2004: Drawing the line

The passing year has been full of various events. Just like any other year, 2004 had its highs and lows. Therefore, it would probably be incorrect to state that this Leap Year has been some what transitional for the humanity at large. After all, who knows how the events of this passing year will be viewed in a decade or two from now?!

The following is a list of ten most noteworthy events (in our opinion) of international significance that took place in 2004.

1. Terrorist attacks in Madrid (11 March, 2004).

In this regard, we should also recall a blast in the Moscow metro, the Beslan tragedy, explosions at Egyptian resort Sharm-el-Sheikh and dozens of other acts of terrorism that took place in various corners of the planet.

Unfortunately, the passing year was not transitional as far as the fight against terrorism is concerned. Well, it simply could not have been transitional. The problem lies much deeper…it would not be enough to liquidate bin Laden, Abu Musab az-Zarkavi or Shamil Basaev. Each one of has got hundreds if not millions of followers who would be honored to fight till the end.

2. NATO's expansion eastward

In actuality, there was nothing surprising in this event. After all, the initial agreement regarding the additional seven states joining the alliance has been reached a long time ago. However, this is no way is indicative of the fact that Russian problems with the alliance will suddenly cease to exist. After all, not one country has guaranteed us safety. Obviously, one can claim that the actual essence of the alliance implies peaceful intentions and so on. But it’s just words. Nowadays, it seems like Brussels views Russia as a potential threat rather than an ally. Such attitude in turn makes Moscow to have the exact same reaction towards NATO.

3. Ethnic cleansing in Kosovo

Events in Kosovo have once again demonstrated the creation of a monoethnic state. To put it more precisely, such state has already been created…It would be much harder to imagine a situation where Serbs could return back to Kosovo and feel safe there. At any rate, one can hardly call living under a constant protection of peace forces a normal life.

4. EU expansion

Ten new states of Central and Eastern Europe, including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have joined the EU in May of 2004. Undoubtedly, the EU will continue to expand eastward.

5. Events in Iraq

Situation in Iraq remained just as intense during 2004. The end of war is nowhere to be seen. Constant terrorist attacks and never-ending fights in the area prove America’s measures to be quite ineffective.

6. Attempts of Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili to restore Georgia's integrity

Saakashvili managed to solve the Adjarian problem in a nick of time. However, problems with South Osetia and Abkhasia still remain; it is most likely the Georgian president will need more time to settle the matters.

7. American presidential elections

8. Sudden death of Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat

9. Political crisis in Ukraine

10. Terrible catastrophe in South-East Asia

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Author`s name Andrey Mikhailov