Even as a Politics and International Relations student, it can be difficult to follow world events and political issues that can require deep prior knowledge or multi-disciplinary approaches. This article will aim to make two subjects of politics and world events more approachable for students or those with little prior knowledge on the topic.
As a Politics and International Relations student, I have found that the best way to keep up to date with foreign and domestic affairs is to watch the news on a regular basis. Usually, in my case, this is first thing in the morning with my coffee. I flick between different news channels, including Al Jazeera, RT (Russia Today) and BBC News as I get ready for my day at university – all of which I have found are accessible, varied and relatively reliable. (Top tip – always compare two or three news channels in order to get a more balanced view of world events).
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
One of the stories currently in headlines is the attempted impeachment of President Trump.
If it were decided that Trump had acted in violation of America’s best interests he would have been ‘impeached’ – impeachment is effectively a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office.
Donald Trump was charged with this impeachment due to his alleged blackmail of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump was accused of withholding military aid to the Ukraine without securing Zelensky’s help to “investigate” Trump’s main rival, Joe Biden.
The US senate decided President Trump has acted in the best interests of the American people, therefore did not justify his removal from office.
This has been an interesting time to be an observer in American politics, although often difficult to follow some of the more complicated terms and procedures. If you are interested in reading about the future after the impeachment click here.
USA and Iraq/Iran Conflict
Recently the media has been dominated by the news of the assassination, by drone strike, of Qasem Soulimani. As a major figure in the Iranian military, Soulimani was thought to be the second most powerful man in Iran and a major public figure. Here is a link to a BBC ‘The News Explained’ video on the General.
To understand the unfolding of events surrounding Soulimani’s death, (and the wider Iran-USA issue) we should take a historical approach. Many of the current issues between the USA and Iran come from a historical conflict of interests within the Middle East between the two nations. The USA’s long term ally, Saudi Arabia, is effectively in a cold war with Iran as they remain the two largest powers in the region, vying for influence.
From an international law point of view (and something that law students in particular should keep an eye on) the assassination breaches the state of Iran’s sovereignty and is seen by many as a direct provocation of war.
Since these events there has been much debate in the USA as to whether their troops belong in the Middle East at all, especially in light of the rocket attacks on American bases that have occurred in the past few weeks. These attacks have not been solely in Iran, but have triggered a new round of hatred towards US troops across the Middle East.
To see a news report on a recent attack on American troops click here.
I have barely scratched the surface of the huge range of topics in the media today – I would highly recommend reading into these issues yourself or exploring new ones. Many news channels now offer a tailored experience of events whereby you can select what you read, see, and hear about through their apps and websites. Although these issues may not be in the forefront of the news today they remain crucial to developing an open minded and wholesome worldview.
As well as the typical news channels you could also check out Pod Save America, a podcast run by former aides to Obama, in which they try to make politics easily understandable and cut straight to the important bits.
I recommend keeping up to date with modern political goings on in order to become a more informed individual and supplement the knowledge you gain at university.