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A Year in Review

The New Year is approaching fast, so I thought it would be fun to compile a quick list of the biggest international events of 2016. Some time in the beginning of next year I hope to re-look at each event on how they could affect policy in the coming year.

Attempted Coup in Turkey This has given Erdogan a reason to crack down on dissent. This “purge” has resulted in officials, military leaders, critics and journalists finding themselves in prison cells or without a job.

Rodrigo Duterte Becomes President of the Philippines A leader with an anti-America side to him, the new President has strained the US-Philippine relationship by – among other things – calling for US troops to leave the nation within the next two years.

TPP Fails to Materialise The trade deal suffered heavily under the presidential election, with both mainstream candidates coming out against it. Trump’s win signalled the final blow to the deal, which many experts believe shows the shift from the US to China who now have the upper hand in “writing the rules” for a region with emerging and growing economies.

Britain Votes to Exit the EU Defying polls and betting sites, the close vote to leave the EU was the first proper populist uprising in Europe, and more have followed since. Brexit, which eventually resulted in David Cameron’s resignation, has dominated the headlines even after the vote, with controversies ranging from which body should trigger Article 50 to revelations about whether the Queen backed Brexit.

Russia Interferes in the US Presidential Election Hackers working for the Russian intelligence establishment were accused by the US intelligence community of hacking the DNC and leaking the findings to WikiLeaks in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s electoral chances. Congressional leaders are unsure who should investigate the hacking, and this story will undoubtedly last long into next year.

Trump Becomes the President-elect Following Brexit, Trump’s victory wasn’t surprising in hindsight. Property mogul-turned-statesman, Trump has fended off a fair share of controversy in the last few months and the transition of power in January next year is unlikely to be a smooth one.

With a lack of clear policy direction, the global community waits on the side-lines, unsure of America’s next move.

Columbia Negotiates a Peace Deal with Guerrillas Following a negotiation with Marxist guerrillas FARC, President Santos put a peace deal to a referendum in order to end the 50-year civil war that had plagued his country. Despite losing the referendum, Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts and the deal has since been revised to bypass the referendum stage. The Columbian Congress has since approved the deal to bring to an end the conflict through which almost 250,000 people have perished.

The Presidents of Brazil and South Korea are Impeached Presidents Rousseff and Park Geun-hye where embroiled in scandal that eventually led to their impeachment. Nobody is quite sure what will happen next in both countries. With Brazil and South Korea having the ninth and eleventh largest economies, respectively, and South Korea being of huge strategic importance to the US in the region, it is important that both nations emerge quickly and strongly from their upheavals.

Aleppo Falls Plagued by bombing and starvation, the suffering of the Syrians in Aleppo has dominated the news, especially in the last few weeks of the campaign by Syrian government forces to take back the city from rebels. At the same time, however, IS re-took the historic city of Palmyra from Russian and Syrian troops. The conflict which has killed as many as half a million people and displaced 11 million from their homes rages on and will undoubtedly define 2017 as well.