Read the title again, this thread is called "Was China ever in the top 3 most powerful empires of the world"? Whether its pointless is not for you to decide, whether it is powerful at all is what is relevant to this thread.No, it is not irrelevant. Besides, this thread is about China, isn't it? In case you haven't noticed, it's the same great thinkers and artists that you disparage that make sure that China is a culture that is still talked about today, and that still exists today in any meaningful way (unlike Mongolia, or the various Stans- for example. The only point of having power is if you can create something lasting, meaningful and unique with it. If not your power is pointless, and while I'm sure you're a great conqueror, you're never going to convince me that a civilization like that is worth taking seriously. The biker gangs of the pre-modern era, essentially. Sometimes very professional biker gangs, but biker gangs nonetheless.
"Power" is a difficult metric to begin with before the modern era anyway, when talked about from a global context. What "power" did Tang China have in 9th century Europe? Yes, you can argue that they were "more developed" than Charlemagne's Empire, but essentially it is a pointless discussion because they never interacted in any meaningful way and never could. What I was trying to do therefore was to nuance the discussion a bit, and ask "what is power - in relation to China, and how is it different", and point out the fact that China exists in a completely different context from much of the other high cultures in the world.
Power has a very specific meaning in international relationship, its the ability to coerce another polity to do something it would otherwise not do; either directly through the application of military force or indirectly through economic pressure. Culture does not factor into it, and that's why any quantifiable measurement of power (whether it be Comprehensive national power measurement used in the PRC, or the correlate of war project used in the west) ignores culture as something remotely tangible. At least things like the military and budget are tangible attributes which can transfer into power, strictly speaking, culture is not remotely relevant; because its not a crucial instrument of coercion.