Full superpower notes

Full notes on the Superpower topic. 

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
Superpower notes (Geography)
Defining a superpower
A superpower is a country with a dominant position in the international system.
They have the ability to influence events in their own interests and project power on a worldwide
scale to protect their interests. A superpower is created through economic, military and cultural
dominance other factors such as population and physical size also play an important role.
Emerging superpowers are beginning to become stronger in all three of these components
"A superpower must be able to conduct a global strategy to command economic potential and to
influence present universal ideology" (Professor Paul Dukes)
Military power
A strong military creates a sense of fear for surrounding countries; a tactic used the USA,
Russia, the former USSR and China. It creates a hard mechanism for hegemonic control.
48% of all military spending is made by the USA, the result of this military spending is that USA
has troops on every continent except Antarctica ­ creating a full spectrum of dominance.
The USA has used this military prowess in recent year with `invasions' of Iraq and Afghanistan
with the aim to secure oil in the region for TNCs closer to home.
USA, China and Russia can be described as `nuclear superpowers' as they have access to
nuclear weapons, however this is becoming less of a superpower phenomenon. More
countries are getting access to `low tech' nuclear bombs such as Iran, Israel, North Korea and
Economic power
The worlds economy is dominated by the USA making it a all round superpower, 8 of the top 10
biggest companies in the world are based in the USA including such names as McDonald's,
Disney, Coca Cola and Apple.
Globalization has led to emerging economies becoming economic superpowers. China has
become `the workshop of the world' by embracing a free market. The Chinese economy has
grown by 10% each year for 20 years, the fastest ever industrial revolution. By 2035 China will
have the largest economy, the USA will have biggest challenge to its superpower status since the
former USSR.
Japans economic status has declined, it has been in a 20-year recession and this has led to Japan
dropping out of the potential superpower bracket and into the regional powers bracket being
overtaken by the BRIC nations, showing how economic factors are the most important factor.
Physical factors
As most countries become increasingly energy insecure the power of the `energy superpowers'
will grow to a great extent; the Gulf States currently hold 60% of oil reserves and Russia, Qatar
and Iran hold 60% of gas. This power creates a `political weapon' for these as they have
complete control over all energy consumers.

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
The USA was able to go through industrialization due to having the largest coal rescue in the
The land area of a nation can also enable a superpower to develop as it provides space for
industry and agriculture. An example of this is Brazil it exploits its large land area for
agriculture which accounts for 8% of the countries GDP. Brazil is the world's first sustainable
biofuel economy and is the biofuel industry leader.…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
Changing superpowers
The British imperial era and its collapse (Uni-polar world)
At its peak, it controlled 23% of the world's surface. More than 458 million people were
brought under the control of the British Empire this made up an estimated 25% of the
world's population It was known as the largest colonial empire in history.
World War I brought the British Empire to the peak of its expansion, but in the years that
followed came its decline.…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
After WWII, Germany was left in ruins. The victorious allies that occupied it split it into four
parts. One part was given to the United Kingdom, one part to France, one part to the
United States, and the eastern part was occupied by the USSR. The city of Berlin was also
partitioned between the four parties even though it was located in the part occupied by
the USSR.…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
Naval modernisation and expansion has been especially vigorous. The PLA Navy (PLAN) now has
around 190 "major combatants", vessels mostly designed and built in China. In terms of size, it
is on course to overtake the American navy by 2020--though it will have at most only a couple
of small aircraft-carriers by then, compared with America's 11 much larger ones.…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
China Vs USA
A weaker USA? A more influential China?
Vulnerability to terrorist attacks, such The 2008 Beijing Olympic games were a
as 9/11. These attacks remove the showcase of Chinese culture and
veneer of invincibility from the US. technological prowess.
Growing economic problems, such as Chinese TNCs are becoming large world
the Economic crisis in 2008. players.…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
India's Finance Ministry outlined that the country's economic growth could accelerate to as
much as 8.5% in 2016 which could make it the world's fastest-growing large economy as
China's expansion continues to slow.
"China has hit a demographic trap. But India's working population is increasing all the time,
producing, saving and consuming," said Mohan Guruswamy, a Delhi-based economist and
analyst.…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
bombers. Russia is also believed to have some 2,000 nonstrategic (also referred to as tactical,
theater, or battlefield) nuclear warheads.
Russia's military budget is believed to be close to $90 billion for 2013, the Russian military
budget has more than doubled over the last decade, trailing behind only China ($132 billion)
and the United States ($640 billion).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration .…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
As of 2011, the Brazilian Navy has a reported strength of 60.000 active personnel, of which
approximately 15.000 are naval infantry, the marines, and 1.150 are from the Brazilian
Naval Aviation. It consists of 112 ships, including an aircraft-carrier, and 81 aircrafts.
The Brazilian Air Force, FAB, has an active strength of approximately 77, 000 military
personnel and operates around 740 aircrafts.…read more

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedicts Catholic Upper School
Compare the level of human and economic development in China and India (15 marks) Booklet
Theoretical frameworks explaining the relationship between
superpowers and rest of the world
Theory Who came up How does it How does it explain Limitations
with the theory explain why why LEDCs are so
and what was MEDCs are so poor?
their worldview? rich?
Modernisatio W.…read more


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