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This section covers the real life events such as politics, society, and current events that occurred in this decade. Due to many of these events covering controversial subjects, no real life related tropes and Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment applies here. For pop culture that occurred during this decade, go to the Useful Notes page for The New Tens.

Real Life Events

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    In General 
  • The War on Terror has continued after the 2011 death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq in 2011, and the planned removal of soldiers from Afghanistan by 2014. So-called "homegrown terrorism" continues, such as the 2011 murders of over 70 teenagers by a right-wing anti-Muslim extremist in Norway, as well as the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings by two Caucasian Muslim brothers, Tamerlan and Dhzokhar Tsarnaev. In Europe, aside from the gun attack in Norway, British soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby was beheaded in broad daylight, while French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked in January 2015 for a depiction of Mohammed, resulting in 17 deaths and global outrage, along with the hashtag 'Je Suis Charlie' ('I Am Charlie'). This was not the worst trauma France was to face that year, with November 13 bringing more carnage with 130 killed in gun attacks across Paris. After the world showed the biggest outpouring of sympathy and solidarity after a terrorist attack since 9/11, and further terrorist attacks like the ones in San Bernardino, California and Brussels, Belgium occurred (and that's only including those events linked with Islamic terrorism, for Western terrorism has risen considerably throughout the decade), international outrage towards terrorism re-emerged. France and Britain subsequently joined the bombing campaign on IS as part of a new bout of war in the Middle East, with the civil wars in Syria and Iraq. One might argue that it is the newest near-miss for World War III... if we're lucky.

    The already problematic situation in the Middle East was further compounded by the rise of ISIS/ISIL/IS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/... the Levant/Islamic State/Daesh), a radical Islamic fundamentalist group which quickly gained infamy due to its brutality and its extremely savage methods of executing prisoners (live-beheading, firing-squad style executions, burning a prisoner alive etc.), as well as its worrying initial military success (it has since been contained and forced to retreat by a steady onslaught of American, Canadian, and following the November 2015 Paris gun attacks, French and British bombing raids). This new Coalition has since been joined by Russia, which is seeking to gain influence in the Middle East, following its annexation of Crimea and engagement in a proxy war in Eastern Ukraine.

    While the West has been willing to engage in an Enemy Mine, relations between Russia and the West have steadily deteriorated, with the inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko in London concluding that yes, he was murdered (poisoned by a nuclear isotope in his afternoon tea at the Ritz, and yes, it does sound like the plot of a spy film) and yes, it was almost certainly ordered by President Putin. The Russian Ambassador responded by saying that the already cold relations between Britain and Russia had not deteriorated simply because they couldn't get any worse. Things soured further during the second half of the decade, as Putin was accused of interfering with numerous political elections abroad as well as his continued endorsement of the Syrian government. The poisonings of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in 2018 only stoked the flames even further.

    The aftermath of the Middle East conflict and the 2005-09 economic downturn (especially the 2007-08 financial crisis) has led to a political fragmentation not seen since The Great Politics Mess-Up, with extremist movements springing around the world with an avowed opposition to the technocratic "Third Way" that dominated democratic countries after 1991. This has brought fears of a potential collapse of Western democracy (not helped by the relative stability of the more autocratic Russia and China), along with echoes of Fascism and Communism.

    Social Issues 
  • More so than ever before, a lot of public attention has been given to bullying - the crux of the attention began after several gay teens committed suicide. While there is particular emphasis on LGBT-related bullying (including the It Gets Better project), bullying in general is recognized as a serious problem for the youth. A particular scourge is "cyberbullying", which takes the cruel harassment and abuse of children and teens out of the schools — where, for so long, it was minimized by society — and into an increasingly connected online world. A bullying victim can have no place for relief from harassment if they have so much as a cell phone.
    • Adding to the issue is Newgrounds, once the poster boy of mocking anyone and everyone had deleted a controversial flash game of Anita Sarkeesian, a vocal feminist whose personal web series Tropes vs Women had drawn ire from the internet ranging from threats made on her channel to outright slander. This has caused a natural divide within the internet who is split between keeping feminists from stifling their opinions on the internet and creating a generation of young men and women who would support women's rights on the internet front.
  • Oh, and this seems minor, but the hilarity cannot be contained: in 2010, New York State adopted non-consensual, no-fault divorce—the last state to do so. Welcome to the 1970s, New York divorce law!
  • The sudden suicides of Robin Williams in 2014, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington in 2017, and Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain (within four days of each other) in 2018 brought greater attention to Depression, Suicide and mental health
  • It was during this decade that societal attitudes towards rape started to increasingly sympathize with the victims. Thanks to long-standing feminist efforts, sexual assaults, particularly those on college campuses, are being taken more seriously, and organizations and movements to support and empower victims of rape caught on all over the world. The public began to crucify once-respected figures who were either accused of rape or attempted rape, like movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, news titan Roger Ailes, comic Bill Cosby, actor Kevin Spacey or famous record producer Dr. Luke or were "rape apologists" who either defended or relativized it, like former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, fashion designer Donna Karan, singer Cee Lo Green, or journalist George Will, and support anyone who was raped or has openly supported rape victims. Countless rape trials (most famously, the one against former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner) have gained national, if not worldwide, attention, as the public rallied behind the victims and pressured courts not to take any action against or show hostility to them. Unfortunately, this air of automatic sympathy became a problem in late 2014, when an article on Rolling Stone discussed the story of a rape at the University of Virginia. There was strong support for the victim, including fines and suspensions, until other investigative journalists discovered that the entire story was a hoax. The reporter was blasted for not even attempting to corroborate the story, and both the fraternity and the Dean mentioned by name in the article sued the publication
    • On both sides of the pond and equator, a legendary entertainer of the mid-to-late 20th century saw his reputation implode overnight over sex scandals: one year after his death, beloved British TV host Jimmy Saville was accused of sexually abusing prepubescent children throughout his career; meanwhile, groundbreaking African-American comedian Bill Cosby was at the center of accusations over sexually assaulting dozens of women and using date rape drugs to assist while Woody Allen spent an unusually unpleasant experience at the 2016 Cannes Festival in the grounds of his complicated family issues, being called out as a "creep" by most celebs. Also, Hollywood was rocked by the revelation that the "butter scene" in Last Tango in Paris was performed without the consent of Maria Schneider. And in the Southern Hemisphere, Australian novelty singer Rolf Harris was convicted of indecent assault.
    • The revelations over Saville (which included his molestation of prepubescent children, hospital patients and corpses) led to the creation of Operation Yewtree in late 2012, which began turning over stones and actively digging into old sexual harassment/assault allegations that had previously been buried or not investigated on the grounds that such things were not talked about. It has so far resulted in the convictions of pop star Gary Glitter, popular DJ Dave Lee Travis, formerly untouchable publicist Max Clifford and the aforementioned Rolf Harris. Singer Cliff Richard and DJ Tony Blackburn were also accused of harassing young women although none of them were underage), but were acquitted, suing the BBC for defamation. Many victims who had stayed silent for decades came forward, and increasingly substantial allegations have been made of a pedophile ring containing and being aided by senior politicians and other influential figures, with late former Home Secretary Leon Brittan being implicated (the Home Secretary is one of the Four Great Offices of State, after the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Foreign Secretary), generating significant popular outrage. Similarly, the Cosby case uncovered even more of the grittiness that marked NBC (and the entertainment industry as a whole) during the 70s and 80s.
    • In 2016, Fox News founder/former image consultant Roger Ailes was forced to resign after the station's female journalists sued him over continuous sexual harassment (he died in mysterious circumstances in May 2017). Network mainstay Bill O'Reilly was similarly terminated shortly thereafter following a similar lawsuit against him.
    • In 2017, allegations of sexual abuse against producer Harvey Weinstein quickly snowballed as many high-profile actresses revealed that Weinstein had made unwanted advances to them. He was quickly expelled from his company (which also halted its release schedule indefinitely) and the Academy. Ben Affleck, Steven Seagal and others have been also accused of similar actions, while David Schwimmer won praise for his insistence to use a chaperone when interviewed by a female journalist in an hotel room in 2010.
    • After the Weinstein scandal, award-winning actor Kevin Spacey was accused of attempted rape against fellow actor Anthony Rapp in 1986, when Mr. Rapp was 14. Mr. Spacey's choice to come out as gay immediately after his accusation drew the condemnation of LGBT groups, which fear that this will bolster homophobia. After other actors accused him as well, the actor was also banned from Netflix, which immediately announced the end of House of Cardsnote .
    • The Harvey Weinstein scandal have brought forth the #MeToo Movement that addressed the prevalence of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in modern society, particularly against women note . The movement was the final nail that killed off the notion that the victims of sexual abuse were either just asking for it or doing it as "power play". The hashtag has also brought a lot of international recognition in various places around the world where violence against women are relatively common such as Africa, Middle East, Afghanistan, India, and Russia, which the #MeToo further expand into the issue of misogyny in society that encourages sexual violence against women. Many women in various social platforms shared their stories of sexual abuse on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, some of which are abuse and harassment that occurred decades ago.
    • These scandals had a domino effect, with people now unfairly or not scrutinizing other powerful entertainment and/or political figures because of suspicion or vague rumors as more and more men were revealed to have sordid pasts via victims coming forward. Among those accused were actors George Takei and Jeremy Piven, journalist Charlie Rose, A Prairie Home Companion creator Garrison Keillor, Today anchor Matt Lauer, comedian/U.S. Senator Al Franken, and co-founder and chief creative officer of Pixar John Lasseter. There has been some concern that there's very little space for nuance among investigating transgressions.
  • The transition of Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce) and her appearance on the June 2015 cover of Vanity Fair brought transgender issues and acceptance to the very forefront of American public discourse. Transphobia is also becoming as much of a social taboo as homophobia did in the previous decade, especially among the left and younger people. At the same time, conservatives have pushed for "bathroom bills" that effectively ban uni-sex bathrooms and "religious freedom" laws similar to Indiana's and discrimination against transgender individuals are still an issue in American society. President Trump has also proposed to ban transgender people from serving in the military (which the Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect on January 22nd, 2019), the Dept. of Justice ruled that the Civil Rights law does not cover sexual identity, and a proposal by the administration to create a legal definition in federal civil rights law that birth sex is unchangeable (which led to the hashtag #WontBeErased in social media). On the other side of the globe, India and Pakistan have managed push legislation that recognize third-gender identity (known as "hijra") as a protected status and pass various civil right laws protecting transgender individuals, despite India and Pakistan being traditionally more socially conservative than United States.note 

    North America 
  • In the United States, President Barack Obama found himself into a climate of increasing political polarization, marked by a series of divisions between moderates and radicals from both the Republican and Democratic parties marking the formation of fringe groups:
    • The left saw the rise of the Occupy movement note , which surged in 2011note  and though the protests died down and their methods have been criticized by many, the "OWS" rallies also fueled an unabashedly left-wing faction in the Democratic Party, with Elizabeth Warren becoming the face of the "Social Democrats", opposed to the "Clinton Democrats"' support of free market. In 2016, self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for the Democratic ticket, becoming a surprise opponent to Hillary Clinton, who, after VP Joe Biden's refusal to run, was left as the prohibitive favorite. As a result, the 2016 Dem platform became more markedly left-wing on economic and social issues as Clinton rushed to court voters from Sanders.
    • The 2010 midterm election saw the unexpected ascendance of hardline Republican congressmen dubbed as the "Tea Party", championing isolationism, states' rights, conservatism and an all-out opposition towards Obamacare, gun control and multiculturalism, feuding with anyone that didn't see Obama or the Democrats as a threat. Their intervention in Mitt Romney's campaign (such as his criticism of the EU in the eve of the London Olympics or his infamous "47 percent" speech) in 2012 and their role in deadlocking agreements on the fiscal cliff in 2013note  ended up dividing the GOP, as its image fell to unforeseen levels, much like Congress itself, whose approval ratings by then reached five percent.
    • Congress pushing of the SOPA and PIPA copyright bills didn't do them any favors. The bill had bipartisan support, but also has bipartisan opposition. Outside of Washington, the bills faced strong opposition that turned public opinion against Congress and sank both bills.
  • Obama was re-elected in 2012 in an electoral landslide, owing much to the youth, minorities and women, while he only gained 39% of the white vote and 42% of all males. note  Furthermore, Obama was reelected with the popular majority vote, a feat for a Democratic Party president that has not happened since Franklin D. Roosevelt - back in 1944.note  As a historical curiosity, this marks the first time that three presidents in a row have served two terms since Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe served consecutively in 1801-1825.
  • Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana for limited recreational use by popular vote, while Washington, Maryland and Maine legalized gay marriage by vote, when previous legalization efforts have been through judiciary or legislation. Note, however, that marijuana is still illegal in Washington and Colorado due to federal statute, which takes precedence over state law.... and yet, Attorney General Eric Holder held back from cracking down on either state (with a few caveats, like not smuggling it to states where it's illegal), showing that the much-reviled War on Drugs could be on its way to reaching its end. However Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to keep it going, to the eye-rolls of several.
  • Same-sex marriage is gaining more and more acceptance in the United States. For the first time ever, polls indicated that the majority of American voters favor legalizing same-sex marriage, a huge gain comparing that barely over a third favored it in the early-mid 2000s, and not even 20% in the early 1990s. Young people are especially accepting, with polls showing that around 70% favor legalizing it. Additionally, a sitting President announced that he was openly supportive of the cause, a first. The Democratic Party has now become almost completely united in making it happen, while the Republicans, once almost completely united against it, are starting to show cracks and several prominent right-wingers now openly say it should be legalized. In two major cases, the Supreme Court both struck down the law limiting federal marriage benefits to only opposite-sex marriages and defeated the controversial Proposition 8, a popular vote measure which banned same-sex marriages in the California just months after it was legalized. Including California, twenty-nine states have legalized same-sex marriage since the beginning of the decade (including six states where the state supreme court ruled a same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional but the ruling was stayed), and a few of them even did it by popular vote. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, striking down all bans against it.
    • This has led to acts of resistance like Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis refusing to grant any marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as well as forbidding her staff from doing so. While some rallied for her, other notable conservatives noted that resisting the advancement of gay rights had long become a hopeless cause... and the fact that lionizing Davis was embarrassingly hypocritical considering it turned out that she had been married four times and had a child out of wedlock.
  • In April 2015, the state of Indiana passed the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act", giving business owners the right to refuse service to anybody they wished if it conflicted with one's religious beliefs. But many saw it as an attempt to legitimize discrimination, especially towards LGBT people. This sparked protests demanding that the law be repealed, with several other states declaring to boycott Indiana, though less than a week after passing, the Indiana state government wrote an addendum which stated that LGBT people could not be discriminated against.
    • The "religious freedom" clause for discriminating against LGBT people was infamously employed by the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case; a Colorado Christian baker refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, which led the gay couple to file discrimination lawsuit with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission against the bakery and took the case to the Supreme Court. In June 2018, the Supreme Court made a 7-2 vote ruling narrowly favoring the Colorado baker, citing clear bias against the baker. However, the exact wording prevented any precedent for any religious owners to discriminate, treating it as an individual case and leaving existing anti-discrimination laws intact.
    • The Department of Human Health Services under the Trump administration opened up a division that allows healthcare workers to refuse service to LGBT patients on basis on religious freedom as well, making it harder for LGBT patients to seek accessible healthcare.
    • Despite setbacks on various LGBT rights under the Trump administration and increased hostility towards LGBT Americans, various LGBT candidates (primarily Democratic) have won seats in Congress, state legislations, and governorships. LGBT candidates that won seats included Jared Polis note , Danica Roemnote , Kyrsten Sinema note , and Kate Brown note . In Vermont, Christine Hallquist was the first transgender person to be nominated as a candidate for governorship by a major political party, but was unable to defeat the GOP incumbent Phil Scott note . One potential Democrat candidate for the 2020 presidential election, mayor Pete Buttigieg, has gotten a lot of media attention for being noted to be the first openly gay man running for the U.S. presidency and a hope for LGBT rights.
    • On February 2019, there was a backlash on racist and LGBT hate crimes when Empire actor, Jussie Smollett, was arrested for disorderly conduct for staging a hate crime against himself in Chicago a month earlier, claiming that two men wearing MAGA hats assaulted him and yelling racial and homophobic slurs. Police investigation revealed that Smollett had hired two Nigerian brothers to stage a fake hate crime, with his motivation being that he was unsatisfied with his salary. Civil rights organizations condemned this incident because conservatives and Republicans can use it as a justification to downplay actual hate crimes against black and LGBT individuals and encourage more violence against themnote . As for Smollett, his career was destroyed by the controversy, with him being cut from the last two episodes of the ongoing season of Empire and being fired from his role in an upcoming Broadway musical.
  • On January 22nd, 2019, transgender individuals are officially banned from joining the U.S. military with a 5-4 Supreme Court rulling allowing Trump's transgender ban to go into effect (which officially took into effect starting April 2019). This effectively kills any hope of transgender rights in the United States with a conservative Supreme Court.
  • In what many saw as the end of Net Neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission announced new rules governing Internet service. Now, internet providers can give "preferential treatment," meaning faster internet, in exchange for more money. Critics argue that this stifles innovation - anyone that wants to start a new business that tries to compete with, say, Netflix, all Comcast has to do is slow down your internet and you won't be able to get anything done. However, the internet activist community, helped by John Oliver explaining the issue with brilliantly humorous clarity on his TV show, fought back and when the FCC requested public comments about these rules, there was a massive flood of 4 million submissions, so many that the FCC's servers temporarily malfunctioned from the load. The vast majority of them demanded stronger rules, mostly by redefining the internet as a "common carrier," which is how the regular telephone system is regulated in Title II of The Communications Act of 1934. With the public support of President Obama for such a move, the FCC board voted 3 to 2 on February 26th, 2015 to do precisely that. However, then came the 2016 election of Donald Trump, who appointed Ajit Pai as the chairman of the FCC. Pai and the FCC voted 3-2 to overturn the Obama-era regulations in late 2017 despite overwhelming public support in favor of keeping them, and those regulations came to an end in mid-2018. As expected, this highlighted the fact that despite the public support showing this is one issue most of both parties generally agree on, Congress has been mostly split along party lines regarding the issue. In a May vote on a bill that would reinstate these regulations, the Senate passed this bill 52-47 (with Arizona Republican Senator John McCain being absent due to sickness and thus abstaining), with every one of the 47 being Republican, all Democrats being part of the 52 (along with three Republicans who crossed the aisle). However, the House of Representatives has yet to vote on the issue (and given the aforementioned partisan split and its current Republican domination, it is unlikely it ever will) in an administrative environment.
    • Where the fed appears to have stalled on this issue, the States, however, have begun to fight back. In late August of 2018, California's Congress passed a landmark Net Neutrality bill, heralded as the "gold standard" of net neutrality protections, by overwhelming majorities in both the State Assembly and State Senate, leaving the issue now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown (a democrat) for him to sign or veto; he signed the bill into law and was promptly sued by the cable and broadband industry, as well as the Trump administration itself. The issue was brought to national attention when a scandal erupted due to Verizon throttling the data connection of the Santa Clara fire department involved in fighting the wildfires plaguing California that year. The Fire Department reportedly had unlimited data, and Verizon attributed the throttling as a customer service error and had nothing to do with net neutrality, but the public (and the fire department's spokesperson) refused to accept that explanation, leading to increased support for California's bill and a renewed drive for states to enact their own legislation for net neutrality. Three states (Oregon, Washington, and Vermont) have already done so, with six (New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Hawaiʻi, Montana, and Rhose Island) have executive orders enacting some form of net neutrality, and California would join the former category should the bill pass and be upheld by the courts.
  • While the GOP had been blamed for things going wrong, the Democrats also had their fair share of controversies. For a time beginning in 2013, Obama was accused of abuse of power, coming first from Bob Woodward (one of the journalists that revealed the inner depths of the Watergate scandal) and later the Associated Press about the wiretapping of conversations, at the same time the Tea Party accused the IRS of using its role to target them, mainly via denying them proper tax status. While some liberal groups were subjected to additional scrutiny as well, most of their groups were processed by line editors, while all conservative groups were flagged and delayed. Lois Lerner, the head of the division responsible for tax-exempt status, was ordered to provide all documentation regarding this issue. She refused to testify (not before protesting her innocence), and refused to turn over any documentation on the claim that her computer crashed and the hard drive was destroyed per protocol. She also failed to back up any of her data per agency standards, and was caught asking questions before the crash about whether or not the agency's instant-messaging software was automatically backed up, where she expressed delight that it wasn't. In Late August 2014, it was revealed under the FOIA that in fact, backups of Lerner's hard drives did exist, as all government data is backed up, but government lawyers stated it would be "too onerous" to search for the data. Many mainstream media sources were criticized for not reporting on this revelation of scandal. In December, it was revealed that Lerner tried to stop inspectors from looking into this controversy as far back as 2012.
  • At the same time, the ex-CIA worker Edward Snowden revealed that the once-secret NSA (National Security Agency, uncovered by Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning in 2010) monitoring and collecting citizens' (including politicians') phone calls, emails, web searches and general social media information, in violation of domestic law. In fact, even prominent figures in foreign nations (such as Brazil's President) have undergone similar sets of unwarranted surveillance. The trial of Manning didn't gain prominence until Obama defended the NSA, causing a big uproar since the President became nationally known for his opposition to Bush-era surveillance programs. This has caused divisions in both the Republican and Democratic parties, with both parties' conservatives claiming that the NSA has prevented terrorist attacks, while the progressive and libertarian sectors of the Democrat and Republican parties openly criticizing it.note  While his actions have controversy (he was eventually branded a traitor for seeking refuge in Russia, even though it's not known if he actually tried to hand them critical information), it also brought about a larger debate about Internet surveillance and intelligence on both the national and global stage (and it's best to leave it at that).
    • In this regard, another point of controversy in the government's alleged abuses of power is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 and 2013, which gives the government power to detain terrorists indefinitely in sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA. However, these sections were so vaguely worded that it could potentially give the government power to arrest any Americans that they suspect of being terrorists even if they are innocent. This has led to many campaigns, lawsuits (the most famous one having prominent figures on the left such as Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellesburg as plaintiffs) and petitions against the Obama Administration to get NDAA 2012 or at least sections 1021 and 1022 repealed, and led to dissatisfaction and criticism of both parties from progressives and libertarians, many who refused to vote either of the mainstream parties in the 2012 elections due to support of NDAA across both parties, instead either supporting Ron Paul, a third party candidate (almost all of the third party candidates have stated to oppose the NDAA) or sitting out the election altogether.
    • More recently, in light of growing outrage over NSA surveillance and, groups as diverse as activists, tech companies, members of Congress and a presidential task force are calling on the government to rein bulk surveillance and restructure the NSA itself. If successful, these could both validate Snowden's efforts and reshape how America does intelligence work.
  • The NSA scandal quickly took its toll on Obama's approval, marking the President's first serious crisis, being far from the last: While not affected by the fiscal cliff fiasco, an extremely shaky economy (a majority of Americans believed the country was still in recession... three years after it ended), the IS debacle (with controversy erupting after he was pictured playing golf while hostages were being beheaded) and the ebola outbreak caused Obama's approval rating to dip under 40% by November 2014, when the GOP swept Congress in the mid-term elections.
  • Yet another government agency has faced scrutiny over violations of international law and extreme abuses of human rights — the CIA. According to several Senate-led committees and investigations, the CIA "systematically misled" government officials about its interrogation program. The report found that the CIA's legal justification for the use of harsh interrogation techniques were based on faulty intelligence, concluded that the CIA used interrogation methods that were not approved by its own headquarters or the U.S. Justice Department, found that the CIA provided false information that their interrogation techniques (meaning the interrogations did not get any intel that wasn't false), felt that the CIA's interrogation techniques amounted to needless physical, emotional, and psychological abuse/torture, impeded White House oversight, and actively evaded oversight both by Congress and its own Inspector General. It's gotten to a point where the CIA actually chose to spy on members of the Senate in order to obstruct their investigations.
  • Gun control in the U.S. remains a hot topic. 2012 saw fatal shootings at an Aurora, CO movie theater (12 deaths at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises), a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, outside the Empire State Building, and (worst of the lot so far) at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT: 26 deaths at the school — 20 of those being children as young as six years old — plus the deaths of the shooter's mother and the shooter himself. To make matters worse, these shootings came along on top of ongoing problems with gun violence in cities like Detroit and Chicago. Gun sales boomed (so to speak) after Sandy Hook, owing to fears of tighter restrictions on assault weapons and the like. The public push for such laws wasn't able to convince the Senate to vote in favor of them in 2013, thanks in part to the pro-gun rhetoric of the National Rifle Association, and also to a Connecticut Democrat who admitted nothing in the bill would stop another Sandy Hook, leading many to believe the government was just using the tragedy as an excuse to push an agenda. The murders also called the issues of mental illness, media violence, and (to a lesser extent) the increasingly polarized American society into question. Since then further mass murders (a drive-by shooting that killed six in Santa Barbara, CA in May 2014; nine churchgoers shot to death at a Charleston, SC church service in June 2015) have come and gone through the news cycle relatively quickly, suggesting that Americans are becoming desensitized to gun violence and/or do not believe change is possible. It took a trio of gun related incidents in late 2015, one at a live news broadcast in central Virginia, another at a community college in southern Oregon, finally one in San Bernardino, Califorina, and the Orlando massacre of June 12, 2016, to reignite the gun debate in America (the last two are in fact terrorist-related according to the F.B.I.).
    • Debate immediately arose after a college student announced he had successfully tested a gun rendered by a 3-D printer, with many Congressmen calling for a ban, not only on them, but also on three-dimensional printers. In 2018, the Trump Administration green-lit said inventor's proposal to release the manuals, leading to the government being sued by eight states.
  • The U.S. suffered the worst act of terrorism on its soil since 9/11 with the April 15, 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon, resulting in three deaths and hundreds of injuries, with two Chechen-born brothers held responsible for the attacks after days of many theories (including some that blamed North Korea for the tragedy). Tamerlan Tsarnaev was captured and killed on the night of April 18, while his younger brother Dzhokhar was caught the following day, after a long search throughout Boston.
  • On June 12, 2016, 50 people were shot and killed at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The shooter, who was killed by police at the scene, proclaimed himself to profess allegiance to ISIS; it was later discovered that he was a self-hating gay man raised in a deeply religious immigrant household, inflaming discussion on all sides. It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, and outcries for gun control from liberals and close surveillance of Muslim and Arab-Americans from conservatives reached their highest levels since Newtown (if not ever) and 9/11, respectively.
  • On October 1, 2017, a crazed gunman opened fire upon a crowd of concertgoers at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from the famed Mandalay Bay hotel, killing 58 and wounding 546 people in what has become the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the U.S. to date. The perpetrator was one Stephen Paddock, a well-off retiree and an avid gambler. Curiously, after the police officers breached Paddock's hotel room, they found a veritable arsenal of weapons (7 various pieces in total) and a large amount of ammunition, sparking concerns as to how he was able to bring in such an amount of guns and keep them without alerting anyone. Naturally, the gun debate was reignited with increased vigor once more, with focus now on two new aspects - silencers (which muffle gun sounds) and bump stocks (which are used to turn semi-automatic rifles into automatic ones). The incident also spawned controversy due to official statements routinely contradicting themselves as to the official timeline of events, leading conspiracy theorists wild, not helped by the shooter's apparent far-right background (including alleged links to militia groups), although it was soon discovered this had nothing to do with the shooting, putting some media outlets in a sticky place. The nastier side of the news also came out when a high-profile CBS news lawyer declared that she had no sympathy for the victims because country music fans were Republicans, leading to her immediate dismissal from the network.
  • On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, an affluent suburb of Miami, killing 17 people (14 students and three staff members) and wounding 15 others, thus surpassing the Columbine massacre (which killed 12) to become the deadliest shooting to ever take place at an American high school. The gunman was identified as Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who was expelled from the high school for his violent behavior. It was revealed that the FBI were warned about him five months prior when he made various statements online threatening to shoot up a high school (such as a Youtube comment stating that he's going to be a professional school shooter) as well as various online photos him posing with a semi-automatic weapons and making various violent and racist remarks online (while early reports linked him to a group advocating for Florida to secede from the U.S., these alleged ties had no actual relevance in his plans and were later dismissed as a 4chan hoax). It was also revealed that a person close to the shooter made an anonymous tip to the FBI a month earlier for his violent and erratic behavior, which the FBI later admitted that they never followed up on the tip and didn't go through the investigative protocol. This has sparked a debate on the competency of the FBI as an agency of preventing such attack since the FBI has also been caught up in a political feud with Donald Trump in regards to the Russian investigation around the same time. Also caught up in the controversy was the police department of Broward County, whose head sheriff was accused of not taking action on warnings about the shooter and hiring a school deputy who stayed outdoors during the shooting.
    • A group of survivors of the shooting soon began a movement calling for stricter gun control named Never Again MSDnote . The students helped lobby congresspeople to pass stricter gun laws and organized several school walkouts and protest marches, which gained support and donations from several prominent Hollywood figures and media personalities. The events did not go without controversy: aside from numerous right-wing conspiracy theorists calling the shooting a False Flag Operation, many criticized the "editorializing" many media outlets (most notably channels owned by Viacom and NBC-Universal as well as the Gannett network of newspapers) gave during the day of the walkouts and the march, while Leslie Gibson, a Republican congressional candidate for Maine was forced to step down after receiving backlash for calling Emma Gonzalez (one of the head protesters) a "skinhead lesbian", while others tried to smear her by photoshopping a photo of her ripping up a copy of the Constitution (it was actually a shooting target). Laura Ingraham, a Fox News host, lost her sponsors as the result of mocking David Hogg (another prominent protester) for being rejected from a college, leading to a proposed boycott of said sponsors on social media.
    • While the student protesters may have not have been given the warmest reception from the hard-right, they did seem to finally break the stalemate on gun politics that has persisted since Columbine. According to search trends and news analytics, public interest in the topic of gun control, which normally dies down after a shooting in less than a week, remained steady throughout the rest of February. Support for stricter gun laws surged in the aftermath at a level far exceeding the bump following other mass shootings, reaching their highest levels since 1993. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association, the gun rights group largely seen as the main obstacle preventing all legislation regulating gun ownership from passing, saw their favorability rating plunge to historic lows with a plurality of Americans seeing them unfavorably for the first time, and their sponsors (such as Visa, Best Western, and Delta) severed ties with them in droves after a progressive news blog reported on them and pressure mounted on the companies. Popular stores like Dick's stopped selling guns and Republican politicians, like Brian Mast of a district near Parkland, became more open to some gun control proposals. Gun-control groups like Everytown and Giffords saw their membership spike. And as for the protests themselves? There were two mass school walkouts with nearly 3,000 schools and one million students participating. The March For Our Lives main event, meanwhile, was reported to be the third-largest protest in U.S. history, behind only the two Women's Marches (with the March 14 walkout said to potentially be in fourth). While Emma Gonzalez's pledge of the Parkland shooting being "the last mass shooting" hasn't come true (there was another mass shooting at a high school in Texas three months later), there is growing evidence that the movement will have implications at the ballot box in November, as 2018 became the first time ever that gun control was a major campaign issue for Democrats. And it did, as gun control supporters won big in suburban areas who previously were indifferent to this issuenote .
  • On July 28th, 2019, a mass shooting in the Gilroy Garlic Festival resulted in the deaths of four people (including the shooter). The shooter referenced a proto-fascist literature that promotes racial violence and anti-Semitism in his Instagram account, and specifically targeted "hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats" in the festival.
  • In August 2019, two shootings in one weekend only made the domestic terrorism debate even larger: On Saturday the 3rd, a gunman killed scores of people in two attacks made at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, mostly Latinos, which were the main target; the shooter is a white supremacist, claiming to "defend America from the Hispanic invasion" according to an online manifesto the shooter posted. The following day, another man killed over a dozen people in Dayton, Ohio; including his sister, whom he targeted. Democrats criticized President Trump's rhetoric for the blaming it for the El Paso massacre, while President Trump and the Republicans blamed violent video games and glorification of violence in pop culture for the mass shootings and the Dayton shooter's far-left political views that were demonstrated in his Twitter account.
  • The 2015 Charleston shooting (see above) has spawned a backlash against "Southern Pride", the Confederate Flag, and the Neo-Confederate movement. They were always controversial, but the shooting was a major catalyst for much of American society turning against them and being seen instead in the same negative light as Nazi symbols. As many Americans learned that the flag was still being embraced for racist reasons by many of their fellow countrymen, they began to see the flag as symbols of the oppression of African-Americans throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries rather than Southern heritage and culture. Not only had the shooter cited white supremacy as his primary motivation, but what really sparked the backlash was that the South Carolina capitol building had a Confederate flag flying at full-staff even though the US flag had been lowered to half-staff (because state law prohibits removing the flag without majority vote in the state legislature). After numerous petitions demanding that the flag be banned from display at US government grounds, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley agreed to have their state legislature vote on removing it (the flag was briefly removed by protesters, before being returned. The flag was officially removed on July 10, 2015), leading other southern governors to order the flag being removed from their capitols. It's even prompted retailers to stop selling merchandise featuring that flag, including those related to The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • Before the Boston Bombing, Chris Dorner, a disgruntled police officer fed up with the corruption within LA's police force went on a rampage and killed four victims across California; the police manhunt was reckless, harming civilians to take down the rogue cop. He was eventually cornered and killed by immolation when he was corned into a cabin in the mountains after a long manhunt.
  • In March 2015, US House Speaker John Boehner invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before the House without informing President Obama, angering Americans who saw this as undermining the president's powers and an attempt to sabotage talks between America and Iran. A week later, 47 Republican senators, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, signed a letter to the Iranian government, warning them against any development of nuclear weaponry. With Americans even more incensed, this led to petitions demanding that the senators and Boehner be tried and prosecuted for violating the Logan Act, which prohibits unauthorized Americans from negotiating with foreign nations. As of March 16, one petition has over 300 thousand signatures and counting.
  • In February 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court died suddenly. And within hours of his death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would not go forth in appointing a new Justice, arguing that it should wait until after the 2016 presidential election. This act enraged Americans, who saw this as yet another attempt at subverting President Obama's authority. On March 16, Obama announced that judge Merrick Garlandnote  would be his pick for the Supreme Court, and urged for fair hearings. Most Republicans, however, actually sided with McConnell, fearing that the nomination of Garland would be another power grab for Democrats and that it was so late in Obama's term it wasn't necessary. In the end, McConnell quickly shot down Garland's nomination, disappointing many Democrats.
    • In 2017, Donald Trump decided to replace Garland with his first Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch. Democrats, infuriated by the Republicans so abruptly turning down Garland the previous year, quickly voted against his nomination and reached the 60 voter mark. McConnell countered by stating that if this happened, the "nuclear option" (requiring a simple majority vote from the Senate) would be instated.
    • On June 27th, 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in the Supreme Court, giving Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint a more like-minded judge. On July 9, Trump named Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his pick. With a highly-traditionalist judge replacing the moderate Kennedy, numerous groups — primarily women, black people, and sexual minorities — voiced concern and even fear that the Supreme Court could roll back decades of social progress, as the Court would have the power to eventually overturn several noteworthy cases such as Roe v. Wade note , Obergefell v. Hodges note , and Lawrence v. Texasnote  (the latter two having Kennedy as the "key vote"), as well as potentially ruling ACA unconstitutional, while upholding the administration's migration policies, gun rights, and the death penalty at a time these policies face enormous public pressure for change. Amid this scenario, some Democrats were open to use the obstruction tactics that blocked Garland against Kavanaugh.
      • Come September 16th Kavanaugh was caught in a controversy where a psychology professor, Christine Blasey Ford, accused Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, for gang-raping her in high school during a house party when Kavanaugh was 17 years old while she was 15. The confirmation vote was delayed over this, Republicans and conservatives questioning the allegation and its timing while Democrats called for an FBI investigation. While the Senate Judiciary allowed an FBI investigation it was only given a week to do so; ultimately the Senate voted to confirm him on October 7.
  • Illegal immigration and the policy of "sanctuary cities" in the US came to the forefront in early July 2015, when a young woman named Kathryn "Kate" Steinle was shot and killed at a San Francisco pier by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican felon who had been deported five times from the country. According to his confessionnote , he came to San Francisco to find work and knew they wouldn't deport him because of San Francisco's policy of not complying with Immigrations and Customs Enforcementnote . Many conservative activists railed against the policy, and also with Obama's silence on her death when compared to Michael Brown and Freddie Graynote . The House of Representatives passed "Kate's Law" in response, which withholds federal law enforcement funds from any city who refuses to comply with ICE.
    • On March 2018, a migrant caravan coming from various Central American countries arrived near the U.S. border, many of them asylum seekers fleeing gang violence and government persecution. President Trump sent the National Guard to the border as a response and condemned the Mexican government for failing to stop the caravan. Attorney General Jeff Sessions then established a "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration and asylum seekers by separating children from their parents and jailing asylum seekers and migrants with the children being placed in separate detention facilities and shelters in horrid conditions (i.e. a former Wal-Mart store in Brownsville, Texas used as a detention center for 1,500 migrant boys). Sessions also established a policy banning asylum on basis of domestic and gang violence, with a noticeable case of a Salvadorian asylum seeker having her asylum denied by a federal court due to her forced slavery to a guerrilla faction that was described as "maternal support to a terrorist organization." The policy of separating children from their parents was condemned by various human rights groups, including the United Nations. Session also drew controversy within Christian pastors by using a biblical scripture of Romans 13 to justify the separation of migrant families. note . The United States pulled out from the United Nation's Human Rights Council after the council criticized the United States for the child separation policy.
  • In September 2015, when 14-year-old Texas student Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock to school to show his science teacher. But despite both explicitly identifying it as a clock, another teacher mistook it for a bomb because it looked similar to bombs from movies, calling the police, who arrested him. Since the police neither evacuated the school nor called a bomb squad, the arrest was seen as an act of discrimination, spawning the Twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed to protest and show solidarity. Although President Obama and other figures in NASA posted articles in favor of the boy, the lawsuit was eventually dismissed when it was determined the school acted in a lawful way and Mohamed could not prove discrimination of any kind had taken place.
  • After the GOP was defeated in the 2012 presidential election and saw its image plummet even more following the 2013 shutdown, the party's establishment devised a mea culpa analysis, with John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush aiming to update the party by burying the social conservatism and small-government concerns of the Tea Party. While this proved quite successful (with the GOP pummeling the Dems in the 2014 midterms), in the long run "21st Century Republicanism" increased tensions between the party elites and the base, leading to the overthrow of John Boehner as Leader of the House in favor of Paul Ryan (who was also Romney's running mate in 2012) after a migration debate turned ugly. In the meantime, real estate tycoon Donald Trump promised to "Make America Great Again" while pledging to build a wall with Mexico (generalizing its people as "criminals") and ban the entry of Muslims to U.S. soil. His campaign's turnaround from a mere joke to becoming a political contender energized the "outsider" factions of the party, including political newbies like Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina as well as Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Chris Christie, crowding the primary campaign to seventeen candidates. The backlash against the "New Republicans" became apparent with Jeb's poor debate performance leading to his early drop out and Senator Marco Rubio's shift in tone to court discontented voters, which briefly worked, only to crater in his home state of Florida. Trump's flexibility compared to the dogmatism and social conservatism of Cruz (and that of relatively unknown candidate Governor John Kasich) mostly ended with any serious chance of an establishment "back-up plan" to stop Trump, with both remaining candidates making an unprecedented truce to prevent him from getting the nomination. This attempt backfired horribly, with Trump winning the following primaries way above polling results, becoming the presumptive nominee after the Indiana race (by that point, he was projected to get around two-thirds of delegates in line with polls in the remaining states). Trump finally became the GOP's standard-bearer in late July, after a somewhat contentious convention marked by the lack of Republican leaders (such as the Bushes, Romney and McCain, not to mention former rival Kasich and Rob Portman, the state's Governor and GOP Senator respectively), tenuous support (to say the least) from almost anyone outside the Trump campaign, and the presence of B-listers such as Scott Baio and Willie Robertson.
  • The 2016 Democratic primary was incredibly divisive and controversial, being essentially a repeat of what happened in 2008 with Clinton vs. Obama. Divisions between Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters ran deep, with Clinton supporters calling Sanders' supporters over-idealistic while Sanders supporters were sharply critical of Clinton's ties to "big money" interests. The 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak, which included emails from seven key DNC staff members and dated from January 2015 to May 2016, suggested the party's leadership had worked to sabotage Sanders' presidential campaign, prompting the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz before the Democratic National Convention. After the convention, DNC CEO Amy Dacey, CFO Brad Marshall, and Communications Director Luis Miranda also resigned in the wake of the controversy. On July 25, 2016, the DNC issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders and his supporters, stating, "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," and that the emails did not reflect the DNC's "steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process." Later revelations by the interim chair, Donna Brazile, allege that Clinton took control of the DNC due to bailing them out of a financial crunch, granting her campaign more control over how revenue was spend. This included withholding funds from House and Senate candidates to focus on Clinton's bid. But the damage was done, likely resulting in Hillary Clinton's loss to Trump thanks to disgruntled Sanders supporters either voting for third-party candidates, or sitting out the election altogether. Post-election, the topic of the 2016 primaries is still a bitter hot-button issue, with both sides blaming each other for Trump's presidential victory. A lot of progressive critics of the Democratic Party argue that they still refuse to acknowledge why Hillary lost.
    • Some of the divisions are still there in regards to healthcare. In September 2017, Sanders and 15 Senate co-sponsors (some of whom are seen as up and coming stars of the party) submitted the "Medicare for All" bill, a single-payer healthcare plan. The bill also covers vision and dental care, unlike Medicare. But it has significant opposition from establishment Democrats. There was also the feud between Sanders' loyalists and Ellison supporters, who were among the officials ousted by Tom Perez amid an ongoing intra-party feud. The moves have drawn criticism from the progressive-leaning Democrats who feel the staff shakeup is retribution for their opposition to its new Chairman Tom Perez during February's 2017 chairman race, in which neoliberal Tom Perez was picked over progressive Keith Ellison (and because Perez was a late entry in the race, this made some think he'd entered just to stop Ellison from winning), which itself was a huge bitter holdover from the 2016 primaries. If anything, the decade has been a massive case of We ARE Struggling Together for the DNC, with some fearing a second Trump win.
    • The primary election also caused division among black voters, especially among black millennials who (like many others in their generational group) largely supported Sanders while older black voters were firmly behind Clinton. Millennial voters were polarized into three factions - those who supported Clinton, those who supported Sanders, and those who were disillusioned altogether thanks to all the candidates' flaky stance on African-American social issues such as criminal justice reform. Clinton supporters argued that there was too much at risk to support Sanders or third party candidates, saying that it was important to vote Clinton and keep mobilizing as Democrats as "harm reduction"note , hence why any political discourse regarding criticism of Democrats almost always leads to push back. Sanders' supporters argued that supporting Clinton meant more of the same harsh criminal justice policies that effected black communities and have no interest in the notion that black people must keep voting in establishment Democrats as harm reduction, when they've done nothing beyond cause harm, or barely address their erosion of rights. Trump also gained more of the black vote than any Republican candidate to date, attempting to tap into the large wave of African-American dissatisfaction with Democratic leadership.
  • If the 2016 general election could be defined by one word, that'd be mudslinging: Both Trump and Clinton attacked mutually at every possible turn (the real estate mogul said the former Secretary of State should be in jail instead of the Oval Office, and the NY Senator claiming that Trump didn't have the temper to guide the nation), giving voters a bad perception with both, something exacerbated with the profusion of heavily-fictionalized news aimed to defame either candidate, if not outright libelnote . The campaign trail was also marked by the candidates' faux pas: Trump got entangled in tweetstorms against the the parents of a fallen Muslim-American soldier after they appeared at the DNC, and later with Venezuelan beauty queen Alicia Machado after Clinton mentioned her in the first debate (Trump having apparently humiliated her Hispanic roots during his days running the "Miss Universe" pageant), as well as suspicions about his business ties given his reluctance to show his tax returns (He actually avoided paying them for around 18 years after recording huge losses in 1995) and the leaking of a raunchy "hot mic" recording made in 2005 that led to a temporal estrangement between him and the GOP, which saw its Congress majority jeopardized after the incident, which seemed like it would end Trump's chances for good. Meanwhile Clinton was dogged by an FBI investigation into her use of an unauthorized private email server, as well by some WikiLeaks revelations that she had "two positions" on matters: One to tell the public and one for private matters, fueling long-held suspicions that she was untrustworthy. This was also coupled by the investigation itself, which many critics attacked as being a "sweetheart" investigation because many of the actors were granted immunity without providing much in return, data was allowed to be destroyed, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch having a secret meeting with Bill Clinton, who was also under investigation, during the investigation. There were later concerns about her fitness for the office after "blacking out" at a 9/11 memorial ceremony, a few days after she called Trump supporters "a basket of deplorables".
    • With stable economic data, President Obama's high personal popularity, a high organizational level and almost unanimous support from the media in addition to her political experience, Mrs. Clinton held a solid (if slim) lead in the polls, although both she and Mr. Trump were virtually tied by Election Day as the Donald recovered after the final televised debate at the same time Hillary's campaign was again facing FBI scrutiny. It was expected that the "Big Blue Wall" would provide a Democratic victory in the Electoral College. But the GOP claimed decisive swing states like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan (some of them had not voted Republican in decades), giving Trump 276 votes by 3 a.m. Eastern time on November 9. Note that Clinton led Trump in the popular tally by two million votes, which led to suspicions about hackers tampering the voting machines in three states (Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania), with calls for a recount made by the Green Party. Recounts were only taken in Wisconsin, and Trump ended up winning by one hundred more votes. The CIA also mentioned some suspicions about Russian involvement in the campaign, which were later referred to disinformation campaigns, rather than any actual tampering with the voting machines.
    • The 2016 campaign has also been noted for third-party candidates stepping into the spotlight, though not necessarily for the right reasons: Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein briefly made inroads until election day as okay-to-little better alternatives to the unpopular main candidates, only to have blunders of their own (Johnson became noted for his cluelessness regarding foreign policy, while Stein became criticized for her alleged opposition to vaccination and other anti-science policies). Nevertheless, independent conservative Evan McMullin led a campaign that briefly made the Trump camp nervous about Utah and Nevada without negative impact by media or tactical voters for being a better alternative for moderate Republicans.
      • And even despite being both scolded and attacked by both Clinton and Trump supporters as well as tactical voters throughout the election for being spoilers for both major candidates, they didn't do bad in resultsnote .
  • Following Donald Trump's extremely unexpected win in the 2016 Election, the backlash against him ironically grew even stronger than previously in his campaign, when there was more or less an equal divide in his supporters and detractorsnote . This was a very unconventional beginning, as most previous presidents usually went through a "honeymoon" period of massive favor before the public opinions changed, whereas mass protests broke out immediately after Trump's win. Actually, most Americans who protested have considered him an "illegitimate" President (because of him losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots, the claims that Russia was involved in his election, and/or his policies and personality), and though his approval rating among Republicans is around 75-80%, his ratings as a whole were down to a very low 30%, the lowest for an incoming President since polling began during the Truman administration, stripping Obama from this dubious honor by over a year (also getting the most hostile climate since his political mentor Richard Nixon took office in 1969, if not since the American Civil War) — and whereas approval ratings in the opposite party usually start around 40-50%, Trump has consistently polled in the single digits with Democrats (including in areas like transition and cabinet approval, which have tended to be at least around 50% in the past) This was not at all helped by several major blows to the presidency:
    • This was first triggered after tweets by him stating that the reason he lost the popular vote to Mrs. Clinton, the (somewhat) more popular candidate, was due to "millions who voted illegally", as well as that his crowd size at the inauguration massively eclipsed that of Obama's, neither of which was true, leading the White House to inform about "alternative facts" in the umpteenth battle between Trump and the "liberal media" (going as far to calling them "Demo spanners" and challenging NBC-TV's broadcast licence later in the year) and the "coastal elites". On the subject of tweets, in contrast to what was stated earlier in the campaign, Mr. Trump continued with the brash tweets he was so well known for. This time, however, his status as a president and the fact that many of these tweets were attacking celebrities or businesses who disagreed with him angered both supporters and detractors alike, especially those worried that the tweets could deteriorate international relationships to the point of engaging into war with certain countries.
    • In January and February 2017, he enacted a travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries. Although Trump claimed it was a measure to protect US citizens and their interests, it was immediately held as a violation of international law (White House officials defended the ban citing greater travel/immigration restrictions enacted in the past, ignoring all of these took place before WWII).
    • In March 2017, Trump tweeted that his predecessor Obama had personally wiretapped Trump Tower shortly before his election, insulting him for this. This caused a massive FBI investigation, despite the fact that no proof existed for this incident. In the end, aside from a few disregarded comments from proponent Nunes, it was definitively agreed that this didn't happen at all. Despite this, President Trump still constantly mentioned this "incident", going as far as to state that the British government assisted Mr. Obama with this. This, combined with mentions of the Clintons long after he beat them, has caused many to scold him for being revenge-seeking.
    • Around the same time as this scandal, it was revealed that Trump's National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, had illicit ties to Russia. More and more news surrounding the incident and an apparent Trump connection to Russia came out as the FBI decided to personally investigate Trump's ties to Russia and Putin, leading to Cold War-esque fears about Trump leading to a Russian domination. Further news coverage of the ties, such as Russian spies with ties to Mr. Trump, a large amount of his cabinet picks having ties to Russia, and a secret meeting with Trump and Putin officials in the Seychelles who created a server connecting the two.
    • In May 2017, Trump fired FBI director James Comey, allegedly for being "too soft" on Clinton. However, further revelations (including from Mr. Comey himself) showed that his dismissal was more likely motivated by his refusal to stop investigating the President's Russian connections, confirming the FBI's and the CIA's suspicions about the President. Whatever the case may be, many Americans called for the President's impeachment after these incidents, the White House enacting "contingency measures" in the case this happened. The fact experts consider an impeachment unfeasible until after the 2018 midterm elections have brought concerns for a potentially devastating political standstill. Congress then appointed an Special Commitee led by Robert Mueller, which eventually led to a number of former aides for Mr. Trump to submit, the Administration denying knowledge of their Russian contacts.
    • While Mr. Trump did promise to repeal Obama's healthcare bill and to cut spending, his proposals turned out to be too extreme, even for the staunchest conservatives, with his plan to decimate Medicare and Social Security (which would severely hurt the working class, ironically Trump's main base of support) to increase military spending and to finance his much-coveted wall. Despite these criticisms, though, Trump is still very acclaimed by a dedicated group of conservatives and economic libertarians.
    • Similarly, the Administration's proposed tax cuts immediately became extremely unpopular, being only supported by the GOP in Congress. This reflected a changed public attitude toward taxes after the 2008 financial crisis, especially considering that the 1986 tax cut passed with bipartisan support and was very popular, and though the 2003 tax cut eventually became infamous, it initially got public support.
    • Many Republicans have openly criticized Mr. Trump's "blowhard" attitudes, deeming them as a danger to democracy. The list includes former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush; the Reagan family; former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Bob Corker; former House Speaker John Boehner and former GOP candidate Mitt Romney, among others.
    • A white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting against the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue took a deadly turn when violent clashes broke out between protesters and counter-protesters broke out. Heather Heyer, a 32-year old local paralegal, was fatally run over and several others injured by a car driven by one of the white supremacists. Instead of being able to bring the country together over in times of a national crisis, Trump's failure to unequivocally condemn "white supremacist" groups, instead opting to blame "both sides" for the violence caused widespread condemnation, even among Republicans, and concerns that he was a Neo-Nazi sympathizer (even though his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren are Jewish), with polls on the matter showing his response went over as badly with the public as George W. Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina.note  The backlash led to several people and organizations severing ties with Trump: members of his advisory councils resigned en masse, forcing him to dissolve them; non-Orthodox rabbis cancelled a conference call with the White House scheduled for Rosh Hashanah; charities rapidly backed out of his Mar-a-Lago estate; artists who were supposed to be honored at the Kennedy Center Award boycotted the event as the sitting President generally attends, leading Trump to no-show as well; calls for his resignation or impeachment once again erupted; and demands re-ignited for his awards, honorary degrees, and "hall of fame" inductions to be revoked.
    • Mr. Trump also drew controversy by pardoning infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an Arizona-based sheriff who was convicted for defying a court order banning him from racially profiling Latino immigrants, an action condemned by immigrant and civil rights groups, and overseeing harsh conditions in prison facilities.
    • Trump's retweet of three anti-Muslim videos made by Britain First, a British far-right group (one of which was confirmed to be a hoax) also caused the first serious Anglo-American international incident in almost two hundred years, with calls for Trump to be banned from the UK (an idea that had been proposed as early as 2016).
    • Trump's all-out support for Roy Moore, the hard-line religious extremist candidate for the Senate in Alabama quickly became a liability for the President as Moore became embroiled in accusations that he had relations with underage girls when he was 30. The Democrats' "house cleaning", which resulted in Senator Al Franken's resignation, enabled them to make the election (and the 2018 mid-terms) a referendum on sexual politics. Upon Moore's defeat to attorney Doug Jones (making the latter Alabama's first Democratic senator since the 1990s, when its other senator, Richard Shelby, was initially elected as a Democrat before switching parties shortly afterwards), a motion calling for Trump's impeachment emerged on grounds of sexual misdemeanor.
      • Roy Moore's loss was immediately preceded by Democratic candidates sweeping several local elections, many of whom were made up of female, POC (persons/people of color), LGBT, and generally younger candidates. One of the most notable was the victory of then 33-year-old Danica Roem in Virginia's 13th legislative district, whose win quickly became a huge national news story as she became the first openly transgender person elected and seated to a state legislature in the US. What's more, her victory came against longtime incumbent Republican Bob Marshall, who proudly called himself the state's "chief homophobe", sponsored his state's version of the controversial "bathroom bill", and constantly referred to Roem using male pronouns, leading to stern criticism from moderate Republicans. Despite Marshall's many Moral Guardians-esque railings against her, Roem made no issue out of her identity, choosing instead to focus on local infrastructure issues, a strategy that clearly worked in Roem's favor.
    • In December 2017, Mr. Trump announced that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which had been attempted in vain during the Bush years. This was quickly interpreted by the international community as a reversal of Mr. Obama's attempts to grace the U.N.-sponsored "two states" solution in order to strengthen U.S.-Israeli ties, being rejected by all but 9 member states in the U.N., and a group of Arab countries retaliated by declaring the Holy City as the Palestinian capital.
    • In March 2018, the world's eyes turned to a congressional district outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Trump won by a large margin. A seat had just been vacated by Tim Murphy, a Republican lawmaker forced to resign because of a sexual scandal involving the use of public funds to pay for his lover's abortion. His successor, Rick Saccone unsuccessfully attempted to downplay the scandal while his rival, Democrat Conor Lamb made significant in-roads by appealing to moderate, inner-city Republicans pitted against Trump. After a tense election, Lamb won by a handsome margin, energizing Democrats ahead of the November mid-terms and leaving Republicans in a bad standing.
  • The Supreme Court has made four controversial rulings that will undoubtedly change the foundation of the American political landscape.
    • The first came in Citizens United in January 2010, which allowed corporations and wealthy donors to spend money on elections without disclosing how much or by whom they are donating. Supporters claim that spending money on political elections is a freedom of speech right. Opponents feel that having the rich and wealthy spend so much money on their candidates destroys the very idea of a democracy.
    • The second came in Shelby County v. Holder, their gutting of section three of the Voting Rights Act in June 2013. They claim the VRA in general is based on "obsolete" data, and that it encourages voter fraud, while critics have said that this will allow voting institutions to discriminate against people who can't afford Voter ID's (disproportionately Black/Latino and Democratic-voting).
    • Their third ruling is McCutcheon in April 2014, which allows for unlimited donations given to political candidates in elections.
    • The fourth came in Hobby Lobby in July 2014, which, like Citizens United, ruled that corporations can have religious beliefs, allowing businesses owned by conservative Christians to exclude abortions in their employees' medical coverage. Supporters of the ruling state that corporations are not responsible for paying for their employees' coverage. Opponents criticize the ruling as misogynistic and enforcing religious beliefs onto other people, stating that many working-class women can't afford the birth control pill.
  • While there were several extremely destructive hurricanes in the U.S. over the decade, by far the most famous and damaging hurricane of the first half of the decade was 2012's Hurricane Sandy. While it was not as severe devastation-wise as Hurricane Katrina, Sandy caused significant mayhem in the Eastern United States at the cost of over $63 billion, still easily taking second place. New York City and New Jersey were hit the worst, with power outages and the flooding in streets and tunnels causing flight cancellations and the two-day closure of NASDAQ. Even the subway station lines were flooded. Since Sandy, scientists and politicians alike discuss how climate change amplifies storms and sea level rise has had made the coasts (specially the East) less attractive. Meanwhile, citizens relocated from New York and other effected states to the South and the West Coast (from where quite a few of them came to the zone because of the mortgage crisis) because the storm was too severe, to the point you could read articles calling it "Superstorm Sandy" and "Frankenstorm". note 
    • For the second half of the decade, the worst hurricanes came in in 2017, when three destructive storms wrecked the United States. Hurricane Harvey was first, slamming into the Texas coast and due to its very slow movement caused unprecedented flooding in Houston. Then came Hurricane Irma, which hammered much of Florida and caused problems at a nursing home. But ultimately, the most infamous hurricane of the season was Hurricane Maria, which struck Dominica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Maria was notorious not only for its initial destruction but the very, very slow restoration of basic services (electricity especially) to Puerto Ricans. While there were many factors that figured into this (an unusually busy hurricane season overstretching FEMA's resources, longstanding infrastructure issues, etc.), the emergency response on the part of the United States was particularly and widely criticized, with President Trump's handling of the situation seen as comparable to President George W. Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina back in '05. Debates over the total death toll of the storm and how many deaths could be attributed to post-storm recovery problems warrant their own page at Wikipedia.
  • A series of wildfires swept through California in 2017, which, combined, burned about 1.3 million acres of land, or about 5,000 square kilometers. The largest one, the Thomas Fire, became the single largest wildfire in California's recorded history and spread through the land, nearly unstoppable for weeks. The Lilac Fire in San Diego, meanwhile, was notable for burning at a frightening speed, at up to one acre per second (or about 1 square kilometer every 4 minutes). Though the destruction was immense, including the demise of one major winery and numerous businesses and residences, the firefighters were able to save everybody except two, though one of them, sadly, was their own. What resulted, on the social side, were an increased awareness of the devastation that wildfires can cause in Californianote , and a renewed discussion on climate change, namely if this drought is the cause of it or not, though for various reasons, they won't be discussed here. One direct impact, certainly, was a change in fire insurance, namely that many areas were now no longer covered by them at all due to them being high-risk, creating a heated debate that has persisted long after the fires went out. Things went From Bad to Worse, though, as heavy rains early into 2018 caused mudslides in the burn areas that killed 18 people.note 
  • Heated divides and political rhetoric took an incredibly violent turn on June 14, 2017 (Trump's 71st birthday), when a man by the name of James Hodgkinson opened fire on Republican lawmakers while they were practicing for the annual charity Congressional baseball game that was to happen the following day. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot in the hip, and several others were shot before the shooter was fatally wounded by Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner. Mr. Hodgkinson was a fervent supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders, and known for his virulent anti-Republican rhetoric. Before the shooting, Hodgkinson was confirmed to have asked whether or not it was Republicans or Democrats practicing, and then opening fire when he learned it was Republicans. The act drew swift bipartisan condemnation and support for the victims, including a viral picture of the teams praying together at second basenote  when the game took place the next day. The New York Times attempted to link the political violence together with the 2011 shooting of Democrat Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, including the use of a map put out by a Sarah Palin-backed group putting a target over Giffords' district. But when it was pointed out that the shooter's obsession with Ms. Giffords predated the map, the paper had to issue an embarrassing retraction, and was later sued by Ms. Palin. Other news activists, like Joy Reid, were condemned for their takes on the shooting, including insinuating that Mr. Scalise deserved to be shot.
  • The election of Donald Trump has caused the rise of Right-Wing Militia Fanatic groups (also known as the "alt-right"), including gun absolutists, anti-abortion and anti-LGBT extremists, neo-Confederates, white identitarians, extreme misogynists, and even Klansmen and Neo-Nazis. Many of their activities and rallies have become more mainstream in American politics, and some of them have resulted in violence (such as the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally mentioned above). One of the major factors of this has been the support of Donald Trump from many of these groups and Mr. Trump's hesitance, if not outright refusal, to condemn their activities, with the few "condemnations" that he has given widely being seen as forced and insincere (especially since they usually involved deflection towards other groups on the political left). Not helping the matter is that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI under the Trump administration have shifted their resources to dealing with "antifa" and Islamic terrorism instead of white supremacist terrorism despite the fact that Americans are much more likely to be killed by far-right terrorism than any far-left or Islamic terrorism. Far-left terrorism is a relatively rare and recent phenomenon, with antifa groups mostly avoiding the use of life-threatening weapons like guns or vehicles (especially in North America); meanwhile Islamic terrorism, despite its frequency in Europe, has been very sporadic in the United States.
  • Faith in the press has taken a nosedive throughout the decade. While American trust for the media had been steadily declining since the 1990s, it took a serious hit in credibility during the 2016 election cycle, often polling at less than half the country believing the American news media will tell them news accurately. Among other things, reporters are often perceived as uninterested in problems outside of their cities, and having a far too cozy relationship with Democratic lawmakers. This was bolstered by hacked emails released from WikiLeaks, which showed news anchor John Harwoodnote  engaging in opposition research against candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson, describing NYT reporter Maggie Haberman as "friendly" to the Democratic campaign, and then-Politico reporter Glenn Thrush declaring himself a "hack" and submitting full articles to Hillary Clinton adviser John Podesta in advance of publication, something against his employer's policies. After Trump's victory, viral images of ABC anchor Martha Raddatz crying over the victory were circulated among conservative sites note . After the election, several high-profile failures of poorly-sourced and uncorroborated anonymous leaks, coupled with a repeated insistence by Trump about "fake news", has tanked the media's credibility, often polling at less approval than his own historically low ratings. The media's push to "rededicate" itself to fact-checking and speaking truth to power after the election rang hollow among listeners, as they wondered why they felt the need to claim so when that has always been their purview. It fueled many suspicions that the media was not as interested or rigorous in fact-checking the Obama administration, which even some reporters admit they didn't their due diligence. The editorial endorsement many news outlets have given to immigration reform and tighter gun control among other issues has led to even more allegations of biased reporting.
    • Things came to a fever pitch in early December 2017, when several major news networks, along with CNN, ran many false anti-Trump stories in one week.note  The networks were blasted for their errors, and many critics question why all of these "errors" are anti-Trump in nature. In early 2018, the Sinclair television group began running pro-administration pieces in their stations' newscasts, although it should be noted that most of them are affiliated with either ABC, CBS or NBC, leading to an evident sense of contradiction.
    • In May 2018, Mr. Trump referred to the murderous Salvadoran gang MS-13 (the "maras") as "a bunch of animals" when asked about Central American drug-lords. However, many media outlets used Manipulative Editing to make him refer as such to immigrants in general. While The Washington Post and the Associated Press deleted their articles and issued embarrassing retractions, many others insisted that treating warlords as animals was going too far. Shortly thereafter, many on the press published that the Israeli army attacked Palestinians unprovoked during the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. However, it turned out that most of the casualties were members of the terrorist organization Hamas, a fact that most of the media left out of their reporting, mainly to avoid said terrorists' wrath.
    • In late June 2018, a disgruntled man shot five people dead in the offices of The Capital Gazette, a newspaper located in Annapolis, Maryland. The shooter later said that he did so because the Gazette had printed a story about him being a sexual offender.
  • The 2018 midterm elections marked the homogeneization of the two main parties, as Trump strengthened his grip on the GOP, while the Democratic Party became an unabashedly progressive organization amid great controversy. On June 2018, Californian U.S. Democratic representative, Maxine Waters, urged attendees in a rally to confront and harass Trump administration officials following an incident where White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was turned away from a restaurant note . This led to a condemnation by Nancy Pelosi in regards to Waters's remarks, only for many Democrats and liberals to quickly call out Pelosi for her inability to stop Trump's policies, which they agreed to be far worse than anything Waters was doing.
    • Likewise in the same month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old democratic socialist, defeated the incumbent Democratic moderate Joseph Crowley, the fourth highest ranking member of the Congressional Democratic leadership, in the New York 14th Congressional district's Democratic primary in the Bronx and Queens. Prior to Crowley’s surprise defeat, these uprisings have largely failed at the primaries, with the socially-conservative Chicago Democrat Dan Lipinski surviving a challenge from a progressive, two other New York representatives holding on in their primaries, and moderate governor candidates winning primaries in New Jersey, Virginia, and Illinois. This has led to more infighting between the Sanders and Clinton wings in future primaries, including a race in Boston where Mike Capuano faces progressive challenger Ayanna Pressley, the New York governor race between Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon, and the insurgency against the Empire State’s Independent Democratic Caucus, who caucus with Republican state senators. Pressley was successful, but Nixon was not.
    • Two progressive Democrats surprisingly became national sensations while challenging notoriously conservative Republicans in "solid red" battlegrounds: In Texas, the El Paso based congressman Robert "Beto" O'Rourke based his Senate campaign on the long-standing discrimination endured by the state's growing Hispanic population, said discrimination embodied (ironically) this time by Cuban-American Ted Cruz. When it was found out that Mr. O'Rourke had a brief career as a punk rocker, he rose to nationwide prominence. Meanwhile in Florida, African-American Andrew Gillium ran for Governor against the staunchly conservative Ron DeSantis on a platform emphasizing Medicare and the state's fraught race relations in the aftermath of the death of Trayvon Martin. While both were narrowly defeated, their campaigns symbolized the growing divide between urban and rural voters.
    • On November 6, the Democrats wrestled back control of the House after eight years. The results were a Democratic recapture of the House, with a net gain of 40 house seats and 7 governor's mansions. The Senate, meanwhile, remained in Republican hands. Both results were in keeping with statistical modeling of polling data. The Democrats' strong fundraising and polling in the generic Congressional ballot, and recent court-mandated redistricting schemes, were such that there was speculation that the party could overcome years of gerrymandering to reclaim the chamber. The results supported that claim, amid speculation that depressed turnout among black voters and youth voters would blunt the blue wave. Instead, the Democrats had the largest net gain in seats since the midterm elections of 1974. In the Senate, the map was far less favorable for the Democrats, as they were defending 22 seats, including 10 in states which President Trump won in 2016, while the GOP was defending 9, of which only one, Dean Heller’s seat in Nevada, was in a state that supported Clinton. The Senate map was such that the election cycle began with speculation that the GOP could rout the Democrats and claim the coveted, veto-proof 60 seats. This did not occur. The Democrats lost seats in North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana, and fell short in closely watched races in Texas and Tennessee, but also picked up seats in Arizona and Nevada in close contests and narrowly held on to seats in West Virginia and Montana. By November 12th, one week after the election, only two races, Florida and Mississippi, were uncalled; with the former headed into a recount, and the latter into a runoff. The GOP ultimately won both, with Florida's outgoing governor Rick Scott edging out a victory on the backs of strong support from rural republicans and the booming retiree population, while cutting into heavily Hispanic areas that Trump did poorly in, while Mississippi's Cindy Hyde-Smith consolidated her coalition with supporters of her controversial rival Chris McDaniel. Thus, they enlarged their majority by 2 seats, a paltry number considering how many opportunities they had to claim a larger majority, and putting the Senate within reach of the Democrats in 2020 and 2022, where the Republicans are defending dozens of seats. National news stations earned progressive ire by claiming the results were not a blue wave — and in fairness, on Election Night, it didn't look like one. But with mail-in ballots being the preferred method in several key states, Democratic votes flooded in throughout the night and more than a week afterward, adding up to the list of Democratic House victories and earning them some surprise wins in the Senate. Media discussion turned, predictably, towards a narrative of how the Democrats would use their newfound majority in the House to stymie President Trump's agenda, the blue wave no longer in doubt.
    • Notably, Barack Obama became a rarity among former Presidents for being a key part of the Democratic campaign whereas Clinton and Bush were snubbed by their parties in 2002 and 2010 respectively (Obama himself being repudiated in 2014).
  • On November 7, 2018; the day after the midterm elections, Jeff Sessions resigned on the request of President Trump.
  • After a year-long battle with brain cancer, U.S. Senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain died on August 25, 2018 (4 days before his 82nd birthday). In his last requests, he'd excluded President Trump, who'd insulted his service during the 2016 election season, from attending his funeral, and invited former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both former opponents, to speak at his funeral, instead. McCain's passing seemed to mark an End of an Age as he was among the last prominent Republicans prior to the rise of the Tea Party at the start of this decade.
    • This sentiment was further reinforced by the passing of former President George H. W. Bush on November 30, 2018 (seven months after his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush, passed on), thus becoming the longest-lived US president (Jimmy Carter, who was born only a few months later, later surpassed him). His passing also left his son, George W. Bush, the last remaining Republican former president.
  • Republicans have also had their share of infighting in congressional primaries between establishment Republicans and the Trump wing of the party. There was the Roy Moore insurgency in Alabama, which became a liability after child molestation accusations popped up, Corey Stewart’s victory in the Virginia Senate primaries, and two other representatives in the Carolinas, North’s Robert Pittenger and South’s Mark Sanford, falling in their primaries to more conservative challengers in Mark Harris and Katie Arrington. None of these races got nearly the same buzz as NY-14, which virtually nobody was even talking about before the results actually started to roll in. In fact, all eyes in New York were on the 11th district’s Republican primary between moderate incumbent Dan Donovan and conservative ex-rep and felon Michael Grimm. Donovan survived thanks to a Trump endorsement and the race quickly fell out the spotlight once the 14th district stole all of the thunder. Both the New York and South Carolina districts surprisingly flipped to the Democrats in November, although Republicans narrowly held on in the North Carolina seat before the election was invalidated due to fraud concerns.
  • On October 22, 2018, various bomb packages were sent to several critics of President Trump: including CNN, various Democratic politicians (Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kamala Harris, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Maxine Waters), liberal investors George Soros and Tom Steyer, actor Robert De Niro, former CIA Director John O. Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The suspect of the bombings, Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr., was arrested for the attempted bombings and was well-known in Facebook and Twitter for his strong support of Donald Trump and making various threats against critics of Donald Trump (alongside with his white supremacist views according to his former boss of a pizzeria and a violent criminal history). While no one was injured in these bombing attempts (since many of the bombs never detonated) and the attacks were condemned by the Trump administration; President Trump has faced criticism for his partisan and violent rhetoric in his rallies that encouraged acts of terrorism against news organizations and political opponents.
    • To make matters worse, the day after Sayoc's arrest, a gunman stormed a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on a Saturday morning (while several services were going on) and managed to kill 11 people before being captured by police. He explicitly targeted Jews due to his belief in various anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, namely one that Jewish people were the key architects in the pro-immigration movement to try and rid the country of white people, resulting in what the Anti-Defamation League confirmed was the deadliest attack on Jewish people in United States history and the latest mass shooting in 2018. This further caused people to question whether politicians and the media (especially online media) were doing enough to stop the spread of disinformation and scapegoating. The shooter, Robert Bowers, actually opposed Trump because of his Jewish family members and support of Israel, but Trump was still criticized because of his hardline immigration rhetoric that Bowers cited as the motive for his attack. Because of this, Gab, a social network frequented by the far-right that Bowers posted on, was temporarily shut down.
    • Not helping matters was a third, under-reported attack where a white supremacist gunman in Louisville, Kentucky tried to break into a black church, and when he failed took out his anger on two random black people at a nearby supermarket.
  • Voter suppression has become a major issue in recent elections, primarily targeting ethnic minorities that primarily vote for Democrats (mostly African-Americans and Latinos). North Dakota had a strict voter ID law was overturned because it effectively disenfranchised Native Americans from voting note ; the law was largely seen as an attempt to rid the state of its Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp (which was successful, although she was widely expected to lose in the first place). One infamous case of massive voter suppression is in Georgia, where Georgia's Secretary of State Brian Kemp removed half a million voter registration on voter rolls, where many of whom still live in the state of Georgia while holding up more than 53,000 voter applications, many of whom were African-Americans. His role as Secretary of State conflicted with his run for Governor in Georgia, which his voter suppression efforts had led to his narrow victory against his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams. Further complicating the matter is that Kemp called for an investigation on the Georgia's Democratic Party, accusing them for cybercrimes, which was seen as an attempt to silence his critics.
  • From December 21, 2018 to January 25, 2019, the United States government suffered the worst partial government shutdown in history; it has become the longest government shutdown, surpassing the 21 day shutdown in 1995-1996, and the first government shutdown to last over a month for a total of 35 days. The shutdown was caused by in-fighting between Donald Trump and the then-Republican controlled Congress when Congress failed to pass an appropriate spending bill that included $5.7 billion for funding the border wall and strengthening border security. This resulted in 800,000 government workers furloughed or forced to work without pay. This government shutdown has caused a negative ripple effect in the country, with airports beginning to suffer from long security waiting times due to TSA officers calling off work and flights being cancelled due to the underfunding of the Federal Aviation Administration, as air traffic controllers working without pay. The shutdown also caused many national parks, zoos, and museums to close or be left open without any services (resulting in trash buildup in various national parks across the nation) as well as having a negative impact on poor Americans with food stamps running out and apartment tenants being forced to pay their rent or face eviction due to the lack of funding via Section 8note . The negotiations to end the shutdown had led to a stalemate with political bickering between newly appointed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump. Pelosi demanded Trump reopen the government before border security negotiations could come into table, while Trump demanded funding of his border wall; Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow the House bills to reopen the government to come onto the Senate floor (due to the fact that many of them would face a Trump veto). The shutdown came to an end on January 25th, 2019, when there were reports of understaffing of air traffic control in three major airports (Philadelphia, Newark, and LaGuardia Airport in New York City), which led to flights grounded and delays. This resulted in Donald Trump and the Democrats agreeing to temporarily reopen the government without the border wall funding for three weeks to allow breathing room for border security discussions, although Donald Trump has threatened to shut the government down again or declare a national emergency if the border wall isn't funded by Congress.
    • On February 15th, 2019, another government shutdown was avoided when President Trump reluctantly signed another spending package that did not include funding for his border wall. This has led Trump to declare a national emergency on the Southern Border in order to secure funding for his wall. As a result, this has led to lawsuits from 16 states and civil rights organizations filing lawsuits claiming the national emergency as unconstitutional. Republican leaders were wary about Trump's national emergency declaration, as they are concerned about the declaration can be used a precedent for future presidents (particularly a Democrat) for declaring national emergency through future executive orders. This has led to Congress passing a resolution that would overturn Trump's national emergency declaration with 12 Republican Senators siding with the Democrats (although both the House and Senate did not have enough votes to override Trump's veto).
  • On January 18th, 2019, Covington Catholic High School, an all-male high school located in the outer Cincinnati suburbs in Kentucky, was caught in a controversy when a short video clip showed a group of students attending a March for Life rally in Washington D.C. supposedly taunting and mocking a Native American Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran, Nathan Philips, who was attending the Indigenous Peoples' March. The video shows the high school students wearing Trump's "Make America Great Again" hats with one of the students, Nick Sandmann, making a smirking face in front of Nathan Philips. The students in this incident were condemned for their racist behaviornote  which led to the high school and several other Catholic institutions in the Northern Kentucky region locking their social media accounts as a result of the incident. However, a longer video was later released, revealing that there was verbal altercation between the high school students and a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, and that Nathan Phillips allegedly approached the students to try and defuse the situation (Word of God claims that he was drumming and chanting a song that was supposed to calm down the bad situation). Regardless, the video led to conservatives, including Trump himself, going to social media to defend the students, but liberals still insist the students deserved to be condemned due to their supposed disrespect to the Native American elder who was supposed trying to defuse an altercation, with videos alleging the students harassed several women appearing a few days later and casting doubt on the students’ innocence. People have also shone a light on other past Covington Catholic controversies, such as the fact that a then-recent graduate was involved in a rape or that several students acted like they were in blackface during a "black-out" basketball game in 2011 against a largely African-American opposing team, as well as former students alleging they suffered severe bullying that never got disciplinary actions from the teachers and faculty. Phillips's military history has also been called into question due to vague statements he made in past interviews, in which he referred to himself as a "Vietnam-era veteran" or a "Vietnam-times veteran", and it was revealed that he went AWOL three times and received a regular discharge from the Marine Reserves (as opposed to an honorable discharge). Soon after the controversy broke, Nick Sandmann in particular sued many media outlets for defamatory reporting, Nathan Philips himself, and many left-leaning Twitter personalities for their behavior towards him and other Covington kids.
  • On March 2019, the United States education system was shaken by the largest bribery and corruption scandal involving at least 50 famous businesspeople, coaches, and actors and is the largest of its kind to be prosecuted by the Justice Department. It involved several of the wealthiest families in the United States paying bribes to SAT/ACT proctors and administrators in order to embellish SAT/ACT scores to secure admissions for their children in eight universities and colleges. The scandal involved William Rick Singer, college counselor and CEO of college prep company The Key, who arranged the bribes to manipulate the test scores. Some of these bribes were even disguised as donations to a charity and various photos were manipulated for applicants in order to secure college admissions for sports teams. Some of the famous people involved include Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her daughter Olivia Jade Giannulli (who had even made a Youtube post for "not caring about education"), Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy. As a result of the scandal, University of South California stated it will deny applicants that were involved in the cheating scandal and three companies severed ties with Lori Loughlin and Olivia Jade Giannulli; and several people involved in the scandal has been arrested for mail fraud and money laundering (including Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman). The scandal also highlighted the economic inequality of education in United States, as wealthier, predominantly white families were able to manipulate the system in order to get their children into the most prestigious colleges while lower class and less privileged families (particularly racial minorities) with hard-working children were often denied admissions to the said prestigious colleges due to their social status.
  • After 22 months of investigation, arrests, indictments of associates close to Donald Trump (including Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and Roger Stone), Robert Mueller finished his investigation and turned in his full report to Attorney General William Barr. William Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress on March 22, 2019, and concluded that while the Russians did interfere with the 2016 presidential election to help Trump get elected (i.e. hacking of the Democratic National Convention servers and Hillary Clinton's personal email, and Playing Both Sides with disinformation and fake news), but did not conclude that members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to get Donald Trump elected nor did it conclude that Donald Trump himself obstructed justice. The GOP and Donald Trump responded by declaring the president exonerated from any crimes and used the findings to try and discredit his political opponents and news media. Democrats, meanwhile, called for the release of the full Mueller report to the public, calling out the suspicion on William Barr hiding important details of the Mueller investigation.
    • However, a redacted report later revealed various details of his investigation which left a lot of ambiguity to the investigation. The Mueller report revealed that there is sufficient evidence that the Russian government tried to interfere with the 2016 election to get Donald Trump elected. At the same time, Mueller wasn't able to conclude that Trump commit a crime because he wasn't able to gather sufficient evidence that Trump and his associates willingly coordinated with the Russian government to get himself elected, but it did not exonerate Trump on obstruction and questioned Trump's innocence. The report also revealed several attempts by the Trump administration to interfere with the investigation and links between Trump's close associates and the Russian government, but the special counsel wasn't able to charge Donald Trump on a crime, stating a Office of Legal Counsel guideline in the Department of Justice stated that a special counsel cannot indict a sitting President for a crime and the responsibility should be handled by Congress with a footnote referencing to impeachment (which Mueller later reinforcing that a president can be charged for a crime after leaving office). This has led a divide within a Democratic Party. Several senior members of the Democratic Party such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are more cautious on the idea of impeaching Donald Trump and noting the potential political backlash on impeachmentnote ; while several junior members of the Democratic House of Representatives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib and several Democratic presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have called for impeachment, citing Trump's wrongdoings according to the Mueller report. The Republican Party, however, are mostly unified on the issue of impeachment and the report, stating that the report did not have enough evidence that would warrant an impeachment inquiry and the report cleared Donald Trump from any wrongdoings note . The Mueller report and calls of impeachment is probably the most divisive issue in modern U.S. politics.
  • In 2019, the United States has suffered one of the worst measles outbreaks in the countrynote . The cause of the measles outbreak is primarily started in communities that have shown hesitancy of vaccinating their children, most primarily because of the widespread conspiracy theories regarding to the MMR vaccines in the Internet, such as the widely debunked myth of the MMR vaccine causing autism.
  • Once Brett Kavanaugh got onto the Supreme Court, various "heartbeat bills" were passed in various states as vehicles to send to the court in hopes of overturning the iconic Roe v. Wade case and make abortion illegal in United States (as Kavanaugh is widely expected to be the deciding vote that his predecessor Anthony Kennedy was not). More specifically, GOP controlled state governments in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri passed some of the harshest "heartbeat bills" that completely bans abortion when a heartbeat is detected note , with punishment of jailing doctors who perform abortions and women who aborted their fetuses. Many of the anti-abortion laws have faced public backlash from civil rights groups and the American public, with many Hollywood celebrities, who have often used Georgia as a filming location, threatening to stop working in the Peach State unless the law was repealed. The backlash against the "heartbeat bill" really ignited after Alabama passed its version, as it made abortion on the basis of rape and incest illegal and can potentially jail women who miscarry, destroying all the goodwill the state got from liberals and progressives for keeping Roy Moore out of the Senate. Even Pat Robertson, a conservative televangelist who's known to be vocal against abortion and wish to see Roe v. Wade overturned, finds many of these bills to be too extreme.
  • In Canada, the Conservative Party, led by Stephen Harper, won a majority government in the 2011 election, after years of minority governments. While leading to a continuation of Harper's center-right policies, the election also saw the dramatic rise of the once-perpetual third-string New Democratic Party led by the late Jack Layton. It also saw the collapse of the Bloc Québécois, a party that promotes Quebec sovereignty, which was reduced to a record-low four seats, not even enough for official party status. The centrist Liberal Party was demoted to third party rump for the first time in their history, prompting the election of center-left moderate Justin Trudeau (son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) as party leader and succeeds getting party back to be returning it's former historical position to beat Harper. Finally, a Green Party candidate (Elizabeth May) was elected for the first time ever. After Mr. Layton's death, the similarly center-left Thomas Mulcair was picked to head the NDP, becoming Leader of the Opposition as a result.
    • Eventually, Stephen Harper's ideologically driven policies, ranging from the unnecessary to the nonsensical, and his haughty attitude imposing them created so much resentment and hatred of his government that the 2015 election was obviously going to be an uphill battle for him. To head that off, and in hoping to finish off the Liberal Party for good, Harper had its new leader, Justin Trudeau, the son of the iconic PM Pierre Trudeau, lambasted continually in a long Scare Campaign as a worthless lightweight. Unfortunately, that campaign backfired with Mr. Trudeau given some very low hurdles to impress the public with his articulate intelligence and irresistible charm pushing a very left-wing platform promising to end years of austerity. When Mr. Harper stooped to scapegoating the minuscule number of women who wear the niqab face covering as a wedge issue, complemented with the obviously xenophobic "Barbaric Cultural Practices" tipline proposal, the Conservatives found that it hurt the competing NDP more with the "Kick Harper Out" vote coalescing around the Liberals instead. Come election day, the Liberals leaped from third place to first with a majority government with Justin promising "Sunny Days" to restore as much of the Canada of his father as he can.
    • Let's elaborate on the issue of Quebec separatism. In control of Quebec via a minority government in 2014, the Parti decided to throw a Hail Mary by introducing a "Charter of Quebec Values," which would (among other things) force public employees to remove religiously significant clothing and symbols to encourage a "secular" society (even though Quebec is already secular to begin with). This ignores the large crucifix that hangs in the provincial parliament, mind you. Now, the idea was apparently meant to rally Quebeckers around a French Canadian identity, since the removal of religious symbolism would be portrayed as passive aggressive pseudo-civil disobedience towards the federal government. The Parti Quebecois hoped to manipulate this sentiment into nationalist anger when the federal government inevitably challenged the charter's constitutionality in court. Although religious minorities and human rights sympathizers condemned the move, there was enough public support for the idea that the minority government called an election in the hopes of winning a majority. However, the Parti Quebecois' campaign went off the rails within a week of the campaign's start; their star candidate declared that he wanted to fully separate Quebec from the rest of Canada should he get elected, and the Bloc fully embraced that position. Predictably, most of the electorate, especially the youth, balked at the idea of revisiting the inevitable turmoil of a third independence referendum, and the party's support fell apart overnight. As a result, the federalist Liberal Party won a solid majority, dealing what could well be a fatal blow to the Parti Quebecois. Separatism of any kind will more than likely be treated as political poison from here on out. For instance, the separatists have proven so desperate that the next leader of the Parti Quebecois was the very man who torpedoed their last election, while the federal Bloc Quebecois has shriveled so badly that the very leader, Giles Duceppe, who led the party to that state of ruin, and resigned for that, was reappointed leader of the remains because there was no one else. In the 2015 federal election, the BQ more than doubled its seats from 4 to 10, but it was not enough for official party status and Duceppe himself was defeated, leading him to resign the next day. As a result, the separatist federal voice is still crippled with Quebec separatists desperately clutching at straws like the Nostalgia Filter of their 1995 referendum defeat to try to drum up any new support for their cause.
    • On a lesser note, in the province of Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne managed to not only win an general election for her party beset with scandal and unpopular policies, but she became the first openly gay leader of a major government in an English speaking country. More importantly, although her Ontario Liberal party was beset with controversies and scandal while facing a troubled economy, Ms. Wynne's sexual orientation was a complete non-issue in the election campaign. That in itself became a retrospective point of pride for Ontarians to do what would have been unthinkable twenty years before. Ironically, it did become an issue when this new majority government reintroduced its new sex-ed curriculum for the public schools that previously got shot down by religious groups who spooked the previous premier. When they tried to kill it again, one MPP in the opposition snarked that Premier Wynne is especially unfit to dictate such educational policy. The premier asked him point-blank why she: a mother, a former school board trustee and the former Education Minister, was not qualified to update this material; he could not answer considering he would be forced to state that it's because she's a lesbian, a statement that would have been political suicide.
      • Wynne's past successes have soured by 2018, as provincial polling in Ontario indicates that her government is headed for a historic Curb-Stomp Battle after the Liberals have held power since 2003. In no small part, this largely appears to be due to a ballooning budget deficit, whereby Ontario is now the most heavily indebted sub-sovereign jurisdiction in the world, not to mention cutbacks to essential services, skyrocketing costs for electricity, and the abrupt selling-off of the province's power distribution system (Hydro One) when Liberals are generally considered left-leaning by the public and not generally in favor of free-market privatization. Time will tell whether the Liberals' poor position in public opinion either remains the same, gets worse, or rebounds before the provincial election arrives in June 2018.
    • Alberta politics was turned on its head in May 2015 when the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, who had reigned uninterrupted since The '70s, went down to defeat due to accumulated arrogance and mismanagement. You would think that their replacement would be the Wildrose Party, which had been formed by conservatives disillusioned with the centrist drift of the PC government — but you'd be wrong, since the party that won a majority government in response was the left-of-centre Alberta NDP under new premier Rachel Notley, going from four MLAs before the election to more than fifty out of the 87-strong legislature. Bear in mind that Alberta is generally considered Canada's most right-wing province, and with good reason. The shock of the Alberta NDP's victory boosted the federal NDP back to the top of the polls nationwide, which turned out to be a Hope Spot until Justin Trudeau came along and turned the late 2015 federal vote into a Liberal Landslide Election. The prospect of further vote-splitting leading to future Alberta NDP victories has since led the Wildrose Party and the decimated PC Party to enact an Enemy Mine, merging to become the United Conservative Party (or the UCP).
    • Also on the provincial level, the Green Party made surprising gains in British Columbia, with their eventual three MLAs holding the balance of power in a BC NDP minority government since the 2017 provincial election. The Greens also made breakthroughs in the Maritime provinces, electing single members in elections in New Brunswick in 2014 and Prince Edward Island in 2015 to challenge both the local NDP and Progressive Conservatives as the alternative to the reigning provincial Liberals in recent years.
    • On October 17, 2018, Canada officially legalized marijuana, making them the second nation after Uruguay to do so, and also offered pardons to Canadians who'd been convicted of possessing 30 grams or less.

  • In Europe, protests opposed to budget reform in favour of debt reduction sprouted up almost everywhere, signalling an intensification of distrust in civil government that had been growing throughout the previous decade, with the mass opposition to the war.
    • Spain's grassroots protest movement, called Los Indignadosnote  began on May 15th, 2011, when thousands of mostly-young Spaniards camped out in Puerta del Sol, Madrid's central square. A movement that was repeated all over the country in protest to the budget cuts and the insanely high levels of unemploymentnote . This inspired sit-in protests all over Europe and even the Occupy Wall Street movement itself. Partly thanks to many Spaniard expatriates living in the US that repeated the protest from Spain, thus catching the eye of many unsatisfied young Americans. The movement was then organised as a political party called Podemos, which cut into the base held by the social-democratic PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party). Meanwhile the right-wing PP (Popular Party, leading party since 2011) found a rival of its own in the liberal Ciudadanos movement. The result? The four organizations cannibalised each other twice, leaving Spain with no government between late 2015 and October 2016, when the Socialists decided to withdraw their intentions of forming a government, giving the PP free rein to hold onto office.
    • The country has been wracked by one of the most serious political/constitutional crises since Franco's rule. Catalonia, a province with wide autonomy, was dissatisfied with having to provide its substantial funds (Catalonia accounts for roughly 20% of Spain's GDP) and held an independence referendum on October 2017. Needless to say, Madrid's reaction was stern, to say the least, sending policemen to Barcelona in an attempt to quell the referendum, with widespread cases of police brutality recorded. After the results came in and were in favor of independencenote , Madrid gave an ultimatum to Barcelona to declare openly whether or not it is declaring independence, threatening the annulment of Catalan autonomy in case of a positive answer, which effectively happened at once. The Madrid government took control of Catalonia while the independentists fled to Belgium to lead a "government-in-exile" before surrendering in April 2018. The whole situation currently seemed for a time to be devolving into a Madrid-Barcelona spat with a tendency to turn into a Second Spanish Civil War while reaction from the European Union was lukewarm at best, partly due to the burgeoning secession movements (Veneto, Scotland etc.). It's also worth noting that a large drive for the Catalonian independence seems to originate with the Catalan business elites who wish to use independence to secure more profits for themselves, instead of paying taxes to bolster less prosperous Spanish provinces.
    • Spain was hit particularly hard by the crisis, but Portugal, Italy, Iceland, Ireland and Greece were hit even harder. In Greece, disillusionment with the major parties has led to a huge boost in votes for fringe parties, including the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn and SYRIZA, a coalition of Communists and other far-left groups. In the cases of Iceland and Ireland, conditions had since improved enough that they've avoided a Greek scenario (actually Ireland returned to the high growth rates of years prior). Meanwhile Italy saw both the rise of anti-EU movements like comedian Beppe Grillo's (vaguely) leftist (and initially parodic) Five-Star Movement and the rightist Northern League and even the brief return of Silvio Berlusconi to the spotlight with Forza Italia before being expelled from the Italian Senate following his conviction for tax fraud. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi quit on December 2016 after his proposals to change the Constitution were rebuffed in a referendum. In 2018, an unlikely Euro-skeptic coalition between the Northern League and the Five-Star movement was formed to provide a new government.
    • Belgium was also hit by an attack at Brussels' airport in March 2016. The country is not only known for being Europe's de facto capital, but also being the place where many Jihadist attacks were planned, including November 2015's onslaught in Paris.
    • In Switzerland, contingency measures for whatever may result from the aforementioned turmoil are already being plannednote  should the aforementioned turmoil on the Continent worsen; this has consequently led to a general increase of Euro-skepticism. Needless to say, huge social upheavals have taken place.
  • In the United Kingdom, the 2010 General Election returned a hung parliament (the first since February 1974, and the second since WWII), with no single party attaining a majority. This led to Britain's first peacetime coalition between the Conservatives (largely centre-right) and the Liberal Democrats (somewhat more centrist than the previous centre-left Labour government) and the implementation of austerity economics, including widespread cuts to government spending. The growing uncertainties in the Euro-zone once more revived, at least for among some segments of society, the question of Britain's role in Europe as well as plans for a 2014 referendum for Scottish independence from the UK. While the latter ended in the Scots rejecting independence by a margin of 10%, the former is still up for debate. The continuing economic malaise and the perception that the benefits of the limited recovery have only been felt by the rich has sparked an upsurge in popularity for populist parties, most notably the ultra-conservative UKIPnote  led by popular leader Nigel Farage, and the enduring popularity of the SNP note  had the ruling coalition concerned. But the economic recovery was just enough for Mr. Cameron to win a Landslide Election in 2015, no longer needing the LDP's help and giving Labour its most humiliating defeat since 1983. Both the UKIP and the SNP held large gains in the 2016 elections, while Labour was mired in its biggest crisis in years.
    • Like in the States, anti-'establishment' figures have emerged in this climate of discontent: Along with the UKIP's Farage and former London mayor Boris Johnson becoming the Tories' "Brexit" chief, "old-school" socialist Jeremy Corbyn took a devastated Labour Party by surprise, winning its 2015 leadership election with a populist agenda. This eventually led to a cold war with Corbyn, the MP's that support him and a large portion of the grassroot members on one side and the rest of the MP's on the other.
    • As the economic situation became more stable, the aforementioned doubts regarding the European Union (and its future) became more prominent, with the Cameron cabinet ratifying a referendum which would decide the UK's future in the Eurozone just after the 2015 election. The overflow of migrants from Africa brought a lot of tension with the rest of the continent, but the aftermath of the Paris bombings just worsened the already hostile climate towards migrants in Britain, primarily those from the Middle East, as well as increasing calls to send Brussels a "good riddance".
    • On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom voted "Leave", making the UK the first nation to decide to leave the European Union.note . On the same day as the final results came in, the pound plummeted to a 31-year all-time low (by as much as 10%) with the European stock markets taking a dive as well, and Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation (he then stepped down from Parliament altogether in September). The whole situation raised additional concerns as Scotland called for a second independence referendum and there were calls for referendums for Welsh independence and for Northern Ireland to join the Dublin Republic, meanwhile the Euroskeptic movements in Belgium, Netherlands and France also began voicing demands for their own -II-exit referendums, putting the whole European integration project at risk.
    • Political pundits have called post-Brexit politics "a mix between House of Cards (UK) and Game of Thrones": Mr. Johnson was tipped to replace Cameron in the Tory leadership as early as 2012. However he quickly dropped out of the race after Michael Gove announced his intentions to run. He came on third, trailing fellow Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom, who was herself far behind Theresa May, a member of the "Remain" camp who became PM on July 13. In spite of her moderate positions, Mrs. May pledged for a "hard" Brexit (thus leaving the Customs Union), calling an early election for June 2017 to maximize the Tories' electoral advantage.
    • Across the political spectrum, the cold war in the Labour Party boiled over. Jeremy Corbyn's already fragile grip as Labour's leader was weakened even further after numerous M Ps accused him of being hesitant to campaign for the "Remain" effort. A portion of the shadow cabinet resigned, trying to get Corbyn to resign. When it was clear he wouldn't, a leadership contest began, with Mr. Corbyn and Owen Smith as the candidates. Both are trying to appeal to the left of the party, with Smith supported by most of the MP's and Corbyn being supported by Momentum. There was also two legal battles, firstly to whether Corbyn would have to get nominations (as he was the incumbent, he didn't) and secondly whether the vote freeze for new members was fair. (It was originally ruled to be unfair but the Court of Appeals ruled it to be fair. It's unclear whether it'll go to a higher court)
    • While Britain had been a relatively safe place in both economicnote  and social terms during the decade (except for two major terror attacks and a race riot in 2011), even becoming the "cultural mecca of the world" and recovering (to an extent) the international relevance it had lost after the Black Wednesday crisis of 1992note , the aftermath of the Brexit vote radically changed this climate: During the summer, there were claims of a wave of "hate crimes", while terrorist acts became shockingly common, the gravest being a vehicular massacre near the Houses of Parliament, followed by a suicide bombing at Manchester (during an Ariana Grande concert) and another vehicular attack at the Tower of London and the Haymarket (and later a bombing in a London tube car). Concerns regarding the British economy surged after many firms announced their departure for Frankfurt among other cities on the Continent, while mounting costs forced the May ministry to cut spending, most notoriously in care for the elderly. This feeling of a sudden national decline hit the Tories hard, Mrs. May's gamble backfiring in the most humiliating way, failing to win a majority, only hanging on to power with a deal with the Euro-skeptic Irish Democratic Unionist Party, while Labour won far more seats than expected (most surprisingly upscale constituencies such as Kensington) and Mr. Corbyn became more accepted as party leader. The pro-European Liberal Democrats also saw an upsurge in contrast to the collapse of the UKIP and the SNP.
    • On top of all that, a blaze destroyed Grenfell Tower days after the election, which resulted in scores of casualties (including the residents of the entire upper floors), not to mention that more than a hundred people were left homeless. The disaster soon became a metaphor about the UK falling apart, marking a definite end to the "Cool Britannia" era that marked the early Blair and (later) the Cameron years, although it became obviously clear with the tragedy that this prosperity never fully came for many people, the fact such a shabby council building was merely miles away from the most expensive neighborhood in the world made it all more striking.
    • Strikes, once thought to be almost extinct after the Yorkshire and Wapping disputes of the mid-80s ended in defeat for the unions, have returned to the political forefront during the May administration. The main points of industrial action have been the NHS and the railroads. The NHS strike of early 2018 (which coincided with a cold wave) eventually ended with the government bowing to the strikers' demands, a first since the "Winter of Discontent" in 1979. However, the cost ended up swallowing the budget, giving way to fears of runaway inflation.
    • In June 2018, a government report pointed out that, unless the UK struck an advantageous deal with the EU, there was a grave risk that many supplies might run out as soon as two weeks after the country departed the Union, which might even lead to a military takeover—not that it would be the first time that the very notion of British democracy collapsing was pondered.
    • May's penchant for appeasing, never a good policy if history can tell, not only made an awful mix with her Thatcher-like "steely" disposition, making her look more like a Edward Heath-esque stubborn non-entity, but also gave her few if any allies inside her own party (her standing with the moderates being shattered by the "Brexit means Brexit" speech, while hard-liners later felt betrayed by her concessions towards the Brussels), barely surviving a censure motion and a confidence vote (which nevertheless gave the Parliament full control of Brexit, delaying the deadline to October, also causing a flood of resignations), after which her much-changed cabinet attempted a last-ditch agreement with Labour in order to face the EU. The government ended up conceding in every single issue except for the one Labour had wanted to talk about in the very first place (averting a no-deal Brexit). Predictably, Labour stormed out and threatened with another confidence vote. After the Tories ended up in fifth place in the European elections (the lowest ever for an incumbent government), and the government about to be toppled anyways by the imminent confidence vote, May decided to step down as Conservative leader. The ensuing leadership battle had Boris Johnson beating Jeremy Hunt, becoming PM on 23 July.
    • After failing to bring anti-Brexit Tories in line, Johnson took the unprecedented step of suspending Parliament on 28 August (which would effectively restrict its activities for a month's period), a move resisted by the opposition, which likened it to a "step towards a dictatorship". Westminster responded by wresting legislative control, denying Johnson both a no-deal Brexit and parliamentary recess (which would lead to new elections)note . Those Tories who voted against the Government lost the party whip, including former Chancellor Philip Hammond, Ken Clarke and Nicholas Soames (the latter being Churchill's grandson). Meanwhile, the Government lost its razor-thin parliamentary majority after one MP switched to the Liberal Democrats, and Johnson's younger brother Jo left the cabinet.
    • Politics in the UK have also been marked by scandal. The decade began with the aftermath of the MP's expenses scandal which ultimately brought down Gordon Brown's cabinet. And days after the Weinstein scandal shocked Hollywood, Westminster found itself with a sex scandal of its own, with numerous MP's being accused of sexual misdemeanor, to the point a cabinet minister resigned.
  • France had seen an increasingly divided and unsatisfied populace over the past few years as people have shifted to populists on both the far-left and far-right, especially made evident by the strong presence of the right-wing Front Nationale under Marine le Pen in election polls and becoming the country's third largest political party. President Francois Hollande was rocked by a worsening economic situation and an infidelity scandal that left him mired as the least popular European head of state (his approval rate hovering under 20% since late 2013, and under 10% since early 2014, and not more than 5% after the terrorist outbreak (see below)), being constantly pressured to resign.
    • The country has also been victim of two hard-hitting terrorist attacks in 2015. The first, in January 7th, targeted Charlie Hebdo (a notorious satirical magazine known for its mockery of Islamism), killing 11 and leaving another 11 wounded. Worldwide reaction was immediate, with "Je Suis Charlie" becoming the motto of the repudiation against the attacks. But in November 13th, there was a second attack with an onslaught of 7 simultaneous attacks which killed 138 people and injured 368, becoming the biggest attack on French soil since WWII and the worst in Europe since the Madrid bombings of March 11th, 2004, and the worst in the Western world since 9/11. In 2016, Nice became the backdrop to a somber Bastille Day as a truck rammed towards a park just after the midnight fireworks. The result was of over 75 fatalities and around 100 injured either run over or shot. This also led to a three-month extension of the emergency state in force since November, that was going to be lifted in the following week. Needless to say, this led to even more cynicism among the French.
    • In 2016, Monsieur Hollande became the first President of the Fifth Republic to choose not to run for re-election in the 2017 race. The ensuing elections became one of the most contentious and messy in French history, with the two main parties (the Socialists and the Republicans) picking unexpected candidates: The former chose hardliner Bernoit Hamon over moderate minister Manuel Valls, while the Gaullist Francois Fillon won over former President Nicholas Sarkozy. But neither got much attention (Hamon was considered a 'lost cause' while Fillon was affected by a nepotism scandal), the focus instead going to le Pen, capitalizing on the successes of Brexit and Trump; as well as two men who bolted from the PS with two very different views: Emmanuel Macron, a libertarian socialist and Jean-Luc Melenchon, an Euro-skeptic close to the Communists. By Election Day, there was a three-way tie with Madame le Pen and Monsieur Melenchon representing the "Old France", Monsieurs Macron and (to a lesser extent, fourth-place candidate) Fillon campaigning for a "New France". Macron won the first round by a larger margin than expected (although very small, 23.8 to 21.4) against le Pen, whose attempt to garner support from a terrorist attack days earlier backfired on her (the slain policeman turned out to be a progressive campaigner), narrowly beating Fillon (who had a much better showing than forecast) out of the runoff (he had around 20%), while Melenchon (who had seen his poll numbers surge) came out fourth with 19% (and Hamon? He got 6% if you want to know, even worse than expected). Macron handily beat le Pen in the run-off, while his recently-founded "En Marche" movement swept the parliamentary elections. Monsieur Macron's efforts have concentrated on reforming the country's infamous labour regulations, jealously guarded by the trade unions.
    • President Macron's tendency to spend more time abroad instead of France eventually caught up with him in late 2018, as people across the country protested against rising inflation, with a proposed tax on the country's infamously high petrol prices literally stoking the flames of discontent, led by the "yellow jackets", a far-left movement that nonetheless quickly aroused the support of the far right. Rampages of urban areas all over France intensified even after the tax was scrapped, soon becoming a weekly event. In response, Macron called for a "national convention" in the style of the Estates General (a key event of the French Revolution).
  • Germany had been relatively stable with Angela Merkel's coalition government until around 2015 with the Middle Eastern refugee crisis. This reached its breaking point in December 2016 when a truck rammed over a Christmas fair in Berlin, killing 15 in an attack the IS took credit for. Earlier in the year, a series of smaller scale attacks which included an Afghan refugee stabbing three people and a rejected Syrian asylum seeker committing suicide by blowing himself up outside of a music festival and at least two attacks by failed asylum seekers that were thwarted by locals (one by a group of Syrians) and authorities, fanned the flames. As a result, the far-right Alternative for Germany party has made large gains in the polls, getting in third place in the 2017 elections, which gave Frau Merkel a historic fourth term as Chancellor. However, her government soon became cornered by hard-liners and in 2018, she announced she would step down following the next election in 2021.
  • Relations between Europe and the U.S. saw a rebound during the Obama years but hit a stride back upon the election of Donald Trump, criticized by many of the continent's leaders because of his denouncing of the European Union and NATO, labeling the latter "obsolete" (he later backtracked on that, insisting instead that other NATO allies start paying their way more) and his affinity for Russia. In his May 2017 tour of Brussels, he attracted even more ire after refusing to back the NATO's Article 5 for Military Cooperation and pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement late that month.
    • Further complicating the matters with U.S. allies is the issue of trade. President Trump has a dim view on global free trade thanks to his protectionist economic policies and has threatened to pull United States out of NAFTA (particularly in regards to Mexico with the immigration issue and his proposed border wall with Mexico being forced to pay for it). In addition, the Trump administration announced that they will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on U.S. allies such as Mexico, Canada, and European Union, which the countries responded with retaliatory tariffs on the United States on various U.S. exports, thus sparking fears of a trade war and a possible second Great Depression.
    • While the Trump administration has been very hostile towards U.S.'s key allies, the same cannot be said for America's greatest geopolitical rival, Russia, with whom the Trump administration is much warmer. The administration has been reluctant to impose any sanctions on Russia that was supported bipartisanly in the Congress; and in the 2018 G7 Summit, President Trump proposed of readmitting Russia into the G7 summit, a proposal that was rejected by U.S. allies and even several top GOP lawmakers. note 
  • In February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to step down from the Holy See, the first time this has been done since the 15th Century. Benedict's replacement, Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio), is the first non-European Pope in over one thousand years (And also the first Pope of Italian descent since 1978, owing to being a child of Italian-Argentinians). Notoriously more liberal than the arch-conservative Benedict or the traditionalist John Paul II, in the course of just over a year he gained success in positioning the Catholic Church as a major social force on the world stage, even restoring some of its prestige in the West.
  • France legalized gay marriage in April 2013.
    • England and Wales followed suit and legalized gay marriage in July 2013.
    • In May 2015, Ireland became the first nation to legalize gay marriage by popular vote rather than by a judicial ruling or a parliamentary decision.
    • Germany would follow in 2017 after having allowed for civil unions.
  • Russia, however, stays vehemently conservative and reactionary under the still-ruling Vladimir Putin. The Orthodox Church enjoys greater and greater state support and has become more influential, while the protests of 2011-12 calmed down, and the ruling United Russia party is no longer under popular criticism, though only from a political standpoint (and that only in the international politics). They still get a lot of flack on the domestic front for being corrupt Obstructive Bureaucrats bent on banning this and regulating that. It doesn't help that at least a good deal of criticism coming from the West has little traction among the Russian populace at large, and most Russian opposition parties are just oriented on the reviled oligarchs, being so unabashedly Western-oriented that even their political advertisements are often produced in English first (and sometimes only) and are clearly aimed at getting the support abroad, not in their own land.
    • There is, however, a sort of grassroots movement for greater popular control on the authority, which managed to produce some result and a notable leader in the person of Alexey Navalny, a corruption-fighting lawyer and activist who in 2013 was nominated to the Moscow mayor election and came second. On the other hand he is a pretty controversial figure mired in scandals about his business profile (he was even indicted in the case of some tax shenanigans, but was sorta-acquitted later), his political views (due to his reported socializing with some reported Neo-Nazis), and favorite Russian political slander, accusations of being a Government's pawn.
  • Ukraine is locked in a civil war, with pro-European and pro-Russian factions engaged in a conflict in the East of the country. The former government was overthrown, the ex-president escaped to Russia, but the new revolutionary nationalist government still has very weak control over the country and especially Crimea, where a Russian-backed rebellion took control, declared independence from Ukraine quickly joined Russia — an event largely quietly recognized as fait accompli by the world at large. However, Russia's continued meddling in Ukrainian affairs and support of the rebels with weapons, supplies and personnel despite protests to the contrary has led to sanctions by the US and EU, which while slow to engage, are now starting to do damage. note \\
    • Once the movement to overthrow Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych took off in February, the story became international news. Attempts at compromise and negotiation have floundered with neither side willing to back down. Soon after the Crimea debacle the two Russian-speaking and most Russian-aligned Eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk followed suit, with the new Kiev government answering with the armed response. While initially sluggish, the civil war is picking up steam, with the Ukrainian government, unable to dislodge the increasingly proficient rebels with their inadequately funded and trained ground forces, resorted to the shelling and bombing of the rebel cities, leading to numerous civilian casualties. Refugees are already numbering in the thousands, and paramilitaries clashed in the cities of Odessa and Mariupol in the neighbouring South-Eastern provinces, which has led to the civilian massacres under the unclear circumstances.
    • Ukrainian media (and some Western ones following them) are widely accusing Russia on supporting the rebels, while in the Russia proper a government is leery of admitting that it is publicly providing this support — even though they've been repeatedly caught doing so — while a growing popular discontent is brewing against not providing it. Consequently, Russian-Western relations, already frosty after the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London, have soured, Western sanctions are well on the way to crippling the Russian economy (which, however, only seems to bolster Putin's support among ordinary Russians) and some are even claiming that this is the beginning of a new Cold War between Russia and the West.
  • Europe also has to face a mass influx of refugees. (Many of them fleeing from the civil war in Syria, but there are also many from neighboring countries.) The initial reactions of the different European countries are basically covering the whole spectrum of how one might possibly deal with such a situation, ranging from welcoming thousands of refugees with open arms at first to erecting fiercely guarded fences along the borders.
  • Austria came close to becoming the first European nation since WWII to be governed by a nationalist party. Norbert Hofer, of the Austrian Patriotic Front (FPO, founded by former Nazis) became the most voted candidate in the first round, then leading leftist candidate Alexander van der Bellen in the polls. However, van der Bellen got a surprise victory in the runoff after winning the mail vote as well as early voting (preferred by younger people and those living in cities, although political commentators also denounced that migrants also voted this way), becoming in the process Europe's first ecologist President, although only six months later as the FPO denounced the results, leading to a second election. Ultimately, in a "Shaggy Dog" Story for the FPO, Herr van der Bellen won by a larger margin (albeit, it was still very thin). However, in the 2017 legislative elections FPO won 51 seats, making them the third-largest party in Austria.
  • Norway was taken unaware by the July 22 attacks in 2011, and although the general feeling of support on behalf of the victims lingered - that is mostly the 69 people gunned down at the Labour Party Youth summer camp (as well as the eight bomb victims in Oslo) — the effect also was political. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, leading a left wing coalition, was blamed for sloppy security, and the words of the Breivik Manifesto, written as a kind of mish-mash by the gunman himself, actually stirred the anti-immigration sentiment in the country. The following general election in 2013 gave majority to a new right wing coalition, reigning to this day, although with great resentment from groups who initially voted for them. During this time, the anti-EU bloc has gained support as well.
    • Internationally, Norway has been a staunch NATO supporter, and participated in the US-led military campaigns, both in Afghanistan and Libya. This unconditional support, also in the question of Russia, which has a small border with Norway, is debated, also in strict constitutional terms (because the initial decision to join the Libya campaign earned some criticism because of the lack of constitutional procedure).
  • On April 11th, 2019, after spending seven years in political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Wikileaks founder and political activist, Julian Assange, was arrested by the British police after having his asylum revoked by the Ecuadorian governmentnote  and is waiting extradition from the United States for his involvement in leaking classified information with Chelsea Manning. The arrest was praised by many American politicians primarily for his involvement in the email leak of the Democratic National Convention during the 2016 presidential elections while many journalists and whistleblowers condemned the arrest, seeing as a precedent for many governments to suppress free press.
  • On April 15th, 2019, the iconic Notre Dame of Paris had its wooden roof and spire catch on fire during renovation work, resulting in both collapsing.note  While the wooden roof and its spire were destroyed, most of the cathedral's artifacts, the pipe organ, the rose windows, and most of the stone towers and structure remained intact, suffering only minor damage; and there were no recorded fatalities, making this one of the biggest miracles of monumental disasters in history.
    • However, the quick fulfillment of donations for repairing the Notre Dame drew the ire of the "yellow jackets" and became targeted.

    Middle East 
  • In the Middle East, the "Arab Spring" of 2011 saw long-standing dictatorships in Tunisia (Zine El Abidine Ben Ali) and Egypt (Hosni Mubarak) overturned by massive protests, sparking a wave of protests for democracy and/or Sharianote  across the region. Democracy is... unstable at best, however. While other countries have had government changes (like presidents not running for another term or ministers/cabinet members resigning), the main focus is in Egypt, Libya and Syria, the latter two of whom went into civil war. Gadaffi was overthrown in a civil war, while Bahrain and Yemen crushed the revolutionaries. Syria's crackdown on rebels quickly reached brutal and horrifying levels, and other countries have been highly reluctant to intervene. Only time will tell how this all plays out, especially where these countries' attitudes towards the West, and the United States of America in particular, are concerned.
    • While there were clashes between the protesters and police, Hosni Mubarak's defeat seemed inevitable. When he tried to impose a curfew, neither the military nor the police enforced it, beginning to side with the protesters. When he dissolved government and appointed a new vice president, people demanded that he should be dismissed as well. When he tried to get further crackdowns on the protesters, the military did not comply and demanded his resignation. When he said he wouldn't seek another term, but would live out his current tenure, he was forced to resign by the rest of his government, and he complied. The military took over for a period of six months until elections could be held. Mohammed Morsi, Mubarak's successor, was overthrown by a military coup on July 3, 2013, just a year after he was sworn in as the first democratically-elected president in Egyptian history. His tenure was affected by the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in politics, which caused a fierce opposition. As Morsi was a junior member of the Brotherhood high leadership, there was a sense he was taking his marching orders from the other Brothers and was ramming Islamist reforms down the throats of a country that wasn't entirely sure it wanted that (at the very least, many were quite ill at ease with his attempt to exempt his decisions from judicial review, the hurried procedures of the committee charged with drafting the constitution, and the confused process for the referendum to approve the new constitution). Indeed, it's possible that a plurality or even a majority of Egyptians supported the coup, as it more or less came at the demand of the Tamarrod (Rebellion) movement, calling for Morsi to make substantial concessions or leave by the anniversary of his presidency; when he refused to do either (in a speech that struck many as arrogant and overly partisan), the protest that was supposed to show up the morning of the 30th developed late on the 29th instead. That said, the military's subsequent crackdown on peaceful Brotherhood protesters drew international condemnation, leading many to refer to the ruling armed forces as a military junta.
    • Muammar Gaddafi, the dictator of Libya, began a violent crackdown on the protesters, unwittingly prompting the creation of the National Transitional Council, a centralized authority within the opposition so they could consolidate efforts for change in the rule of Libya. Much of the United Nations recognized the NTC as opposed to Gaddafi as the rightful government of Libya; even China and Russian switched their support to the NTC upon the fall of Tripoli. Facing military defections and government resignations, Gaddafi quickly lost Benghazi and Misrata, as well as several other cities, to the rebels, before his forces pushed back and retook much of the lost territory, even reaching Benghazi and Misrata. The United Nations Security Council issued a no-fly zone over Libya, allowing NATO to conduct military operations against Gaddafi's forces, including air strikes on Gaddafi's artillery, cruise missiles from submarines, an arms embargo and naval blockades. Tripoli, Libya's capital city, went under rebel control by late August, along with several of Gaddafi's sons killed or arrested, signaling the endgame of the civil war. The rebels began cleaning up the rest of Gaddafi's holdouts, including Bani Walid and Sirte, while Gaddafi's location remained unknown. At the climax of the Battle of Sirte, Gaddafi was found, captured and killed, ending the civil war. The NTC took over as an interim legislation for ten months (mostly by prosecuting Gaddafi officials while absolving opposition officials for their acts), before dissolving upon holding a general election for the newly-formed General National Congress (and new Prime Minister Ali Zeidan). In the wake of a post-Gaddafi era, the GNC's current job is to reconcile the factional infighting, sectarian tensions, economic issues and general lawlessness as Libya's first democratic government for over 50 years.
    • The international focus then shifted to Syria, where President for Life Bashar Al Assad was (and still is) facing his own civil war. Similar to Gaddafi, Assad ordered a violent crackdown on the protesters, who formed an anti-government opposition in an effort to consolidate all efforts against Assad. However, the opposition is mired in inter-factional infighting during the civil war, leading to Assad largely dominating the conflict from the outset. Poison gas was released, killing thousands of civilians, but nobody can decide if it was Assad or the rebels who released the poison gas - though most suspect it was Assad and his regime tacitly admitted such. Several nations, including Germany and the UK, have voted not to participate in military action against Assad, with concerns that US officials might wage a unilateral assault on Syria without UN approval. Syria is an ally of Iran, China and Russia, however, and Iran has said numerous times that they will retaliate if the US attacks Syria. After the Commons' "nay" vote, President Barack Obama called for Congress to vote on whether or not to attack Syria, although Secretary of Defense John Kerry went on record to say that the White House should attack Syria even in the event of a nay vote in Congress. When a reporter asked Kerry if there were other ways to handle the issue without use of military action, Kerry (accidentally) said "Sure, he could give up his chemical weapons, but I don't think he will." Cue Vladimir Putin announcing Assad's immediate agreement to dismantle and turn over his chemical weapons over to the United Nations. The chemical weapons and the facilities that produce them have since been rendered inoperable, and Russia returned to world politics as an "alternative power" to the West... but the civil war continued.
    • During 2016, government forces regained many important areas, eventually reaching Aleppo in December. An agreement to evacuate the city has been reached with the rebels, even though the attacks have continued intermittently.
    • In March 2017, Syria was attacked by a chemical strike, attributed to the Assad regime with the alleged behest of Russia. The U.S. replied with launching missiles towards key military positions, an operation coordinated with France and the UK. This happened again in April 2018, with both events sparking fears of a large-scale war.
  • In recent years, the international community began to endorse the establishment of a Palestine state more openly than merely invoking the UN's proposed "two-state" solution. During this time, Israel saw even the U.S. government under Obama criticizing them for their rather heavy-handed responses against the Muslims in the Gaza strip, which was seen as unthinkable back in the days of G.W. Bush. Upon his taking charge, President Donald Trump reversed Obama's policies, immediately taking an unashamedly pro-Israel stance in Middle East affairs, to the point he revived a Bush-era attempt to recognize Jerusalem as the country's capital, taking the American embassy to the Holy City. When the decision was announced in late 2017, only a handful of Central American countries supported the move (including Guatemala, which also opened its embassy in Jerusalem), while a group of Islamic nations stood to the U.N. to recognize Palestine as a member state. When the embassy opened in May 14, 2018 (the 70th anniversary of Israel's Declaration of Independence), Muslim protesters were shot down by Israeli forces, leaving over 50 demonstrators dead, further weakening Israel's international standing and strengthening the Palestine cause.
  • Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also faced numerous protests, starting when demonstrators gathered around Taskim Square against the tearing down of the last park in metropolitan Istanbul; it has since erupted into a larger protest against government corruption and authoritarian vibes emerging from the ruling AKP party.
    • Not helping Erdogan's position are also numerous allegations and accusations of covert trade and cooperation with ISIL/ISIS/IS. Most notable are the pictures showing oil truck heading from ISIS-controlled oil fields towards Turkey.
    • Further strain was put on Erdogan and Turkey due to an unreasonable pressure exerted on Kurds within Turkey and threats of outright invasion on Iraq/Syria if Kurdistan ever becomes a remote possibility. Add to that the shooting down of Russian fighter jet, and the situation in Turkey became even more critical.
    • And as a topping on the cake, in the evening of July 15, the Turkish army attempted a coup d'etat against Erdogan's government. While the military claimed to be upholding democracy and civil rights, a defiant Erdogan immediately called people in Ankara and Istanbul on the streets to oppose the army. The popular reaction finally prevailed, and the President quickly controlled the situation upon arriving to Istanbul. However, there were claims about Erdogan orchestrating a "self-coup" in order to rekindle his image.
    • The attempted putsch further strained Turkey's relations with the West, with Erdogan's threats to restore the death penalty jeopardizing the country's chances to join the EU. He also called for the extradition of a pro-Western leader who was an ally of the AKP before Erdogan reconfigured it as a nationalist, pro-Muslim party.
    • In December 2016, a policeman in Ankara stabbed the Russian consul to death in retaliation for the Syrian civil war.
  • After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was term-limited from running again, an election was held in June 2013 to choose a new Iranian president. The four hardliners unexpectedly split the vote, giving the election to the moderate Hassan Rouhani. With the goal of lifting foreign economic sanctions, Rouhani is looking to temper relations with America and the West, by acknowledging the Holocaust (his predecessor was a denier), releasing several political prisoners, calling President Obama himself by phone for a meeting and engaging in the first serious talks over the nuclear program. A pragmatist, Rouhani even expressed a desire for global nuclear disarmament and called on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which bans the signatories from having nukes; Iran signed it in 2015, leaving Israel as the lone Mid-East country not to sign it). While skepticism abounds, especially from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made every effort to torpedo the talks—much to the displeasure of his Western allies, and both American, Israeli, Saudi and Iranian hardliners, there is a sense of optimism that decades-long tensions will finally lessen between the West and Iran... This until May 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump carried on his promise to revoke the deal, which led Iranians to resume their anti-Western streak, debilitating Rouhani's standing.
  • In one of the most unpleasant sequences of events ever recorded in the 21st century, Iraq has returned to the forefront as a volatile flashpoint. The Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is a Shia in a majority-Shia state; he made his bones upon marginalizing the Sunni minority (many of who are part of the same sect as Saddam Hussein) while empowering his Shia constituents. Partly as a result, ISIS (no, not that ISIS — that one had to become the CIA), an extremist Sunni paramilitary group, has branched off from the Syrian Civil War and flat-out conquered most of western Iraq. The Kurds at the north have branched off into an independent fighting force, having taken control of the oil-rich north-east. The Shias remain in charge of their southern and central regions, while ISIS is taking control of all Sunni sectors. Note that ISIS already has huge swathes of Syria already under their control; the border between Iraq and Syria has since been effectively demolished, and many people fear a regional conflict is brewing due to spillover from the Syrian Civil War.
    • ISIS has since declared itself simply to be 'the Islamic State', shorted to IS, and has claimed the mantle of "Caliph" for its leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, accepting the allegiance of groups such as Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram. After the alarming scale of its military successes, its frequent displays of sheer brutality the filmed beheading of Western prisoners, crucifixion of Iraqis and the enslavement and attempted genocide of the Yazidi minority, and notable social media savvy in gaining recruits and spreading its message, an unorthodox alliance of Western air-power and Iranian ground troops checked its advance. The West engaged in a bombing campaign in support of the Kurds at the Battle of Tikrit, then the Iraqi military, while Iranian ground troops supported Iraqi forces, helped train Shia militias and together, managed to turn the tide. However, the bombing campaign is only taking place in Iraq, with some members of the Western coalition, such as Britain, unwilling to get involved in the Syrian civil war, meaning that IS can retreat to its capital, Raqqa.
  • In the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, there has been significant upheaval recently. While outwardly in concord with one another, the scuffle between Saudi Arabia and Qatar that erupted in 2017 highlighted the internal divisions within the Arab block. Qatar was formally accused of supporting global terrorism (primarily in Syria and Iraq), though given that the accuser is Saudi Arabia which, to say it mildly, is not guiltless itself. As a result - as of 7 June 2017, nine sovereign governments have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. Many political analysts and commentators are interpreting this as scapegoating Qatar to deflect the blame of terrorism sponsorship from SA and UAE, and to punish Qatar for its relatively good relations with Iran. Things heated up additionally when Turkey and Iraq pledged military aid in the event of an invasion on Qatar. It remains to be seen how this crisis will unfold.
  • On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist for The Washington Post and a well-known critic of his country's government, was reported missing in the Saudi consulate in Turkey when he was obtaining documents to marry his fiancée. He was suspected to be murdered by the Saudi government, an action it initially denied before admitting that Jamal was killed after CCTV footage revealed 15 Saudi agents were sent to the consulate to kill Jamal. Khashoggi's assassination drew worldwide condemnation, with various foreign companies and investors cutting business ties with Saudi Arabia and relations with Turkey and even with the country's key ally, the United States, becoming increasingly strained. It also got the WWE into hot water as they were scheduled to hold a pay-per-view event in Saudi Arabia the next month. They were ultimately forced to go through with the show due to contractual obligations with the Saudi government, but two of their biggest stars, John Cena and Daniel Bryan, boycotted the event over the Khashoggi controversy, and the event itself got terrible reviews.

  • In Africa, the most dramatic early change was the creation of a new nation in 2011 when South Sudan split from Sudan.
  • The Islamic insurgency known as al-Shabab, which had turned Somalia into one of the most violent and anarchic places on Earth, lost control of Somalia's towns and cities. Crucially, it was forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011. It left the vital port of Kismayo in September 2012. The early 2010s marked a period in which surrounding African nations started to take the threat of Islamic terrorism in their neighbour seriously. Kenya, worried that al-Shabab was kidnapping truckloads of its tourists, took a lead in the African Union's fight to push the enemy back South, while Ethiopia attacked from the west and seized towns in Somalia's centre.
  • In West Africa, there has been concern of Salafistnote  insurgency , particularly with groups like Boko Haram in northern Nigeria and Ansar Dine in Mali. The latter organisation effectively seized control of the vast northern part of the country until early 2013, when armies from Mali, France, and other African nations drove the Islamists out of the major cities of northern Mali.
  • China built a military base in Djibouti, signaling its expanding influence in the world stage, and especially in Eastern Africa, which some say is being silently colonized by the Chinese.

    Asia Pacific 
  • Around the Asia Pacific region, the decade has run rather smoothly. Japan was hit hard by the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 2011, and continues to recover; but while the rest of the world has been groaning under the weight of economic or social unrest, most Asian economies are booming. Talks of an "Asian Century" or an "Age of the Pacific" have been floated. In the region, China, Australia, and some other countries managed to avoid recession. On one hand, China is beginning to feel the pressure from the largest real-estate bubble in world history; on the other, speculation that China will become the next superpower, or, somewhat hysterically, something even more menacing, has intensified. China's massive growth has led it to replace Japan as the second-largest economy in the world, and has fueled speculation that it will become the world's top economy by the next decade. note  To be fair, China has surpassed America as the largest economy by October 2014, largely by adjusting its money so it costs less on average than the Almighty Dollar. However, the U.S. economy still dwarfs China's, at $17.4 trillion to $10.4 trillion. GDP breaks down to nearly $55,000 per capita per year in the U.S., compared with less than $8,000 per person in China. And in spite of the controversial presence of Putin, Russia returned to the strategy game with the Syrian and Ukrainian crises. India holds the potential of becoming a democratic counterweight to Beijing and Moscow, and has been steadily increasing its global influence and power. The USA's so-called 'pivot' or 're-balance' towards this region is a response to the emerging power in Asia.
  • U.S.-China diplomatic relations have soured in this decade (alongside with U.S. Asian allies involved). While it was started by Barack Obama's foreign policy in Asia, it was made worse under the Trump administration:
    • The most dramatic regional conflict is over territory in the South China Sea, disputed by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, mainly for fishing resources. In addition, the Chinese has built artificial islands in the South China Sea, mainly military bases and harbor. Disagreement over territorial boundaries between China and Japan in the East China Sea have also flared. The United States has sided with their Asian allies over China in these territorial disputes, angering the Chinese government.
      • The Senkaku Islands Dispute. It was found there were oil deposits near the islands. Japan argues because of a treaty signed after the first Sino-Japanese War in 1892, the islands were theirs. China disputes that the treaty had any mention of it. This sparked massive anti-Japanese movements in China, to the point where people were vandalizing anything and everything Japanese. Much like the South China Sea dispute, the United States sided with Japan on this territorial dispute.
    • In 2018, the Trump administration engaged in a trade war with China, accusing China for currency manipulation and unfair trade practices, and responded with tariffs on Chinese goods. In retaliation, the Chinese government imposed tariffs on various American goods (mainly targeting products from states where Donald Trump won the votes). The U.S.-Chinese trade war has cause massive instability in the stock market, as well as having a huge economic impact on American farmers, who are dependent on their exports to China.
      • On December 1st, 2018, while United States and China have announced a freeze on their tariffs, Huawei's CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada under the request of the United States for fraud and accusing her for bypassing economic sanctions in Iran. The response from the Chinese was harsh, as they demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou note . In response to her arrest, many Chinese tech companies call for boycott of American tech products and encouraged their employees to buy Huawei products in support for Meng Wanzhou's release; while American tech companies issued travel warnings to their employees in fear of retaliatory arrests by the Chinese government. The Chinese government responded to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou a few days later by arresting and detaining a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, which was mostly seen as a retaliatory arrest as a response to Meng Wanzhou's arrest in Canada.
  • Burma has introduced democratic reforms that have led to the reduction of Western sanctions against it, despite the continued persecution of minorities such as the Rohingya. Democratic campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi now has a seat in government.
  • Australian Politics has this decade been characterized by constant changes in the Prime Minister's office, to the point where it became a meme:
    • The first female prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, was elected to office in 2010, although only just, and only after acrimonious and politically damaging internal fighting in her party. She lost power in 2013 when her predecessor Kevin Rudd regained the leadership position. Rudd became the first Australian Prime Minister to support gay marriage.
    • On the election of September 7, 2013, the Liberal-National Coalition won government in Australia in a landslide majority, granting conservative Tony Abbott both the position of Prime Minister and a majority government, and ending six years of government by the Australian Labor Party. Abbott would go on to be one of the most disliked PMs in modern Australian history. He was scorned many for his staunch social conservatism, his government's austere budgets and his tendency to put his foot in his mouth, something seemingly very common within his cabinet. In fact, he wound up winning the 2013 election largely because of Labor infighting (the aforementioned Rudd/Gillard fiasco), which he capitalized on. This campaign tactic proved ironic - just two years into the job and facing a loss by Labor at the next election, Mr. Abbott lost a leadership contest to the more moderate communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
    • Turnbull, in turn, had a brief honeymoon period, called an early election as it began to wear off (partially because he appeased the more conservative members of his party), and wound up winning a razor-thin majority (read: one seat) in the House of Representatives. Mr. Turnbull would spend the rest of his own tenure walking a tightrope with the party's centrists and conservatives, for fear of getting removed from office, especially as economic growth has begun to taper off (the country hasn't slipped into recession since 1991).
    • Finally, in August 2018, a wave of dismal by-election results combined with continued poor election polling all but marked Turnbull's card. Staunchly conservative Peter Dutton challenged for the leadership on the 21st. While Turnbull won the first poll, the damage was done as 35 Liberal Party members voted against him, and several of his cabinet members went to the backbench. Dutton challenged again two days later, and Turnbull threw down the ultimatum - if the spill was accepted, he would not contest and would leave parliament. The motion was indeed carried (and Turnbull did indeed not contest the leadership and resigned from Parliament), but Dutton lost to Scott Morrison, seen as somewhat more moderate than Dutton while still being more socially conservative than Turnbull.
  • Following up on Rudd's support for same-sex marriage, the topic of legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia was still up for debate later than some other nations. A majority of the Australian public do wish that same-sex couples should be able to either get married or be able to be recognized, but not both. Unfortunately, the Australian parliament could not seem to agree if they should legalize same-sex marriage or not. Another interesting thing is that the Liberal Party of Australia had begun to slowly show support on same-sex marriage as well, Liberal politicians like Campbell Newman, Wyatt Roy, and current Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull have publicly stated that they support same-sex marriage.
    • The topic of same-sex marriage was eventually put up to a national postal survey throughout September 2017 to October 2017, which was won by the "Yes" side by a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%. Following this, the Marriage Amendment Act was introduced to Parliament, and passed through not long after, making Australia's recognition of same-sex marriage official.
  • The first Indigenous Australian leader of a state or territory came to power in 2013, as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.
  • Wyatt Roy became the youngest member of the Australian parliament at 20 years of age, becoming the youngest Member of Parliament in the country's history.
  • The first female president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, was elected to office in 2012. Some were apprehensive of the fact that she is the daughter of South Korea's former dictator Park Chung-hee. By 2017, she faced corruption charges, and was convicted and impeached as a result. South Koreans have since elected a new president named Moon Jae-in (whose parents fled from North Korea during the Korean War), who plans to hopefully make peace agreements with North Korea. We can only await what happens.
  • Another troublesome development is North Korea's increasing, even unbridled, enthusiasm at antagonizing South Korea, Japan and America. Kim Jong-un (the son and successor to the late Kim Jong-il) is becoming rather notorious for his temper tantrums, including conducting nuclear operations, launching military satellites into space, threatening to attack the aforementioned three nations and ending the armistice that has kept both countries out of war since 1953, immediately taking tensions Up to Eleven. It's gotten to a point where even China, North Korea's ally, joined America in imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea. Kim Jong-un has since called for a restart of nuclear talks with no preconditions, although the United States and Japan are both suspicious. We'll see what happens.
  • Osama bin Laden was located in a fortified compound in Pakistan, and killed there on the first day of May 2011 during a U.S. Special Forces operation overseen by Barack Obama. However, Pakistan remains a hotbed of Islamic extremism. The dangers of resisting the ideology of local terrorists have been highlighted by events such as a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Malala Yousufzai, being shot in the head for campaigning in support of girls' education. She got the last laugh, though: Yousufzai survived, continued her fight, has become a symbol of the campaign to educate girls around the world, was very nearly voted Time Magazine's Person Of The Year in 2012, and in 2014 became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage in August 2013.
  • The emergence of "Abenomics" in Japan has brought up a mixed response from the international community. While some are convinced that current Prime Minister Abe's policies—which include aggressive (for Japan) stimulus, reducing or even eliminating expensive and inefficient agricultural subsidiesnote  and joining American President Obama's proposed "Trans-Pacific Partnership" free trade area—would put any lingering traces of the "Lost Decade" to restnote , others are concerned about his more controversial (and rather divisive) ideas about the country's constitution (i.e. the anti-war Article 9).
  • Tropical cyclones very rarely become international news stories unless they are hurricanes affecting the United States, and even then, only Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have reached that status recently. 2013's Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded and the second-deadliest storm in Philippine history, averted this big time. It has gained major international response from all over the world, with even the American Red Cross taking action. The saddest part: Cyclone Nargis of 2008 killed over 100,000 people in Myanmar compared to a few thousand deaths from Haiyan, yet Nargis received next to no international attention compared to Haiyan.
  • The Philippines's foreign relations with China hit a stride back in 2010 due to the mishandling of the Manila Bus Hostage Crisis. This nearly strained the country's relations with Hong Kong, since all of the hostages and victims are from Hong Kong, and it took 4 years for the relationship to be mended. Asides from the aforementioned territorial disputes in the South China Sea (renamed "West Philippine Sea" by the Filipino government in order spite the Chinese), other territorial disputes followed, such as the Scarborough Shoal standoff in 2012 where Chinese sea vessels bombarded the Filipino fishermen with water cannons. Obviously, Filipinos are very pissed at this which further increased the growing anti-Chinese sentimentnote . Then in 2013, Taiwan gave a jab on the Philippines for the death of a Taiwanese fisherman who was gunned down by the Philippine Coast Guard at the exclusive economic zones of the two countries. The incident was handled way better than aforementioned 2010 Bus Hostage Crisis but it doesn't stop China (who are ironically not in good terms with Taiwan) to take advantage of the incident just to give out their anti-Filipino sentiments. Tensions with the mainland cooled down when Duterte was elected into office, owing to his decision not to flaunt a UN ruling that nullified China's nine-dash line. But this doesn't stop China from building more islands.
    • Duterte's leniency toward China made a lot of analysts worried after his government accepted loans from the Chinese government just to build and improve the country's infrastructure. It has been repeated many times that accepting Chinese loans would cause the country to suffer from debts in the future, which is exactly what had happened to several countries such as Sri Lanka and some African countries. It doesn't help that there was an increase of illegal Chinese workers in the country. It's no surprise that the opposition accused the Duterte administration for bending the knee to China instead of prioritizing the sovereignty and the welfare of the Filipino people.
    • On June 2019, a Filipino fishing boat sank while being anchored on the Reed Bank after being struck by a Chinese vessel. Instead of helping the stranded 22 Filipino fishermen from their sinking boat, the Chinese abandoned them until a Vietnamese fishing boat rescued them and turned them over to the Philippine navy. To no one's surprise, the Duterte administration didn't file a diplomatic protest against China regarding the incident with some officials blaming the fishermen for being there. The government's indifference towards this incident and their treatment towards their fellow Filipino fishermen says a lot about the way they handle China.
  • The Philippines elected the very unorthodox Rodrigo Duterte as president in 2016 with a strongly nationalist platform, going as far to call President Obama S.O.B. in two separate occasions. Considering that one of his professors is the founder of the Communist Party of Philippines, this explains his anti-American sentiments, his willingness to be closer to China and Russia and vowed for a independent foreign policy where stronger nations shouldn't meddle with the country's internal affairs. Likewise, his extreme methods on his war on drugs completely changed the outlook on how Filipinos viewed the justice system since many felt that the system is so slow and that The Extremist Was Right which explains their indifference on the rising death toll of drug suspects who are said to be killed in defense against the police or are murdered by vigilantes.
    • When the late Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.'s son was elected as senator in 2010, this brought a very worrisome view for people who had been around during the Martial Law era when Marcos abused his power. This also comes with a lot of information online where many people, particularly those who are born after the Martial Law era, believed that Marcos is not such a bad person and that he did some good things during his tenure as president. This coupled by the dissatisfaction on Benigno Aquino III's last years of his tenure which is mired with a lot of controversies. Because of this, Marcos' son nearly won the 2016 elections for vice-presidency only to be beaten by his opponent, Leni Robredo, and President Rodrigo Duterte decided to bury Marcos in the "Libingan ng Bayani" (Heroes' Cemetery) because he believed that Marcos served his time as a soldier in World War II (despite his war medals are fake) and that it will heal the rife between supporters and detractors. As expected, this created a more Broken Base between Marcos supporters and detractors.
    • Considering that Mindanao, the Southern Region of the Philippines, had been experiencing conflict between Muslims and Christians since The '70s, there were several attempts for a peace agreement. Former President Benigno Aquino III nearly succeeded in 2014 where he passed the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which would give the Muslim provinces full autonomy and had a ceasefire agreement with the Moro rebels, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). However, the Mamasapano clash killed 44 Special Action Force members and several MILF members in January 2015, putting the BBL into jeopardy and on the shelf by the Congress. In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte pushed the BBL into Congress which is eventually ratified and signed as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). In January 2019, a plebiscite was held where voters from Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) would decide on the ratification of BOL. After majority of the citizens voted "yes", ARMM would eventually abolished and renamed as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao(BARMM) or Bangsamoro.
    • In May 2017, the Philippine city of Marawi was occupied by the ISIS/ISIL/IS-inspired Maute group, which forced President Duterte to declare martial law in the entire region of Mindanao for 60 days (later extended to the end of the year). But the military had a hard time dealing with the insurgents, their poor performance attributed to outdated training and military hardware. The incident showed that the IS, although seemingly on the retreat in the Middle East, could still pose a significant threat worldwide. However in October 2017, the city was liberated by the Philippine military with two of the Maute leaders being killed, preventing ISIS from establishing a foothold in the Southeast Asian region. However, several elements are still present.
  • Later in 2017, Jacinda Ardern was sworn in as Prime Minister of New Zealand - the third woman in the role and at 37, the second youngest ever in the country - after protracted coalition negotiations following the general election. The negotiations resulted in a center-Left leaning coalition government replacing a center-Right one that had been in power for most of the decade. The following year, she became the second world leader to give birth while in office (the first was Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto in 1990).
  • In Thailand, a boys soccer team and their coach were trapped in the Tham Luang cave due to flooding from the monsoon. The soccer team went missing for a few days on June 2018 before a British team of divers found them in the cave. The rescue operation has gotten a lot of international attention due to the situation of monsoon flooding that made the rescue attempt difficult (which led to a death of a Thai Navy SEAL rescuer) and 3 of the 12 boys and the coach were stateless. note . The rescue operation was also considered a Heartwarming Moment, as the boys and the coach made it out of the cave alive due to their sheer willpower and the fact the Thailand government considered granting the 3 stateless boys and the coach full citizenship for their ordeal.
  • In September 2018, India finally overturned anti-sodomy law Section 377 through a Supreme Court ruling note , ruling as unconstitutional to the Indian Constitution as it violates individual autonomy, intimacy, and identity. The Indian Supreme Court also ruled that discrimination on basis of sexual orientation is also unconstitutional for similar reasons. The ruling was compared to United States's Lawrence v. Texas, as both were Supreme Court rulings that overturned anti-sodomy laws that criminalizes homosexuality on basis on violation on individual privacy.
  • Emperor Akihito of Japan made plans to retire from his position while still living, with plans to finalize the retirement at April 30th 2019. This would mean that Japan's Heisei Period would be over in that day, and the Reiwa era took its place.
  • On March 15, 2019, a white supremacist attacked a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 people during their prayer service. The attacker had live-streamed the assault with Facebook Live, sparking disapproval that social media sites weren't doing enough to address hate speech. Afterwards, the New Zealand Parliament immediately passed a ban on semi-automatic rifles, followed a couple of months later by the "Christchurch Call to Action Summit", a multi-lateral summit to crack down on extremist violence propagated via social media.
  • On March 2019, the Bruneian government announced that they'll punish homosexuality by death through stoning and noted to be the first Asian country to punish homosexuality by death.note  In response, actor George Clooney and LGBT organizations call for a boycott on hotels owned by the Bruneian Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah.
  • On Easter Sunday, 2019, Sri Lanka was hit by a series of terrorist attacks, which killed almost three hundred people. An Islamic group was held responsible for the attacks.
  • On May 17th, 2019, the Taiwanese government signed a bill that recognizes gay marriages, making Taiwan the first Asian country to recognize same-sex marriages.
  • On March 31st, 2019, a controversial extradition bill was introduced in Hong Kong that will allow the Chinese government to extradite Hong Kong residents to China and subjugate the residents to Chinese courts after approval by the Hong Kong Chief Executive, hence potentially be used to arrest and jail political dissidents in Hong Kong. This has led to a series of protests in Hong Kong for several months which led to violent clashes between the police and protesters, with pro-Beijing hooligans attacking random civilians in train stations while extradition protesters rampage, attacking oppositionists and damaging public properties. The violence got so bad to the point the Chinese government considered military intervention in Hong Kong, which could have potentially drawn the United States into a military conflict with China (as the United States government condemned the extradition bill and support self-autonomy for Hong Kong). After five months of protests, the proposed bill was scrapped.

    Latin America and the Caribbean 
  • The wave of socialist governments in South America and the Caribbean (popularly known as the "pink tide") reached its highest point in the early years of the decade as high commodity prices as well as low exchange rates enabled a massive spending spree. By 2014, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay were the only Latin American countries without left-wing governmentsnote . However by then, a less favorable economic climate exposed the model's fault lines, and most Latin American countries are facing acute financial hardships as well as political and social tensions amid a general sense of corruption. By the second half of the decade, the traditionally progressive region has begun electing right-wing governments for the first time since most of the continent returned to democracy in the late 1980s. The rise of right-wing governments in South America is often referred as the "conservative wave" (or "blue wave"), which many geopolitical analysts attribute the rise of right-wing politics in Europe and United States as a contributing factor.
    • Venezuela, the country that started the "pink tide" became the hardest hit by this new scenario. Before his death in 2013, Hugo Chávez faced a creditable contender for the first time (Henrique Capriles). He was then replaced by the far less charismatic Nicolás Maduro, who began incarcerating political opponents for little or no reason. This, and the economic crisis caused by collapsing oil prices led to massive protests and the Venezuelan populace is increasingly struggling to break even, with little choice but to emigrate. The political opposition has attempted to oust him with every rule in the book, but since the Supreme Court is under Maduro's control, these attempts have been futile.
      • In January 2019, there has been a presidential election dispute between Nicolás Maduro and his moderate political opponent, Juan Guaidó; where the National Assembly of Venezuela claimed the election results were invalid and declared Juan as the acting president. As a result, various protests across the country has been calling for Maduro to step down from the office (which the protests has led to mass arrests and violence from Maduro's supporters and the police). This also resulted in various international governments and organizations backing different president candidates; with the United States, European Union, and right-wing Latin American governments (i.e. Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, etc.) backing Juan Guaidó while Russia, China, and various left-wing governments (i.e. Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, South Africa, Syria, etc.) backing Nicolás Maduro. After Donald Trump announced his support for Juan Guaidó as the legitimate president of Venezuela, Maduro responded by cutting all diplomatic ties with United States, expelling American diplomats in Venezuela, and withdrawing his diplomats in United States.
    • Brazil has also endured hard times: Before the 2014 World Cup, President Dilma Rousseff faced numerous protests against the declining standard of life amid a slumping economy. Shortly after, the "Lava Jato" scandal was uncovered, with almost every Brazilian politician and businessman involved in one way or another with construction company Odebrecht (which also allegedly financed political campaigns in other South American nations). Rousseff was impeached three months before the 2016 Rio Olympics, but her replacement, Michel Temer, turned out to be even worse, with just a 5% approval rating. Worse, the front-runner for the 2018 elections in the first half of the year, left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was arrested over charges of corruption. After those events, the Brazilian population opted to instead elect the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, known for his several racist and homophobic statementsnote , as well as being pro-torture and nostalgic for the Brazilian Military Regime - citing the only negative thing it had done was to not kill enough people. In spite of his infamy for his extreme beliefs, he is beloved by much of the population for being notoriously anti-corruption, anti-establishment, and anti-democracy, a common sentiment thanks in no small part to wide resentment over the democracy's history of being plagued by corruption, which is the primary reason for Brazil's current crisis.
      • In late August 2019, a huge forest fire erupted in the Amazon forest, with the blame being pinned on the administration's environmental policies, leading to international pressure over Bolsonaro, particularly from France's Macron, whom the former colonel accused of colluding with several organizations to cause the fire. The government reluctantly accepted international aid after initially refusing it. The fire also led to the widespread use of the term "Amazonia" (long limited to academic circles) to refer to the forest.
    • The Argentine government of Cristina Fernández-Kirchner (who had succeeded her husband Néstor Kirchner in 2007) became infamous for its blatant manipulation of economic data as well for allegations of corruption (which included the burial of money in a church), which eventually led to the conviction of some of her allies. She was replaced by the conservative Mauricio Macri in 2015. While his economic policies became very unpopular (with the memories of the 2001 crisis still fresh), especially among the lower classes (which had benefited from the myriad of benefits enacted by the previous government), Senor Macri's party became the first since 1985 to beat the Peronist left in Congress during the 2017 mid-term election. However, the country has been hit particularly hard by the rise of the dollar during 2018, with the government being forced to seek an IMF rescue reminiscent of 2001, a controversial decision, especially among the left and the working classes.For the 2019 campaign, CFK became the running mate of former cabinet head-turned-nemesis Anibal Fernandez.
    • Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos reached a peace agreement with the FARC guerrilla in 2016, even though the electorate rejected the accord in a referendum and terrorism has resurged on a small scale (small in normal terms, not in 80s-era Colombia terms).
    • The 2011 and 2016 Peruvian elections were marked by the likeliness of a return of the Fujimori family to the presidency, only for Alberto's daughter Keiko (also his First Lady during the final years of her father's presidency) to end up defeated by the other candidate in the run-off: In 2011 it was the leftist Ollanta Humala, who ran a more moderate campaign compared to 2006, while the center-right candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski won in 2016. Both were tarnished by the Odebrecht scandal however. Senor Humala and his wife were incarcerated in 2017 for eighteen months while Senor Kuzcynski was forced to resign in 2018 after it was discovered that Kenji Fujimori (Keiko's brother-turned-bitter rival) had bribed a number of congressmen into sparing the President from being kicked out of office because of his Odebrecht ties. Former President Alan Garcia (1985-1990, 2006-2011) committed suicide in April 2019 as he was about to be arrested for his connections with the construction company during his 2006 campaign while Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) has been self-exiled in the US. Kuczynski's successor, Martin Vizcarra has adopted a "zero tolerance" platform, going as far as attempting to shorten his term (as for the whole Congress).
    • In Chile, Sebastian Pinera became the first right-wing President of that country since 1990 (and the first since 1958 to be elected), succeeding the leftist Michelle Bachelet. His government was marked by high growth, but also witnessed an astronomic rise on immigration (primarily from Haiti and other Caribbean countries) and a resurgent student movement, led by college students who had protested as high-schoolers in the 2006-07 "Penguin Revolution", some of whom eventually entered Congress in 2014, the year Senora Bachelet returned to the presidency, her second term marked by stagnant growth and allegations of nepotism, as her son and daughter-in-law had used the presidential connection to buy some land. Senor Pinera returned in 2018, with the center-left parties left divided by the rise of the Frente Amplio, a group of left-wing fringe movements.
    • After 12 years of absence, Mexico's center-left-rightnote  PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) returned to the presidency under Enrique Peña Nieto under great controversy as (perennial) leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (nicknamed AMLO) refused to concede just like he did in 2006. Senor Peña Nieto faced a stagnated economy and increasing levels of corruption as well as the fact the "War on Drugs" he (and his predecessors) pledged to combat is still going strong, to the point not even high-profile figures could be safe from the narcos. Particularly troubling was the disappearance of 43 college students in the north of the country, which was blamed on the Army. On July 1, 2018, Senor López Obrador was elected President on 1 July 2018, now representing the National Regeneration Movement (in Spanish, Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, or MORENA), championing several populist hard-left policies, being compared to those proposed by Bernie Sanders, though ironically, many of his detractors compare him with Donald Trump as well. How his tenure will unfold remains to be seen.
    • Cuba and the U.S. have made various advances in their relationship, leading to the restoration of diplomatic relations in December 2014 (after being broke in 1960), but it is unsure if this will give way to democracy in the island (Raúl Castro announced that he would step down in 2018, ten years after replacing brother Fidel). Barack Obama became in 2016 the first U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge in 1928 to visit the island. 2016 was also the year the long-standing embargo became no longer supported by the States. More importantly, Fidel Castro died in November 2016, after outliving almost all other Cold War icons.
      • However, as of June 16th, 2017, Mr. Trump has announced to reverse several of Obama's Cuban policies, which includes upholding the embargo and imposing harsher travel and economic sanctions on the Cuban military wing that controls almost all of Cuba's tourist industry, thus effectively returning the Cuban-U.S. relations back to a level slightly above the Cold War status quo thus re-chilling diplomatic relations.
      • Raul Castro stepped out of office as scheduled on April 18, 2018, being replaced by Miguel Diaz Canel. This marked the end of 59 years of Castrista rule in the island (Senor Castro will remain in charge of the Communist Party and the armed forces until 2021).
    • Haiti still suffers from the effects of a deadly earthquake in January 2010, to the point that in 2015 the outgoing President had no one to succeed him as the election results were in court.

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