Simon Tisdall writes: It would be fun to be upbeat, big and bouncy about 2012 – but gloomy facts get in the way. In international affairs, at least, the year ahead looks like a miserable affair, likely to be characterised, in headline terms, by the three nos: no peace, no prosperity, and no progress.
In conflict zones from the Middle East to Africa and Asia, there is scant prospect of relief in 2012 and good grounds for believing that worse is to come. Economically speaking, the monetary and sovereign debt crises affecting Europe and the US threaten to taint global markets further and trigger a general depression.
In plain political terms, resurgent nationalism, self-serving or downright corrupt electoral processes, and a growing emphasis on the politics of fear and envy – contrasting sharply with Barack Obama’s circa 2008 politics of hope – will ensure the lack of inspired global leadership evident in 2011 carries over into the coming year.
That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ll be looking out for some bright spots, too, that may enliven 2012. As the jaunty (and apocryphal) motto of Royal Nepal Airlines put it: “When flying through the Himalayas, the aeroplane pilot should remember the old saying: every cloud has a solid lining.” [Continue reading…]