Using over 50 factors to determine a country’s PowerIndex score, the Global Firepower 2020 list ranks the most powerful military nations in the world. The list ranks 138 advanced and lesser-developed nations, based on parameters such as geographical location, logistical and financial capabilities, availability of natural resources and military might. Here's a look at the top 10 most powerful military nations according to the list.
1. United States:
The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world’s most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television. In 2016 the country elected Donald Trump president. Trump's rhetoric and stances on issues including immigration and foreign trade have raised questions around the world, including from the country’s closest allies, about the nation’s future course on the global stage.
The scale of Russia is difficult to imagine. It is the world’s largest country by land mass – nearly twice as big as Canada, the world’s second-largest nation – and covers all of northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe. It shares land borders with more than a dozen countries, and shares sea borders with Japan and the United States.
Home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, China has been ruled by the Communist Party since 1949, when the nation was established as the People’s Republic of China. The country is the world’s most populous and is considered the second-largest by land mass.
Located in Southeast Asia, India sits on a peninsula that extends between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The country, the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, is the world’s second most-populous nation after China, and has roughly one-sixth of the world’s population. After years of nonviolent struggle against British rule, India gained its independence in 1947.
Japan, one of the world’s most literate and technically advanced nations, is an East Asian country made up of four main islands. While most of Japan is covered by mountains and heavily wooded areas, the country’s roughly 126 million people lead a distinctly urban lifestyle. Long culturally influenced by its neighbors, today the country blends its ancient traditions with aspects of Western life.
6. South Korea:
South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a nation in eastern Asia with a long history of conflict that occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. Liberated from Japan in 1945 at the end of World War II, South Korea was invaded by communist forces in North Korea a few years later. Aid requested by the United Nations helped end the three-year war and support the south on its way to democracy. A critical divide between the two nations along the center of the peninsula remains.
It is difficult to overstate the influence France has on the world, both in the past and today. Located in Western Europe, France is one of the world’s oldest countries, and its reach extends around the globe through science, politics, economics and perhaps above all, culture. Starting in the Middle Ages, France evolved through kingdom, empire and finally, into a republic. It was one of the first nations to champion the rights of the individual.
8. United Kingdom:
The United Kingdom is a highly developed nation that exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence. Located off the northwest corner of Europe, the country includes the island of Great Britain – which contains England, Scotland and Wales – and the northern portion of the island of Ireland. The year 2017 ushered in anxiety about the country’s role on the global stage, due to the public voting in the summer of 2016 to leave the European Union. The vote raises questions about the European Union, as well as the policies supporting the eurozone.
Egypt, with vast swaths of desert in its east and west and the rich Nile River Valley at its heart, is site to one of the world’s earliest and greatest civilizations. Its location at the northeast corner of Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea has made it a cultural and trading center. But its location has also made it a prize to claim by empires and put it at the center of social and religious movements.
Occupying half of South America’s land mass, Brazil is the giant of the continent – both in size and in population. Brazil’s history is filled with economic turmoil, veering from boom to bust, and its culture is a melting pot that has traditionally welcomed the world. Brazil is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. However, the country in the 21st century confronts serious questions touching on poverty, inequality, governance and the environment.