In the United States, the biggest events of 2002 had to do with the War on Terror as well as corporate reform in the wake of scandals. Terrorism was also a major issue internationally.
In the United States, the Enron controversy had arisen in late 2001, and in July of 2002, President George W. Bush signed reform legislation to address fraud and other wrongdoing in corporations.
American foreign policy focused on the War on Terror. The Department of Homeland Security was created, and in his State of the Union address, President Bush made his famous "axis of evil" speech. He also made a speech to the United Nations advocating for foreign intervention and regime change in Iraq.
In October of 2002, two snipers, John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, targeted civilians in the Washington, D.C. area. They killed 10 people and injured three others before being arrested.
Midterm elections were held in November of 2002. The Republican Party regained control of the Senate, and also gained five seats in the House of Representatives.
The biggest events internationally were East Timor becoming a nation, terrorist attacks in Bali, conflict between Chechen rebels and the national army in Russia and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez being temporarily ousted in a coup.