As we get ready to bid adieu to 2018, an eventful year marked by trials, tribulations and triumphs, it is time to look back at some of the major developments that shaped the year. As yet another year goes by, it is time to reflect and see whether the world is getting better or worse. […]
As we get ready to bid adieu to 2018, an eventful year marked by trials, tribulations and triumphs, it is time to look back at some of the major developments that shaped the year.
As yet another year goes by, it is time to reflect and see whether the world is getting better or worse. Optimists would tell you that the world is certainly becoming a better place. But, there is a section of people who believe that the world has taken a turn for the worse.
Their misgivings aren’t completely unfounded. Looking at the world today and how certain countries are acting as ‘globocops’, bullying and intimidating other countries through interventionism, intrusiveness, and imperialism, it can be argued that our world still isn’t a better place to live in.
It was another year for the American industrial-military complex to advance their hegemony around the world and for the megalomaniac U.S. president to prove why he is such a loathed world figure today.
The year 2018 started with Donald Trump launching a tirade against former U.S. ally Pakistan with a hyperbolic tweet, which raised eyebrows in Islamabad and led to fractures in the U.S.-Pakistan ties.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help,” Trump tweeted.
It was followed by suspension of security aid to Pakistan, from $255 million to whopping $900 million before culminating in $3 billion. The sequence of events that led to the decline and fall of this relationship began on the first day of this year. Despite the latest overtures, the divorce is final.
Another interesting development that happened in the beginning of this year was the sensational Twitter battle between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Trump.
Kim warned that the U.S. was “within the range of our nuclear strike and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office.” That didn’t go down well with mandarins in Washington and the president himself. He responded in his characteristic way, boasting he had a bigger nuclear button than Kim.
A few months later, he held a summit with his Korean counterpart and famously told a crowd of his supporters that he had “fallen in love” with the North Korean leader. A perfect match it was.
Ironically, a year later, North Korea’s nuclear program is still thriving and Trump’s handshake and love letters have failed to dissuade North Koreans from building a robust nuclear arsenal.
Known for his loud-mouthed, thoughtless utterances, Trump made many controversial and provocative remarks throughout the year. He called some African nations “shithole countries”, which backfired in a way he wouldn’t have imagined.
Trump used the vulgarity to describe Haiti during a meeting on immigration. However, veteran journalist Bob Woodward in his recent book ‘Fear: Trump in the White House’ writes that Trump has used the term many times, including during his 2016 campaign in Little Haiti.
This year, the U.S. president also blasted G7 leaders in Canada, insulted leaders of European Union and announced an unprecedented trade war with China. He threatened to impose heavy tariffs on Chinese imports to force Beijing into renegotiating its trade balance with the U.S.
However, the old man forgot that the U.S. will be a loser as big companies like Walmart import billions of dollars of cheap goods from China. The war is still going on and there is no sign of truce.
The year’s most important strategic event, though, was Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran – a decision that shocked the world and exposed the hypocrisy of the U.S. As Financial Times noted, Trump “isolated America from the rest of the West by quitting the Iran deal”.
The brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was one of the biggest stories of this year. And the way Trump deemed “credible” Saudi explanation that the journalist died in a fistfight was preposterous. He even denied a U.S. intelligence conclusion that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly involved in the killing.
This year, Trump not only engaged in blatant war-mongering and saber-rattling, but he also crushed the values of universal human rights, violated press freedom, and supported dictators accused of horrendous war crimes.
Yet he had the audacity to stand up in the United Nations and claim that his administration had “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” The titters from the world leaders sitting in the hall was a perfect response to his grandiloquence and pomposity.
As Guardian editorial on Thursday noted, Trump’s increasingly “erratic belligerency” is not simply a display of his unsuitability for the presidency. “It is the behavior of a president who sees the threats facing him and whose instability is such that he may try to pull the temple down with him.”
Bloomberg, reviewing his performance this year, said the damage Trump has wreaked on the U.S. role in the world is “only beginning to manifest itself”, adding that the year saw a “staggering number of countries misruled by the worst crop of world leaders in recent memory”, with Trump topping the list.
New York Times said 2018 has been a year of “perpetual motion” for Trump, who has “presided over near constant turmoil as he has increasingly relied on his own instincts”.
The year ends where it began, with resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria and Afghanistan and the much-publicized government shutdown.
The latest poll by Reuters/Ipsos showed that 47 percent of adult Americans held Trump responsible for the government shutdown, which officially began at midnight on December 22.
The year ahead doesn’t promise much change with people like Trump presiding over a devilish empire, announcing open war against the world, barring Israel and Saudi Arabia. Because petrodollars matter and the powerful Jewish lobby in the U.S. matters too.