Cold War 2.0
Letter from the Staff
Welcome to SAMUN 2020! We have put together this background guide as a starting point for your research and hopefully a helpful reference source for the committee. We are a group of high schoolers who have been working on this committee since the fall. April is right around the corner and we are looking forward to seeing you! As technology advances rapidly, questions about how to utilize space as we struggle with the apparent catastrophe of climate change keep arising. While there is major competition between you guys regarding the space race, there needs to be major collaboration to save what’s left of our planet (that could mean starting a whole new civilization on Mars!). The problem of climate change has been developing for centuries and is affecting everyone around the world right now! It is up to you, the financial and technological leaders of our globe, to come up with solutions in order to avoid the unpredictable consequences. It is up to you collectively to solve the issues at hand and prevent things from escalating before it’s too late. You will be representing a diverse group of people and you must make compromises to benefit the world as a whole with the space race revitalized. Good luck delegates; we are excited to see you soon!
The year is 2030 and the issue of climate change is more pressing than ever. Scientists report that drastic measures must be taken within the year to be able to prevent a climate apocalypse. There is a large movement to colonize Mars to escape the Earth’s progressingly unlivable temperatures led in part by Elon Musk of SpaceX. Tensions between global powers are at an all-time high, with proxy wars between China and the Koreas moments away from erupting, as well as Russia and Ukraine. Global cooperation is necessary to pool succificent resources into protecting the human race, but this cooperation goes against the interests and priorities of many nations. Can an agreement be reached or will the different nations continue to suffer the effects that will eventually push the human race to extinction?
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In 1933, Russia and the United States formed official diplomatic relations under the acknowledgement that they were both reigning world powers capable of mass destruction. This amiability translated into an alliance during World War II. After the war, distrust began to spread between the nations as communism began to infiltrate the West and namely the United States. The tensions escalated as the nations failed to agree ideologically until in 1947, when the Cold War began with the pronouncement of the Truman Doctrine, a declaration which was intended to counter the rise of communism. The war lasted nearly 45 years, although no weapons were actually utilized. The war was a battle of scientific development, namely the race to create enhanced nuclear weaponry, and ideological differences.
Out of the U.S. and Russia’s desires to create increasingly powerful nuclear weaponry was born the Space Race: a marathon to be the first to successfully fly in space and thus exhibit scientific dominance. It began in 1955 when the Soviet Union announced that they planned on launching satellites into space in the next few days. In 1957, the Soviets sent Sputnik, the world’s first satellite, into orbit, a major scientific development. The race reached an apex when, in 1969, the U.S. Apollo 11 mission successfully landed on the moon and became widely regarded as the most significant scientific achievement to date.
On April 26th, 1986, a nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded, causing the worst nuclear disaster in history. The reaction released unprecedented levels of radiation, poisoning all those present and first responders. 28 were killed in the following days and radiation-influenced cancer rates skyrocketed in the region. To this day, the land is still affected, some of it uninhabitable, due to the radiation and nuclear waste.
Now that the technology has been developed, billionaires around the world are in the process of developing private space ships. Private companies and individuals are advertising trips to space, and some are developing the technology to go to the moon. Privatized space missions bring up ethical complications regarding economic justice and accessibility. By investing in space missions, billionaires are both seeking out new potential for human life, but also avoiding the threat of climate change by not seeking to halt it.
In the industrial revolution in the late 19th and early 20th century, carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning reached one million tons per year. In 1990, Gore led the first international climate change summit, bringing together 42 countries to try to come up with a solution to the problem. As vice president, Gore continued to push for environmentalism and reduced CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, fossil fuels continued to spike. In the 21st century, climate change has been a key campaigning platform for political candidates, whether believers or non-believers in climate change. The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, starting in the year 2020. The agreement's language was negotiated by representatives of 196 state parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Le Bourget, near Paris, France, and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. The aims of the Paris Agreement are: Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change; increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
Jeff Bezos is the founder, Chief Executive Officer, and president of Amazon.com, Inc. He is the richest person in the world. In addition to creating Amazon, Bezos also is an aerospace entrepreneur, using his wealth to create Blue Origin, a human spaceflight company. Bezos’ main interests are the further development of Blue Origin, the continued development of privatized space exploration, and the success of his own companies.
Elon Musk is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and engineer. He is the cofounder and CEO of Tesla Inc., as well as the founder, CEO, and chief engineer/designer of SpaceX, a private aerospace manufacturer. Musk’s vision for SpaceX is to reduce the cost of space transportation with the long term goal of colonizing Mars. Musk’s main interests are the further development of SpaceX, the continued development of privatized space exploration, and his own financial interests.
Jack Ma is a prominent Chinese business magnate, politician, investor, and philanthropist. He is the cofounder and former executive chairman of the technology conglomerate Alibaba Group. He is the wealthiest man in China. After his retirement in 2018, Ma dedicated himself to his philanthropy, tackling educational and environmental issues. Ma’s main interests are environmental protection, especially in water and air quality improvement, and an open and market driven economy in China.
Sir Richard is a knighted billionaire who opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records—later known as Virgin Megastores—in 1972. Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he started Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label. In 2004, he founded spaceflight corporation Virgin Galactic, based at Mojave Air and Space Port, noted for the SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane designed for space tourism. He prioritizes his business including air, sea, and space travel
Mark Zuckerberg is a world-famous internet entrepreneur and billionaire known for his invention of the highly-popular social media sites Facebook and Instagram. The creator of social media and internet sharing as we know it today, Zuckerberg is often critiqued for the invasive nature of his sites, frequently breaching personal privacy. He prioritizes his business and investment in solar sail spacecraft development
Alexander Abromov is a Russian former scientist who became an industrial magnate as one of the two heads of Evraz, Russia's largest steel producer. He prioritizes his business which includes steel and coal production in addition to ore-enriching plants and a commercial port.
US President Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg is the incumbent president of the United States, having won the 2028 election. He is one of the wealthiest people in the world and is the former mayor of New York City. Bloomberg’s main focus is to accelerate US control over the space economy while keeping pollution and climate damage at a reasonable minimum. He wants to publicize the space industry. He leans left for social and political issues but remains more centrist on economic policies. As president, Bloomberg wants to make sure the US remains first.
US Secretary of State Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley is the former United States ambassador to the UN and the current Secretary of State. She is politically and economically conservative. She strongly supports privatizing the space industry and will be more inclined to support space invested corporations rather than government programs. She prioritizes US domination of space more than the Democratic delegates.
US Speaker of the House Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and the current Speaker of the House. He is a moderate Democrat and will back Bloomberg on most of his policies. He will also strive to keep the environment clean while supporting the US’s control over space. As Speaker of the House, he will try to get bipartisan support from his fellow representatives to push the national agenda during tensions with Russia and China.
Chinese President Xi Jin Ping
President Jin Ping is the leading member of the CCP, succesfully navigating the country through anti-communist protests in Hong Kong during his 18 year incumbancy. Jin Ping has also exploited much of the African continent, using the countries’ debt as a means of constant revenue. Jin Ping’s goals are centered around a One China policy, pushing the narrative that China is the world's strongest and most unified country. He wants to expand China’s communist regime while subtly controlling all of the world’s markets at the same time.
Chinese State Council Li Keqiang
Premier Keqiang serves an incredibly important role in overseeing financial and economic affairs, foreign affairs, national security, and deepening reforms in China. He is essentially the partner to Xi Jin Ping, serving as Premier for 17 years. In the tense climate of the world, Keqiang is bestowed with the responsibility of controlling the economic expansion into Africa, and planning military advances.
Chinese Chief Executive Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam is the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, a part of China that has historically been of much conflict. Following the 2019-20 protests in Hong Kong, Carrie Lam laid down an iron fist, silencing many protesters and doing her best to keep international news outlets from reporting on the cities anti-protesting measures. After this, President Jin Ping has stayed in constant contact with Lam, with Hong Kong remaining a very international city. Any outside foreign government is most likely going to use Hong Kong as a starting point for creating unrest, and it is Lam’s job to make sure that never happens.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Former KGB of Russia Vladimir Putin has held presidential power for almost two decades, a trend which will seemingly continue for years to come. His power is viewed largely as a “sovereign democracy” and he is largely conservative. He prioritizes economic revenue via oil, improve militarization of space against NATO, improving space technology faster than the rest of the developed world
Russian Cabinet Representative Igor Sechin
Igor Sechin was a member of Putin’s cabinet until 2012 and still strongly supports the president’s initiatives. He leads a faction of the Kremlin and a large oil company. He prioritizes oil, improvements of space technology and nuclear weaponry
Roman Abramovich is a billionaire investor and former governor and close acquaintance of Putin with largely conservative political views. He prioritizes preserving industrialization of space as her owns stock and “land” in space
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan
President Erdoğan’s administration is corrupt and has deep ties with oil and the Russian administration. He is a nationalist, but wishes to have diplomatic relationships with members of the EU. His priorities are standing by his allies and protecting his wealth.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Netanyahu is socially and economically conservative, but progressive on climate issues. His priorities are the economy and security.
Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is the second and current supreme leader of Iran, taking office in 1989. He was also president of Iran from 1981-89, making him the longest serving head of state in the Middle East. In 2003, Khamenei forbade the production, stockpiling, and use of all kinds of nuclear weapons.
UK Prime Minister Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan is the current prime minister of the United Kingdom and former mayor of London. He is a member of the labor party and very progressive, especially on climate issues and wants to promote equity for all.
CIA Director Gina Cheri Walker Haspel
Gina Cheri Walker Haspel has served as the director of the American CIA since 2018. She is the first woman to hold this position permanently, and was elected under former president Donald Trump. She is very anti-Russian and generally more conservitave -- holding national security as her top priority.
Warren Buffet is an American investor, philanthropist, and the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is considered one of the most successful investors and has a net worth of 80 billion dollars, making him the 7th wealthiest person in the world. Due to his enormous wealth, he is an incredibly influential figure, and endorsed Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Prime Minister of Canada Pablo Rodriguez
Pablo Rodriguez was elected as a liberal to the House of Commons of Canada. He has served on many committees in the House of Common and has been an influential member of the Liberal Party, holding progressive views on a number of issues including climate change and equity.
MacKenzie Scott is the former wife of Jeff Bezos and a world renowned philanthropist. She is the executive director of Bystander Revolution, the anti-bullying organization she founded in 2014, and has given away billions of dollars. She is very liberal, aiming to promote equity, racial and social justice, and a solution to the climate crisis through her work.