2021 was a mesmerising and consequential year in US politics. Business & Politics editor Sean Creagh sums up the biggest stories
The Afghan military, who have found it too difficult to defend rural districts, in response to the Taliban’s belligerence, have decided to simply abandon vast arrays of land – all in hopes of culminating their forces to defend (more) economically valuable cities. This has led to some easy victories for the Taliban, who have now taken control of over two-thirds of the country and forced thousands of families to flee for their safety.
There are also policy choices which no longer resonate with voters in 2021. Fianna Fáil has typically been the party of housing and social protection. But where are they when this is exactly what the voting public are crying out for? Where are these affordable estates for working families, and where are the council houses? Sure, there has been the COVID-19 pandemic at play in shutting down the construction industry, but that ultimately will not matter when people go to the polls.
The fictitious scenario of YouTube star Jake Paul running for US President in the not so distant future is a reality we may eventually face. In a world where the line between news and entertainment has become so blurred, we can expect more social media influencers in high-profile jobs. You no longer need talent or knowledge; a following of supporters is enough.
Labelled by his predecessor as Sleepy Joe Biden, the largely assumed safe, moderate choice of the 2020 Democratic candidates has ironically emerged as one of the most progressive US Presidents in modern history. The assumptions that the Biden White House would resemble that of a third-term Obama were just plain wrong. But how does he stack up against his predecessors so far?