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The USA as an international superpowerSkriv ut Utskrift

Oppgave om USAs posisjon som verdens supermakt.

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Problemstillingen: I will concentrate on how the United States became a superpower and how they have used their position as a one in the time after the terrorist attacks. I will describe the consequences of the US being the only military and political superpower.

 

Table of contents

Table of contents

Introduction – why have I chosen to work with the USA as a superpower?

The rise of the US as a superpower

How has the US used their huge influence in the war on terror?

What are the consequences of the US being the only super power in the world?

Statistics for the support in the Iraq war across Europe and in the US

Sources

 

Introduction – why have I chosen to work

with the USA as a superpower?

As all of us know the United States of America is the world’s, at the time, supreme superpower. This is a unique situation; no other nation has ever had the same amount of power alone. As we speak new nations are raising as opponents to the US. An example is China. China has had an enormous economical growth the last years. Who knows, maybe it in a 20 years may be a serious opponent to the US. But to become a superpower, I think, China will have to forbid forced labour. The fact is that today there’s a lot of child labour and contraventions of the Declaration of Human Rights. If this doesn’t stop, I think that the rest of the world will step in and force the country into democracy. The European Union may also become a superpower, but most as an economical and political one. It will take a long time before the EU will be able to demonstrate the same military strength as the US. But because it is an important trading partner to the American industry it will have a strong economical and political influence in the US, I think.

 

The reason why I’ve chosen to work with the US as a superpower is because everything that happens in the US affects the whole world. Especially the American foreign policy decides how the world will look like in the next fifteen years, especially the way they make the war on terror.

 

I will concentrate on how the United States became a superpower and how they have used their position as a one in the time after the terrorist attacks.  I will describe the consequences of the US being the only military and political superpower in the world, and how they are an important economical power.

 

The rise of the US as a superpower

After the First World War the prosperity grew in the American society. But in the 30’s the US was hit by a severe economic depression after the Wall Street hit the bottom the 24th of October 1929.

 

During the 30’s President D. Roosevelt started the New Deal program. The New Deal included the government pushing a lot of money into the economy to create new jobs. A minimum standard of living was established and the social security system was improved. But the initiatives did not work the way they were supposed to and in 1939 18% of the American working force was still unemployed. Then the war came.

 

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour the American army joined the allied forces and librated Europe and the communist eastern Asia. In the time between the two world wars the US had isolated themselves, but when the Second World War ended the US rose as a major power in the world along with the Soviet Union. The earlier superpowers: France, Germany and Japan were much weakened after the war.

 

During the war facilities that normally produced commodities/products for peacetime started to produce wartime commodities. For example: the car industry started to produce tanks and ammunition. This created a lot of jobs and many unemployed volunteered for the army. And so by 1944 only 670 000 were unemployed. After the Second World War the US gave economical help to the western parts of Europe through the Marshall Plan. Through the Marshall Plan the European economy received nearly 12 billion US dollars. One of the main reasons the US did this was that they didn’t want the communism to spread. In connection to the process of rebuilding Europe big American companies like GM, Ford and Boeing were awarded big contracts. This gave the Americans the last kick out of the Depression. This was also the time when the US started its way to the top as a huge power in the world.

 

The Second World War and the Depression were now over. And so the race for who were going to be the next world power began. Europe was in ruins. The most powerful nations were the capitalistic United States of America and the communistic Soviet Union. From 1945 to the fall of the Soviet Union in time 1991-1992 the two countries tried to spread their ideology to other parts of the world. The US “promoted” the capitalism –the Soviet Union “promoted” the communism. Many times when it looked like a country was going to turn communistic the US invaded it to prevent the communism from spreading. This was especially in Asia where the US participated in three wars: the war in North-Chorea, the Vietnam War and the Gulf-war. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991-1992, it was because of the collapse in the economy, because it was very ineffective. The nations of NATO won the Cold War. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the US’ power has grown rapidly up to the present time. The reason for this is that the world the last 12-13 years has not had any opponent to restrict the Americans. The nation refuses to sign international resolutions like the Kyoto-agreement, and because of their superior military power no nation dares to stand up and tell them that they have to to co-operate with the rest of the world . Some extremist groups have already taken action to remind them that they cannot do as they want in a free world where everybody depends on each other.

 

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How has the US used their huge influence in the war on terror?

The US is today the world superior superpower. Since the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon 9/11 -01 the US has chosen a more independent path than before. Instead of co-operating with the UN and Europe, they have chosen to do things more on their own.

 

The Americans say that their country is the most democratic in the world. At least it seems so the way they bring their “god-blessed” democracy to new countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

After the attacks on the World Trade Centre, George W. Bush rallied the country behind one flag in the war on terror. After that he did the only right thing; he co-operated with the UN in the invasion of Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden.

 

 

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What did Bush urge his supervisors to in the days after the attacks? He urged them to find a connection between the attacks and Saddam Hussein, even though his intelligence told him that it was bin Laden’s terror organization Al-Qaeda who was responsible for the attacks. In the time previous to the attacks the CIA actually told President Bush that the country was a possible target for terrorist attacks in the nearest future. In spite of this the security level wasn’t raised to highest level of security, the Special Forces were not prepared, the national air force was not ready to eliminate such a threat and the air space wasn’t secured properly for such an event. If all these preparations had been done –who knows? Maybe there wouldn’t be a 9/11 -01 so dramatic and disturbing to the world peace. Anyway what’s done cannot be undone, now we should focus on the extermination of terrorism. But how can we stop terrorists if we’re not able to find and capture a man with a dialyse machine in the mountains of Afghanistan?

 

In Afghanistan the US and the United Nations have done a good job; they’ve removed the Taliban regime and brought the country on its way to democracy. Recently they held their first democratic election ever. But the brain behind the attacks on the Twin Towers, Osama bin Laden, was not arrested -although he was trapped in the mountains for the time of the invasion.

 

Do you know who where the President before the election? Hamid Karzai, former director in one of the world’s largest oil-companies, the American Uno-coal. Right after he became President the company got a contract to build a gas-pipe under the Black Sea, which the Taliban regime denied. He has now been re-elected.

 

The war in Iraq started with the Gulf-war where the UN and the US drove Saddam Hussein back from his invasion of Kuwait. One can look at this as the start of the terrorism in the Middle-East. Many Islamite extremists felt this as an encroachment to their freedom. After this it was quiet for a period of time before the UN-inspectors went in to search for weapons of mass destruction.

 

After long lasting inspections; no one had found any weapons of mass destruction. It was during these last inspections that the US “decided” that the Iraqi dictator was possessing weapons of mass destruction. And before the inspections were finished; George W. Bush launched a big attack on Iraq. The attack came even though persons with connections to Saddam Hussein days before the attack came to the Pentagon advisor Richard Perle with an offer letting the US send inspectors and soldiers into the country to search for weapons of mass destruction. But the CIA rejected the offer. So why did the US invade Iraq? Was it because Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction or was it because the American industry depends on the oil-resources in the area and that’s why the government wants to control them?


 

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Today 1 ¾ year later, the American Army has not found any weapons of the type “Georgie’s” intelligence claimed they had proof for. During the last 1 ¾ year the numbers of kidnappings, car bombs, suicide bombers and killed American soldiers have increased. 7/11 –04 the Iraqi government declared state of emergency. Today (8/11 –04) the reaction to the Sunni Muslim riot came. 15 000 soldiers from the American Army and the Iraqi National Guard moved into the “capital” of the rebelling groups to put down the riot.

 

What are the consequences of the US

being the only super power in the world?

Today, as said, the United States is the world’s only superpower. But how do they use their enormous influence, especially in the war on terrorism and what are the consequences?

 

“A superpower is a state with the ability to influence events or project power on a wide scale. In modern terms, this may imply an entity with a strong economy, a large population, and strong armed forces, including air power and satellite capabilities, and a huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.” (Definition from the online lexicon Wikipedia (wikipedia.org)). Today the US has all of these characteristics.

 

Everyday the US uses its power as a superpower to influence conflicts and problems around the world and in most of the conflicts they do as it suits them. An example is in the Israel-Palestine conflict where they’re on the opposite side of Europe. One of the main reasons for this may be that a lot of the big investors in the US are Jews and if the government starts to support the Palestinians they might sell their obligations and a big part of the American population is Jewish. But I still think that they should support the Palestinians and their case. That is because 50 years ago the area which the Israeli people and the Palestinian people share today was Palestinian. The consequences of the US and Europe disagreeing on this topic leads to negative attitudes towards Americans.

 

The main reason why the Israeli President Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush have not been interested in discussing a peace agreement with the Palestinians because they claim Yasir Arafat is leader in a “terrorist organization” and because he hasn’t had enough influence in the Palestinian people the recent years. Just recently Yasir Arafat died and a new president will be elected in January. Maybe we’ll see a new progress in the conflict?

 

I believe that the world should have more than one superpower because they would be able to “control” each other in the way that none of them would become too powerful. For example a left-wing alternative to the capitalistic, conservative United States of America, for instance China. The Chinese industry and economy is growing with an enormous speed and China is today the country whose use of oil is growing the fastest in the world.

 

With two superpowers the risk of a world war is higher, because they will most likely have different views on different topics. And so the risk for a separated world is bigger and it would put a lot of countries in a new position. In example: if China becomes a communistic superpower on the level of the US, the economic superpower Japan will have a problem. Its ideology is the opposite of China’s and so the country will have to choose if it will continue its trading with the US and become an “enemy” to China or join China and end its connections to the US. If Japan chooses to stop their business with the US, the American economy will probably collapse because it depends on loans and trading with the Japanese.

 

A big part of the American industry and consumption is based on loans. Because of this and the fact that many big American companies depends on the oil from the restless areas in the Middle-East (maybe that is why the government wants control over the territories? Or so it seems) I would say that the US is no big economic superpower. But because the oil price is set in American dollars, it’s important that the American economy and industry becomes stronger and shows more positive numbers than they do today. Especially oil producing countries are dependent on that the dollar foreign exchange rate is strong. Such countries are Norway and the OPEC-members. Recent prognosis show that if the development we see today continues, the dollar exchange value will descend by 30% (!).

 

When George W. Bush declared war on Iraq, it was without the support of the United Nations. There were no countries with a big army or with any major political influence international that joined in the invasion, except from Great Britain, Italy and Spain. Was it wrong to invade Iraq without the UN? Most Europeans would say “yes –that is why we didn’t join the invasion”, but if you had asked an American the same question at the time of the invasion it would have been a 75% chance that he/she would say “of course it was the right thing!”. Personally I think that George W. Bush should’ve waited for the inspectors to finish their work, but if you look at it from an American point of view, I think, you would say that it was the right thing (below you can see statistics for the international support for the Iraq war, and how the support has developed in the US). I believe that the reason why the Americans are so much more eager for war lies in the new mentality after the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. If you experience something like 9/11 you wouldn’t take the risk of something like it happening again. The consequences of the American warmongering are that the world becomes more divided, but the US does, unfortunately, continue their strict foreign policy. They can do this because they are the only superpower in the world.

 

As an ending to the project I just want to say that I hope the US is going to consider and respect other nation’s opinions in a better way. Unfortunately this will most likely happen after the change of minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Statistics for the support in the Iraq war across Europe and in the US

This one was found at: http://www.eriposte.com/war_peace/iraq/
world_support/gallup_intl_2003_by_country.gif
, and were last updated 4th mars 2003

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As one can see; in none of the European countries has there been a majority supporting the invasion of Iraq.

We can see from this table (found at: http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm last updated the 31st of October) that the support in the US has been declining the 1¾ last years:

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Oct. 29-31, 2004. N=1,044 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

"In view of the developments since we first sent our troops to Iraq, do you think the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, or not?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

Made a
Mistake

Did Not
Make a
Mistake

No
Opinion

 

 

 

 

%

%

%

 

 

 

10/29-31/04

44

52

4

 

 

 

10/22-24/04

47

51

2

 

 

 

10/14-16/04

47

52

1

 

 

 

10/9-10/04

46

53

1

 

 

 

10/1-3/04

48

51

1

 

 

 

9/24-26/04

42

55

3

 

 

 

9/3-5/04

38

57

5

 

 

 

8/23-25/04

48

50

2

 

 

 

7/30 - 8/1/04

47

51

2

 

 

 

7/19-21/04

50

47

3

 

 

 

7/8-11/04

54

45

1

 

 

 

6/21-23/04

54

44

2

 

 

 

6/3-6/04

41

58

1

 

 

 

5/7-9/04

44

54

2

 

 

 

4/16-18/04

42

57

1

 

 

 

1/12-15/04

42

56

2

 

 

 

11/3-5/03

39

60

1

 

 

 

10/6-8/03

40

59

1

 

 

 

7/7-9/03

27

72

1

 

 

 

3/24-25/03

23

75

2

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Sources

The internet:

- https://www.dnbnor.no/markets/nyheter/040930_dn.html

- http://www.eriposte.com/war_peace/iraq/iraq_war_worldwide_support.htm

- http://www.eriposte.com/war_peace/iraq/
world_support/gallup_intl_2003_by_country.gif

- http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/irak/article664023.ece

- http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm

- http://rorg.no/rorg/aktuelt/samle/0104/folkerett.htm

- http://tux1.aftenposten.no/nettprat/TVdebatt011004/

- http://www.nytid.no/index.php?sk=7&id=863

- http://www.daria.no/skole/sok/?sok=supermakt

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superpower

- http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/jmoore/secondsuperpower.html

- http://forum.tv2.no/cfide/fusetalk/forum/
messageview.cfm?catid=13&threadid=3710

- http://folk.uio.no/karlom/dn%20artikler/Krig%20og %20okonomi.doc

- http://www.arena.uio.no/news/articles/romsloe/270504.html

- http://www.onlineessays.com/essays/history/his236.php

- http://www.learnhistory.org.uk/usa/economyww2.htm

- http://memory.loc.gov.ammem/ndlpedu/features/
timeline/depwwii/depwar.html

- http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/lectures/lecture21.html

- http://www.daria.no/?tekst=3125

- http://www.daria.no/?tekst=201

- http://www.daria.no/?tekst=2354

 

Books

- Stupid White Men by Michael Moore published in 2003, 2. edition (in Norwegian) and published by H. Aschehoug & Co.

- Dude, Where’s My Country by Michael Moore published in 2003, 1. edition published by the Penguin Group.

- Visions 1 written by Hilde Hasselgård, Karen Patrick Knutsen and Kristin Årskaug, published by Aschehoug & Co 1. edition 2002.

- The Great Crash 1929 written by J.K. Galbraith. Published by Cox and Wyman Ltd. in 1954, 1955.

 

 

 

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