Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of Political Science

Advisor(s)

Hak-Seon Lee

Jonathan Keller

Andre Neveu

Yi Edward Yang

Abstract

Despite the fact that the United States has reigned as the global hegemonic power since the fall of the Soviet Union, the concept of the superpower is still very relevant today. With the perception that U.S. global dominance is waning, there are those who are waiting to see who the next dominant power may be, with many expecting states like China to fill the power vacuum. There are many countries that can project power on a global scale, known as great powers, such as Germany and Great Britain, but there has not been much if any comprehensive analysis on what causes a great power to become a modern superpower . The BRIC countries have been identified as the most plausible candidates for this status. Since Goldman Sachs identified them as today’s fastest growing economies, many have predicted that either Brazil, Russia, India or China will be next to challenge the United States for its position in the global order. Whoever rises to superpowerdom may determine what kind of world we live in, what languages are globally dominant, what international institutions have the most power, what form of money we use and even what form of government is given international priority. It is entirely feasible that a new superpower may rise which does not look at democracy favorably, despite the pro- democracy preference of the international community today. Due to the impact that a new superpower could have on global politics, it is critical that we understand how a country becomes a superpower. First, I will examine the ascension of the historical superpowers and how they came to fulfill that role. Afterwards, I will take what I have learned and apply it to the modern- day nations that have been proposed as possible candidates for superpowerdom. By doing so, this I hope to make an accurate prediction on what the future of superpower politics may hold for the international system and world as a whole.

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