With just days before the new year, everyone is preparing their resolutions, taxes and end of year party plans. While we are eager to look forward, let us also learn the lessons of the past with a brief look back as we close out the year with the 2019 Year in Review:
US-China Trade War
The US levied 25-30 percent tariffs on 300 billion dollars worth of Chinese goods. The tariffs came as a result of growing US distrust of China tech superiority, which initially led to the arrest of Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou. Huawei was targeted not only because of its tech prowess, but because the US believed it was in violation of a US sanctions levied against other nations.
Mass Shootings in the USA
Nearly 2000 people have been killed in the United States in 2019 by a total of over 400 mass shootings. This year the US Congress passed H.R.8–the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, still without significant legislation curbing gun violence.
AFCTA Passed In Africa
After years of theory, the Africa Free Trade Area/Agreement was signed by all African countries. The goal is to create more free trade and build industry in Africanand among states. Currently, African states have a 10 percent trade volume among each other. Those levels are astonishingly low when contrasted with interstate trade in Europe (69 percent), Americas (31 percent) and Asia (59 percent), Brookings data indicates. As the AfCTA matures, it will be vital to ensure that foreign entities do not use the AfCTA to manipulate African markets or use local citizens as proxies for foreign businesses that further funnel production and finance out of Africa.
US-China Tech Standoff/5G in China Rolled Out
In 2019, China was the first country to roll out 5G technology. The new technology is conceived to be the highest internet speed and provide better experiences for connected devices. The race has been on to roll out 5G, with the US hoping to win (an unofficial) competition it has against China. The 5G rollout was also a part of the US-China tech standoff, where the United States has accused China of appropriating technology and intellectual property.
Latin American Unrest
The unrest in Latin America and the subsequent interventions by the US government and other actors has become a constant in 2019. There have been attempted coups in Venezuela, unrest in Bolivia and Columbia just to name a few. While many are wondering why conflict is occurring, it becomes abundantly clear when one analyzes the receding hegemony of the West and the burgeoning of newer powers. Such changes in alliances and coalitions in the current world order often leads to conflicts as the world realigns itself. As new powers emerge and information-sharing continues, keeping vassal states in a state of poverty and constant uncertainty become harder to achieve. We are left wondering if the causes of such unrest are organic or orchestrated like a J-SOC or Operation Gladio mission by external forces with a history of such interventions.
Haiti’s Plebiscitarian Clash
It is being reported that Haiti is descending into unrest as citizens and government clash. With a population of just above 10 million people, the island nation has been the flagship of resistance against colonial repression around the world. In 1704 the island nation threw off the shackles of the most barbaric form of chattel slavery in the history of the world. What is remarkable is that they did so with barely nothing, securing their freedom and emerging from the inhumanity of an egregious crime against humanity. Today, after blistering US Sanctions that nearly decimated the local economy, Haitians are assaulted by botched international missions, humanitarian crises and natural disasters. The nation now sits on the precipice of chaos as they seek to forge a new frontier in the changing new world order. Let us not only pray for Haiti, but support its people with whatever we can.
in 2019, the US Congress launched an impeached inquiry against the current United States President. The 45th US president, alone is among only four (4) US presidents to have been involved in an inquiry. Former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard M. Nixon were the only two presidents to be formally impeached by the U.S. Congress. Ironically, impeachment hearings continue among a Congress that has been complicit with most of the current president’s stances on foreign and domestic policy; with the exception of Immigration, reproductive and LGBTQ rights. Still hearings continue as the nations grapples with its national and international identity and its collective representation in a changing brave new world.
1619 -From 400 years to Reparations
2019 marks the anniversary of a grim chapter in American History. The beginning of one of the most egregious crimes against humanity. Perhaps one of the most powerful movements on the horizon has been the grassroots ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) movement, kindled the 1619 Project and various other similar voices. It is under girded by a growing identity for black Americans who survived the U.S. Transatlantic Slave Trade. At the end of the Civil War, Black men and women after slavery were promised 40 acres and a mule by the U.S. Government, a fiduciary responsibility that has yet to be met. Brave local actors, educators, and professionals have taken up the mantle to reveal the staggering wealth gap left by slavery, Jim Crow, Mass incarceration, the Crack Epidemic, Red lining policies and so much more. The case for reparations entered the popular discourse and the 2019 Democratic debates. As early as 2016, a United Nations panel formally recognized that the United States owes reparations to African-Americans. It is interesting to note that of the 193 UN member nations, not one has called the country to task by passing solidarity legislation or sanctions, much like the U.S. has done in support of the Hong Kong protesters.
The former British colony, Hong Kong has been in turmoil since controversial extradition legislation emerged. What began as an affront to the legislation soon grew into a violent movement that has shattered the local economy and created a national divide. The U.S. Congress passed H.R. (House Resolution) 3289, also known as the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which seeks to use sanctions and other methods as leverage against China.
Liberalizing Saudi & UAE
Recent moves by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Saud of Saudi Arabia have been making major changes in the Islamic world. The prince has relaxed restrictions on women, broadened technological focus and increased tourism through aggressive initiatives launched throughout 2019.