With 2017 having come to a close and 2018 quickly ramping up, it seems to be a great time to look back on the stories that made the most waves in 2017. For many, 2017 was a turbulent year full of both great excitement and shocking revelations. The world as a whole seems to have a very different attitude going into 2018 than it did going into 2017.
Two stories, nearly inseparable in subject, however, seem to have grasped the collective attention of the world in 2017 and their developments continue even into this year. So, without further ado, let’s explore these two stories in depth both to reflect and learn on last year and to prepare for the coming year.
The First Year of Trump
Even for those of us who do not live in the United States, the first year of the Trump Presidency has been anything but stable. Everything from Donald Trump’s bombastic and brash television appearances to his surprisingly personal Twitter antics has had repercussions on the global level, and these are some of the less impactful portions of Trump’s first year in the office of the American Presidency.
While some pieces of this story are merely odd and silly, like Trump’s unintentional coining of the word “covfefe,” other parts represent concerning and controversial occurrences that have set the world alight with intense debate.
Trump’s first year in office has been characterised by numerous changes to cabinet staff and continual conflict with portions of the media that Trump has argued is united against him. Over the course of 2017, Trump’s conflicts with media representatives and journalists have steadily increased in intensity, perhaps culminating with his ongoing disagreement with former Chief-of-Staff Steve Bannon.
Bannon was the last person many would have pegged for a disagreement with Trump; after all, Bannon’s history with far right-wing media network Breitbart has long been controversial, with many arguing that his statements, such as his advocacy for a Christian “Church Militant,” made him unfit for a position in the President’s cabinet.
Over the course of 2017, Trump went through multiple Communications Directors and Press Secretaries, all of which were known for their argumentativeness with an increasingly frustrated press. His secretaries had the shortest terms of any since the 1970s, barring Jake Siewert who became press secretary near the end of Former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s last year in office.
Trump’s relationship with the press has often been compared to that of his two predecessors, Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
While Obama was known for his active command of his public image, his terms in office were not without substantial criticism from media sources, including months of questions concerning a conspiracy about the legitimacy of his citizenship that is kept alive to this day despite overwhelming evidence debunking the claims. Obama’s interaction with the media never reached such conflict.
Former President George W. Bush’s relationship with the media was unfortunately shaky, with a number of PR blunders leading to extensive criticism. However, despite Bush being largely regarded as a less capable President with regard to the media than either his predecessor Bill Clinton or his successor Barack Obama, Bush never had the sort of at-odds approach that the Trump administration currently has.
In addition to this very public conflict with the press, Trump’s first year of presidency has also featured a number of open disputes with other world leaders, in personality if not in policy. Ranging from volleyed insults bouncing back and forth to legitimate threats (sometimes issued via Twitter,) the Trump Presidency has kept the world fixated on itself seemingly by any means necessary, for better or worse.
The Mueller Investigation
Of all of the stories coming out of the Trump Presidency one has proven to be particularly intense: The Special Counsel Investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Election.
Led by Former Director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller, this investigation was initiated following the revelation of evidence that Russian agents may have tainted the results of the 2016 election of Donald Trump.
The ongoing development of the investigation has had the eyes of the world locked on it not only because it would be clear evidence of election manipulation by one of the historically most politically heavy-handed nations involved in the United Nations, but also because of the Trump Administration’s aggressive behavior in response.
Conflicts between the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Britain, the United States, China, Russia, and France) has always been concerning on a global scale, but this level of potential conflict between Russia and the United States has not been seen since the closure of the Cold War.
With Russia and the United States being nations of literal world-destroying nuclear power, the results of the investigation are understandably crucial to many citizens of the world.
Political theorists have mused on the possibility that, following increasing aggression from the Trump Admin, Trump will begin to attempt to disassemble the Special Council Investigation by firing Robert Mueller.
In recent months, President Trump himself has made unprecedented direct attacks on the FBI that are bringing back memories of U.S. President Nixon – famous for his impeachment and removal from office.
With the “Mueller Investigation” continuing into 2018, we are now seeing the possibility of the U.S. President himself coming under questioning, which adds even more tension to the already delicate situation.
With such turbulence in political spheres, one would not be blamed for feeling anxious about the future or for being distracted from many other subjects.
However, with the turn of a new year comes a new horizon, and many people from all over the world are coming together to express a fighting spirit – one that is undeniably inspiring hope for a future of peace for the many nations of Earth.