History will have much to say about this shortlist of events that I have provided
By, Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief
In the years prior, a sovereign government choosing to blatantly assassinate a foreign nation’s military generals would have been unheard of and quickly rebuked. However, in the months that followed it would be forgotten.
Every once in a while when I read the news something gets mentioned from 2019 or 2020 that feels so far away, it’s almost as if it was ancient history. Whenever that happens I am shocked to recall the myriad of things that occurred in the past two or so years and how we bore witness to the magnitude of history in an incredibly short period of time. It brings to mind Vladimir Lenin’s quote: “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.”
The year 2020 kicked off with an assassination. On January 3, 2020, Iranian Major general Qasem Soleimani was killed by an American Drone in Baghdad. Though I am not writing the books, I suspect that in hindsight this will be seen as one of the brazen moves made by a government that ushered in the general disdain for international law and standard practices that governed the preceding years of global politics. In the years prior, a sovereign government choosing to blatantly assassinate a foreign nation’s military generals would have been unheard of and quickly rebuked. However, in the months that followed it would be forgotten.
On February 5, 2020, former President Trump was acquitted of his first impeachment charges. His first impeachment was in regards to a quid pro quo engagement to find dirt on later President Joe Biden. As Politico describes it Trump “held hostage hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid… The aid was eventually provided, but not before a crisis that rattled two continents and desperate pleas by Zelenskyy’s government for help fending off [Russian aggression].” Though every impeachment is historic, Trump’s was doubly so given that he was impeached twice and in turn, doubled the total number of impeachments done in US history in roughly one year. If anything, historians will see this as the first step in the (probable) extraordinary fall of the American empire.
The outbreak of COVID-19 will undoubtedly be cemented into history as a dramatic change in history; its impacts on the younger generations and its wider ramifications are yet to be fully understood, let alone felt. Though the disease was discovered in 2019, it was not declared a pandemic until March 11, 2020. A study by the Lancet Medical Journal has estimated that over 18 million people perished from the disease, a number three times higher than the John Hopkins University confirmed number of six million. History textbooks will likely see this as part of the destruction of the globalized order and the event that widened the fissures already present in North America and Europe. I suspect that as history drags onwards, the governmental mistrust borne in the pandemic will only deepen and gain strength.
The murder of George Floyd under the knee of Derek Chauvin galvanized much of the world into protest. Though the New York Times provides an excellent accounting of what happened, its historic potency will be seen as part of the historic path that followed black America through history. Floyd became amongst the most recent—certainly the most infamous—black man to be killed by police in a manner widely considered cruel and unjust. His name joins Philando Castille and Micheal Brown as politically potent killings, while his final words echo those of Eric Garner. He also joins Rodney King and Emmett Till as the most recognizable victims of racial violence.
The January 6, 2021, riots—colloquially known as 1/6—were yet another example of the imminent decline of America and led to the second impeachment of Donald Trump. On January 6, 2021, hundreds of Trumps supporters stormed the US capital in a futile bid to force then Vice-President Mike Pence to not certify the results of the November 2020 election. If nothing else, the hours of that morning exposed some of the significant rot that angered the Republican base while also showing the colossal cult of personality that Trump temporarily commanded.
Though it is an incredibly long list of occurrences that should be included (I didn’t include the invasion of Ukraine as it is ongoing) the message should be clear that we have lived through two years that have contained a decade’s worth of history.