Throughout history, superpowers have risen and fallen. The Roman Empire – the most dominant power in the ancient world, tore across Europe and the Middle East in the 2nd century before eventually losing grip on its territories. Likewise The Mongol Empire led by Genghis Khan was the world’s largest land empire, yet after divisions separated in the 13th century, they finally lost their grip. The British Empire expanded through trading ventures, and by the early twentieth century had become history’s largest empire, covering a quarter of the world’s surface with a fifth of the world’s population living in it. After the 2nd world war, The United States rose as a world superpower with 50% of the world’s GNP followed closely by Russia.
With a strong national identity and a united sense of ambition, Brazil has sought to emerge as a serious global economic and political power on the world stage. With enormous natural resources, including a tenth of the world’s fresh water, the largest remaining rainforest, and a valuable supply of minerals, Brazil looks set to lead the way when it comes to tackling the inevitable environmental issues we all face. However, the apparent lack of traditional hard power in the shape of military resources will undoubtedly prove a hurdle for Brazil to make a claim for world superpower status using traditional methods of aggressive advancement.
The People’s Republic of China is a strong emerging economic and military superpower, and the term secondary superpower has already been credited to china by scholars and media alike. China does indeed have the most promising all-around profile of a potential superpower, with business ventures and investment deals in South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and with a degree of alienation from dominant international society making it potentially a power to challenge collective world politics. Along with the European Union and the United States, China is a real contender, particularly with its ballooning domestic economy. Economist Arvind Subramanian argues that China will direct the world’s financial systems by as early as 2020, and within 20 years author Lawrence Saez states that the United States will be surpassed by China.
Before Brexit, academics pointed fondly towards the European Union as another potential emerging superpower. With a large population, low inflation rates, global unpopularity of US foreign policy, a large economy, and a high quality of life, the EU looked as if it had already perhaps hit the superpower stakes. Although the EU is facing a number of daunting situations, including Brexit, it is still powered by a solid economic engine with the largest economy in the world. In fact, the world bank says that EU-Plus (including Norway and Switzerland) boasts an economy larger than the US and Russia combined. The EU also has more Fortune 500 companies than the US, India and Russia combined, and some of the most competitive national economies remain, or at least trade together, within the EU.
The Republic of India is also a contender, with Harvard economists and researchers projecting a 7% annual economic growth, making India the fastest growing economy in the world in 2017. Despite these strides forward, India still faces a rigid caste system and rural poverty, corruption, and inequality issues. Politically, India is stable with a democratic government that has lasted for 60 years. By 2050, India is set to rise by up to twenty per cent with a young working society. But while India has impressive economic and population growth, it also has domestic issues such as malnutrition and rural poverty to tackle before tackling the political world stage.
The Russian Federation is often suggested as a potential superpower candidate, although during the State of Nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, president Vladimir Putin denied any Russian aspiration to become the next superpower. An aging and shrinking population is constricting Russia’s potential to re-emerge as a superpower once more, despite her impressive military prowess and aggressive foreign policy.
However, some argue that within the next fifty years, national powers will lose their ability to operate as the superpowers they have been in the past. The real super powers will be the economic elite who operate with no fidelity to any nation, race, or religion. Thee economic elite superpowers will operate globally from a series of outposts positioned strategically across the globe. They will be transient, living at times in New York, and at others times in Singapore, Hong Kong, London, or Sydney. This theory doesn’t offer a solution to how, in the advent of a global elite superpower, that apparatus will manage a normal civil society worldwide.
In view of such superpower predictions, it should be noted that in the 1980s, experts collectively believed that Japan would become the next superpower, owing to its large GDP and high economic growth. However a few years later in 1991 Japan’s economy crashed, creating The Lost Years, a long period of economic slump that Japan has never fully recovered from. So while our predictions might have seemed logical at the time, the world is a volatile place and superpowers rise and fall as a matter of opportunity and chance, just as much as they do through meticulous military planning or strategic economic forecast.
So, who do you predict will be the next Superpower nation? Are there promising countries that we failed to mention? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called What if the World was One Country?! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!