The New York Times series of bombshells against Donald Trump Jr. has had a stranglehold on headlines, even from those outlets that call it fake news. But while Americans have been forced to focus on one story about the Trump administration, there’s been a lot of important events going on in the world.
Here’s a short list.
ISIS and IRAQ
Experts have been predicting the downfall of ISIS for months now, and the taking of Mosul by coalition forces is a great milestone in that effort. Some reports said that Russian forces had killed ISIS leader Abu al-Baghdadi, but this is still in contention. Iraq’s oil minister said that they will be offering new oil exploration rights in order to raise revenue to continue fighting ISIS. While ISIS is in the last dying gasps of controlling their so-called caliphate, it’s believed they will still pose a threat through lone wolf attacks.
The U.S. experiment in cajoling China to control North Korea appears to be failing, as Trump has recognized publicly. China says it is maintaining U.S. sanctions on the “hermit kingdom,” but a report that showed their trade to North Korea increased by 10% in the first part of 2017 undermines their narrative. The options for those threatened by the growing nuclear aspirations of the country are very limited.
The MIDDLE EAST versus QATAR
The reorganizing of the Middle East continues around the sudden designation of Qatar as a pariah among the gulf states. While Trump appeared to kick off the avalanche, years of grievances bubbled to the surface to reveal great tension between the small nation and the other Muslim countries in the region. Turkey and Iran are making inroads into drawing the state into their axis of influence as it continues to be abused by its former allies.
The SOUTH EAST ASIAN SEA conflict
China persists in flexing its muscle and threatening its neighbors through questionable acts of expansion in the South China Sea. A ruling against their acts by an international tribunal last year has been mostly ignored, but China is beginning to slowly increase its compliance of the decision. China has also established its first overseas military base in Djibouti this week in the horn of Africa. It said that this would help their humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, and assured that they were not trying to “control the world” with the move.
Europe is still trying to decipher how the Trump presidency will change the global landscape. Germany has implied that the European countries can longer depend on the United States and Great Britain, and would have to find their own way. Meanwhile the fate of Brexit is still up in the air as the Britons are finding it difficult to organize exactly how to recede from the European Union.
The megacity of Lagos in Nigeria, with 15 million residents, was struck with massive flooding as a result of rainstorms and bad drainage from poor city planning. Egyptian security forces face more terror attacks by ISIS-aligned militants in the Sinai region. ISIS is also targeting the Christian minority in the region.
Between running to microphones to either exonerate or condemn Donald Trump Jr., members of Congress are scrambling to pass something, anything, having to do with healthcare. Republicans in the Senate hope to pass a bill soon as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell canceled two weeks of congressional recess in order to work on the beleaguered legislation.