CIA world fact book

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2009 2:12 PM GMT
    So it says...

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html

    Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.

    How would you rewrite this?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2009 2:42 PM GMT
    If you're talking about the economy, it doesn't have to be rewritten. A brief rise in unemployment and economic stagnation doesn't change the general rule.

    The only thing I would rewrite is to add a third "traumatic experience" and that would be the entrenched and institutionalized racism that existed for much of the nation's history and came to a head in the 1950s and 60s.

    That has affected the nation and its people (of all races) more than most people ever realize or think about.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2009 3:04 PM GMT
    I have always thought those that say "I'm the most powerful" find themselves lacking. My rewrite would remove that. There are many powerhouses in this world. And plenty to share. And plenty of good people.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2009 3:58 PM GMT
    The text refers to the US as a nation state. Calling the US the most powerful nation entity seems appropriate. You could call China a close front runner for the title but I'd be a close call as to who depends on imported goods and fuel more and thus would be crippled during a trade war.. Taking military power into consideration there is no contest for the most powerful title.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
    While "the most powerful nation" doesn't bother me, I would be tempted to change it to "one of the..." so that I don't perpetuate some middle-American thought of superiority based on nationality. Gobineau anyone?

    Other than that, I would include the struggle for equality the nation has and is going (gone) through. My reason for including this would be solely based on that fact that I would want America to admit that its previous discrimination, prejudice, etc...were incorrect and baseless actions which promoted inequality in the "Land of the Free".

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2009 5:18 PM GMT
    The term "powerful" is pragmatic and open to interpretation. China is economically more powerful that the US, in terms of balance of trade, cash reserves and lack of debt. Their industrial output is now surpassing the US, as well.

    Our conventional military ground forces are not the most powerful, but our Navy is. But even it is very vulnerable with today's anti-ship offensive weapons. Our biggest advantage is nuclear weapons, but only in a Doomsday scenario. Renegade states like Iran and North Korea can calculate that we'll never drop nuclear bombs on them, unless they launch a nuclear strike first.

    "Steady growth" is a stretch. Overall growth, perhaps, but steady it has never been. There are periodic and major downturns, as defined by the government itself with the official term "recession." In which we currently are, of course.

    And while we may have been "buoyed" by the World Wars, the omission of the Spanish American War, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam and both Iraq wars is curious.

    Finally, why limit traumatic events to only 2, when there could be 3 or 4? The War of 1812, in which the British captured and destroyed Washington, DC, was certainly traumatic. Though US history tends to gloss over it, as just a "bump in the road" it was in fact a very destabilizing event, that nearly ended this country before it had barely begun.

    Another traumatic candidate could be Vietnam, and the domestic social upheaval associated with it. Our first major defeat since the War of 1812, our cities in flames from riots, our leaders assassinated, our culture in convulsion. I'd call that "traumatic" too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jan 04, 2009 8:50 PM GMT
    To address others concerns that equality and civil struggles recieve mention : It appears the CIA factbook authors don't consider that relevant information. The fact book deals with brief historical facts that are far less subjective than civil rights issues.

    Take a look at other nations in the factbook. Religious, gender, color, and social struggles are hardly mentioned and only if they had an undeniable major impact on a country. For example Germany recieves only a passing reference to WWII and no mention of the holocaust.

    I think it's better the factbook sticks to brief facts and figures. Adding in more emotionally charged conflicts would only create anger no matter how the book is written.