A superpower is state with the ability to influence events or project power on an interstellar scale. This is achieved through technological, cultural, military or economic strength, as well as diplomatic relations and soft power influence.
The term was first applied to the British Empire, United States, Greater German Reich and the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the First Scinfaxi War. Today these nations have retained their dominant positions while the Empire of Japan has emerged as a superpower following the evacuation of Earth and the establishment of interstellar society. The creation of the supranational Democratic Federation has to some extent subsumed the influence and role of the United States and United Kingdom and is now widely seen as having inherited its members superpower status.
While no agreed definition of what constitutes a superpower exists, a fundamental characteristic that is consistent with most definitions of a superpower is a nation or state that has mastered the seven dimensions of state power; geography, population, economy, resources, military, diplomacy and national identity or universal ideology.
The Greater German Reich, Soviet Union, Empire of Japan and Democratic Federation fulfill the superpower criteria in the following ways.
|Empire of Japan||Soviet Union||Greater German Reich||Democratic Federation|
|Politics||Government power centralized in the Imperial Cabinet and Prime Minister. While largely ceremonial, significant consideration is given to the opinion of the Emperor, who fulfills the role of Head of State.||Strong, single party, Marxist-Leninist state. Founded and ruled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Power centered around the Sovnarkom, the chairman of which assumes the role of Premier.||Strong and stable dictatorship organized through an extensive yet efficient bureaucracy which includes the Reich Chancellery, various Cabinet and National Authorities, Offices and Ministries.||Strong and stable capitalist federation. Founded by nations of great influence and power. Operates through a series of supranational institutions and intergovernmental-negotiated decisions by its member nations. Has strong ties to various regional powers and nation states, political parties and pro-democratic groups.|
|Demographics||Second largest population in the Orion Arm. Moderate diversity with ethnic Japanese making up more than 71% of the population. Other major groups include Koreans, Chinese and Filipinos.||Largest single nation in the Orion Arm. Major ethnic groups include Slavs (58%), Han Chinese (19%), Turkic peoples (7%) and all other ethnic groups falling below 5% of the total population.||Third most populous nation. Multiethnic society consisting of a small majority of Germanic peoples alongside numerous Italic, Slavic, Turkic, Greek and other groups. Unique, tiered, citizenship structure, in which only those who have completed four years of national service are eligible to participate in certain careers, receive social benefits and participate in the electoral franchise.||Largest combined population in the Orion Arm. Member nations some of the most culturally diverse, with largely heterogeneous populations. Wide variety of religious beliefs and practices.|
|Astrography||Territorial claims on 9 star systems situated in a tight cluster along the Takehito Rim. Majority of settlements are among the most highly industrialized and populated in the Orion Arm.||Territorial claims on 71 star systems. Permanent colonies or outposts on roughly 150 planets and 400 moons. A small number of core systems comprise the bulk of Soviet economic and industrial power, as well as most key population centers. Remaining systems are largely underdeveloped and underpopulated by modern standards.||25 claimed systems situated mainly around the Eschenbach Rift and the rimward edge of the Vega Cloud. Majority of systems highly industrialized and populated. Several dependant colonies and territories within star systems on the edge of the Perseus Gulf.||56 claimed star systems, largely industrialized and populated. Several territorial dependences spread across the Orion Arm. Administers the second largest territory in the Orion Arm.|
|Economics||Well industrialized and sophisticated due to massive public investment in infrastructure and technology financed by a strong commodity-based export market. Industry’s interests represented disproportionately in government leading to a quasi-corporatocratic economic model with low unemployment. Many planet’s economies reliant on the considerable number of mega-conglomerates based across the Empire. Non-military production largely unfettered by regulation.||Second largest economy in the Orion Arm. Enormous deposits of minerals and vast energy reserves. Almost entirely self-sufficient with only a minimal amount of imports. Massive industrial base and large farming industry. Marxist economic theory based primarily on production: industrial production directed by centralised state organs leading to varying degrees of inefficiency. Five-year plans frequently used to accomplish economic goals. Economic benefits such as guaranteed employment, free healthcare and free education provided to all levels of society.||Organized under the Speerist thought or “third way” of economics with a strong focus on heavy industry and military production. Government typically exerts strong directive influence over investment while subsidizing favorable companies. Key industries operate under military administration. Private initiative contingent upon service to the state. Massive social welfare and public work programs contribute to almost non-existent unemployment.||Largest combined economy in the Orion Arm. Capitalist free market economic theory based on supply and demand. Vast industrial base specializing in various high-tech sectors including pharmaceuticals, aerospace and medical equipment. Enormous amount of imports and exports. Access to near unlimited amounts of minerals, energy resources, metals and timber. High standard of living with accessibility to many manufactured goods. Home to numerous interstellar corporations. American dollar serves as dominant reserve currency. Has suffered from rising income inequality particularly in the United States.|
|Foreign Relations||Leader of the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Exerts significant influence over various satellite states in which puppet governments manipulate local populations and economies for the benefit of Imperial Japan. Largely isolationist with most diplomatic arrangements conducted through satellite nations. Close relationship with the Greater German Reich.||Founding member of the Kharkov Pact. Supports communist and socialist nations across the Orion Arm. Strong ties with various regional powers and nation states, anti-colonialist movements and labour parties in every region of human space. Unofficial or official support for hundreds of communist parties and revolutionary groups across the Orion Arm.||Founding and leading member of the Axis Powers. Powerful allies including the Spanish State and Italian Social Republic. Strong ties to fascist states across the Orion Arm. History of absorbing pro-GGR governments while also supporting puppet states. Strong ties with Fascist parties, anti-communist movements and various other groups across the Orion Arm.||Strong ties to regional powers and nation states across the Orion Arm as a result of the Nations Within Nations and Sanctuary Worlds programs. Frequently supports democracies and anti-communist states. Member nations frequently ranked amongst the most admired in the Orion Arm.|
|Military||Highly devoted and experienced. Prolonged political and ideological struggles between the Imperial Army and Navy have led to the development of two separate and autonomous military forces. Both branches now include various component services that field interstellar starships, ground forces and aerospace craft. Numerous bases spread across the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Interstellar intelligence networks through various Kempeitai and Tokkeitai divisons. Large armament production for the interstellar market. Ties with various paramilitary groups and colonial militia across developing worlds. During wartime, all Prosperity Sphere military forces to be consolidated under Japanese command.||Largest armed forces in the Orion Arm. Primarily manned by conscripts but with a core of veterans and professionals. Total fleet tonnage includes a greater percentage of outdated vessels when compared to other rival navies. Largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. Possesses a network of bases across the Orion Arm through both the Kharkov Pact and other independant states. Interstellar intelligence network with the GRU and First Chief Directorate of the KGB. Ties with paramilitary and guerrilla groups in developing nations and colonies. Large arms industry with interstellar distribution.||Technologically advanced with an efficient military structure that prioritizes decisiveness, personal initiative and freedom of execution leading to high levels of flexibility at the Operational and Tactical levels of command. Second largest armed forces in the Orion Arm consisting entirely of professional soldiers, airmen and sailors. Controls numerous bases across the Orion Arm particularly along the neutral systems of the Soviet border. Interstellar intelligence network through the Abwehr and other Axis organizations.||Highest combined military expenditure in the Orion Arm. Through it’s member nations, possesses the largest amount of fleet carriers and strikecraft. Capable of projecting power far from friendly ports and stations for extended periods of time. Hundreds of bases around the Orion Arm particularly in the Solar Sector and New Canaan Corridor. Multiple interstellar intelligence networks including the United States Intelligence Community, MI6 and others. Ties with paramilitary and guerrilla groups across developing nations and colonies. Large armament production through defense contractors for the interstellar market.|
|Media||Large internal propaganda network designed to assist the Japanese government in promoting its ideology. Historical Japanese concepts such as Kokutai (the uniqueness of the Japanese people), Hakkō ichiu (need for expansion), and Bushido (the way of the warrior) frequently exploited to consolidate support for Japanese nationalism and the military. “National Spiritual Mobilization Movement” regularly used as part of propaganda campaigns.||News networks and other media explicitly controlled and censored. Promotes, through the use of propaganda, the Communist and Socialist ideal that workers of all nations should unite to overthrow capital society and replace it with a socialist society where all means of production are publicly owned. Has created an idealized and heroic image of many of it’s founders, government officials and war heroes, most notably in the state’s unquestioning reverence towards Vladimir Lenin.||Varying degrees of control exerted over all forms of media to ensure viewpoints in opposition to the regime are censored or eliminated. Heavily popularizes, with extensive propaganda campaigns, the concept of “Volksgemeinschaft” or “people’s community” in which traditional ethnic, religious and class divides are broken down and the German people are united to achieve a greater national purpose. Has, over time, shifted the definition of “German” to be a national archetype of a citizen with certain qualities irrespective of cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity.||Member states uphold constitutional guarantees for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Degrees of censorship occasionally introduced during periods of heightened political turmoil, wartime or other national emergencies. Consolidation of news media ownership into several competing corporations has led to high degrees of media bias. Mass media largely commercially driven and loyal to sponsors and advertisers rather than the public interest. High degree of distrust towards the news media.|
|Culture||Ancient and rich tradition in visual arts, architecture, gardening, and cuisine. Growing interstellar influence in literature, music, animation, film, and other forms of entertainment.||Abounding tradition and interstellar cultural influence in literature, classical music, film and theater.||Prolific influence in the fields of literature, cinema, media, architecture, cuisine and science. Rich tradition in literature, philosophy, music and art.||Interstellar cultural influence in music, literature, film, media, cuisine, art and fashion.|
Several nations throughout the Orion Arm have been speculated as possibly achieving superpower status over the next century. The United Centauri Republic, the Islamic Arab Republic, the Federal Nordic Cooperative and the Solar Sector Commercial Authority are among the nations or entities most cited as potential superpowers.
The United Centauri Republic has seen substantial coverage of its potential of becoming superpower both in the media and among academics. This potential is attributed to several indicators, the foremost ones being its rapidly expanding and highly developed economy, its position in the Orion Arm as a center of interstellar trade and its status as a political center, hosting both the League of Nations and the Orion Trade Organization.
The greatest challenges the UCR is likely to face in attaining superpower status are its relatively small territorial claims and the continued reluctance by the Centauri government to use military power and influence across the Orion Arm.
The IAR has been suggested as a potential aspirant for obtaining superpower status within the next century. The country’s standing as a potential superpower largely stems from its own national identity and ambition. Since its founding, the nation has repeatedly sought to emerge as a serious interstellar economic, political and military power. The Islamic Arab Republic has certainly fulfilled some of its objectives with both the largest population outside of the current superpowers, a growing economy and expanding military, as well as a vast territorial claim across 6 star systems.
Despite this, the IAR has long struggled with political infighting, poverty, a lack of developed social infrastructure and disputes with neighboring states. An ongoing, low level insurgency across many of its worlds also presents a significant hindrance in the nation’s ambitions.
The Federal Nordic Cooperative has seen limited discussions among the media regarding its potential as an emerging superpower. The FNC’s member nations enjoy a high quality of life, it has a large and technologically advanced economy and is playing an increasingly important role in international politics. The latter is largely due to the FNC’s cordial relations with both the Democratic Federation and the Greater German Reich, making it a natural mediator. However the Federal Nordic Cooperative’s relatively small population, its rivalry with the Islamic Arab Republic and unwillingness to pursue an aggressive foreign policy present serious obstacles in it’s potential.
At the time of its founding the Solar Sector Commercial Authority was widely described as the Orion Arm’s fifth superpower. Commentators cited several factors, it’s relatively large population, its abundance of natural resources and the potential of future enlargement with nations such as the United Centauri Republic.
Despite these claims, there remains substantial resistance to the idea that the SSCA is an emerging superpower both within and outside the organization itself. Former Sirius Federation Secretary of State Alexandre Roque has said “the SSCA lacks the substance of superpowers” who by definition have great military reach, a unified foreign policy and high levels of infrastructure.