Got It All

Analysis | The big news stories of 2020 may feel eerily similar to those of 2010 – The Washington Post

This article is more than 1 year old
As the decade comes to an end, much has been made of how much has changed in the past 10 years. World leaders have come and gone, countries have been founded, conflicts have started and stopped, and the planet has grown significantly warmer. But look back at some of the top stories from 2010, and many may sound like the familiar stories that drive the present. Here are four major stories from 2010 that you may hear more about in 2020.
In 2010: Ten years ago, there were increasing concerns in the United States and the rest of the world that Iran was ignoring U.N. calls to suspend uranium enrichment. In June, the U.N. Security Council tightened sanctions on the country, banning it from testing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and banning other countries from selling Iran certain weapons.
But those sanctions failed to satisfy the Obama administration and many U.S. lawmakers. Weeks later, Congress passed its own sanctions, which President Barack Obama called “the toughest sanctions against Iran ever passed by the United States Congress.”
Eventually, the administration would embark on negotiations that would result in the signing of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear weapon capability in exchange for lifting the crushing sanctions.
In 2020: Ten years later, sanctions are still squeezing Iran. In 2018, President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying it proved ineffective in keeping Iran from reaching “the brink of a nuclear breakout.” Britain, France and Germany, also signatories of the deal, expressed “regret and concern” over the U.S. withdrawal and pledged their “continuing commitment” to the agreement.
Trump imposed, and then said he would increase, sanctions targeting the Iranian economy, making them the “stiffest sanctions ever applied to a single nation,” The Washington Post reported. The president has said he’s willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to cut a deal, but as tensions between the two countries simmer, it’s not clear that any summit is on the horizon.
In 2010: Ten years ago, tensions between North Korea and South Korea were at a precarious high. In March, a South Korean warship off the Korean Peninsula was sunk, killing 46 people. North Korea denied South Korean accusations that it had torpedoed the vessel. But South Korean President Lee Myung-bak still took a hard line against North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il, cutting his country off from food aid. Then, in November, North Korea bombed the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.
As the year came to an end, some analysts called for dialogue, but Washington and Seoul seemed hesitant to engage with the North Korean regime.
In 2020: Ten years later, South Korea and the United States have engaged with a new North Korean regime, run by Kim Jong Il’s son Kim Jong Un, though it’s unclear whether engagement has deterred North Korean aggression.
Moon Jae-in, was elected president of South Korea in 2017 while promising to be more open with North Korea. In 2018, Moon and Kim shared a historic embrace on the countries’ border. But things have soured since then. In July, North Korea tested an advanced missile in what it called a direct response to Moon’s “double dealing” with the North and the United States.
Trump has also pursued a policy of engagement with the North Korean regime since he took office. But after two major summits with Kim, the United States and North Korea have shown little progress in denuclearization talks. And analysts say North Korea is back on a path of weapons tests and brinkmanship for 2020.
In 2010: Ten years ago, demonstrations spread throughout Europe to protest spending cuts some European Union countries made to welfare benefits, pension funds, wages and jobs. These austerity policies came after countries found themselves grappling with the economic repercussions of the 2008 financial crisis.
As the BBC reported at the time, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in countries including Greece, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Brussels and France. In December, ongoing protests in Greece over the country’s adopted austerity policies turned violent as demonstrators clashed with police in Athens.
The bloc-wide cutbacks as the debt crisis continued brought a newfound resentment among Europeans who believed they were suffering the consequences and paying for the brash decisions made by wealthy and powerful bankers.
In 2020: Ten years later, Europe is in a better state economically, but warnings of another global recession are surfacing and, especially in France, public discontent with a waning welfare state has sparked political tension.
In 2019, shocks to the stock market signaled another recession could be imminent. Such a prediction was based in part on worrisome economic data from Germany, Britain and Italy. Germany and Britain’s economies contracted, while Italy, the euro zone’s third-largest economy, entered a recession in 2018, with 2019 not looking much better for growth.
Meanwhile, in France, the protest movement known as the “gilets jaunes,” or the “yellow vests,” launched uprisings against what they saw as President Emmanuel Macron’s disregard for social inequality. While the movement in some ways succeeded in making Macron aware of their concerns (the fuel-price hike that initially sparked the demonstrations was abandoned by his administration), he is still seeking “to overhaul sectors of France’s famously generous welfare state. … And that promises to produce further clashes,” The Post’s James McAuley wrote in November.
In 2010: In the summer of 2010, the FBI broke up a ring of 10 people charged with acting as undercover Russian agents who had come to the United States with missions to deliver intelligence back to Moscow. Some of them posed as married couples; some weaseled their way into close relationships with Washington intelligence officials and New York financiers.
The Russians were charged with conspiracy to act as agents of a foreign government, but the 10 alleged agents were ultimately handed back to Russia in exchange for four Russians imprisoned for spying for the West.
The uncovering of the ring revealed that while the United States and Russia were engaged in aboveboard, less adversarial diplomacy, the legendary Soviet-era impulse to conduct undercover operations in the United States was still prevalent.
In 2020: With a national election looming in November, U.S. intelligence agencies and lawmakers have called on Congress, the White House and Silicon Valley to make sure social media sites aren’t susceptible to the same weaknesses that Russian operatives exploited in 2016, allegedly to help Trump win the presidency.
Intelligence agencies have repeatedly warned that Russia will continue to interfere in U.S. elections. (Military officials are even developing methods of retaliation.) In April, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said the bureau considered Russian interference in the 2020 election a “significant counterintelligence threat.”
And there’s a possibility that Russian agents could be at work again. In 2018, Russian national Maria Butina, a student at American University, was arrested and charged with conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government. She pleaded guilty to conspiring with a senior Russian official to gain access to the National Rifle Association. Butina was deported to Moscow in October after serving more than 15 months in prison.
The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning.
By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *