The world has been shaken by voting results in the United States and Europe that rejected the existing rule by the elite.
The victory of Donald Trump, who had no experience in public service, in the U.S. presidential election, ranked first on the list of the top 10 international news events for 2016 chosen by Yomiuri Shimbun readers.
Trump’s exclusionary remarks on immigrants and Muslims were accepted mainly by white workers in a depressed mood. Trump, who advocates an “America first” policy, expressed his intention to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. A rising tide of protectionism is feared.
Ranked second on the list was also a move that runs counter to globalism. In a referendum in Britain, those who supported the exit from the European Union accounted for the majority of the voters. It may be because those who are frustrated by their hardships in life and by an increasing number of immigrants were attracted to populism.
It is also problematic that a false statement – that Britain pays ¥48 billion to the EU every week – went unchallenged.
The Panama Papers, which are internal documents leaked from a law firm in the Central American country of Panama, revealed how world leaders and wealthy people have used tax havens. The news was ranked fifth on the list. The antipathy toward the existing establishment has grown in many countries.
A French presidential election and a German general election will be touchstones for next year. It is necessary to be alert against the expansion of political parties that advocate xenophobia and the rise of demagogic politicians.
In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte was inaugurated as president after serving as a mayor of a local city. The news was ranked 11th. He gains public popularity with his extreme remarks, including threats to kill criminals. His rise appears to have something in common with the Trump phenomenon.
The court of arbitration in The Hague handed down a ruling that there were no legal grounds for China’s claims in the South China Sea, accepting the assertions by the Philippines. The news was ranked 15th. Russia’s state-led doping was acknowledged by an international organization and ranked eighth.
The international community needs to deal strictly with lawless behavior by China and Russia.
The increasingly unstable situation on the Korean Peninsula is serious.
North Korea went ahead with nuclear tests twice this year alone and engaged in repeated provocations, including ballistic missile launches. The news ranked seventh. South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been impeached and was forced to suspend her official duties due to suspicions that a female friend interfered in state affairs. This ranked third on the list. An early end to the political turmoil is sought.
Tragedy caused by terrorism also continues. Eighty-five people were killed in a truck attack in the southern French city of Nice, targeting people celebrating Bastille Day, which commemorates the French Revolution. This incident ranked 12th. In Brussels, coordinated terrorist attacks took place at an airport and in a subway station, which ranked 19th.
In the terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, the involvement and influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (I.S.) militant group have been pointed out. It is urgent to stabilize the Middle East, in which extremists are based, and strengthen security measures.