Student: Talal Al Rashoud
The political system of the United States of America is one of the most effective and stable forms of government worldwide, with many countries continually emulating it, both successfully and unsuccessfully. It is based on the constitution drafted in 1787 and the later amendments to it. The US is a federal republic, comprised of 50 states and other lesser political bodies united through a strong central government. These states maintain their own governance and a degree of autonomy and self-rule, in addition to representation within the central government.
The USA is one of the greatest supporters of democracy in the world, exhibiting a strong democratic tradition since gaining independence. The government of the United States is divided into three separate branches governed by a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one branch can overstep its boundaries. The appointment of the offices in these branches is a result of direct or indirect public view. The executive branch is the President, the highest office attainable within the system, functioning as both chief of state and head of government. He is elected through the Electoral College, a mechanism through which political parties appoint electors to vote for candidates. The legislative branch is the bicameral Congress, based on the bicameral system of Great Britain. It is divided into two bodies, the upper house, or the Senate, and the lower house, or the House of Representatives. Senators and representatives, representing specific states, are elected by popular vote. The Supreme Court forms the judicial branch, the third branch of government. Members are appointed by the president and revised by Congress. In short, the duties of these three branches can be explained as follows. Congress produces legislation, the President approves it, and the Supreme Court reviews it.
The political stability maintained by the United States can be attributed to the effectiveness of its political system in addition to the presence of a two party system. Two main political parties, the Democratic and the Republican parties, dominate the political arena. They ensure that no radical parties are given a chance to come into power and that no coalition governments are formed. Although other parties exist and have existed, i.e. the Green Party, their effect is extremely minimal and quite insignificant.
A country with the size and geographical diversity of the United States of America is sure to be abundant with natural resources. The US possesses a great quantity of oil reserves, making it the third largest petroleum producing nation. Despite this, the amount of American oil produced is not sufficient to meet the needs of the nation, and much crude oil is imported. Its mineral wealth also contains coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, and natural gas. The vast forests of the northern areas yield great quantities of timber, while the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans provide fish in abundance. In short, discussing the full extent of the United States' rich natural resources would take too long, so mentioning the main highlights of them will suffice.
Being comprised of a great many ethnicities and religious beliefs, the United States of America can truly be said to have a global culture. Caucasians, including Hispanics, make up 77.1%, while Negroes make up 12.9%, Asians 4.2%, Native Americans 1.5%, Pacific Islanders 0.3%, and others 4%. The rate of Hispanics and Asians is on the rise, while the rate of other ethnicities is remaining constant. The Native Americans were the peoples that inhabited the area that is now the United States of America before it was colonized and settled. The first waves of settlers were Caucasians, primarily from England, and black slaves soon accompanied them. A diversity of people began to immigrate to the US to escape persecution and other problems or simply to seek an improved standard of living. They still continue to do so today.
The major religions of the American populace are Protestant (56%), Roman Catholic (28%), Jewish (2%), and other faiths (4%). A sizable faction of the population denies any religious beliefs (10%). Of all religions, Islam is the fastest increasing. Many languages are spoken in the US and its territories, but the main ones are English, the official language, and Spanish, spoken by a large minority. Other languages include various Native American and Pacific Islander dialects.
Despite past conflict and tension between ethnic groups, mainly between Caucasians and minorities, the US today has achieved a general stability. Some racism and xenophobia is bound to be found in any multi-cultural society, yet they rarely create any serious situations or conflicts.
The US is currently the strongest and most advanced military power in the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, its nuclear and weapons of mass destruction capability is unparalleled. In addition, it is the leader of weapons and technological development in the military field, selling much of its weapons to countries worldwide. Its military expenditures can be set at $276.7 billion, making up 3.2% of its GDP. Three branches exist within the United States military, the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force. Sub-branches include the Marine Corps and the National Guard. The Coast Guard reports to the Department of Defense during war time.
The United States contributes militarily to many international organizations, including the United Nations. It is the most prominent member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), spreading its military influence over a very large sphere. US military forces are positioned internationally, and are continually active in conflicts. The most recent military operation was that on Afghanistan. US forces continue to be on alert as the war on terror continues, and the US targets such nations as Iraq and the "axis of evil".
The USA makes up the world's third largest nation, both by size and population, with an area of 9,158,960 sq. km (excluding territories). It lies in the North American continent, with the Atlantic Ocean bordering it from the East, and the Pacific Ocean bordering it from the West, Canada to the North (8,893 km) and Mexico to the South (3,141 km). The Guantanamo Air Base, leased by the US from Cuba, also forms a border of 29 km with the Cuban Republic. Land boundaries total 12,034 km while the coastline totals 19,924 km.
As stated earlier, the US is large and geographically diverse. Its climate is mostly temperate with some exceptions. Hawaii and Florida are tropical, Alaska is Arctic, the great plains west of the Mississippi River are semiarid, while the Great Basin of the southwest is generally arid. The terrain can be described as mountainous in the West and the East separated by a vast central plain, with coastal terrain near the oceans. The topography of Hawaii differs in that it is volcanic, while Alaska is made up of mountains and river valleys.
As with most other fields, the US continues to exhibit its supremacy over all other nations within the field of economy. The US enjoys the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, clearly showing its resilience in recovering from the effects of the September 11th terrorist attacks. It boasts a per capita GDP of $36,300, with a growth rate of 2.5% or more, rising from the 0.3% of 2001. The economy’s productivity is also the world’s highest, which continues to increase at a rate of 3-5% per year.
Although the capitalist free market system of the US has allowed private firms to prosper and strengthen the economy through the flexibility and freedom, some negative effects have begun to show. The rift continues to widen between the upper and working class, or, as Marx put it, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, gradually forming a "two-tier labor market". The income of the lower class has experienced some stagnation, and they fail to receive sufficient benefits. The US economy also recently experienced a short term shock due to the decline in the stock market and problems with corporations such as the Enron issue. Despite these setbacks, which can be considered minor, the US economy continues to enjoy stable growth and the unemployment rate is predicted to drop as well.
Regarding the composition of the US economy, 2% can be attributed to the agricultural sector, 18% to the industrial sector, and 80% to services. The industrial sector exhibits the most strength, with the US clearly being the leading industrial power of the world. The industry is highly diverse, with the US being at the forefront of the petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, and mining industries. US exports in 2001 totaled $723 billion and include capital goods, automobiles, industrial supplies and raw materials, consumer goods, and agricultural products, while major export partners include Canada 22.4%, Mexico 13.9%, Japan 7.9%, UK 5.6%, Germany 4.1%, France, and the Netherlands. US imports in 2001 totaled $1.148 trillion and include crude oil and refined petroleum products, machinery, automobiles, consumer goods, industrial raw materials, food and beverages. Major import partners include Canada 19%, Mexico 11.5%, Japan 11.1%, China 8.9%, Germany 5.2%, UK, and Taiwan.
Views on World Problems:
There are extremely few world problems on which the US does not have a strong view. It has managed to directly and indirectly involve itself in most international issues. Following the attacks of September 11th, the main problem the US has concerned itself with is international terrorism, illustrating this concern through its proclamation of the War on Terror. Now, in the War on Terror, countries are either "with us or against us" (George W. Bush). The post of supreme threat to democracy and the free world, previously held by communism, is now held by Islamic extremist fundamentalism, and the US's recent policies show it. The "axis of evil", comprised of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, are branded as some of the main supporters of international anti-US terror. There are sure to be more additions to the list as the US expresses its discontent with other regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, and Sudan. While the US has had a history of talking, it is clear, now that war with Iraq appears imminent, the US means action with its new international war. Other issues include the renewed US-Israeli bond as a result of the policies of the Bush administration. All in all, the US continues to run the world, attempting to maintain peace and stability, providing sufficient response to the pressures of the UN and the international community, whilst sparing no expense at achieving its own interests.
The discovery of the Americas is attributed to the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, although it is now known that other Europeans such as the Vikings reached them before him. In any case, with Columbus's discovery began the onslaught of European colonization, with countries such as Spain, Portugal, France, and Great Britain establishing colonies in the Americas. The Eastern colonies of North America were primarily British. After the American Revolution and the War for Independence, these colonies broke from Britain in 1776, and were officially recognized as the United States of America in 1783.
The US continued to expand westward, gaining new states and territories at the expense of the European powers. With the arrival of the industrial revolution in the US and the decline of the European imperial powers, the US eventually emerged as a world power. In the broad and widely known history of the United States, there are a number of highlights and traumatic instances. When a number of Southern states seceded from the Union in 1861 over the long standing slavery dispute between North and South, the Civil War erupted with the end result being the reunification of the Southern Confederacy with the Union in 1865. In the 1930s, the US experienced The Great Depression, an economic recession that caused widespread poverty and damage. The US participated in both World Wars, bringing victory to its West European allies.
With the advent of the Cold War, a period of heightened tension between the US and the Soviet Union following the Second World War, the US began to involve itself in a number of international conflicts, including the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
In 1989, the Soviet Union collapsed, leaving the USA as the sole world super power. Since then, the US has taken the role of the "global policeman", resolving conflicts, starting them when needed, dealing with "rogue" states and groups that do not conform to present day laws and conventions, and generally setting international affairs straight. The US continued to participate in conflicts including the Gulf War, Somalia, the Balkans issue, and most recently, the war in Afghanistan.
1. Risk of nuclear proliferation and high tech weapons transfers to the Middle East and Central and South Asia.
As a key signatory and participator in the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and all international treaties dealing with the use and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, the United States of America is committed to a peaceful policy of decreasing nuclear development worldwide. Despite this, in the wake of the horrendous attacks of September 11th, the USA is also committed to a strengthened and reaffirmed policy of deterrence. The United States of America would like to make it clear that it reserves the right to nuclear retaliation in the event of a weapons of mass destruction attack on it or its interests by any nation. Furthermore, a tactic the US has been forced to use in light of the present international security risks, and in light of a new generation of hostile states and the threat of terrorism, is preemption. The US can no longer wait idly for its enemy’s to make the first move. It has learned this the hard way through a disaster the likes of which will not be allowed to happen again. When a threat against it is clear, and an attack against it inevitable, the US will take anticipatory preemptive action and strike first. Thus, although the US advocates the cause of peace, nuclear disarmament, and stopping nuclear proliferation to the fullest, and is willing to strongly adhere to the conditions of all treaties it has signed, urging all nations to do the same, in light of the present threats on the US, self defense is of high priority.
The United States of America is highly concerned about the risk of nuclear and weapons of mass destruction proliferation, particularly within the Middle East and Central and South Asia, due to the political instability of the said regions and the security risks their situation entails. Rogue states, terrorist groups, and state sponsors of terrorism in the region have shown their aggressive tendencies and willingness to use such weapons, with potentially disastrous consequences. For this reason, the US supports a policy of action, preventing these vile entities from acquiring all forms of weapons of mass destruction and the capability to produce them before they can threaten the peace of the region and the world. The United States' current policy towards Iraq is an explicit illustration of this stance, as is the War on Terrorism and the action taken against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. In addition, the US strongly supports and encourages international action to counter the threat of terror vis-à-vis weapons of mass destruction, as evident by the activities of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Subgroup of the United States-Russian Federation Working Group on Counterterrorism. All countries and groups in the said regions and all over the world should rest assured that the United States of America will continue this policy of zero-tolerance regarding nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, ensuring that peace is spread, justice is upheld, stability is continued, and all threats are eradicated.
2. Review of the complex emergency situation in Somalia.
The Somali situation is one of great complexity and sensitivity. Crises range from severe drought, renewed outbursts of fighting, and a large refugee problem. The USA has explicitly shown its concern on the humanitarian aspect of the issue, with US aid totaling $23,933,497 to date in the fiscal year of 2002 and continued support and encouragement to United Nations Organizations and other humanitarian agencies involved in alleviating the situation. Addressing the political instability and chronic conflict is also of great importance in the view of the USA, although it does not feel that US military intervention in the country is the answer, having done so once before and having observed the effects of the operation. The US feels that addressing the various aspects of the emergency situation in Somalia is vital to peace and stability of the region and that it should be expedited so that more solid steps in solving the crisis can be taken in the near future.
3. Elimination of international terrorism.
On the 11th of September, 2001, the US was victimized by a brutal and barbaric act of terrorism such as the world has never seen. In the aftermath of this tragic event, the US, contrary to the goals and expectations of the terrorists, emerged with a vengeance, shaken, but by no means damaged, shocked, but by no means weakened. The USA, backed by the love of its people and the purity of its values, secret weapons that the terrorists had not counted on, emerged with a newfound strength of will to bring the perpetrators of this vile act to justice. Thus began the War on Terror.
The United States and its allies in the War on Terror have made their policies on international terrorism explicitly clear through their goals and actions, aiming to eliminate the threat of terrorism in every shape and form. The war in Afghanistan to topple an oppressive regime and its terrorist collaborators was just the first step. The Al-Qaeda organization, as well as other international terrorist networks potentially just as dangerous, is still in existence, and the war will not stop until they are brought to justice. In addition, in a situation so clear and one sided, any states or entities that stand in the way of this war or do not cooperate with it are obviously in support of terrorism. It is for this reason that the USA brands certain states that stand out amongst the international community as supporters of terrorism "state sponsors of terrorism". Among the most prominent of these states are those that make up the Axis of Evil, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. As we speak, action is being taken against one of these states, Iraq, after diplomacy could not persuade its totalitarian government to give up its evil ways. The US will take similar action with countries that make the same wrong choices. In the struggle against international terrorism, the struggle should truly be international, and the US calls on all peace loving nations to join hands with it and other such nations worldwide to counter the vicious menace of international terrorism and bring an end to injustice. If, however, its interests are seriously at stake, and the path to collective action is obstructed, the US reserves the right to take unilateral preemptive action, and take matters into its own hands.
4. Special humanitarian and disaster relief assistance in Afghanistan.
After the conclusion of the war in Afghanistan and its consequent liberation from the oppressive clutches of the Taliban regime and the parasitic presence of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, the United States of America remains committed to aiding the nation of Afghanistan and its people in the wake of its traumatic experience. The US maintains and will maintain a presence in the state until its authorities see it is stable enough to stand on its own as a strong and established nation within the international community, continuing to provide all the aid it can in all fields. Since October 2001, the US has provided $588 million in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction to Afghanistan. International aid is also required if the goal of rebuilding Afghanistan is to be achieved, and the US encourages all countries and organizations capable of providing any assistance to do so. The USA hopes to maintain strong bilateral ties with Afghanistan, continuing a strong relationship with the nation forged during war for the goal of peace.
5. Action paper/presentation: Review of humanitarian justifications for violating sovereignty and interceding in domestic affairs of respective countries.
The USA believes that at times when severe and flagrant humanitarian violations are being carried out by a certain regime, or severe violations of international law and/or UN resolutions, and all diplomatic alternatives result in failure, it is necessary to intervene in a country's internal sovereignty and domestic affairs. The policy of the US is quite close to the policy of the UN in this aspect. The pages of history bear witness to such interventions in the name of peace and humanity. The UN intervened to stop the genocide in Rwanda. The US intervened in Somalia for humanitarian reasons. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, of which the US is a key member, intervened in the conflicts of the former Yugoslavia because genocide, racial purification, and religious and ethnic conflict were in occurrence. The US sees this policy as effective and its continuance vital for maintaining peace and stability, hastening the resolution of conflicts, and addressing humanitarian atrocities.
Honorable chair, fellow countries of the Security Council, the United States of America extends to you today its warmest greetings and heart felt goodwill. Ladies and Gentlemen, it was George W. Bush that said "Freedom is the non-negotiable demand of human dignity; the birthright of every person – in every civilization.
Throughout history, freedom has been threatened by war and terror; it has been challenged by the clashing wills of powerful states and the evil designs of tyrants, and it has been tested by widespread poverty and disease." One year and six months have passed since the perpetration of one of the most heinous attacks ever seen against the United States and the freedom it stands for, the freedom that shines brightly in the stars of the spangled banner, the torch of the statue of liberty, and, brightest of all, in the hearts of all Americans. One year and six months have passed since the United States and its allies worldwide came together, in the name of freedom, justice, and the rights of humanity, to counter the threat of all those that barbarically oppose freedom through the use of terror. One year and six months have passed quickly, and although we have come a long way in this noble war against terror, there still remains much to be done. There still remain those that, despite all that has passed, still staunchly stand in support of terrorism and in opposition to civilization, creating a piercing thorn in the side of the international community.
At a time when there exist matters worthy of our full attention, long-standing conflict in the Middle East and South Asia, drought, famine, underdevelopment, and epidemic in Asia and Africa, we are compelled to focus our efforts on removing this thorn, and we will not stop until this has been completely carried out. For this, we must unite to exact defeat upon these threats, whether they are in the form of organizations or governments, ensuring the safety of our peoples, international peace and prosperity, and freedom for all.