From Brexit to Ukraine, It All Started in 2016…

Ka Hung Lee, Brian

Ka Hung Lee, Brian

Staff Writer

If any of you still remember, 2016 was the year that politics started to break its silence, with multiple significant incidents in geopolitics, including Brexit, the U.S. presidential election, Russia annexing Crimea, the Philippines presidential election, etc.

I still remember vividly 2016 being the year that broke the silence mainly because of Brexit and the U.S. presidential election. The reason why Brexit received such a big reaction is that it created various political conflicts that we have never seen before. During my time as an undergraduate student at ASU, I even joined a study abroad trip to Ireland to learn more about the geopolitical situation in Northern Ireland, which was undoubtedly impacted by Brexit and its implications for border crossings between EU states and the UK. 

During our time in Belfast, we visited the parliament and witnessed the government shutdown because of Brexit. We also visited the Kilmainham Gaol to understand the history of Ireland and how Brexit could potentially affect Ireland and Britain. It was a very fruitful experience, and none of us could have expected that border conflicts were fortunately resolved by a soft border solution to avoid further worsening of the situation. However, when we look back those days, we can almost feel that those were the peaceful days, especially now during a pandemic and war in Europe.

Apart from Brexit, the result of the 2016 U.S. presidential election surprised the world and showed the uniqueness of the electoral system in American politics. Even though the Democratic candidate won the popular vote, the Republican candidate won the election by electoral vote. Here is the link for a detailed explanation of the Electoral College from the National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/electoral-college

From the North Korean nuclear test to the Russian invasion in Crimea, we all know that 2016 was the year in which the geopolitical landscape vastly changed, including power switching hands in some of the most powerful regimes in the world like the U.S. and UK. I would describe today’s world as being shaped by these incidents, which created a butterfly effect and thus led to today’s world where we are currently living. I believe most of you have seen a lot of footage with regards to the Russian-Ukrainian war. Let’s hope that there won’t be more damage done to people from both sides. It has always been confusing to me how a small group of people can decide the livelihood of millions of people and how humans can be so cruel to other human beings. Going forward, I hope that the idea of world peace won’t be a dream anymore.

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