POWERBRIEF: QUESTION: SINCE THE SOVIET UNION COLLAPSED WHICH COUNTRY HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST LOSER ON THE WORLD STAGE?

ANSWER: JAPAN

 

 

Why?

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As we have now found out, America is no longer the world hegemon and China has trebled its overall power since 1991. It is now the only serious US challenger to emerge since the Soviet Union collapsed. Each leader since Deng Xiaoping has pulled the seven powerapp levers we discussed here https://leaguenations.com/blogs/news/what-the-fcuk-is-going-on-in-the-world 

But which countries have lost power over the last thirty years? Which leaders have failed to deploy their hard and soft power to improve their global standing?

Since the USSR fell, 46 countries including Great Britain and Russia, along with Western European countries experienced a drop of their power. 

President Putin’s Russia, striving to revive its geopolitical position, has been fourth in the League for two years after losing third place in the world to Prime Minister Modi. Over the past decades, Moscow has been losing influence in countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

The next places, 5-7, in the top ten are occupied by European countries weaker than Russia by 2 points: Germany, France and Great Britain. Britain fell by 1 point, Germany fell by 1.6 points and France by just under 1 point. 

The eighth position was taken by Japan. Japan’s fall from 

Brazil and Canada close the TOP 10 strongest countries in the world.

The bottom 14 in descending order are: Burundi, Liberia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Swaziland, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Comoros, Bhutan, Antigua and Barbuda, Puerto Rico and oceanic Micronesia*.

Let’s look at Japan….

Down, down goes Japan.

Let’s have a brief look as to why.

Japan’s fall

 

In 1991, Japan stood 5th in the League of Nations, between Germany at 4th and the United Kingdom at 6th. Although China’s domination of the land, people, energy and diplomacy powerapps is inherent to that state, Japan was almost level with China in the League. Look at the Economic and Culture leagues where Japan had twice the power of China.

10 years later, China had effectively eclipsed Japan. Now Japan had slumped one place down the League of Nations to 6th. India overtook Japan to take 5th place, with the UK also dropping a place to 8th.  In this decade of stagnation following the 1990 crash, Japan’s loss was directly due to it’s poor economic performance. But see how China and Japan have almost exchanged cultural places. This is a result of China’s secondary focus on educational and soft power outreach during its “quiet rise.”
10 years later, Japan has fallen to 9th place in the League, overtaken now not only by India, but by the UK, France and Brazil. Yet again, it’s economic, military, culture and energy powerapps have slipped back.

By 2017, Japan picked up one place to 8th having boosted its previously almost non-existent diplomatic footprint and benefiting from Brazil’s intermittent economic performance. Diplomatic effectiveness is reflected not only in a country’s membership in international organisations, but also having its citizens among the heads of these organisations. Japan has focussed on the latter, not least because China’s use of its diplomatic powerapp is aimed at increasing its administrative influence at all the top and middle ranking appointments it can get.

Conclusion:

Japan’s fall from 6th to hovering between 8th and 9th spot is the biggest fall of one country since 1991. It’s economic slippage was bad enough. But it has failed to compete in key hard power areas: the Military Power League and the People Power League. By 2017 military spending fell not only in the United States (a 4.01-point drop) but in Germany, Kuwait, the EU as a whole, Great Britain, Russia and South Africa. The countries that have reduced their potential in comparison to other countries over the last 25 years are the US, Kuwait, Great Britain, South Africa, Japan, France and the Czech Republic.

But perhaps the greatest problem is demographic change. Japan has the largest indicator of demographic burden (the number of people 65+ compared to the population of productive age 18-49 years old). For every 100 people, there are 43 elderly residents. In Italy, which holds the No. 2 spot in the world there are 35, in Greece and Finland 33 and 32 in Germany in the fifth spot.

* You can see more details with our friends the State Power Index http://www.statepowerindex.com/