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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9 reader comments

  1. David Panton says:

    For Monti to ‘prevail in Italy’ the ‘senator for life’ will actually have to win a party election in February, at least then he would have the opportunity to lead some elected elections in contrast to sacking elected politicians and appointing technocrats in their places. If I were a betting man I might be tempted to bet on a ‘winning stagger’ in February followed by a very Italian fall within six months.

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    “New World Order”?

    Funny, but didn’t Hitler once use that phrase and was, er, “criticised” for it?…..Mind you, not a word was heard from those foreigners who helped finance the Nazis – people like Prescott Bush for instance. You remember him….George Herbert Walker Bush’s Dad, the same one who financed Richard Nixon’s career and then saw his own son and grandson become presidents of the good old US of A.

    I only mention this in passing to show how quickly you media employees tend to forget the lessons of history.

  3. Robert says:

    The world order has already changed. China, India, Brazil even Russia are on the move with Europe and the USA are mired in their past.

  4. adil says:

    Having an infinitesimal understanding of science in general perhaps there are a few things that we should look at first before embarking on liberating shale gas:

    1) Are we confident that the machines that use gas/electricity at the moment are running at the heighest efficiency? It seems that there is a _lot_ of wasted energy. You just have to walk along the street to hear all the lost as sound and heat from vehicles/air conditioners etc.

    2) Perhaps the space left by liberated shale gas will need to be filled by something: either the fraction of fluid used to liberate the gas or simply by the ground collapsing to fill in the space. Are we confident that there will be negligible impact on the environment (which we tend to live off) and those living near these shale gas adventures?

    I am not against oil/gas/coal/nuclear, but I think we should be trying to ensure that the machines we currently use really make the most efficient use of the resources they consume. But, perhaps I miss the big picture.

    Really hope that 2013 will be a good year for all!

  5. Doctor Brown says:

    Excellent piece Jon. Very best wishes for 2013.

  6. Ron Gaster says:

    China completes laying of tracks for world’s longest high-speed rail line,the UK would still be in enquirer stage,a command economy that’s what is needed,Oh and rotation of officials,but they wont like that.

  7. Robert Taggart says:

    Where to send you first Jonny… are we still talking ‘news’ stories ?!

  8. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    Its not exactly the age of aquarius is it? This is a decisive moment for the USA, That fiscal cliff everyone is talking about ,hopefully will be absailed down very gently , but there is hope and the signs of growth there I believe.

    I suppose the focus on nuclear capability is a sensible topic to view through the microscope.If we look at the history of violence and the willingness to annihalate others readily , it would be foolish to let them be.

    As for Syria ,I can’t even comment ,it is far too maniacally unreal..I can’t cope with this violence in a land where religion is so important. The UN what is wrong with them?
    Happy New Year to all of us and good look in influencing the rest of the world ‘the gentle ones.’

    1. margaret brandreth-jones says:

      Watching th C4 news whilst writing. Consequently my comment is grammatically bizzarre…. There is hope and there are signs of growth I believe…

      Good luck to all.

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