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Changing geographical patterns of superpower influence
The British Empire (imperial) Era (unipolar)
This grew by colonialism which is considered a `hard' method of gaining control
often through military force which results in an external nation taking control
of a territory in another part of the world. It then reinforces this control by
settling the new colony with its own people.
27% of the world's land surface was once part of this empire therefore the
UK was the dominant global power (the unipolar world)
However, after the Second World War, the British Empire declined quickly by
1970 it had all but ceased to exist.
Colonial countries demanded independence and political movements
such as Ghandi's in India proved difficult to resist.
The UK couldn't afford to run a global empire, as the war had bankrupted
There was a need to focus on postwar rebuilding and renewal in the UK,
rather than in far flung countries.
The Cold War Era (bipolar)
This is when the capitalist USA and the communist USSR squared up to each
other for global domination (1945 1990). This is after the second world war
where the `victors' hold the top positions on the international stage.
In the 1990s the cold war ended due to the collapse of communism in the
The US domination (uni--polar)
This was created following the collapse of the USSR and eastern European
communist states in the early 1990's therefore the USA are the only true
The USA is able to maintain their status due to IGO's, their cultural influence,
military strength and aid & trade patterns.
A Multipolar world? (Multipolar)
The rise of the BRIC's due to industrialisation, growing military and economic
prowess etc. will start to threaten the USA's global status. Developed countries
will start to slip due to ageing populations and the global recession. China is
the most likely to be the biggest threat to the US.
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The economic theory of Kondratiev waves will also contribute to changing
patterns of superpower influence. These are 5060 year cycles which suggest that
economic growth passes through phases based on key new technologies.…read more