Last night we celebrated the farewell to 2013 and the arrival of a new year.
2014 is going to be interesting and challenging as the world is besieged with a number of new problems that need to be tackled and resolved amicably. It is going to be interesting as many countries would have democratic elections which could throw up some surprises.
2013 was very challenging for Asia Pacific as the region struggled with the new animosity between China and Japan, the intractability of North Korea, the street protests of Thailand, the political fight and violence in Bangladesh, the myriad problems in India, the deterioration in law and order in Pakistan, the refusal of the Sri Lankan President to acknowledge the human rights abuses in his country, a new Prime Minister in Australia who walked into a major spying row with Indonesia, etc., etc., The list is very long indeed.
The U.S. had its own long list of challenges and problems – both domestic and foreign. It could not resolve the Israel – Palestine problem, which has actually worsened. It could not successfully address the problems in Syria or Iran. Close allies like Saudi Arabia are trying to move away from the U.S. Domestic problems of President Obama are mounting with no resolution in sight. Even the healthcare website did not extend good cooperation to the President !
Europe’s problems have been compounded by Russia and Ukraine, and the list of its challenges is probably the longest.
With all these things going on, it is not surprising to see a bit of distress in the general population, at least in well-educated circles. Democracy does not seem to be the saviour as many portray it to be, though it still remains the most viable and appropriate form of government. All its weaknesses were on display in 2013 in many countries around the world, including in the U.S. where lobbying goes against the spirit of democracy.
Well, well, we will see how things change in the New Year. I am confident that big global problems (like the Iran nuclear imbroglio) have a manner in which they retain their position at the top of the table and so have a better chance of getting resolved. The issue is with bilateral ties, like what we see between Japan and China, Japan and Korea, India and the U.S., Australia and Indonesia, etc., These critical bilateral ties have come under enormous pressure, and are likely to blow over at least in a couple of cases. Any further deterioration in any one of these very important and crucial relationships would be detrimental to the economic and political sustainability of the entire world.
Countries should have a marginally better GDP growth than they did in 2013. The U.S. and U.K. economies should be much better going into 2014. The unemployment rates should be moderating everywhere except in Europe. Things should be looking up generally, so this is not the time to despair or complain about everything not working out.
Let us put our hopes in the right places and expect to have a much better year in 2014 !
Here’s wishing all my blog readers a wonderful New Year with more prosperity and health.
1st January 2014