What countries used to be weak but are now powerful?
Muhammad Ackakzai, studied at Columbia University
PRC of China was founded in 1949. Two years after my father’s country of Pakistan which was founded in 1947.
Pakistan not only had more assets than the Chinese state, which had only recently thrown off opium epidemics and civil war, but a national railway system left by the British.
Today China is poised to take over the Global stage, already has economically and seems to do so politically.
No other nation has pushed double digit growth like China has. A strong regional military to boot, Shenzen is the world’s hardware equivalent of Silicon Valley, and when it comes to super computers and AI they are doing things that seriously challenge anyone.
What makes China most powerful in my eye is how they turned the world order . You don’t have to be a democracy to be successful, there are alternative ways of governing
Nguyen Ba Giap, works at Eart
I can only say Singapore and partly China after the opium war.
Singapore is an island that has mostly fishing for its economy, under Le Kuan Yew turned out to be ASEAN tiger (or is it tigerfish?). Most of them are pro US. Countries that don't pro US should be in the list, not others after ww2.
Mathew Arun, Financial Analyst at The Bank of New York Mellon
The Richest country in the World.
Doha,Capital of Qatar in 1950.
Doha in 2019.
From an empty desert,Qatar rose to become the richest country in the world in just over 50 years.Thanks to its vast Oil and Gas reserves.
One of the World’s wealthiest countries today used to be one of the poorest.
1.This country was oppressed by a foreign colonial ruler.
2.This country was devastated by war, a war that nearly destroyed the country.
3.This country has had two different military coupes in the last 60 years
4.This country just hosted the Olympics for the 2nd time.
What country am I talking about?
People used to greet each other by asking, “Have you eaten today?”
I’m talking about South Korea. This was what the country used to look like after the Korean War. The life expectancy was just over 50 years old. Major cities were completely destroyed, and people struggled to feed their families.
In the decades after the war South Korea’s economy skyrocketed, during a period which is often referred to as the “Miracle on the Han.”
Now South Korea is one of the richest countries in the world, with 11th largest economy by nominal GDP. Seoul is one of the biggest and prosperous cities in the world.
Seoul has the 4th largest metropolitan economy in the world behind Tokyo, New York, and LA.
South Korea is now one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia are all extremely successful Korean companies. Korea has some of the fastest and most efficient train and metro systems in the world.
KTX, Korea’s modern trains system, travels at speeds 305km/h or 190mph!
I’m from America, but I currently live in South Korea, and in many ways I feel like Korea is more advanced than the richest country in the world.
Korea ranks above the US in life expectancy, and education, and has far cheaper health care. South Korea has the fastest internet speeds in the world, and the Seoul subway system is one of the most efficient in the world. It makes Washington DC’s subway system look like a bad joke.
Korea’s rapid economic growth helped transform it from one of the world’s poorest countries to the economic powerhouse that it is today.
譯文來源：三泰虎 http://www.hadlq.tw/49205.html 譯者：Joyceliu
Thomas Chilton, travel blogger
This is what Vietnam looked like at the end of the Vietnam War, an event that claimed the lives of 58,000 Americans, and as many as 2 million Vietnamese.
Shortly after the war ended, Vietnam became a co unist country. And the economy was in ruins. The situation seemed bleak at best.
But in 1986, a major change happened. Vietnam would follow the lead of China and adapt free market reforms
Now Vietnam is well inside the Top 50 for largest economies in the world. Many people weren’t even alive when the Vietnam war happened. A new wave of optimism has set over Vietnam. And the cities, which were once in ruins, now are full of life.
In 2013 Vietnam opened up its first Starbucks.
Many other restaurant chains such as McDonald’s operate there too and the economy hasn’t shown any real signs of slowing down.
And the Vietnamese are supposed to be some of the nicest people in the world!
Christopher Williams, lives in Dover, NH (2010-present)
How about Singapore?
When the country split from Malaysia in 1965, this small city-state was in shambles. Undeveloped, there is almost no natural resources. The country was poor.
That is until Lee Kuan Yew came along.
He took advantage of the country’s geography. The country sits at the Malacca Strait, where at least two-fifths of maritime trade goes through. He heavily encouraged foreign trade and investment, and the go nment was made small, effective, and not corrupt.
This came at a cost. Crime laws are very harsh, and social policies are very restrictive and conservative. Lee Kuan Yew often resorted to authoritarian methods to achieve his country’s financial prosperity.
Nonetheless, Singapore is now very wealthy. The GDP per capita is about $53,000, which is more than five times the GDP per capita of it’s neighbor Malaysia.
Michel de Wilde, worked at Edelman (2016-2018)
Cannot think anything but Israel, Saudi Arabia, and china.
Israel was developed from a very unique situation, it was surrounded by hostile enemies and its soil is not incredibly fertile, it’s amazing how they became a tech superpower and overcome all the hardships, while protecting itself from hostile neighbours (but as 2018, it seems the arabs are no longer the top security concerns for Israel?)
Saudi Arabia was a poor country before the oil, and after it got Mecca and Medinah, it become the most powerful country in islamic world as it can leverage its diplomatic position with hajj quota.
China is obviously a premier example of this. The country experienced a 150 years of humilation and decline, it began with the Opium war, and put the country in a half-colonized situation, after that it had civil wars, and invaded by japan, and it had another civil war, and the modern china was quite poor to begin with, and in 1960s, many chinese indonesians did not migrate to China as indonesia was a better place compared to China. Thanks to Deng Xiaoping, China undergone reforms and witnessed an economic miracle that lifted more than 500 million from poverty. But the unique feature of China is that it doesn’t want a superpower responsibility, but only want to have a hegemonic status, especially in international trade.
I want to say my country, Indonesia is a powerful one too, but I don’t think I can say it’s powerful, its land army is powerful ,like very powerful, which is a contradiction because indonesia has a larger territory in ocean, and the marine corps is underfunded. due to the fear of separatism and terrorism, it focuses on the land army instead of marine and airforce.
Will Jessop, just a guy who reads history.
China as others mentioned had a period of weakness as did most powerful countries.
India was under British rule with no power of it’s own then they got independence and overnight became a major regional power even with partition.
Iran like China had a weak phase in the 19th century and early 20th where it fell under western political influence but has since reasserted itself as a major power of the Middle East.
Even Russia had weak times though mainly before it got unified into a single country
Ilan Chezhian, Proud Indian
I’ll probably stick with India on this one.
We all know India was known for its wealth once and was looted by the so called East India Company’s invasion. India was weak at times by then. After Independence, India’s power and influence grew leap & bounds
Ernest W. Adams, Game design consultant, author and professor
The United States, China, India, Brazil, Japan, and South Korea all come to mind. Some are powerful economically but not militarily.
Yogesh Purohit, History and Geography Enthusiast
There are wonderful answers to this question.
But there is one country whose name has not been mentioned in any answers yet, so would update the same. The country I am talking about is Israel.
Any thing is weakest when it is born or created.
Since ancient times present day Israel has been existent intermittently. It has been under foreign rule for centuries or one may say eras.
During all these centuries Israel was a place under foreign rule. After end of the first world war newly created League of Nations had thought of creating Jewish national home.
But this also took around 3 decades to become reality. After the end of second world war in 1948 modern day nation ‘Israel’ was created.