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Superpower collapse

Superpower collapse is the political collapse of a superpower nation state; the term is most often used to describe the dissolution of the Soviet Union but also can be applied to the loss of the United Kingdom's superpower status.

Soviet Union

Dramatic changes occurred in the Soviet Union during the 1980s and early 1990s, with perestroika and glasnost, the dramatic fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, and finally ending in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. As early as 1970, Andrei Amalrik had made predictions of Soviet collapse; Emmanuel Todd made a similar prediction in 1976.[1]

United States

Some political scientists[who?] believe that when one superpower collapses, another must take its place so as to maintain a balance of power. During the Cold War, the U.S. fought many proxy wars against USSR-supported Marxist-Leninist and socialist states, but after the Soviet dissolution found itself as the world's sole superpower, even deemed by a few[who?] to be the world's sole hyperpower. Political theoreticians of the neo-realist philosophy, (known by many as neoconservatives), self-styled as the Blue Team, increasingly view the People's Republic of China as a military threat,[2][3] although there are relatively strong economic ties between the two powers. Blue Team members favor containment and confrontation with the PRC, and strong US support of Taiwan.[4]

In After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order [5] Emmanuel Todd predicts the eventual decline and fall of the United States as a superpower; 'After years of being perceived as a problem-solver, The US itself has now become a problem for the rest of the world.'

Others have pointed to intensified partisanship, large and expansive budget deficits, political paralysis, disillusionment with the political process, failure of wages to maintain parity with productivity and sustained increases to America's debt burden as further cause to suggest its decline.

United Kingdom

The consequence of fighting two World Wars in a relatively short amount of time, along with the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union rise to superpower status after the end of World War II, both of which were hostile to British imperialism and along with the change in ideology led to a rapid wave of decolonization all over the world in the decades after World War II. The Suez Crisis of 1956 is generally considered the beginning of the end of Britain's period as a superpower,[6][7][8] although other commentators have pointed to World War I, the Depression of 1920-21, the Partition of Ireland, the return of the pound sterling to the gold standard at its prewar parity in 1925, the loss of wealth from World War II, the end of Lend-Lease Aid from the United States in 1945, the postwar Age of Austerity, the Winter of 1946–47, the beginning of decolonization, and the independence of India as key points in Britain's decline and loss of superpower status.[9]

The Suez Crisis is widely regarded as ending Britain's status as an imperial power after its American ally humiliatingly forced the British and French to withdraw, cementing the increasingly bi-polar Cold War politics between the Soviet Union and United States. After 1956, much of its remaining imperial holdings achieved independence, accelerating the transition from Empire to Commonwealth. Britain was later crippled by high inflation and industrial unrest that unraveled the Post-War Consensus from 1970 onward, becoming referred to by some as the Sick Man of Europe. In 1976, the United Kingdom sought assistance from the International Monetary Fund, which totaled $3.9 billion (the largest ever loan requested).[10][11] Many saw this as symbolising Britain's post-war decline. However, the United Kingdom still has a formidable military and is one of the 5 nuclear powers.

See also

References

  1. ^ The final fall, Todd, 1976
  2. ^ "China's Growing Military Muscle: A Looming Threat?". NPR.org. 20 June 2011.
  3. ^ Isaac Stone Fish (10 June 2013). "'We Face a Very Serious Chinese Military Threat'". Foreign Policy.
  4. ^ BRANEGAN, Jay (Apr 9, 2001). "The Hard-Liners". TIME Magazine. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  5. ^ Todd, publ Constable, 2001
  6. ^ Brown, Derek (14 March 2001). "1956: Suez and the end of empire". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ Reynolds, Paul (24 July 2006). "Suez: End of empire". BBC News.
  8. ^ History's worst decisions and the people who made them, pp. 167–172
  9. ^ "United Kingdom | History, Geography, Facts, & Points of Interest". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  10. ^ "National Archives". Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Sterling devalued and the IMF loan". The National Archives. Retrieved 17 December 2015.