If you do one thing, please wish each other Happy New Year when 2017 arrives – we're going to need it

Donald Trump is not a politician, but a reality star. Like most reality stars, he exists only to perform. His erratic and brutish policies will shake up international relations irrevocably

Donald Trump will be inaugurated on 20 January 2017
Donald Trump will be inaugurated on 20 January 2017

Even if 2016 felt catastrophic, it was more like a series of tremors - harbingers of doom, early warnings of the real earthquake to come. The shockwaves have yet to reach the surface

Following the election of Donald Trump, we hoped in vain, that the real estate tycoon would go the way of all politicians, and he would be forced into the mould of the establishment. To borrow the analogous Brexit terminology, we dared to hope for a soft, rather than a hard Trump.

However, we neglected to remember that Trump is not a politician at all, but a reality star. And like most reality stars, he exists only to perform. What he doesn’t realise is that words in The Apprentice boardroom carry different weight to those spoken at the UN Security Council.

The last month alone have seen the President-elect defy the One China policy, risking relations with the superpower; refuse intelligence meetings with the CIA; exacerbate Israeli-Palestinian tensions by threatening to move the US embassy to Jerusalem; declare that he will increase US nuclear armament, thereby encouraging a nuclear arms race and introducing a very real risk of nuclear war; and last, but by no means least, strengthen relations with Russia – a country which is violently homophobic, backs the bloody Syrian regime, interfered with the US election through cyber hacking and is currently under worldwide sanctions for invading Ukraine.

Feeble hopes that Trump might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of policy advisors, technocrats, and fellow Republicans imploring him to pursue more sensible foreign policies, have proved to be unfounded. His sheer, obnoxious, stupidity trumps all reason. Trumps, get it? It’s such a sorry state of affairs, not even puns can cheer us up.

Trump has managed to wreak significant havoc on the world stage already, and he’s not even in the Oval Office yet. Come January, his erratic and brutish policies will shake up international relations irrevocably, potentially instigating violence, death and destruction on a massive scale. Half-hearted sentiments about leaving 2016 behind seem misplaced. We have a lot more to worry about in 2017 and beyond, by the looks of things.

Add to this the fact that Brexit, and the rise of populist movements across Europe, might mean the fragmentation of the EU and the destruction of the ideals of free movement and trade that we’ve grown accustomed to. Consider that the retaking of Aleppo by the Syrian regime this month means that the long-fought war is likely to continue, fuelling the refugee crisis long into the future, and keeping the country vulnerable to the advances of Isis, which continues to grow in strength and promises more attacks like in last week’s Berlin Christmas market.

If 2016 felt catastrophic, it was more like a series of tremors - harbingers of doom, early warnings of the real earthquake to come. The shockwaves have yet to reach the surface.

Personifying a unit of time into everything we hate and fear – bigotry, extreme nationalism, and decline – will do us no good in the end. 2016 is not itself is not the spectre of doom, but a symptom of the disillusionment of people the world over.

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