The thread on the world’s best pick for superpower status invites a thread on world’s worst. And why they’d be the worst. Worst being whatever you think it might be.
My pick: Saudi Arabia. A feudal aristocracy with a bad human rights record and a strong, virulent fundamentalist strain of Islam. Sexism at its worst. Sure, Mugabe down in Zimbabwe is just frigging NUTS, but he’s kind of a one-time deal and as soon as someone puts that bullet he urgently needs in his skull in place, things will get better in Zimbabwe, if only a little bit better. The House of Saud has 30,000 princes, all ready to move all over the world and set up satrapies and harems (that how they got the 30,000 princes in the first place) and run things the Wahhabi way.
China would suck too, but they’d treat us very nicely until the day they decided it was time to shipt a few hundred million people into your country and let them take everything you have (see: Tibet.)
Let’s see…it would have to be a country that randomly interferes with the internal affairs of other countries, one with a history of reckless adventurism and imperialism. It would have to be somewhere where there is a monolithic government unresponsive to the needs and wants of the people. This evil superpower should be filled with intolerant religious extremists, and it should have a very poor record when it comes to human rights abuses like discrimination against minorities, gay rights, executing children, etc. It should spend a disproportionate amount of its GNP on weapons, and be run by an ideologue.
I was thinking North Korea would be another “kill the leader and maybe things get better” but as I understand it there are a shitload of military types who would probably just step in and be as totalitarian as ever, though I don’t know if they’d be as batshit crazy as Kim Jong Il. In short, N. Korea has a systemic problem, like Saudi Arabia. So they’d be right up there.
You are also going to have to define “superpower.” Neither North Korea nor Saudi Arabia has the economic capability of wielding power across the planet. Possession of nukes can’t be the qualifier, otherwise France would be on the list. So what makes a power “super?”
Aliens decide that dealing with Earth will be much easier under a single unified world government. So they pick a regime that will do anything the aliens say in exchange for global power, and hand them invincible super-weapons.
A superpower is a nation with an army that can travel anywhere on the planet and kick any other army’s ass. Simple as that. A matter of force. And we’re not asking who COULD be a superpower – the list there is pretty short – but who would make the worst superpower, if they had the kind of force capability the US has right now?
As for nukes, possession of nukes alone doesn’t make you a superpower, as you say. They’re primarily a defensive weapon at present.
I was going to say “X-ray vision that you couldn’t turn off, so you wound up seeing through your eyelids while you tried to sleep, and everywhere you looked all you’d see is the eternity of the cosmos, so eventually you’d go batshit insane”.
Turns out I took the headline in a completely different manner than intended.
Actually, I’d put my money on Somalia or the Sierra Leone of a few years ago. I think it’d be an interesting experiment in international politics to have a superpower that flexes its muscles internationally while being in a state of anarchy at home. It would certainly lead to an interesting foreign policy.