The controversial results of the November 2000 presidential election highlighted the difficulties of the American people in finding a new leader worthy of his task. Republican GW Bush was elected, with a minimum margin of votes on the Democratic candidate, son of former President G. Bush senior; numerous disputes and appeals extended the verification phases of the ballot in states, such as in Florida, where the results appeared uncertain. Furthermore, the election of Congress, with an undefined majority, seemed to increase a general climate of internal distrust. The first year of the Bush presidency was characterized by a new process of recession in the US economy, by a lesser diplomatic commitment by the president on the Middle East front and by intense talks at the international level for the realization of the space shield. On September 11, 2001, the United States was devastated by a very serious terrorist attack that caused the death of thousands of civilians and numerous soldiers: Pentagon. The tragedy resulting from this terrorist act and the noted ineffectiveness of US control mechanisms forced President Bush to review plans and strategies to ensure national security. Having identified the material perpetrators of the attacks and recognized these as Muslims affiliated with the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, all the suspects centered on the Saudi billionaire Osama Bin Laden, leader of this extremist formation of a fundamentalist matrix and already instigator, in 1993, of the attack on the World Trade Center and, in the late nineties, of various criminal actions against US embassies and military ships.
A capillary operation of war on terrorism of Islamic origin was thus prepared, with the collaboration of all Western and non-Western countries and moderate Muslim states. According to Areacodesexplorer, evidence collected against Saudi billionaire and denied by the Taliban his extradition from the Afghan territory, where he took refuge, Bush on 7 October 2001 together with his ally Great Britain, after having obtained the unconditional adhesion of the NATO countries, the logistical support of Russia and especially Pakistan and Uzbekistan, and the consensus of Muslim countries such as Egypt, Jordan and even the Palestinian leader ‘Arafāt and the Libyan head of state Gaddafi, attacked the military targets of the Taliban and Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, overthrowing the Afghan regime without being able to capture Osama Bin Laden. The conflict ended with the defeat of the Taliban regime and the establishment of a new government in Kabul. On the domestic front, Bush’s growing popularity was confirmed by the November 2002 elections (in the middle of the presidential term), which saw the clear success of the Republican Party, which managed to win an absolute majority in Congress. During 2002 another serious international crisis matured, that with the Iraqi regime of Saddam Ḥusayn, accused by the Bush administration of not having eliminated weapons of mass destruction as foreseen by the agreements following the previous 1991 war. The United States thus pushed the UN Security Council to vote on a new resolution, 1441, in which Iraq was ordered to disarm under penalty of serious consequences. A very difficult phase thus began which saw Iraq collaborating, albeit at alternating phases, with the UN inspectors in charge of verifying disarmament, and the international community, in particular the permanent members of the Security Council, divided on the judgment on the inspections and on the same interpretation of the resolution.
The split at the UN deepened in March 2003, when after a series of unsuccessful attempts to persuade the member countries of the Security Council to vote a second resolution, containing an ultimatum to Saddam Ḥusayn, and having vetoed France on this second resolution, Bush, after a summit in the Azores with Great Brittany and Spain, on March 20, 2003, gave the order to attack Iraq. After a military campaign lasting a month and a half, during which the main Iraqi cities were conquered and Saddam’s regime overthrown, on May 1, 2003 the American president declared the war operations concluded. In the following months, the American army tried to bring the situation back to normal, a mission which however proved to be particularly complex and which also entailed a high cost in terms of human lives. The war in Iraq and the fight against terrorism killed much of the debate even during the campaign for the appointment of the president of the United States. In November 2004, GW Bush, who had re-nominated for the Republican ranks, was re-elected by beating the Democratic candidate John Kerry. In September 2005 a hurricane hit the Gulf of Mexico causing extensive damage; the most serious situation was recorded in New Orleans, which was completely invaded by water. To counter the phenomenon of illegal entry from Mexico, in September 2006 the disputed construction of a wall of over 1200 km along the southern border of the country was approved by the Senate. In November of the same year, the mid-term elections were held for the renewal of the Chamber and Senate, in which the Democratic Party won. As a result of the electoral defeat, Bush replaced the secretary of defense, held responsible for the problems in Iraq. In July 2008 it started in Guantanamo the first trial against Al Qaeda leaders imprisoned in the security prison created at the US base in Cuba after the 2001 events. defaults in the repayment of subprime loans (to high-risk creditors). Some specialized banks have been forced into bankruptcy, including Lehman Brothers (September 2008), but the technique of incorporating such loans into sophisticated, widely circulated financial instruments has transferred the crisis internationally. The Federal Reserve it has been forced to intervene, while the government has allocated 700 billion dollars to help the banks in difficulty and to stabilize the financial markets. In November 2008, after an election campaign that saw Republican John McCain, senator from Arizona on one side and Democrat Barack Obama, a young senator from Illinois, on the other, the American people voted for a clear change, electing for the first time in the history of the country an African-American candidate. On 15 November, the G20 finance ministers (G8, EU and developing countries) met in Washington to discuss the international financial crisis.
In January 2009, after his inauguration in the White House, President Obama announced a plan to reduce the country’s energy dependence and to combat emissions of polluting gases; it also announced the closure of the Guantanamo prison within the year. Hillary Clinton became the new Secretary of State. In 2009, the presidents of the United States and Russia signed a new treaty in Moscow that provided for the reduction of the nuclear arsenal, effectively replacing the 1991 Salt I treaty. After five years of vacancy and a diplomatic break between Syria and the United States, in February 2010, President Obama appointed a new ambassador. In December of the same year the Senate approved a reform of the health system wanted by the presidential staff; after a series of political obstacles and strong criticisms expressed by part of the public opinion, this reform was definitively approved by the chamber in March 2010. The following month in Prague Obama and Russian President Medvedev signed the START 2 agreement for the reduction of nuclear weapons. In November, in the mid-term elections, Republicans captured the House of Representatives and strengthened their presence in the Senate, a defeat for President Obama’s policy. With 4000 soldiers killed and very high economic costs, at the end of December 2011 the military presence in Iraq, which began in 2003 with the second Gulf War, ended. Obama faced a very difficult economic situation in the two-year period 2011-2012 and in this context he promoted a more expansive policy, even if inhibited by the high levels of the deficit and public debt. In November 2012 Obama won the elections against the Republican Mitt Romney, starting a second term that was not easy, with a politically divided congress and a federal budget in the red. In 2014 Obama signed a bilateral agreement with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; in 2015 it established a nuclear deal with Iran; while in 2016 he restarted diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, interrupted by 1961, and signed an important climate agreement in Paris. The presidential elections of November 2016 saw the victory of the tycoon Donald Trump, exponent of the Republican party, and the defeat of the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump’s policy is characterized by the containment of immigration, the revision of Obama’s health reform and a protectionist economic policy. After some tensions with North Korea, the meeting in June 2018 with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un led to an agreement for the denuclearization of North Korea. In 2019, the United States imposed a tightening of tariffs on China and re-established sanctions on Iran. In June 2019, Trump announced his candidacy for a new term.