American Studies in Russia, Issue No.1

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Researcher
Affiliation: Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameUSA & Canada: ekonomika, politika, kultura
EditionIssue 5


Publication date07.05.2019
Number of characters11816
100 rub.
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1 The year 2017 was a special year for the ISKRAN and scholars who specialize on the U.S. and Canada, because it marked two important anniversaries – 150th anniversary of Canada statehood and 50th anniversary of the Institute for the U.S. and Canadian Studies. To commemorate that remarkable year our researchers had written and published several monographs and research papers with the goal of informing the readers about the current political, military and economic trends in the U.S. and Canada. To sum up all those collective and individual efforts, in 2018 the ISKRAN published a digest entitled "American Studies in Russia" containing the abstracts of the books by ISKRAN authors in 2016 and 2017. The monographs fall into the categories of U.S. domestic policy, U.S. military policy, Russian-American relations and Canadian developments.
2 The authors pointed out contradicting elements of the Trump administration’s domestic policy, like the intention to cut national debt while increasing military spending, tax cut coupled with refraining from reducing key federal budget spending attractors. Top internal challenges for the Trump administration, according to the experts, include servicing of national debt, increased budget deficit, financing major social programs, solving immigration problems, dealing with poverty and bridging the wage gaps. They also cite contradictions between the two parties on budget issues as a threat to national economic security of the U.S. One researcher concluded that it is not national debt itself, but debt-to-GDP ratio, that should concern budget planners. The experts also analyzed the demographic shift s in America and ensuing political and economic disparities between the population groups. One of the largest trends is the declining of the American middle class. The researchers also examined the U.S. policies of supporting the country’s scientific and technological advancement, which included the analysis of partnerships between industries and universities, government support of hi-tech small businesses and other issues. They conclude that several industries in America successfully employ scientific breakthroughs, especially information technology (such as artificial intelligence and machine learning) and biotechnology. It should be noted, that development of certain technologies might lead to unpredictable economic consequences, like AI’s possible negative impact on employment. R&D is dominated by private companies and heavily depends on the influx of foreign highly qualified workforce. American education system is also analysed, including student loan debt issue and the amount of government subsidies. Government spending on education continued to grow reaching 7.1% in 2017. Higher education in the U.S. remains very expensive and it is not equally affordable to different population groups. Education, in its turn, is one of the key factors in employment. One of the authors researches declining share of youngsters in the country’s labour force and the problems of part-time employment. The experts inform about projections of shrinking share of white employees and expanding amount of Asians and Hispanics. Unemployment rates vary between different ethnic groups. One of the authors notes the increasing wage gap between persons of different qualifications and decreasing role of trade unions in the labor market. Our researchers also look at American economy in a broader sense. American social sphere experienced negative influence of the global financial crisis including the rise of unemployment, income inequality and poverty. Investments in human capital remain one of the distinctive features of the American economy, which is the reason why social security, Medicare and Medicaid continue to grow. Part of the research was dedicated to the agricultural sector in the U.S. and food security issues. The U.S. has the largest and the most efficient agriculture in the world due to the use of scientific and technological advancements as well as a working system of government subsidies and regulations. According to the authors, American experience can be successfully applied to Russian realities.
3 The U.S. military policy was analysed mainly in the context of the U.S. strategy in local conflicts, because it reflects new types of threats the U.S. is facing on the battlefield. In modern local conflicts open military victory is insignificant for its outcome. Neither does technical superiority over the enemy play a decisive role. Irregular and paramilitary units can quickly become a capable fighting force that is necessary to account for. The experts note that the U.S. nuclear strategy is moving towards greater chance of use of nuclear weapons in local conflicts. Nuclear weapons capabilities remain a key element in providing security to America’s allies. U.S. counter-terrorism strategy's main goal is to preserve American global leadership rather than eradicating terrorism per se. The U.S. policy to beef up its influence in the Middle East and Central Asia as well as combatting the Islamic State had met major challenges. The regime change policy and anti-Iranian stance have brought about quite the opposite results. The experts also look at the role of Africa and the Arctic region in Washington’s military policy. To their view Africa became a testing ground for new policies, such as establishment of regionally allied forces. The Arctic helps to project military power to the Pacific region.

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