Superpower collapse

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Superpower collapse is the political collapse of a superpower nation-state; the term is most often used to describe the dissolution of the Soviet Union but also can be applied to the end of the British Empire's superpower status.

Soviet Union[edit]

Dramatic changes occurred in the Soviet Union during the 1980s and early 1990s, with perestroika, the dramatic fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, and finally ending in the Collapse of the Soviet Union (1985–1991). As early as 1970, Andrei Amalrik had made predictions of Soviet collapse. The most famous politician to predict the collapse of the USSR was U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

United States[edit]

Some political scientists believe that when one superpower collapses, another must take its place so as to maintain a balance of power. During the Cold War, the U.S. fought many proxy wars against USSR-supported communist regimes, but after the Soviet collapse found itself as the world's sole superpower, even sometimes termed hyperpower. Members of the American right, such as some neoconservatives self-styled as the Blue Team, increasingly viewed the People's Republic of China as a military threat, despite strong economic ties. Blue Team members favor containment and confrontation with the PRC, and strong US support of Taiwan.[1] While in the past international power might have been achieved through military might, it has increasingly shifted to relations through trade. The Chinese Government views the United States as "a superpower in decline."[2]

United Kingdom[edit]

The consequence of fighting two World Wars in a relatively short amount of time, along with the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union rise to superpower status after the end of World War II, both of which were hostile to British imperialism and along with the change in ideology led to a rapid wave of decolonisation all over the world in the decades after World War II. The Suez Crisis of 1956 is generally considered as the beginning of the end of Britain's period as a superpower.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ BRANEGAN, Jay (Apr 9, 2001). "The Hard-Liners". TIME Magazine. 
  2. ^ "In Search of an Enemy". Rushford Report [clarification needed]. 
  3. ^ Brown, Derek (14 March 2001). "1956: Suez and the end of empire". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ Reynolds, Paul (24 July 2006). "Suez: End of empire". BBC News. 
  5. ^ History's worst decisions and the people who made them, pp. 167–172

See also[edit]