggests that much of what stands for modern Realpolitik today deviates from the original meaning of the term. Realpolitik emerged in mid-19th century Europe from the collision of the Enlightenment with state formation and power politics; the concept, Bew argues, was an early attempt at answering the conundrum of how to achieve liberal enlightened goals in a world that does not follow liberal enlightened rules. Publicist and liberal political reformer Von Rochau coined the term in 1853 and added a second volume in 1869 that further refined his earlier arguments. Rochau, exiled in Paris until the 1848 uprising, returned during the revolution and became a well-known figure in the national liberal party; as the liberal gains of the 1848 revolutions fell victim to coercive governments or were swallowed by powerful social forces such as class and nationalism, Rochau—according to Bew—began to think hard about how the work that had begun with such enthusiasm had failed to yield any lasting results.
He said that the great achievement of the Enlightenment had been to show that might is not right. The mistake liberals made was to assume that the law of the strong had evaporated because it had been shown to be unjust. Rochau wrote that "to bring down the walls of Jericho, the Realpolitiker knows the simple pickaxe is more useful than the mightiest trumpet". Rochau's concept was seized upon by German thinkers in the mid and late 19th century and became associated with Otto von Bismarck's statecraft in unifying Germany in the mid 19th century. By 1890, usage of the word Realpolitik was widespread, yet detached from its original meaning. Whereas Realpolitik refers to political practice, the concept of political realism in international relations refers to a theoretical framework aimed at offering explanations for events in the international relations domain; the theory of political realism proceeds from the assumption that states—as actors in the international arena—pursue their interests by practising Realpolitik.
Conversely, Realpolitik can be described as the exercise of policies that are in line with accepted theories of political realism. In either case, the working hypothesis is that policy is chiefly based on the pursuit and application of power. However, some international relations realists, such as Kenneth Waltz, have viewed state policy in terms of the pursuit of survival or security, rather than the pursuit of power for its own sake. See political realism for branches and antecedents more relevant to contemporary diplomacy and the particular modern, international relations paradigm. Sun Tzu, a Chinese military strategist who wrote The Art of War that foreshadowed elements of Realpolitik developed later. Thucydides, a Greek historian who wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War and is cited as an intellectual forebearer of Realpolitik. Chanakya, an early Indian statesman and writer on the Arthashastra. Ibn Khaldun, an Arab Muslim historiographer and historian and one of the founding fathers of modern historiography author of Muqaddimah a universal history of time.
Han Fei, a Chinese scholar who theorised Legalism and who served in the court of the King of Qin—later unifier of China ending the Warring States period. His theory centres on the Two Handles, he theorised about a neutral, manipulative ruler who would act as head of state while secretly controlling the executive through his ministers—the ones to take real responsibility for any policy. Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian political philosopher who wrote Il Principe in which he held that the sole aim of a prince was to seek power, regardless of religious or ethical considerations. However, there is scholarly debate about whether his sentiment was genuine, or a satirical criticism of contemporary politics. Cardinal Richelieu, a French statesman who destroyed domestic factionalism and guided France to a position of dominance in foreign affairs. Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher who wrote Leviathan in which he stated the state of nature was prone to a "war of all against all". Frederick the Great, a Prussian monarch who transformed Prussia into a great European power through warfare and diplomacy.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgor