Statecraft, why states are Important?



The study of statecraft encompasses all actions that contribute to governing a nation and conducting diplomatic affairs. Statecraft can be divided into subcategories based on different sectors; economic and military statecraft are common examples.

Statecraft has been studied and practiced by economists and notable political figures for centuries, and those who are most effective in statecraft are known as statesmen. In the twentieth century, heads-of-state, such as Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt, applied statecraft techniques to advance their nations’ interests both domestically and abroad.


The origin of statecraft theory is in the work of British academic Jim Bulpitt. He argued the conservative government of the early 1980s, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.

Neo-Statecraft Theory

The more recent neo-statecraft variant has a number of core assumptions.

  • The primary focus is on the political leader of the state and their closest advisers. The group is referred (discussed) to as the leadership ‘Court’.
  • The Leadership Court is a unitary, rational and self-interested actor with the primary governing objective of winning and maintaining power. Rather than seeking to achieve any ideological goals, the Court seeks to achieve statecraft.

In order to achieve statecraft, they have to fulfill five tasks.

  • Governing Competence:

governments and leaders need to be seen as competent at managing the country’s affairs, particularly the economy.

  • Party Management:

Managing parliamentary backbenchers, constituency associations and pressure groups carefully.

  • Developing a Winning Electoral Strategy:

Creating a set of Policies and image that creates momentum (drive/speed) in the polls (elections).

  • Political argument Hegemony:

winning the ‘battle of ideas’

  • Bending the rules of the Game:

managing the constitution to increase their chances of successful statecraft.

Why States are important

The concept of State has its origin from the ancient Greek city state. In simple words, State can be defined as ‘society politically organized’. State can be identified by four constitutional elements namely Population, Territory, Government and Sovereignty.

The state is important because it is only legitimate authority to take decisive actions that will govern a big human community. No other institutions have such power.

Today it is important because Every Nation state has its government which is characteristics of that state and its government represents that state across the world.

Some of the most important purpose performed by the state in modern times are as follows:

Public Welfare

Since the ancient times, Indian and foreign philosophers had been emphasizing the fact that the aim of the state was public welfare. As a matter of fact, the state was organized for the common welfare.

The aim of the state was to maintain law and order and promote common welfare. People elected Manu (which is Hinduism term used for Human/Man) as their leader on the condition that he would try his best for promoting their welfare and in return he would get from the people the one- sixth of land-revenue, a few commodities (merchants) and he would impose a few taxes on the people.

Plato and Aristotle also maintained that the aim of the state was public good and moral welfare. After that almost all the political thinkers have been supporting this view. Thus, the aim of the state is to promote the public welfare.

Maintenance of Law and Order

In most parts of the world, it has been the aim of the state to protect the individuals, to ensure the security of their life and to maintain law and order among them.

Thus, from the very beginning it has been the sole aim of the nation to maintain law and order. People cannot live in the absence of the state or the government. They cannot live because their life and property are insecure in the absence of the state. The individuals and the socialists also support this view.

Social Welfare

The aim of the state is not confined (limited) to the maintenance of law or order alone but it lies in promoting the social and economic welfare of the people also. These days the state aims at removing almost all the evils of society, in order to produce good citizens, the state introduces better educational system and wants its individuals to come out as better organs of society.

Almost all the states are making progress in this respect. For example, many laws were framed by the government in order to eliminate such evils of society as child-marriages, dowry-system and untouchability, etc. Measures are being adopted to eliminate illiteracy. Thus, it is quite clear that it is also the aim of the state to promote the common welfare of the people in socio-economic field.

Establishment of Justice

For the smooth running of society establishment of justice is essential. Otherwise, the doctrine of “Might is right” will prevail and everybody’s life and property will be in peril. The state frames the laws for the security of the life and property of the people. The law-breakers are tried and punished by the Judiciary and due protection is given to citizens of the state.

Economic Welfare

The modern state adopts measures for eliminating poverty. For example, in India Five Year Plans and Community Development Projects have been introduced. This led to the increase in national income and to the rise of the standard of living.

Political Welfare

The state also aims at the political welfare of the people. For this purpose, the state gives some fundamental rights to the people. The same has been done in India. In India all the citizens enjoy the right to vote. And every Indian citizen of twenty-five years of age has the right to contest the election either for Legislature or for Parliament.

Necessity of State

The points, discussed above, show us very well the urgency of the state. The state is badly needed for the public good, maintenance of law and order, social welfare, establishment of justice, economic and political welfare of the people. In the absence of the state anarchy will prevail and there will be chaos and confusion in society.

Besides this, the progress of the individual is not possible in the absence of the state. Development of human personality is possible only in the well-ordered life. The individual cannot even think of his progress in the condition of threatening danger to his life.

In such conditions, the advancement of culture and civilization is not possible. And, therefore, the state is badly needed for the smooth-running of human life. The state not only aims at the maintenance of law and order but also provides the individuals with the opportunity of making progress.

The state aims at imparting justice and protects the weak against the strong. Thus, it is quite clear that the state is badly needed for the overall advancement of the individual. In the absence of the state, human life will be unbearable and people will degenerate into that terrible state of nature which has been described by Hobbes.

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