USA. The aftermath of the 2016 election campaign looked like a new Watergate during the year, but not yet. Like the Watergate scandal, which prompted President Richard Nixon to resign in 1974, the White House’s involvement in contacts with the Russian Federation 2016 is an intricate story full of dimples. Above all: what were the Russian contacts? Did the Russians hack Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email (which Donald Trump urged them to do during the 2016 election campaign) and was the election itself subjected to a Russian hacker attack? What were the sanctions against the Russian Federation? A breakthrough, a recognition, was needed to advance the issue. Perhaps it came in December when President Donald Trump’s fired security adviser Michael Flynn admitted that he had lied about his contacts with the Russian Federation,
Donald Trump sworn in as the nation’s 45th president on January 20. In his installation speech, the president said that power would now be shifted from Washington to the people. According to Countryaah.com, the question is whether this was so. Throughout the year, Trump was reminded of the game in the corridors of power, such as who was the culprit (if any at all) to the secret contacts with the Russian Federation. A number of names were deleted: security adviser Michael Flynn (who resigned in February), Justice Minister Jeff Sessions, Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort (who was fired before the 2016 election), Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, son Donald Trump junior and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who in October, he admitted that he had lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian Federation. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller had a lot to stand on, But the question is not whether Michael Flynn’s recognition in December meant a breakthrough. However, the question remains – how involved is Trump himself and why did he kick FBI Chief James Comey in early May? Senate hearings with Comey and Sessions in June did not make anyone wiser. However, it became a bit wiser when Homeland Security (Ministry of Home Security) announced in June that it was concluded that Russian hackers were behind an attack on 21 states during the November 2016 election. But who favored this attack did not show up.
The game in the corridors of power also applied to the entry ban on citizens (refugees) in the Muslim countries of Iran, Iraq (initially), Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. The entry ban, introduced January 28 through a presidential order, was supposed to be valid for 120 days. But several federal judges stopped the ban and a tough court process took place. Meanwhile, new rules for flying to the United States were introduced. Electronic equipment larger than mobile phones (tablets and computers) was banned in the cabin. This time it applied to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. On June 29, the Supreme Court approved the Trump entry ban; this was confirmed by the court later in early December and would apply to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Chad and Yemen.
Despite several setbacks and unfulfilled election promises, President Trump managed to enforce a new tax reform towards the end of the year, which would, among other things, lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21% and reduce the maximum income tax from 39.6 to 37%. The reform also scraps a key part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Tearing up Obamacare was one of Trump’s election promises. Another was to tear up and renegotiate the free trade agreements. Already during the winter he tore up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for a number of Asian countries. This agreement had not yet come into force, so it did not mean any dramatic changes. A more important agreement is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), where negotiations began during the year with Canada and Mexico. At the end of the year, however, the agreement was still in force.
In December, the United States decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As noted by Abbreviationfinder, the US embassy will therefore be relocated there from Tel Aviv. The decision provoked anger around the world, and the UN General Assembly decided to vote on a UN Security Council proposal to annul and repeal all decisions on the status of Jerusalem.
President Trump had no good relationship with the press. His statements on “fake news” and staff members’ statements on “alternative facts” made the White House and press secretary Sean Spicer’s meetings with the press corps of strange events. It went so far that in February, Trump banned several media from these meetings, including CNN and the New York Times. The same month, 58% of Americans said they were ashamed of their president, according to the Washington Post.
A number of fatalities occurred during the year, but as usual it did not affect the country’s gun laws. In January, five people were killed at Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida. At the end of May, eight people in Lincoln County, Mississippi, died in a mass shooting of a suicidal 35-year-old man. On October 2, a 64-year-old man killed 58 people in connection with an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. The perpetrator was at a nearby hotel, from where he fired hundreds of shots at the crowd. On November 5, 26 people were killed when a perpetrator opened fire in a Baptist church south of San Antonio, Texas. But there was also violence against dissent. In connection with protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, around a controversial move by a statue depicting Southern States General Robert E. Lee killed a 32-year-old woman when a car struck those protesting an ongoing white power demonstration. Donald Trump faced criticism for a statement that both sides were equally guilty of the violence. In late October, a smaller truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists in southern Manhattan. The event is believed to be inspired by the Islamic State (IS); eight people died.
The US also got its fair share of natural disasters. At the end of August, the storm hit Harvey, especially Texas, with winds exceeding 55 feet per second. The number of deaths was estimated at about 60 in early October, including older people due to powerlessness. After Harvey, Irma came in early September with average winds of 50 meters per second in Florida. However, preparedness was good in the state, and the number of dead was few. The final note for this year’s hurricane season ended up at the equivalent of SEK 1,600 billion, according to disaster economists. It is thus the most expensive hurricane season in the country’s history.
California was hit on two occasions by extensive forest fires. First in the northern part of the state north of San Francisco, where nearly 100,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes in mid-October. The Napa Valley and Sonoma wine districts were hit hard. About 9,000 homes and buildings were destroyed and some 40 victims were killed. In December, it was time again, this time in the Los Angeles area, where a quarter of a million had to evacuate their homes. By mid-December, the severe fires in California had destroyed over 100,000 acres of land and burned over 1,000 buildings, including 750 homes. The fire, which was named Thomas, was ranked as the third most extensive in the state and has so far cost the community over $ 100 million.
Iran and Syria
Another state in deep economic trouble was Iran after several years of Western sanctions. Therefore, in August 2013, Iran began sending signals to the United States that it wanted to enter into agreements on the Iranian nuclear program against the imposition of sanctions. In November 2013, an agreement was reached between Iran on the one hand and the US and other colonial states on the other. The agreements will mean that over half a year Iran will set uranium enrichment at more than 1/10 of what is required for weapons, and that the West should at the same time begin to lift the sanctions. The deal was a paradigm shift in America’s traditionally hostile attitude toward Iran (and vice versa), but at the same time, it was a deal that completely crossed the US’s traditional fundamentalist allies in the Middle East in Israel and the Arabian Peninsula. Israel threatened to carry out bombing of Iran on its own. Israel also tried to use its veto power against US politics by mobilizing AIPAC and its proselytes in the United States Congress to tighten sanctions on Iran.
In August 2013, warlords in Syria used poison gas against the civilian population of Damascus. An attack that cost at least 800 lives. The US declared after a few days that it would carry out a military operation targeting Assad in Damascus, but that it would have the UN backing first. Only 2 countries in the world were completely indifferent to the UN and would bomb immediately: Denmark and France. In Britain, the Liberal Conservative government came into the minority in the House of Commons, as it would not immediately allow British troops to take part in a North American war adventure. From the beginning, it was clear that Russia and China would veto the UN Security Council against a new Western bombing adventure against an Arab country. Instead, Syria and Russia suggested that Syria could scrap its poison gases under international control. Despite reports that the opposition had used poison gas, it would at least provide assurances that the Assad government would not use poison gas. The US accepted the proposal, adopted an underlying UN Security Council resolution and the decommissioning started in October. The United States had avoided plunging into a new military conflict, at the same time that the state administration stalled because the debt ceiling had been reached.
In August 2013, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch jointly accused the United States of committing war crimes by continuing its drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
As revenge for Russia for several years curbing the United States in removing President Assad from power in Syria, from December 2013, the United States and Israel supported the armed uprising on the Maidan Square in Kiev against the elected President Viktor Yanukovych. The perspective was finally to shake Ukraine free from Russia’s sphere of influence. The United States therefore led – closely followed by the EU – with ever tougher sanctions on Russia as Ukraine’s neighbor began to respond to the coup d’état in the neighboring country and the threats to the large Russian minority in Ukraine. US building an enemy image around Russia had another obvious purpose. The US was withdrawing itself and NATO out of Afghanistan, and therefore needed to create a new enemy that could legitimize the gigantic consumption of the US military-industrial complex. At the end of the year, the United States gave its full support to, that Saudi Arabia drastically boosted oil production, thereby pushing the global oil price. This would unequivocally hit some of America’s biggest enemies: Russia, Iran and Venezuela, all heavily dependent on oil exports.