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Assess the relative strengths of China and India and decided which you think will become the more dominant superpower of the 21st century (30 marks)


The term ‘superpower’ originated in 1943 with a series of lectures about the potential shape of a new post-war world order by Duch-American geostrategist, Nicholas Spykman. Then in 1944, William Fox, an American foreign policy professor, concentrated the term ‘superpower’ in his book ‘The Superpowers: The United `states, Britain and the Soviet Union-Their Responsibility for Peace’. Fox uses the term Superpower to coin a new category of power able to occupy the highest status in a world in which, as the war then raging demonstrated, states could only challenge and fight one another on a global scale. However, for the essay, I will argue that the term superpower must denote ‘a superpower must be able to conduct a global strategy including the possibility of destroying the world; to command vast economic potential and influence; and to present a universal ideology’. Hence, it seems the word ‘Superpower’ relates to a country that has the capacity to project domineering power anywhere in the world and potentially, in more than one region at a time.Historically, superpowers rise and fall, ostensibly an inevitable consequence of their nature. The British Empire, dominated and controlled world trade, their military power to many was unfathomable. However, inevitably, other economies rose and their own stagnated. This led the way for bi-polar world. A world dominated by the western capitalist economy of America and the ‘red menace’ of the East, Russia. America’s initial use of ‘hard power’ created a situation in which they were at the forefront of all geopolitics and world affairs. Recently, their apparent use of ‘soft power’ a term coined by the political scientist, Joseph Nye, explains their influence across the world, their constant ability to influence the decisions of others have had significant positive impacts for them. Over recent years, the rise of a new power has surfaced, ‘smart power’ a concept that combines both hard and soft and has led the transfer of power from the West to the East. Seemingly soon, the East will become a domineering force in world politics, changing the nature of current affairs, economy and liberty. The debate as to which of the two countries, China and India, and which will dominate more is a prevalent and topical issue that is under much contention. Both have the economic capabilities, the political influence and expansive populations, but will the history of both nations taint their future?

Answered by Thomas C. Geography tutor

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