The Number One News Story of 2011: Social, Political and Economic Upheaval.
James Paul Zaworski
The number one news story of 2011 is, in my opinion, the social, political and economic upheaval seen around the world. Starting with “The Arab Spring”, protestors managed to oust existing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. Though the outcomes of these political regime changes is not yet certain, significant change enacted by “the people” who can’t take it anymore is a definite possibility even if the regime actively resists the change with armed suppression, as in Libya. Syria is still in the throes of this upheaval.
Closely linked this is the continued economic down spiral that has been ongoing since 2008. The European Union is going through fundamental change as a result of this, and a two tiered system seems to be in the making. The countries most at risk of default, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland, have to be propped up by Germany and France at the risk of giving up some of their ultimate sovereignty.
The question is, ‘has this happened before’? The answer is, yes. In terms of history, these kinds of geo-political ‘events’ seems to be cyclical. The most recent ‘event’ was in 1989, when the ‘Velvet Revolution’ brought down regimes in the USSR, and all of the former communist states of Eastern Europe. “A new world order” was ushered in with the end of the Cold War. Now, the “Post-Cold War World Order” appears to be that kind of cyclical change. The emergence of China, as well as India, and the relative decline of the United States of America, change in the Middle East, and the shaky European Union bring us into a new era of ‘uncharted waters’, and 2012 will likely see more of the same.
In 2012, look for political and economic changes in Europe, closely watch what happens with Iran and Syria and Iraq in the Middle East, and see how China deals with the fallout of a likely repeat recession in Europe. A change of the guard is in store for China, and it is usually a sensitive time in the People’s Republic. The economic downturn in Europe and the USA will lessen demand for Chinese products, hurting its manufacturing and export driven economy, and when people don’t have money they can’t buy stuff, much less buy a house.
Watch the presidential race and election in the United States closely, as it will be likely an ugly one with huge amounts of money being spent in both political parties. Keep an eye out on China and its territorial claims in the South China Sea, as the overlapping claims there make it a possible flashpoint for regional conflict. And, closely watch what happens with Iran, Israel and the United States.