Why the word "Superpower" exists?




 
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October 3rd, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 

Topic: Why the word "Superpower" exists?


Awhile back, I looked up the word Superpower --
"A powerful and influential nation, especially a nuclear power that dominates its allies or client states in an international power bloc." was the definition from one dictionary.

"a state powerful enough to influence events throughout the world" was the definition from another.

I've never really like the term Superpower because it seems to effectively claim that a nation like the United States today (or the USSR in the Cold War era) is somehow unprecedented throughout history. Minus the obvious "nuclear" qualifier, what nations in the history of the world could have been referred to as Superpowers according to those definitions? Three I thought of: Spain, Great Britain and France all used to have the level of influence worldwide that would qualify them.

What are everyone's thoughts on this?
October 4th, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
Well it's relative.
Ultimately I think it comes down to a country's ability to whack the crap out of any other country that gets in the way.
Of course, economics, scientific advancement etc. all count. After all if you lead in all that chances are you will also be militarily strong. I think military strength is probably a good aggregate indicator of all the other factors.
So Rome used to be a super power.
Spain used to be a super power.
The UK used to be a super power
France was a super power under Napoleon.

Nowadays with these complex weapons such as biological etc. the term is harder to define...
October 4th, 2004  
whosewar2000
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_13th_redneck
So Rome used to be a super power.
Spain used to be a super power.
The UK used to be a super power
France was a super power under Napoleon.

Nowadays with these complex weapons such as biological etc. the term is harder to define...
China used to be a super power---only in Asia
Rome used to be a super power.---only in Europe
Eygpt used to be super power. ---only in mideast, africa
Spain used to be a super power.---only in South America
The UK used to be a super power---that is true
France was a super power under Napoleon.---only in Europe, maybe Africa
USA is a really superpower---by any means......today. but it is going to end soon.
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October 4th, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
Hmmm well if it requires cultural hegemony then I guess you're right.
Spain was a super power in South, Central, North America and also in Asia. I think that qualifies for super power.
By the way whosewar, every super power etc. comes to an end some day. So you don't really need to mention it. But of course you get a kick out of mentioning it.
The world changes all the time.
October 4th, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
We'll know it when it happens. And even that process will take a long time. I too believe the American hegemony is on the relative decline. Not so much in terms of anything else other than social reasons. Often when a power declines, it's because of internal reasons.
I think it's precisely the reason why Europe won't be a super power. The only country which could do it, the UK is too small.
China is a realistic candidate but it has a lot of catching up to do so may take about 15-20 years to get there simply because America's that far ahead at the moment.
October 4th, 2004  
ACTaFOOL82
 
 
HOO-AH too that Redneck you hit the nail on the head!
October 4th, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
Thank you.
I try.
October 4th, 2004  
Chocobo_Blitzer
 
Yeah a united europe is far, far off from becoming a super power anytime in like.... 40 years.
October 4th, 2004  
A Can of Man
 
 
I don't see how Europe can unite in the near future. You can unite currency, share share some common laws, but there's always a line people won't cross.
In Belgium, the trend was Flanders and Wallonia actually moved further apart into a more Federal system. Shows you how different people hate being together.
Ultimately if the whole European uniting experiment hits a massive road block, it very well could be France. They just HATE to compromise with the others. It's probably one of the biggest reasons why the UK won't be a full member of the EU.
October 4th, 2004  
Chocobo_Blitzer
 
I suppose I should have coupled united/superpower together. Either way, the sun is rising over Asia....