Internationally, there were a few positive developments, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. In a CFR article entitled “The Ten Most Significant World Events in 2021,” James M. Lindsay cites several milestones amidst a series of setbacks. Among them, the seemingly unending global struggle to contain COVID-19.
Among the leading pluses of the year, Dr. Lindsay, senior CFR vice president, were:
—The election of Joseph R. Biden as the 46th U.S. President. As Dr. Lindsay put it: “America is back.” Joe Biden, he recalled, “made that point repeatedly in 2021. He moved quickly upon taking office to fulfill his promise to strengthen relations with America’s allies:
*by returning the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization (WHO),
*by renewing New START (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) for five years,
*by seeking to revive an earlier agreement to revive a deal calling for limits on Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.
*by ending U.S. support for offensive military operations in Yemen.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations: “These moves away from former President Donald Trump’s America First policies drew applause overseas; initial polls showed a sharp improvement in the United States image overseas.”
The CFR press release, however, cautioned about over-optimism about the resilience of COVID-19 despite what it termed “the stunning speed at which the vaccines against it were developed.” It noted that more than 7.4 billion vaccines were created in less than a year, compared with the four years it took to create the mumps vaccine in 1964.
A cautionary note in 2021’s waning days
As the year ends, Russia has threatened Ukraine by stationing 100,000 troops near its border. President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a recent video call that the United States “would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event Russia invades Ukraine.” (Prior to the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine had been a USSR province).
That earthshaking event occurred three decades ago this week. And humanity still awaits a truly decisive conquest of COVID-19 in 2022.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More