1 Jan 2013

New year, new world order?

Welcome to the year in which the world order takes another shunt. This time it is shale gas that overnight will leave the United States less dependent upon Arab extracted fossil fuel than at any time in the last 100 years.

Couple this with the ever increasing US/UK need to cut military costs and exit Iraq and Afghanistan faster than anyone imagined possible.

2012 will mark the end of the time in history when rich Arab states could have used their energy producing muscle to lever movement out of America to deliver a Palestinian state.

2012 was the year in which the two state solution to Palestinians’ aspiration for a state was delivered a death blow. So whilst 2012 saw the UN approve a form of “statehood” for Palestine, 2013 is unlikely to see further movement toward one.

Two of the strongest guarantors of Arab strength – Syria and Iraq are in smithereens. The region is in upheaval. Egypt is bankrupt, Jordan uncertain, Lebanon besieged by trouble all around. This will be a difficult year, not least because so many beyond the region continue to try to read the Arab Spring as in some way uniform and all embracing.

As the “west” pulls out of the region, so the Sunni-Shia fratricide will continue. Iran will have elections, the theocratic state will hold and America looks destined to continue leading the pressure against Iran focusing exclusively on the nuclear issue.

For the rest – maybe Monti will somehow prevail in Italy. The eurozone will stagger on…Greece with it.

China remains the odd ball. Four years now before the country’s age ratio tips. The one child policy will render her old by comparison to her regional competitors. Corruption stalks the land.

2013 will be lucky for some, but one has a sense of a foreboding for many others.

Every journalist will be asking “where will I be sent first in 2013?”

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