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Contemporary history describes the historical timeframe that are immediately relevant to the present and is a certain perspective of modern history. Recent contemporary history's intentionally loose definition includes major events such as the Second World War, but not those events whose effects have been overcome.The word contemporary also means the moderns styles of today's era.

Contemporary era

Contemporary historic events are immediately relevant to the present day. The term "contemporary" may well be applied to the history of the world since end of the Cold War and fall of Communism. The effects of the World Wars era (encompassing World War I and World War II) and the Cold War are still being felt in contemporary history. Many persons now living have watched the unfolding of each of its successive phases. It possesses a distinct character of its own. While preeminent in its scientific and humanitarian achievements, the contemporary era has specially contributed to political progress, not so much in what it has originated as by what it has developed. More than most periods of like duration, the contemporary era is the direct consummation of the years immediately preceding. The "contemporary era" differs from them as the harvest differs from the seed-time.

The contemporary era's memorable achievements in the domain of the public have been along the lines of unification of nationalities and the ongoing technological advances. Yet here as everywhere else human attainment is partial and incomplete. Because people are so near the events to be described and because the sources of information are so many, the narration will be difficult.

it also has to ddeal with sucking balls

The 20th century

Notable events of this modern period include two World wars and the Cold War.

World Wars era

At the turn of the 20th century, the world saw the a series of great conflagrations, World War I and World War II. Near the end of the first great war, there was a series of Russian Revolutions and a Russian Civil War. In between the great wars, the "Twenties" saw a great rise in prosperity where progress and new technology took a hold of the world, but this was soon ended by the Great Depression. During this time, the League of nations was formed to deal with global issues, but failed to ganer enough support by the leading powers and a series of crisis once again lead the world into another epoch of violence.

Post-1945 World

The Cold War began in the mid-1940s and lasted into the early 1990s. The Space Age was concurrent with this time, encompassing the activities related to the Space Race, space exploration, space technology, and the cultural developments influenced by these events.

Throughout post-1945 period, the cold war was expressed through military coalitions, espionage, weapons development, invasions, propaganda, and competitive technological development. The Soviet Unionmarker created the Eastern Bloc of countries that it occupied, annexing some as Soviet Socialist Republics and maintaining others as satellite states that would later form the Warsaw Pact. The United States and various western European countries began a policy of "containment" of communism and forged myriad alliances to this end, including NATOmarker. The conflict included costly defense spending, a massive conventional and nuclear arms race, and numerous proxy wars; the two superpowers never fought one another directly.

Pax Americana is an appellation applied to the historical concept of relative liberal peace in the Western world, resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States of America starting around the turn of the 20th century. Although the term finds its primary utility in the latter half of the 20th Century, it has been used in various places and eras. Its modern connotations concern the peace established after the end of World War II in 1945.

21st century and the late modern world

The 2000s decade refers to the years from 2000 to 2009 inclusively. The 2000s has been marked generally with an escalation of the social issues of the 1990s, which included the rise of terrorism, stress, the expansion of economic globalization, the expansion of communications and telecommunications with mobile phones and the Internet and international pop culture.

Information age and computers

The Information Age or Information Era, also commonly known as the Age of the Computer, is an idea that the current age will be characterized by the ability of individuals to transfer information freely, and to have instant access to knowledge that would have been difficult or impossible to find previously. The idea is heavily linked to the concept of a Digital Age or Digital Revolution, and carries the ramifications of a shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based around the manipulation of information. The period is generally said to have begun in the latter half of the 20th century, though the particular date varies. The term began its use around the late 1980s and early 1990s, and has been used up to the present with the availability if the Internet.

During the late 1990s, both Internet directories and search engines were popular—Yahoo! (founded 1995) and Altavista (founded 1995) were the respective industry leaders. By late 2001, the directory model had begun to give way to search engines, tracking the rise of Google (founded 1998), which had developed new approaches to relevancy ranking. Directory features, while still commonly available, became after-thoughts to search engines. Database size, which had been a significant marketing feature through the early 2000s, was similarly displaced by emphasis on relevancy ranking, the methods by which search engines attempt to sort the best results first.

"Web 2.0" is characterized as facilitating communication, information sharing, interoperability, User-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web. It has led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and web applications. Examples include social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, mashups and folksonomies.

Development of Eastern powers

[[Image:Gdp real growth rate 2007 CIA Factbook.PNG|thumb|right|
Country % Growth Local Rank
11.90% 3
9.00% 2
For more details on this topic, se List of countries by GDP growth rate.]]The rapid development of Asia's economic and political potential, with Chinamarker, experiencing immense economic growth, moving toward the status of a regional power and billion-consumer market. Indiamarker, along with other developing non-western countries, is also growing rapidly, and has begun integrating itself into the world economy.

After China joined the World Trade Organization, the standards of living in the country has improved significantly as China saw the reappearance of the middle class. Wealth disparity between East and the Western hinterlands continued to widen by the day, prompting government programs to "develop the West", taking on such ambitious projects such as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The burden of education was greater than ever. Rampant corruption continued despite Premier Zhu's anti-corruption campaign that executed many officials.

By the beginning of 2009, about 300 million people in India – equivalent to the entire population of the entire United States – have escaped extreme poverty. The fruits of India's economic liberalization policies reached their peak in 2007, with India recording its highest GDP growth rate of 9%. With this, India became the second fastest growing major economy in the world, next only to China. An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report states that the average growth rate 7.5% will double the average income in a decade, and more reforms would speed up the pace.

Majority of the N-11 economies are Asian countries. A number newly industrialized countries emerged from Asia namely China, India, Malaysia, Philippine s& Thailand.

Eurasian Union and Federation

In Europe, the European Union is a geo-political founded upon numerous treaties and has undergone expansions to include a majority of states in Europe. Its origins date back to the post-World War II era, in particular the foundation of the European Coal and Steel Community in Paris 1951, following the "Schuman declaration", or the Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. Both these bodies are now part of the European Union, which was formed under that name in 1993.

In the Post-communist period, the Russian Federationmarker became an independent country. Russia was the largest of the fifteen republics that made up the Soviet Unionmarker, accounting for over 60% of the GDP and over half of the Soviet population. Russians also dominated the Soviet military and the Communist Party. Thus, Russia was widely accepted as the Soviet Union's successor state in diplomatic affairs and it assumed the USSR's permanent membership and veto in the UN Security Council; see Russia and the United Nations. Russia today shares many continuities of political culture and social structure with its tsarist and Soviet past.

Late modern terrorism and warfare

Major political developments in the 2000s for the Western World and the Middle East revolved around recent modern terrorism, the War on Terrorism, the Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War.

The September 11 attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda upon the United Statesmarker on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centermarker in New York Citymarker, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagonmarker in Arlington, Virginiamarker, just outside of Washington, D.C.marker The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksvillemarker in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvaniamarker, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. Major terrorist events after the September 11, 2001 Attacks include the Moscow Theatre Siegemarker, the 2003 Istanbul bombings, the Madrid train bombings, the Beslan school hostage crisis, the 2005 London bombingsmarker, the October 2005 New Delhi bombings, and the 2008 Mumbai Hotel Siege.

The United States responded to the September 11, 2001 Attacks by launching a "Global War on Terrorism", invading Afghanistanmarker to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists, and enacting the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. Many other countries also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. The 'Global War on Terrorism' is the military, political, legal and ideological conflict against Islamic terrorism and Islamic militants since the 2001 attacks.

The Modern War of Afghanistan began in late 2001 and was launched by the United Statesmarker with the United Kingdommarker, and NATOmarker-led, UN authorized ISAF in response to the September 11 attacks. The aim of the invasion was to find the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and other high-ranking al-Qaeda members and put them on trial, to destroy the whole organization of al-Qaeda, and to remove the Taliban regime which supported and gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda. The Bush administration policy and the Bush Doctrine stated forces would not distinguish between terrorist organizations and nations or governments that harbor them. Two military operations in Afghanistan are fighting for control over the country. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is a United States combat operation involving some coalition partners and currently operating primarily in the eastern and southern parts of the country along the Pakistanmarker border. The second operation is the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which was established by the UN Security Council at the end of 2001 to secure Kabulmarker and the surrounding areas. NATO assumed control of ISAF in 2003.

The multinational infantry actions, with additional ground forces supplied by the Afghan Northern Alliance, and aerial bombing campaign removed the Taliban from power, but Taliban forces have since regained some strength. The war has been less successful in achieving the goal of restricting al-Qaeda's movement than anticipated. Since 2006, Afghanistan has seen threats to its stability from increased Taliban-led insurgent activity, record-high levels of illegal drug production, and a fragile government with limited control outside of Kabulmarker. At the end of 2008, the war had been unsuccessful in capturing Osama bin Laden and tensions have grown between the United States and Pakistan due to incidents of Taliban fighters crossing the Pakistan border while being pursued by coalition troops.

The Second Persian Gulf War military campaign began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a multinational force. The invasion of Iraq led to an occupation and the eventual capture of Saddam Hussein, who was later executed by the Iraqi Government. Violence against coalition forces and among various sectarian groups soon led to asymmetric warfare with the Iraqi insurgency, strife between many Sunni and Shia Iraqi groups, and al-Qaeda operations in Iraq. Member nations of the Coalition withdrew their forces as public opinion favoring troop withdrawals increased and as Iraqi forces began to take responsibility for security. In late 2008, the U.S. and Iraqi governments approved a Status of Forces Agreement effective through to the end of 2011. The Iraqi Parliament also ratified a Strategic Framework Agreement with the U.S., aimed at ensuring international cooperation in constitutional rights, threat deterrence, education, energy development, and other areas. In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced an 18-month withdrawal window for "combat forces".

The Obama administration has pursued a "Overseas Contingency Operation" with the objectives to protect US citizens and business interests in the US and abroad, break up terrorist cells in the US, and disrupt the activities of the international network of terrorist organizations made up of a number of groups under the umbrella of al-Qaeda. The administration has re-focused US involvement in the conflict on the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq, the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention campmarker, and increasing the activity in Afghanistan.

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been an ongoing dispute between Israelis and the Palestinians. It forms part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict. The two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is the consensus solution that is currently under discussion by the key parties to the conflict.

A two-state solution envisions two separate states in the Western portion of the historic region of Palestine, one Jewish and another Arab to solve the conflict. According to the idea, the Arab inhabitants would be given citizenship by the new Palestinian state; Palestinian refugees would likely be offered such citizenship as well. Arab citizens of present-day Israel would likely have the choice of staying with Israel, or becoming citizens of the new Palestine.

At present, a considerable majority of both Israelis and Palestinians, according to a number of polls, prefer the two-state solution over any other solution as a means of resolving the conflict. Most Palestinians view the West Bankmarker and Gaza Stripmarker as constituting the area of their future state, which is a view also accepted by most Israelis. A handful of academics advocate a one-state solution, whereby all of Israel, the Gaza Strip, and West Bank would become a bi-national state with equal rights for all.

There are significant areas of disagreement over the shape of any final agreement and also regarding the level of credibility each side sees in the other in upholding basic commitments. Within Israeli and Palestinian society, the conflict generates a wide variety of views and opinions. This serves to highlight the deep divisions which exist not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but also amongst themselves. Since 2003, the Palestinian side has been fractured by conflict between the two major factions: Fatah, the traditionally dominant party, and its more recent electoral challenger, Hamas.

Contemporary world

The present and future

The world is currently in the third millennium. The 21st century is the current century of the Christian Era or Common Era in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It began on January 1, 2001 and will end December 31, 2100. The 2000s decade runs from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2009.

The present is the time that is associated with the events perceived directly, not as a recollection or a speculation. It is often represented as a hyperplane in space-time, often called now, although modern mathematical physics demonstrates that such a hyperplane can not be defined uniquely for observers in relative motion (which negates the concept of absolute time and space). The present may also be viewed as a duration (see specious present).

The third millennium is the third period of one thousand years. As this millennium is currently in progress, only its first decade, the 2000s, can be the subject of the conventional historian's attention. The remaining part of the 21st century and longer-term trends are currently researched by futures studies, an approach that uses various models and several methods (such as "forecasting" and "backcasting"). Ever since the invention of history, people have searched for "lessons" that might be drawn from its study, on the principle that to understand the past is potentially to control the future. A famous quote by George Santayana has it that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Arnold J. Toynbee, in his monumental Study of History, sought regularities in the rise and fall of civilizations. In a more popular vein, Will and Ariel Durant devoted a 1968 book, The Lessons of History, to a discussion of "events and comments that might illuminate present affairs, future possibilities... and the conduct of states." Discussions of history's lessons often tend to an excessive focus on historic detail or, conversely, on sweeping historiographic generalizations.

Future Studies takes as one of its important attributes (epistemological starting points) the on-going effort to analyze alternative futures. This effort includes collecting quantitative and qualitative data about the possibility, probability, and desirability of change. The plurality of the term "futures" in futurology denotes the rich variety of alternative futures, including the subset of preferable futures (normative futures), that can be studied.

Practitioners of the discipline previously concentrated on extrapolating present technological, economic or social trends, or on attempting to predict future trends, but more recently they have started to examine social systems and uncertainties and to build scenario, question the worldviews behind such scenarios via the causal layered analysis method (and others) create preferred visions of the future, and use backcasting to derive alternative implementation strategies. Apart from extrapolation and scenarios, many dozens of methods and techniques are used in futures research.

Socio-technological trends

At the end of the twentieth century, the world was at a major crossroads. Throughout the century, more technological advances had been made than in all of preceding history. Computers, the Internet, and other modern technology radically altered daily lives. Increased globalization, specifically Americanization, had occurred. While not necessarily a threat, it has caused anti-Western and anti-American feelings in parts of the world, especially the Middle East. The English language has become a leading global language, with people who did not speak it becoming increasingly disadvantaged.

A trend connecting economic and political events in North America, Asia, and the Middle East is the rapidly increasing demand for fossil fuels, which, along with fewer new petroleum finds, greater extraction costs (see peak oil), and political turmoil, saw the price of gas and oil soar ~500% between 2000 and 2005. In some places, especially in Europe, gas could be $5 a gallon, depending on the currency. Less influential, but omnipresent, is the debate on Turkey's participation in the European Union.

Challenges and problems

In the contemporary era, several issues are faced in the world. First of all, wealth is concentrated among the G8 and Western industrialized nations, along with several Asian nations and OPEC countries. The richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000 and that the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total. The bottom half of the world adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth. Another study found that the richest 2% own more than half of global household assets. Despite this, the distribution has been changing quite rapidly in the direction of greater concentration of wealth. Though, powerful nation with large economies and wealthy individuals can improve the rapidly evolving economies of the Third World. However, developing countries face many challenges, including the scale of the task to be surmounted, rapidly growing populations, and the need to protect the environment, and the cost that goes along with facing such challenges.

Secondly, disease threatened to destabilize many regions of the world. New viruses such as SARS, West Nile, and Bird Flu continued to spread quickly and easily. In poor nations, malaria and other diseases affected the majority of the population. Millions were infected with HIV, the virus which causes AIDS. The virus was becoming an epidemic in southern Africa.

Terrorism, dictatorship, and the spread of nuclear weapons were also issues requiring immediate attention. Dictators such as Kim Jong-il in North Koreamarker continued to lead their nations toward the development of nuclear weapons. The fear existed that not only are terrorists already attempting to get nuclear weapons, but that they have already obtained them.

Climate change

Climate change reflects the modern environment's climate. The changes of climate over the past century, have been attributed of to various factors which have resulted in a global warming. This warming is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation. Some effects on both the natural environment and human life are, at least in part, already being attributed to global warming. A 2001 report by the IPCC suggests that glacier retreat, ice shelf disruption such as that of the Larsen Ice Shelfmarker, sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, and increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are attributable in part to global warming. Other expected effects include water scarcity in some regions and increased precipitation in others, changes in mountain snowpack, and adverse health effects from warmer temperatures. It is important to note though that there is a global warming controversy which centers on a dispute regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming.

It usually is impossible to connect specific weather events to human impact on the world. Instead, such impact is expected to cause changes in the overall distribution and intensity of weather events, such as changes to the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation. Broader effects are expected to include glacial retreat, Arctic shrinkage, and worldwide sea level rise. Other effects may include changes in crop yields, addition of new trade routes, species extinctions, and changes in the range of disease vectors.

Emerging technologies

Various emerging technologies, the recent developments and convergences in various fields of technology, hold possible future impacts. Emerging technologies cover various cutting-edge developments in the emergence and convergence of technology, including transportation, information technology, biotechnology, robotics and applied mechanics, and material science. Their status and possible effects involve controversy over the degree of social impact or the viability of the technologies. Though, these represent new and significant developments within a field; converging technologies represent previously distinct fields which are in some way moving towards stronger inter-connection and similar goals.

See also

General: Present-day, Current affairs news, Contemporary philosophy
International and global: International organization, International security, International trade, Global Environment Facility, International Energy Agency
Policy and bureaucracy: Public Policy, Energy Task Force, Environmental Policy
People's generation: Generation, List of generations, Baby Boom Generation, Generation X, MTV Generation, Generation Y, Generation Z
Music and arts: Popular culture, Contemporary art, Contemporary dance, Contemporary literature, Contemporary music, Contemporary hit radio, Adult contemporary music, Contemporary Christian music, Contemporary R&B, Urban contemporary
Agriculture and food:Green Revolution, Food security, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Sustainable agriculture, Organic farming
Energy and power: Wind Power, Photovoltaic and solar power, Wind turbines, Fossil fuels, Hydropower, Biomass
War and warfare: Laws of war, Principles of War, Command Papers, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Military Academy, Army War Collegemarker, Information warfare, Unity of command, National Military Strategy, Guerrilla warfare, Asymmetric warfare
Other: Synchronicity, Hypertext, CD-ROM, Energy World, Biotechnology, Biodiversity, Alternate history, Future history


Further reading

21st century sources




References

General information
footnotes
  1. Grosvenor, Edwin A. Contemporary History of the World. New York and Boston: T.Y. Crowell & Co, 1899.
  2. 2007 est.
  3. CIA Factbook: Economy. cia.gov.
  4. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, 2 Feb 2007, see "four wars" remark
  5. Britain's Brown visits officials, troops in Iraq. International Herald Tribune, October 2, 2007.
  6. Italy plans Iraq troop pull-out BBC March 15, 2005
  7. Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq
  8. whitehouse.archives.gov. news releases 2008-11
  9. Strategic Framework Agreement (pdf bitmap)
  10. English Language Teaching and Learning Program (US State Dept.)
  11. Karadsheh, J. (November 27, 2008) "Iraq parliament OKs pact on U.S. troops' future" CNN
  12. 'Global War On Terror' Is Given New Name, Scott Wilson and Al Kamen, The Washington Post, March 25, 2009; Page A04
  13. A History of Conflict:introduction, BBC
  14. " Just another forgotten peace summit." Haaretz.com. By Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann. Published 11/12/2007.
  15. Poll on Palestinian attitudes - Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre.
  16. Kurtzer, Daniel and Scott Lasensky. "Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace ..." Google Book Search. 30 January 2009.
  17. Dershowitz, Alan. The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005
  18. Israel: The Alternative, The New York Review of Books, Volume 50, Number 16, October 23, 2003
  19. Virginia Tilley, The One-State Solution, University of Michigan Press (May 24, 2005), ISBN 0472115138
  20. Hegeler, E. C., & Carus, P. (1890). The Monist. La Salle, Ill. [etc.]: Published by Open Court for the Hegeler Institute. page 443.
  21. Sattig, T. (2006). The language and reality of time. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Page 37.
  22. James, W. (1893). The principles of psychology. New York: H. Holt and Company. Page 609.
  23. Hodder, A. (1901). The adversaries of the sceptic; or, The specious present, a new inquiry into human knowledge. Chapter II, The Specious Present. London: S. Sonnenschein &. Pages 36–56.
  24. Robert V. Daniels, "History", Encyclopedia Americana, 1986 ed., vol. 14, p. 227.
  25. George Santayana, "The Life of Reason", Volume One, p. 82, BiblioLife, ISBN 978-0559478062
  26. Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History, vols. I–XII, Oxford University Press, 1934–61.
  27. Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1968, prelude.
  28. Berkeley Eddins and Georg G. Iggers, "History", Encyclopedia Americana, 1986 ed., vol. 14, pp. 243–44.
  29. Extensive statistics, many indicating the growing world disparity, are included in the available report, press releases, Excel tables and Powerpoint slides. See The World Distribution of Household Wealth. James B. Davies, Susanna Sandstrom, Anthony Shorrocks, and Edward N. Wolff. 5 December 2006. * Launch of the WIDER study on The World Distribution of Household Wealth (includes press release, summary, and data) * Estimating the Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth (copy of full report with a cover page added) * The World Distribution of Household Wealth (exact copy of report published at United Nations website) For more.
  30. The rich really do own the world 5 December 2006
  31. "Wealth Inequality Charts"



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