Some political moments don't just affect the country they happen in, they influence the world. Decisions on women's rights and ecological agreements are just some of the moments in 2019 international politics that shape the world we live in. Many significant political changes have been waiting in the wings for years; others are spur-of-the-moment instances that changed the face of international politics. Whether they were expected or not, these are the most important moments in international politics of 2019.
Today's important political moments can become tomorrow's historic events. It can be strange to realize that some of the important moments in 2019 international politics may end up as little more than a paragraph in a future history book. Whether they may end up as a footnote or dedicated chapters, these moments affected how we lived our lives in 2019. Vote up the most international political choices and actions that made the biggest impact on life - for better or worse - in 2019.
Jan. 2: Kim Jong Un Delivers A Warning Speech
During his annual New Year speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared that North Korea "will no longer make, test, use, or distribute nuclear weapons." He then went on to add:
However, if the United States continues to break its promises and misjudges our patience by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure against our republic, then we may have to seek another way to protect our country's sovereignty and interest and establish peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
The 2018 North Korea–United States summit was the first meeting of a North Korean leader and a sitting US president and resulted in the signing of a document committing North Korea to denuclearization and a new relationship between the two countries.319Was this impactful?
March 22: Italy Joins China's 'One Belt One Road' Project
Over the weekend of March 22, 2019, Italy officially became the first member of the Group of Seven - comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US - to join China's Belt and Road Initiative. The project is framed as a "new Silk Road" made up of railways, ports, and other infrastructure throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe meant to facilitate trade.
Many of Italy's allies from the Group of Seven, including the United States, advised Italy to not take the deal. The plan is financially backed by billions of dollars from Chinese government-run companies. The Washington Post's Rome bureau cheif, Chico Harlan, said of the deal:
Italy, whose economy has sagged for decades, says the potential economic benefits are too great to pass up. But in pursuinmg the Belt and Road deal, Italy's populist government is breaking ranks with the most powerful countries of the West, defying the wishes of the Trump administration, and highlighting the unsettled debate within Europe on how to deal with China's globally expanding ambitions.
Luigi Di Maio, the leader of the Five Star Movement, supports the bill, saying, "Like someone in the United States said 'America first,' I continue to repeat my 'Italy first' in commercial relations."122Was this impactful?
March 21: New Zealand Bans Military-Style Rifles
After the terrorist attacks that left 50 people dead at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took swift action and banned the military-style semi-automatic weapons used in the attacks.
"On March 15 our history changed forever. Now our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place. Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terror attack on Friday [March 15] will be banned" Prime Minister Ardern said in an official statement from the country's capital. The law is set to take place by April 11. Prime Minister Ardern added that the legislation "will be drafted and introduced in urgency" and that a buyback program was set up.159Was this impactful?
March 20: Bosnian Serb War Criminal Radovan Karadzic Is Sentenced To Life In Prison
Radovan Karadzic served as the president of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Bosnian War of the 1990s. Karadzic was found guilty of crimes against humanity, including genocide, for his role during the breakup of Yugoslavia.
In 2011, Karadzic was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his crimes. He had 11 charges against him, and he was found guilty of 10, including genocide. Karadzic tried to appeal in 2018. On March 20, 2019, his sentence for genocide was increased from 40 years to life in prison by appeal jduges at The Hague, Netherlands.
Judge Vagn Joensen said Karadzic's first sentence did not match the "gravity" of his crimes, and "his responsibility for the largest and gravest set of crimes ever attributed to a single person athe ICTY [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia]."92Was this impactful?