2016 has been a very interesting year with stories and events that will have ramifications on our everyday lives and the world for years to come. 2016 could be seen as a bad year for liberalism following events in the West particularly the United Kingdom and United States with the dissatisfaction of the political elite forcing the masses to throw a brick. So here are my top five international stories of the year.
5.) The Colombian Peace Deal
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in creating a peace deal with the FARC Rebels. Colombia has been affected by the conflict between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels that has gone on for decades. In June, FARC signed a ceasefire with President Santos in Havana, Cuba building an end to the conflict. In August, after four years, a peace deal was finally made and was put to a referendum but lost by less than 0.3%. A new peace deal was made and signed by the Colombian Congress. The story is heartfelt with a country trying to ensure peace after decades of conflict and the effects from the war on drugs.
4.) Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte has been an enigmatic figure ever since he became President of the Philippines in June. Duterte was a controversial figure when he was Major of Davao City. His election win was a shock to many and continued his promise on killing suspected drug dealers and users. As of now, over 6,000 people have been killed in Duterte’s drug war. Despite huge criticism from the international community, he has an approval rating of over 80%. His foreign policy is also a shift as the Philippines is one of the US allies in the South-East Asia Region but with Duterte reaching out more to China, it may mean more tensions with the South China Sea and relations between the US and China. Duterte is changing the Philippines and doesn’t give a damn what you think.
3.) The Rise of Bernie Sanders
If there’s anyone who made a big influence in the US election cycle aside from Trump, it was Bernie Sanders. Sanders was largely unknown despite being a long term US Senator from the state of Vermont. His campaign for the Democratic nomination surprised many from getting a virtual tie in the Iowa primaries to winning Michigan after being polled 20 points down. Despite losing the nomination to Hillary Clinton, his campaign brought a new lease of life gaining support from young people, the working class, and minorities. Despite being challenged by the Democratic Party from the Obama side, Sanders is one we will be seeing around in years to come with support from millions.
Brexit was a word that came true. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union shocked many and saw a divide within the United Kingdom that maybe unable to be fixed. A bitter campaign driven by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, the Brexit vote leaves the United Kingdom in uncertainty. From being one 0f the best politicians of his age, David Cameron opted to resign from his position, making way for Theresa May to lead the process that’ll impact Europe and the global economy at large. It also gives a bitter blow to the concept of an united Europe with France and the Netherlands planning their referendums if the far-right parties win their elections with a majority. A united Europe could be a distant memory in the future.
1.) The US Election and the Rise of Trump
Time named Trump their Person of the Year with the text ‘President of the Divided States of America’. Trump’s shocking win underlined the divisions in the United States at the moment with protests erupting across the country when Trump was announced the winner. There are many reasons to why Trump won ranging from a broken candidate in Hillary Clinton to the wave of populism etc. With the Obama administration coming to an end, Trump will make a lot of changes that will affect America and the world all together. How the Democrats can oppose I don’t know but this shouldn’t be a new normal. With the wave of populism spreading across the West, the far-right have had the edge with their message of non political correctness and anti-establishment. Trump will be the most powerful man in earth. How he uses it is the question.