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Top 10 Superpowers of the World

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top 10 superpowers of the world

According to Alice Lyman Miller, Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, the definition of a superpower is “a country which has the capacity to project dominating power and influence anywhere in the world, and sometimes, in more than one region of the globe at a time, and so may plausibly attain the status of global hegemony”. A superpower is not only militarily strong but also has a strong economy, scientific pool as well as is self sufficient and politically stable.

Here, we have tried to collect data of various specs which dominates a countries position in Super Power index

#10. Turkey

A strong Asian nation, which is now considered to be in Europe, is a new candidate for joining European Union. Turkey is the major Muslim country which has successfully integrated religious tradition with the modern world’s style to progress in the race. It is the voice of Muslim world and maintains the most powerful conventional military in the middle east. The 10th position is shared by Canada, Italy and South Korea.

#9. Brazil

One of the largest coffee exporter and 5th largest country in the world (area wise), Brazil is believed to be a potential super power of the future. Brazil along with India, China, and Russia forms the BRIC nations. BRIC itself is the group of countries who are emerging as a super power. Situated in the continent of South America, Brazil maintains good relations with almost every country in the continent. Brazil’s timezone matches with US and hence Brazil gets advantage in doing oversea business with American clients.

#8. United Kingdom

There was a day when the Sun never used to set in the British Territory. Today, after the decolonization of most of the world, UK occupies a small place in the world. Extreme High quality Universities and Research labs makes the UK a place where quality human resources are generated. A nuclear power and a permanent member of UNSC, UK is considered to be one of the most advanced county in West Europe. Most of UK’s policies and decisions are similar to the US. UK and US share almost similar interests in every field.

#7. India

Largest Democracy and thousand years old history, India has a strong cultural influence throughout the world. While Indian music and Indian movies are very popular in the third world, Indian tradition and spirituality attracts many youths as well as elderly from the western world. India is almost self sufficient in food and feeds other nations as well, being the top exporter of major cereals. India maintains a strong position in the subcontinent and its comments, policies and diplomacy are studied very carefully by the current superpowers. Economically, India is one of the fastest growing countries, with new and new infrastructure coming up in the country daily. Indian firms have been successful in attracting jobs from other countries, specially US, American companies themselves preferring Indians over American due to its highly skilled resources. Militarily, India maintains one of the top 5 Army, Navy and Air force of the world. Though is not a signatory of NPT, it is considered and recognized by the world as the only trusted nuclear power outside NPT. The only area where India lacks is the poor rate of literacy and poverty and a high population, which is growing day by day, causing stress and burden on the current cities which are unable to handle the crowd.

#6. Japan

Attacked by Americans with nuclear bombs in 1945, who would have thought that Japan will become the country whose electronics gadgets will be found in every American households in 2011? Japan is militarily weaker and is very much relied on imports for food and fuel. Time to time, it is hit by natural calamities creating disturbance in the region. Japanese electronics and Advanced vehicles are top in the market competition.

#5. Germany

After the WWII, Germany was broken into two pieces and was exploited by the Western nations and Soviet Union. Still Germany, after the unification in 1990, managed to come back as a regional power. With a powerful economy and its export competitiveness, has made its dominant influence in the Eurozone. World class universities and research facilities are the home of various interesting researches in the world.

#4. France

400px-Potential_Superpowers.svgA great economy in the west, France maintains a powerful military and Airforce. A respectable nuclear power and a permanent member of UNSC, it is influential globally and in the EU. Its language is one of the most popular among the foreign language course around the world. It also has favorable demographic indicators in ageing Europe; compared to other European countries, young generation in France is more in the total population.

#3. Russia

An Erstwhile Superpower in the form of Soviet Union, Russia still maintains that power and respect in the world. According to many, Russia is the only country in front of which America’s big brother attitude doesn’t work. Despite of having a great advanced military, strong policies and a stable economy, Russia’s influence as well as its interest on the world events is declining, which is one of the factors of its fall from number 2 position to number 3. Rich in natural resources, Russia is self sustained in fuel and mineral and has the ability to influence other countries for fuel export. Due to Recession and Chinese military catch up, Russia was overtaken by China in 2008, though it still deserves the title of the Third Superpower.

#2. China

China has created a worldwide unbeatable manufacturing and export empire. Its product can be found in every household. With one of the largest Military in the world and economy growing at the fastest pace,  China deserves the 2nd position in the Superpower index. It is a nuclear power as well as a permanent member of the UNSC. China is active on various economic as well as regional forums to extend trade ties and search for new opportunities. China is quick in grabbing the deals and projects in Africa, which has lot of scope for development and has abundant natural resources.

#1. USA

USA is still the true superpower since the cold war time. US maintains worlds strongest as well as most advance conventional military. It is the largest exporter of sophisticated weapons and the largest economy in the world. Other economies of the world are so dependent on US that if anything wrong happens in the US markets, it affects the whole world. US currency dominates the trade world. Their movies and media has great influence in the world. US, also known as the land of opportunity, has been rated as the best place to work or study.

Also read: Top 10 Science Super Powers of the Modern World

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Technology

A new cyber arms race

Alexandra Goman

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Not long time ago cyber threats were not even on agenda in security, let along national security landscape. Now, the situation is different. Now, everyone recognizes the risks of hyper-connected world: from an individual in front of the computer to a high-level officer, operating a nuclear facility. As new tools are being developed, cyber-security occupies an important niche in decision-making and planning.   As more and more people are securing their laptops, tablets, phones; the military started doing that too.

Just six years ago the US Defence Secretary warned[1] about a possible Cyber Pearl Harbour. Cyber Pearl Harbour is a strategic surprise attack which could potentially incapacitate computational and communication capabilities, leading to a devastating impact on the country (Goldman and Arquilla, 2014, p. 13). This notion is usually fuelled by ongoing media reports that countries are in active pursuit of offensive cyber capabilities which could jeopardize any sector, penetrate any system and cause major disruptions. Regardless of the accuracy of these reports, every country understands that these cyber insecurities can be and, probably, will be exploited by an enemy. That is why many states are now allocating enormous amount of resources to develop defensive cyber means along with the offensive capabilities.

The number of cyberattacks is increasing. One can argue about its future potential targets, but it is clear that we should assume that cyberattacks will become only more sophisticated and, possibly, more deadly in the future. That is why vulnerabilities should be addressed, and the nations should be prepared to the cyber challenge.

Along the most well-known cyberattacks happened in Estonia (2007), Syria (impacted air defence systems 2007), Georgia (2008), Iran (Stuxnet 2009-10), The Saudi Arabia (Aramco 2012), Ukraine (2014), U.S. (electoral campaign 2016). Additionally, the world was quite agitated about WannaCry and Petya attacks in 2017. All in all, most of the recent attacks targeted commercial sectors, showing that there might be a constraining norm in regards to military sector and critical infrastructures.

 This consequently might indicate that states might be pursuing more sophisticated technologies in order to target more sophisticated systems. It might as well suggest a possibility of on-going cyber arms races between the countries. However, there are clear limitations of cyber warfare, as no physical damage occurred and no people were killed. Even the damage inflicted on critical infrastructures was limited and failed to cause major consequences. However, financial losses as a result of cyberattacks can be rather substantial and might have a great impact on economically weaker states.

Based on the scale of current attacks, we can only assume that the technology will spread and get more sophisticated with the time. As Mazanec has outlined, cyber warfare capabilities will play a role in future military conflicts, as they are being integrated into military and state doctrines (2015, pp. 80-83). However, despite cyber challenges to national security, it does not necessarily reflect that deterrence methods and tactics will be applicable to cyberspace.

This technology is quite cheap, requires less resources and personnel, and therefore allows less economically advanced countries developing cyber. As a result, there is a clear asymmetry with weaker states competing with the world powers. Consequently, the threat is multiplied internationally.   So the states are now in an unprecedented situation, because of the high level of uncertainty that cyberspace poses. This compels the states to adapt to the fast changing environment in international relations.

According to the report of McAfee[2], a global security technology company, 57% believe that cyber arms race is taking place now. The top officials in the West are convinced too.  For example, NATO secretary general Stoltenberg said[3] that cyber would become integral to any military conflict. Following this, NATO Defence Ministers have agreed[4] that cyber will be a part of military planning and operations. It is clear that the West is fully aware of cyber developments and eager to use it in its actions.

Similarly, the Chinese Military Strategy of 2015 has also admitted that cyberspace will take a place in strategic competition among all parties. The Indian Army is also not falling behind and strengthening its cyber arsenal. General Rawat has recently said[5] that India is now more concerned about developing these cyber capabilities than fighting on the border.  The chain-reaction follows as in the case of the Cold War in pursuing the technologies and keeping up-to-date with the others states.

In this situation a leader faces similar challenges as in proliferation of any other military technology. There are four possible scenarios that make it difficult to calculate probabilities (According to Goldman and Arquilla, 2014):

1)    We develop a cyber capability[6] – They develop a cyber capability;

This is a frequent scenario and occurs when both countries have technological capability to develop cyber means.

2)    We develop a cyber capability – They don’t develop a cyber capability;

There are certain problems in verifying if a country really lacks a capability to pursue cyber weapons. However, this case gives obvious advantage and leverage to a state that develops cyber capability.

3)    We don’t develop a cyber capability – They develop a cyber capability;

From a political and strategic point of view, it puts a state into a disadvantageous position, therefore, making it undesired.

4)    We don’t develop a cyber capability – They don’t develop a cyber capability;

It is more desirable; however, no direct experience exists. Usually if there is a possibility that a technology can be developed, it will be developed at least by some state.

Interestingly enough, there is not much concrete information available in regards to these developments, whether it is amount of arsenal, types of cyber capability, or just simple information on the notions. Information which is accessible is usually written by the Western authors (it is particularly covered by US officials/military and academia) or can be found in government’s documents. NATO common strategy, perhaps, contributes towards it. On a broader scale, cyber is treated as a state secret and specific information is classified. There is much information which is not available (for example, development of cyber weapons, its employment, reasons for its employment, legality of the use of cyber weapons etc.). In some countries, there is nothing to find at all.

The good example is cyber capabilities of Russia. There is no available information: no official statements, no official policy, no academic articles published, it goes to the extent that even media is not engaged in these issues. Alexei Arbatov (2018), an internationally recognized scholar on global security, has recently confirmed that even academic debate in Russia does not officially exist, only at the university level or informal. Notwithstanding, the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation recognizes[7] the fact that military threats and dangers are now shifting towards cyberspace (“informatsionnoe prostranstvo”).

Similarly to Russia, China also maintains secrecy concerning its developments in the military. According to the report of the Institute for Security Technology Studies (2004), available sources insist that Beijing is pursuing cyber warfare programs, but classified nature of specifics aggravates assessments.

 This secrecy around cyber resembles the secrecy surrounding nuclear developments. All of this information was classified too, yet the principles of nuclear governance have managed to emerge even in the tight environment of the Cold War. Similar situation arose in regards to the use of drones. All the initial strikes of drones were classified, and only with time the debate started to evolve. At the moment it is quite vigorous.

As for cyber, it will certainly take time to talk freely about cyber capabilities and warfare. It will be different in different countries, but in the end the debate will open up as well as new technologies will come and cyber would have become a history.

References

Arbatov, A. (2018). Stability in a state of flux. Opinion presented at the 31st ISODARCO Winter Course – The Evolving Nuclear Order: New Technology and Nuclear Risk, 7-14 January 2018, Andalo.

Billo, Ch. and Chang, W. (2004). Cyber Warfare, an Analysis of the Means and Motivations of selected Nation States. Institute for Security Technology Studies, [online] Available at http://www.ists.dartmouth.edu/docs/cyberwarfare.pdf [Accessed on 27.12.2017].

Goldman, E. and Arquilla, J., ed. (2014). Cyber Analogies. Monterey: Progressive Management.

Mazanek, B. (2015). Why International Order is not Inevitable. Strategic Studies Quarterly, 9 (2), pp. 78-98. [online] Available at: http://www.airuniversity.af.mil/Portals/10/SSQ/documents/Volume-09_Issue-2/mazanec.pdf [Accessed on 28.01.2018].

[1] U.S. Department of Defense (2012). Remarks by Secretary Panetta on Cybersecurity to the Business Executives for National Security, New York City, [online] Available at: http://archive.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=5136 [Accessed on 22.01.2018].

[2] McAfee (2012). Cyber Defense Report. [online] Available at: https://www.mcafee.com/uk/about/news/2012/q1/20120130-02.aspx [Accessed on 22.01.2018].

[3] Hawser, A. (2017). NATO to Use Cyber Effects in Defensive Operations. Defense Procurement International, [online] Available at: https://www.defenceprocurementinternational.com/features/air/nato-and-cyber-weapons [Accessed on 22.01.2018].

[4] NATO (2017). NATO Defense Ministers agree to adopt command structure, boost Afghanistan troops levels. [online] Available at: https://www.nato.int/cps/ic/natohq/news_148722.htm?selectedLocale=en [Accessed on 22.01.2018].

[5] Gurung, Sh. (2018). Army stepping up cyber security. The Economic Times, [online] Available at: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/army-stepping-up-cyber-security/articleshow/62482582.cms [Accessed on 23.01.2018].

[6] Here it means both offensive and defensive capabilities (Author’s note).

[7] The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation (edited in 2014). Moscow: p. 4. [online] Available at: http://www.mid.ru/documents/10180/822714/41d527556bec8deb3530.pdf/d899528d-4f07-4145-b565-1f9ac290906c [Accessed on 23.01.2018].

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Technological change and new challenges in war

Alexandra Goman

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The notion of war has been changing for a long time due to technological advances. This subsequently has caused new arms races. Since the first military revolution in infantry and artillery during the Hundred Years’ War, many things have been indeed reshaped. New technologies consistently redefined the way wars are conducted and altered the notion of risk (both for combatants and civilians).

For a long time land and sea were the main domains for a war. As the technology further developed and a flight capability was introduced, air has become a new domain.  That posed new risks and challenges that one could not overlook. To keep balancing on the battlefield one needed to adjust accordingly and develop its own air capability. Having only land troops and naval ships were suddenly not enough to prevail in these new circumstances. The military planning and strategy changed with it, shifting from the trench warfare during the World War I to a blitzkrieg and air raids during the World War II.

In the middle of 20th century nuclear weapons were invented which greatly impacted the warfare and the balance of international relations. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed more than just a massive destructive power that could obliterate millions in a blink of the eye. Years later demonstrated a real impact of a nuclear bomb and its long-lasting consequences as well as how poorly prepared were the infrastructures for a nuclear attack.

The advent of internet and its rapid development brought another military revolution, introducing computer-assisted battlefield and precision-guided munitions (PGM). More sophisticated weapons like missiles increased the distance between enemies, hence changing the risks involved and recalculating political strategy and tactics. Increased dependency on information technology resulted in new threats and opened new vulnerabilities of national security (Ohlin, Govern and Finkelstein, 2015, x-xiii).

Meanwhile, the amount of cyber threats and vulnerabilities are rapidly increasing. At the moment there are several tendencies for cyberattacks. First, it takes less time to launch a cyberattack as its speed of transmission is very high. Second, such attacks are becoming more frequent and have more serious impact on systems. Third, there are now different types of actors, capable of launching a cyberattack.

Estonia was the first to experience the effects of growing technological dependency in the history. In 2007 its government infrastructure, financial sector and media were targeted and attacked entirely in cyberspace[1]. The country proved to be highly vulnerable and unable to give a timely response, yet after these attacks Estonia started a public discussion on the issues of cyber defense in security and pushed other countries to take these issues into consideration. In a way, it was a stimulus to raise awareness on increased vulnerabilities and cyber threats (See also Aaviksoo, 2010).

This new space has clearly its threats as any other physical domain. As online interconnectivity increases, cyber threats are increasing with them. All digital technologies that receive, transmit, and manage digital data can be potentially interfered through a cyberattack (Lewis and Unal, 2017). Cyber security expert Rod Beckstrom, who is a former Chief Executive Officer of ICANN, said[2]: “Everything networked can be hacked. Everything is being networked, so everything is vulnerable”.

That was further proven by the Black Hat Briefings, the biggest computer security conferences in the world. These vulnerabilities can be easily exploited. Cyberattacks vary from data theft and financial fraud to data manipulation and manipulation of machine instructions. Furthermore, they can interfere with enemy sensors, communications, command-control systems, and weapon systems. In this sense, defending electronic infrastructure grows consistently as our dependence on information system grows.

Similarly to the development of nuclear weapons back to the 20th century, it is well-known that many countries are currently developing cyber capabilities and boosting research and investment in this area. This means that the arms race in cyberspace has already started. In 2007 there were 120 countries, already developed ways to use the internet to target different sectors (Ohlin, Govern, and Finkelstein, 2015, xii).

As much as the debate in regards to offensive cyber capacities is increasing its pace, two distinct patters are emerged in the way it is discussed. Some say that cyber can lower the threshold in war; others worry about its use in taking down critical infrastructures.

In the first optimistic case, military and states regard these capabilities capable of occupying a new niche in diplomatic tools. In 2014 Eric Rosenbach, an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security at that time, has indeed referred[3] cyber operations as helpful in reaching national goals.  Specifically, he mentioned “the space between” diplomacy, economic sanctions and military action, meaning using cyber space to accomplish national interest. Cyberattacks can be used as an addition to military strikes or can become an alternative to direct kinetic confrontation, complimenting other tools used in politics. Thus, they can further lower the threshold of the use of force in a war.

In other case, however, it can possess as much destructive power as nuclear weapons, for example if it is targeted on power grids or critical infrastructures. Increased connectivity from consumer goods to critical infrastructure control systems poses great risks and vulnerabilities across the world (Weber, 2010). These vulnerabilities can be used as leverage or they can be used exploited instead of launching a missile, following a similar ultimate goal of taking down an adversary.

Traditionally, national and international security has been seen through a physical lens. Normally there is always a state that secures its land borders, sea boundaries, and protects airspace. In contrast, there is no equivalent to city police or a state army that protects its citizens in cyberspace. As professor of National Security Affairs Reveron summarizes[4], unlike other domains, the government does not have a natural role in cyberspace to promote security. In its turn cyber challenges the traditional framework of security.

Today people willingly share, transmit or store all sort of data through the internet. It is not surprising that a new strategy evolves by planting software into an electronic device to manipulate this data. For instance, by manipulating e-mails of nuclear power plant employees it is possible to acquire sensitive information and use it as a leverage tool. This shift in the notion of warfare merged military and corporate espionage functions. Militarization of cyberspace subsequently blurred legal and moral definitions of privacy rights. In the 21st century any individual may be targeted in the virtual world, depending on the information niche s/he is occupying. In result, the line between military and civil sectors is fading away.

All in all, cyber capabilities have indeed brought a new technological change and now re-shifting security, definitions and rules of war. International law, at the same time, has been slow in adjusting to a new evolving order and establishing an appropriate legal regime for cyberattacks.  Moreover, this technological advance has coined a new term for the notion of war – a cyberwar. Ohlin, Govern, and Finkelstein suggest that this change brings not only new weapons to be employed, but transforms the entire notion of war (2015, xiii).

References

Lewis, P. and Unal, B. (2017). Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons System. In: Borrie, J., Caughley, T., and Wan, W., (Eds.), Understanding Nuclear Weapons Risks, 1st ed. Geneva: UNIDIR, pp.  61-72.

Ohlin, J.D., Govern, K. and Finkelstein, C., eds. (2015). Cyberwar Law and Ethics for Virtual Conlicts. New York: Oxford University Press.

Sulek, D. and Moran, N. (2009).What Analogies Can Tell Us About the Future of Cybersecurity. Cryptology and Information Security Series, 3, pp. 118-131.

Weber, R. (2010). Internet of Things: New Security and Privacy Challenges. Computer Law & Security Review, 26 (1), pp. 23-30.

[1] Davis, J. (2007). Hackers Take Down the Most Wired Country in Europe. Wired, [online] Available at: https://www.wired.com/2007/08/ff-estonia/ Accessed on [19.12.2017].

[2] Flanagan, B. (2016). Hacked Asteroids Destroying Earth and Other Cybergeddon Scenarios. Knowledge Hub, [online] Available at: https://www.worldgovernmentsummit.org/knowledge-hub/hacked-asteroids-destroying-earth-and-other-cybergeddon-scenarios [Accessed 20.12.2017].

[3] Cyber Leaders: A Discussion with the Honorable Eric Rosenbach. (2014). Centre for Strategic & International Studies,

Available at: https://www.csis.org/events/cyber-leaders-discussion-honorable-eric-rosenbach [Accessed on 20.12.2017].

[4] Reveron, D. (2017). How Cyberspace is Transforming International Security. Faculty insight at Harvard Extension School, [online] Available at: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/inside-extension/how-cyberspace-transforming-international-security [Accessed 28/12/2017].

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War and Military

Is World Peace A War Away?

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World peace is something the world has never had if we’re honest. But as of late things seem to be hotting up a little bit. We’re no longer at a place in time where we can safely travel the world without running into danger, and we’re definitely not at a place where we can stay worry free about the future of the world. There’s so much going on in terms of terrorism, wars, and conflicts that are very close to boiling point. So the question that is constantly on people’s minds is whether we’re a war away from finding peace, or even whether a war would equal any peace at all. This is what we’re going to explore today, so have a read on and see what you think by the end.

Terrorism

Terrorism is so scary, and so real at the minute. Ever since the 9/11 bombings and the rise of the Islamic state group ISIS, we’re living in constant fear of an imminent attack on major countries such as the US and the UK. But it isn’t just those big countries that are being affected, all over the world smaller terrorist attacks are happening. One by one secret forces and the military are trying to break down the group right from its very core. But the thing that is holding them back is radicalisation. Thousands of people are being radicalised, meaning the group is growing at an alarming rate. So is there a way to stop them? At the minute it doesn’t look like there is, and with this war there seems to be no end. So the worrying fact here is this, no, with terrorism a war wouldn’t bring peace. Only mass killings, damaged countries, and even more fear of an impending attack.

What’s Being Done?

There is plenty being done, both good and bad, by countries all over the world to try and stop what we’re dealing with today. For example, there are smaller non-profit organisations trying to promote democracy throughout different countries. They’re funded by something called the National Endowment for Democracy. It is this funding that is giving countries hope around the world. There’s also things being done on a large scale by the government. Acts of peace and talks of peace are constantly being discussed, but it just seems like every time they do, something happens to put countries at loggerheads again!

USA, Russia & North Korea

This is something the whole world is feeling the effects and fear of. The media definitely doesn’t help the situation, but it’s still something that we should all be thinking about. The feud between the USA and Korea in particular is one that has been intensifying massively over the last year. With North Korea doing a missile test every other week, and the USA threatening to take action, a lot of us can only wonder how long it is going to be before a war breaks out, especially with Trump in control and his anger towards their actions. Again, in this case a war could be deadly. Both countries are armed with powerful nuclear missiles, and both countries definitely don’t seem afraid to lose them. All we can hope here is that democracy will take over, and some form of order will come into play sooner rather than later.

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