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  Wikipedia: Superpower

Wikipedia: Superpower
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A superpower is a state with the ability to influence events or project power on a wide scale. In modern terms, this may imply an entity with a strong economy, a large population, and strong armed forces, including air power and satellite capabilities, and a huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Superpowers often have colonies, or satellite states.

The term superpower appeared as a neologism in 1922. Prior to the start of World War Two, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom had superpower status.

After 1945 the victor powers—China, France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States of America—appointed themselves to honorary superpower status as permanent veto-holding members of the United Nations Security Council. But due to economic stresses, the loss of overseas colonial empires and civil war, not all of these states could maintain their relative hegemony, and as the Cold War developed only two indisputable superpowers remained: the United States and the Soviet Union. With the political collapse of the Soviet Union (circa 1991) and the undermining of the balance of power, the United States became apparently the world's sole remaining superpower (sometimes called a hyperpower).

Although the term superpower is a recent one, the word has been retrospectively applied to previous military powers, especially the Roman Empire and imperial China.

America's position as the sole superpower

Both critics and some supporters of the United States describe the current state of affairs as the Pax Americana, with the United States as self-claimed guarantor of world peace. It has been argued that America is acting as an imperialist nation.

This is in contrast to its position of isolationism with respect to global affairs outside the Western Hemisphere at various times in the first half of the 20th century, particularly between the World Wars.

American entanglement abroad

America's position as a superpower has involved it in almost every major conflict world-wide since 1917, including in the Middle East and Kashmir.

Defenders of American foreign policy regard their interventions as forced on them by moral necessity or lately as self-defence. They generally see world affairs in moral terms, with "good guys" and "bad guys", rather than in terms of realpolitik and moral equivalence.

America was attacked by the Islamist terrorist network Al-Qaida in 2001, and is now fighting a "War on Terrorism" world-wide. America in early 2003 invaded Iraq and dismantled the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Potential superpowers

Countries that could become superpowers in the coming decades include:
  • The growing European Union, which is of comparable economic strength and has nuclear capabilities (France and the United Kingdom), but is still too fragmented to be considered a single power.
  • Russia, the most powerful of the countries of the former Soviet Union, maintains a huge nuclear arsenal.
  • China, which currently only has a small nuclear deterrent, but the world's largest army, and a large population.
  • India, which has a population of over a billion, and a small nuclear arsenal.
  • Brazil, which has a large population, and the capacity to go nuclear.
  • Japan, which still has the world's second most powerful economy and has increased military funding in recent years.
  • Worldwide public opinion has been described as a Second Superpower.

Superpowers are also the fictional superhuman abilities that distinguish most superheroes and supervillains such as Superman or Magneto from ordinary mortals. Typical superpowers include superhuman strength, speed, or stamina; the ability to fly; or abilities such as X-ray vision.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona