Catching Up on World News


Nakul Suresh, Contributor

Rife with chaos, the dawn of the new decade brought significant change with it. From the impeachment of our president, to a variety of protests, to diplomatic tensions, people around the world were exerting their voices.

Starting from home, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. In other words, President Trump was accused of withholding military aid from Ukraine if their government did not comply with investigating Joe Biden’s scandal. Despite no compelling evidence of breaking the law, the Democrats put on a show in the Capitol. Unsurprisingly, the vote stayed largely along party lines; all Republican representatives voted ‘No’ and almost all Democratic representatives voted ‘Yes.’

In a peculiar political move, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to expeditiously pass the impeachment papers to the Senate. This prevented the Senate from holding the impeachment trial. Eventually, Speaker Pelosi ended up passing along the impeachment papers right before the Iowa Democratic Caucus. A potential conspiracy is that the Speaker purposefully made this decision to prevent anti-establishment senators like Bernie Sanders from crucial campaigning time in Iowa, since he would be occupied with the impeachment trial. Regardless of any conspiracy, what’s certain is that the impeachment only increased divisiveness in our government.

Moreover, the mindset of changing those in power was not unique to the United States. In fact, protests have ensued in Chile since October 2019 as a result of a rise in the cost of living. More specifically, residents of Santiago, the capital of Chile, were protesting the increase in public transport fares. Citizens of Chile were sick of the income inequality in their country and demanded the impeachment of their president, Sebastián Piñera. However, the impeachment process against President Piñera was not successful because on December 12, 2019, Chile’s Chamber of Deputies acquitted the President.

As protests continue in Chile, the Iraqi people continue to fight for a better quality of life as well. Iraq is a nation in a very unfortunate circumstance, as it is used as a proxy for other powers to exert their influence. In addition to the catastrophic war in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, the country has had 16 years of corruption, unemployment and a lack of public services. The frustration of the Iraqi people reached its limit in October 2019, as they organized a rebellion, which continues into 2020 despite violence used against protesters. The sentiment of the Iraqi people shows they want a leader that is not part of the establishment and not influenced by Iran.

Besides the Iraqi people’s resentment towards their own government, American led airstrikes caused uproars too. The rage spilled into Iran when a missile strike successfully killed Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani near the Baghdad International Airport. As a result, the Supreme Leader of Iran declared three days of mourning due to the severity of the casualty. Soleimani was one of the most powerful political figures in Iran, only second to Supreme Leader Khamenei. Qasem Soleimani was the leader of the Quds force, specialized in Iranian military intelligence operations. Consequently, Soleimani was notorious for committing numerous crimes like suppressing the Iraqi people’s protests and collaboration in chemical attacks targeting Syrians.

Assassinating a political figure with the stature of Soleimani was bound to trigger a retaliation. Apart from hateful rhetoric spewed toward America by the Iranian regime, Iran began Operation Martyr Soleimani, launching ballistic missiles at several US Military facilities in Iraq. While no casualties were caused by those retaliatory attacks, an Iranian anti-aircraft missile accidentally shot down a Ukrainian commercial plane killing 176 civilians. The tensions between the United States and Iran were at a boiling point as several people expected World War III to erupt. More recently, we’ve been lucky the tensions have calmed.

All in all, this new decade unquestionably began with a bang. However, a new generation of leadership is now old enough to take power and hopefully steer the rest of the decade toward more peace and prosperity.