Defining 'Superpower'

Jodie Goodacre
Mind Map by , created almost 6 years ago

A-Levels Geography (Superpower Geographies) Mind Map on Defining 'Superpower', created by Jodie Goodacre on 12/26/2013.

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Jodie Goodacre
Created by Jodie Goodacre almost 6 years ago
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Defining 'Superpower'
1 The term superpower was first used during the Second World War to refer to the USA, the USSR and the British Empire
2 It refers to a nation with the means to project its power and influence anywhere in the world, and to be a dominant global force
2.1 This demands huge resources, so true superpowers are rare
3 Some countries and country groupings are emerging as powerful forces and may attain superpower status in the future
4 The EU and China are key contenders, with Russia, India, Brazil and the oil-rich Gulf states powerful in particular ways
5 Other countries fulfil regional power roles
6 Military Power
6.1 In the modern world, this essentially means access to nuclear weapons, although the ability to 'watch' the world using satellite and spy technology is important
7 Economic Power
7.1 Wealth allows superpowers to export their power around the world, buy resources and influence trade patterns
8 Geographical Power
8.1 This refers to the sphere of influence a superpower has.
8.2 It might result from a physical or cultural presence in widespread locations
9 Cultural Power
9.1 This includes the projection of a particular 'way of life' and cultural values which influence the way others behave, and perhaps even think
10 Economic power is the most important as it is required in order to maintain military power, spread cultural influence through trade and the media, and provide global geographical reach
11 Arguably the USA is today's only superpower
11.1 It is a major military force and the world's largest economy
11.2 Its cultural values have been spread globally and its cultural symbols are found worldwide
12 Emerging and regional powers lack some forms of power
12.1 Japan has economic muscle, but lacks military power
13 In Latin America, Brazil acts as a regional power broker but its economic and military influence are confined to that region
14 China, as yet, lacks cultural and geographical dominance of the USA
15 Superpower Societies
15.1 The British Empire was organised as an imperialist system, with the culture, economy and politics of Britain dominating its subordinate colonies
15.1.1 Democracy, in a very limited form, existed only in Britain itself, not in the colonies
15.2 The USA functions within a capitalist system, albeit a democratic one
15.2.1 This means there is a division between people who own businesses and make profits, and those who work for them
15.3 In the USSR, under the Communist system, private ownership of the means of production (businesses and property) was not allowed
15.3.1 The philosopher Karl Marx developed the theory of communism
15.3.1.1 He argued that private ownership of businesses meant that the rich would seek to maximise profits at the expense of their workers, creating a society where the rich (the bourgeoisie) exploited the working class (the proletariat)
15.3.1.2 Marx believed the means of production should be owned in common, as this would create a more equal society
15.3.1.3 In the USSR the state owned all businesses and property, like other communist states it was not a democracy
16 Cold War
16.1 The world today is uni-polar, with one major superpower. During the Cold War era, 1945-1990, it was a bi-polar world, with two superpowers: the USA and the USSR
16.2 These two superpowers acted in different ways
16.3 The USA followed a policy which globalised its sphere of influence
16.3.1 In the USA this was referred to as containment, as it sought to contain the influence of the USSR
16.4 The USSR created a strong core by invading or allying itself with its surrounding countries
16.5 The Cold War did not lead to direct military confrontation between the two superpowers
16.5.1 However, as each sought to exert its influence there were flashpoint periods of increased tension
16.5.1.1 The Korean War, 1950-53
16.5.1.2 The Vietnam War, 1959-75
16.5.1.3 The blockade of Berlin in 1949 and the erection of the Berlin wall in 1961
16.5.1.4 The Cuban missile crisis in 1962
16.5.1.5 The USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1980
16.6 In the early 1990s the political geography of the world was redrawn as the political systems of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries collapsed and the USSR broke up into its constituent republics. The USA emerged as the only superpower
16.7 USA
16.7.1 Population 287 million (1989)
16.7.2 Self-sufficient in most raw materials
16.7.3 Capitalist
16.7.4 Free market economy
16.7.5 Democracy with elections for president and congress every four years
16.7.6 Very little difference in political philosophy between the Republican and Democratic parties
16.7.7 Allies
16.7.7.1 Western Europe, through NATO
16.7.7.2 Strong links with Latin America through trade
16.7.7.3 Alliances with African, middle eastern and Asian developing nations, using military and development aid
16.7.7.4 Strong economic and military ties with Japan and South Korea
16.7.8 Naval and air-based military power; established a ring of bases to surround the USSR
16.7.9 Large nuclear arsenal and global network of nuclear bases
16.7.10 Extensive global intelligence network
16.7.11 Rapid growth in film and television industry was a powerful vehicle for conveying a positive view of the USA, especially its high standard of living
16.7.12 Lack of direct censorship meant that negative views of the USA could be transmitted as well
16.8 USSR
16.8.1 Population 291 million (1991)
16.8.2 Self-sufficient in most raw materials
16.8.3 Socialist
16.8.4 Dictatorship with no free elections
16.8.5 Allies
16.8.5.1 Eastern Europe
16.8.5.2 Socialist governments, e.g. Cuba
16.8.5.3 Alliances with African, middle eastern and Asian developing nations, using military and development aid
16.8.6 Very large army, naval and air capabilities
16.8.7 Nuclear Weapons
16.8.8 Troops stationed in eastern Europe
16.8.9 Extensive global intelligence gathering network
16.8.10 Tried to sell a view of itself that emphasised high culture, with ballet, music and art being central
16.8.11 Very tight censorship that allowed no criticism

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