It’s said that when the British surrendered to General Washington’s army, their band played: “The World Turned Upside Down.” Not having been there, I can’t say but the events of 2012 are shaping up toward that sentiment; with much of it proceeding outside the spotlights of the very selective media.
We know Europe is going broke, to be followed in due course by the U.S, another patient suffering from the same disease: inability to stop spending more than they have. No surprises, excepting those blinkered souls always surprised when reality appears in their lives. But those are just the front line performers who get the publicity since they have the money. Or used to have it.
Those expecting China and India to save them by replacing the U.S. and E.U. are setting up for a fall: China and India are nothing without their big customers: the U.S. and E.U. Both are worried about domestic unrest; as the world market shrinks, they will have much more to worry about. China particularly may look to military adventures to relieve the pressure. Nobody is giving much thought to Japan, just coming out of a protracted downturn when its earthquake hit; how will it deal with a restive China, declining markets and an Uncle Sam grown too inform to protect it anymore?
In the Middle East, the Arab Springs are uprisings with unpredictable outcomes. They have been economic uprisings but give some evidence of leading to more conservative, Islamic governance in the area; that will increase the pressure on Israel (and likely, the price of oil). Turkey is turning from Israel toward the Arabs with its more Islamic government; that government is increasingly at odds with its own military, historically secular and with a history of political importance. The government is now threatening that influence; the military is being accused of plotting a coup.
In Asia, Pakistan is split like Turkey, with government opposed by its own military. Though the government isn’t overtly Islamist, much of the military is; the Taliban is a Pakistani creation and the war in Afghanistan is more against the Pak military than really against Afghans. Few will predict who will be running nuclear Pakistan even in the near future.
Much of the world is at a slow, rolling boil, about to be splashed in unpredictable directions by succeeding economic failures. And as Omar put it in the Rubaiyat:
“The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on;
nor all your piety nor wit may lure it back to cancel half a line,
nor all your tears wash out a word of it.