In international relations, a regional power is 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.
- 1 Characteristics
- 2 Current regional powers
- 2.1 Africa
- 2.2 North America
- 2.3 Latin America
- 2.4 Asia
- 2.5 Europe
- 2.6 Transcontinental regional powers
- 2.7 Oceania
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 Bibliography
Regional powers shape the polarity of a regional area. Typically, regional powers have capabilities which are important in the region but do not have capabilities at a global scale. Slightly 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 even accepted as the regional leader by its neighbours".
- form part of a definable region with its own identity
- claim to be a regional power (self-image of 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, economic, demographic, political 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, especially by other regional powers
- be well connected with regional and global fora
Current regional powers
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, as described above. Different experts have differing views on exactly which states are regional powers. States are arranged by their region, and in alphabetic order. Primary, or major, regional powers (also known as pivotal powers) are placed in the major regions as identified by analysts. Secondary, or minor, regional powers are listed within their sub regions. Major regional powers in bold, and minor regional powers in normal font.
Historically, China was the dominant power in eastern Asia. However, many decades later, the Empire of Japan first became an important player in World War I as one of the Allied powers, then turmoil economic, its expulsion from the League of Nations, and interest in expansion of mainland caused Japan to become a major player in World War II as one of the Axis powers and China became a key player in World War II as one of the Allied powers. In recent years, a re-balancing of military and economic might towards countries such as China and India has made significant changes in the geopolitics of Asia. China, Japan, and South Korea have also earned greater influence over regions outside Asia.
- South Korea[G20]
France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom are regarded as the Big Four of Europe. Historically, dominant powers in this region created large colonial empires worldwide (such as the British Empire, the French Empire, or the Italian Empire). Most of the continent is now integrated as a consequence of the enlargement of the European Union.
- United Kingdom[GP][G7][G20] 
Transcontinental regional powers
Transcontinental countries like Russia are able to exert regional influence in large areas of the world.
- Joachim Betz, Ian Taylor, The Rise of (New) Regional Powers in Asia, Africa, Latin America...[dead link], German Overseas Institute & University of St. Andrews, May 2007
- Martin Beck, The Concept of Regional Power: The Middle east as a Deviant Case?, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, 11–12 December 2006.
- Omitoogun, W.; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2003). Military Expenditure Data in Africa: A Survey of Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda. Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 9780199245024. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
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- "Southern Africa is home to the other of sub-Saharan Africa's regional powers: South Africa. South Africa is more than just a regional power; it is by far the most developed and economically powerful country in Africa, and now it is able to use that influence in Africa more than during the days of apartheid (white rule), when it was ostracized." See David Lynch, Trade and Globalization (Lanham, USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010), p. 51.
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- "West Africa, with its strong French influence, is home to one of Africa's two regional giants, Nigeria, and the region has seen the scene of much political and ethnic unrest." See David Lynch, Trade and Globalization (Lanham, USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010), p. 51.
- "South Africa is not the sole regional power on the continent, though; Nigeria is the other widely acknowledge centre of power in Africa and likewise a sub-regional superpower in West Africa." See Deon Geldenhuys, "South Africa: The Idea-driven Foreign Policy of a Regional Power," in Regional Leadership in the Global System, edited by Daniel Flemes (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2010), senegal is a recognised as a power p. 151.
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- "Argentina has been the leading military and economic power in the Southern Cone in the Twentieth Century." See Michael Morris, "The Srait of Magellan," in International Straits of the World, edited by Gerard Mangone (Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishes, 1988), p. 63.
- "Secondary regional powers in Huntington's view include Great Britain, Ukraine, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Argentina." See Tom Nierop, "The Clash of Civilisations," in The Territorial Factor, edited by Gertjan Dijkink and Hans Knippenberg (Amsterdam: Vossiuspers UvA, 2001), p. 61.
- "The US has created a foundation upon which the regional powers, especially Argentina and Brazil, can developed their own rules for further managing regional relations." See David Lake, "Regional Hierarchies," in Globalising the Regional, edited by Rick Fawn (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 55.
- "The southern cone of South America, including Argentina and Brazil, the two regional powers, has recently become a pluralistic security community." See Emanuel Adler and Patricia Greve, "Overlapping regional mechanisms of security governance," in Globalising the Regional, edited by Rick Fawn (UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 78.
- "[...] notably by linking the Southern Cone's rival regional powers, Brazil and Argentina." See Alejandra Ruiz-Dana, Peter Goldschag, Edmundo Claro and Hernan Blanco, "Regional integration, trade and conflicts in Latin America," in Regional Trade Integration and Conflict Resolution, edited by Shaheen Rafi Khan (New York: Routledge, 2009), p. 18.
- Samuel P. Huntington, "Culture, Power, and Democracy," in Globalization, Power, and Democracy, edited by Marc Plattner and Aleksander Smolar (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), p. 6.
- ""The driving force behind the adoption of the MERCOSUR agreement was similar to that of the establishment of the EU: the hope of limiting the possibilities of traditional military hostility between the major regional powers, Brazil and Argentina." See Anestis Papadopoulos, The International Dimension of EU Competition Law and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 283.
- Arnson, Cynthia; Sotero, Paulo. "Brazil as a Regional Power: Views from the Hemisphere" (PDF). Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
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- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
- Dadush, Uri. "China's Rise and Latin America: A Global, Long-Term Perspective". Inter-American Dialogue. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
Moreover, the rise of regional powers Brazil and Mexico, and their burgeoning middle classes, could be a boon for other Latin American economies.
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- [G20] 
- ""Iran is a strong regional power, in a far better shape than Pakistan because f its economic capabilities, rich mineral and energy resources, and internal stability, added to its far greater geostrategic importance." In Hooman Peimani, Nuclear Proliferation in the Indian Subcontinent (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2000), p. 30.
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- Gabriele Abbondanza, Italy as a Regional Power: the African Context from National Unification to the Present Day (Rome: Aracne, 2016)
- "Operation Alba may be considered one of the most important instances in which Italy has acted as a regional power, taking the lead in executing a technically and politically coherent and determined strategy." See Federiga Bindi, Italy and the European Union (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2011), p. 171.
- "Italy plays a prominent role in European and global military, cultural and diplomatic affairs. The country's European political, social and economic influence make it a major regional power." See Italy: Justice System and National Police Handbook, Vol. 1 (Washington, D.C.: International Business Publications, 2009), p. 9.
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