The United States Country Profile
Prepared by: The Boise State University Delegation for Idaho Model U.N. – 2022
The United States is governed by three main branches of government: an executive (President) who is head of state and leads the bureaucracy, a bi-cameral legislature that is split between a lower chamber, The House of Representatives, and a higher chamber, The Senate. Its two primary political factions: the Republican Party (generally right-wing and conservative), and The Democratic Party (generally left-wing and progressive) are the only factions that routinely win major political offices and control the political agenda. Most of the interplay between the two parties happens in the legislature where furious debate can often take place over proposed laws. This has resulted in a high degree of polarization in its political culture and especially in its political media. While the U.S. only has two main political parties, in-fighting can often be seen among them and the legislative process is much more complicated than two opposing factions. Democrats have a large variety of opinions among their elected officials. The Progressive caucus is the most left-wing and progressive and advocates for sweeping changes to the American political system. There is some cooperation between the parties and members in the center work together in the problem-solvers caucus. This can be clearly seen presently, as the Democratic party controls both the legislature and the executive branch, but still struggles to pass major legislation. Laws can be challenged in federal courts. Here the judicial branch compares given laws to the country’s constitution and rules on whether or not it upholds the tenants of the governing document. Cases can be appealed up to the Supreme Court. These decisions often have vast sway over life and governance. For example, in the 1960s, American schools were still segregated by race in the SouthEast region, essentially creating an appartheid state. The Supreme Court issued a ruling – Brown v. Board of Education that such practices violated the constitution. Schools were then forced to integrate. This is a strong example of how the American judicial branch can affect everyday life when it upholds or overturns laws.
Major players in current American politics are:
Joseph Biden – President
Kamala Harris – Vice President
Nancy Pelosi – Speaker of the House of Representatives (Lower legislative chamber).
Kevin McCarthy – House Minority Leader
Chuck Schumer – Senate Majority Leader (Higher legislative chamber)
Mitch McConnell – Senate Minority Leader
The United States has the largest economy in the world, It is the world’s largest importer, and the world’s second largest exporter of goods and services. Its economy is incredibly diverse and spans heavy industry to white-collar business service industries. In the West, it has a large technology sector, and its Silicon Valley region is largely seen as the global center for big-tech companies. Also in the West are larger modern corporate headquarters such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft. The U.S. also has a large energy sector with carbon-based production of oil and gas in the Dakotas region in the north and in the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The largest industry in the U.S. is business services–American banks and consulting firms are widely seen are the best in the world, and
The United States’ primary geopolitical rivals are The Russian Federation and The People’s Republic of China. Presently, China represents its largest emerging challenge and Russia its most long standing rival given the history of the Cold War and the two countries’ nuclear arsenals. While The United States rarely confronts these two rivals directly, they do compete for influence in emerging markets such as the African continent. The U.S. rarely votes in line with these two in UNSC matters, but there are areas of cooperation in areas such as counterterroism international development, and scientific fields such as space exploration. The United States has a large national security infrastructure. It is the largest military in the world, and consists of several branches including land, ground, air, and unique among nations, a space force. It is extensively involved in international affairs and has tens of thousands of troops deployed across several locations around the world. For the previous twenty years, the primary national security strategy of the United States was the ‘War on Terror’ following the catastrophic terroist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11th, 2001. The resulting engagements in response to these attacks lasted until 2021. Presently, the United States regularly intervenes in several countries with air and drone strikes on terrorist targets. Beyond its efforts to combat terrorism, the United States is heavily involved in the security of the European continent through the NATO military alliance. Presently the United States plays a leading role in the diplomacy surrounding the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine. It is a negotiating member of the Normandy Protocol along with other Western European nations to try and mitigate the crisis. As of the time of writing, the United States, through the NATO military alliance, is deploying several thousand troops to Poland and the Baltic states to dissuade a spillover military engagement, should Russia invade Ukraine.
Role in the United Nations
The United States plays a large role in the United Nations. It sits on every committee, is a permanent member of the Security Council with a veto vote, and it is the U.N.’s largest financial contributor. Its domestic politics are often skeptical of its level of commitment, especially from its right wing coalitions. However, as the host of the U.N. assembly and headquarters, and its largest financial contributor, the United States will continue to play an outsized role in its affairs for the foreseeable future. The United States can often marshall a large coalition of countries to vote in its favor. However, its voting behavior can change radically depending on who is in charge of its presidency and whether or not they come from the Republican or Democratic Party.
Current Role in Climate Change Mitigation
The United States has a tumultuous and unpredictable record when it comes to climate change. Much of the most important research on mankind’s effect on the environment has come from American Universities. The government has also funded much of the new and emerging technology that can help mitigate carbon emissions in the atmosphere. However, American politics are incredibly divided on the issue. The American right is firmly rooted with American industry such as oil and coal extraction. They see green technology as a threat to the prosperity of American industry and its companies. During the previous administration, the United States withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. However, it rejoined the agreement during the current administration. The position of the United States on climate change is inherently dependent on which political faction controls its executive branch. Most climate policy made at the national level consists of targets and guidelines, which then rely on the actions of state and local governments to carry out. This decentralized implementation structure of climate policy has resulted in very different outcomes across the country, with little to no uniform effort. Internationally, American leaders often speak about what needs to happen in climate change efforts without much to show for domestic reform. The United States is no longer the largest emitter of carbon, passed recently by the People’s Republic of China. However, in the effort to mitigate climate change, The United States remains perhaps the most important international player–both for its international influence, and the fact that most of the largest carbon emitters in the private sector are headquartered here or conduct the majority of their operations and business services in The United States.