Events and speculations for 2010 through 2019.
In 2010, a massive earthquake struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Haiti was the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and when the earthquake hit most of buildings were not structurally sound. Tens of thousands were killed in the building collapses, and even the 200-year-old colonial Haitian Capitol Building was reduced to rubble.
In 2011, another earthquake struck the coast of Japan. The tsunami that followed it killed thousands, but the early waning systems saved thousands more. A nuclear power plant, Fukushima, was badly damaged. The situation was contained, and a nuclear catastrophe was averted. The US and other nations helped Japan rebuild, and the areas affected were swiftly cleaned up and rebuilt.
That same year, US president Barack Obama sent a team into a compound in Pakistan which Al Qaeda leaded Osama bin Ladin was thought to be in. The elite team killed Osama bin Ladin, accomplishing the mission former president George Bush had begun a decade before. Obama also ended the Iraq War after 8 years. The original mission, to unseat dictator Saddam Hussein, bring democracy to Iraq, and oil back to America, was only half fulfilled. But the president knew the situation was under control and that staying longer would make things worse.
In China, a liberalizing economy brought it much wealth and even more power. By 2012, China was the world’s second greatest power, and if not a superpower, on the verge of becoming one. A showdown between the United States and China became inevitable, but when and how was not yet known.
In 2012, a natural disaster second only to Hurricane Katrina would strike the United States. In October of that year, a hurricane massive in size and power formed over the Bahamas. Hurricane Sandy barreled northward just east of the United States’s coastline. On October 29th, the storm turned westward and merged with a nor’easter, creating a monster. The hurricane slammed into the New Jersey coastline, wiping out miles of barrier islands. New York City was also in the firing line. Parts of Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn were wiped out, and swaths of Lower Manhattan, the financial capital of the world, were submerged. Large parts of the Northeast lost power for days, even weeks. Hundreds died and the damage was severe. Like Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy was an eerie prediction things to come, and warning to prepare that was not fully heeded.
In November 2012, America went to the polls. Barack Obama was up for reelection, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, had a lot of support from his party. Obama won, but by a much smaller margin than he had in the 2008 election.
In 2012, Vladimir Putin ascended to the Russian “Presidency”, and continued Russian ascent from the ashes of the Soviet Union.
President Barack Obama’s policies grew increasingly unpopular, and his approval rating continued to decline. By 2013, it had dropped below 50%. He was blamed for the slow progression out of the financial crisis, and being the least transparent government in US history. All and all, Obama’s policies were subtly helping the nations, but it would take years to see the improvements. Obama’s healthcare plan although helpful ti thousands, was riveted with flaws and was heavily opposed by Republicans, many of which were becoming extremely conservative as the rest of the nation became more liberal. In 2013, gay marriage was embraced by the federal government and in democratic states.
In November 2013, a massive typhoon, Typhoon Haiyan, made landfall in the Philippines. The typhoon killed 6,000 and obliterated large sections of coastline. Damage was very severe in the city of Tacloban, on the island of Leyte.
In 2014, turmoil in Ukraine prompted a Russian annexation of the Crimea, a broad peninsula jutting into the Black Sea, and thinly connected to the Ukrainian mainland by a low-lying isthmus. The annexation, which occurred in March, was strongly opposed by the European Union and the United States. As the year continued, Russian troops entered eastern Ukraine under the guise that they were providing aid to the people. They were in fact giving limited support to pro-Russian rebels fighting the Ukrainian government.
That same year, US president Barack Obama ended the War in Afghanistan. America’s longest war had not been a success, but was not an outright failure, like the Vietnam War (1965-1975). The objective, to destroy Al Qaeda, was more or less fulfilled, but at the expense of thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and the enmity of most of the Afghani (and Iraqi) people. Minor terrorist attacks on American and European cities, such as the April 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon by two Islamic Russian terrorists.
In November 2014, the new One World Trade Center was completed, filling a gap in the skyline that had been created 13 years before. The tower was topped off with a spire in spring 2013, and in November of the next year the building opened for business.
In 2014, Barack Obama’s approval rating was at an all-time low of 35%. But the following year, things would change. In January 2015, Russian president Vladimir Putin sent forcibly annexed the province of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. He put up a front of strength, but in Russian the situation was deteriorating. The US and European sanctions had pushed Russian economy to the edge of collapse, and the US knew it. The US and EU ramped up sanctions to the point of an all out blockade on Russia. President Obama sent warships to Vladivostok, a move that was virtually unknown to his character. After several months, Putin backed down, and relinquished control of Donetsk and the Crimea to Ukraine. The US and EU removed their sanctions, and Russia was declawed, for now. Obama’s approval rating soared back up to 60% with his actions against Russia, and Republicans were furious.
On September 13, 2015, an Islamic terrorist stole a cessna propeller plane from a small airfield in southern Wisconsin. They flew the plane, loaded with jet fuel in the empty passenger seats, into the Willis Tower in Chicago. A fire ripped through the 61-63 floors, but was put out after half an hour. 19 people were killed, including the terrorist. The building was repaired in six months, and valuable lessons were learned from this attack. President Obama dealt with the attack by imploring Congress to create much more stringent laws for the storage of aircraft on the ground. But these laws inflamed many recreational pilots, and cost the airline industry millions in improvements. The government responded with “that is the price of safety”.
In 2016, Obama’s popularity dropped as his pen-and-phone tactics against congress escalated. This time, as in 2014, immigration was the main issue. His policies toward immigration, which were very liberal, were opposed full-heartedly by republicans.
On August 18, 2016 a major earthquake rocked the city of Guangzhou, China. A fire broke out, and burned for days. Large sections of the city were destroyed by the earthquake and fire. Tens of thousands were killed and many more injured. The Chinese accepted limited aid, but were determined to handle the disaster on their own. In the following years, Guangzhou was rebuilt with earthquake defenses, and once again became one of China’s leading cities, along with nearby Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.
In September 2016, a hurricane, Hurricane Sam, made landfall on Florida’s east coast near Cape Canaveral. It damaged Kennedy Space Center and nearly wiped out the town of Cape Canaveral. Thanks to early warning systems, only 30 people were killed. Hurricane Sam was a warning to Florida, to prepare, a warning which was virtually ignored, with dire consequences.
In October 2016, former US president James Carter passed away. He was born in Georgia in 1924, and had held the office between 1977 and 1981. He was not one of the most celebrated presidents, but his post presidency was one of the most celebrated of all recent presidents.
In the 2016 presidential election democrat Hillary Clinton, wife of former president William Clinton, faced off against republican Paul Ryan. Ryan one by a small margin, only 51% to 49%. Ryan took office in January 2017, and immediately put his policies into action. He fixed the flaws in Obama’s healthcare system and rebranded it as his own. He put into place very strict immigration policies, especially towards immigrants from Latin America. He initiated the construction of a cement wall, 14 feet high topped with barbed wire and broken up with guard towers every .75 miles. The “Great Wall of America” as christened by Ryan’s supporters, was to run from the Pacific Ocean at San Diego to the Rio Grande River on the New Mexico-Texas border. Similar defenses along the American side of the Rio Grande in Texas were reinforced. The wall was bombarded with criticism from democrats and the Mexican government, but Ryan allowed the project to proceed. The wall scheduled to be completed in 5 years time, in March 2022.
In May 2017, former president George H.W. Bush passed away. He was born in 1924, and was president between 1989 and 1993. He was from Texas. He was the father of former president George W. Bush.
In 2017, an Islamic terrorist group called ISIS, which had had limited control over sections of territory in northern Iraq and eastern Syria since 2014, took control of all of Iraq and Syria, and set up a formal state government in the city of Al Raqqah, Syria. With all of Syria under their control, ISIS had a border, and point of attack, on Israel, the sole Jewish state in the region, and the world. In March of that year, ISIS launched a massive military campaign against Israel, invading through the Golan Heights. The Israeli military was prepared, however, and immediately launched a counterattack. Israel, a close ally of the United States, asked for help. US president Paul Ryan sent several destroyers of the Atlantic fleet, as well as the retired World War II era Battleship New Jersey, stationed in Camden, New Jersey, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. Days later, the United States declared war on ISIS, and entered into yet another middle eastern campaign.
The war was supported by most Americans, but all wanted to approach with caution. As they year went on, more and more Israeli territory fell to ISIS. In August, ISIS’s forces broke through to the West Bank.At first they were welcomed as liberators, but their brutal treatment of the locals soon overturned that feeling. By October, US troops had landed on the beaches of Syria and Iraq, and were pushed ISIS inland. Israeli forces were starting collapse, however, and ISIS’s forces neared Jerusalem. President Ryan sent more and more American troops to fight alongside the Israelis. Finally, in January 2018, the tables began to turn. With ISIS fighters on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the Muslim Palestinians joined Israel and the United States in fighting ISIS. The unlikely combination of forces pushed ISIS out of Israel and Lebanon by March, and US troops captured Aleppo and Damascus in Syria, as well as Baghdad in Iraq.
On August 1, 2018, an ISIS terrorist set off a bomb at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. The Tower was not destroyed, but severely damaged. On August 11, 2018 another bomb exploded in Whitehall, the English Parliament Building in London. The building was not completely destroyed, but the fire caused significant damage. On August 21, a third bomb exploded in the Louvre, with the same results as Whitehall: significant damage but not total destruction. Finally, on August 31, a massive explosion rocked Houston, Texas. A small warhead had been set off in a high-rise in downtown. It was evacuated quickly, but collapsed after an hour of being ablaze. 50 people were killed, and it seemed the terrorist had come through the southern border. US president Paul Ryan used the attack as a evidence of the necessity of his American Wall.
In 2018, US president Paul Ryan waged war abroad and isolation at home. Construction of his Great Wall of America was continuing on schedule, but opposition was very strong. The success of the war in the Middle East rose its, and Paul Ryan’s popularity. By November 2018, the War in Al Shaman was coming to an end as US, Israeli, Palestinian, Turkish, Iranian, and smaller British and French forces had surrounded ISIS’s capital, Al Raqqah. A siege was initiated, and finally in January 2019 Al Raqqah was captured. The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, went down fighting. He blew himself up under a US tank in the final struggle for the city. The city was virtually leveled in the battle, and many innocent civilians were killed, but the war was over. The US had made a clear victory.
Instead of occupying the region, as previous presidents had ordered, Paul Ryan, knowing the region would descend into chaos if US troops left, as had occurred in Iraq after the 2011 US with drawl. So President Ryan made a bold, and quite drastic move. Ryan decided to annex the nations of Iraq and Syria, making them US territories. The bill narrowly passed through Congress, with many alterations. After 20 years of US control, the territories would get a vote on weather or not to secede from the United States, or to stay as territories. 85% of Americans opposed the annexation, but the very conservative Congress allowed the bill to pass. Only 15% of Syrians and 10% of Iraqis were in favor of the annexation, but they had little say in the matter. Many middle eastern nations (not Israel) were outraged, and even the United Kingdom was offended my America’s actions.
On the home front, the America’s border wall was still under construction. Congress ordered construction be sped up. 45% of Americans still opposed the wall, while 30% supported it. But construction continued, ignoring the protests. Former presidents William Clinton and Barack Obama were among the most highbrow dissenters, as well as ex-presidential candidate and wife of William Clinton, Hillary Clinton. President Paul Ryan moved the completion date of the wall up to October 2020, a month before the 2020 presidential election.
In 2019, Russia had fully recovered from the sanctions the US and EU had placed upon it in 2014-2015, and was becoming much more self-sufficient. Russia was almost completely energy independent, which was the key to self-sufficiency.