Thursday, January 5, 2012

A New Year

A new year is upon us, and it will certainly be different from 2011. Domestically, Harper has his majority and parliament will continue with the task it has had since June: passing the Conservative election platform into law and fulfilling Harper’s promises. The Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly is gone, the Long Gun registry will follow suit when parliament returns from their Christmas break. The Liberal party is no longer trying to usurp control of government, now they’re fighting to stay alive. Bob Rae, in his de-facto leadership position is struggling to stay relevant, while the NDP is trying to replace the man who more than doubled the size of their caucus. The Bloc Quebecois are a footnote in history texts.
                In the United States, the Presidency will be contested again this year. The Republican party is seeking its nominee, and while the race is volatile, Mitt Romney a moderate Governor, and Ron Paul, a libertarian Congressman, are the front runners at present. Both placed top three in Iowa’s caucus, and both are expected to do well in New Hampshire. However, swings in the polls are common in this race, and who the Republican nominee will be is still an open question.
                Internationally 2011 saw some major developments in world history. Iran grows closer to its nuclear ambition, and while they continue to claim peaceful purposes, weapon production is widely assumed. In Africa, South Sudan will mark the Ninth of July, 2011 as its independence day, having broken off from the North after years of conflict. To their North, the Arab Spring has greatly changed the dynamics of the Middle East, from Egypt’s Tahrir square protests, Libya’s revolution, in which the Canadian led air campaign ensured rebel victory, and Syria’s brutal civil war, we should expect this region to continue to be volatile, and we will watch the countries who have overthrown dictators to see what sort of government they embrace in the aftermath. European Union troubles continue, and the fate of that organization is still in question.
                If you’re watching the news in 2012, don’t expect the action to lighten up. Kim Jong-il’s death puts his son in power. Kim Jong-un is, by all accounts, just as crazy and unstable as his father, but also a 28 year old hot head, look for more flare ups along the Korean Demilitarized zone, anticipate the possibility of Chinese aggression in the South China Sea (though their shiny new aircraft carrier won’t be fully combat ready for some time) and expect the Israelis and Saudis to continue their clandestine operations against Iran. Whatever 2012 brings, peace seems sadly unlikely. 

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