At various points in earlier chapters, it may have seemed as if we knew the identities of the global powers throughout the half millenium, 1494–1993, even before the data collection process was initiated. There is some truth to this impression but not as much as one might expect. Not surprisingly, we did have definite expectations about which states would be most likely to qualify and which ones would not. Long cycle theory, for example, has been fairly explicit from the outset as to the identities of the successive world powers and challengers. On this basis, and in conjunction with some familiarity with the history of global politics, it would seem reasonable to anticipate that the data would point to Great Britain as the naval leader of the nineteenth century or that United States leadership would prevail after 1945.
KeywordsGlobal Power Coastal Defence Global Politics Early Eighteenth Century Relative Capability
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