1. American history has been witness to a number of landmark events during the last three decades beginning with the Ronald Reagan presidency and continuing till that of Barack Obama. Two important turning points that may be attributed to this period are the gradual collapse of the Soviet Union and its final disintegration into fifteen separate countries in December 1991 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 that has triggered a controversial and intricate war against terrorism both at the national and international levels.
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2. The disintegration of Soviet Union left a power vacuum across the world. This power vacuum immediately facilitated the rise of USA as the next superpower to reckon with. In fact, even today, America is considered the police of the world. Secondly, the collapse of Soviet Union also exposed the loopholes in communism. According to Bowman (2002) this event created a shift in world opinion and made China look less threatening. Subsequently, both USA and China warmed up to each other with the initiation of trade ties with the free flow of goods into both the countries. The 9/11 attacks on USA has a lasting impact on the US economy. Even more than a decade after the incident, a large amount of resources are being used to secure the country’s production, distribution, finance and communication when these could have been used to increase its productive capacity. This has resulted in a slower growth rate in national productivity.
3. According to Carrel (2011) the initial cases of HIV and AIDS started appearing in America as early as 1981. It was first detected in a small community of gay men. However, the way the American government reacted to this disease shook the confidence of the American people at that time. From the very beginning, a lot of stigma and discrimination has been associated with AIDS. This was partly because of the general belief that this disease afflicted only the gay men and the intravenous drug users who constituted the marginalized sections of the society. Moreover, the common people were unaware of the causes of this disease and the authorities were also reluctant to spread awareness among the people. The medical fraternity, at that time, was also mostly stigmatized and hence was not very keen to investigate the reasons for the emergence of this disease and the ways in which it was transmitted. The widespread ignorance thus made people to live in perpetual fear.
The American government initially was also reluctant to address the emerging AIDS epidemic. In 1982, a spokesperson for the Reagan administration was asked regarding AIDS to which he conveyed complete ignorance about the issue. Although finally Reagan admitted to the emergence of AIDS, he was against safer sex and condom use. Rather, he advocated a ban on HIV positive immigrants entering the country and sexual abstinence as effective measures to control the epidemic.
After trying the patience of the American people for quite some time, the U.S Food and Drug Administration declared AZT (zidovudine) as the first antiretroviral drug to be administered to AIDS patients. However, the positive atmosphere created by this declaration failed to last long when the exorbitant prices were revealed. It was found most Americans didn’t have enough medical insurance to cover the costs.
4. Ronald Reagan’s deregulation policy is based on the belief that less and simple regulations on the key sectors of the economy will increase competitiveness thereby benefiting the consumers with superior services and lower costs. However, many are of the opinion that Reagan’s deregulation policy is primarily responsible for the recent troubles in American economy. For example, due to the deregulation movement, the process of lending has become an unsound business enterprise. Mortgage brokers lure home buyers through sub-prime loans. In the absence of strict regulatory laws, these enterprises often pass off the valid documents to the investors. Moreover, the brokerage firms working on the Wall Street also make use of the lack of surveillance machinery and encourage customers to invest in risky mortgage investments without informing them about the possible risks.
5. The joint resolution issued by the U.S Congress known as the Iraq Resolution clearly states the rationale behind the Iraq War. The U.S claims that the primary intention has been to banish, according to Hart (2010), “a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction, which harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world” (p.82).
Despite its intentions, the invasion of Iraq by the US failed to garner enough global support. Many considered it a violation of the International law since the US went ahead with it without UN sanction. In 41 countries across the globe, while a vast majority criticized USA’s invasion of Iraq without UN sanction, some were totally against the Iraq War. The War in Afghanistan which started on October 7, 2001, has been a direct retaliation of the September 11 attacks on the United States. Called Operation Enduring Freedom, this combat was launched by the armed forces of US, United Kingdom, Australia and Afghan United Front. The primary rationale has been to demolish the Al Qaeda terrorist outfit and resist its using Afghanistan as the base. The initial public opinion has been in favor of war. However, as the war continued, it triggered wide-spread protests and international opposition. Wide-spread demonstrations took place across the globe protesting the killing of innocent Afghan civilians either directly or indirectly by the US troops.
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