A wise Arab person makes some good points in this nice video

He makes a good points that people gained by emulating greatness. I think that is how the Renaissance spread to Europe from Florence.

I think that Germany was once way behind England and France.  It was like the rent a car firm in the USA that was second. They came up with the motto, "We are second but we try harder." And certainly this was how Russia came to have great scientists and a great space program. It was by emulating greatness and sometime surpassing it` it.