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Author Topic:   Who will be the next world power?
DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 3187 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 61 of 151 (507489)
05-05-2009 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Perdition
05-05-2009 1:43 PM


Re: Attempting to get back to the original question
India is a democratic government. China is governed by a comunist regime. The two do not make for mutually condusive relationships.
There are a lot of ifs, maybes and speculation. Russia could reserge. China's economy could collapse. Brazil could find a substantial source of oil that rivals the middle east and become a major world power, etc, etc ad infinitim. Anything can happen in the long distance future. Why because there are too many variables which could have long term ramifications further down the road.
If 3 years ago we could not even predict the global economic recession that would occur in 2008 and 2009, what makes us think we can predict long term historical events 20, 50 or 100 years out? If you want an interesting read about the unpredictability of predicting future events read Asimov's foundation series.

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Perdition, posted 05-05-2009 1:43 PM Perdition has replied

Replies to this message:
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alaninnont
Member (Idle past 5523 days)
Posts: 107
Joined: 02-27-2009


Message 62 of 151 (507498)
05-05-2009 4:14 PM


I think I would put China first, Russia second, and EU third in the list of possible candidates. I don't think India would ever form a world-power sharing union with China. They have enough problems sharing power within their own country. I don't think they have enough of the requirements to become the next major world power.
I also don't think that, whoever emerges, they will be as dominant a world power as the U.S. was. At least not in the near future.

  
kuresu
Member (Idle past 2599 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 63 of 151 (507503)
05-05-2009 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by DevilsAdvocate
05-05-2009 2:45 PM


Re: Attempting to get back to the original question
India is a democratic government. China is governed by a comunist regime. The two do not make for mutually condusive relationships.
A little too simplistic, I think. The US and China seem to have a fairly stable and beneficial relationship. The USSR and China were both communist nations. They did not have the coziest of relations. Both were of the relatively same ideology.
Ideology is a helpful determinative factor in state relations, but in the total picture, it's not quite so important.
China is extremely pragmatic, in that it will do what it sees is in its best interests. That interest is quite frankly power, and increasing their power (I realize this is going back to the realist school of international relations, but I highly doubt China sees the world through the lens of internationalism, and uses marxism--core vs. periphery--as a rallying call).
In the 1970s, that was opening up to the US.
In the 1980s, that was beginning to implement modest capitalistic reforms.
In the 2000s, that was cultivating friendly relationships with African nations, among others.
Should they think that improving their relations with India would be of benefit, they will attempt to. India is not so much concerned about China as a communist nation but as a regional power with which it has border disputes and concerns over the nuclear arsenal, among other issues.

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onifre
Member (Idle past 3037 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 64 of 151 (507504)
05-05-2009 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by dronestar
05-05-2009 12:38 PM


Re: Obvious and Natural Conclusion
Hi dronester,
Good posts Onifre.
Thanks. Where have you been? I've been taking bullets in the trenches with these "wild" conspiracy theories.
I don't know why people always jump to the "conspiracy" angle when this is discussed.
My guess is that they trust the information that they get from news sources and the internet, or, what I would refer to as the mass media outlets. Anything outside of the mainstream "ideology" is seen as conspirational because no other news sources are talking about it.
What's so conspirational about business wanting to make more money?
Exactly...
What's so conspirational about ruling powers wanting to maintain or increase their powers?
Exactly...
What's so conspirational about business wanting to usurp/lobby/join the ruling powers to make more money?
Exactly...
The US military is hardly about defense. It's about profit.
Well said.
They just love the smell of napalm in the morning. And then re-stocking more napalm.
I may use that.
Why do people think there is conspiracy in profit and power? It's both natural and obvious in a capitalist or fascist nation.
If I was being cynical , I'd say because ignorance is bliss.
LASTLY, Oni, if you are getting short on comic material, you might want to consider an oriental ride. Superstition and hyper-contradictions ahoy. The sexism/discrimination is a major downer though.
I'll look into it.
- Oni

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks
"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky

This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by dronestar, posted 05-05-2009 12:38 PM dronestar has not replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 65 of 151 (507518)
05-05-2009 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by dronestar
05-05-2009 12:38 PM


Re: Obvious and Natural Conclusion
Good posts Onifre. I don't know why people always jump to the "conspiracy" angle when this is discussed. What's so conspirational about business wanting to make a profit? (A LOT of profit)
In itself nothing. Nobody disputes the fact that big business is out to make big profit.
What's so conspirational about ruling powers wanting to maintain or increase their powers? (A LOT MORE power)
In itself nothing. Nobody disputes that those with power seek to increase and maintain that power.
What's so conspirational about business wanting to usurp/lobby/join the ruling powers to make money?
In itself nothing. Nobody disputes this either.
What is conspiritorial is not the "obvious" desire of these institutions to have the sort of power and influence that is being sugested. What is conspiritorial is the claimed extent to which these desires are being put into effect without being able to give any indication as to who or how this claimed level of influence is able to be exerted.
Eg., the US military: The US dept of defense spends as much as the rest of the world combined. This is ridiculous. The US military is hardly about defense. It's about profit. A LOT of profit. Half Trillion $ worth of profit. You'll note there is no difference between Bush and Obama's annual military budget. That's why the US wants conflicts abroad.
OK. So how do these companies go about ensuring that their interests are met in practical terms? What do they do? Who decides which country to invade? Who actuallydecides the military budget? What would happen if the elected government chose to reduce it?
GE, Westinghouse, Dupont, etc. Carlyle Group, Halliburton, Black Water, etc. These companies don't have dispirate interests. They all love the smell of napalm in the morning. And then re-stocking more napalm. And then more napalm. Ka-ching! Why do people think there has to be conspiracy in profit and power? It's both natural and obvious in a capitalist or fascist nation.
OK. So who exactly makes these decisions and how do they implement them? Do the CEO's of "GE, Westinghouse, Dupont, etc. Carlyle Group, Halliburton, Black Water, etc" sit round and work out who they want to be the next president? Do they work out which country should be invaded next?
Nobody disputes that these ridiculously wealthy corporations wield a great degree of influence and political power but how do they actually jointly go about selecting presidents and dictating policy in the way that has been suggested?
How do "they" do it? Who exactly is "they"?
That is all I am asking.
Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by dronestar, posted 05-05-2009 12:38 PM dronestar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by onifre, posted 05-05-2009 6:28 PM Straggler has replied
 Message 70 by dronestar, posted 05-06-2009 9:32 AM Straggler has replied

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 3037 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 66 of 151 (507520)
05-05-2009 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Straggler
05-05-2009 6:16 PM


Re: Obvious and Natural Conclusion
dronester writes:
Good posts Onifre. I don't know why people always jump to the "conspiracy" angle when this is discussed. What's so conspirational about business wanting to make a profit? (A LOT of profit)
Straggler writes:
In itself nothing.
Except for the "Good post Onifre" part, right?

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks
"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky

This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Straggler, posted 05-05-2009 6:16 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Straggler, posted 05-06-2009 8:33 AM onifre has replied

  
alaninnont
Member (Idle past 5523 days)
Posts: 107
Joined: 02-27-2009


Message 67 of 151 (507535)
05-05-2009 9:49 PM


I went out for my run after my last post and got to thinking about what it takes to become a world power. Some of these would be major factors and others minor. I'm sure the list is not complete. Feel free to add. I listed them in the order that they came to my mind.
1. Stable government
2. Aggressive
3. Sound economy
4. Infrastructure
5. Destiny culture
6. Broad base of resources (natural, human, technology)
7. Some skill at international diplomacy
8. A large portion of the people are ethical
9. Military prowess
10. The bulk of the population in the middle between conformist and radical.
11. International trade systems
12. Work ethic in the population
13. Patriotism
14. Substantial land base
15. Efficiency

Replies to this message:
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kuresu
Member (Idle past 2599 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 68 of 151 (507551)
05-06-2009 5:38 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by alaninnont
05-05-2009 9:49 PM


Another key item is the relative lack of a challenger.
Again, the bi-polarity of the Cold War is unusual in that there was a somewhat credible challenger to the US.
If we look at Napoleonic France, the only challenger they had was an entire alliance.
If we look at Britain around the time of the revolution, the only challenger they had was a French-based alliance.
If we look at Spain, the only challenger they had was an alliance.
If we look at Sweden, the only challenger they had was an alliance.
Europe mastered the game of making sure no one got too powerful, that no one could be a singularly global world power. They did this by allying against whoever was the most powerful, as the most powerful had a tendency to threaten their interests.
The US got to be a superpower because no one was left to challenge us immediately after WWII, and most of Europe allied with us against the USSR (that is, all of Europe that did not become part of the Soviet Union). So when the USSR did become a credible threat, it wasn't just us it had to deal with.
If the US wants to stay a global power, even a superpower, we need to co-opt our challengers, bring them into the fold as it were. We've actually somewhat done this with China. Yes, they hold a lot of our T-bills. But their not going to cash them in unless they want to destroy the US economy. They do that, they lose their second largest trading partner (only more trade with the EU), and they suffer a severe blow to their own economy, as their growth is nearly entirely export-dependent.
They are still a challenger, but the T-bills for now are a method of co-opting them, of blunting their ability to credibly challenge. On the other hand, our dependence on their trade also blunts our ability to call them out on their human rights abuses. But in the game of power, human rights isn't too much of a concern; power is the end all be all (yes, this is ignoring any conception of soft power, as advocating for human rights would strengthen soft power, increasing our ability to influence other nations who do care about human rights; for nations who do not care about human rights, all advocating for an improvement can do is hopefully get them to do so because otherwise trade, aid, or relations will be cut down, but China is too big for such tactics to actually work).
Another item to add, although it's touched upon by aggressiveness and "destiny" culture, is a desire to meddle in world affairs. Before 1898, the US was a largely isolationist country. We had the makings of a great power, but we weren't all that interested in overseas imperialism (just imperialism on the plains). After WWI, when we were a true great power, the populace retreated back into isolationist mode and stayed there even into WWII. If after WWII we had been able to be isolationist again, the history of the last 60 years would be quite different.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by alaninnont, posted 05-05-2009 9:49 PM alaninnont has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 74 by alaninnont, posted 05-06-2009 4:23 PM kuresu has replied

  
Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 69 of 151 (507559)
05-06-2009 8:33 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by onifre
05-05-2009 6:28 PM


Re: Obvious and Natural Conclusion
Oni writes:
Except for the "Good post Onifre" part, right?
Despite your paranoid schizoid conspiratorial tendancies you know I am a fan really

This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by onifre, posted 05-05-2009 6:28 PM onifre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by onifre, posted 05-06-2009 7:42 PM Straggler has replied

  
dronestar
Member
Posts: 1425
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 70 of 151 (507561)
05-06-2009 9:32 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Straggler
05-05-2009 6:16 PM


Re: Obvious and Natural Conclusion
Hi Straggler,
Errrm, this isn't very difficult to figure out Straggler. Regarding "How do they do it" and "Who is exactly "They"", . . . just off the top of my head, here's a few thoughts:
1. Dick Chaney, former Vice President of the US, was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000. Halliburton is US-based oilfield services corporation that was given many no-bid contracts during the illegal Iraq war. It's an understatement to say they made spectacular profits.
2. Every year the military industrial complex has their annual sales convention. Just like every other business, salespeople meet with their hopeful clients hoping that their brand of napalm, or phosphorous bombs, or, cluster bombs, or whatever other "illegal" weapons, will be the hit of the season and many orders will be placed. To me, its quite sickening as to how slick and "main-stream" this convention has become. It is just like any other business convention.
3. Military Industrial Lobbyists. The US government is the best that money can buy. Literally. I can't imagine another group of lobbyists besides the pharmaceutical business that is so entrenched in our government.
4. Gleeful eagerness of US government officials to use "military solutions" over diplomatic solutions. Former United States Secretary of State., Madeline Albright said, "What's the use of having troops [weapons] if you are not going to use them".
5. Members of Congress who get campaign money from the military contractors.
I am sure others can build to this list. But it should be sufficient to answer your question "What would happen if the elected government chose to reduce the military budget?" Never gonna happen.
cheers
Edited by dronester, : add #5 item

This message is a reply to:
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Perdition
Member (Idle past 3324 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 71 of 151 (507566)
05-06-2009 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by DevilsAdvocate
05-05-2009 2:45 PM


Re: Attempting to get back to the original question
If you want an interesting read about the unpredictability of predicting future events read Asimov's foundation series.
Amazing series. I'm not even sure why I like it so much, there isn't really even a main character. It's a very strangely set-up series, but it's just phenomenal.
As for the rest, I agree, trying to predict that far in the future is impossible at best...but for the sake of the thread, I thought some sort of hegemony in southeast Asia could play a big part, like the EU, should they come to some sort of agreement.
It's boring to talk about Russia resurging...Brazil could be interesting, and Europe has had it's time. In fairness, Africa, South America or Southeast Asia are due for some power. (Though, if you count the Mongols, they had their time, too.)

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Straggler
Member (Idle past 152 days)
Posts: 10333
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 72 of 151 (507575)
05-06-2009 2:08 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by dronestar
05-06-2009 9:32 AM


Re: Obvious and Natural Conclusion
1. Dick Chaney, former Vice President of the US, was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000. Halliburton is US-based oilfield services corporation that was given many no-bid contracts during the illegal Iraq war. It's an understatement to say they made spectacular profits.
Of course. Wasn't Rumsfield in on the act as well? And how did Halliburton's rivals feel about this? Was the arms industry of America united in their advocacy of this situation? Or were there disparate and competing interests amongst these different companies regarding the fact that one company in particular had such blatant influence and opportunity to make such huge profits? Where is Cheney now? Does Halliburton currently have a CEO who is also a key senior member of government? Did they choose to end this particular advantage? Or was it effectively taken from them?
Nobody has disputed that these companies have a great deal of undue influence. Under the Bush administration in particular this influence was blatant to a degree never previously seen. So much so that the "who" of my previous question was, as you suggest, quite obvious. In fact in many cases the government and "big business" were exactly the same individuals. But surely this is an example of the woeful standards of one particular short term administration rather than evidence of the claim that all presidents are just "puppets" of big business, that all politics is just "bullshit" to convince the voters that they have some sort of influence and that the change of one administration to another is nothing more than an orchestrated PR exercise to appease the masses.
It is this sort of "conspiratorial" claim that I am questioning.
As I see it these corporations indisputably have a lot of power and money. Sometimes this power and money will get a specific corporation exactly what it wants. Other times these same corporations will be forced to throw their money at a situation not of their choosing in order to leverage what influence they can muster out of it. Situations such as when that damn thing called "democracy" refuses to give them the result that the would consider ideal. But the idea that "big business" as a whole (whoever exactly that is) has some sort of united desire that can be defined and actualised in the long term such that decisions can be made as to who becomes president and what their policies should be to such an extent that democracy and the rule of government is nothing but a media manipulated charade played out for the benefit of the masses while "big business" (whoever exactly that is) gets on with really running the country for it's own evil ends.........
Well it is paranoid, conspiratorial bollocks.
2. Every year the military industrial complex has their annual sales convention. Just like every other business, salespeople meet with their hopeful clients hoping that their brand of napalm, or phosphorous bombs, or, cluster bombs, or whatever other "illegal" weapons, will be the hit of the season and many orders will be placed. To me, its quite sickening as to how slick and "main-stream" this convention has become. It is just like any other business convention.
I agree that this is disgraceful. But what does this tell us about the ability of "big business" as a whole (whoever that is) to manipulate the government to the extent that has been suggested?
3. Military Industrial Lobbyists. The US government is the best that money can buy. Literally. I can't imagine another group of lobbyists besides the pharmaceutical business that is so entrenched in our government.
So are all governments equally up for sale. Or not? Is it just "big business" as a whole (whoever that is) that decides these things or is it a complicated ebb and flow interplay between the results of democracy and the competing and disparate interests of exceptionally wealthy institutions?
I am sure others can build to this list. But it should be sufficient to answer your question "What would happen if the elected government chose to reduce the military budget?" Never gonna happen.
If enough of the voting populace gave enough of a shit about the influence and corruption that you describe then something would have to happen. And no corporation no matter how wealthy would be able to stop it. Such events are rare. But when they do happen they are history making.

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 Message 70 by dronestar, posted 05-06-2009 9:32 AM dronestar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by dronestar, posted 05-07-2009 11:16 AM Straggler has replied
 Message 78 by onifre, posted 05-07-2009 12:43 PM Straggler has replied

  
alaninnont
Member (Idle past 5523 days)
Posts: 107
Joined: 02-27-2009


Message 73 of 151 (507596)
05-06-2009 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Perdition
05-06-2009 12:47 PM


Re: Attempting to get back to the original question
Amazing series. I'm not even sure why I like it so much, there isn't really even a main character. It's a very strangely set-up series, but it's just phenomenal.
It's the rise and fall of the Roman Empire (or most any world power for that matter) on a galactic scale. While we can see trends in the behaviour of large groups of humans, I don't think we'll be able to apply a mathematicaly formula to the movement of power and large scale actions any time soon. We can even mesh quantum mechanics with Newtonian physics.

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alaninnont
Member (Idle past 5523 days)
Posts: 107
Joined: 02-27-2009


Message 74 of 151 (507598)
05-06-2009 4:23 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by kuresu
05-06-2009 5:38 AM


Another key item is the relative lack of a challenger.
If we look at Napoleonic France, the only challenger they had was an entire alliance.
If we look at Britain around the time of the revolution, the only challenger they had was a French-based alliance.
Even though the challengers had allies, they were still challengers. The challengers were just trying to bolster their hand by padding it with other country's support. I think that a challenger actually helps to create a world power. It keeps the country sharp, always wanting to stay ahead (look at the moon race) and it gives the government a bad guy to use to bilk the population. I think that the collapse of the Soviet Union may have contributed to the decline in the U.S. Without the "Red Scare", there is no urgency to stay on top of the game.
Edited by alaninnont, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
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kuresu
Member (Idle past 2599 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 75 of 151 (507602)
05-06-2009 5:12 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by alaninnont
05-06-2009 4:23 PM


If you look closely at the story I told, challengers brought down the great powers.
I even said as much:
quote:
Europe mastered the game of making sure no one got too powerful, that no one could be a singularly global world power. They did this by allying against whoever was the most powerful, as the most powerful had a tendency to threaten their interests.
  —kuresu
If you don't have a challenger, there is obviously no one to threaten your dominance. The whole point of gaining power is to keep other threats at bay or to even minimalize or eliminate threats.
So in order to be a great power or a super power there has to be a lack of a credible threat. Otherwise you'll expend yourself to the dust pile of history as a great power. A great example of this is the UK vs. Germany prior to WWI. Germany wanted a naval fleet that could challenge Britain's. Britain had a policy of having a navy too large to be challenged. So it spent tremendous sums of money on guns to its ruin as an imperial power. If Germany had not tried to challenge British oceanic supremacy, the British Empire certainly could have lasted a touch longer.
The challengers/threats you mention weren't credible (though this can largely only be seen clearly by most people after the supposed threat has passed). Credible threats are not necessary to "stay sharp".
The US became a super power because there was no challenger. The USSR tried to be one, and certainly flexed its muscles, but who set up the rules of the game? The US did. When did we set them up? Immediately after WWII. The UN, the Bretton Woods agreement (including the IMF and the World Bank) were all established when we had not even a potential challenger.
Do you seriously think the US could have set them up if the USSR was a real challenger at the time? That they would have looked anything like they did/do?

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