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The XXI century brought many changes to the relationships between people at all organizational levels. The states as the forms of human communication also changed because the world entered the postindustrial epoch of sophisticated technical devices and new approaches to human culture, science, economy, as well as social and political relations. The postclassical scientific paradigm with postmodernism as its part affected social regard for the multipolar essence of the political and cultural map of the Earth. It leads to the previous theories and approaches to revaluation. Among them is the theory of W. W. Rostow, who claimed that every society has to pass five stages from the traditional society to “the age of high mass consumption” (Jacobs, 2014). Rostow was an American scientist of the Cold War period marked by fights against the USSR, therefore, his main aim was to represent the American way of life and development as the supreme state of society (Jacobs, 2014). Today, the multipolar conception of the world replaced Rostow’s model with the indisputable prevalence of the West over other civilizations. The stages of Rostow’s theory show the level of economic development and determine other features of a state such as cultural, political, and social life. Besides, Samuel Huntington offers another approach to the relationships between the states after the Cold War. According to Huntington, “in this new world, local politics is the politics of ethnicity; global politics is the politics of civilizations. The rivalry of the superpowers is replaced by the clash of civilizations” (1996, p. 15). Through the analysis of the USA as the ideal state according to Rostow, the irrelevance of his approach in today’s situation is clear, and the theory of Huntington may help to find an explanation for the USA’s dominance.
The USA is the state, which occupies the southern half of the North American continent. It is considerably large (the third-largest country in the world) and thus, on the territory of the USA one can find examples of any climatic zone of the Earth. The Rocky Mountains (the core part of the American Cordillera) separate the central valley from the ocean and the Appalachian mountains are in the east of the country (“National Geographic,” 2014). The lands of the southern part of the USA are very fertile and hot, that is why they mostly represent the agrarian potential of the state. Due to the climatic diversification of the USA regions, its flora and fauna include many either endemics (the American Alligator, for example) or widespread species. The neighbors of the USA are Canada, Mexico (by the land borders), Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas (by the ocean). It has water borders on its west, east, and south. In such a way, the USA has quite a profitable and advantageous geographical position.
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Historical and Settlement Characteristics
The history of the USA reveals some important roots of today’s situation in the state. Firstly, the territory belonged to the Indians, who lived there before the European invaders came and occupied their lands in the XVI century. After that, the European colonists started their migrations to America, where they created their cities and organized their new life in the New World. The fattest lands belonged to the plantation owners, who bought the African slaves to make them work on those lands. When the colonization only began, those southern lands were the most perspective in economic respect, therefore, their holders had no reason to develop the industrial sector of the economy. Those agrarian rich regions sold tobacco to the European rich people who only started to smoke. On the contrary, the central region of the future USA had to find another way to get the resources they needed, and thus, those lands became the base for the American industrial development. To work on the plants, people had to get some education, so the northern part of the future USA was mostly literate and progressive. The third region was New England in the Northern East of the future USA. According to Tindall and Shi, it was the most tolerant and diversified in all respects part of the USA: there lived the merchants who could be “Quakers, Jews, Huguenots and Mennonites” (Tindall & Shi, 2013, p. 100) when the South tried to be an Anglican region of America.
Since the colonization, the people of Northern America developed their new societies and created states that existed under the dominance of England. Besides, the English colonial policy toward the American people caused the need for separation and in 1776, the elite representatives of different American states founded the union: the independent United States of America. Since that time the USA started to lead its policy without any European dictate.
In 1861-1865, there was the Civil War in the USA. The reason was the contradiction between the traditionalist agrarian society of the Eastern plantations owners (the Democrats) with their slaves and the northern workers and bourgeoisie (the Republicans) whose way of life was different from that of the south. The result of the war was the victory of the Republicans. The slaves became free, besides, after the war, they did not have many rights due to the Reconstruction policy’s failure. According to Summers, the Government could not give the former slaves rights equal to those of the white people due to fear of releasing them completely (2009, p. 5). In such a way, the African Americans became second-rate citizens until the Movement for Civil Rights won in the second half of the XX century
During the I and II World Wars, the European countries were in ruins while the USA remained untouched as a result of its separation by the oceans from Eurasia. Besides, the soldiers of the USA made a considerably important contribution to those wars, especially to the victory over Nazi Germany and Japan. These details caused the growth of political and economic influence of the state in comparison with its European partners. The role of the USA during the Great Depression is greatly significant. The gold standard system could not satisfy the purposes of the industrial society more, therefore, the American banks collapsed in 1929, and the European countries, as well as the USA, experienced the crisis, which lasted until the II World War (Friedman & Schwartz, 1963, p. 331). After the victory in 1945, the USA and the USSR as the most powerful states on the Earth had divided the world into the zones of their influence and after the USSR collapsed, the USA became the indisputable leader of the world.
For example, the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders already belong to one ethnic group which will reach 11% of the American population by 2050 according to Ghosh (2003, p. 2093). This case is quite symptomatic: it shows that the American population has a diversified structure and includes people from different ethnic groups (in contrast to traditionally mono-national European countries). Another great social problem of the USA is the stratification of people in the cities. The poor districts become some kind of black holes for the government’s investments, and the people live in their way there (O’Connor, 1999, p. 41). Most of the poor people are immigrants from ethnic groups different from those dominant in the USA. Usually, they lack proper education and specific work experience. Nevertheless, the core of the American culture is equal access to work and developmental opportunities for all people as it was when the first colonists only started to create their specific way of life. Such a democratic and pluralist position allowed the USA to become the most powerful state in the world through the work of everyone.
Economics and Resource Characteristics
The economic system of the state is the result of historical conditions that made the northern Americans industrialize their region and at the same, time separate the USA from Europe with its destructive wars. According to Economy Watch, the USA has “the largest and most important economy in the world. In 2012, the US economy was responsible for 18.87 percent of the world’s total GDP (PPP) or US$15.684 trillion” (“Economy Watch,” 2013). The most important segment of the US economic system realizes itself in the sphere of services (79,7%), the sphere of industries occupies less (19,1), and the agricultural sphere is miserable (1,2) because the USA can buy everything its people need in agricultural countries. It is important that the USA is the largest provider of natural gas in the world and has the third position in the production of oil. Besides, these branches of the American economy are not so important as the financial markets and business activity. For example, New York Stock Market is quite an attractive place for investments from every state in the world. As for the business, its development is the result of American citizens’ individualization during the colonial and prewar periods. Those who lived in the northern part of the USA became more active and successful through education and work practice.
Major Internal Issues
The organization of the USA prevents it from separatist tendencies and movements because it is a federation and each state has many rights to govern itself in a way it wants. Besides, such diversification of the USA is the root of another problem: there are different struggling groups instead of one monolithic nation. For example, the racial issues are actual since the colonization of America only began, and they still do not lose their actuality. The tolerant approach to some groups of people only made others the same victims of racism. Thus, today one can find some examples of white or black racism, persecutions of Jews, or other groups of people depending on the regional specifics. In such a way, some units of the American nation struggle and the government cannot reduce these processes. Besides, such a situation demonstrates that the Americans feel free to struggle in their country.
As the political leader of the world, the USA ensures peace, stability, and democracy in the world. The most prominent illustrations of such policy are the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where the American soldiers helped to stabilize the situation. The USA is the leader of NATO, which exists since the Cold War and still realizes its mission to share the main American values: freedom, independence, and democracy. The political authority of the USA is indisputable, unlike the international economic position. In the economic sphere, “According to the latest IMF forecasts, China is expected to overtake the US by 2016” (“Economy Watch”, 2013). The US nation is in the first position in the world by its import and it takes one of the highest positions by export. In such a way, regardless of the competition with China, the USA is the most powerful state in the international arena.
From all previous data concerning the USA, it is clear that the theory of Rostow does not work. For example, the American people had no traditionalist stage because they were the representatives of the developed European society. Besides, the culture of the USA did not just take the main contributions and values of Europe. It took only those elements it needed to survive and develop the national economy and culture, but the Americans transformed the European values into a more flexible form. Huntington is right when he writes about different cultures and the human desire for self-identification, “People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, and institutions. People use politics… to define their identity” (1996, p. 15). Rostow’s theory with its concentration on the economy and utilitarian functions of the state is a fiction of the Cold War epoch. Economic growth is only the result of cultural development in general because technical development belongs to the culture.
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