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Examine the ways in which superpowers exert their influence

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Examine the ways in which superpowers exert their influence (15 marks) A superpower is a nation or group of nations that has a leading position in international politics. The nature of power has changed over time, from direct to more subtle indirect control, through trade, culture, flows of capital and resources. The concept of a superpower has developed to include economic, cultural, military and geographical influence, for example the development in the USA and the former USSR, and more recently the growth of China, India and Brazil (BRICs). Firstly, many superpowers exert their influence through the use of military power. In the modern world, this essentially means access to nuclear weapons, although the ability to watch the world using satellite and spy technology is also an increasingly important issue nowadays. The USA for example had the largest nuclear arsenal in the world during the first half of the Cold War, powerful military allies in Western Europe (NATO) with their own nuclear capabilities, as well as a global intelligence network, the CIA. The USA has military bases that distributed widely worldwide. ...read more.


During the Cold War, the USSR and USA both exerted a great deal of influence worldwide through their economic power. The Soviet Union had the second largest economy in the world, mainly due to its enormous mineral and energy resources. Five-year plans were frequently used to accomplish economic goals and economic benefits such as guaranteed employment, free healthcare and free education were greatly benefited from. Similarly, the USA had the largest economy in the world, with again large resources of minerals, energy resources, metals, and timber, not to mention the large and modernised farming industry and enormous industrial base. Furthermore, the USA was home to many large global corporations and the U.S. Dollar was the dominant world reserve currency under Bretton Woods Conference (United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference). Another way in which superpowers exert their influence is by means of cultural power. This includes the projection of a particular way of life and cultural values which influence the way others behave, and perhaps even think. Superpower influence extends to the idea of a developing global culture of ideas and norms. ...read more.


It might result from a physical or cultural presence in widespread locations. The Soviet Union wielded influence since it was the largest country in the world, with a land area of 22.27 million km�. Similarly, the USA had a large land area, making it the fourth largest country in the world and therefore giving it a great deal of geographical power. In conclusion there are many ways in which a superpower exerts its influence. Some people may indeed argue that a nation is not in fact a superpower unless all of the above ways are actually used although this is very controversial. However, it is clear that each way individually can exert a huge influence worldwide. Some people may argue that the USA is today's only superpower. It has a major military force and the world's largest economy. Its cultural values have been spread globally and its cultural symbols (e.g. the Stars and Stripes, Coca-Cola, Ford vehicles) are found worldwide. Emerging and regional powers lack some forms of power. Japan has economic power but lacks military power. In Latin America, Brazil acts as a regional power broker but its economic and military influence are confined to that region. China, as yet, lacks the cultural and geographical dominance of the USA. ...read more.

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