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A hyperpower is a state that dominates all other states in every sphere of activity (i.e. military, culture, economy)[1] and is considered to be a step higher than a superpower. The term often refers to the United States of America due to its status as the world's only current superpower; however, its possible status above that remains a topic of dispute.[2]


British journalist Peregrine Worsthorne first coined the term in The Sunday Telegraph's the "Bush doctrine" on 3 March 1991.[3] After the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, some political commentators felt that a new term was needed to describe the United States' position (Pax Americana) as the lone superpower.[4][5][6] French Minister Hubert Védrine popularized the term in 1998, because from France's position, the United States looked like a hyperpower, although the validity of classifying the United States in this way was disputed.[7]

The term has also been applied retroactively to dominant states of the past. In her book Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance - and Why They Fall, professor Amy Chua suggest that the Achaemenid Empire, the Tang dynasty of Ancient China, the Roman Empire, the Mongol Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire as successful examples of historical hegemons, with the Spanish Monarchy, Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and Third Reich as counters, and then reflects on assertions of the United States as a current modern hyperpower.[8] In a historical context, it is usually understood to mean a power that greatly exceeds any others in its political environment along several axes; Rome did not dominate India or China, but did dominate the entire Mediterranean area militarily, culturally, and economically.


  1. ^ Dictionary: Hyperpower collinsdictionary.com
  2. ^ To Paris, U.S. Looks Like a 'Hyperpower'
  3. ^ Definition and Use of the Word Hyperpower
  4. ^ Kim Richard Nossal (2 July 1999). "Lonely Superpower or Unapologetic Hyperpower?". McMaster University. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  5. ^ Erich Reiter; Peter Hazdra (2004). The Impact of Asian Powers on Global Developments. Springer. p. 5. Now though, some people, in whose opinion the term "superpower" does not denote the actual dominance of the USA incisively enough, use the term "hyperpower".
  6. ^ History and the Hyperpower | Foreign Affairs (2004)
  7. ^ To Paris, U.S. Looks Like a 'Hyperpower'
  8. ^ Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance--and Why They Fall Amy Chua

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