Q: What are the conditions to become a superpower? A: A country that, for one, has the capacity to project its military power and, secondly, the capacity to project its military power anywhere in the world. It is this capacity to project military power that helps a superpower make other powers do things that those other powers will not do otherwise.
Q: How does the US project its military power? A: The US’s primary platforms to project power are its Carrier Strike Groups (CSG). There are a total of ten CSGs each comprising 7,500 personnel, a nuclear-powered Aircraft Carrier (to attack targets on land, sea and air), Tomahawk missiles (for long-range strike capability), Los Angeles or Virginia-class submarines (to seek out and destroy hostile surface ships and submarines), destroyers, frigates and a replenishment ship.
Q: How does China project its military power? A: Currently, China does not have the capacity to project power. China’s Liaoning Aircraft Carrier – China’s only carrier – was originally laid down in 1988 in Ukraine as the Admiral Kuznetsov-class Aircraft Carrier for the Soviet Navy. In 1998, the carrier was bought by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Currently, the carrier is classified as a ‘training ship’.
Q: How does Russia project its military power? A: Currently, Russia has a very limited capacity to project power. Russia’s Admiral Flota Sovetskovo Soyuza Kuznetsov is a 55,000 tonne STOBAR Aircraft Carrier (Short Take-off But Arrested Recovery). The carrier has defensive weapons and offensive missiles.
Q: How does the US manage to dominate the world? A: The global merchandise trade stands at $19 trillion – and a large part of it is seaborne. The United States Navy (USN) controls all the oceans of the world-and thus all the trade routes.
Q: How does the US manage to dominate the world? A: The US’s defence spending officially stands at $596 billion. On top of the $596 billion, there’s emergency discretionary spending, supplemental spending and stimulus spending that add up to an additional $150 billion. Defence-related spending outside of the US Department of Defence comes up to at least $200 billion. That’s a total of $950 billion on defence. China spends $215 billion, Saudi Arabia $87 billion, Russia $66 billion, the UK $66 billion and India $51 billion. Of the 193 members of the UN, 192 collectively spend about the same as does the US by itself.
Q: How does the US manage to dominate the world? A: Through its ‘Empire of Bases’ numbering around 800 and spread over 130 countries.
Here’s a list of the world’s top seven brands: Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, Toyota and Samsung. Of the 7, five are based in the US. Here’s a list of the world’s top 10 universities: MIT, Cambridge, Harvard, UCL, Oxford, Imperial College, Yale, University of Chicago, Princeton and Caltech. Of the 10, six are in the US.
Here’s a list of the ten most valuable companies in the world: Apple, Exxon Mobil, Berkshire Hathaway, Google, Microsoft, PetroChina, Wells Fargo, Johnson & Johnson, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and Novartis. Of the 10, seven are in the US.
Q: When will the US’s domination end? A: The US’s domination will end when one of the two things happen: the world discovers or invents non-seaborne trade routes. Or, another country comes up with a stronger navy.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.