Scouting/BSA/Citizenship in the World Merit Badge/Requirement 4

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The requirements to this merit badge are copyrighted by the Boy Scouts of America. They are reproduced in part here under fair use as a resource for Scouts and Scouters to use in the earning and teaching of merit badges. The requirements published by the Boy Scouts of America should always be used over the list here. If in doubt about the accuracy of a requirement, consult your Merit Badge Counselor.
Reading this page does not satisfy any requirement for any merit badge. Per National regulations, the only person who may sign off on requirements is a Merit Badge Counselor, duly registered and authorized by the local Council. To obtain a list of registered Merit Badge Counselors, or to begin a Merit Badge, please contact your Scoutmaster or Council Service Center.

This page contains additional information supplemental to the guide to earning the Citizenship in the World merit badge.

United States
LocationUSA.png
Cause National interest Affected foreign relations
History
September 11, 2001 Attacks led to increased concerns about terrorism and, more generally, Middle-Eastern stability Military and diplomatic operations in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Philippines, Georgia and Indonesia
Culture
Of worldwide fame, especially music and cinema
Music has long been associated with political campaigns, generally liberal in orientation Musical protest played a part in ending public support for the Vietnam War;
Demographics
increasing immigration from Latin American countries has led to vocal concerns about job loss, language choice and other social issues requires close cooperation with Mexico on immigration concerns
Politics
Democratic, capitalist and industrialized country requires free markets in foreign nations the Cold War with the Soviet Union and satellites states like Hungary and Romania, as well as other command economies like the former North Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea.

Numerous factors can affect national interests besides climate, geography and natural resources. These can include many aspects of culture, history, demographics and politics.

History can include long-ago or recent events that continue to shape a country's actions. These can include wars and injustices leading to rivalries between nations with little ostensible reason for animosity. History can powerfully affect a country's national interest. Bitterness over historical events can last for centuries, while gratitude and goodwill are perhaps more ephemeral.

After World War 1, Germany's economy was hardstruck by the effects of the Treaty of Versailles, leading to a national sense of bitterness towards countries like France and the United Kingdom, which help set the stage for World War 2, when Germany invaded many of its neighbors. After World War 2, Japan adopted a constitution that does not allow the creation of a military force, hampering the country's ability to help in military operations with the United Nations and allies like the United States.
In the run-up to the 2003 occupation of Iraq, many American commentators expressed bitterness over France's refusal to support the invasion. Many perceived a lack of gratitude for American aid during World War 2, while France's defenders pointed out that country's aid during the American War for Independence.

Culture includes a society's language, religion, lifestyle, clothing, decor and many other aspects. Cultural splits within countries sometimes lead to strife because different parts of the country have different interests. The American Civil War is an example of a country torn apart by the opposing interests of culturally distinct regions.

More recently, religious animosity has led to violence and chaos in many Middle-Eastern countries, especially Israel. The creation of Israel was prompted by fears of anti-Semitism leading to a repeat of the attempted genocide of the Jews during the Holocaust, and Israel's foreign relations have long been affected by fears of anti-Semitism harming Jews abroad. Conflicts over religion, geography, ethnicity and other issues have led to ongoing violence with Palestinians and Arab neighbors like Syria and Egypt.
Cultural ties between peoples living in different countries has caused strife and war. For example, the Kurds live in several countries, including Iraq and Turkey, the latter a key US ally in the region. With Kurdish leaders calling for an independent Kurdistan, the US was torn between supporting its Kurdish allies and the Turkish government, which believed that any independence for Iraqi Kurds could spur a revival of similar hopes among Turkish Kurds. Nationalism plays an important role in this phenomenon, which has also included calls for a Greater Somalia, a view that has twice led to war with Ethiopia over the Somali Ogaden region, and Greater Serbia|, a motivation for the Kosovo War.

Demographics are the make-up of a country. Some countries have a very young population, such as Zambia, while others have a large elderly population, such as Sweden. Some countries are made up nearly entirely of one ethnic group speaking a single language, such as Iceland, while others are a melting pot of dozens or hundreds of ethnic groups, such as many of the equatorial African contries like the Republic of the Congo.

Demographic conflict has long been a source of strife on the diverse continent of Africa. In South Africa, for example, a white minority long controlled a huge black majority (Apartheid), eventually straining relations with countries like the United States, which imposed an embargo as a result.
Ethnically diverse states such as most of the Sub-Saharan African countries were created from European colonies in the region, which had no basis in rational geographic or cultural boundaries. As a result, many of the earliest leaders in these countries pursued as a high priority the formation of a national identity; this occurred in nations across Africa, including Zambia and Sudan. In the rush to create a distinctive culture, minorities and dissenters were often marginalized or oppressed, leading to revolutions and civil strife..

Politics can occur within a single country or among countries. Activities involving the internal political landscape of a country can have an affect on national interests and foreign relations through the election or installment of leaders who enact foreign policy, while laws passed by a particular country may have an affect on the economy of a different country.

Internal conflicts between political blocs of capitalists and socialists led to a polarization of international relations. Countries like the United States, France and Italy jockeyed for power with the Soviet Union and satellites in newly-independent countries across Africa, South America and Asia (see The Cold War).
Following the internationally divisive US-led occupation of Iraq in 2003, foreign countries around the world were forced to pay close attention to the American political landscape. Some, like Israel, were supportive of the conservative right, while others, like France, supported the liberal left.

More examples[edit]

Bolivia
Bolivia in its region.svg
Cause National interest Affected foreign relations
Geography
South American, landlocked mountainous region
Being landlocked means Bolivia transportation to and from ports in other countries in order to trade with non-contiguous countries Requires friendly relations with maritime neighbors like Peru and Chile
Natural Resources
Natural gas
Natural gas deposits can be highly profitable and a major boost for the national economy Conflict between Bolivia and countries that wish to exploit natural gas reserves, including Spain and the United Kingdom (see Bolivian Gas War
Climate
highly variable
Coca, though prohibited in most of the world, is a major cash crop from Bolivia, not least because prohibition raises the price quite a bit, and also because the plant is well-suited to Bolivia's landscape and weather; many farm crops are difficult to grow in Bolivia Coca production strains relations with countries like the United States, which seeks to end the practice of growing coca
Tuvalu
LocationTuvalu.png
Cause National interest Affected foreign relations
Geography
Pacific Islands
To prevent the sea level from rising Need to prevent global warming leads to strong support for anti-pollution measures encoded in international treaties; thus, allies include many other island nations in the Pacific Ocean, who share the same concern
Natural Resources
None of note
To keep foreign aid flowing Little or no national resources, Tuvalu must maitain friendly relations with industrialized countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United States; most profitable resource may be the .tv Top Level Domain
Climate
Tropical
Scarcity of fresh water resources Must develop systems of purifying water for consumption, and ally with countries like Japan that help build desalinization plants
Botswana
Botswana in its region.svg
Cause National interest Affected foreign relations
Geography
Landlocked Southern Africa
To maintain friendly relations with neighbors who have access to the sea Cultivates a close relationship with neighbor South Africa and works with the international [[wikipedia:en:South African Development Community|
Natural Resources
Diamonds
To keep diamond prices high by restricting supply Formation of partnerships with companies like wikipedia:en:De Beers and regional agreements with other diamond-producing countries like Namibia and South Africa
Climate
Semi-arid with occasional droughts
To maintain an adequate supply of freshwater Tension with Namibia over the construction of the en:Okavango hydroelectric dam on en:Popa Falls