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GPP Power Rankings #4

   Posted by: Pat   in China, Latin America, Russia

Christmas, Hanukkah, the New Year would not be complete without a little GPP Great Power Rankings would it!?! The last rankings created quite a bit of discussion and I look forward to even more this time around. There have been a couple slight movements in the actual rankings, but many of these great powers have shown to either be trending upward or downward. As I stated before I released my first rankings; ‘Great powers have come to their position of power slowly and have generally left their esteemed place in international politics in a similar fashion, so how can one do a monthly Great Power – Power Ranking system, one may ask? Long term prognosticating will of course be an important aspect of GPP’s rankings, but short term moves, issues, and strategic successes and failures will also be considered. For instance, if I did a power ranking after Russia’s successful invasion of Georgia, which proved Moscow’s hard power was not only still capable, but willing to be used, Russia would have gotten a ‘bump up’ in my rankings.’ Let’s get to it!

Here are the criteria in which the great powers are measured:

  • Power – Basically, how much total influence does your state have in the world. In what ways can your state make other states or actors do something that they don’t necessarily want to do?
  • Economy – What is your GDP? Is your economy growing? Declining? How much can your economic power be easily translated into ways to influence other actors?
  • Permanent/Near Permanent Resources – natural resources controlled, population size, geography
  • Ideology/Cultural – How powerful is your state’s governing and lifestyle philosophy in the world? Do your beliefs and ideas translate to influence around the globe?
  • Internal State Strength – How strong and legitimate is your domestic government? How stable?

It is time. Below are my Top Ten Great Power Rankings, followed by a Tier breakdown, with short explanations to follow:

  1. United States of America 
  2. China
  3. Russia
  4. Japan
  5. Germany
  6. India
  7. Brazil
  8. France
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Turkey
On the GP Bubble -  Iran,  Israel
Tier A – USA

Tier B – China

Tier C - Russia, Germany, Japan

Tier D – India

Tier E – Brazil, France, Turkey, United Kingdom

1. USA – It has been an interesting few months, isn’t it always, for the USA. The recession appears over for good, but in many ways the damage has been done. The unemployment rate is still above 10% and the government’s debt is reaching ridiculous levels. Economist Niall Ferguson persuasively has argued that unless the US starts to tackle this debt problem, it will face constraining budgetary options for decades to come. This can affect the United States’ superpower status by forcing it to reduce its role in the world. For example, if interest rates on our debt keep eating a fair amount of our federal budget, we may not be able to maintain a base or two in East Asia or to provide financial aid to an ally in trouble. Or it could force the US to continue to fall behind in the space race. However, things are not all gloom and doom for America. After all, its economy is growing again, its relationship with rising India has taken a positive step in military matters, and its arms sales still dwarf the competition. Concerning the last item, the numbers are overwhelming. In the last year, the US has made weapons agreements totaling more than $37 billion dollars. Not impressed? Second place was Italy… $3.7 billion.

2. China – This was a strong few months for China’s great power status. First off, the President of the United States paid the country a visit and by looking at the lack of results for the US side, the orchestrated visits and speeches, and the delicate manner that Obama treated the host government, one could appropriately ponder ‘just who is the superpower here?’ The United States did not come back with progress on any of these fronts; North Korea and Iranian nuclear programs, currency manipulation, emissions, human rights, etc. The Communist government also stuck out its chest with an extensive, ostentatious military parade, followed by exercises, through the streets of Beijing celebrating 60 years of its rule. Of course, the fact that the government had to have security so tight for the parade that most citizens were forced to stay in their homes and watch from their windows also showcases a government with a political legitimacy weakness. Lastly, the lack of progress on any type of climate binding agreement in Copenhagen was a clear sign that China will not be pushed around, even with tremendous pressure coming from the EU and United States. China’s influence on more and more matters that effect people and states around the globe is becoming more apparent everyday.

3. Russia – Pretty much in a holding pattern from the last rankings, but I have decided to move them into a lower tier than China. The Russians have been getting closer to Venezuela, keeping sanctions against Iran at bay, sending nuclear submarines off the US east coast, likely to ensure an advantageous new START agreement with the Obama administration, and still has the buffest leader in these great power rankings.

4. Japan – Japan is definitely a country in transition. The Democratic Party of Japan has started what will no doubt be a consequential first period in power. It is still too early to tell how much the DPJ will change Japan’s role in foreign affairs from the LDP’s long standing American centered one. President Obama’s stop in Japan was rather uneventful, with both choosing to put off the most contentious part in the relationship, the placement of American military bases in Okinawa, for a year. Just like most state governments right now, the DPJ are spending most of their attention on the rebuilding the domestic economy. In this regard, one writer sees a culturally and economically stagnant Tokyo, calling it ‘a middle-aged man contemplating his afternoon nap.’ But on the bright side, Japan has their first aircraft carrier since World War II, well kind of.

5. Germany – Political and economic structure still look very stable compared to Japan. The country’s role in Afghanistan is a constant challenge for its government and citizens.

6. India – On the one hand, India is a clear winner in the US decision to stay and help build up the Afghan state. India has been quietly working to strengthen the Karzai government as it is considered innumerably more friendly than a Taliban-controlled Afghan state. India has also upped its defense spending by 10% this year, though this is still far below China’s estimated build up, and as was alluded to earlier, India and the United States partnered up for what was called a ‘massive‘ war game, though details were hard to come by. But for this rankings, I have to give India a dropping ranking. This decision mainly has to do with Mumbai terrorist attacks from last year. How does an attack from last year hurt India’s place in the rankings today? Well, I watched the CNN Fareed Zakaria documentary of the attack and lets just say, the Indian police and government did not show themselves well. Mumbai is one of India’s most vibrant and important cities and it was basically taken hostage by a group of terrorists. The police reaction, both local and federal, was shown to be pathetically incompetent. Great powers need to first be able to protect their own homeland before they can really expand their influence around the globe.

7. Brazil – One would think that in a period when they won the 2016 Olympics over many other worthy applicants, I would have Brazil trending upward, but this is not the case. The Olympic victory definitely is an opportunity for Brazil to show it has arrived on the global stage, but it has also shone light on other less flattering facets of the country. The massive blackouts it had last month show that like the Mumbai terrorist attack, the garnering more of the world’s attention isn’t always for the better. Jose Cardenas also voices some reservations regarding recent Brazilian efforts in regional and world affairs: ‘Brazil aspires to be a global leader deserving of a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. But it stumbled badly on Honduras. It moved quickly to denounce the removal of Zelaya and led the regional charge for Honduras’s isolation, but in the end failed to influence the course of events. More egregious, however, was allowing the fugitive Zelaya to re-enter the country and set up shop in its embassy in Tegucigalpa, inflaming an already dangerous situation. Which raises the question, if Brazil can’t even responsibly manage a crisis in tiny Honduras, how does it propose to influence Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?’

8. FranceRien à dire ici

9. United Kingdom – I have listened to the comments of my GPP readers and they have shown me the light on the UK. And that light shines on a sign that says in a powerful, echoing voice, ‘Move the UK above Turkey!’. The long term influence of this medium-sized island has been monumental for centuries and though its capacity to affect world events and actors has faltered greatly in past decades, its cultural and political influence continues to show itself. Like the United States, it has also shown an ability to live in a realist world, where military power still matters, and in a liberal internationalist world, where democracy, multilateral institutions, and economic connections lead the way. The only problem now is that France and the UK are right next to each other in the rankings. Can they get along?

10. Turkey – The Islamist AK party, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ruling Turkey appears to be strategically turning to the East and closer to the Muslim world. While relations with the EU and Israel are on the decline, Turkey’s ties with Syria, Iran, Sudan, and China are growing stronger. Now geography is destiny so one shouldn’t blame Turkey for trying to foster stable, productive relationships with its neighbors, but Ankara must be careful not to seriously damage decades of growing good will with Europe and the United States. Though this is likely just a passing phase, it will be well worth watching closely in the next year.

Comments? Critiques? Questions? Praises!?!

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 20th, 2009 at 5:04 pm and is filed under China, Latin America, Russia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

104 comments so far


Well I’ll kick it off with a question. If there is nothing new to say about France and your comment last time had to do with how its leader has a preference for certain types of women, how does it merit staying in the top 10? lol

December 20th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

My assessment





At least Mr. Frost has identified 9 out of 10.
The basic mistake seems to be an overemphasize on current events while neglecting the fundamentals (UK an FR still have more GDP, more ideological and more military capabilities than Brazil and India !).
Plus, these two Europeans have a global political/diplomatical outreach, unlike Brazil and India which are merely large regional factors.

More comments later….

December 20th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I am confused as to why the GP rankings are updated nearly every 3 months.

Great Powers on shift their status in any meaningful way every 5-10 years. In any significant way, only once every 10-20 years.

But anyways, here is my list.

1. USA
2. China
3. Russia
4. UK
5. France
6. Japan
7. Germany
8. India
9. Brazil
10. Iran

December 21st, 2009 at 12:11 am

@Obtuse: Great point, here is what I stated before my first rankings: ‘Great powers have come to their position of power slowly and have generally left their esteemed place in international politics in a similar fashion, so how can one do a monthly Great Power – Power Ranking system, one may ask? Long term prognosticating will of course be an important aspect of GPP’s rankings, but short term moves, issues, and strategic successes and failures will also be considered. For instance, if I did a power ranking after Russia’s successful invasion of Georgia, which proved Moscow’s hard power was not only still capable, but willing to be used, Russia would have gotten a ‘bump up’ in my rankings.’

So the rankings themselves will not dramatically change very often, but I will show trends (hence the arrows and explanations) every quarter of the year.

December 21st, 2009 at 11:54 am

@Lear: points taken. Brazil and India’s potential is still their greatest asset, I agree, but I take this into account in my rankings. Their tremendous land mass, populations, growing economies, combined with their relatively stable political systems is an intoxicating great power stew.

December 21st, 2009 at 1:05 pm

@Obtuse: How is the UK more powerful than Japan and Germany. Their economies are much larger and dynamic. Culturally, the UK’s edge is clear as is their proven ability to still actually ‘fight’ wars, but is this enough to outweigh the economic disparity?

And I also question Iran over Turkey: If Turkey was building or had nuclear weapon capability, would the two even be close?

December 21st, 2009 at 1:10 pm

@Frost: If potential is also considered the EU seems to be an even more obvious candidate, haha. Just remember that the EU combines 500 million people with an economy (nominal GDP) already as large as the US and China combined.

Though future perspectives can be part of an assessment it shouldn´t be more than 5 % out of all the assets and capabilities.

December 21st, 2009 at 4:15 pm

!!!! Breaking news: Now its official, the E.U. is the home of Santa Claus !!!!!

The EU has conferred the northern Finnish city of Rovaniemi (Finland) the title of “the official home of Santa Claus”.

With Santa and the Pope living in the European Union who else could be the most divine spiritual leader ;)

December 21st, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I’m not sure that I understand how Brazil remains on the list. It is certainly a regional power but do they have the prerequisite global impact that they would need to maintain status as a GPP top ten member?

December 29th, 2009 at 7:09 am

Brazil makes the rankings mainly for one reason, and it’s good one, potential. Here is one example of what Brazil’s future may entail in terms of economic power, These projections, which of course are far, far from a certainty, see Brazil as the 5th largest economy in 2050. Even today, Brazil’s GDP ranks 10 in the world. (
The Lula government has brought a new era of accountability, financial stability that has made the country ever more appealing to FDI, and it is looking like a successor will follow closely in his footsteps. Brazil is not a perfect ‘great power’ by any means, but it definitely deserves to be on the list.

December 31st, 2009 at 10:57 am

Pat… Can I just ask why Japan is so high up in the rankings? I can agree there nominal GDP is very impressive at nearly 5 trillion, But apart from that they arent a massive player in Asia, A military which is very small for a country which provided the imperial army back in the days of World War 1 and 2, They arent a nuclear armed country and there navy compared the blue water navies of the US/UK/France and Russia is poor so there power projection is very limited. Culturally are Japan are big player in the world? Im struggling to see the arguements for Germany been constantly high on this list aswell, Strong economy, And a key player on the trading front but a military which is lightyears behind the likes of its European allies UK and France and again is Germany another big player culturally?? I can only see them been quite high on the list due to the fact of there role in the European Union but this is further enhanced due to the relationship with France were the UK feels they are constantly been shoved aside when the European Union would be alot stronger and more united if they embraced the UK instead of taking the wrong opinion on us because of our relationship with the US. This is another reason I cant see the European Union becoming a superpower unfortunatly…

I cant argue with the likes of the US/Russia/ China even India to a certain extent been high on this list because of military capabilities but the UK and France pocess very very strong militarys in world affairs, The UK is the second largest force in afghanistan today with nearly 5 times the troops the likes of Germany have provided. The Royal Navy is deemed second only to that of the US Navy and this is further enhanced by the fact that we along with the US are the only country currently poccessing supercarriers. I dont want to go into much about the military or the other factors that make case for the UK to be higher on this list we all know there capabilties military wise, the fact we culturally so strong in the world and that we home some of the biggest businesses in the world today along with the fact that London is one of 3 financial superpowers! I just cant see why we seem to be so low constantly on this list!

Pat do you have a secret hatred for your british friends? ha!

Im starting to find myself wondering if this list is based on facts or opinion??

January 5th, 2010 at 4:58 am

First off, of course this list is based on opinion. I try to be as fair (quantitatively and qualitatively) as possible, but we all know that true impartiality is impossible. You make some very fine points. It is true that Japan and Germany’s presence on the rankings is largely predicated on their economic clout, deservedly so in my opinion (look there it is, ‘my opinion’! haha). Germany was just recently passed by China in total GDP and Japan is still slightly ahead of its growing neighbor. Yes, it’s true that neither is a military giant, but both could translate their economic clout into strategic might in rapid fashion. At the current moment though, neither feels a need to do so. That is the luxury of being under the American umbrella. Rain may still fall, but not missiles. Connected to Japan and Germany’s economic strength is their technological gifts, which would also aid a rapid military spring if the need ever occurred. Another factor in their placement is their great power history. Though both of these great powers brought much pain on the world, it cannot be discounted how powerful they once were, as this offers light on what they can still become.

Supremeowl, you definitely have me wrong about ‘hatred’ of the Brits. I think I’m too sympathetic to them as a US ally and have derided President Obama for shortchanging the Special Relationship. I will continue to reevaluate their place on the rankings.

January 5th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Good reply Pat… And some valid points. My comment about your hatred for the British was a tongue in cheek comment! C’mon who hates us really? ha!

Im not so keen on the comment about Germanys – Nazi Germany and the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler aswell as Japanese dictatorship throughout world war 2. This surely shouldnt be a reason to place these countries high on the list but I suppose I can understand the thinking.

My list would be like:

1. USA

2. China
3. India
4. Russia
5. UK
6. France
7. Japan
8. Germany
9. Brazil
10. A choice of either Italy/Canada/Israel/Iran

I cant really decide!

But I look forward to more interesting reading!

January 5th, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Would just like to say that as a European from a country nowhere near any top 10 World Powers (or top 50 for that matter..) and therefore with no vested interest in the promotion of any of the countries mentioned here I would like to say, that contrary to some of the other posters here, I think that Mr Frost has his rankings of the European countries bang on.

The driving force behind the EU is the partnership between Germany and France. They are the core to the organisation and by extension Merkel and Sarkozy are defacto leaders of Europe.

To quote the great British statesman Winston Churchill, speaking of his own country “We are with Europe but not of it”. The UK has always kept itself apart from Europe and has never really been committed to the European Project. Its failed attempts to compete with the EEC with EFTA, the usage of Europe by UK politicians as a scapegoat to raise nationalist sentiments behind them and the shift of the likely successors to Brown’s government from a pro-European EU parliamentary grouping to a far right, euroskeptic grouping all serve to keep the UK on the periphery of Europe. The UK simply does not lead in Europe and therefore exerts less weight internationally than Germany and France.

Italy of course is an absolute shambles and I really cannot understand why it should be anywhere near the rankings. Italy always seems to be overestimated for some reason but considering the state of Southern Italy (3rd World infrastructure and controlled by the Mafia and Gomorrah) it really is nowhere near Great Power status.

and finally, to end this ridiculously long winded post, the EU cannot claim to be a Global Power or even want to be when we appoint an unelected and uninspiring lady from a country highly opposed to the expansion of the EU as Foreign High Commissioner and a similarly non-awe inspiring haiku writing man who I frankly had never heard of before as president.

January 5th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I agree with Supreme in that I would rank the UK at around 5. My list would be

1. USA
2. China
3. Russia
4. India
5. UK
6. Japan
7. Germany
8. France
9. Israel
10. Canada

(Still can’t agree on Brazil just because of potential, because “potential” is so hard to measure and so ephemeral. I understand your point but if you use that, then you’d be on shakier ground with Lear because he rates the EU so highly on potential. Not that I agree with him but the point should be consistent.)

January 5th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Must apoligise for the above post, I pressed enter instead of delete!


When the candidates were drawn up for the new European president, Tony Blair was part of the shortlist. But many critics including the German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy stated that as he was an instigator of the war in Iraq/Afghanistan aswell as being ” Too big ” for the job as European president (Personally I think they were both scared someone with a personality and abit of charisma was going to overshadow both there dull persona’s) Now you just stated that You had never heard of the newly elected president Van Rompuy. So who is the ideal candidate for this job? Someone with a big reputation or someone relatively unknown? What makes Van Rompuy or Tony Blair so unsuitable for this job? At the end of the day the European Union needed a change instead of France and Germany thinking they can lead proceedings as they have done for many decades, Now a British voice as entered an high job in Europe (Baroness Ashton) this as been a change to the system and rightly so!

Secondly, The fact you think that because France and Germany have such a close relationship (Maybe this is because they are bordering neighbours) and the fact they lead the European Union (Do they??) This gives Germany a bigger voice in world politics, For one they aren’t a member or a permanent member of the UN Security Council, They have a by far weaker armed forces than both the UK and France (Yes this does matter as a military adds massively to a countrys infleunce in world affairs, Just look at American for example) aswell as this they are not a nuclear armed state. Aswell politically, Culturally they are none existant, Comparing the culture and historical culture of both the UK and Germany is like comparing a Lion to a kitten! This is why the UK still leads along with the US in many cultural issues and as alot of Influence as once said ” The Beatles would put the UK 5th on this table alone… ” But this regardless of your theory that Germany exerts a far bigger voice internationally than the UK… I just cant accept that for the above reasons, Not only that the UK is a founder and current head of the Commonwealth of Nations the legacy of the British Empire, Aswell as the ‘Special Relationship’ with the greatest and only remaining Superpower in existance gives the UK a bigger voice alone!

So please Eoinod explain Your theory??

January 6th, 2010 at 1:56 am

A list of great powers should, in the end, answer the question: Who leads, manages, controlls, influences the world the most.

In this case, the world, means not only demographics (population) or territory (recources), but also the worlds policies and regulations, the worlds economy (technology), the worlds culture (ideologies) and the worlds militaries (security).

The list should consider the proven and recorded actions of the last 50 years, while the developments of the last 10 years should have a higher degree of considerations in order to draw a very up to date contemporary picture.

The list should emphasize the fundamentals while at the same time avoiding media hype (even if media propaganda/ attention lasts several years).

Future (assumed) power projections (potentials) should be considered, but only to a very limited scale. In the end it is only speculation…

Plus, the list has to answer the question: Who leads the leaders. Means, where are the occasions the elephants are able to push or toss themselves….

With this in mind, I have several questions to the list of Mr. Frost and to other participants:

What occasions (fundamentals) can be cited, to assume that India has influence on global affairs ? Because yet I don´t see any, I think the India entry is ranked to high. To my eyes India entered the great power status only in the last decade (rather last 5 years).

Same rationale for Brazil. To my eyes Brazil managed to become the host of the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup (2014 & 2016). The 2 largest cultural global events. A Top10 entry of Brazil seems justified but it has to remain at the bottom.

Japan. Unlike Germany, which is able to translate its economic power directly in political/ diplomatical power, I don´t see much influencial capacities here. Japan, although a cultural soft power player in Asia,
has few political friends/ alliances. Not in Asia (China/ Korea) or abroad. At G8 meetings it rather has a record of following the agendas set by the US or Europe. I tend to rank Japan a little less high than the Frost list.

UK. I believe this country has an almost complete set of power credentials. Even more important, it has the will of using the abilities. I think it can be ranked from 3. to 6. with different rationales.

France. Same like the UK, with more influence in Europe than the world though.

Russia. I seriously question the ability of enforcing global influence during the last decade. Where can Russian agendas be detected in China, EU-Europe, or the US ?
The country seems to be slightly overestimated in the Frost list.

EU. Probably the biggest weakness of the Frost list. The EU is now a defacto superstate (in its infancy of course). It represents the largest economy of the world and the second largest currency. It is already recognized in WTO, G8, G20 as a single entity and also recognized by the Obama administration as a partner in foreign policy affairs. The main strength of the EU does not alone derives from Brussels, but rather in combined agendas from Berlin, Paris and all other EU capitals which form an alliance to push their global stance.

Germany. This country has evolved as a highly influential EU player and has, with France and many other core Europeans, created the new EU. The key role has been acknowledged by the US. The Obama campaign speech in Berlin and Merkel speaking at the Congress indicates that this country has become an indispensable partner
in forming globalization. The country is at the forefront in formulating global financial regulations, Nato strategies, Environmental protection rules.

Turkey? Sorry. I can´t detect any remarkable influence on the global stage the last hundred years. Maybe Mr. Frost has smoked to much Turkish marihuana while contemplating over the list…. ;)

January 6th, 2010 at 10:08 am

Well my “theory” was mainly expressed in my above post. To expand and address what you have said however..

1) EU wise I wanted Blair as president and returning EU ambassador to the US John Bruton as High Commissioner for Security and Foreign and Policy. Javier Solana would have been good in either role also.

2) Germany and France’s close relationship is not what makes them so powerful but how they have used their relationship to become the lynchpin of Europe. They most definately do lead the way EU-wise in pretty much every regard.

3) Militarily UK may have a better military now but look at history. Germany was could not be militarily defeated in WWI, only browbeaten into an armstice from a stalemate she could not win. In WWII a Germany extremely oppressed militarily by the Versailles Treaty brought the world to its knees. Only US intervention prevented Nazi domination of Europe. If Germany needed to or even wanted to, her military power would far exceed anything else in Europe.

4) Culturally I disagree. British culture has merged into Anglo-American culture and with the UK as the lesser partner, this translated more for US soft power rather than British.

German culture has been pivotal in the foundation of Western civilisation. Western political though owes much to the writings of Emmanuel Kant. Bismark brought in the idea of a welfare state and Western Military Theory is indebted to Karl Von Clausewitz and his perennial work “On War”.

I think that the impact of French culture is a bit more obvious.

5) The legacy of the British Empire if anything reduces the ability of the US to project its power internationally outside the “colonies” (ie US, Australia, Canada).

As UK politicians find it easy to rage against the EU to get nationalistic zeal behind them to win domestic elections (at the expense of the ability to project power internationally) so do politicians in country’s once occupied by your empire find it easy to give the UK “the two fingers” to get nationalist support behind them. Again, look at history.

Also the “legacy of the British Empire” has been to create huge bitterness in nations oppressed for centuries by British Rule. For example, no Torie government could ever expect cooperation or a cordial reception from an Irish government. Bitterness over “700 years” or so does not disappear overnight and fosters large anti-UK sentiments amongst indigenous populations, again limiting the UK’s ability to project its power.

6)With regards to the “special relationship”, as the UK is much weaker that the US, she must play the junior partner, a subordinate role. Whether this is true or not, this is how it is perceived. The UK cannot ever oppose the US without losing credibility as they are perceived as being one and the same.

7) UN Security Council seat is a plus for the UK but the UN is so ineffective that it is easily outweighed.

Also with regards the Commonwealth, did the Balfour Declaration not end UK’s leadership and put all nations on equal footing (1926 I think)? Also the UK probably isn’t even the most powerful of the commonwealth’s members (I am referring to India of course).

8) Overall supermeowl, and if you read nothing else read this.

History has shown that even when the UK is economically far far superior to anyone else in Europe, France and Germany have always been more powerful than her. She has needed at least one to defeat the other. Now that Germany’s economy is decidedly stronger than the British and the French on a par with yours, how can Britain claim to be more powerful than either? If anything the disparity between Germany (and to a lesser extent France) and Britain (power wise) has bever been greater.

January 6th, 2010 at 10:25 am

@ Lear: I won’t even bother addressing the EU question again but with regards Russia I must ask where you were when Russia invaded Georgia?

January 6th, 2010 at 10:27 am

The super-power status of the EU has been debunked quite thoroughly in this blog if for no other reason than its lack of a cohesive military and its inability to respond to the Russian invasion of Georgia. Russia certainly projects world power in a number of ways and it would be unwise to ignore them especially when they are at the back door of most European nations and seem to have no hesitancy to intervene militarily.

January 6th, 2010 at 10:54 am

@ eoinod: You mean THE Georgia with an economy positioned at 109th GDP (PPP) in the world ? I consider the Georgia-Russia dispute as a non-event with almost no impact in global history.

@Diogenes: Basically, the EU status has been proved by inummeruos citations in this blog including the military involvements (Africa, Kosovo)

The EU is an established member of the global community.

(Hillary) Clinton’s bosses will be following her trail to Europe a short time later. According to current plans, Vice President Joe Biden will travel to meet with EU leadership next Tuesday. And on April 5 (2009), President Barack Obama himself will attend the EU-USA summit in the Czech Republic, current holder of the rotating EU presidency.,1518,611488,00.html

It doesn´t make sense to deny the realities. Ohterwise a correct analysis of the current world situation will always fail.

January 6th, 2010 at 11:43 am

In August 2008 Russia effectively annexed 1/2 of a sovereign state attempting to seek NATO and EU membership. Despite Saakeshvili’s strong backing by the EU, US and NATO, no one had the power to intervene in Russia’s “near abroad”.

A few months later Russia flexed its muscles by stopping its gas flow to the Ukraine as the Ukrainian government voiced the possibility of requesting EU and possibly NATO membership. Again all that could be done was for the Ukraine to give in.

Combined with the continued propping up by Russia of Lukashenko, Europe’s only and one of the world’s more brutal dictator, and his oppressive regime in Belarus and two largely unrecognised puppet states in Georgian territory (South Ossetia and Abkhazia), Russia’s sheer dominance of its near abroad, while the neighbouring EU and the US can simply do nothing, is plain to see and why Russia still is a premier world power (and also why the EU quite simply is not).

January 6th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

@eo: As a matter of fact, 3 former Soviet states (the baltics) and several former Warsaw pact countries are now part of the European Union leaving Russia powerless in these regions. The Balkans are following soon, leaving Russia again, with no influence in these regions.

Russia´s “sheer dominance” ? Aha. Dominance of empty lots maybe. You are probably misjudge the importance of Georgia and the Ukraine on the global scale.

I consider the enforcement of the Lisbon Treaty, a constitution, governing a whole continent (and its great powers) a greater historical achievement than minor dispute in an abondened geopolitical region.

January 6th, 2010 at 12:33 pm


Are you sure not German/French?? Maybe even Austrian??

You seem to forget, Europe isnt just about France and Germany, Weather they lead it whatever regard is totally irrelevent! Europe will never furfill its true potential without the all nations uniting, There seems to be alot of bitterness aimed towards the UK from France and Germany and at times it does strain relations. Germany and France cannot make Europe great alone… Remember this!

As for the German military, You talk of the days when the country was run by one of the most evil men in history. Im sure Germany as all in the potential in the world to recreate a large army again but time as evolved and its not that simple of just recruiting anyone You like and making a superarmy, Espcially in Europe! With ongoing conflicts and more opportunitys nowadays recruiting to the armed forces is hard in some countrys. At the moment I speak of the militaries of Europe and its a known fact the two major ones are the British and French… End of story! As for power projection, Britain as maintained several oversea bases around the world, Including Germany itself since WW2. The fact the Navy as decided to spend on new supercarriers further enhances our power projection capabilities (At the moment the UK and US are the only countries purchasing such carriers) but thats enough of that… You talk about the British Empire limiting Britain today’s power to project, But since the empire ceased Britain as kept healthy ties with most countries across the world. Wherever I’ve travelled around the world people have always been friendly and seem excited to meet a British citizen, That is something that makes me feel proud to be British.

British culture as and always will infleunce many around the world, Even the americans. You ask anyone from the 70′s/80′s/90′s/even nowdays with some kids who there favourite musicians are and who inspired them to pick up a guitar and want to play music and they will say some of the greatest musicians to ever walk the planet and the majority are British (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones etc etc) They have and will inspire many more in the years to come, I do agree in some aspects that culture as become a shared anglo/american interest but I dont think where neccessarily the ”weaker” Its just theres many more rewards in the states since its a far richer country! But its not just about music/acting etc. William Shakespeare even though he lived nearly 400+ years ago continues to inspire and infleunce people today. These British icons ferment the legacy and importance of British culture.

As for your short paragraph about the UK ” When far superior economically.. Blah de blah de blah ”

I think you should have a look through history at some key events that have happened in the past centuries. WW2 for example the french were going to all but give up and give in to Hitler, Churchill knew that if the French gave up its navy to German hands they would be far superior than the The Royal Navy which at time was still the king of the seas. Churchill gave the french the decision of sailing with the Royal Navy and continuing the fight or sailing its ships into American ports away from German control, In the end they continued into wanting to surrender so Churchill order the Royal Navy to destroy the French fleets main battle cruisers in order to prevent the Nazi’s from gaining superiority of the seas. In WW2 the British armed forces were the only country from day one to fight the German Army from start till end, Then the American’s joined after Pearl Harbour. The French had all but give up. Please look this up in

Aswell as this the Napoleonic Wars against the French Empire were won by the British Empire and the Coalition forces which didnt include the Germans. The french also had countrys by there side in combat. So I dont accept your point about the UK needing either France or Germany to need the other.

Luckily in recent times such thoughts havent and wont be needed. Were close allies and rightly so, I just feel that the UK on all scales projects a far bigger infleunce (Politically, Culturally, Socially) I say socially due to the fact that our language is spoke by nearly 1.8 Billion people as either a first or second language. Wereas German or French comes nowhere near!

January 6th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

@Lear Your statement, “@Diogenes: Basically, the EU status has been proved by inummeruos citations in this blog including the military involvements (Africa, Kosovo)” is deceptive in that almost all of those innumerous citations were provided by you and in no way prove the EU’s status as a world power.

I also don’t think the people of Georgia consider the Russian invasion a “non-event.” Your assertion implies that if a country is small, with a low GDP, then it is acceptable for a larger more powerful country to invade it.

January 6th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Supreme has Lear identified as German/French. Considering Lear’s lack of compassion for, or understanding of, the plight of the people in Georgia, I doubt if either country would claim him. Hitler considered the invasion of Poland a “non-event.”

January 6th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I don’t think that either of us will ever accept the other’s arguments judging by the reduction of one of my more penetrating points to “blah blah blah”.

I think the major issue is the valuation of British culture and the impact of the British Empire.

To also help answer the question of where I am from also, I can tell you first hand, that the legacy of the British Empire in shaping the opinion of Britain’s ex-dominions was purely negative.

and I’ll leave this with a question for you.
Look at this map:

Now looking at this map and discounting the colonies where the indigenous populations were virtually wiped out, can you not see a correspondance between sheer hatred of Western Civilisation and the red areas indicating British rule?

January 6th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Sorry to disappoint. I´m here to assess and to measure power in International Relations.

Was the Russian invasion a power move? Yes.
Was it a relevant one in order to proof power capabilities. Rather No.

Call me back, when Russia successfully occupies Alaska, Inner Mongolia or Estonia then I might change my assessment (and even compassion) ….

BTW, if anybody thinks Russian occupation in Georgia was an indicator of power how do you think about the EU pulling in 12 countries peacefully in 2004/07 while at the same time making them conform to EU legislation ???

January 6th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

The EU didn’t occupy the countries that joined the Economic Alliance they merely accepted their membership. That is a far cry from occupation. They also didn’t “make” them conform to EU legislation, the member countries choose to do so. And if I’m not mistaken all of the countries don’t do everything that the EU suggests.

I find it amazing that Lear even admits to his lack of compassion for the Georgian population in his statement,: “Call me back, when Russia successfully…. then I might change my assessment (and even compassion)”

And if they invade your country Lear, will it still be a non-event?

January 6th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

The European Union – The Modest Superpower – Newsweek – Nov 2009

It sums up all the relevant information.

“Europe has even begun to translate its vast economic power into a broader global role.Europe has even begun to translate its vast economic power into a broader global role.”

“In only 20 years, the EU has evolved from a loose free market completely dependent on U.S. protection to an ambitious, new-style, uniquely collective power. For the foreseeable future, it will be the only force that can come close to matching the clout of the United States.”

If this blog and its list wants to be taken seriously it has to include all major powers.
It is not an avantgarde opinion to include the EU in a Top10 list anymore. The EU is obviously an accepted global factor
among credible academics and popular media.

@Frost: Please adjust the list to realities.

January 7th, 2010 at 8:59 am

I believe that Lear’s request that Mr. Frost adjust the list is a “non-event.”

January 7th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Crisis and resurgence: redefining the United States and European Union relationship in the face of global challenges – London South Bank University – 2009

China and India herald a potential move away from Western hegemony to a multipolar universe where decisions taken in Beijing or Delhi will increasingly impact on Western capitals. This paper argues that Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs), with China foremost, do not as yet command the resources, nor, due to internal division, can they as yet challenge Western dominance. However, this is as much dependent on the European Union and United States working cooperatively together in defining a new economic and geopolitical agenda for the coming era—valuing fairness, greater social equality and mutual respect.
Mr. Frost tear down this list,
Mr. Frost open this list for the EU !!!

January 8th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

haha. Both Lear and Micraig both got some laughs out of me. Lear, I do respect the EU as an international actor and I obviously respect many European state actors but their prominence on my list, but as of right now, the EU is not a coherent enough entity to garner being called a ‘great power’. One more example: If the EU was so powerful how come it couldn’t get anything done at Copenhagen? Though I may have missed this, I don’t even recall hearing an official EU position on the climate change matter there. If you want to see how a great power really acts, just read about how China approached the negotiations.

@eoinod- nice Georgia invasion rebuttal to Lear

@Supremeowl & Eoinod & Micraig – great great power war history battle! I love it.

January 9th, 2010 at 11:48 am


My experience with people who are using the term “great power” in IR always strike me as being a little antiquated. This can basically be seen here as well. It is also quite irritating that you repeatingly cite the non-actions of the European Union.

Is this your working style as a scholar ? Is this successful ? As I have consequently cited credible sources and world power actions that HAPPENED, I wonder how you avoid responding to it.

As I could cite multiple dimensions Turkey India, Brazil could not be considered great powers, you on the other side have not layed out where the global impact of these countries are found.

Obviously the world opinion (9 major countries) is more advanced than you when asked “Who rules the world ?”

Result of the perceived World powers today: 1.USA 2.China 3.Russia 4.Japan 5.EU

Even I was astonished when learning that the EU in the eyes of average people around the globe is already seen in 5th position. The poll was taken in 2007, before the Lisbon Treaty came in force !

January 9th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Speaking of avoiding responding Lear, how come you never respond to legitimate criticisms of the EU? I.E. Where is the EU’s power with respect to what they couldn’t accomplish at Copenhagen? Would an invasion of your country be considered a non-event? Could the E.U. defend itself from terrorist attacks? (not the member countries individually, but as the EU itself) Does the EU order its member countries to follow their policies or do member countries have a choice? Do the EU member countries feel that the EU protects them from outside military attack? Are the member countries willing to give up their sovereignty and be subservient to the will of the EU? Does England consider the EU to be its master on foreign policy? I would be interested if the readers from the British Isles see the EU with the same adoring eyes that you do.

If you are irritated that the non-actions of the EU are cited, then talk to the EU, don’t criticize the messenger.

And, speaking of working style as a scholar, do you always personally attack those that don’t share your points of view rather than actually respond to the issues that they raise? Mr. Frost’s style seems to be working. You’re still reading the blog as well as many, many others.

Mr. Frost has laid out his rationale for inclusion of Turkey, India, and Brazil, have you not read his posts? (I have to say I haven’t always agreed with his rationales, but then again I am not in charge of this blog. lol)

January 9th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

@ Lear “Even I was astonished when learning that the EU in the eyes of average people around the globe is already seen in 5th position. The poll was taken in 2007, before the Lisbon Treaty came in force!”

First of all, the poll wasn’t taken from average people around the globe; it was taken respondents from nine powerful countries. (I’d venture to say that most people around the globe haven’t even heard of the EU.) Secondly, the polls were done by making random phone surveys, except of course where they weren’t, because the phone surveys wouldn’t work so the surveyors just talked to people on the street in urban areas. From a research point of view that alone probably invalidates the results. Thirdly, the number of people surveyed amounted to approximately 1000 per country, except of course where they weren’t, with some countries (Russia – 1640 respondents) having more than 1000 respondents more than another country (China- 600 respondents.) That flaw in design also invalidates the survey. Surveys inherently reflect the desires of the outcomes by the group that pays for it to be done because they have a say in the wording of the questions. Not that Bertelsmann Stiftung isn’t a fine German foundation concerned with furthering German success, but it’s very difficult to not let one’s own philosophy influence the composition of a survey.

And then of course there is your interpretation of the results. The questions concerning the EU were framed in the format (and I’m paraphrasing) “who should have more influence on the world stage?” Notice not actually who has a position of power but who should have it. Isn’t this also what Bertelsmann Stiftung’s desires? You also failed to mention that the United Nations also scored well up in that area of who should have a voice. Even I’d agree that I’d like to see the EU become a more equal partner in helping solve the world’s problems. Do I see that happening imminently? No, but I’d like to.

So, the “survey” actually proves very little.

January 9th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Quote NATO General Secretary & Swedish Foreign Minister:

“But that honest assessment would also conclude that Europe can pull its weight. That Europe can deliver and can be a real partner for the United States. That is what is happening now in the global mission in Afghanistan. It is important that America recognize its partners’ actions at this critical time, because if it becomes the conventional wisdom in the United States to talk down the European contribution, no matter what Europe does, then it will become impossible to sustain our commitment.

In just the past few months, the European Union has taken important steps to strengthen its common action in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding region. For the first time, the European Union has adopted a common action plan for the efforts of its 27 member states and the European Commission. The focus is on building strong state institutions because the best way to defeat the insurgency is to help Afghanistan build a government in which its citizens trust and believe.

With the aim of increasing Afghan responsibilities, and in accordance with the priorities set by the government in Kabul, the European Union will concentrate its immediate assistance in six areas: building civilian capacity; strengthening sub-national, or provincial, governance; election review and reform; mechanisms to support the reintegration of former insurgents into society; economic development; and strengthened assistance in building a civilian police force through the E.U. Police Mission in Afghanistan. ”

If this list aims to gather the relevant powers on this globe it has failed, because the largest economy with international outreach, with military capabilities and diplomatic staff is not included.

Let me ask some questions Mr. Frost because you have occasionly hinted that potential (in the economic sense) is part of this analysis.

Why is Turkey on the list ? Where can an impact of Turkey be seen on all other powers let alone in global affairs ? Where is Brazil an important player ? Where India ? Answer: these countries hold none (Turkey) or minimal influence on global affairs, whereas the EU is setting the rules and standards (WTO), setting the legislation (for FR, UK, GER and even Turkey), is an FP participant in the G8 for 30 years and acts globally militarily (Pirate intervention).

So Mr Frost, why do believe ignoring these facts and the assessments of the NATO General puts you in a credible position?

January 9th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Quote reference:

January 9th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I’ll get to defending Turkey in a bit, but for now here’s a piece to make Lear and other Europhiles boil! Don’t know how accurate this is though,

January 13th, 2010 at 9:14 am

Well Ireland is number 4! That still makes me happy!

In terms of accuracy, the order of the European Nations looks to be in the right order anyway. Getting a dollar ppp equivalency however strikes me as being less than error proof especially if used for comparing global power.

For instance, the cost of living in the US is a lot lower in the US accounting for the higher PPP (you can buy more stuff with your money) however European Wages are generally higher. Meaning that while domestically Europeans are less well off, on the international market this works in our favour as buying American Goods works out very very cheap. This “quality” of the Euro vs. the dollar is also apparent vs. the Pound Sterling, crossing the border into Northern Ireland brings one into contact with much lower prices but also much lower wages.

My posts here are never exactly succinct…

January 13th, 2010 at 11:05 am

Here is something for the US boys to boil about:

EU 500 million
US 310 million

Nominal GDP 2008
EU 18,4 trillion
US 14,4 trillion

Number of largest firms (Forbes Global 500)
EU 163
US 140


January 15th, 2010 at 7:23 am

Well I feel like this is beating a dead horse, but Lear, you continue to treat the EU as an independent country. It is not. The largest GDP of any EU member is 3.6 billion (Germany) followed by the U.K. (2.1 billion), France (2.7 billion) and Italy 2.1 billion). 2009 figures. All other members are below 2 billion. Those figres pale in comparison to the U.S. GDP at 14.4. I notice you don’t talk about NAFTA and its nominal GDP, and with good reason, it makes no sense. NAFTA is just a group of 3 countries with trade agreements, as is the EU, for all of its and your aspirations. Why don’t you respond to the questions regarding the autonomy of the individual EU members and whether they put aside their sovereignty to be a part of the EU? I suspect it is because they don’t do that and view themselves as individual nations and therefore, you have no answer. I think it’s great that they get together for economic benefit, and I hope that someday they can take a place on the world stage, but that doesn’t qualify them as being a nation with super-power status. (Except maybe in the mind of one single person in Germany)

And I, for one, do not boil about your comments because I just don’t take your opinions all that seriously. That is mostly because you really don’t logically answer of the questions other than with threads to follow that for the most part don’t address the questions. Fortunately for me, I have learned quite a lot from the considered opinions of many of the other contributors, and for that I am thankful.

January 17th, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Sorry about the typos in the last post. There should be a paren in front of 2.1 billion and the word should be figures instead of “figres.” These old fingers just don’t work as well as they used to. lol

January 17th, 2010 at 7:31 pm

The EU has a single market, a currency, a foreign political staff, a president, courts, a
parliament, EU citizenship, no borders, coherent legislation, a constitution (Lisbon Treaty), global military and humanitarian aid missions, and represents its members in G8, G20, WTO.

@m: My argumentation style cites high quality media and mostly highly ranked officials supporting my rationale. I see no potential in micraig to be able to adopt or learn from these arguments. In fact, ignorance and denial prevail.

I also see no talent in Mr. Frosts abilities to assess the IR in a globalized world, as this blogger seems to concentrate on a singular
dimension in politics; warfare/security/military issues. A universal approach can´t be detected.

Now that we have entered a new decade, I say good bye, may be I join again, when Europe, or better the European Union is on the list….

January 18th, 2010 at 8:29 am

One cannot learn from someone who refuses to answer legitimate questions.

January 22nd, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Lear and other ‘the EU is a superpower!’ believers,
How do you respond to this?

February 2nd, 2010 at 2:23 pm

@Frost: I really wonder why I have to explain Foreign Policy to an academic.

The mere fact that there IS an EU-US summit is proof to the status of the EU.

Let me explain in (US) football terms:

Lets assume 2 teams are playing the superbowl. Lets assume one team thinks it can leave out its finest quarterback. Does this mean the second team, still so successful playing the final, is not a force ?

Frost, you have to go a very long way, to fully understand International Relation.

February 2nd, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Good effort on football analogy. I’ll try one about your football.

World Cup Final: One of the team’s loses their best player (EU president), but no one really cares because no one knew who he was.

Harsh, but true. The FP Passport piece, I linked to before show’s an EU foreign policy animal that is still far from a cohesive, manifest international force. Economics, political culture, yes very influential, but right now it ends there.

February 2nd, 2010 at 9:30 pm

For guy that swore off participating in this site (see comment 44 on this page) Lear sure keeps beating the old EU dead horse. lol

February 2nd, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Was just reading a discussion on this from an Irish Website:

This incident, sadly, proves the failures of the EU to form a cohesive foreign policy front and also how Lisbon has not yet achieved its promises to change this, if anything cause yet more complication.

February 3rd, 2010 at 8:09 am

The EU certainly seems to be having its problems now that Germany realizes it’s going to have to pay for all of Greece’s spending and Greece’s choice of having one in every three workers actually working for the government. I suspect the German taxpayer is not too thrilled with this, or the fact that a couple of other small countries are having the same type of financial crisis and Germany may well have to bail them out as well.

February 11th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Video interview about EU, US standards and global politics with author Steven Hill on “Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way Is the Best Hope for an Insecure Age”

February 17th, 2010 at 5:10 am

I’ve read summaries of Hill’s book. This is not the greatest time to be pronouncing the ‘hope’ of the European Way,

February 17th, 2010 at 9:22 am

I tried to go to the link Lear posted and got a “not found,” notice.

February 17th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

It’s pretty hard to argue with Kotkin’s logic as stated in the Forbes article.

February 17th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

The purpose of this link is not promoting the European model vs the American.

The purpose is to deliver the proof that the EU is already seen as a coherent influential global player.

February 17th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

The EU as a model, global actor and unprecedented power:

About the EU at the UN:

@ Frost, your list here is highly outdated and does not reflect the global power system.

The European Union has to be considered in a network of influential and powerful actors.

March 5th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

OK I am going to wave the flag a little but the ranking of the UK in this list is nothing short of ridiculous. We all accept that Germany, for example, is the largest and strongest economy in Europe, however it is forever reluctant to put its armed forces in harms way. Who is actually doing the fighting in Afghanistan besides the Americans? The good old UK, as we did in Iraq. The UK has a blue seas fleet and a nuclear capability. It is second only to the USA in the ability to exert that power globally. The UK forces have had unbroken battle experience for many decades. It was British ground forces that spearheaded NATO’s advance into Kosovo. If it came to exerting military power in a devasting manner, (heaven hlep us), the UK could destroy almost all of the so called powers that appear to be rated more highly. With the new most advanced destroyers already being deployed and the advent of two modern carriers UK forces will be back at the top table in terms of hard diplomacy. So please, no more c..p!

March 14th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I’m as big a UK as an American can be, and you are correct in asserting the strength of the British military, but it’s its economy that keeps it from rising higher in the rankings,,1518,683832,00.html

If it can steady this ship, however, I could see it moving up the rankings a bit.

March 18th, 2010 at 8:18 am


Page 1:

A quiet revolution has been occurring in post-World War II Europe. A world power has emerged across the Atlantic that is recrafting the rules for how a modern society should provide economic security, environmental sustainability, and global stability.

Page 4:

Is Europe a single nation or a union of individual nations ? Increasingly the answer is: both.

Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way Is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age, Steven Hill, University of California Press

April 1st, 2010 at 8:03 am

Happy Eastern.

April 1st, 2010 at 8:04 am

Europe—the Hidden Superpower:

Quote: “The plain truth is that the European Union is the second-greatest power on the world scene today”

And: One of the most incisive and accurate views of Europe (albeit unfashionable in foreign-policy circles) is that of Andrew Moravcsik, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. In an interview published by Global Europe, Sept. 14, 2009, Moravcsik stated, “Europe, singly and collectively, is the most underrated actor in world politics today. … In fact, the world is bipolar. Europe and the U.S. are the only two global superpowers. This will remain true for the foreseeable future……

…..European nations, singly and collectively, are the only other states in the world today, besides the U.S., to exert global influence across the full spectrum from ‘hard’ to ‘soft’ power.”

Leave out the pro-evangelist and anti-German, anti-Rome propaganda and you will find a pretty accurate description of the balance of world powers today …

April 5th, 2010 at 6:19 am

You still haven’t addressed the current fiscal crisis in which the EU finds itself Lear. Don’t you ever answer a question?

April 5th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

The upside of the Greek debt crisis

Quote: “Contrary to doomsayers’ predictions, the euro hasn’t collapsed – the response to the crisis looks like leaving the union stronger”

April 6th, 2010 at 2:19 am

We shall see.

April 7th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

EU launches new military training mission for Somali security forces

The European Union has launched a new military mission to train some 2,000 Somali soldiers in Uganda in mine awareness and urban combat. The mission is aimed at stabilizing Somalia’s transitional government.,,5445587,00.html

April 9th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Has this site become one of Lear just posting articles that are pro EU or is the blog supposed to be for discussion?

April 11th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

And as Germany hasn’t been able to solve the EU’s problem with the economies of Greece and Ireland, does that mean that Germany’s status on the power ranking should fall accordingly?

April 11th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

BBC Global Poll: Countries viewed most positively in the world (and most negatively)

The world rankings:

1. Germany
2. Canada
3. European Union
4. Japan
5. United Kingdom
6. France
7. Brazil
8. United States
9. South Africa
10. India
12. North Korea
13. Russia
14. Israel
15. North Korea
16. Pakistan
17. Iran

April 19th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

There are a whole host of other mnetrics one could use to assess GP rankings, such as these:

July 17th, 2010 at 5:03 am

Wow. impressive measurement tools Jedi. I’ll try to get some of them into my next rankings.

July 17th, 2010 at 9:24 am

My pleasure. :)

July 17th, 2010 at 9:56 am

EU president Van Rompuy: EU ‘really was present’ at G8 talks

Youtube Interview

July 18th, 2010 at 8:11 am

Wow, I’ve never seen anyone try to actually quantify power rankings with statistics. A couple of questions: How are the figures for Creative $ derived? It seems that you are saying that China’s cultural prowess is greater than any other 3 countries combined.

Also it appears that you classify fertility rate as a positive influence (if I understand this correctly which I probably don’t) but wouldn’t it only be a positive if the country could actually feed its population?

July 19th, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Rising States, Rising Institutions: Challenges for Global Governance – 2010

Page: 151-171 A. Moravcsik
Europe: Rising superpower in a bipolar world

Page 172:
Conclusion: “The world of today and of the foreseeable future is bipolar. Only the two global superpowers, the United States and the Europe are consistently able to project the full spectrum of smart power internationally.”

Frost your GPP list suggests that the US, China and Russia and Japan are ruling the globe. This is not the case and is not backed IR experts.

It simply does not reflect the current world order where EU-Europe next to the US is the prime source economical, political, cultural and even military power.

If the current list is the true outcome of your conviction you will always fail to analyze global developments and international relations.

July 30th, 2010 at 10:41 am

And Lear strikes again with his continued rant about how the EU rules the world. And everybody agrees……. except the rest of the world.

July 30th, 2010 at 10:54 am

Considering the influence on global developments in politics, security, science, economy, culture and ideology during the last 20 years the world order in 2010 is as following:

1. USA

2. EU/Europe
– Germany
– UK
– France
– Italy

3. China

4. Russia

5. India

6. Canada

7. Brazil

July 30th, 2010 at 10:55 pm


1. USA
2. EU/Europe
– Germany
– UK
– France
– Italy
3. China
4. Russia
5. Japan
6. India
7. Canada
8. Brazil

Basically this is a conservative view of the world powers and acknowledges the long standing power forum of the G7/8 as prime gathering of global leaders.

Emerging powers coming to the scene like China (10 years ago), India (5 years ago) and Brazil (today) are therefore cautiously ranked.

Europe since 1980 – I. T. Berend – 2010

“The integrating and enlarging European Union has already emerged as an economic superpower.”

July 30th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

As ever, Germany, the UK, France, and Italy deserve their own rankings while the cachet of the EU should be ignored, just as Canada and the US should not be viewed as “North America” despite numerous trade agreements. Give it up Lear.

August 1st, 2010 at 9:08 am

The difference between Lear and micraig is simple.

Lear provides uptodate high profile academic sources and leading expert opinions (Zbigniew Brzeziński) concerning the global power constellation.

micraig instead is basically croaking on his sofa because of discomfort.

Don´t worry mic, the postings I provide are certainly not directed to you. That would be Einstein talking to a chimpanzee….

August 1st, 2010 at 12:55 pm

It is interesting that you compare yourself to Einstein, a category that neither of us likely fits into. But it does say a lot about your ego. Yet in the last year, you have still not acknowledged a single valid criticism of the EU with anything other than quotes from magazines. It leads me to believe that you are incapable of rational discourse, even with your self-vaunted great intellect. As for my role as a chimpanzee, again you fall into attack rather than dialogue. That is not exactly the mark of someone capable of more. What will you do when and if the grand experiment of the EU fails?

August 2nd, 2010 at 7:45 am

The content of my postings is pretty clear. I´m presenting stable longterm indicators and proven incidents that reveal the current position of the European Union (and its member states) in the global power system.

I´m not interested in day to day media critic, its just journalism, centered on ideology, zeitgeist and short term hype for the masses.

Calling the EU an experiment after 50 years of integration is nonsense. The EU is today a defacto state with 500 million citizens. 300 million use the same currency, its already a single economy. The political elites of 27 members (minus UK) is backing this entity including several thousands of elite entrepreneurs who found the EU indispensable.

Actually I´m the one who wants to know from Mr. Frost if he has proven reasons to believe the high rankings of Brazil and India (and China).

Where Mr. Frost are the incidents these 2 states have influenced the globe or other great powers directly ? I can´t see any. Its fashionable to cite these 2 as future actors.
But in reality India and Brazil are followers and backwaters of the global power constellation.

In reality there are 2 spheres of influence in the world: Europa and America…..

August 2nd, 2010 at 3:09 pm

If I’m not mistaken, the EU was established in 1993, not 50 years ago. To call earlier agreements such as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 or the Treaty of Rome in 1957 as the onset of the EU is disingenuous because it ignores the realities of the cold war when the idea of the European Union had little or no traction at all. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 precipitated conditions that allowed the cooperation of the current countries engaged in the EU and that collapse had a great deal to do with the actions of the United States. The EU may be a state someday but until it weathers some of its economic problems (relative to Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and most notably Greece) and actually has control of forces which could provide for its own defense without the assistance of the United States it is not a state. So while calling the EU an experiment may be a bit of hyperbole, insisting that it is a fully functioning world power is also clearly an exaggeration.

August 2nd, 2010 at 7:45 pm

I guess I have provided enough credible sources and expert assessments to underline the European influence and military capabilities.

@Dio: You better tackle the sources and the statements directly otherwise you are in danger to fall in the micraig category as well.

I have also frequently provided evidence that the EU has to be seen as hybrid entity. While a traditional central government is yet not entirely developed, its member states with likeminded interests ensure its status on a global scale.

Its a new form of power conglomerate, which has, in the Frost list, yet not been considered, which is insufficient and wrong.

August 3rd, 2010 at 2:46 am

Well Lear, I guess micraig was correct, you do not bother to engage in dialogue. Instead you just list sources which support your own particular bias. This tactic does not illustrate critical thinking. I believe Mr. Frost has the correct sense of things by excluding the EU from the list until it meets all of the requirements of being an independent state.

August 3rd, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Wow, I’ve been promoted to being a whole category. I’m honored. lol

August 3rd, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Factual reality of an acting Great Power in 2010:

EU to Impose Sanctions on Iran in Bid to Halt Nuclear Drive

August 4th, 2010 at 6:30 am

Princeton University Press:
All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes, Daniel W. Drezner 2008

Quote: As Drezner shows, state size still matters. The great powers–the United States and the European Union–remain the key players in writing global regulations, and their power is due to the size of their internal economic markets. If they agree, there will be effective global governance. If they don’t agree, governance will be fragmented or ineffective.

Frost, your list needs heavy revision. China is not ruling the globe, neither does Russia, India or Brazil. EU-Europe and its members and the US are still in power to control the major developments in the world.

August 5th, 2010 at 4:26 am

Ahhh, I see Lear is using this web site to give us all our personal reading lists. If you think that’s what the world needs Lear, the benefit of your reading recommendations, then why don’t you start your own website and see how many hits you get.

As for revising the list, I agree. Any reference to the EU on this site should be purged. lol (just a little light hearted kidding Mr. Frost)

August 5th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Zbigniew Brzezinski at BYU talked on Geostrategic Challenges Facing the United States

In ranking the nations in the global political power struggle that he laid out he pointed out that presently the United States is the most dominant technologically, intellectually, economically and via its super power status militarily. He said that the European Union could come in second place if it had its military powers established in a more unified fashion, but that presently he would rank mainland China as the nation in second place for power in the world with the potential for the EU to catch up or surpass them. Russia he judged as still very powerful from a military standpoint, but economically and politically corrupt and thus unable to compete economically in the same way.

Although Brzezinski should know the interdependent nature of the EU countries because of its economic and political integration, he still seems to believe that a so called lack of “coherent” EU military exists.

Its the only point where he is wear in analysis. In any case he acknowledges the EU as single entity.

Frost, if you want to dream on your Cold War/ 19th Century vision of Great powers than everything is fine. If you want to catch up with the realities of 21st Century you have to broaden your view on power instruments and deepen your global knowledge.

The EU and its member states is regarded as the key actor in international affairs by several high profile IR experts.

August 13th, 2010 at 12:55 am

Maybe Mr. Frost should change the name of the blog to: “Lear’s EU Rant.”

August 15th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

US – EU think tank estimates power in 2010 – 2025.

Page 23 in the PDF

Result: US, EU leading. China and India (here I would disagree) following. Than Japan, Russia and Brazil.

September 23rd, 2010 at 4:56 am

My assessment of the worlds leading powers.

Considering the influence on global developments in politics, security, science, economy, culture and ideology during the last 10 years, and the most current tendencies in the world order in 2010:

1. USA

(-). EU as a collective player of combined interests

3. China

4. Germany as single player

5. UK as single player

6. France as single player

7. Russia

8. Japan

9. India

10. Canada

11. Brazil

October 9th, 2010 at 6:02 am

Interesting topic! Excuse me, very badly I know English, so a little later I’ll write what I think about it. Thank you.

October 26th, 2010 at 11:22 am


But I find this list to seriously flawed by underestimating both the UK and France and overestimating Russia and in particular Germany and India.

Yes, the UK and France have smaller populations than other countries on the list but despite this both have bigger economies than India and Russia.

Yes, Germany has the bigger economy and population. However, unlike Germany, both the UK and France are major military and politcal powers.

Both the UK and France are nuclear armed countries with major military capability. Indeed, both are the only countries in the world apart from the USA to have ‘blue water navy’ capability’ (though, granted, the UK is showing some current weakness whilst it awaits its new aricraft carriers but these will be super carriers which only the Americans can match).

Further, both the UK and France are two of only 5 U.N Permanement Security Council Members. How can you underestimate the value of this??? Neither Germany or India are.

Both France, and in particular the U.K, also still have extensive overseas terroteries too.

Further, the U.K is also clearly a cultural superpower and UK current affairs events are still globally covered (e.g the recent Royal wedding).

May 24th, 2011 at 5:24 am

Thank you Alan. You make some great points and I am very sympathetic to your arguments. If you check around the site, I’m a big fan of the UK and it’s continued relevance in global affairs. France, with Libya being the latest example, is almost always ready to play a part in foreign topics of the day. And it is true that both countries’ cultures are treasured in many parts of the world.

That being said, in terms of future economic, population, and military growth, they have to be considered in decline. Just as you mentioned, the UK is downsizing their military forces, and they were the last bulwark in this regard in Europe. Europe appears happy to have mostly others do the fighting and dying. Even the war in Libya is just from the sky (so far).

But you definitely have my ear and my sympathies. Have you by chance read Walter Russell Mead’s ‘God and Gold’ about how Britain, followed by the US, have shaped the international order…..and in a good way.

May 26th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

My list:

1. US

2. China

3. Germany

4. Japan, Britain, France.

7. Russia

8. Brazil, India

10. Turkey

EU? I don’t think it qualifies as a Great power equal to states like U.S., China, Russia, etc..

July 28th, 2011 at 1:43 am

Lear, you should give up.

EU is not on the order, scale, or magnitude as U.S., China, or Russia.

Just give it up.

July 28th, 2011 at 1:46 am

Britain and France are overrated, but most certainly rank higher than Russia, which is the most overrated piece of defunct crap ever.

If the mighty Soviet Empire collapsed, then you know something is wrong not with the system, but with the people itself.

July 28th, 2011 at 1:58 am

Thank you for comments LOL and for putting out your own top rankings list. We have much that we agree on, especially the EU’s place off the list. Lear seemed to disappear the deeper the European fiscal crisis went. I have a bit more respect for Russia than you and many others. They, almost unlike any other, know how to play power politics, have thousands of nuclear missiles, plenty of natural resources, and have the ambition to be great.

July 29th, 2011 at 9:38 am

Heya are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

September 15th, 2011 at 3:40 am

Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve take note your stuff previous to and you are simply too great. I really like what you have got right here, really like what you’re saying and the way through which you are saying it. You make it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a wonderful site.

April 9th, 2012 at 8:07 pm
Bolin Cuckley

My rankings are based on each countries geopolitical influence & projection of power, as well as my analysis of these countries stability level in terms of economics and politics forecasting into the near future. Although a few of the countrys on my list are “questionable” because of corruption and level of internal complications (Namely Iran, Brazil, India), I still include them due to their influence on regional and international events.


My belief is that India and Brazil have the resources to grow in an economic sense, but it is the rapidity of their growth that constrains their projection of power. The faster they rise, the more quickly they have to adapt to constraints.
I have Iran placed high on my rankings even though they are obviously in an unpredictable position. The more I read about Iran, the more I understand their overwhelming influence in the region and in its peripheral.

July 26th, 2012 at 7:27 am

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