The 10 Most Significant World Events in 2016

Supporters of the peace deal signed between the government and the FARC rebels gather at Bolivar Square during a parade for peace in Bogota, Colombia, on October 20, 2016. Stories began appearing midway through 2016 asking whether it was the worst year ever. It wasn ’ t. It ’ south wasn ’ t even the worst year in the end half hundred. ( try 1968. Or 1974. Or 1979. ) But 2016 surely experienced its partake of significant earth events. here are my circus tent 10. You may want to read what follows close. respective of these stories will continue into 2017. Colombia Strikes a Peace Deal If at beginning you don ’ t succeed, find another way to get the job done. colombian President Juan Santos took this advice to heart. He beginning won election back in 2010 while promising to continue Colombia ’ s 50-year-old battle against the Marxist guerrilla group, the FARC. Once in position he changed his take care. Years of peace talks ultimately culminated with the announcement on August 25, 2016 : The two sides had agreed on six negotiating points, and a national referendum would be held to approve the deal. Santos ’ south harbinger, Álvaro Uribe, led critics who assailed the deal for its lenience toward the FARC. Polls predicted that the “ yes ” vote would carry easily.

But Colombians voted down the deal. Santos, who was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the agreement, proceeded to hammer out a newfangled deal. Unveiled on November 24, 2016, it toughened some of the provisions on FARC members. But the biggest exchange was dropping the requirement for a home referendum. With no need for the public to vote, the colombian Congress approved the cope a week late. Colombians now hope the share works ; the conflict with the FARC has killed about a quarter million people. Brazil and South Korea Impeach Their Presidents Pro tip for democratically elected politicians : debar scandals. brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and south korean President Park Geun-hye both missed that memo. Rousseff thought that 2016 would be a year of political gloat as Brazil prepared to host the Olympics for the first time. rather, an underperform economy and a massive scandal at Petrobras, the state of matter vegetable oil company she once headed, helped drive her approval denounce down to 13 percentage. Rousseff was not implicated in the Petrobras scandal itself. alternatively, her opponents charged her with cooking the books in 2014 to hide Brazil ’ s growing fiscal deficits and ensure her reelection. In August, the brazilian Congress sent her packing. In South Korea, Park came under ardor in October when news broke that a longtime supporter had used their friendship to influence government decisions and extort money from korean companies. Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans hit the streets to demand Park ’ s impeachment. In December, the confederacy korean National Assembly acted on the people ’ south wishes. She is immediately suspended from the presidency while South Korea ’ s Constitutional Court reviews the National Assembly ’ s decisiveness. The jury is calm out on whether and how fast Brazil and South Korea will respond to their political turbulence. The stakes are high. Brazil and South Korea are the ninth- and 11th-largest economies in the world, respectively, and South Korea sits across a major geopolitical fault telephone line. Eastern Aleppo Falls What begins with promise can end in tragedy. When Syrians revolted in March 2011, it looked for a meter that Bashar al-Assad would be swept from might. His Alawite-dominated government initially lost considerable territory to rebel groups. But by ordering the use of barbaric tactics that included chemical weapons and barrel bombs, Assad finally managed to stem the losses. With Russia ’ south steer intervention in the conflict in September 2015, syrian forces went on the unsavory. In June 2016, they launched a massive operation to capture rebel-held territory in eastern Aleppo, once Syria ’ s largest city. A September armistice brokered by Russia and the United States collapsed about immediately. Despite gut-wrenching photos and videos, Syria and Russia declined to end their assault on the city. meanwhile, neither the United States nor any other state compelled them to stop the “ worst human-centered calamity in a generation. ” On December 15, a cope was struck allowing the remaining rebel forces—along with many residents—to evacuate the city. Aleppo ’ s hang does not end the syrian civil war, which has killed angstrom many as half a million people and forced another 11 million people from their homes. much of the easterly separate of Syria remains in rebel hands. even as Aleppo fell, the Islamic State recaptured the historic city of Palmyra from syrian and russian troops. The tragedy continues. The Coup in Turkey Fails social media can be a herculean cock. Case in point : the July 15 coup attack in Turkey. Around midnight local time, a faction of turkish troops moved to overthrow the increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in orderliness, they said, to “ reinstate constitutional order. ” The coup d’etat that about no one saw coming looked to be succeeding at first. Erdogan, who was vacationing at the seaside township of Marmaris, was nowhere to be found. suddenly, he appeared on television receiver screens across the state. Using the FaceTime app on an iPhone, he called on his fellow citizens to turn back the coup. Turks responded. Thousands took to the streets, and by good morning military forces loyal to the government had regained control. Erdogan blamed Fethullah Gülen, a former political ally living in self-exile in Pennsylvania, for the coup, and demanded his extradition. Washington declined to grant the request in the absence of authoritative tell, angering Ankara, and fueling conspiracy theories that the United States encouraged the coup d’etat, straining U.S.-Turkish relations. rear at home, Erdogan launched a massive purge of suspect “ Gulenists ” that subsequently spread to target politics critics of any stripe. More than 100,000 officials have been arrested or fired, an align of media outlets have been closed or punished, and outstanding Kurdish politicians have been arrested. Erdogan emerged from the coup d’etat far stronger politically. Turkey ’ s democracy emerged far weaker. Rodrigo Duterte Becomes President of the Philippines foreign policy rarely shapes elections, but elections surely shape foreign policy. Rodrigo Duterte won the Philippines presidency in May with 39 percentage of the vote, and quickly changed how Manila does occupation. A man of bluster and bravado with a potent anti-american streak, he distanced the Philippines from Washington, even though the U.S. is a nation that Filipinos overwhelmingly like and that has a treaty of alliance with the Philippines. In Tagalog, Duterte called President Barack Obama a “ son of a whore, ” announced he would seek a “ separation ” from the United States, and said that U.S. troops must leave the Philippines within two years. The main beneficiary of Duterte ’ s anti-Americanism has been China, a country that many Filipinos dislike. After an international court rejected China ’ s sweeping claims to the South China Sea in a much-anticipated legal case initiated by the Philippines, Duterte said the rule would “ take the back seat ” as he sought Beijing ’ s privilege. Duterte has so far to take any irrevocable steps, sol possibly he is playing the two powers off each other. While the vigilante campaign he has encouraged against drug addicts and traffickers hasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate hurt his popularity at home, it co
uld be a major thorn in U.S.-Philippines relations. The campaign, which has killed at least 4,000 people, has been condemned internationally. ( Duterte claims that he once killed criminals “ personally ” when he was mayor of Davao. ) Should Duterte realign Manila ’ randomness foreign policy, it will remake East Asia ’ s geopolitical landscape. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Flops

It can be a agile ride from the penthouse to the outhouse. The Trans-Pacific Partnership ( TPP ) began in 2016 with considerable flourish. The deal, which took seven years to negotiate, was the largest regional trade deal in history and a cornerstone of the Obama government ’ s rebalance to Asia. But the deal came under fierce attack from both democratic and republican presidential candidates. The Obama administration held out hope that Congress might pass the TPP in a lame-duck session of Congress. But Donald Trump ’ s election torpedoed what had likely been desirous thinking all along. The 11 countries that joined with the United States to sign the TPP are now forget scrambling to figure out what to do following. many foreign policy experts say the large winners in the wake of TPP ’ s demise are not american workers but China, which now gets a changeable at writing the rules that will govern trade in the most dynamic region in the global economy. The tied bigger danger is that trade liberalization, which the United States spearheaded and which helped drive growth around the ball, may now be in retrograde, with unanticipated consequences for countries around the global. North Korea Conducts Missile and Nuclear Tests What do you do when you kick the can down the road and then run out of road ? That ’ s a interview the United States could soon be facing. For more than two decades, Washington has pressed Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program. But North Korea continues to forge ahead. In January, it conducted its fourthly nuclear test since 2006, and followed that up with a series of ballistic missile tests. then on September 9, it conducted its fifth nuclear test, producing an explosive give of 10 kilotons, the highest recorded so far. contrary to Pyongyang ’ sulfur claims, North Korea probably hasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate mastered the technology needed to build a hydrogen turkey. It is besides likely several years aside from being able to mate a nuclear bomb with a projectile adequate to of reaching the United States with a high gear probability. however, North Korea can already strike Japan and South Korea. In July, Washington and Seoul agreed to deploy the THAAD advanced missile defense organization in South Korea. Washington besides worked with Beijing on a tougher UN Security Council resolution that capped exports of north korean coal, the state ’ s independent source of hard currency. But so army for the liberation of rwanda Pyongyang hasn ’ t changed its tune. As a result, President Obama has reportedly told President-elect Trump that North Korea should be the top precedence for his administration. Britain Votes to Leave the European Union Treat poll results with a grain of salt. That ’ s one of the lessons of Britain ’ s June referendum on leaving the EU. Polls ( and the dissipated markets ) all showed a constrict victory for “ Remain. ” rather, Britons voted 52 to 48 percentage for “ Leave. ” The vote highlighted Britain ’ sulfur fundamental divisions : Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to Remain, as did younger, more educated, and more urban voters, while England, Wales, and older, less educated, and rural voters opted for Leave. The vote ended the political career of Prime Minister David Cameron, who called for the referendum in the first station. Theresa May, a member of the Remain camp, emerged from the resulting scrum within the Conservative Party to become Britain ’ s new prime minister. She immediately made clear that “ Brexit means Brexit. ” But that is easier said than done. The british government is split over what terms it should ask for in its divorce from the EU. If a November court govern stands, the british fantan will have to vote to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and thereby formally start the march of leaving the EU. May says she wants to do that by March, but the Dutch, French, and german governments all stand for election in 2017. They likely won ’ t decide on what they will be will to offer Britain until after their voters have spoken. sol have a bun in the oven respective more chapters in the “ Brexit ” saga, with the likely for a few surprise plot twists—and Scotland ’ s potential deviation from the United Kingdom.     Russia Interferes in the U.S. Presidential Election The Internet was supposed to improve the quality of american democracy. It may be our Achilles heel. The U.S. intelligence community agrees that russian operatives hacked electronic mail systems belonging to the democratic National Committee ( DNC ) and John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton ’ s campaign. They then passed along what they stole to WikiLeaks to release. The hack was carried out by groups nicknamed “ Cozy Bear ” and “ Fancy Bear, ” both of which appear to work for the GRU, Russia ’ s intelligence agency. The FBI notified a low-level DNC compress employee working on technical school digest about hacking activeness in September 2015. The contractor did little with the information, and the FBI made little campaign to get the attention of any more-senior officials at the DNC. WikiLeaks first began releasing the thousands of pilfer emails in July 2016. They revealed embarrassing communications among Clinton aides, potentially hurting her with voters. In October, U.S. officials publicly blamed the russian politics. The initial charge was that Russia was trying to create convulsion in the election and thereby damage american english democracy. however, news leaked recently that the CIA had concluded with “ high gear confidence ” that Russia had acted to help elect Trump and that russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorized the process. The FBI subsequently concurred with that decision. Trump dismissed claims that Russia acted to help him as “ farcical, ” and asked why the hack wasn ’ metric ton “ brought up before [ the ] election. ” ( It was. ) Obama ordered an probe and vowed “ to take carry through ” against Russia. congressional leaders are calling for an investigation but disagree on who should conduct it. Stay tuned. This story is likely to be with us for a while. Donald Trump Wins the U.S. Presidency Donald Trump got the final laugh. From the moment he announced his long-shot presidential bid on June 16, 2015, political experts dismissed his chances. But on November 8, Americans elected him the 45th president of the united states of the United States. He immediately belongs to a choose group : he is one of precisely five presidents to win the function while losing the popular vote. He is besides the first president of the united states with no anterior experience either in politics or in the U.S. military. Candidate Trump vowed to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico bound, threatened to tear up major U.S. barter agreements, questioned the utility of America ’ sulfur alliances, and generally denounced U.S. extraneous policy as it has been practiced by both parties over the past three decades. Friends and foes alike now wonder what this “ America First ” foreign policy will look like in practice. Great-power politics could see the biggest changes ; Trump promises a tougher line with China and a softer line with Russia. His efforts on the latter score could set off infighting within Republican ranks, particularly in t
he wake island of the CIA ’ south decision that the Kremlin worked to help him win the presidency. In all, the odds are good that President Trump ’ mho alien policy decisions will dominate the news in 2017, and possibly redefine America ’ sulfur relations with the populace. Other Stories of Note in 2016 In January, Iran severed diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia after the Saudis executed Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr. In February, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill met in Cuba, the first gear fourth dimension the heads of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches sat down together in about 1,000 years. South Africa, Gambia, and Burundi announced that they intend to withdraw from the International Criminal Court. Terrorists launched major attacks in Nice, Belgium, Pakistan, and Orlando. South Sudan ’ s civil war intensified. The release of the Panama Papers in April exposed how some affluent people hide their money offshore. The Zika virus emerged as a major ball-shaped health threat. In October, Iraqi forces, aided by Kurdish troops and guided by U.S. Special Forces, launched an offense to reclaim Mosul. Matteo Renzi, who burst onto the political scene back in 2014 as Italy ’ sulfur youngest choice minister, resigned in December after voters decisively rejected his plan to revamp Italy ’ s political organization. The lapp weekend italian voters went to the polls, austrian voters chose Green Party candidate Alexander van five hundred Bellen rather than Freedom Party campaigner Norbert Hofer as their next president, thereby saving Austria from the stigma of becoming the first european nation since World War II to make a reactionary candidate head of state. 2016 will probably go down in the books as the hottest class on phonograph record —at least until adjacent class.

Bardia Vaseghi and Jonathan Levitt assisted in the preparation of this mail. This post appears courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations .

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