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Thread: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

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    Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    Britain was, no doubt, the world power in it's prime. But how does it compare to America's power and standing?

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    I am British, and the British Empire was certainly one of the most powerful Empires the world has ever seen. It accounted for over a third of the globe and had a collective population of over 1 Billion people (It would be well over 2 Billion today). However the Empire was largely based on trade, and nuclear weapons didn't exist during the period when Britain was a leading world power, and in this respect we weren't as powerful as the US is today. New technology means the US could destoy the world many thousands of times over if it so desired, technology making it more powerful than the British Empire ever was.

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kate M. View Post
    Britain was, no doubt, the world power in it's prime. But how does it compare to America's power and standing?
    You can't compare the two.

    The British Empire was a colonial power. It developed colonies all over the world and imposed its governance on other areas all over the world. In this way, they used government to implement their own British social order.

    The United States is a military and corporate power. The US does not make colonies. Rather, we open markets in other countries so our corporations can sell their goods and services there. In this way, it's international corporations that influence the social order, not the US government directly. We also have no problem with governments governing themselves, so long as their policies stick with our interests as well, and we use both diplomatic and military means to enforce such rather than outright conquering and administrating other lands.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    The British army was not the most powerful in the world even during the height of the British Empire. They were not capable of defeating France, Britain, or Russia alone.

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    The British army was not the most powerful in the world even during the height of the British Empire. They were not capable of defeating France, Britain, or Russia alone.
    Not strictly true, although Britain was primarily a naval power, it had a very capable army which had previously famously defeated the French at Waterloo. In terms of the Crimean War we fought alongside the French and the German Ottoman Empire against the Russians, so didn't take the Russians on single handedly. During the later Boer War the British Army expanded to some 430,000 troops. Whilst at the height of the British Empire, considered to be around 1920, the British Army had just finished fighting WWI and was 3.8 million strong. The British once again fighting alongside allies in an alliance during WW1, this time with the Russians, the French, the Belgiums and many others including the Americans (who joined in 1917) against the Central European powers namely the Germay, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. The Germans, were indeed a very powerful country and this was demonstrated during WWII when it took the efforts of numerous allies to defeat them.

    BBC News - The time when the British army was really stretched
    Last edited by Chatter; 03-26-13 at 09:26 AM.

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    Quote Originally Posted by samsmart View Post
    You can't compare the two.

    The British Empire was a colonial power. It developed colonies all over the world and imposed its governance on other areas all over the world. In this way, they used government to implement their own British social order.

    The United States is a military and corporate power. The US does not make colonies. Rather, we open markets in other countries so our corporations can sell their goods and services there. In this way, it's international corporations that influence the social order, not the US government directly. We also have no problem with governments governing themselves, so long as their policies stick with our interests as well, and we use both diplomatic and military means to enforce such rather than outright conquering and administrating other lands.
    You pretty much said what I was going to.

    One thing the US has never really been is "Expansionist". Mostly we as a nation have mostly been interested in trade. Yes, at one time we were a "Revolutionary" nation, that some thought would be a springboard for "Democratic Revolutions" around the world. And several of the Founding Fathers thought this would be an excellent idea.

    Then the horrors of the French Revolution showed them the folly of that idea. Even the firebrand Thomas Jefferson realized the mistake in that and changed many of his beliefs.

    One thing that is very different about the UK at it's height and the US today or at pretty much any other time is how they deal with other nations.

    The UK traditionally saw them as good, bad, or somebody to conquer. First impression was to if they could be taken over, then if they could be threatened. Then they could make an alliance with them, but that was generally only temporary, and could be changed at almost any time. War with France, side with France, side with Russia, fight Russia. The history of the UK is full of incidents like that.

    The US on the other hand generally had no interest in trying to rule anybody else, we simply wanted to trade. So while the UK got a lease with total control on Hong Kong and held it through several changes of Government, the US simply tried to safeguard Shanghai and the surrounding countryside. Where the UK sent fleets to conquer other nations like India, the US simply showed it's "Great White Fleet" and sailed away again (a bit of gunboat diplomacy yes, but the main goal was actually to get Japan to stop killing sailors and traders who entered their territory). Even in our first "Extraterritorial Wars", we simply went in, fought the war, then sailed away again. We did not try to conquer and rule Tripoli or the Barbary Coast, simply to pacify it and make the area safe for trade.

    So I would say that the US was the strongest, simply because it got the vast majority of it's power from mutual assistance and cooperation with other nations, and not through force. This in the end has given us a march larger sphere of influence, because a great many nations saw us as "dealing fairly" when we were dealt with fairly.

    I however do not look at it in the same way you do, as in "Corporations", but "corporate", as in a "corporate mindset". We as a people by and large do not care who a nation trades with, or does not trade with. All we basically ask is that such trade is fair. And to give us the same consideration in return, and not attack or provoke us simply because of who we decide to trade or deal with.

    For the last half of the 20th century, a lot of the tensions we had in the Middle East mostly dealt with our relations with Israel. And many of those nations proclaimed us their "enemy" simply because we supported Israel. Yet interestingly enough, most of those same nations (without a real change in government) now welcome the US, and even try to get us to increase relations with them and even open military bases there. Because they have seen we support our friends, and have no interest in how they treat others (as long as it is civil). Yet ironically, one of the nations in the region we have had the most troubles with is the only one in the region that has not gone to war with Israel.
    Major T. J. "King" Kong: Stay on the bomb run, boys! I'm gonna get them doors open if it harelips ever'body on Bear Creek!

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    In terms of military power, no way was the UK stronger; in terms of political power, I would say the Empire was stronger than the US.

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oozlefinch View Post
    You pretty much said what I was going to.

    One thing the US has never really been is "Expansionist". Mostly we as a nation have mostly been interested in trade. Yes, at one time we were a "Revolutionary" nation, that some thought would be a springboard for "Democratic Revolutions" around the world. And several of the Founding Fathers thought this would be an excellent idea.

    Then the horrors of the French Revolution showed them the folly of that idea. Even the firebrand Thomas Jefferson realized the mistake in that and changed many of his beliefs.

    One thing that is very different about the UK at it's height and the US today or at pretty much any other time is how they deal with other nations.

    The UK traditionally saw them as good, bad, or somebody to conquer. First impression was to if they could be taken over, then if they could be threatened. Then they could make an alliance with them, but that was generally only temporary, and could be changed at almost any time. War with France, side with France, side with Russia, fight Russia. The history of the UK is full of incidents like that.

    The US on the other hand generally had no interest in trying to rule anybody else, we simply wanted to trade. So while the UK got a lease with total control on Hong Kong and held it through several changes of Government, the US simply tried to safeguard Shanghai and the surrounding countryside. Where the UK sent fleets to conquer other nations like India, the US simply showed it's "Great White Fleet" and sailed away again (a bit of gunboat diplomacy yes, but the main goal was actually to get Japan to stop killing sailors and traders who entered their territory). Even in our first "Extraterritorial Wars", we simply went in, fought the war, then sailed away again. We did not try to conquer and rule Tripoli or the Barbary Coast, simply to pacify it and make the area safe for trade.

    So I would say that the US was the strongest, simply because it got the vast majority of it's power from mutual assistance and cooperation with other nations, and not through force. This in the end has given us a march larger sphere of influence, because a great many nations saw us as "dealing fairly" when we were dealt with fairly.

    I however do not look at it in the same way you do, as in "Corporations", but "corporate", as in a "corporate mindset". We as a people by and large do not care who a nation trades with, or does not trade with. All we basically ask is that such trade is fair. And to give us the same consideration in return, and not attack or provoke us simply because of who we decide to trade or deal with.

    For the last half of the 20th century, a lot of the tensions we had in the Middle East mostly dealt with our relations with Israel. And many of those nations proclaimed us their "enemy" simply because we supported Israel. Yet interestingly enough, most of those same nations (without a real change in government) now welcome the US, and even try to get us to increase relations with them and even open military bases there. Because they have seen we support our friends, and have no interest in how they treat others (as long as it is civil). Yet ironically, one of the nations in the region we have had the most troubles with is the only one in the region that has not gone to war with Israel.
    Read up on the Banana Wars in the early 20th century and you'll find that our wars were very much indeed "corporate" as in "corporations."
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    Quote Originally Posted by samsmart View Post
    Read up on the Banana Wars in the early 20th century and you'll find that our wars were very much indeed "corporate" as in "corporations."
    Yea, and you forgot to add the Annexation of Hawaii.

    I never said that type of mindset never happened. It simply is not typical of how we deal with other nations. Yes, we did have a few "Expansionistic Wars", but they were for several reasons and not simply to gain territory. For example, in the Mexican-American War there is no question the US gained a lot of territory. However, it all started because the US voluntarily annexed Texas (at that point an independent nation that chose to join the US), and Mexico declared war against us. And in the end, most of the territory gained had actually already revolted from Mexico itself in the "Bear Flag Revolt".

    In one of the most interesting little-known facts of that revolt is that the name is entirely wrong. When the unfinished flag arrived at one of the leaders of the movement, he misread the note which asked for the addition of a "pear" (to represent the strength and importance of California agriculture). He thought the note asked for a "bear", so the "Bear Flag" was born.

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    Re: Is Britain in it's prime more powerful than America in it's prime?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kate M. View Post
    Britain was, no doubt, the world power in it's prime. But how does it compare to America's power and standing?
    I don't know. Sun never set on the British Empire; America never owned quite as much. Of course our armies are very different given changes in technology and such. We did beat the British for our Independence back during their glory years. But was there ever an empire so successful? I don't know...probably should learn more history.
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