For me, undoubtedly the most important event of 2017 was the recognition by Pres. Trump of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Although this was actually recognising reality, it was nevertheless a brave and surprising thing to do. Yes, he had promised to do this in his election campaign, but so had Barack Obama and several other previous Presidential candidates. But, when they actually became President they did not do so, exercising the biannual waiver included in the law of 1995 by Congress.
Perhaps the second most important thing was the total and extreme rejection of this recognition by the Palestinian movement. They have shown no sign of willingness to compromise and have continued to resort to violence and terrorism. In a way they are playing into Israeli and American hands, by their anti-American rhetoric and rejection.
The defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, almost complete by the end of 2017, is another important event that will be continued into 2018. Connected to that is not only the survival of Pres. Assad of Syria, but also the entrenchment of foreign forces in Syria, notably Russia, Iran and Hizbollah (from Lebanon). The future of the Middle East looks dire with the expansion of Iran, But, widespread rioting in Iran over economic issues has currently expanded into anti-clerical sentiment, and even if these manifestations are suppressed, they cannot be defeated altogether.
The question in 2018 is can these anti-clerical riots undermine Iran’s expansionism before they actually start to attack Israel, which could lead to a significant war. I remind readers that one of Ayatollah Khomeini’s main aims when he came to power in 1979 was to capture Jerusalem, and to this end a main slogan of the revolution was “The road to Jerusalem leads through Baghdad.” They failed in their attempt to take over Iraq, with its Shia majority, by force. But they have now extended their grasp to pro-Shia Syria instead.
The situation of North Korea cannot remain dormant in 2018. The provocations of Kim Jong-Un must be countered by the US, and since Pres. Trump has been touting the diplomatic solution, it is fair to assume that he is planning a military solution. As he has said several times, he will not reveal his future plans (as Pres. Obama did).
Finally, one of the biggest stories of the year 2017 has been the US stock market rally, up nearly 25%. The tax and jobs Bill passed by Congress and signed by Pres. Trump just before the New Year, should have significant economic benefits in 2018. With an improved financial situation, the US will be in a position to implement those policies that are needed, including immigration (“the wall”), anti-terrorism and an increased defense budget.