Talk:Great power/GA2

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GA Review[edit]

Article (edit | edit beta | history) · Article talk (edit | history) · Watch

Commencing review[edit]

I will, with a little trepidation, undertake this second round of review, following an initial listing, and a GAR that resulted in delisting. I am a pol sci expert, but not in international relations and, for better or worse, I do not reside in a country that could at any stretch be regarded as a 'Great power'. :-)
I will be back after some further reading and consideration. hamiltonstone (talk) 03:02, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

The subject of the article[edit]

The very last comment during the GAR, by User:Geometry guy, was a good one: "My suggestion would be to shorten an tighten the article to focus on how the term has been used by historians and other reliable sources throughout history." The article should be about the concept of a "great power"; what nations might be great powers is a secondary matter. As such, the current first section, "Characteristics", is right on track. Although the prose is clunky at times, the content is the right kind of material. Subsequent sections on occasion drift into a talking about which countries are great powers - for example, "Of the five original great powers recognised at the Congress of Vienna, only France and the United Kingdom have maintained that status to the present day..." (under the "History" heading), but from the heading "The Great powers at war", it stays broadly on track.

Maintaining an analytical focus[edit]

I think the sections beginning "History" will be improved by a stronger focus on the arguments made, by academic sources in particular, about what a great power is, and how the nature of that power is changing. For example, in the paragraph that follows the heading "Aftermath of the Cold War", there is reference to how there are differences of view regarding how Germany and Japan should be regarded. I suggest that this WP article should be discussing the arguments put in those sources about why they should be considered 'great powers', or 'great economic powers', or 'middle powers', or whatever. In other words, what is of most interest is the arguments around the application of the concept of "great power", rather than which country is/was 'in', and which is/was 'out'.

It seems to me also that "great power" appears to have been superceded, both as language and perhaps as concept, with discussion of superpowers and middle powers, of hyperpower and of the capacity of states (and non-state actors) to resist major powers' intent. I think there shouold be some acknowledgement of the historical and geopolitical specificity of the term as associated with later imperialism and the west (and Japan), in the period 1815 to 1945. This is hinted at in the last section, which remarks "China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are still occasionally referred to as great powers, although there is no unanimous agreement among authorities as to the current status of these powers or what precisely defines a "great" power..." I would assume the literature discusses this. At the very least, there needs to be some discussion of the interchangeability (if they are, as Danilovic p. 27 suggests, interchangeable) of the terms "great power and "major power".

I think there needs to be reference made to capacity to resist great / major powers (if the literature does so). Consider the realist AJP Taylor's "test of strength for war", and similar definitional approaches. How should one interpret the capacity of some small states or alliances successfully to resist superpower aggression or lower-level beligerence (if I can put it that way) - the Taliban against the Soviets in Afghanistan for example; Vietnam; or limited superpower / major power capacity to influence the politics or regional ambitions of Iran, India, Pakistan or North Korea. Again, this should be discussed in terms of interpreting what "great power" means, rather than using it as evidence to debate whether or not any given country is or is not a "great power"

There is another issue that I'm going to mention, but am still thinking about how it can be tackled. At present in the article, the concept of "great power" is applied only to recent (post-1815) events, presumably since that is when the term was first used by actual historical actors. Pre-1815 major civilisations are dealt with in a separate article, Historical powers. As a corollary, or a consequence, it is western-centric. If we are to treat the term as an analytical concept based on the three dimensions of power, then there is no reason not to apply it to pre-1815 circumstances. The concept having been developed, surely the literature has applied this concept to deal with pre-1815 geopolitics? That being the case, where is the Ottoman Empire, perhaps the Chola Empire and Incan Empire, certainly the Ming dynasty, or for that matter the Roman empire etc? The split between two articles does not address the important analytical questions that should affect how the article is structured, and what is included. I think the fact that the term was in 1814 used for the first time by historical figures, in primary sources relating to diplomacy, should not be allowed to confust the analytical application of the concept. If however none of the scholarly literature applies the terminology to pre-1815 geopolitics (which would surprise me, but this isn't my field), then that alerts us to an important issue, sketched above - that the term has more historical specificity than the analytical 'dimensions' model suggests. I realise the preceding may not be a model of clear prose, and I am happy to elaborate further / have another go at explaining myself if required.

Secondary issues[edit]

UN[edit]

  • There was an interesting interchange on the talk page (archive #11 here) about the UN's own use of the term "great power" in discussing its security council (the example given in that discussion relates to this: http://www.un.org/sc/members.asp). I think this should be included as an example of the application of the concept in the post World War 2 era. Hopefully, it will also be discussed in secondary sources, but regardless of that, it is a significant use of the term that should be explicitly noted.

sources[edit]

  • The referencing needs significant tidying. There are many different formats used, and for refs that are linked online, many publication details are missing. If a style is going to be incorporated that uses "op cit" , the term can only be used after the reference has been initially cited, however this style is not supported on Wikipedia: see Wikipedia:Footnotes, so it should not be used. The alternative is a list of references, and then short refs in notes (however that is not the approach taken in this article overall).
  • During the review that resulted in de-listing, the reliability of Black's Academy as a source was raised. If there has been further discussion of this elsewhere, can a user please draw my attention to it. If there has not, then my initial view is that this is a 'black box' website, that says almost nothing about how it works; I have no idea where its material comes from; a superficial google search supplied me with no immediately apparent external sources that would explain what Black's Academy is, and its own website does not exactly encourage such curiosity. My conclusion is that it is not a suitable source, but I am open to being enlightened or corrected. We could also take that particular issue to Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources.
  • The following paras are seriously under-referenced (as well as possibly needing some re-consideration in light of the above discussion):

During the Cold War, the Asian power of Japan and the European powers of the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany rebuilt their economies. France and the United Kingdom maintained technologically advanced armed forces with power projection capabilities and maintain large defence budgets to this day. Yet, as the Cold War continued, authorities began to question if France and the United Kingdom could retain their long-held statuses as great powers.[34][35]
China, with the world's largest population, has slowly risen to great power status, with large growth in economic and military power in the post-war period. By the 1970s, the Republic of China began to lose its recognition as the sole legitimate government of China by the other great powers, in favour of the People's Republic of China. Subsequently, in 1971, it lost its permanent seat at the UN Security Council to the People's Republic of China.

Comments[edit]

Well. I think the Black's Academy source could go if needed as every instance it is used, it is supported by 2 other sources that have had no complaints. I'll remove the source, and let the other user try the fix the references and notes as I'm not too good at working with references. Deavenger (talk) 05:38, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Wow what a response. Are you sure your not trying to skip WP:Good Article all together and make this into a WP:Featured Article? Personally I believe that it’s a good thing that you’re not from a country considered a Great power. The last reviewer got comments of personal bias due to his/her nationality. Well let’s try to reduce your comments into something a bit more manageable.

The subject of the article
  • "History" will be improved by a stronger focus on the arguments made, by academic sources in particular, about what a great power is, and how the nature of that power is changing. ... what is of most interest is the arguments around the application of the concept of "great power", rather than which country is/was 'in', and which is/was 'out'.
  • "great power" appears to have been superceded, both as language and perhaps as concept ... there shouold be some acknowledgement of the historical and geopolitical specificity of the term as associated with later imperialism and the west (and Japan), in the period 1815 to 1945.
  • reference made to capacity to resist great / major powers (if the literature does so).
  • the article ... is applied only to recent (post-1815) events ... Pre-1815 major civilisations are dealt with in a separate article, Historical powers. ... The split between two articles does not address the important analytical questions that should affect how the article is structured, and what is included. ... If however none of the scholarly literature applies the terminology to pre-1815 geopolitics (which would surprise me, but this isn't my field), then that alerts us to an important issue, sketched above - that the term has more historical specificity than the analytical 'dimensions' model suggests.
Secondary issues
  • There was an interesting interchange on the talk page (archive #11 here) about the UN's own use of the term "great power" in discussing its security council (the example given in that discussion relates to this: http://www.un.org/sc/members.asp). I think this should be included as an example of the application of the concept in the post World War 2 era. Hopefully, it will also be discussed in secondary sources, but regardless of that, it is a significant use of the term that should be explicitly noted.
  • The referencing needs significant tidying..
  • ... a superficial google search supplied me with no immediately apparent external sources that would explain what Black's Academy is, and its own website does not exactly encourage such curiosity. My conclusion is that it is not a suitable source, but I am open to being enlightened or corrected. We could also take that particular issue to Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources.
  • [a few] paras are seriously under-referenced (as well as possibly needing some re-consideration in light of the above discussion)

I'll try to get on this. Sorry about the wait. I only hope I can get this finalized before the weekend as I am going to be out of town after that. -- Phoenix (talk) 01:06, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Hi. Yeah, sorry about the essay. There's lots of good stuff in the article, and I had trouble articulating why I thought there was a 'big picture' issue with it, rather than letting myself get bogged in details like missing refs and format issues. Your summary is more like what I wish I had written in the first place. Re your comment about leaping to FA, you may have a point. My concern is that it may not sufficiently meet the criteria of addressing the main aspects of the topic unless this issue, about the nature of the term and its historical application, is sorted out a bit better. But let's see how things go and I will be mindful of not seeking to go beyond the GA criteria in assessing revisions in coming days / weeks. I will stick this on hold for a while and keep tabs. Cheers. hamiltonstone (talk) 00:26, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Don't apologize for the prose it is actually very helpful. I would only recommend that next time you should try to bullet point the main suggestions and then put the more verbose description of your ideas below. It will help to have individual tasks that allow people to focus on one issue at a time & give the necessary specifics needed to fulfill those requests.
I hope that you are willing to place this on hold for about a week+. I originally believed that the page was ready to be a Good Article with only a couple of minor tweaks needed. After your review it looks like it's going to take a bit longer than expected. Whats worse is I am going to be without my PC for about 1-2 weeks after tomorrow. Currently Deavenger and myself are the main editors to this page and I do not wish to offload all this on him/her. But I know that we are both REALLY eager to get this page to GA status again. I can only hope that you are willing to wait until I am back. Pretty please! -- Phoenix (talk) 07:23, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
No worries. This is about my twentieth GA review this year, and a few were on hold for well over a month, as I knew there were editor(s) with definite plans to respond to issues, or who were going to be away etc. As long as there's a plan, my view is the WP norm of 'one week' just doesn't take sufficient regard of 'real life'. See you and Deavenger around this article over coming weeks. Cheers. hamiltonstone (talk) 10:43, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Okay. I think I fixed the citations and added a notes section due to the fact that we had all those notes. On with the rest of the improvements. Deavenger (talk) 21:59, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Hey, can I ask one last favor. During the review, I was out of the country for most of the time. In a couple of days, I'll be leaving out of the country for a longer period of itme. Can the final decision be waited until August 15th? Deavenger (talk) 03:59, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
We might be setting a record at GAN for a hold, but it's fine with me :-) hamiltonstone (talk) 12:15, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. For sure, end the GA review on August 15th, and it'll hopefully be passed by then. Thanks again. Deavenger (talk) 18:31, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Lead[edit]

At five sentences across two small paragraphs, the lead section is quite sparse (even for this relatively short article). Consider expanding it to be a more comprehensive, stand-alone summary of the article. Emw2012 (talk) 22:44, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Would turning it into one paragraph work? Deavenger (talk) 03:33, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Each paragraph seems to deal with different topics: the first with characteristics of great powers (i.e. the first section of the article) and the second with their history (the second section). That seems like a good structure, but each paragraph could probably be expanded by at least two sentences. Emw2012 (talk) 04:05, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
I've expanded the lead by two sentences and tried to make it more comprehensive and representative of the article material. Some more work may be needed. Nirvana888 (talk) 16:41, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I also expanded the sentence a little bit. However I can't think of what to add to the second paragraph. Deavenger (talk) 18:01, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

British English and American English[edit]

The article currently commingles the two. I noticed by searching for instances of "ise" and "ize" and finding a singular use of the British "ise"; but also found an instance of the BE "favour". There article should be consistent in either using American English or British English. See American and British English differences for more examples. Emw2012 (talk) 22:54, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Good point. Let's go with American English. Nirvana888 (talk) 16:20, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Great Britain has been a great power far longer than the United States has, and much of the article's history section regards European powers, so I would argue that the article should be in British English. Though I'm not terribly bothered. David (talk) 09:16, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

conclude review[edit]

Owing to a lck of changes, and the inability of a key editor to return to the task, I will fail this GAN for now. hamiltonstone (talk) 01:27, 14 August 2009 (UTC)