Japanese diplomat names the last superpower in history

Dmitry Kosyrev

The next superpower is India, which not only will be next to Russia, the United States and China, but the list of superpowers will close on this, if not forever, then for the foreseeable period.

Before us, of course, is the opinion of only one person – Hiroshi Hirabayashi, the former Japanese ambassador to India. But Japanese diplomats generally tend to express (in writing and in print) not just good feelings for the country where they worked for a long time. In addition, they express these feelings and ideas in such a way that everyone immediately remembers that the Japanese nation is special, cosmic in terms of the unexpectedness of thoughts and images.

This is a book, one of the notable events of this year. It is called “India: The Last Superpower”. It is written in the way many diplomats usually write, in a mixed genre – here is a retelling of some interesting episodes and conversations from our own practice, and figures with facts, and much more. It is mainly addressed to the Indian reader with the main goal: to convince the Indians that in their superpower future they will be on the side of the Western powers holding China back, and this is already happening often. In general, there are no former diplomats.

However, it is useful in any case – when unexpected thoughts are expressed in Japanese, with such large strokes: after all, you immediately want to argue with them. The status of a superpower can be described in different ways, but on the whole, everything is clear. She can afford to be invulnerable for a long time – and at the same time at least something attractive to others. That is, the strongest and most beautiful of all, with different combinations of both.

It is even clearer with India as a future superpower. Everything is simply obvious here: size matters. The population is almost like that of China (1.3 billion versus 1.4), the territory commands respect. This is the oldest of the surviving large civilizations (slightly older than China), and in addition, India managed, after about a century and a half under the rule of the former all-powerful superpower – the British Empire – to regain itself and at the same time bring down that very empire.

In general, everything here is like with China, which has already become a global superpower. If the country has a huge population, then somehow there will be scientists and engineers, poets, historians and everything else that makes the nation great and strong. And even money will be found for a good cause.

It’s time to say here why Hiroshi Hirabayashi thinks India will close the superpower list. Simply because there are no more such huge powers in the world, and even with an ancient culture, and is not expected. Nigeria, Brazil, Indonesia are giants, but they are several times lagging behind in terms of population, and as for the civilizational aspect, the conversation is complicated.

But in the past, the superpowers were created differently, they did not have to consider the initial population in the hundreds of millions? They sent ships and took what they wanted. This is not only the British Empire, but also Spain, and Portugal with its current brainchild – Brazil, and Holland, which once ruled the current Indonesia. It doesn’t matter what languages people spoke there and what kind of ancient culture they had: everyone will speak English (Span-ish, Portuguese) and so on.

Yes, but such an era is over, and it is in Japan that Hiroshi Hirabayashi knows better than anyone else. At the dawn of the 20th century, the Japanese, with their non-standard, “alien” thinking, asked themselves a simple question: everyone can rob foreign lands, but can’t we? And during the Second World War, they took possession of a large part of China, Indonesia, Malaya, Burma, the Philippines – there is nowhere more superpower. So it turned out that they were not allowed, and then the era changed, decolonization began to wave. The old model for creating superpowers has broken down.

And then the question arises: what is the superpower called the United States doing on the list of the Japanese diplomat? Such, however, tried to work out a new, post-British model of creating an empire, even swung into becoming an almost world empire – through finance, ideology, technology and much more. Well, through wars too. So after all, just now we see that this model did not work either, another superpower ran into big trouble. This is how it happens: US President Joe Biden speaks (the other day) at the UN and reads a speech. A brilliant speech – probably written by the same people who worked for the great orator of our time, Barack Obama. And in this speech we see a truly planet-wide scope of the ambitions of one power. Promises like this:

“All the unrivaled strength, energy, determination, will and resources of our country are now fully and completely focused on what lies ahead, and not on the past. Looking into the future, I know for sure: we will lead. We will lead the fight against the greatest challenges of our time – from the coronavirus pandemic to climate, peace and security, human dignity and human rights. “

And after all, tons of technical arguments against such planetary ambitions can be piled up. The latest military technologies that have turned out to be powerless, financial realities (such money does not exist), a disgusting new ideology, causing something close to civil war within the American and Western societies itself, not to mention the export of such. But you can just trust your feelings. They are like this: you listen to this speech at the UN and think – are they seriously telling us or are we having a comedy show here? And no more arguments are needed. America will have to work very hard to keep itself on the list of superpowers next to China or India.

But there is also Russia on the list. And it does not fit well with Japanese logic (aka Chinese: “a lot of people is good,” as Chairman Mao once said). The population of Russia is ten times less than the Chinese and Indian, comparable to the Japanese. Although at the dawn of the 20th century, in terms of this indicator, we were on the list very close to the world leaders – the same China and India. But here is a special case – the territory. Plus culture, civilizational heritage, which helped Russia to preserve this territory. Although here, perhaps, we should not be conceited, but add: not only the Americans, but also us, superpower is not guaranteed in any way, we need to be able to preserve it.

Leave a Comment