A Year in Review: Politcal Matters

It has been an incredibly exciting year at The Brock Press in terms of external news. There have been innumerable events on both the national and international level worthy of coverage – so much that at times it was hard to pick and choose amongst different stories. Let’s have a look at five of the most re-occuring and popular issues that have been covered by external news this past year.

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Donald Trump
Our Stories on Donald Trump have persistently been our most viewed articles and there’s no question as to why that is so. It is because Trump is an utter mystery to most. How is he doing so well without giving concrete policy positions? Why is he praised for sounding like a broken record? Just what is he actually going to be “beating” China at? How is he “going to make America win” – better yet, what will it be “winning” at? Your guess is as good as ours.

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Russia and Putin
Putin has had a busy year as Russia has continued to shake up the international community. Even following the draconian sanctions put on Russia due to its annexation of Crimea and support of rebel forces in Ukraine as well as falling oil prices which have greatly damaged Russia’s oil-based industry, Russia has still managed to march ahead with its seemingly head-strong foreign policy. Russia has deployed significant military support to the Assad regime in Syria in order to help prop up and strengthen their Baathist ally – who they see as the only pragmatic alternative to Islamist rebel groups or complete anarchistic chaos. This will of course have many long-term consequences not only for Syria and the mid-east in general, but also for the international perception of Russia and Putin.

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Post Canadian Federal Election
The Federal Election is always something worthy of news coverage, as it only occurs every five years. Yet this election cycle was of particular import as it resulted in a transition in political power from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party for the first time in almost 10 years. Also, this change of power is incredibly important not only because of the nominal change in power but also because of the Liberal Party’s ambitious policy agenda. Canada is at a critical juncture in which it is reassessing its future in a multitude of ways. The Liberal Party wants to change the course of the nation’s trajectory and their platform is indicative of this: With policies that revolve around the head-on acceptance of deficit spending, pushes for change in energy sources, the renegotiation of the relationship of the Canadian government and First Nation peoples and other numerous sensitive issues, The Liberal Party has a long hard road ahead of itself in achieving its goals.

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ISIS – the Islamic State is of course one of the biggest topics this year
A once small Islamic militant force, ISIS has carved out large swaths of both Iraq and Syria that it holds under the most dictatorial interpretation of Sharia law. Perhaps what has been of the most importance in regards to ISIS this year, is its purported strategic shift. With the American-led coalition bombing them and with entrenched ground combat with the Syrian state, Kurdish militia groups and even other Islamist militants, ISIS has been systematically losing its territory. There have been no major territorial gains for ISIS in quite some time. In response to these losses, ISIS seems to have re-embraced a more traditional methodology of terrorism. The recent horrific attacks in Egypt, Lebanon, France, Tunisia and the US, all of which have occurred since October, is reflective of this change. This leads one to ask, even if ISIS is uprooted territorially, will the international community simply be facing a larger and more efficient Al-Qaeda?

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American Politics
This is an interesting year for the US as they gear up for the upcoming November election. America seems more polarized than ever with both the Democratic and Republican Party primaries still going on – and getting progressively uglier. The Republicans have been split between many different internal camps such as the establishment (moderate), Tea-party, Libertarian and Nativist camps. On the other side, the Democrats seem to be split almost down the middle between Hillary Clinton, a political pragmatist, and Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist. Another interesting thing to watch has been how campaigns have been conducted – this US election cycle has seen an incredibly aggressive use of social media platforms (e.g. There have been innumerable Twitter fights between many of the various candidates) and grassroots/millennial activism (e.g. 99 per cent of Bernie Sanders’ campaign support has come from individual contributions). Is this what the future of American politics will look like? Fragmented parties and excessive partisanship driven by social media and grassroots activism?

Robert Smith
Assistant External News Editor

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