Who will emerge as the leading superpower of the twenty first century?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by argentine soccer fan, Sep 20, 2003.

  1. argentine soccer fan

    Staff Member

    Jan 18, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Nat'l Team:
    Argentina
    Here are the countries that historically I think we might have considered to be 'top dog' in previous centuries:

    15th Century: Italy
    16th Century: Spain
    17th Century: France
    18th Century: England
    19th Century: Germany
    20th Century: United States

    So, will the US repeat or will we have a new champ? Make your choice.
     
  2. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Was this some sort of WBO Championship title or something? IBF?
     
  3. SJFC4ever

    SJFC4ever New Member

    May 12, 2000
    Edinburgh
    I can only assume that he is basing it on Bismarck's victories over Denmark, Austria and France.



    I would pick India. China is too confused politically and is becoming the world's sweatshop, while India is taking many of the higher-skilled service jobs. I think this creates a greater potential. China is also something of a marked man, in the sense that everyone (particularly the US) is aware of it.

    I don't think the US can maintain its position beyond the middle of this century, since everyone taking a shot at it will force it to increase military spending to an unsustainable point, which will damage its economic strength (its key point).

    The EU as a whole is still too weak. Maybe if Russia joined, but even then I doubt it.
     
  4. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Then I can only assume this won't make any sense to him:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Ok, Paul Kennedy, that theory didn't pan out.

    As much as we dominate militarily, we only spend around 4% of GDP on military expenditures, which is consideraly less than during the cold war.

    I don't see any possiblity for another country to surpass the USA this century. Certainly not in any of our lifetimes because:

    (1) We're starting off #1
    (2) Our demographic situation is very healthy (unlike aging Europe)
    (3) China and India are so far behind that it will take a full century to catch up even if everything goes perfectly (do the math)
     
  6. Maczebus

    Maczebus New Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    (to follow up on what others have mentioned)

    Fixed.
    As much as Germany did do much in the 19th Century - it wasn't the leading power/
    1) GB was (as the map given by the everso helpful Ben shows) still in the ascendancy, if nothing else due to the expanse of Empire.
    2) 'Germany' only came to being halfway through the second half of the century she was meant to have dominated. Yes, previously Hannover, Prussia and even Schleswig-Holstein all had their moments - but too few.

    Basically GB's 'reign' (if we were to put it that way) lasted from mid17th to early/mid20th century.
     
  7. SJFC4ever

    SJFC4ever New Member

    May 12, 2000
    Edinburgh
    1) I think the Cold War is a bad example for this because the major competitor (USSR) was spending even more of their wealth on their military.

    2) The management of your money. Bush is trying to expand the military while pushing through tax cuts at the same time. This is nonsensical. If this is sustained, your debt will be much more expensive that has economic implications.


    I'm sure the British leaders didn't think there was any possibility for the UK to be overtaken when they were on top.


    No, sure, but I was meaning who would be on top by 2100. The US will continue to be on top for at least the next generation (as far as we can reasonably see), but I think it will fall.

    And who would have thought in 1900 that the US would be the top power by 1945?
     
  8. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    The important point is that we were able to maintain economic/technological growth while making considerable military expenditures.
    Well, yes, we can't afford too many George Bushes. Let's hope this is the last one.

    You were on top for quite a long time and we have certain obvious advantages such as geography.


    By 1870 this was pretty clear. In fact, we were already were ahead of Great Britain in population and wealth, just not ambition.
     
  9. elainemichelle

    elainemichelle New Member

    Jul 20, 2002
    Was Germany even united in the 1800s? I thought it wasn't until the mid 1800s.

    Anywho... I give this century to the European Union. There's some nonsense about how they're going to write a constitution for the whole union to follow and every country will essentially become a state. I haven't looked into it anymore than this so I have some research to do.
     
  10. Maczebus

    Maczebus New Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    As GB the country - probably.
    As GB the Empire - no.
    It was the Empire which gave the strength - when it had to be given up, so too did the power.
    Comparing country with country is a little misleading due to the geographical nature of the respective countries which you've already mentioned (or rather their size).
     
  11. dfb547490

    dfb547490 New Member

    Feb 9, 2000
    The Heights
    If we're strictly speaking military superpower, it would take some sort of unforseen and absolutely catostrophic event for the US to lose our #1 status. The main difference between the US and the British Empire, Roman Empire, etc. is technology and the nature of modern warfare. While most past leading powers did enjoy a technological advantage over their enemies, the gap was not nearly as great as the one enjoyed by the US today. The British may have had better ship designs than their competitors, the Romans may have had better techniques for making stronger swords, but this doesn't even begin to compare to the advantages the US holds over other countries.

    We're currently beginning to deploy our second generation of stealth aircraft; not a single other country in the world, not even Russia or Britain, even has first-generation stealth technology. We have 12 super carriers; no other nation in the world has any, and the largest aircraft carrier employed by any other nation in the world is less than half the size of our largest carriers--on top of which, I'm pretty sure that the only other nation in the world that has more than one carrier at all is Britain (I think France has 1 altho they might have 2, and IIRC Italy, Spain, Russia, India, Brazil, and Thailand have 1 each, plus Japan is developing one--but keep in mind these are all less than half the size of the USS Nimitz). Our GPS and laser-guided bombing systems allow us to fly warheads, whether bombs launched from planes or Tomahawk missiles launched Our Marines and soldiers are equipped with, by far and away, the best night-vision technology in the world. Our troops are the only ones in the world capable of deploying to a hotspot within hours. Other countries simply can't compete with this.
     
  12. SJFC4ever

    SJFC4ever New Member

    May 12, 2000
    Edinburgh
    Come on, just before 1870 the US had just been fighting one of the most bloody civil wars in history (if not the most). There was the potential, but this could not be realised due to these internal problems. Much like how India and China cannot progress today as much as they would like because of their local difficulties (political/freedom issues in China, religious and territorial issues in India).

    I know that there is a statistic that the US overtook the UK in GDP by the late 1800s, but this is somewhat misleading as the UK could call upon the resources of many other countries through the empire.
     
  13. Karl K

    Karl K Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    Suburban Chicago
    The only two candidates for this crown are the United States and China.

    Europe is economically and culturally ossified. The EU is an attempt to get beyond that, but there's still too much soverignty in each country, along with the deep tentacles of the welfare system in those countries. Both will prevent the sort of economic growth necessary to surpass the USA.

    It will take 100 years for Russia to repair the damage of its Leninist Stalinist political/cultural/economic foundations. Plus demographics are against them.

    India is awfully big, but with its gaping ethnic/class/religous divides, and the dragging effect of a general proclivity towards socialism, it will take decades to reach any full economic potenatial.

    China has the best shot. An enormous population base, a huge land mass with diverse natural resources, a culture of intellect and enterprise, a growing desire for freedom on the part of the populace. I don't think it will surpass the USA in the next hundred years, but it could wind up being the counterbalance to the USA.

    But, really, there's no stopping us. The best climate for business, the source of virtually all scientific and technological break throughts, the most stable political system, the model for personal individual liberty in the context of a governing state, the greatest educational system in the world, its military preminence so much greater than any other country that no one will likely every catch up (and done on the cheap, too, when measured as % of GDP).

    This 21st century will also be the American century. Those on the left who want to see the USA get our "comeuppance" will be sorely disappointed.
     
  14. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    I brought this up not to argue that the USA was more powerful than Britain in the late 19th century, but to suggest that it's not impossible to make predictions about future superpowers. The USA was very advanced, had a large population, and was growing at a rapid rate. The ingredients were already in place. A better question is why it took so long for the USA to really throw its muscle around.

    In contrast to America in the mid/late 19th century, India and China are very far behind in everything but population. Their influence will surely grow, but to what extent?

    I actually hope the USA doesn't exist in 100 years, but instead is part of a larger political unit. In any case, every single one of us will be dead by the end of the century so we'll never know.
     
  15. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    You're so predictable...

    Even though it's a false choice, if the choice was between being an ethical society and a "superpower," I'd take the former.
     
  16. fishbiproduct

    fishbiproduct New Member

    Mar 29, 2002
    Pasadena Ca.
    [​IMG]

    versus

    [​IMG]


    The fight is on.
     
  17. empennage

    empennage Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    1. Britian and a few other countries (Italy, Austraila??) have a stake in 3rd generation stealth Joint Strike Fighter. The US will not be the only country with stealth technology.

    2. Countries don't need supercarriers when they have VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft such as Harriers or JSF.

    3. By 2008, the european union will have a competing satellite constellation to the GPS called Galileo.

    4. US troops cannot deploy to a hotspot in hours. Just look at how long it took to invade Afghanistan (a month or so).


    Anyway, my point is that the US is not uncatchable in the military arena. If the EU gets its act together they could most definitely give the US a run for it's money. In fact, I could defenitely foresee another World War with europe in the next 100 years.
     
  18. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    I can definitely foresee Martians invading Earth and turning humans into Alpo, but it ain't gonna happen.
     
  19. SJFC4ever

    SJFC4ever New Member

    May 12, 2000
    Edinburgh
    Predictable, but funny nonetheless.

    Karl, how do you think that the USSR became a superpower as a communist state, having come from defeat in the First War by (principally) Germany and revolution in 1917/1918?
     
  20. Maczebus

    Maczebus New Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    Well as it was the only part of a subjective thread that could be corrected (ie: fact) and that I had interest in - I did so.

    And of course it's not impossible to make predictions about anything - it's being right that counts. Make enough of them and you've got to be right sometime - ask Nostradamus.

    As for the EU taking over from the US as the leading power: All too many people (the predictable ones) see it as military power that rules. It's already been discussed that the world has moved on from 200 years ago. The EU doesn't need to out-do the US in terms of military prowess - economic prowess will be fine.
    Yes I know they had a certain amount of help but take a look at Japan - they quite happily go along with tiny military forces, limited natural resources, man power and geographical area - and become the 2nd largest economy in the world.

    People like also to forsee other countries overtaking the US, whilst it continues along it's way. In more than a couple of flashes of 'inspiration' I've thought about how the US could easily degenerate to 'in-fighting' if it isn't too careful - think various race riots etc, then multiply - and take itself out of the equation.

    As per the original question: At the moment the EU seems the most likely to surpass the US, but I really don't care and it probably won't happen - need to keep an eye on both China and India for if or when they both get significantly organised (India in particular, thought that's a long shot).
     
  21. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

    Club Brugge
    Belgium
    Aug 19, 2002
    Belgium
    Club:
    Club Brugge KV
    Actually the Romans got their advantage from the superior training their legions enjoyed, and the tactical and strategical superiority of their commanders.

    But military power isn't the only factor in the survival of an empire. A lot of it has to do with them spreading their own culture (as the Romans did). They made most of the defeated regions and people into a real part of the Roman empire, a lot of times leaving local leaders in charge under the flag of the Roman empire, but at the same time embedding them into the Roman culture, technology, philosophy. Under this policy their empire prospered. It wasn't untill the reign of Caligula with his "Oderint dum metuant" (freely translated; "let them hate us, as long as they fear us"), that this policy was no longer adopted and the empire started to crumble.
     
  22. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

    Club Brugge
    Belgium
    Aug 19, 2002
    Belgium
    Club:
    Club Brugge KV
    I can agree with some of what you said, but the best educational system in the world? You are kidding right? What are you basing this claim on?
     
  23. Belgian guy

    Belgian guy Member+

    Club Brugge
    Belgium
    Aug 19, 2002
    Belgium
    Club:
    Club Brugge KV
    Well, we sure as hell wouldn't be starting it...
     
  24. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Given that the USA was already an industrial powerhouse, one of the largest and wealthiest countries on the planet and growing at a rapid pace, it was a fairly reasonable prediction.

    Here's an interesting quote:

    "The period 1865-1908, particularly before 1890, presents us with many instances in which the country's central decision-makers noticed and considered clear opportunities to expand American influence abroad and rejected them. Certainly, between the time when they get rich and when they acquire expansive political interests abroad, countries often experience a time lag, frequently because policymakers fail to perceive the shift in their country's relative economic position. But America's central decision-makers were well aware of its economic strength and proudly proclaimed it. Nevertheless, the country hewed to a relatively isolationist line, with few exceptions, until the 1890s--a highly unusual gap between power and interests, for it lasted some thirty years. The United States would thus seem to represent an exception to the historical record and a challenge to the greatpower rule. "

    From Wealth to Power by Fareed Zakaria
     
  25. Maczebus

    Maczebus New Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    The Belgian chap has already pointed out the less than stellar US educational system...

    And how is the US 'the most political stable nation'?

    Sure it's ok, but as ever aren't you over-egging a flan just a little? Emblematic of so many of the little half-falsehoods that the American public are fed and believe on a regular basis.
    I find it rather ugly when someone desperately tries to make others jealous of them - to the point of lying.
    [/rant]
     

Share This Page