2010s in political history

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List of years in politics and government
In science
In United States politics and government

2010s political history refers to significant political and societal historical events of the 2010s, presented as a historical overview in narrative format.

Global issues[edit]

Climate change[edit]

In December 2019, the World Meteorological Organization released its annual climate report revealing that climate impacts are worsening.[1] They found the global sea temperatures are rising as well as land temperatures worldwide. 2019 is the last year in a decade that is the warmest on record.[2] The 2010s were the hottest decade in recorded history, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 2016 was the hottest year and 2019 was the second hottest.[3]

Global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2019, even though the rate of increase slowed somewhat, according to a report from Global Carbon Project.[4]

World banking[edit]

Concerns increased about the European Debt Crisis as both Greece and Italy continued to have high levels of public debt. This caused concerned about stability of the Euro. In December 2019, the EU announced that banking ministers from EU member nations had failed to reach agreement over proposed banking reforms and systemic change.[5][6] The EU was concerned about high rates of debt in France, Italy and Spain.[7] Italy objected to proposed new debt bailout rules that were proposed to be added to the European Stability Mechanism.[8]

In the first half of 2019, global debt levels reached a record high of $250 trillion, led by the US and China.[9] The IMF warned about corporate debt.[9] The European Central Bank raised concerns as well.[10]

World trade[edit]

United States-China trade dispute[edit]

A trade dispute between the US and China caused economic concerns worldwide. In December 2019, various US officials said a trade deal was likely before a proposed round of new tariffs took effect on December 15, 2019.[11] US tariffs had a negative effect on China's economy, which slowed to growth of 6%.[11]

United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement[edit]

The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement[12] is a signed but not ratified free trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The Agreement is the result of a 2017–2018 renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by its member states.[13] Negotiations "focused largely on auto exports, steel and aluminum tariffs, and the dairy, egg, and poultry markets." One provision "prevents any party from passing laws that restrict the cross-border flow of data".[14] Compared to NAFTA, USMCA increases environmental and labour regulations, and incentivizes more domestic production of cars and trucks.[15] The agreement also provides updated intellectual property protections, gives the United States more access to Canada's dairy market, imposes a quota for Canadian and Mexican automotive production, and increases the duty free limit for Canadians who buy U.S. goods online from $20 to $150.[16]

Regional politics[edit]



Presidential elections were held in Burundi on June 28, 2010. As a result of withdrawals and alleged fraud and intimidation, incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza was the only candidate. In early March 2010, the run-up to the election was described as "explosive" due to a combination of demobilized former combatants and violence between youth activists in the ruling CNDD-FDD and opposition FRODEBU.[17] On June 1, 2010, five opposition candidates, including Agathon Rwasa, who was considered the strongest contender, withdrew from the elections, alleging that the government intended to rig it.[18] Parliamentary elections were held in Burundi on July 23, 2010.[19][20] The opposition parties boycotted the election after also boycotting the presidential election.[21]

On April 25, 2015, the incumbent President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, announced he would run for a third term in the 2015 presidential election. The announcement sparked protests by those opposed to Nkurunziza seeking a third term in office.[22] Widespread demonstrations in the then-capital, Bujumbura, lasted for over three weeks. As a result of the protests, the government also shut down the country's Internet and telephone network, closed all of the country's universities, and publicly referred to the protesters as "terrorists". Tens of thousands of people fled the country, hundreds of people were arrested, and several protesters and police were killed.

On May 13, 2015, a coup d'état was attempted, led by Major General Godefroid Niyombare, while President Nkurunziza was in Tanzania attending an emergency conference about the situation in the country. By the next day the coup collapsed and government forces reasserted control. At least 240 people were killed over the next few months, and on December 11, 87 people were killed in attacks on state targets. Violence continued through 2017.[23]


The 2016–17 Cameroonian protests began on October 6, 2016 as a sit-down strike initiated by the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), an organization consisting of lawyer and teacher trade unions from the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. The strike was led by Barrister Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba, and Tassang Wilfred.[24] Within two weeks, more than 100 activists had reportedly been arrested. Six were reported dead. Unconfirmed videos released over social media depicted a variety of violent scenes, including demonstrators "parading the dead body of an activist, barricades set ablaze, [and] police brutally beating protesters and firing tear gas against the crowds".[25][26]

In September 2017, separatists in the Anglophone territories of Northwest Region and Southwest Region (collectively known as Southern Cameroons) declared the independence of Ambazonia and began fighting against the Government of Cameroon.[27] Starting as a low-scale insurgency, the conflict spread to most parts of the Anglophone regions within a year.[28] By the summer of 2019, the government controlled the major cities and parts of the countryside, while the separatists held parts of the countryside and regularly appeared in the major cities.[29] The war has killed approximately 3,000 people[30] and forced more than half a million people to flee their homes.[29] Although 2019 saw the first known instance of dialogue between Cameroon and the separatists,[31] as well as a state-organized national dialogue and the granting of a special status to the Anglophone regions,[32] the war continued to intensify in late 2019.[33] Internal divisions among the separatists since the 2019 Ambazonian leadership crisis has complicated the situation.[34]

Central African Republic[edit]

In the Central African Republic Bush War (2004–2007), the government of President François Bozizé fought with rebels until a peace agreement in 2007. The Central African Republic Civil War arose when a new coalition of varied rebel groups, known as Séléka,[35] accused the government of failing to abide by the peace agreements[36] and captured many towns at the end of 2012. The capital was seized by the rebels in March 2013,[37] Bozizé fled the country,[38] and the rebel leader Michel Djotodia declared himself president.[39] Renewed fighting began between Séléka and militias called anti-balaka.[40] In September 2013, President Djotodia disbanded the Séléka coalition, which had lost its unity after taking power, and in January 2014, Djotodia resigned.[41][42] He was replaced by Catherine Samba-Panza,[43] but the conflict continued.[44] In July 2014, ex-Séléka factions and anti-balaka representatives signed a ceasefire agreement in Brazzaville.[45] By the end of 2014, the country was de facto partitioned with the anti-Balaka controlling the south and west, from which most Muslims had evacuated, and ex-Seleka groups controlling the north and east.[46]

By 2015, there was little government control outside of the capital, Bangui.[47] The dissolution of Seleka led to ex-Seleka fighters forming new militia that often fight each other.[47] The rebel leader Noureddine Adam declared the autonomous Republic of Logone on December 14, 2015.[48] In February 2016, after a peaceful election, the former Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Touadéra was elected president. In Western CAR, another rebel group, with no known links to Seleka or Antibalaka, called Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation (3R) formed in 2015 reportedly by self-proclaimed[49] general Sidiki Abass, claiming to be protecting Muslim Fulani people from an Antibalaka militia led by Abbas Rafal.[49][50] By 2017, more than 14 armed groups vied for territory, notably four factions formed by ex-Séléka leaders who control about 60% of the country's territory.[51] With the de facto partition of the country between ex-Séléka militias in the north and east and Antibalaka militias in the south and west, hostilities between both sides decreased[52] but sporadic fighting continued.[53][54]

Côte d'Ivoire[edit]

Presidential elections were held in Ivory Coast in 2010. The first round was held on October 31,[55] and a second round, in which President Laurent Gbagbo faced opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, was held on November 28, 2010. After northern candidate Alassane Ouattara was declared the victor of the 2010 Ivorian presidential election by the country's Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), the President of the Constitutional Council – an ally of Gbagbo – declared the results to be invalid and that Gbagbo was the winner.[56] Both Gbagbo and Ouattara claimed victory and took the presidential oath of office.[57]

After the disputed election, sporadic outbreaks of violence took place, particularly in Abidjan, where supporters of Ouattara clashed repeatedly with government forces and militias. Gbagbo's forces were said to be responsible for a campaign of assassinations, beatings and abductions directed against Ouattara's supporters. The Second Ivorian Civil War broke out in March 2011 when the crisis in Ivory Coast escalated into full-scale military conflict as Ouattara's forces seized control of most of the country with the help of the UN, with Gbagbo entrenched in Abidjan, the country's largest city. Overall casualties of the war were estimated around 3000.

The UN and French forces took military action, with the stated objective to protect their forces and civilians. Gbagbo was arrested April 11, 2011 by pro-Ouattara forces, who were supported by French troops.[58] Gbagbo was then extradited to The Hague in November 2011, where he was charged with four counts of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court in connection with the post-election violence.[59][60]

Presidential elections were held in Ivory Coast on October 25, 2015. President Alassane Ouattara stood again to seek a second term.[61] Opposition party Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) called for a boycott of the elections in protest against the trial of former President Laurent Gbagbo by the International Criminal Court.[62] But others felt the party needed to remain engaged in the electoral process.[63] The vote was relatively peaceful, compared to the unrest that marred previous elections, although voter turnout was down to 54.6%.[64] Outtara avoided a second round vote and won a second term in office after garnering 83.7%, in a landslide victory over his nearest rival Affi N'Guessan on 9.3%.[65]

Democratic Republic of the Congo[edit]

The 2011 Democratic Republic of the Congo coup d'état attempt was a failed coup attempt against President Joseph Kabila on February 27, 2011. General elections were held in Democratic Republic of the Congo on November 28, 2011.[66][67] The government passed laws to abolish the second round of the presidential election, which was strongly criticized by the opposition.[68][69]

In April 2012, former National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) soldiers mutinied against the DRC government and the peacekeeping contingent of the MONUSCO. Mutineers formed a rebel group called the March 23 Movement (M23), allegedly sponsored by the government of the neighbouring states of Rwanda and Uganda. On November 20, 2012, M23 rebels took control of Goma, a North Kivu provincial capital with a population of one million people.[70] By the end of November that year, the conflict had forced more than 140,000 people to flee their homes.[71] On November 7, 2013, following significant defeats to a UN-backed government offensive, M23 troops crossed into Uganda and surrendered.

On January 17, 2015, the Congolese National Assembly (the country's lower house) voted to revise the electoral law in the country's constitution. The new law that would allow Kabila, to remain in power until a national census could be conducted. Elections had been planned for 2016 and a census would be a massive undertaking that would likely take several years for the developing country.[72][73] On January 19, 2015, protests led by students at the University of Kinshasa broke out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. By January 21, clashes between police and protesters had claimed at least 42 lives.[72]

On December 20, 2016 Kabila, announced that he would not leave office despite the end of his constitutional term. Protests subsequently broke out across the country. The protests were met with the government's blocking of social media,[74] and violence from security forces which left dozens dead. On December 23 an agreement was proposed between the main opposition group and the Kabila led-government under which the latter agreed not to alter the constitution and to leave office before the end of 2017.

General elections were held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on December 30, 2018, to determine a successor to President Kabila,[75] Félix Tshisekedi (UDPS) won with 38.6% of the vote, defeating another opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, backed by the ruling party PPRD. Fayulu alleged that the vote was rigged against him in a deal made by Tshisekedi and outgoing President Kabila, challenging the result in the DRC's Constitutional Court. Different election observers, including those from the country's Roman Catholic Church, also cast doubt on the official result. Parties supporting President Kabila won the majority of seats in the National Assembly.[76] Félix Tshisekedi was sworn in as the 5th President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on January 24, 2019.[77]


The Egyptian parliamentary elections of 2010 first voting round was held in Egypt on November 28, 2010[78][79][80] and the second round was held on December 5, 2010.[81][82] Human rights groups said this was the "most fraudulent poll ever" in Egypt's history.[83] It is considered to have been a factor in the Egyptian Revolution that started on January 25, 2011 and spread across Egypt. Millions of protesters from a range of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Violent clashes between security forces and protesters resulted in at least 846 people killed and over 6,000 injured.[84][85] Protesters retaliated by burning over 90 police stations across the country.[86]

On February 11, 2011, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak resigned as president, turning power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).[87] The military junta, headed by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, announced on February 13 that the constitution was suspended and the military would govern until elections could be held. The previous cabinet, including Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, would serve as a caretaker government until a new one was formed.[88]

A presidential election was held in two rounds, the first on May 23 and 24, 2012 and the second on June 16 and 17. Following the second round, with a voter turnout of 52%, on June 24, 2012, Egypt's election commission announced that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi had won Egypt's presidential elections by a narrow margin over Shafik.[89] A further constitutional referendum was held in two rounds on December 15 and 22, 2012.[90] Unofficial results reported on December 23, 2012 found that 32.9% of the electorate voted and that the constitution was approved with 63.8% of the vote in favor over the two rounds of polling.[91] During the campaign, supporters of the draft constitution argued that the constitution would provide stability. Most opponents argued that the constitution was too favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood, and did not grant sufficient minority rights. However, some extreme Salafists also opposed the constitution, arguing that it should have been based more closely on Sharia law.

On November 22, 2012, millions of protesters began protesting against Morsi,[92] after his government announced a temporary constitutional declaration that in effect granted the president unlimited powers.[93][94] Morsi deemed the decree necessary to protect the elected constituent assembly from a planned dissolution by judges appointed during the Mubarak era.[95] The demonstrations were organized by Egyptian opposition organizations and individuals, mainly liberals, leftists, secularists and Christians.[96][97] The demonstrations resulted in violent clashes between Morsi-supporters and the anti-Morsi protesters, with dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.[98]

The 2013 Egyptian coup d'état took place on July 3, 2013. Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a coalition to remove Morsi from power and suspended the Egyptian constitution of 2012 after the military's ultimatum for the government to "resolve its differences" with protesters during widespread national protests. The military arrested Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood leaders,[99] and declared Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court Adly Mansour as the interim president of Egypt. Ensuing protests in favour of Morsi were violently suppressed culminating with the dispersal and massacre of pro-Morsi sit-ins on August 14, 2013, amid ongoing unrest; journalists,[100] and several hundred protestors were killed by police and military force.

On March 26, 2014, in response to calls from supporters to run for presidency, Sisi retired from his military career, announcing that he would run as a candidate in the 2014 presidential election.[101] The election, held between May 26 and 28, featured one opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi,[102] saw 47% participation by eligible voters, and resulted in Sisi winning in a landslide victory with 97% of the vote.[102][103][104] Sisi was sworn into office as President of Egypt on June 8, 2014. In the undemocratic 2018 presidential election, Sisi faced only nominal opposition (a pro-government supporter, Moussa Mostafa Moussa) after the military arrest of Sami Anan and his enforced disappearance afterwards,[105][106][107][108] threats made to Ahmed Shafik with old corruption charges and an alleged sex tape,[109][110][111] and the withdrawal of Khaled Ali and Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat due to the overwhelming obstacles and violations made by the elections committee.[112][113][114]


The 2010 Eritrean–Ethiopian border skirmish was fought as part of the Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict between soldiers of the Eritrean and the Ethiopian armies at the border town of Zalambesa after Eritea claimed that Ethiopian forces crossed the border. The Ethiopian Government claimed Eritrea was trying to cover up an internal crisis by implicating Ethiopia.[115]

The 2013 Eritrean Army mutiny was mounted on January 21, 2013, when around 100-200 soldiers of the Eritrean Army in the capital city, Asmara seized the headquarters of the state broadcaster, EriTV, and allegedly broadcast a message demanding reforms and the release of political prisoners.[116][117] Opposition sources claimed it had been an abortive coup attempt.[118]

After the Battle of Tsorona in 2016, Ethiopia stated in 2018 that it would cede Badme to Eritrea. This led to the Eritrea–Ethiopia summit on July 9, 2018, where an agreement was signed which demarcated the border and agreed a resumption of diplomatic relations.[119][120]


In early 2013, protests against the government by those in the opposition who feared a rigged election left over 50 people dead. The opposition demanded that Waymark, a South African firm contracted to revise voter lists, be replaced because of allegedly inflated voter lists. It also said expatriate Guineans should be allowed to vote. On May 29, President Alpha Conde announced a judicial investigation into protests the prior week that killed at least 12 people.[121] He also replaced Interior Minister Mouramany Cisse with Guinean Ambassador to Senegal Madifing Diane.[122] Ethnic clashes continued in July leading to over 50 deaths. In September, a police officer was killed and 49 people injured in clashes in the capital Conakry.[123]

Legislative elections were held on September 28, 2013 after numerous delays and postponements.[124] President Alpha Condé's party, the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly with 53 of the 114 seats. Parties allied with the RDG won seven seats and opposition parties won the remaining 53 seats. Opposition leaders denounced the official results as fraudulent.


The Mali War, refers to armed conflicts that started from January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali. On January 16, 2012, several insurgent groups began fighting a campaign against the Malian government for independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali, an area of northern Mali they called Azawad. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an organization fighting to make this area of Mali an independent homeland for the Tuareg people, had taken control of the region by April 2012. The MNLA were initially backed by the Islamist group Ansar Dine. After the Malian military was driven from northern Mali, Ansar Dine and a number of smaller Islamist groups began imposing strict Sharia law, and the Tuareg group broke away from them. French Armed Forces and members of the African Union helped the government regain control of the area, and a peace agreement was signed in February 2015.[125]


The RENAMO insurgency was a guerrilla campaign by militants of the RENAMO party in Mozambique. The insurgency is widely considered to be an aftershock of the Mozambican Civil War; it resulted in renewed tensions between RENAMO and Mozambique's ruling FRELIMO coalition over charges of state corruption and the disputed results of 2014 general elections. A ceasefire was announced between the government and the rebels in September 2014. However, renewed tensions sparked violence in mid-2015. A peace agreement was signed on August 6, 2019.

Republic of the Congo[edit]
South Sudan[edit]

The South Sudanese Civil War broke out in 2013 after a disputed elected and an alleged coup d'état attempt.[126] An estimated 300,000 people have been killed in the fighting, and over 4 million have been displaced.[127] One hundred thousand people face starvation, and nearly 5 million face severe food shortages; the government declared a famine in 2017.[128] Several fruitless efforts to agree to a settlement were made in 2014. Fighting continued until a compromise peace agreement was signed in 2015,[129] but fighting broke out again in 2016.[130] The African Union deployed a 12,000 member peace force including soldiers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda, over the objections of President Salva Kiir.[131] However, fighting continued through 2017.[132]


The War in Darfur, (Sudan) began in 2003, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths, genocide,[133] and ethnic cleansing. An International Criminal Court investigation resulted in two warrants against President Omar al-Bashir and his eventual arrest.[134] The Doha Agreement was signed in 2011,[135] but little real progress was made a year later.[136] The war continued through 2016, including with allegations that the government had used mustard gas.[137]


Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea affects a number of countries in West Africa, including Benin, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as the wider international community. By 2011, it had become an issue of global concern. Pirates are often part of heavily armed criminal enterprises, who employ violent methods to steal oil cargo. In 2012, the International Maritime Bureau and other agencies reported that the number of vessels attacks by West African pirates had reached a world high, with 966 seafarers attacked and five killed during the year.[138]

Piracy off the coast of Somalia occurs in the Gulf of Aden, Guardafui Channel, Somali Sea, in Somali territorial waters and other areas. It was initially a threat to international fishing vessels, expanding to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War, around 2000. By December 2013, the US Office of Naval Intelligence reported that only nine vessels had been attacked during the year by the pirates, with no successful hijackings.[139] In March 2017, it was reported that pirates had seized an oil tanker that had set sail from Djibouti and was headed to Mogadishu. The ship and its crew were released with no ransom given after the pirate crew learned that the ship had been hired by Somali businessmen.[140]

War on Terror[edit]

The most prominent terrorist groups that are creating a terror impact in Africa include Boko Haram of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, and Al-Shabaab of Somalia.[141]

Boko Haram has carried out more than 3,416 terror events since 2009, leading to more than 36,000 fatalities. One of the better-known examples of Boko Haram's terror tactics was the 2014 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Borno State, Nigeria.[141] Boko Haram is believed to have links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb dating back to at least 2010. In 2015 the group expressed its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which ISIL accepted.[142]

Somalia's al-Shabaab and its Islamic extremism can be traced back to the mid-1970s when the group began as an underground movement opposing the repressive and corrupt regime of Siad Barre. Armed conflict between al-Shabaab and the Somali army – including associated human rights violations – has resulted in slightly over 68 million human displacements.[141] Al-Shabaab is hostile to Sufi traditions and has often clashed with the militant Sufi group Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a. The group has also been suspected of having links with Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram. Among their best-known attacks are the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2013 (resulting in 71 deaths and 200 injured) and the 14 October 2017 Mogadishu bombings that killed 587 and injured 316.[143] On September 1, 2014, a U.S. drone strike carried out as part of the broader mission killed al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.[144]

The Insurgency in the Maghreb refers to Islamist militant and terrorist activity in northern Africa since 2002, including Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, Morocco, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast, Libya, Western Sahara, and Burkina Faso, as well as having ties to Boko Haram in Nigeria. The conflict followed the conclusion of the Algerian Civil War as a militant group became al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Their tactics have included bombings; shootings; and kidnappings, particularly of foreign tourists. In addition to African units, the fight against the insurgency has been led primarily by the French Foreign Legion, although the U.S. also has over 1,300 troops in the region. Four American soldiers were killed in the October 4, 2017 Tongo Tongo ambush in Niger.[145]

Arab Spring[edit]

Health crisis[edit]

About 1.6 million Africans died of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV-related illnesses in 2015.[146] Poor health care, malnutrition, and Ebola are also serious problems.[127]

Over 25.5 million individuals infected with HIV/AIDS in 2015 were Africans. Most of these victims are middle-income or lower, and they depend on public health sources for treatment, but many medicines are unavailable due to cost, availability, and/or other factors such as transportation.[146] South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia have made progress in local pharmaceutical productions; Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania are currently developing production capacity.[146]

85% to 90% of malaria victims worldwide occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.[146]



Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and became the paramount leader of China on November 15, 2012. He immediately began an anti-corruption campaign, in which more than 100,000 individuals were indicted, including senior leader Zhou Yongkang.[147] There have been claims of political motives behind the campaign.[148] In 2018, he was effectively made a president for life.[149]

In Xi's foreign policy, China became more aggressive with its actions in the South China Sea dispute, by building artificial islands and militarizing existing reefs, beginning in 2012.[150] Another key part of its foreign policy has been the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a strategy adopted by China involving infrastructure development and investments in countries and organizations in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas.[151][152][153][154] China has signed cooperational documents on the belt and road initiative with 126 countries and 29 international organisations,[155] where various efforts then went ahead on infrastructure.[156]

In the end of the decade, concerns started to grow about the future of the Chinese economy.[157] These concerns included whether the United States and China could positively resolve their disputes over trade.[158][159]

Hong Kong[edit]

The 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) movement, is an ongoing series of demonstrations in Hong Kong triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government.[160] If enacted, the bill would have empowered local authorities to detain and extradite criminal fugitives who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong does not currently have extradition agreements, including Taiwan and mainland China. This led to concerns that the bill would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the jursidiction and legal system of mainland China, which would undermine the region's autonomy and Hong Kong people's civil liberties. As the protests progressed, the protesters laid out five key demands, which were the withdrawal of the bill, investigation into alleged police brutality and misconduct, the release of arrested protesters, a complete retraction of the official characterisation of the protests as "riots", and Chief Executive Carrie Lam's resignation along with the introduction of universal suffrage for election of the Legislative Council and the Chief Executive.[161] [162] [163] [164] [165] [166] [167] [168] [169] [170]


The decade started off with the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in power. UPA had won a majority in 2009 for a second term which was marred by corruption allegations. Taking advantage of the UPA's growing unpopularity, The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led by former Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi swept the polls in the 2014 general elections.

Riding high on the wave of nationalism in the wake of attacks claimed by Indian authorities to have been orchestrated by Pakistan the Modi government relied heavily on anti-Pakistan rhetoric in successive elections. In 2016, a hard line Hindu monk associated with the BJP was elected chief minister of India's largest state who in turn pursued a policy of changing names of places with Muslim names to Hindu ones.

The Indian government, during this time also massively increased its defense budget and enhanced defense ties with the United States and Israel. The relationship with Israel continued to bloom as Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish state.

Critics of the Modi government continued to level criticism at him for polarizing minorities, especially Muslims and changing the fabric of the Indian state by relentlessly pursuing the Hindutva ideology. In its second term in power, the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) became even more ideological in its pursuit of the Hindutva agenda. On August 5, 2019, the newly elected Indian government under a presidential order revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, thereby terminating the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and placed it under curfew. This move triggered widespread international condemnation and further aggravated relations with neighboring Pakistan. Later that year, the Supreme Court also delivered a verdict on the controversial Ram janam bhoomi case which called for a temple to be built on the disputed site while granting land to the Sunni Waqf Board for the establishment of a mosque elsewhere.

Middle East[edit]

Starting in 2010, Arab Spring led to major political upheaval across the region, leading to the violent repression of the Arab Winter. A Second Arab Spring started in the later part of the decade.


The 2019 Iranian protests are a series of civil protests occurring in multiple cities across Iran, initially from the 200% increase in fuel prices but later extended to an outcry against the current government in Iran and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[171][172][173] The protests commenced in the evening of November 15 and within hours spread to 21 cities as videos of the protest began to circulate online.[174][175][176] Images of the violent protests were shared on the internet with protests reaching international levels.[177]

Although the protests began as peaceful gatherings, government crackdowns prompted a revolt against the entire Iranian government.[178] The Iranian government employed lethal tactics in order to shut down the protests including a nationwide internet shutdown, shooting protesters dead from rooftops, helicopters, and at close range with machine gun fire.[179][180] Although there is currently no conclusive casualty count current estimates suspect the government killed well over 1,000 Iranian citizens.[181][182]

The government crack down prompted a violent reaction from protesters who destroyed 731 government banks including Iran's central bank, nine Islamic religious centers, tore down anti-American billboards, and posters and statues of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. 50 government military bases were also attacked by protesters. This series of protests have been categorized as the most violent and severe since the rise of Iran's Islamic Republic in 1979.[183][184][179]

To block the sharing of information regarding the protests and the deaths of hundreds of protesters on social media platforms, the government blocked the Internet nationwide, resulting in a near-total internet blackout of around six days.[185][186][187][188]


The 2019 Iraqi protests, also nicknamed the Tishreen Revolution[189] and 2019 Iraqi Intifada, are an ongoing series of protests that consisted of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and civil disobedience. They started on 1 October 2019, a date which was set by civil activists on social media, spreading over the central and southern provinces of Iraq, to protest 16 years of corruption, unemployment and inefficient public services, before they escalated into calls to overthrow the administration and to stop Iranian intervention in Iraq. The Iraqi government has been accused of using bullets, snipers, hot water and tear gas against protesters.[190] Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi announced on November 29 that he would resign.[191] According to the BBC, they call for the end of the political system which has existed since the US-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein and has been marked by sectarian divides.[192][193][194] It is the largest unrest since the Saddam Hussein government concluded.[195]

The UN Envoy for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, called for renewed efforts to restore civil balance and protections for free speech.[196][197]


Benjamin Netanyahu remained in the office of the Prime Minister throughout the decade, becoming the longest holder of the office. Under his watch, the Jewish settlement movement has grown and gained influence, with at least 2,000 new homes built on the Palestinian territories each year, leading to a declining possibility for a two-state solution in the Arab–Israeli conflict.[198] In 2014, there was a war in Gaza over Hamas rocket firings into Israeli cities, with a final death toll of 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israeli citizens.[199] The 2018–19 Gaza border protests demanded a right of return for those displaced from their homes during Israel's founding.[200] Israeli security forces responded by firing at the protesters, killing 60 in a single day.[201]

In foreign policy, Israel continued the proxy conflict against Iran, with Israeli involvement in the Syrian Civil War and 2019 Israeli airstrikes in Iraq.

In 2019, the country entered a political crisis following two hung parliaments and corruption charges against Netanyehu.[202] Both the April and September 2019 elections failed to produce a majority in the Knesset for either Netanyehu, or his challenger, Benny Gantz, a former general. In November, Netanyehu became the first sitting Israeli leader to be criminally prosecuted, with charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust spanning several cases.[203]


The 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria is a cross-border military operation conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Syrian National Army (SNA) against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and later the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northeastern Syria.

On October 6, 2019, the Trump administration ordered American troops to withdraw from northeastern Syria, where the United States had been supporting its Kurdish allies.[204] The military operation began on October 9, 2019 when the Turkish Air Force launched airstrikes on border towns.[205] The conflict resulted in the displacement of over 300,000 people and has caused the death of more than 70 civilians in Syria and 20 civilians in Turkey.[206][207]

According to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the operation is intended to expel the SDF—viewed as a terrorist organization by Turkey due to its ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but considered an ally against ISIL by the United States and its allies—from the border region as well as to create a 30 km-deep (20 mi) "safe zone" in Northern Syria where some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle.[208] As the proposed settlement zone is heavily Kurdish demographically, this intention has been criticized as an attempt to force drastic demographic change,[209][210][211] a criticism denied by Turkey by saying that it only intended to "correct" the demographics that Turkish officials stated were changed by the SDF.[211][212][213]

The Syrian government initially criticized the Kurdish forces for the Turkish offensive, for their separatism and not reconciling with the government, while at the same time also condemning the foreign invasion in Syrian territory.[214] However, a few days later, the SDF reached an agreement with the Syrian government, in which it would allow the Syrian Army to enter the SDF-held towns of Manbij and Kobanî in an attempt to defend the towns from the Turkish offensive.[215][216][217] Shortly thereafter, Syrian state broadcaster SANA announced that Syrian Army troops had started to deploy to the country's north.[218] Turkey and the SNA launched an offensive to capture Manbij on the same day.[219]

On October 22, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reached a deal to extend the ceasefire by 150 additional hours for SDF to move 30 kilometers away from the border area as well as from Tal Rifaat and Manbij. The terms of the deal also included joint Russian–Turkish patrols 10 kilometers into Syria from the border except in the city of Qamishli. The new ceasefire started at 12 pm local time on October 23.[220][221]

Although the main combat phase did end, post ceasefire operations are still ongoing.[222][223] As announced by Russia's Ministry of Defense on October 15, Russian forces have started to patrol the region along the line of contact between Turkish and Syrian forces,[224][225] indicating that Russia is filling the security vacuum from the sudden US withdrawal.[225][226][227] Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia's special envoy on Syria, warned that the Turkish offensive into Syria is unacceptable and stated that Russia is seeking to prevent conflict between Turkish and Syrian troops.[228]

The Turkish operation received mixed responses by the international community. Including condemnations[229] as well as support for the operation for the settlement of refugees in Northern Syria.[230][231][232] While originally acknowledging Turkey's "right to defend itself", on October 15, Russia hardened its position against the operation and deployed troops.[233][234] Ten European nations and Canada imposed an arms embargo on Turkey, while the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkish ministries and senior government officials in response to the offensive in Syria. Likewise, Trump's sudden pullout of US forces in Syria was also criticized by journalists as a "serious betrayal to the Kurds" as well as a "catastrophic blow to US credibility as an ally and Washington's standing on the world stage".[235][236][237][238] On November 19, the Defense Department inspector general released a report finding that the American withdrawal and subsequent Turkish incursion allowed ISIL to "reconstitute capabilities and resources within Syria and strengthen its ability to plan attacks abroad".[239]

Changes in Syria diplomatic situation[edit]

As a result of the Turkish incursion, multiple Kurdish groups that were once rivals have begun to seek greater unity. Additionally, Syrian Kurdish officials have had some positive discussions with the Assad government, and with local countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan.[240]

On the ground, Turkish areas of operations have been delineated by Russian mediators. Russian military officials forged agreements between Syria, Turkey and Kurds for areas to be patrolled by each side.[241] Russia handles security through its own forces deployed in some key towns.

The Assad government has forged agreements with some opposition groups to return to various local border areas.[240] The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reached agreement with the Assad regime for the Syrian Army to patrol several border areas. They also agreed on areas of deployment for Russian forces.[242] The first agreement between SDF and the Assad regime occurred in October 2019, directly as a result of the Turkish incursion.[243][244][245]

In general positive negotiations have increased between Syria and Turkey, and between Syria and Kurdish groups.[246]

On December 9, Russian troops entered Raqqa and began distributing humanitarian aid.[247][248][249]


Turkey spent the decade under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Under his leadership, Turkey engaged in a more active foreign policy, including military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.

In 2016, a coup attempt was launched against Erdogan, which failed. This led to extensive purges within the Turkish state in an effort to remove anti-Erdogan elements, claimed by the government to be connected to the preacher Fethullah Gülen and his Gülen movement.[250] Over 150,000 civil servants have lost their jobs as a result.[251]

Erdogan has been criticized for undermining Turkish democracy,[252] and for neo-Ottomanism.[253]


The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, is an intervention launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, leading a coalition of nine countries from West Asia and Africa, in response to calls from the internationally recognized pro-Saudi[254] president of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi for military support after he was ousted by the Houthi movement due to economic and political grievances, and fled to Saudi Arabia.[255]

Code-named Operation Decisive Storm, the intervention is said to be in compliance with Article 2(4) of the UN Charter by the international community;[256] but this has been contested by some academics.[257][258] The intervention initially consisted of a bombing campaign on Houthi rebels and later saw a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces into Yemen.[259] The Saudi-led coalition has attacked the positions of the Houthi militia, and loyalists of the former President of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, allegedly supported by Iran (see Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict).[260][255]

Fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Academi (formerly Blackwater) took part in the operation. Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia made their airspace, territorial waters, and military bases available to the coalition.[261] The United States provided intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots.[262][263] It also accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states[264] and continued strikes against AQAP. The US and Britain have deployed their military personnel in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, having access to lists of targets.[265][266][267]

The war has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on Yemen's humanitarian situation, that reached the level of a "humanitarian disaster"[268] or "humanitarian catastrophe".[269][270][271]

In 2019, the conflict's status was described as a "military stalemate for years".[272]

In April 2019, Trump vetoed a bipartisan bill which would have ended US support for the Saudi-led military intervention.[273] With 53 votes instead of the 67 needed, the United States Senate failed to override the veto.[274] The legal arguments and policies of the Obama administration were cited as justification for the veto.[275] The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Mulroy stated that US support was limited to side-by-side coaching to mitigate civilian casualties and if the measure had passed it would do nothing to help the people of Yemen and may only increase civilian deaths.[276] Mulroy supported the United Nation's peace talks and he pushed the international community to come together and chart a comprehensive way ahead for Yemen.[277][278][279] Writing in The Nation, Mohamad Bazzi argued that Mulroy's defence of US support as necessary to limit civilian casualties was false, and that "Saudi leaders and their allies have ignored American entreaties to minimize civilian casualties since the war's early days".[280]


European Union[edit]

In December 2019, the EU announced that banking ministers from EU member nations had failed to reach agreement over proposed banking reforms and systemic change.[5][6] The EU was concerned about high rates of debt in France, Italy and Spain.[7]


The 2017 French presidential election caused a radical shift in French politics, as the prevailing parties of The Republicans and Socialists failed to make it to the second round of voting, with far-right Marine Le Pen and political newcomer Emmanuel Macron instead facing each other.[281] Macron ended up winning both the presidency, as well as a legislative majority with his newfound party La République En Marche! In 2018–19, his leadership was challenged by the populist Yellow vests movement, which also rejected traditional parties.[282]


Logo of the Five Star Movement.

The 2013 Italian general election led to a major change in the country's political landscape, as the traditional center-right and center-left parties were challenged by the new Five Star Movement, a populist party led by comedian Beppe Grillo.[283] None of the three main alliances – the centre-right led by Silvio Berlusconi, the centre-left led by Pier Luigi Bersani and the Five Star Movement – won an outright majority in Parliament. After a failed attempt to form a government by Bersani, then-secretary of the Democratic Party (PD), and Giorgio Napolitano's re-election as President, Enrico Letta, Bersani's deputy, received the task of forming a grand coalition government. The Letta Cabinet consisted of the PD, Berlusconi's The People of Freedom (PdL), Civic Choice (SC), the Union of the Centre (UdC) and others.[284]

On 16 November 2013, Berlusconi launched a new party, Forza Italia (FI),[285] named after the defunct Forza Italia party (1994–2009). Additionally, Berlusconi announced that FI would be opposed to Letta's government, causing the split from the PdL/FI of a large group of deputies and senators led by Minister of Interior Angelino Alfano, who launched the alternative New Centre-Right (NCD) party and remained loyal to the government.[286]

Following the election of Matteo Renzi as Secretary of the PD in December 2013, there were persistent tensions culminating in Letta's resignation as Prime Minister in February 2014. Subsequently, Renzi formed a government based on the same coalition (including the NCD), but in a new fashion.[287] The new Prime Minister had a strong mandate from his party and was reinforced by the PD's strong showing in the 2014 European Parliament election[288] and the election of Sergio Mattarella, a fellow Democrat, as President in 2015. While in power, Renzi implemented several reforms, including a new electoral law (which would later be declared partially unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court), a relaxation of labour and employment laws (known as Jobs Act) with the intention of boosting economic growth, a thorough reform of the public administration, the simplification of the civil trial, the recognition of same-sex unions (not marriages) and the abolition of several minor taxes.[289][290]

As a result of the Libyan civil war, a major problem faced by Renzi was the high level of illegal immigration to Italy. During his tenure, there was an increase in the number of immigrants rescued at sea being brought to southern Italian ports, prompting criticism from the M5S, FI and Northern League (LN),[291][292] and causing a loss of popularity for Renzi.[293] However, well into 2016 opinion polls registered the PD's strength, as well as the growth of the M5S, the LN and Brothers of Italy (FdI), FI's decline, SC's virtual disappearance and the replacement of Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) with the Italian Left (SI).

In December 2016, a constitutional reform proposed by Renzi's government and duly approved by Parliament was rejected in a constitutional referendum (59% to 41%). Under the reform, the Senate would have been composed of 100 members: 95 regional representatives and five presidential appointees.[294][295][296] Following defeat, Renzi stepped down as Prime Minister and was replaced by his Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, another Democrat.[297]

In early 2017, in opposition to Renzi's policies, some left-wing Democrats led by Bersani, Massimo D'Alema and Roberto Speranza launched, along with SI splinters, the Democratic and Progressive Movement (MDP).[298][299] Contextually, the NCD was transformed into Popular Alternative (AP). In April Renzi was re-elected secretary of the PD and thus the party's candidate for Prime Minister,[300] defeating Minister of Justice Andrea Orlando and Governor of Apulia Michele Emiliano.[301][302]

The logo of Lega Nord for the 2018 election.

In May 2017, Matteo Salvini was re-elected federal secretary of the LN and launched his own bid.[303][304] Under Salvini, the party had emphasised Euroscepticism, opposition to immigration and other populist policies.[305] In fact, Salvini's aim had been to re-launch the LN as a "national" or, even, "Italian nationalist" party, withering any notion of northern separatism. This focus became particularly evident in December when LN presented its new electoral logo, without the word "Nord".[306]

In September 2017, Luigi Di Maio was selected as candidate for Prime Minister and "political head" of the M5S, replacing Grillo.[307][308] However, even in the following months, the populist comedian was accused by critics of continuing to play his role as de facto leader of the party, while an increasingly important, albeit unofficial, role was assumed by Davide Casaleggio, son of Gianroberto, a web strategist who founded the M5S along with Grillo in 2009 and died in 2016.[309][310][311] In January 2018, Grillo separated his own blog from the movement; his blog was used in the previous years as an online newspaper of the M5S and the main propaganda tool.[312] This event was seen by many as the proof that Grillo was slowly leaving politics.[313]

In the 2018 Italian general election, no political group or party won an outright majority, resulting in a hung parliament.[314] In the election, the centre-right alliance, in which Matteo Salvini's League (LN) emerged as the main political force, won a plurality of seats in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Senate, while the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) led by Luigi Di Maio became the party with the largest number of votes. The centre-left coalition, led by Matteo Renzi, came third.[315] As a result, protracted negotiations were required before a new government could be formed.

On 31 May 2018, following 88 days of negotiations and several impasses, law professor Giuseppe Conte was appointed as the prime minister with support from the League and the Five Star Movement, even though not having run for the Italian Parliament. Matteo Salvini of the League and Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement were also appointed as vice premiers,[316] thus forming the 66th Italian government since World War II.[317] The formation of a new government avoided the possibility of immediate new elections.[318] The coalition government was formed between the Lega Nord and Five Star Movement, becoming the first fully populist government in Western Europe.[283]

During the 2019 Italian government crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Salvini announced a motion of no confidence against Conte, after growing tensions within the majority. Salvini's move came right after a vote in the Senate regarding the progress of the Turin–Lyon high-speed railway, in which the Lega voted against an attempt of the M5S to block the construction works. Many political analysts believe the no confidence motion was an attempt to force early elections to improve Lega's standing in Parliament, ensuring Salvini could become the next Prime Minister. On 20 August, following the parliamentary debate in which Conte harshly accused Salvini of being a political opportunist who "had triggered the political crisis only to serve his personal interest", the Prime Minister resigned his post to President Sergio Mattarella. This provoked the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte,[319] and resulted in the formation of a new cabinet led by Conte himself.[320]


Russia re-elected Vladimir Putin as the president in 2012 Russian presidential election. The election was marred by claims of fraud, contributing to the 2011–2013 Russian protests.[321] Under Putin, Russia engaged in a more aggressive foreign policy, with the 2014 Annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, the 2015 intervention in the Syrian Civil War, and interference in the 2016 United States elections.

United Kingdom[edit]

Following a hung parliament in the 2010 United Kingdom general election, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed the first coalition government in the country's history since World War II.[322] A referendum on Scottish independence was held on 2014, returning a negative result.

After the Conservatives were returned to power with a majority in the 2015 general election, a referendum was called on leaving the European Union, which led to the beginning of the process of UK withdrawal from the EU.

In 2015, the Labour Party elected as its leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was considered the most left-wing leader of the party since Michael Foot (1980–83).[323]

The 2017 general election left the Conservatives with a minority government under Theresa May.

In 2019, the Conservatives under Boris Johnson won the largest majority in the House of Commons since the 1987 election.[324]

North America[edit]

Following pressure from the US President Donald Trump, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was superseded by the new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA).[325]


Felipe Calderón Hinojosa became the 56th president of Mexico (and the second from the conservative National Action Party) after a controversial election in 2006. He quickly declared a War on Drugs that ended up costing about 200,000 lives over the next ten years.[326] Calderon was also president during the 2007–2009 Great Recession. Mexico was not hit nearly as hard as the United States, and immigration to the United States greatly declined during the last few years of Calderon's presidency.[327][328] In addition to the drug war, Calderon emphasized infrastructure development, foreign investment, and health care. Mexico became the country with the eleventh-largest GDP in the world, the seventh-largest automobile manufacturer, the eighth-largest oil exporter, and a major manufacturer of electronics. Mexico signed trade agreements with 46 different countries.[329] Calderon's drug war, which cost 47,000 lives during the last two years of his presidency (the balance), became the most important issue during the 2012 Mexican general election. The election was won by the former Governor of the State of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the political party that had dominated Mexican politics during most of the 20th century.

Peña Nieto continued the drug war with no better success than Calderon had had. Low points were the September 26, 2014 Ayotzinapa (Iguala) mass kidnapping of 43 students enrolled in a teachers’ college in the southern state of Guerrero,[330][331] and the 2015 prison escape of notorious drug-dealer Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán. Peña Nieto was also personally wrapped up in a corruption scandal involving a US$7 million (MXN $100 million) house known as La Casa Blanca ("The White House") purchased by his showcase wife, actress Angélica Rivera. This was just one of many scandals that rocked his administration.[332] Enrique Peña Nieto and Angélica Rivera were divorced months after he left office.[333] Peña Nieto encouraged foreign investment, particularly in the automotive industry, and for the first time since President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized the oil industry in 1938, in the energy industry. He also tried to reform the country's educational system.[334] and began construction of a new airport for Mexico City.[335] President Peña was elected with by a slim plurality in 2012 with just under 39% of the vote, but by the time he left office in 2018 he had an 18% approval and a 77% disapproval rating, making him one of the least popular presidents in Mexican history.[336]

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (commonly called "AMLO") was a candidate for president for the third time in the 2018 Mexican general election, representing the Juntos Haremos Historia ("Together we will make history"), coalition. He won in a landslide victory, taking 53% of the vote. His platform called for: democratic rule of law (no more electoral fraud or vote-buying), self-determination in foreign policy, an end to corruption, decentralization of the government, agricultural revitalization, reversal of privatization of the energy sector, economic development (including increased aid for victims of the 2017 Puebla earthquake), increased pensions for the elderly, a reversal of Peña Nieto's educational reforms, and increased public safety by ending the drug war, granting amnesty to minor drug offenders, and reorganizing the police.[337] Even before his inauguration in December 2018, Lopez Obrador held a referendum on canceling construction of the US$13 billion airport in Texcoco, State of Mexico and instead building one at the Santa Lucia Air Force base in Zumpango, State of Mexico. Nearly 70% of the voters who participated voted in favor of the Santa Lucia site, although it represented only 1% of eligible voters.[338] Construction of the new airport at the Santa Lucia site began in October 2019 and is scheduled to open in March 2022. Controversy over the airport has shaken investor confidence, and the economy has stagnated or entered a slight recession.[339] On December 27, 2018, AMLO initiated a crackdown on fuel theft by huachicoleros. This set off gasoline shortages in several states, and the Tlahuelilpan pipeline explosion of January 18, 2019, killed 137 in the state of Hidalgo.[340] AMLO ended the drug war and established a National Guard, but violence continues to plague the nation: the government was forced to call off the arrest and extradition of Ovidio Guzmán López, son of notorious drug lord "El Chapo" Guzman, after the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa, was laid siege to by members of the Sinaloa Cartel;[341] and three women and six children, all Mexican-American citizens and members of the LeBarón family were killed by presumed drug dealers in Sonora near the Mexico–United States border on November 4, 2019.[342] It was reported that 2019 was the most violent year in Mexican history, with 29,574 homicides and femicides registered during the first ten months of the year.[339] AMLO has run an austere government, cracking down on corruption, reducing government salaries (including his own), and selling off properties seized during drug raids as well as government vehicles, including the presidential plane.[339] In foreign policy, Mexican-American relations have been strained by the immigration, tariffs, and the failure of the U.S. Congress to ratify the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement. President Donald Trump briefly threatened to label Mexican drug cartels terrorist organizations and even to send the U.S. military to fight them.[343] In another foreign policy move, Mexico granted former Bolivian president Evo Morales political asylum after the coup d'état in that country.[344] AMLO's approval rating dropped by 10% to 58.7% during the first ten months of 2019.[339]

United States of America (USA)[edit]

Obama Presidency[edit]

The most important action of Obama's first 100 days was the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to address the Great Recession. After much debate, ARRA was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009. Originally intended to be a bipartisan bill, Congressional passage of the bill relied largely on Democratic votes, though three Republican Senators did vote for it.[345] The lack of Republican support for the bill, and the inability of Democrats to win that support, foreshadowed the gridlock and partisanship that continued throughout Obama's presidency.[345][346][347] The $787 billion bill combined tax breaks with spending on infrastructure projects, extension of welfare benefits, and education.[348][349]

Wall Street reform[edit]

Risky practices among the major financial institutions on Wall Street were widely seen as contributing to the subprime mortgage crisis, the financial crisis of 2007–08, and the subsequent Great Recession, so Obama made Wall Street reform a priority in his first term.[350] On July 21, 2010, Obama signed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the largest financial regulatory overhaul since the New Deal.[351] The act increased regulation and reporting requirements on derivatives (particularly credit default swaps), and took steps to limit systemic risks to the US economy with policies such as higher capital requirements, the creation of the Orderly Liquidation Authority to help wind down large, failing financial institutions, and the creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to monitor systemic risks.[352] Dodd-Frank also established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was charged with protecting consumers against abusive financial practices.[353] On signing the bill, Obama stated that the bill would "empower consumers and investors," "bring the shadowy deals that caused the crisis to the light of day," and "put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all."[354]

Some liberals were disappointed that the law did not break up the country's largest banks or reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, while many conservatives criticized the bill as a government overreach that could make the country less competitive.[354] Under the bill, the Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies were required to propose and implement several new regulatory rules, and battles over these rules continued throughout Obama's presidency.[355] Obama called for further Wall Street reform after the passage of Dodd-Frank, saying that banks should have a smaller role in the economy and less incentive to make risky trades.[356] Obama also signed the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which created new rules for credit card companies.[357]


The introduction of new 5G wireless technology caused major public discussion about possible security risks and safety risks. Many experts said 5G would require new methods to insure security of data.[358] The US Congress passed legislation regarding security concerns about 5G networks.[359] The federal government prohibited the use of Huawei equipment for 5G networks due security concerns, and encouraged its allies to also do so as well. The US government imposed strict controls on US companies as to their ability to do business with Huawei, thus disrupting sales of Huawei phones overseas.[360] Chinese vendors and the Chinese government have denied these claims.

The development of the technology has elicited various responses and concerns that 5G radiation could have adverse health effects.[361] An editorial in the scientific magazine Scientific American emphasized that complete scientific research regarding its effects have not been conducted and that there could be health risks.[362] Wired characterized fears that the technology could cause cancer, infertility, autism, Alzheimer's, and mysterious bird deaths as "conspiracy theory".[363] The US FCC and nearly all other regulators claim 5G radiation will have no significant health effects.

Huawei submitted a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit against the FCC's decision to prohibit rural U.S. network providers from using equipment from the China-based vendor due to national security concerns, asking that the recent FCC order be overturned.[364]

Trump Presidency[edit]

Donald Trump was elected the president in 2016, losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, but winning through the electoral college.

An impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump was initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on September 24, 2019, after a whistleblower alleged that President Donald Trump had abused the power of the presidency by withholding both military aid and a White House meeting as a means of pressuring newly elected President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce investigations which would be damaging to Trump's political rival Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

In October, three full Congressional committees (Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs) deposed witnesses including Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor,[365] Laura Cooper (the top Pentagon official overseeing Ukraine-related U.S. policy),[366] former White House official Fiona Hill, and at least six additional White House officials.[367][368] Witnesses testified that Trump wanted Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into the Bidens and Burisma[369][370] and that Ukraine was pressured to release evidence that its government had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.[371] On October 8, in a letter from Counsel Pat Cipollone to Speaker Pelosi, the White House officially responded that it would not cooperate with the investigation due to concerns including that there had not yet been a vote of the full House and that interviews of witnesses were being conducted behind closed doors.[372][373] On October 17, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said, in response to a reporter's allegation of quid pro quo: "We do that all the time with foreign policy. Get over it." He walked back his comments later in the day, asserting that there had been "absolutely no quid pro quo" and that Trump had withheld military aid to Ukraine over concerns of the country's corruption.

On October 31, the House voted 232–196 to establish procedures for public hearings,[374] which started on November 13.[375][376][377] Private and public congressional testimony by twelve government witnesses in November 2019 presented a significant body of evidence indicating Trump demanded a quid pro quo of political favors in exchange for official action.[378][379][380][381] The House Judiciary Committee hosted hearings on December 4 with more scheduled for December 9. On December 5, Pelosi announced that the House Judiciary Committee would begin drafting articles of impeachment.[382] Once these are decided on, they are expected to be presented to the Senate for a trial and vote.

South America[edit]

Foro.svg Foro sao paulo members.svg
Map of Latin America showing countries with centre-left, left-wing or socialist governments (red) and centre-right, right-wing or conservative governments (blue) in 2011 (left) and 2018 (right).

The Conservative wave brought many right-wing politicians to power across the continent. In Argentina the Peronist president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was replaced by the conservative-liberal Mauricio Macri in 2015; in Brazil, Dilma Rousseff's impeachment resulted in the rise of her Vice President Michel Temer to power in 2016; in Chile the conservative Sebastián Piñera followed the socialist Michelle Bachelet in 2017; and in 2018 the far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro became 38th President of Brazil.[383]


Starting on October 21, 2019, protests and marches have been occurring in Bolivia in response to claims of electoral fraud in the 2019 general election of October 20, 2019 and, subsequently, to Jeanine Áñez declaring herself the acting president of Bolivia. The claims of fraud were made after the suspension of the preliminary vote count, in which incumbent Evo Morales was not leading by a large enough margin (10%) to avoid a runoff, and the subsequent publication of the official count, in which Morales won by over 10%. Some international observers have expressed concern over these developments. While many of the demonstrations have been peaceful, there have been numerous acts of violence. Senior members of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) and their families were victims of attacks, including house burnings.[384][385][386][387]

Morales denied the allegations and invited foreign governments to audit the electoral processes, promising to hold a runoff if any fraud was found. Subsequently, an audit team from the Organization of American States, with access provided by Bolivian authorities, worked to verify the integrity and reliability of the results. Their preliminary report questioned the integrity of the election results and recommended another "electoral process".[388]

Morales announced the government would hold another election; however, the police and army demanded Morales's resignation on November 10, which he offered shortly thereafter.[389] Following his resignation and the resignation of other senior MAS politicians, some citing fears for the safety of their families, Jeanine Áñez declared herself interim president and formed an interim government. Protests have continued, and several human right organizations expressed concerns over the excess use of force by the new government.[390][384]


President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and removed from office in 2016 following revelations from Operation Car Wash, a corruption investigation. Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was also imprisoned. In 2018, far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro won the presidential election, partly owing to the fallout from the corruption scandal.[391]


The 2019 Chilean protests are ongoing civil protests throughout Chile in response to a raise in the Santiago Metro's subway fare, the increased cost of living, privatisation and inequality prevalent in the country.[392][393][394][395] The protests began in Chile's capital, Santiago, as a coordinated fare evasion campaign by secondary school students which led to spontaneous[citation needed] takeovers of the city's main train stations and open confrontations with the Carabineros de Chile (the national militarized police force). On October 18, the situation escalated as organized bands of protesters began vandalizing city's infrastructure; seizing, vandalizing, and burning down many stations of the Santiago Metro network and disabling them with extensive infrastructure damage, and for a time causing the cessation the network in its entirety. All in all 81 stations sustained major damage, including 17 burned down.[396][397] On the same day, President of Chile Sebastián Piñera announced a state of emergency, authorizing the deployment of Chilean Army forces across the main regions to enforce order and prevent the destruction of public property, and invoked before the courts the Ley de Seguridad del Estado ("State Security Law") against dozens of detainees. A curfew was declared on October 19 in the Greater Santiago area.[398][399] Protests and riots have expanded to other cities, including Concepción, San Antonio, and Valparaíso.[400] The state of emergency was extended to the Concepción Province, all Valparaíso Region (except Easter Island and Juan Fernández Archipelago) and the cities of Antofagasta, Coquimbo, Iquique, La Serena, Rancagua, Valdivia, Osorno, and Puerto Montt. The protests have been considered the "worst civil unrest" having occurred in Chile since the end of Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship due to the scale of damage to public infrastructure, the number of protesters, and the measures taken by the government.[401] On October 25, over a million people took to the streets throughout Chile to protest against President Piñera, demanding his resignation.[402][403] As of October 26, 19 people have died, nearly 2,500 have been injured, and 2,840 have been arrested.[403][404] On October 28, President Piñera changed eight ministries of his cabinet in response to the unrest, dismissing his Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick.[405][406] On November 15, most[citation needed] of the political parties represented in the National Congress signed an agreement to call a national referendum in April 2020 regarding the creation of a new constitution.


In 2016, the world's longest running war[407] was brought to an end when the Government of Colombia and the rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a peace deal officially ending the Colombian conflict.


A crisis concerning who is the legitimate President of Venezuela has been underway since January 10, 2019, with the nation and the world divided in support for Nicolás Maduro or Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó has been recognized as the acting President of Venezuela by 54 countries. Internationally, support has followed traditional geopolitical lines, with allies China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Turkey supporting Maduro; and the US, Canada, and most of Western Europe supporting Guaidó as acting president.[408] As of late 2019, efforts led by Guaidó to create a transitional government have been described as unsuccessful by various analysts and media networks, with Maduro still controlling Venezuela's state functions.[409][410][411][412][413][414][415][416]

See also[edit]


Specific situations[edit]


WikiProject WikiProject—Wikiproject Politics

Related timelines[edit]



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