Multi-dimensional Power of Ranking of Nations

Most rankings of the military power or geopolitical power of countries look mainly at the power of the air force, navies and armies of countries. They often do not look at the true quality of the equipment or technology. Also, there is an implied assumption that great nations would throw down in a repeat of world war 2 like conflicts.

This would be like looking at individual combatants based upon only boxing skills. Mixed martial would bring in whether the combatants had takedown defense and judo skills. Judo and jiu jitsu capabilities would determine if the fighting was standing or on the ground. Individual combatants could also be in a street fight with knives, guns or other weapons. Street fights could also involve gangs of people vs individuals or other gangs.

Where does direct military conflict ranking assessment matter?

Military assessments matter where military conflict has been happening and where there is a high risk of more conflict.
India versus Pakistan
Ukraine versus Russia or Russian supported Proxies
Saudi Arabia versus Iran
Israel versus Iran
Various other middle eastern country matchups including Turkey
China versus Taiwan
North Korea versus South Korea with US and others supporting
Russia versus Eastern European countries with various levels of European and US support.

Defending invasion
China has missiles and planes and sensors to defend against an invasion from the USA. This means that the invasion scenario is not a realistic threat. This is not the case for countries like Iran or other lesser militaries. Iran and other weaker nations know that they could get trashed like Iraq.

Power Projection
Being able to project power or overmatch other specific countries means that countries with this capability can realistically bully countries that are vulnerable to

Trade War

It is relevant to look at trade war power dynamics now and in the future.

There is the still ongoing trade conflict between China and the USA. There could be new trade disputes between Europe and the USA. It is important relevant economic strength for trade conflicts. The US strength is a domestic consumer market ($14 trillion) that is over double the size of China’s consumer market ($6 trillion). The US also has far less exports to China than China exports. A combined Europe has consumer spending of about $10 trillion.

Categories for Ranking Countries

Here are some categories for placing world countries in power or ability or inability to withstand external forces.

Economy crippled from US sanctions. Iran’s oil exports dropped by over 80% when the US applied sanctions.
Economy and country able to withstand longterm US sanctions. North Korea is in this category.
Has nuclear weapons which limits the aggression of foreign powers.
Able to withstand a trade war. China is able to weather a trade war for over a year but eventually decided to make a deal. Canada and Mexico agreed to terms before a full trade war was launched.

25 thoughts on “Multi-dimensional Power of Ranking of Nations”

  1. I have to assume he is joking. Even without a supreme leader for life that embezzles hundreds of billions, puts nuclear waste in people’s cocktails, and deadly nerve agents on their doorknobs (in other countries!!!), Russia is the poster child for almost everything that can go wrong with a country.

  2. The Japanese have fuel flexibility. They don’t rely on just one form of energy and each city is basically their own power grid. I think they will be alright for food as long as they stay on the Anglos good side.

  3. We got boats and moats and food and fuel …

    It’s the Anglosphere way. The British Empire seems to have settled everywhere on the planet that could meet those criteria.

    USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (errr except fuel, unless they go full electric with geothermal power generation). Even old Blighty herself has oil, coal, and enough of a moat to keep the French and Germans at bay.

    Except maybe… Japan I guess, who still need to work on fuel and food.

  4. I wasn’t even trying to joke with Boko Haram. I just cast about for a current military group that is highly non-mechanized.
    Even ISIS was getting about in fleets of vehicles, and actually used oil as an export earner.

    US conscript → boots rate is long

    Yes, this is a point I didn’t elaborate on (thank you, word limit) but is quite important I think. One disadvantage of a highly skilled military is that it takes ages to ramp up. WWII style 9 weeks from draft board to D-day is not feasible any more, not with what we currently expect soldiers to be able to do.

    (Including survive. WWII draftees were sent to the front with a level of training that was deadly to far too many of them. I’ve heard it said that the average college student whose played a few rounds of paintball has had more realistic training than the guys storming Guadalcanal.)

    On the other hand, the USA does have a deep bench of veterans that it can call on. In terms of experienced troops more than even China/India/Russia I think. It’s important not to burn this bench out, it could be one of the biggest strategic assets.

  5. I’m trying to figure out whether you mean “more hawkish than Trump” (and who would that be, or more generally, from which party?) … or whether you mean something less persona-driven, and more tautological. 

    As in, “ well, iffin’ we’re so well armed and gravied, why’re we not USING it to good effect, at present, instead of dithering around with the Mullahs?

    Not sure I get your angle.
    But I’d probably agree with either position.

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  6. We got boats and moats and food and fuel … everything else is gravy. If only we had leadership that could take advantage of that instead of squandering it.

  7. Yah… and those, too. For sure ⊕1! If I could give a ⊕2 tho’, it’d be for “any military more advanced than Boko Haram”. I was just getting up to retrieve a thrice rewarmed cuppa tea out of the microwave, and read that … and fell off my throne. Zingers to the end of the comment!  

    Much tho’ the popular sky-is-falling or orange-man-is-bad or we’re-all-going to-poach-soon media has made of the (un)likelihood of armed conflict between various US ∴ {take your pick} entities, I think it is pretty fair to say that the US is № 1, without much competition at present, anywhere.  

    Mostly because she has such military DEPTH.

    Hitting on your points…

    US does NOT have largest boots-on-the-ground army (or in the air).
    US population is a mere fraction of China, India or even Europe for that.  
    US conscript → boots rate is long. And we don’t have many potential c’s. 
    US equipment = pretty darn good. Maybe best, without much contention.
    US economy = pretty vibrant.  
    US industrialization… waning. But could ramp up.
    US technology… does any world entity come close?
    US geography … requires ICBMs or really REALLY stealthy subs to take on.
    US energy supplies … now independent of ALL world production. 

    So, no matter what the yellow rags bleat, I think we’re covered for the while. 

    Not so, any Mideast nation.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  8. I think that a comparison that didn’t leave out vital parameters would probably take a book, not a website article.
    Especially if you wanted to compare say the top 10 powers-likely-to-go-to-war or something.

    If you want to see someone who actually tries to do this, check out Binkov’s Battlegrounds on youtube.

    Parameters that would strike me (again, not even pretending to be a expert) as needing to be addressed:

    Military size and makeup
    Population size, makeup, and how well mobilized conscripts could be implemented into the military
    Equipment type, quality, age and quantity
    Economy, and economy type.
    Level of industrialization, and the applicability of this type of industrialization to the expected type of war. ie. Electronics and data processing is more useful in a long term submarine conflict while heavy industry and vehicle production helps with tank wars of attrition.
    Geography: natural barriers, natural transport routes, distance. Barriers work both ways too, a major factor in the planned allied invasion of Japan was that there were only a couple of non-oceanic links between the agricultural regions and the population centres. Cut them off by air attack and the place starves.
    Presence of any regions that may be convinced/encouraged/given opportunity to break away.
    Energy supplies. Oil is still the lifeblood of any military more advanced than Boko Haram.

  9. Its also safer. Even safer is to warn that you are about to launch rockets at location so none get hurt, launch and tell you killed lots of enemies in your state controlled media. The islamists can not point to US sources because of politic, the professionals are just happy, probably the average guy too even if he see past the lies or not.
    Loosing more people in the funeral of the general than in the attack was one blow, shooting down an plane was another.

    Another weird thin was that one of the Iranian rockets looked very intact.
    Yes it was crumbled and missed parts but it did not look like an supersonic missile hit and exploded. Note they might separate warhead from rocket and we see the core stage. The rockets was accurate so they might use the Russian gps variant.
    Russia might get an very good business deal if an US-Iran war break out 🙂
    Note that this work all around. poor Russia has gotten an far worse reputation for bad weapons as they has exported a lot of weapon systems to Arabs who was unable to use them well.

  10. Yes, China could not withstand the trade war long enough to wait out a US election. Several problems are being papered over. The Hong Kong disaster led to the Taiwan disaster led to next long chain of disasters to come.

  11. A country is just lines on a map.

    A nation is a country where a single culture predominates, which is another way of saying a single set of core cultural values predominate (such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).

    As a rule, nations are far more stable and powerful than countries and both are far more stable than empires.

    Empires are just collections of countries and can easily be stronger even than nations, but are at least an order of magnitude more unstable than countries and tend to be shortlived because of this.

    The U.S. owes a goodly part of its superpower status to the fact that it can be thought of as being all three, a country, a nation, and an empire.

    If its states were considered to be countries (that all happen to share the same cultural values, no less) and ranked by GNP, there would be 240 countries on Earth, and 45 U.S. states would be pretty evenly distributed across the top 50% . . . and even Vermont squeezes in to the top 150. In that sense, yes, the U.S. is the most incredible monolithic empire in the history of the world, while still being a single nation.

    The greatest determiner of wealth and power for any nation is not its location, or any physical asset (although size helps considerably), but the willingness and ability of its people to accept and adapt to change.

  12. The only person worried about Iranian Nukes is Netanyahu. A lot cheaper way of provoking US invasion of Iran is blowing-up the Trump Tower.

  13. Shoot.  
    I clicked expecting to see lots of pretty comparative graphics.  
    Oh, well. 

    Other debaters seem focussed on the idea of an Iran-invasion, by the USA. Dr. Pat (rightly) sez, … well, think about the geographic difference between Iraq and Iran before contemplating the ease. 

    But really, wasn’t the point of the article to find alternate ranking criteria for comparing the “power of nations”?

    I think perhaps Our Dear Leader’s commentary (albeit without pretty graphs!) is accurate. 

    There definitely are other factors than the usual ones. 

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  14. correct but only because the modern state of Iraq was created by the British and ignored the regional ethnicities.

  15. Missed the most important. Logistics, the capability to sustain combat, especially when projecting power. By the end of WWII, the US had developed a logistical capability that outstripped Britain as well as the Soviets and Axis powers. While atrophied, only China can approach the same level today, but they haven’t demonstrated yet.

  16. I don’t know that the US ever ‘built a nation’ – after WW2 we took nations that were pretty much united but defeated, and helped reboot them. With some changes, yes.

    Iraq was not and is not united – it is split by sectarian differences. The big change since the US invaded was to hand major influence to the majority Shi’a population and through them to Iran. Iran was apparently the big winner of the US invasion of Iraq.

  17. “Able to withstand a trade war. China is able to weather a trade war for over a year but eventually decided to make a deal”

    Huh? Has China made a deal with the USA? This was news to me.

  18. The most important manner of looking at conflicts is the potential economic growth and knowledge creation of different countries. Conflicts arise when different countries are trying to hasten or block these movements, but eventually everyone falls not far from its true place. Germany tried and failed to rise to power through two world wars and eventually succeeded only after its defeat. The soviets lost their Empire because they did not create a matching economic powerhouse behind it. The US example speaks for itself as it rose and stayed in power without having to go to war for it. Thus eventually Russia will not become a super power again despite expanding its military around its borders and China and India are already, depending on the extant that they can exploit their economic potential.

  19. ‘Worked in Libya.’ To whose benefit ? Nobody that I can figure out – except the other oil exporters. Left the Europeans with a chaotic mess bleeding refugees. Gave anyone considering nuclear weapons solid reasons to distrust the West, and build them. If the US is no longer capable of building nations, perhaps they should stop wrecking them.

  20. the only way iran gets invaded is if they prove they are idiots by detonating a nuke on US territory… then its game over for the governmet of iran…they will be pounded into oblivion…. that’s all it takes to 100% approval for a war in US government…

  21. I am not any sort of military expert, but I think you ALSO have to add in old fashioned geography.

    Should one wish to contemplate a US invasion of Iran (I would not, but one might) then you can’t just compare Iraq’s military/economic/technical strength with Iran’s military/economic/technical strength and conclude that if the USA could crush Iraq then they could crush Iran.
    But Iraq is a much smaller, open, flat country where Iran is a much larger and mountainous country. When up against the USA which performed very well via high speed, long range, well coordinated armoured and motorized columns performing strikes across flat desert, the idea of changing this to mountain ranges would affect matters somewhat.

    You’d also have to add in the internal structure and cohesion and politics of each nation. I suspect that most of the power centers in the USA are firmly against the idea of going in and taking control of a nation at this point.

    Bomb them and take out infrastructure and individuals? Sure.

    Maybe even destroy the existing government to the point where it loses power? Worked in Libya.

    But after that, let the rubble burn and the various colonels and local politicians put themselves back into power with the constant reminder that the USA might bomb them too if they start to get too threatening. But no taking control. No nation building.

    The USA could nation build in the late 1940s, but they no longer have this ability and it appears most groups accept this, for now

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