Can China become a Superpower

Jun 2010
17
Germany - Halle (Saale)
I am not willing, yet, to concede anything to a country that supresses knowledge and free thought and expression...just yet. Their system, much like Soviet Russia and Cuba will only take them so far before it implodes on them. Think about why we, and some other Western nations have accomplished so much....because we encourage freedom of thought, expression and the ever wonderful "Pursuit of Happiness".

We teach our children to explore and to think "outside the box". We encourage science and experimentation with theory and ideas. We reward innovation.

Their system is geared to manufacture but to not developing new ideas. They fear new ideas.

Again, only an opinion but I still do not believe that their system will take them as far as western nations have gone.
I like this comment, because it says what I thought.

I think that China is a country that is hard to understand (at least for me).
And because of the different ideas people have in china (or can I even say ideology ?), its difficult to make an alliance (that is not just made out of economic or self-interest etc.).

And I really asked myself the question if China is already a super power or not, because the development/ industry is only in the big cities, isn't it ?
 
Dec 2009
19,933
There may be a problem with the definition of "superpower" here; I don't think humans rights or GDP distribution criteria are regularly required for that definition.

From Merriam-Webster:
An extremely powerful nation; specifically : one of a very few dominant states in an era when the world is divided politically into these states and their satellites: an international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states.
In any case, it has been evident for years that the economic history of modern China and the Soviet Union are entirely different.
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
So then, which countries surpass China in super-power-ness? By what metrics are they ranked?
 
Dec 2009
19,933
So then, which countries surpass China in super-power-ness? By what metrics are they ranked?
IMHO the US are the only nation that might nowadays fulfill the criteria of that nice definition of M-W.

From the other 200 or so nations of the world, China would be an obvious candidate for eventually becoming a superpower (i.e. the OP).
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
IMHO the US are the only nation that might nowadays fulfill the criteria of that nice definition of M-W.
Huh? Monday - Wednesday?

I just mean, which countries other than China are poised, long-term, to "achieve" "super-powerdom?"

I understand "super" merely to mean "very prominent, influential," not "domination" or any such fantasy.

China, India, and Brazil are the "usual suspects" in this regard. Of those, my money would be on India - it is a true liberal democracy and a large portion of the population is well-educated.

I wouldn't exclude Russia yet either. They may be down for the count just now, but the bell hasn't rung yet. They know where they must go, but not exactly how to get there.

This is the "genius" of the US(and some other places too). If people aren't free to shout, "The King is a Fink!" then that particular society is stuck, frozen in time; no progress is possible.

Just go back and read the newspapers in the U.S. for the past two centuries. They're full of stories about how evil and corrupt the government was(is). Golly, just sit down at a cafe and listen to the conversation at the next table. You'll get an earful of it - and you always will have had. Nobody's shy about it. That's how progress is possible.

Freedom of speech is indispensable. That's how you'll know who the next super-powers will be.
 
Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
This is just a thought here but, perhaps the era of Superpowers is over.
The US hit a sort of fluke in history when every other potential rival was destroyed or exhausted. And then in 1991 it hit it again where all rivals were gone and all potential powers were under its own alliance system.

As we progress into the 20th century, countries become richer and more educated and more intertwinted. Super Power domination and rivalries using other countries might not be the way things will go. The Great Powers in the early 20th century had colonies but nobody really has colonies anymore. Japan may be trying to break away from the US a little but that doesn't mean its slipping into a Chinese orbit. It just means its becoming a normal country that doesn't want to be dominated by anyone. Australia seems to be moving the same way. Heck, even North Korea wants a relationship with the US rather than sole dependence on China.
I think France is an interesting country to look at. Nominally allied to the US and in the EU, but it basically follows its own foreign policy, sometimes on America's side sometimes against it. Sells weapons to whoever it wants and often has to be courted. We may be entering the era where everyone is on everyone's side rather than a future US vs China Cold War Style system.
Rather than a future war with US and its allies vs China and its allies we may see, everybody saying, "have at it yourselves," and its only US fighting only China. for example anyway.
 

diddyriddick

Historum Emeritas
May 2009
14,692
A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
This is just a thought here but, perhaps the era of Superpowers is over.
The US hit a sort of fluke in history when every other potential rival was destroyed or exhausted. And then in 1991 it hit it again where all rivals were gone and all potential powers were under its own alliance system.

As we progress into the 20th century, countries become richer and more educated and more intertwinted. Super Power domination and rivalries using other countries might not be the way things will go. The Great Powers in the early 20th century had colonies but nobody really has colonies anymore. Japan may be trying to break away from the US a little but that doesn't mean its slipping into a Chinese orbit. It just means its becoming a normal country that doesn't want to be dominated by anyone. Australia seems to be moving the same way. Heck, even North Korea wants a relationship with the US rather than sole dependence on China.
I think France is an interesting country to look at. Nominally allied to the US and in the EU, but it basically follows its own foreign policy, sometimes on America's side sometimes against it. Sells weapons to whoever it wants and often has to be courted. We may be entering the era where everyone is on everyone's side rather than a future US vs China Cold War Style system.
Rather than a future war with US and its allies vs China and its allies we may see, everybody saying, "have at it yourselves," and its only US fighting only China. for example anyway.
Nice posts in this thread, Dr. R. Thanks!
 

Edgewaters

Ad Honorem
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
Canada doesn't have as much water as you think they do. Territorially they have claims on many forms of glacial ice, but we don't use glacial ice on a mass scale, no major country does. That leaves surface and ground water. Canada does indeed have vast resources of surface water, but it's frozen over for a large portion of the year and isn't efficient. In terms of ground water they have less than the US.
Nobody uses glacial ice now, but, if water becomes a commodity then glacial ice is ideally suited to export overseas. However . . . it's disappearing rather rapidly.

As far as surface water, frozen isn't a problem (there is always liquid water under the surface, ask any ice-fisher). The problem is that so much of it is in the far north, in places where there aren't even any roads for hundreds and hundreds of kilometers, let alone the kind of infrastructure necessary to tap the freshwater.

And as infrastructure goes where we do have it, in general, we are far, far behind the US. We have much weaker standards to prevent contamination, and our water infrastructure is much more neglected (while the US is rapidly expanding and modernizing its water infrastructure).
 

scholar

Ad Honorem
Apr 2010
3,553
In the Western Hemisphere
Nobody uses glacial ice now, but, if water becomes a commodity then glacial ice is ideally suited to export overseas. However . . . it's disappearing rather rapidly.

As far as surface water, frozen isn't a problem (there is always liquid water under the surface, ask any ice-fisher). The problem is that so much of it is in the far north, in places where there aren't even any roads for hundreds and hundreds of kilometers, let alone the kind of infrastructure necessary to tap the freshwater.

And as infrastructure goes where we do have it, in general, we are far, far behind the US. We have much weaker standards to prevent contamination, and our water infrastructure is much more neglected (while the US is rapidly expanding and modernizing its water infrastructure).
No, not really.

Yeah, I know there is normally always water underneath the ice, but the main problem is getting to it under extremely cold conditions. In the late spring and summer months it is a very viable option, but for the entire year it really isn't. Not without immense factories with pipes under the ice pumping the water and finding some way so it doesn't freeze.

In anycase... not the right topic.

----

I'm still rather surprised that we're still seriously entertaining the notion that China will become a superpower. India may indeed become a superpower, just as China may become one, but the odds are against them. There is a lot more to a superpower than just mere population and intelligence levels. Modernized Infrastructure, mass internal resources, near limitless influence. China and India are victims of their own success! They just don't know it yet. The richer China becomes, and it's people becomes the more expensive they'll be to use. China and India are temporary stops for the western world, once we find some way to train the uneducated in Vietnam and Thailand we'll jump ship, and when we do India and China will collapse. The reason is they have no real market for their own goods. Who wants an "iPad" when you're starving, living in or near a farm, probably don't even have a refrigerator nor an oven. Poor and living off of rice, when you may not even have enough water to make it through the month. Yeah, those ipads are necessities.

Brazil is the only one to have a real chance in hell out of the three main culprits. Behind them is a restored powerful Russia. After these? The European Union teetering on the edge of collapse, and the African Union that will tear itself apart due to internal warfare. I would say Turkey and perhaps The U.K. (1 in 250 chance) if it jumps off the sinking ship and starts doing what it does best it will have a real shot at becoming superpowers. Thing is U.K. is going to tear itself apart... It might just be England and Wales in a few dozen years. It may never be a "United States" power, but it can be a force to be reckoned with all around the world. (which it kind of is)