Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
Predictions for 2013
Cape Breton Island and the Great Bear Rainforest destinations for 2013, according to National Geographic
(RCI) Canada’s east and west coast are must-see’s according to the National Geographic’s travel editors. In the “Best of the World 2013″ Canada has two destinations listed: the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, and Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island on the east coast.
Four Surprises That Could Rock Asia in 2013 — Are we paying attention to the wrong crises?
(Foreign Policy) … there are quieter threats to Asia, potentially more explosive than a North Korean missile. Here are four underappreciated threats to the world’s most populous region: Taiwan Independence … Jihadists Attack China … The U.S. Navy Can’t Save the Day — reduce[d] U.S. capability and its ability to fund expensive rescue missions … The King of Thailand Dies.
World Outlook for 2013
(Foreign Affairs) As the year draws to an end, the United States faces three major challenges in 2013, says James M. Lindsay, the head of CFR’s Studies Program. One is the Middle East, where the continuing conflict in Syria is upsetting to stability in the region, and where Iran is approaching a “red line” on its ability to make nuclear weapons. He says the “rising tensions” in East Asia between China and its neighbors threaten the peace. And lastly, he says that how the United States resolves its current “fiscal cliff” crisis may play a major role in the overall health of the world’s economy.
2013 hot-button issues: Ongoing international strife could wash up on Canada’s shores
David (Kilgour) … “Obtaining shared responsibility for major world problems by all national governments is no doubt the major precondition of better international governance.
New challenges include environmental, social and cyber-security issues.
vs. David (Jones): U.S. economy, Mideast peace are most critical problems in 2013
Europe in 2013: A Year of Decision
(Stratfor) 2013 is the year in which the definition of the European problem must move beyond the financial crisis to the social consequences of that crisis. Progress, if not a solution, must become visible. It is difficult to see how continued stagnation and unemployment at these levels can last another year without starting to generate significant political opposition that will create governments, or force existing governments, to tear at the fabric of Europe.
That fabric is not old enough, worn enough or tough enough to face the challenges. People are not being asked to die on a battlefield for the European Union but to live lives of misery and disappointment. In many ways that is harder than being brave. And since the core promise of the European Union was prosperity, the failure to deliver that prosperity — and the delivery of poverty instead, unevenly distributed — is not sustainable. If Europe is in crisis, the world’s largest economy is in crisis, political as well as financial. And that matters to the world perhaps more than anything else.
Read more: Europe in 2013: A Year of Decision | Stratfor
Predicting the year to come at the United Nations
As United Nations headquarters in New York finishes a $2 billion renovation phase, the “old, sloppy business of managing the world’s crises will remain” in 2013, writes Colum Lynch. Conflicts in Syria, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the state to Iran’s nuclear program, are priorities for UN envoys, Lynch says. Separately, Armin Rosen of The Atlantic weighs in with his foreign affairs predictions for the year. ForeignPolicy.com/Turtle Bay blog (12/31), The Atlantic online/International Channel (12/31)
Challenges for Global Governance in 2013
(Council on Foreign Relations) This roundup is a feature of the Council of Councils initiative, gathering opinions from global experts on major international developments.
From the Iran nuclear crisis to global economic woes, the upcoming year will pose steady challenges to international bodies seized with maintaining peace and prosperity. Experts from four leading think tanks weigh the issues.
Michael Fullilove, of Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy, says China must assume “the responsibilities incumbent on a global power” but China’s vision of “stepping up” will not be the same as that of the United States.
In addition to the crisis in Syria and Iran’s progression toward nuclear capabilities, CFR President Richard N. Haass identifies trade, cybersecurity, and climate change as major governance tests.
The Shanghai Institutes for International Studies’ Jiemian Yang says governance priorities are strengthening existing institutions, forging consensus between state and non-state actors, and harnessing regional efforts in areas like trade into common global action.
Similarly, INSOR’s Igor Yurgens identifies three issues—the continuing turmoil in the Middle East, environmental concerns, and the growing wealth gap—that will have serious implications for global governance.
Predictions for 2013: BBC correspondents
What might 2013 bring? Our experts make their predictions on the big stories and the names to watch.
Lyse Doucet, Chief international correspondent
Remember that infamous phrase “axis of evil”? This year tough decisions will be made on Syria, Iran, and North Korea.
2012 ended with strong statements by some Western leaders that they will accelerate support to Syrian rebels. This will be the year of a post-Assad order but “transition” looks set to be bloody.
What is the “or else” if negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme don’t succeed by the Spring?
Mark Mardell, North America editor
In news terms it will continue to be the Arab uprisings, but I am more interested in whether the US and China co-operate or clash in the Pacific.
The US economy will come back strongly and, surprisingly, manufacturing will play an important role. This will be largely based on growing US energy independence. Europe will slip further back, with crisis as the new normal.
James Robbins, Diplomatic editor
Syria’s civil war deepens, spreading the poison of sectarian and ethnic violence. The Assad regime will fall.
Iran moves closer to the ability to make a nuclear weapon. There will not be outside intervention in Iran in 2013, but it will be close-run.
Prospects for a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians continue to fade.
Read more, including predictions of people to watch, plus what they predicted for 2012 – interesting how right and how wrong they were.
Louise Arbour: 10 Conflicts to Watch in 2013
From Turkey to Congo, next year’s wars threaten global stability.
(Foreign Policy) … What follows, then, is a “top 10” list of crises that does not include the ongoing, drug-related violence in Mexico, the simmering tensions in the East China Sea, or the possibility of conflict on the Korean peninsula after a rocket launch by Pyongyang. As if this mix wasn’t combustible enough, there are new leaders in China, Japan, and on both sides of Korea’s de-militarized zone who may well feel pressured to burnish their nationalist credentials with aggressive action. Nor do I mention the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe, the ongoing trauma in Somalia, or the talk of war in response to Iran’s nuclear program. Any of these could credibly make a top 10 crises list. …
here is the International Crisis Group’s “top 10” list of global threats for the coming year. It is non-prioritized, and seeks to include a mix of the obvious risks and those we believe are bubbling beneath the surface. And because we’re optimists at heart, it includes an addendum of three countries where recent developments suggest that the coming year could bring peace — not torment.
Political Predictions, Holiday Edition
By DAVID BROOKS and GAIL COLLINS
Gail: … I’ll start. I predict we won’t fall off the fiscal cliff. And that when we converse after the deal is done, I’ll complain that the president gave away too much. This is partly because the way it looks now, I don’t think he needs to give much of anything.
David: The objective conditions certainly point to a deal. But I’m not so sure. Republicans really want to get some entitlement reform in exchange for their cave-in on rates. In private, many are still talking about holding firm. Obama may decide that this is his chance to crush the G.O.P. into a shapeless pulp and may demand their utter humiliation before agreeing to a compromise. Once the tension heats up, the ideological circus comes to town. Everybody starts playing by circus rules, and anything can happen.
Gail: I predict the Supreme Court will toss out the Defense of Marriage Act. Although possibly by throwing the gay marriage issue back to the states. The fact that they decided to consider both the federal law and a lower court ruling about California makes me suspect they’ll say it’s up to the states to make the rules for marriage, but in the states where gay marriage is legal, the partners are eligible for federal spousal benefits.
Obviously, that wouldn’t make any sense – it’d be like upholding the old state laws against interracial marriage. But I just find it hard to imagine this court making the kind of sweeping stand for civil liberties that a righteous ruling would require. Maybe I’m being too cynical. What do you think?
David: I agree with you. On these big social issues, my guess is that the courts will gradually allow gay marriage and gradually forbid affirmative action, at least based strictly on race. Of course I want both those things to happen, so perhaps I’m allowing the wish to be father to the thought.
Gail: Now that Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate to serve the nation by running a think tank for what sounds like it’s going to be a seven-figure salary, I predict Ted Cruz will be the Tea Party Senate standout. Cruz is, as you well know, the incoming Senator from Texas. The one who claimed the United Nations was plotting to undermine the nation’s golf courses.
David: I disagree with you there. I don’t know Cruz, but he comes with a very mixed reputation among Republicans in Texas. He may not be the sort who can rally people, especially since he is a freshman. I’d go with Rand Paul. Or, more likely, I think there will be no Tea Party standout. The category will cease to exist as Tea Party types blend back into the normal conservative categories.
By the way, in retrospect, isn’t it hilarious the way the media overhyped the Occupy Wall Street movement? The Tea Party at least had some political impact. The Occupy movement was nothing but a media creation. It was a bunch of hip editors and reporters from Brooklyn exaggerating the importance of a bunch of disgruntled liberal arts majors. O.K., I’m overgeneralizing, but not by much.
Gail: Well, at least Occupy Wall Street didn’t force Todd Akin into the Missouri Senate nomination.
Here’s my next prediction. The Democrats will spend the next year wondering what Hillary will do. They won’t find out until 2014.
David: She’ll run.
Gail: The big post-cliff issue in Congress will, of course, be immigration reform. Some of the Republicans, as you know, are trying to figure out a way to do it in “pieces” with the easy stuff like a Dream Act and opening the door for high-skilled workers coming first. The Democrats won’t let them. Because they know that if the easy stuff comes first, the hard stuff like a path to citizenship for people who are already here illegally will never come up at all.
David: My big prediction for 2013 is that immigration won’t be the big post-cliff issue. It will still be budgets. Cutting a short-term deal in December makes only a small dent in the looming fiscal catastrophe. To actually address the problem, you have to do tax reform and Medicare reform. You have to think outside the 10-year budget window and start to make the changes that will lead to debt levels in 2030 that are in fact level. If you don’t make these changes now, they become impossible later on.
Gail: Now that sounds more like a David wish. If Congress was made up of good planners with the long-term national well-being at the tippy-top of their priority list, you would probably be right.
David: As for immigration, I guess I’m of the belief that bigger is easier because there are many moving pieces you can trade with. I just hope the Democrats finally let us increase the number of skilled immigrants, especially the ones we are educating.
Gail: By the way, do you know what a major push for immigration reform next year means? That Congress is going to do nothing about global warming. Zero. Zip. If we could just get all the people who live near a coast to vote en masse, maybe there’d be hope for 2014.
David: Fracking. Fracking. Fracking. The switch from coal to natural gas will be an improvement, though not a solution. Gradually, after a few more years, solar and wind will be able to compete with fossil fuels economically, but it will take awhile. By the way, there was a great New Yorker piece on other ways to address global warming at the back end.
My favorite involves stirring the oceans with giant straws. You bring the cold bottom water to the surface and that cools the atmosphere. I’m hoping that they’ll also find all the pairs of glasses I’ve lost body surfing.
From Robin Bew, Chief Economist, Economist Intelligence Unit
Relief on the way for global economy in mid-2013
The global economy is going through a difficult phase as businesses, consumers and investors wait for clarity on a range of risks, from the outcome of fiscal negotiations in the US to the trajectory of growth in China. My analysts and I expect trading conditions for many businesses to remain challenging over the new year and in early 2013, as uncertainty and continued recession in the euro zone weigh on growth. But assuming that the US largely avoids the “fiscal cliff”, and that policymakers’ more aggressive efforts to protect the euro are not thwarted by some new drama, the global outlook should improve from the middle of next year—setting the stage for a more rapid recovery in 2014.