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  • Since the end of the Cold War, the United States  was quickly dubbed the only superpower in the  

  • world, but Russia and China soon rebounded from  the collapse of the Soviet Union in their own ways  

  • to challenge US supremacy. Because of  these countries' increasing military  

  • power and economies, the paradigm of  the world has shifted from a monopoly  

  • of power to more of a multipolar power world. While these countries and organizations like NATO  

  • have been traditionally seen as the world's top  powers now and for years to come, with advances  

  • in technology and an ever-increasing global  economy, there are still plenty of opportunities  

  • for other countries and organizations  to join the elite club of "top powers." 

  • So what does the future hold? A single superpower  like today- and one that's not necessarily the US?  

  • Or multiple superpowers? Let's take a look at two  possibilities for powers that could dethrone not  

  • just the US, but China and Russia as well! Number One- India 

  • India seems like they should already be a world  superpower simply because it has the second  

  • largest population and second-largest military in  the world behind China, but that is not the case.  

  • With a threat so close to home, India has been  unable to flex its real military muscle abroad.

  • India and Pakistan have fought a series of  wars starting in the late 1940s up until  

  • today over their borders. These clashes have  broken out in full-scale wars several times  

  • and even today there has been an ongoing  insurgency along India's northwest frontier,  

  • fueled largely in part by Pakistan. It's not just its western border that's  

  • seen conflict though, because along its northern  border India has also been focused on preventing  

  • Chinese intrusions into their territory and has  had several skirmishes and disputes with the  

  • Chinese along its northeastern border with TibetMost recently, India suffered heavy casualties  

  • from a skirmish between Indian and Chinese  troops, though luckily all-out war was averted

  • But in recent years India has decided to shift  its military and economy towards a more global  

  • focus. The Indian military in of itself is  massive, with its Army boasting over one million  

  • active-duty soldiers, its Navy having almost  three hundred ships in its fleets, and an Air  

  • Force with thousands of combat aircraft. India  is also one of the few countries in the world to  

  • have a nuclear triad, meaning they could launch  nuclear missiles from the land, sea, and air

  • Despite all these advantages, the Indian military  still has some issues that need to be resolved to  

  • get them from a regional to global power. The  first of these is modernizing its equipment  

  • and producing its own military hardware. India  still to this day imports most of its military  

  • equipment from the US, Russia, and Israel. Some of  their most important assets for power projection,  

  • like their bomber aircraft and ships, are  decades old. These aging platforms, though still  

  • serviceable and well-kept by the Indians, would be  outmatched by most of today's ships and aircraft

  • The Indian military also needs to  democratize its military spending.  

  • Though the Indian defense budget is the fourth  largest in the world at almost 57 billion dollars,  

  • the vast majority of it goes to the army. While  this is partially understandable since the army  

  • has been fighting various insurgencies for  decades- especially after the 9/11 terror  

  • attacks- it showcases just how much influence  the army has on politicians in the government

  • In order to fully modernize its air force and  navy to project power abroad, larger sums of money  

  • need to be spent on these two services since the  army gets more money than both of them combined

  • Their naval strategy also needs to be figured  out. Without a doubt, having a strong,  

  • bluewater navy is a precursor to becomingsuperpower. The Indian navy is quite capable  

  • since they are one of only a handful  of countries in the world to operate an  

  • aircraft carrier and they have started producing  their own nuclear-powered submarines. However,  

  • these positive attributes are outweighed by the  debate amongst Indian naval leadership over what  

  • kind of strategy they should adopt for the future. One side wants to take a more conservative,  

  • regional approach known as the Soviet fortress  fleet doctrine to keep the navy subservient to the  

  • army and just worry about protecting the coastwhere it can be supported by land-based power.  

  • Other Indian officers of the British  school of thinking want to model their  

  • navy after the Royal and US Navies that conduct  operations globally well past their shores.  

  • Until this conflict is resolved, it is unclear if  the Indians will have a unified naval strategy

  • While there are several issues for the Indians to  work on, they have taken steps in the past decade  

  • to get themselves known as a player on the global  power scene. One of the ways they have done this  

  • has been becoming the number one contributor of  troops for UN peacekeeping missions. Since its  

  • foundation, the UN Security Council has authorized  46 different missions, and Indian soldiers and  

  • police officers have served in 43 of them. By being so involved in peacekeeping abroad,  

  • India has been and will continue to build powerful  relations with fledgling nations across the globe.  

  • This might not seem important now, but once  these conflicts are over the influence the  

  • Indian people will have will be enormousBecause they helped provide the peace and  

  • security of the nation, they have set themselves  up to build future allies with strong military  

  • and economic ties across the globe in places  other powers might not have a foothold in yet

  • India has also taken steps to produce more  of its own technology. Over the past several  

  • years, there have been various indigenous  programs created to develop new technology.  

  • Some of these programs like their program  to build unmanned, armed drones like the US,  

  • have met with limited success compared to some of  their missile programs, which just last year was  

  • able to shoot down a satellite in orbit. This test  ranked India among the few nations in the world  

  • who have been able to accomplish such a feat. These somewhat impromptu programs have finally  

  • been codified in official defense policy as  of July 2020. Released by the Defense Ministry  

  • as the Draft Defence Production & Export Promotion  Policy this plan calls for a number of significant  

  • defense industry reforms. One of the biggest  ones is calling for the indigenization of  

  • thousands of critical defense technologies  so India does not have to rely on imports as  

  • much. The government also wants to streamline  the procurement process and create special  

  • defense industrial zones within the country. The plan also calls for the private sector  

  • to take over more of the market and put more  money into research and development. Indian  

  • policymakers also hope that this investment will  increase their arms exports by one hundred percent  

  • over the next five years and aim to make India  a leading exporter in the world arms market

  • While India is not a superpower today, they  are without a doubt making positive progress  

  • to get there by 2050. If their ambitious plan for  revamping their defense industry works and it can  

  • create a unified, global strategy amongst their  different military branches, it is quite likely  

  • India will be a superpower in the years to come. Number Two- The African Union 

  • For over the past fifty years, the nations of  Africa have been working together to unite under  

  • common political and military lines to leverage  the combined power of the African continent.  

  • The various attempts at organizing African  states under one political body either failed  

  • or missed the mark slightly until 2002 when  the African Union was finally organized

  • The African Union is a multi-faceted  organization modeled after the European Union  

  • and is made up of numerous entities. The  political arm is composed of the two major bodies:  

  • the Pan-African Parliament and the Assembly of  the African Union. The Pan-African Parliament  

  • is made up of elected citizens from  every African nation and the Assembly  

  • is composed of heads of state of each country. The judicial wing is made up of the Court of  

  • Justice whose purpose is to interpret rules and  disputes about treaties within the organization,  

  • as well as the African Court on Human and  Peoples' Rights which seeks to adjudicate human  

  • rights violations among signatory nations. Unlike the EU, the AU also has a military  

  • component called the Peace and Security  Council. The council is made up of fifteen  

  • member nations who are all elected. The purpose  is to stop and end conflicts wherever they arise.  

  • African nations voluntarily contribute  soldiers and police officers to these missions,  

  • and since its inception have already  deployed troops in 12 different countries

  • The AU has significant leverage both  in terms of people, natural resources,  

  • military, and economic power. There are over  1.25 billion people within the AU borders and  

  • seven of the thirteen members of OPEC are also  members of the AU. The AU also has tremendous  

  • military power at its disposal- just the top  ten member states have a total combined strength  

  • nearly equal to the United States, at least  in terms of manpower. Over the past decade,  

  • the continent of Africa has also emerged as  the number one developing economic powerhouse

  • Though current economic output is abouttrillion, compared to the current US output of 21  

  • trillion per year, that has been rapidly growing  year over year. Some countries like South Africa,  

  • Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia have been pressing  double-digit GDP growth each year for the past  

  • several years. It is expected that by 2050 the  continent will nearly double its population and  

  • have an estimated output of 29 trillion dollars. Africa is already well on its way to get there  

  • since over the past ten years the number of  people living in extreme poverty has decreased  

  • by about one percent a year, while the number of  people living in urban areas has also increased  

  • one percent. Living in urban environments has  been shown to increase economic productivity,  

  • leading to the number of African nations to enter  what is called "middle-income countries"-that  

  • is countries where the average GDP per person  is above $1,000- to significantly increase

  • In 2013, the African Union also developed  an aggressive economic plan to propel  

  • the continent forward as a global economic  superpower. That plan, called Agenda 2063,  

  • intends to institute a number of what the  AU callsflagship projects.” There are  

  • fifteen such projects that include things like  creating an African industrial base to process  

  • its own natural resources, a high-speed train  network connecting all major economic centers,  

  • developing a Pan-African air route for  goods, creating a joint economic forum,  

  • eliminating all visas and creating a new common  passport, implementing a common currency,  

  • creating centralized banks, and  increasing education among others

  • So far, the AU has made excellent progress towards  reaching these lofty goals. In its first report  

  • issued in February of 2020, the AU and UN were  both amazed at what had already been accomplished  

  • and the fact that they were already ahead of  schedule. Then, just five months later, the  

  • Continental Free Trade Agreement was ordered to  be put into its first operational phase by the AU.  

  • This agreement will eliminate practically all  tariffs among members and will promote more trade,  

  • especially among the less developed nations. But for all of this progress made, the AU still  

  • has a lot of challenges to overcome before  it can become a world superpower. For one,  

  • everything that the AU does depends on the  participation of its member countries. Since  

  • membership is voluntary, there is nothing that  can force members to adopt or follow any treaty  

  • that the AU adopts. For instance, when the human  rights court makes rulings if the member does not  

  • recognize the court- as many members do not- then  there is nothing that can be enforced. Likewise,  

  • with the Continental Free Trade Agreementnot every member chose to participate,  

  • with fewer than half of member nations sending  forward their plans to implement the agreement

  • Not to mention that to become a superpowerissues such as education and corruption need to  

  • be addressed. On average, African nations educate  their citizens far less than in other countries.  

  • While some nations such as South  Africa and Ethiopia perform quite well,  

  • there are many that lag behind the rest of  the world, and the education for women is of  

  • particular concern in most AU countries. The AU is also home to some of the most  

  • corrupt countries in the world, with nations like  Libya, Sudan, and Somalia among the most corrupt  

  • in the world. Most AU nations do not break the  top 100 least corrupt countries on the globe

  • There have also been many objections from  member nations about implementing a common  

  • currency called the Afro, and there does not  yet exist a Central African Bank. Though the  

  • AU wants a central bank along with a central  investment and pension fund managed by the AU,  

  • these projects have not yet come to fruition. Even though the African Union was founded less  

  • than twenty years ago, it has made  an extraordinary amount of progress  

  • since its inception. The combined economic and  military might of all the African nations is a  

  • force that is to be reckoned with, and the AU's  plans have already set themselves up for long-term  

  • success. However, the biggest challenge to the  AU becoming a superpower is getting all of the  

  • member nations to agree and fully comply with AU  policies so that countries are not just looking  

  • out for each other but for the good of the whole. These two budding powers could one day upend the  

  • old world order, but will they do so peacefully  or will the world fall into the Thucydides Trap,  

  • where one great power dislodging another  inevitably ends in war? Only time can tell.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States  was quickly dubbed the only superpower in the  

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Why This Could Be the Most Powerful Military in 2050

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/05
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