As the year 2017 came to the closure, one couldn’t help but notice the deep wounds that it left on the face of this world. Among those one can mention the never-ending horror of the Syrian war, conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Ukraine, that are claiming thousands of innocent civilians, while affecting elder people, women and children the most. The victims of these conflicts won’t live to see the peaceful future tomorrow, if there’s one after all that killing.
The bloody terror of the radical militants of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group, banned in all the states of the civilized world, followed by despicable acts of Jabhat al-Nusra and other radical militants that are trying to establish their rule over the Middle East, Europe, and even America has left thousands of deceased men and women. Over the course of the year we’ve witnessed terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Las Vegas, St. Petersburg, London, Pakistan, Afghanistan, not to mention countless acts of violence in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Against this backdrop one has to praise the highly successful actions of anti-terror operations that resulted in the destruction of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which represents a worthy response to the threat that Islamist radicals represent.
One has to remember the Catalan strive for obtaining independence from Spain, as well over 90% of the population of Catalonia voted for their right for self-determination at the referendum that was held last October.
But last year won’t be remembered by Europeans due to the above mentioned facts alone. For instance, the parliamentary elections in Germany, even though they secured a victory for the Merkel government, has nevertheless shown the ever growing weariness of the German population of the sitting Chancellor as every second German is now supporting the idea of Angela Merkel’s premature resignation.
Last year was not easy for Teresa May either, as the Brexit negotiations proved to be a highly puzzling an expensive business. It’s been noted that the turnaround in May’s ratings has been unprecedented plunging from a historic high at the start of the campaign to a historic low.
In France, a rather young politician Emmanuel Macron is now occupying the beautiful Elysee Palace. He’s trying trying to provide his country with a worthy future, while trying to return Paris on the political map of Europe, in spite of the fact that French economy still has achieved anything even modestly spectacular yet.
As for the extraordinary parliamentary elections held in Austria last October, they’ve shown the biggest swing to the far right of the political spectrum since the Second World War, which is disturbing.
The European Union is now trying to build its army in order to somehow decrease its military dependence on the United States. As Paris and Berlin are discussing the plan of establishing the United States of Europe, where those two will be calling all of the shots while leaving Eastern European states behind, those who was foolish enough to genuinely believe in the so-called European family are now left with two choices: they can return to the Russian sphere of influence or try to take an even more Russophobic stance in a bid to somehow please Washington.
Indeed, it’s been a hard year for Europe, as the Kiev regime, while enjoying Washington’s direct support, would try to transform Russophobia in one of the international political trends by constantly accusing it of fraternal bloodshed in the east of the country, while murdering its own population in the east of the country in cold blood.
Yet, both the Nord Stream 2 and South Stream pipelines are being constructed in spite all of the attempts to put an end to those massive infrastructural projects made by Washington.
Yet, most people will be remembering last year as the year of Donald Trump. He began his political journey last year and the results of this road trip has been so far disastrous. Since March the FBI has been looking for evidence of Russia’s interference in presidential elections in a bid to somehow establish President Trump’s connections with Moscow. Moscow refutes all charges, but the investigation has already resulted in resignations of a number of the Trump administration members. But then the watchdog agency was forced to admit that it failed to find any traces that could prove the allegations of Russia’s collusion with Trump’s headquarters. This scandal along with frankly unprofessional actions of the sitting US President and his team has resulted in Trump’s rating plummeting both inside the country and abroad. According to a poll conducted by Marist Poll, Trump can become the worst leaders in American history, as 42% of US citizens believe that he is. He has even managed to beat his previously established anti-record, when “only” 32% of Americans believed him to be that bad previously, according to the Pew Research Center.
There was a number of reasons for the abrupt drop in Trump’s ratings. For instance, the fact that Washington exchanged threats with the now nuclear-capable North Korea all through the year wasn’t of much help in advancing Trump’s vision. But perhaps the most powerful factor in the growth of Trump’s anti-ratings was his ill-considered statement about the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which resulted in the UN General Assembly expressing its condemnation of Donald Trump’s step, while ignoring his attempts to use financial blackmail to somehow affect the vote.
But there’s been a couple of bright leaders who tried to change the world for the better last year and those are Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. Putin would describe the role Russian military forces played in the victory over terrorism in Syria, as significant, while skillfully reaping the fruits of Moscow’s highly productive policies, both within Russia and beyond its borders. Although Donald Trump would try to steal the fruits of victory over ISIS, it’s hardly a secret for anyone at this point who has actually broken the skull of this morbid beast. The world is also aware who managed to save the legitimate Syrian government, and with it the whole of the Middle East that was risking to witness the spread of the so-called Arab Spring fever. Don’t let yourself be misguided by official statements of Western politicians, as the world is watching those events closely and it will transform everything that happens in Syria in a part of its military-political planning, as every state has to choose its partners and guarantors of their own sovereignty. The Russian-Turkish-Iranian coalition, whose interests are objectively spread not only to the narrow zone of the Syrian conflict, but also to the North and West Africa and the Indian Ocean, worked smoothly and effectively, although there’s been certain bumps along the road. That’s why even The Washington Post called Putin’s recent visit to the Middle East, “the victorious tour of Vladimir Putin.” The adjusted policy of Putin in 2017 brought him even greater credibility not only in the Middle East, but also on other continents. Therefore, Putin’s decision to nominate himself for the forthcoming presidential elections in 2018 was positively received by both the absolute majority of Russian citizens, and foreign players as well.
As for Xi Jinping, it’s been noted that he hailed a “new era” of Chinese prosperity and global power. China, he said, would transform itself into a “mighty force” in the world. “It will be an era that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind,” Xi said. The potentially negative implications of these “contributions” for postwar American strategic dominance of the Asia-Pacific region, and western influence and interests in Africa and Latin America, were painfully obvious.
In the Far East, the Russian-Chinese partnership is getting ever stronger against the background of the increasing US pressure. Beijing and Moscow are closely coordinating their actions in resolving the crisis over Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs. The Russian and Chinese fleets actively restrain American naval power in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. China, for its part, has begun to advance into the Indian Ocean, which in the not so distant future can become the absolute zone of a strengthening and expanding Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The perspective role of this organization in smoothing existing and future contradictions between the states of Eurasia can not be overestimated.
Yes, the results of 2017 vary from one country to another. But today everyone, recalling the results of the past year, should draw a lesson from the miscalculations of the previous year and multiply their efforts to achieve the ultimate goal for all political forces – peace and prosperity for all the inhabitants of our planet.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”