Yes, the USA is the most powerful nation in the world, but just how powerful is it?
Like any previous superpower in history, including the Grecians, the Romans and the British, the USA’s dominance in world politics can be boiled down to its choices along the centuries. In fact, it was in the 1860s that the USA really started working towards its status with the then-Secretary of State, William H. Seward, pushing forward the plan to buy Alaska from Russia, turning the USA into a colonising nation.
America, however, is not an imperialist nation like the aforementioned superpowers, and even as far back as 1898, there was widespread domestic opposition to President McKinley’s war with the Spanish over Cuba.
Nevertheless, over the years, through war and purchasing power, the USA annexed numerous lands outside of its boarders, bringing it into conflict with other superpowers.
It was, however, World War II that truly set the stage for the USA to become the world power it is today. As the only nation with nuclear weapons, and the only nation involved in WWII whose economy continued to grow, it was a key player in the peace talks that ensued and even went on to set up the United Nations.
Now, over 70 years after all that happened, here’s just how powerful America has become:
The USA has around 1,400,000 active-duty personnel and 1,100,000 reserve personnel in its army. And that’s just the human capabilities of the US Military. It then has over 13,000 aircraft, almost 9,000 tanks, 19 aircraft carriers, 75 submarines, 62 destroyers and over 7,000 helicopters. At $601 billion budget on military, the USA spends more than the next seven highest-spending countries together!
The USA is sandwiched between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bridging the way between West Europe and East Asia. These trade routes don’t just give the USA’s coffers a lot of coins, it also gives the country a lot of clout and bargaining power.
The USA is the second biggest producer of oil in the world, producing more than 1,100,000 barrels per day.
The USA leads four of the world’s most important industries including technology (through Silicon Valley), education (by having 17 of the top 20 universities in the world), entertainment (through Hollywood), and finance and business (through Wall Street). So while the USA may not be an imperialist nation in the more common sense of the word, it has still colonised numerous nations through money and culture.
All of the above, as well as the fact that the USA receives over 1,000,000 new immigrants per year, has helped its federal budget soar through the roof. The US federal budget between October 2016 and September 2017 had $4.147 trillion requested expenditure and a $19.95 trillion requested GDP.
So how powerful is the USA?
Incredibly. With military might and cultural colonisation, as well as a budget to see through its expanding needs, the USA remains the strongest country in the world.