This year, 2017, has been a very eventful one. Major events of the year have included hurricanes, refugee crises, and the so-called left being beaten and battered so badly that they now have to cheer for Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau as if they, simply for not being overt white supremacists, are somehow incredible public figures to look up to. It also included the editor of this magazine making the terrible, ill-advised decision to let me write words. But for all the mistakes (Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un, Burma as a concept, Jerusalem, Star Weekend editor, etc), there have been success stories. Incredible success stories that can nicely fit into 90-second videos on your Facebook feed. There were many videos of brave heroes fishing animals out of flooded homes this year—and I salute each and every one of you. There were also brave protesters, protesting many things, most of which did not amount to anything (Venezuela, Catalonia), but some did (South Korea, you might yet get nuked, so don't be too happy yet)—and that's better than nothing.
It was particularly eventful here in the US. There was the #MeToo movement, which comprised an incredible number of women who came out with stories of sexual harassment, abuse and assault that they endured. The most palpable of the effects of this was in Hollywood, where you were forced to admit that every one of your favourite male actors, directors and producers is actually a scumbag. To some people, this does not matter, but those are also the same people who would be alright with Roman Polanski directing a movie with child actors.
Puerto Rico remains without electricity for the most part, but that's their own fault for not being a real state. There were, as usual, mass shootings—but for the most part, that's so ingrained as a regular thing in the psyche of the American people that it would be unfair on real events to call this an event. Trump called Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man”, and Kim retorted by calling Trump a “dotard”. While the great Twitter war of international politics was hilarious, it was also accompanied by the real possibility of nuclear war. A week after I moved to Washington, DC there was a very serious article in the paper about how far I would have to be from the White House to not be instantaneously disintegrated upon impact. Since where I work is about a block away, there doesn't seem to be much hope for me. Mind you, the paper claimed instant death was the best possible scenario so I think I'm one of the lucky ones.
But as one news story after another flashed bright red and shouted “Breaking News” under Wolf Blitzer's dead eyes on CNN, there was one that stood out: Robert Mueller named Special Counsel and chief bloodhound of the investigation into Russian election involvement. He was the big event in 2017 here, and as we barely cross the finish line to 2018, panting, sweating, struggling to breathe, he is what we have to look forward to.
There's a bar near where I work in Washington, DC that has a great promotional offer. Every time someone from the Trump campaign or administration is flipped, the bar offers “Moscow Muellers”. Appointed in May as Special Counsel to the Department of Justice, the former FBI director set about trying to prove what everyone already knew—that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 US presidential elections and that Vladimir Putin was actually in Washington wearing a Donald Trump flesh suit to sabotage the US.
In what will no doubt be turned into an Oscar-bait Spielberg classic in the coming years, Mueller and his team set out on the hunt. Of course, in the movie version, there will be multiple swanky Georgetown party-scenes in which Meryl Streep will give Mueller vital information and everyone will be dressed as if they were stuck a few decades before the setting. In October, Mueller had his first big victory, filing charges against human-lizard lovechild Paul Manafort, George “I-don't-think-there's-anything-sketchy-about-meeting-shady-Russian-professors” Papadopoulos and their associate and full-time patsy Rick Gates.
This in itself was enough to send panic through the White House. In December, he flipped disgraced former “National Security” Advisor Michael Flynn—the man whose fame spawns from being very good at leading “Lock her up” chants and lying to Vice President Mike Pence, also known as the most un-fun person in the entire world. Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI. One by one Mueller was working his way up to the top. More and more information began to come out about meetings with Russian officials. Trump son-in-law, also person who promised to bring peace to the Middle East, Jared Kushner had apparently been meeting with the Russian ambassador.
In a political scene that has come to be dominated by overt crazies and unabashed crooks on the right, to sexual predators and wax figures on the not-as-right, Mueller is seen as the perfect go-getter to get behind for progressive millennials. Much like Bernie Sanders, the youth of America place their hopes behind an old white man once again. There are rumours that Mueller will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020, although I feel like no one has bothered to ask him and no one will, and Hillary “Literally-lost-an-election-to-Trump” Clinton will run again.
The Republicans have started calling for Mueller to be fired—which the President somehow has the power to do. But the Republicans are taking casualties in the House and Senate—their majority in the latter now cut down to one after the hookworm-addled folks of Alabama just barely decided that being paedophile is not a good thing. In 2018, they look likely to lose more. While Trump's base seems as committed as a nuclear bunker (and just as necessary for him), Mueller remains the closest hope to impeachment. I'm personally hoping to ring in the New Year with some Moscow Muellers.
Bareesh Hasan Chowdhury is a recent Political Science graduate.