Now this rather long post might be a whole lot of Hogwash. I will leave the Judgement up to you the reader. Feel free to let me know.
Among the dangers facing the environment, the possibility of nuclear war is undoubtedly the gravest but the distinction between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons is fading away so what is the purpose of being a superpower?
We need to rethink the hierarchical categories we use to describe and analyze power. Some state leaders view nuclear weapons as an “icon of power” They see nuclear weapons not as weapons but as powerful political symbols that confer enormous status and influence, and that (nuclear weapons) are not particularly dangerous because they will never be used, that will put intense pressure on them to acquire nuclear weapons.
Why is Power Redundant?
Because the act of self-defense will be carried out years before the attacked accesses that he could, perhaps, be hit, i.e. preemptively.
Unfortunately for the UN, international law holds no provisions for such preemptive policies or wars.
In the days when the Soviet Union was reluctant to accept the notion that there were two superpowers, which implied commonality with its capitalist adversary the need for nuclear weapons might have been justified.
The Nuclear Club these days has nine members with Global military expenditure standing at over $1.7 trillion in annual expenditure at current prices for 2012.
On the other hand the United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $30 billion each year, or about $4 for each of the world’s inhabitants.
This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is less than three percent of the world’s military spending. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced financial difficulties and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas, even as new mandates have arisen. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN’s voluntary funds. As of December 31, 2010, members’ arrears to the Regular Budget topped $348 million, of which the US owed 80%.
I have said in previous post that the UN is now out of date, skint, toothless, a gossip shop, amply demonstrated by ISIS, and the Veto. Only a global Aid commission on on currency or financial transactions ( See previous posts), a carbon tax or taxes on the arms-trade might provide enough revenue for it to survive as a world Organisation with any clout. But states are jealous of their taxing powers and not keen to transfer such authority to the UN.
Here are the Club Members.
USA, RUSSIA,UK,FRANCE,CHINA,INDIA,PAKISTAN,NORTH KOREA, AND ISRAEL.
The USA to-day is responsible for 39 per cent of the world total military expenditure distantly followed by the China (9.5% of world share), Russia (5.2%), UK (3.5%) and Japan (3.4%)
When the fundamental goal is to prevent the use of nuclear weapons just how much military force does a global superpower require and why?
With some $2.4 trillion (£1.5tr), or 4.4%, of the global economy “is dependent on violence”.
There is no definite answer to this question.
Is it the ability to fight in two geographically separated regions of the world at approximately the same time?
Is it because Poverty fuels violence and defense spending has a tendency to rise during times of economic hardship.
Is it because of the global financial crisis, that started from the US is ushering in enormous economic hardship around the world?
Geopolitics and strategic interests are still factors to project or maintain power.
It is to keep nuclear weapons as a tool of war-fighting rather than a tool of deterrence?
It has been argued that an arms race and large military build ups by the more powerful nations in general can be detrimental to global security because of the insecurity it may cause to smaller nations who might feel that they need to arm themselves even more so.
In short, instead of moving towards general and complete disarmament world-wide, or the abolition of all WMD (Weapons of Mass-Destruction) the tragic September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America and the resulting War on Terror is a significant factor in moving from MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) to the fundamentally immoral and destabilising NUTs ( Nuclear Use Theories)
Military might is often one of the first considerations when looking at the world’s superpowers but its far from the truth these days. : Look at me I have a nuclear weapons. Don’t mess with me or I will press the button (with people living rough, food banks, national debts, unemployment all of which could be irradiated in the morning) has nothing to do with power in the world ample demonstrated by the annexing of the Ukraine by Mr Putin.
The question is, do the world’s superpowers hold the most influence when it comes to economic and political decisions? Or is their military might just superficial to real power.
Power these days is a mix of a number of factors including economic might, military resources, human resources, and political influence.
So lets start by looking at Britain. Superpower or Not.
To begin with Britain has an antiquated 760 year old political system that is overly rigid.
Name me the country in which more than 50 new members of parliament have just been appointed for life. Most of them have been nominated by a political party, without any vote. No secret is made of the fact that for several of the appointees, as has long been the custom in that country, this life membership of the legislature is a reward for their generous financial contributions to one or other party. And, unlike for prisoners, “life” means until they die. As a result, one in three members of the existing chamber is over 75 years old.
In the UK today, record numbers of people are homeless, record numbers rely on food banks to feed their families, and record numbers face fuel poverty as energy prices rise eight times faster than wages. At the same time, inequality is back on the rise, making it one of the most unequal countries in the developed world…
A country that once adhered to a Puritan ethic of delayed gratification, has become one that revels in instant pleasures; the population has lost interest in the basics — math, manufacturing, hard work, savings — and becoming a society that specializes in consumption and leisure. A society that retained a feudal cast, given to it by its landowning aristocracy with a growing inequality (the result of the knowledge economy, technology, and globalization) has become a signature feature of the new era in Britain.
It is now saddled with a do-nothing political process, designed for partisan battle rather than problem solving. The result is ceaseless, virulent debate about trivia — politics as theater — and very little substance, compromise, or action.
When it was empire it was indeed once a superpower in a period before the onset of nationalism, when there were few obstacles to creating and maintaining control in far-flung places.
Then along came World War I cost over $40 billion, and Britain, once the world’s leading creditor, had debts amounting to 136 percent of domestic output afterward. By the mid-1920s, interest payments alone sucked up half the government’s budget. World War II was the final nail in the coffin of British power.
To day it is shortly to have a General Election that will shred its world image as a global power. Nobody is voting to be made homeless, hungry or unemployed in order to maintain a world image of Power. In the coming election it has a chance to recognizes that the post-Britain world is a reality — and embraces and celebrates that fact that is not a Superpower.
In a country where politics has been captured by money, special interests, a sensationalist media, and ideological attack groups its problems are not because of bad politics but because of bad economics which is reflected in the burden of their military budgets. Its arms trade serves as a reminder that Britain’s claim to be a promoter of democracy is a myth. Its military power is not the cause of its strength but the consequence of its present position.
Its current nuclear weapons capability costs on average around 5-6 per cent of the current defense budget. The equivalent of between £2 to £2.4 billion. (That is less than 1.5 per cent of the annual benefits bill). The replacement of Trident will cost “£20 billion to £25 billion at out-turn.
Between now and main gate [in 2016] The cost of long lead items is expected to amount to about £500 million. This is the cost of taking part in an US program to extend the lives of the D5 missiles agreed to by Tony Blair, in 2006 and run by arms giant Lockheed Martin. Trident missiles were made in the US. Most Americans couldn’t care less about Britain’s election, so why not get rid of them.
Britain in recent years has been overextended and distracted, its army stressed, its image sullied.
Viewed by the other Super powers it is now perceived as a small Island with dimensioning world relevance, including its military power — industrial, financial, social, cultural — the distribution of power has long shifting away from British dominance.
So why bother being in the club when we are now living through the third great power shift of the modern era — the rise of the rest.
The emerging international system is likely to be quite different from those that have preceded it. A hundred years ago, there was a multipolar order run by a collection of European governments, with constantly shifting alliances, rivalries, miscalculations, and wars. The first was the rise of the Western world, a process that began in the fifteenth century and accelerated dramatically in the late eighteenth century. It produced modernity as we know it: science and technology, commerce and capitalism, the agricultural and industrial revolutions. It also produced the prolonged political dominance of the nations of the West.
Over the last 20 years, globalization has been gaining breadth and depth. More countries are making goods, communications technology has been leveling the playing field, capital has been free to move across the world.
There have been three tectonic power shifts over the last 500 years, fundamental changes in the distribution of power that have reshaped international life — its politics, economics, and culture.
To day in England we are lead to believe that although they have had booms and busts, the overall trend economically has been vigorously forward. Of course this growth conveniently forgets the vast amounts pumped into the economy by Quantitative easing. The fact that in a few years there will be twice as many seniors older than 65 than children under 15, with drastic implications for future aging.
The only real way to avert this demographic decline is for Britain to take in more immigrants. The effects of an aging population are considerable. For advanced industrialized countries, bad demographics are a killer disease.
First, there is the pension burden — fewer workers supporting more gray-haired elders. Second, the most innovative inventors — and the overwhelming majority of Nobel laureates — do their most important work between the ages of 30 and 44.
A smaller working-age population, in other words, means fewer technological, scientific, and managerial advances. Third, as workers age, they go from being net savers to being net spenders, with dire ramifications for national savings and investment rates. The coming election is a window of opportunity to shape and master immigrants to become the backbone of the working class.
It is the British political system that is dysfunctional, unable to make the relatively simple reforms that would place the country on extremely solid footing for the future. It is quite obvious for a country to prosper it must be a source of ideas or energy for the world, not as an Island for the elite that have money.
Because Britain is going in the wrong direction; closing immigration, maintaining Trident, privatizing its public services, selling its future energy needs to Sovereign Wealth Funds, all combined with a destablising of its economy by treating to leave Europe, while putting its young in hock for education. The next General Election will be critical to the British people. Learning from the rest is no longer a matter of morality or politics. Increasingly, it is about competitiveness and you can only have competitiveness with a contented population.
The wonder is not that it declined but that its dominance lasted as long as it did. Britain is in the early stages of a crisis of democracy. Westminster has been shielded from the full consequences of voter disaffection by the fact that the anger has remained unfocused and unorganized for many years.
Progress requires broad coalitions between the two major parties and politicians who will cross the aisle. When democracy devolves to an empty ballot-box ritual, the meaning of which is forgotten once the newly elected officials take office, what is the democracy we’re left with?
The existing political system is coming under pressure from non-mainstream forces who promise to deliver these things, even if this comes at the expense of other features of liberal democracy. First Past the Post hopefully will be replaced by Proportional Representation.
Military might deliver geopolitical supremacy, but peace delivers economic prosperity and stability.
If you consider the industries of the future it is a long way behind.
Nanotechnology (applied science dealing with the control of matter at the atomic or molecular scale) is likely to lead to fundamental breakthroughs over the next 50 years, and the United States dominates the field.
Biotechnology (a broad category that describes the use of biological systems to create medical, agricultural, and industrial products) is also dominated by the United States.
The real money is in designing and distributing products — which the United States dominates — rather than manufacturing them. A vivid example of this is the iPod: it is manufactured mostly outside the United States, but most of the added value is captured by Apple, in California.
The Iraq/Afghanistan war may be a tragedy or a noble endeavor. Democracy, like freedom, is double-edged.
Rogue states such as Iran and Venezuela and great powers such as China and Russia are taking advantage of inattention and bad fortunes while capitalist terrorists, represented by pin-striped bully-boys with bombs under their bowlers called Sovereign Wealth Funds plunder the earth.
” Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. ” James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
What country is poised to become the next global superpower?” is a question for the past. In the future, nationality will cease to be relevant so what really matters is which slice of society will you be in, the rich or the poor.
It is the age of Soft Power where our common future is facing looming climate chaos and depletion of oil and other resources. To keep options open we must have representative democracy for future generations, the present generation must begin now, and begin together by returning genuine power to a fully financed, renewed United Nations.
Only if we break free of the bonds of Capitalism can we take the actions that are needed.
Extremists are all too happy to take credit for fighting off the Soviets in Afghanistan, never acknowledging that it would have been impossible without their so-called “great Satan” ( friend-turned-enemy!)
The Question in a perverted way is answered by the above. Extreme anything is not power it is isolation.