Talk:Hyperpower

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I find it odd that both Rome and Britain were referred to as hyperpowers, when Rome had the Parthians (and if they ever got there, the Chinese) to contend with, while Britain was never really qualitatively superior to the other great powers of Europe. (That is, there was never unipolarity there.) Researcher 22:08, 28 September 2008 (EDT)

I dunno, Rome kinda ruled the "known" Western world. And the "sun doesn't set on the British Flag" thing. They really were hyperpowers in their day. The US needs to learn what to do after your power wames... Rome failed, Britain still survives... ħumanUser talk:Human 23:34, 28 September 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, but Britain also had to deal with Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Russia, the United States, Germany and Austria/Hungary as imperial powers, often more than one of these at once. I don't buy Great Britain as a hyper-power.PFoster 23:37, 28 September 2008 (EDT)
Yeah, I'll grant that Rome ruled the Western world, but it wasn't the overwhelmingly acknolwedged leader of the whole world in the way the US is. But, leaving that aside...at no point was Britain a hyperpower, precisely because it had to contend with all of the other states. Put differently: The US spends as much as the next 6 great powers, with no real strain. (Our spending/GDP ratio is perfectly fine.) Britain merely tried to keep a navy that was as strong as the next 2 naval powers, and failed to keep up. Researcher 23:44, 28 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm curious for refs on the Britain thing. (Yes, Rome ruled the "known" world, but yea, it was only a corner of it). Brittania ruled the waves - perhaps did not rule the world, but surely engaged in profitable trade almost everywhere because their navy enforced their mercantilist policy? Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:05, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
Robert Kagan talks about the ratios I mention in his essay "Towards a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy" (not something I'd like to see us move to AT ALL, but I've seen those numbers mentioned elswhere as well.) By the time Britain "ruled the waves", it was already declining militarily. The Boer War really showed that. While it was a pre-dominant naval power, it did not have the other kinds of power needed of a hyperpower. (I think also Fareed Zakaria in his essay about the Post American World also talked about how Britain's GDP as a portion of the world's GDP was also waning pretty hard, and was nothing like the US's currently.) Researcher 00:10, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
Cool info, thanks. Link to the essay(s)? ħumanUser talk:Human 00:23, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
Ugh, make me work? Here you go: Here's the Kagan/Kristol piece, though the arguments advanced are hideous in it. The Zakaria piece is here , but you might have trouble accessing it from something other than a university computer. Hope those help. Researcher 00:29, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
Thanks, I'll keep this open and go read tomorrow. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:16, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

I thought I have been having on this (rather undefinable term)... while the US has this enormous power and military, the reality of what can be achieved with it is seemingly no more than Rome or Britain at the heights of their respective empires (and probably a few others, in other spheres). Witness how strained the US military machine is just fighting ragtag renegades in two impoverished countries. While some aspects of the US military are absolutely unrivalled, it does not equate into the ability to project our will wherever we want, however we want. (For instance, Turkey wouldn't let us use even their airspace, let alone bases, in the second Iraq invasion thing) For starts, a lot of US strength is in a vast but unusable form - nuclear weapons. Just as Britain had to, we largely have to rely on the Navy to engage a foe, and to an extent our fairly mobile Air Force. We aren't in a position to roll tanks into a recalcitrant rival's territory, like, eg, the USSR/Russia could as they took (or punished) pieces in the cold war. I guess a lot of the problem of comparison is in defining "hyperpower" not just clearly to fit the current US role, but in a way that is meaningful on the world political stage. Any news on how the Russian invasion of Georgia is going these days? How is our control of our vital oil supply lines going? Etc., etc. I'm still paying my dues reading that Kristol thing (as an authority on anything his credibility is, of course, very low), and the other one requires at least signing up, which I haven't done yet. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:01, 29 September 2008 (EDT)

Don't get me wrong--I hated the actual article. And I think we can see in it the beginnings of the disaster we're in now. I'm not sure exactly how accurate the term hyperpower was, but in the 1990s it made a lot of sense. At the time, Russia was still in the toilet, and China's military was much smaller than it is today. Moreover, a lot of our strength was wasted on tax cuts and going after tiny non-powers that didn't threaten us. The other question is what does it mean to be a hyperpower. Does it mean the ability to do whatever you want, and get others to go along with you? (Technically, that would then be a hegemon.) I think the normal definition of hyperpower though is somewhere between superpower and hegemon. It's having a qualitative difference between yourself and all other states. Though we didn't intervene in Georgia...we could have. It would have been disastrous, but it was a policy choice open to us, that would not be open to all other states. We still have the ability to project force into any corner of the world, and while China and Russia are both trying to develop that, we're the only ones right now. (The Zakaria one gives a better argument than I can, but I think it's also a touch dated.) Researcher 19:30, 29 September 2008 (EDT)
Yes, you make a good point re: projecting power. Just because it wouldn't "work" doesn't take away from the "power" aspect of it - after all, if anything anywhere on the planet "bothers" the US, we can destroy it almost with impunity (and varying losses to our military machine depending on how much defences we have to overcome). Simply knowing we can, and our adversaries knowing it, amounts to almost the same thing. Example would be nuclear facilities - Israel pre-emptively blew up one in Iraq a couple decades ago, right? If Iran really pisses us off, we could destroy whatever they have built on what, 24 hours notice? If we weren't already all over the Gulf region, it might take a little longer, of course. I think the qualitative difference thing is the main point - ie, we may have always been stronger than the USSR in many ways, but they were in the same ballpark as us during most of the Cold War. And, as you say, back in the 90's, China really was no threat militarily or economically. Ah, how the scales spin 'round and 'round... ħumanUser talk:Human 16:02, 30 September 2008 (EDT)
Exactly. And today, we are talking about the Russians sending a few ships to Venezuela, but they have to send a tug boat along just in case. The US never considered sending a tug boat along with the fleet that went to deliver aid to Georgia or the two that intervened in the Taiwan Straits in 1996. Even economically, as shaky as things look right this minute, we are still a huge chunk of world GDP and trade. (We'll see if we do end up back at "superpower" status soon, or even plain old "power."_) Researcher 16:14, 30 September 2008 (EDT)

Well truthfully if any power is to be considered a Hyperpower it is the British Empire from 1815-1914; after this it was a superpower more. Britain was the only Nation in Europe to not be conquered by Napoleon because of our dominating naval power (apart from some parts of Prussia, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire of whom Napoleon didn't focus on like he did with Spain, Britain and Russia). After Napoleons defeat in Russia as a result of the winter climate. Napoleon after being exiled from France was returned to the thrown and threatened to conquer most of Europe again. We then defeated the French at Waterloo and allowed Europe to grow. After this we had only one other major (considerably "world war") challenge involving Euroasian Superpowers during the period between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the beginning of The Great War (1815-1914) which was the Crimean War (1853-1856) in which The British Empire, French Colonial Empire, Ottoman Empire and the later joining Kingdom of Sardinia were at war with the Russian Empire. The war lasted for 3 years in which as a result of the Battle of Balaclava "The Russians were so frightened by the cold courage of the British troopers, they never again dared face them in the open field." - BBC History Website Quote on The Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava which although it was an indecisive battle with no outcoming winner. The Russian Soldiers feared the British Soldiers and in the end the Russian Empire was defeated in The Crimean War and the British Empire could enjoy peace again until 1914.

After the defeat of Napoleonic France at Waterloo in 1815, The British Empire was unchallenged by another major conflict except for the Crimean War. The Boers Wars, Anglo-Zulu Wars, and Boxer Rebellion are not major challenges towards the Empire as although the British suffered heavy casualties during the Boer and Zulu wars (as a result of disease more than battle) the wars were won and Britain wasn't fighting a superpower during the Boxer Rebellion but fighting with various superpowers against the Chinese.

The British Empire is one of the only nations that can be considered to be a hyperpower as every other nation has had a challenge facing their entire empire or the United Kingdom. As the French, Spanish, Russians, Americans and Prussians/Germans. Were behind Britain at this time and although they were all superpowers they all weren't ever at the capability of Britain which had defeated each of these nations in a major conflict at some point in their history. The British Empire during the period of 1815-1914 was almost unchallenged by a superpower (except for within the Crimean War) unlike EVERY other superpower in History: -Romans challenged by Germania, Gaul (France), Greek Empire, Carthiginians & Egyptian Empire -Mongols challenged by Chinese Empire, Holy Roman Empire and Ottoman Empire -Middle Ages in Europe: England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Holy Roman Empire, Italy and Ottoman Empire all challenges to one another and close to Mongol Empire -Colonising era: Britain, France and Spain begin to colanise in the new world begining their empires and are constantly at war with eachother over the Americas and Southern Asia in which Britain wins both except for Central and most of South America and Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia)

-Napoleonic Wars Era: British Empire, Russian Empire, Spanish Empire, Dutch Empire, Prussia and Austria-Hungary are all at tensions with eachother and their main enemy; The Napoleonic French Empire -Post Napoleonic Wars Era (1815-1853): France, Spain, Prussia and Russia left to maintain peace in Euroasia while Britain conitinues its global, militarial, industrial and economical expansion without any challenge from the above superpowers; this makes the British Empire officially a Hyperpower. -Crimean War (1853-1856): British return to fight in Europe again at the side of France, Ottoman Empire and the later joining Kingdom of Sardinia and are victorious against the Russian Empire. -Post Crimean War (1856-1914): Again peace is maintained in Euroasia at the fear of another war by Russia, France, Spain and Prussia/Germany while Britain as a Hyperpower continues to grow and prosper economically, industrially, militarialy and globally. -Great War (1914-1918): British Empire loses its role as a Hyperpower as it faces the biggest challenge since the Napoleonic Wars 99 years ago. The war between The Triple Entente (Britain, France and Russia) and The Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy). In 1914 Germany had risen to power and was challenging Britains dominance therefore ending Britains 99 year reign as a hyperpower. -Inter war period (1919-1939): Russia had been formed into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and was becoming a challenge to Britain along with the USA as these 3 nations with the addition of France stood as the worlds superpowers. In 1935 Germany joins these 4 nations as a superpower along with Japan as it expands while Britain has managed to maintain it Empire but has allowed Australia independance and Canada the ability to be a self-governing dominion. -Second World War (1939-1945): Britain and France the only two superpowers who will fight declare war on Germany and by June 1940 France was conquered by Germany and for nearly 2 years Britain defended itself from invasion in the Battle of Britain (1940) and succeded and then reppeled the Axis (Germans and Italians) from taking North and East Africa while it also defends British India from Japan (the third axis power) in this time before USA and USSR join in 1941 to fight back against the axis and aid Britain in the victory over the axis.

-1945: Three world superpowers remain: The British Empire, The USA and The USSR -1947: Britain loses India as it gains independance and the Empire begins to desolve relieving Britain of its role as a superpower over a period of roughly 300-500 years; 900 years as a greatpower/superpower for England and Scotland

-Cold War (1947-1991): Tension draws between USA and USSR as both nations become interlocked in an arms and industrial race against eachother to be the greater power and retake Britain's role as the Hyperpower. With the introduction of Nuclear Weapons neither side progresses until 1991 when the USSR dissolves itself and the USA is declared the winning superpower -Post Cold War (1991-2005): USA became a superpower but not a hyperpower as it was still under pressure from China, Russian Federation and the Growing nations within the European Union -Modern era (2005 onwards): USA now challenged by the superpowers/powers of China, Russia, Japan, North Korea, Saudia Arabia, Iran and various other countries like Canada, Australia and even Brazil.

So my conclusion is that The United Kingdom/British Empire was the only nation not to have a strong challenging oppressor during 1815-1914 unlike all superpowers before and after it so I conclude that the United Kingdom was the only Hyperpower in History. — Unsigned, by: 89.243.144.10 / talk / contribs 01:56, 25 October 2011 (UTC)