Happy New Year!
Tune in at 10a.m. or 1p.m. EST Sunday to hear Fareed Zakaria, Anne-Marie Slaughter and others offer up their predictions for 2012.
What are your predictions for 2012?
On the first Global Public Square show of the year, we gaze into our crystal ball - what will happen in 2012?
And then, some of GPS' favorite guests on the spot:
Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, Ian Bremmer from the Eurasia Group, and Daniel Franklin from the Economist's "World in 2012" Edition look ahead at the next twelve months. Will the U.S. and/or Israel bomb Iran? What happens to Pakistan? How will the Arab Spring unfold? What of the euro's fate? And who will be the next President of the United States of America?
And looking far ahead into the future of science: Harvard theoretical physicist Lisa Randall talks about the God Particle and more.
Plus - deep inside the human mind, with Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow.
All this Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. on CNN.
Editor’s Note: Daniel R. DePetris is Senior Associate Editor of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis.
By Daniel R. DePetris - Special to CNN
In a play out of the old American Civil Rights Movement, tens of thousands of Yemeni protesters from the embattled city of Taiz organized and set out en mass to demonstrate the epitome of non-violent civil disobedience. The subject in question was the Gulf Arab initiative, an agreement forged by Yemen’s wealthier neighbors to ease Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office without inciting more turmoil and bloodshed. The only problem, at least from the protesters’ viewpoint, is that the deal allows Saleh to skate on charges of murdering hundreds of fellow Yemenis over a nearly yearlong period. FULL POST
Editor's Note: This is an edited version of an article from the ‘Oxford Analytica Daily Brief’. Oxford Analytica is a global analysis and advisory firm that draws on a worldwide network of experts to advise its clients on their strategy and performance.
The U.S. State Department said yesterday that Iran had exhibited "irrational behaviour" by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world oil. The comment follows a warning this week from Iran’s First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi that "not a single drop" of oil would pass through the Strait if the West imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. His statement unsettled oil markets, raised tensions in the Persian Gulf and sparked a war of words with Washington. The episode raises questions about how far a sustained Western-led sanctions regime can be taken before Iran retaliates.
Oil is vital to Iran's economy, providing some 80% of its hard currency earnings and more than 50% of its fiscal revenues. Moreover, the majority of Iran's 2.2 million barrels per day of exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Shutting down the Strait would therefore inflict serious damage on an economy already reeling from international sanctions, mismanagement, corruption and sluggish growth.
The overriding importance of oil exports to Iran’s economy suggests that only desperate circumstances would lead Iran to attempt to close the Strait. While Iran's economy has been significantly hindered by the tightening of sanctions, the authorities are keen to resist the additional pressure as long as it remains at a manageable level. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Meir Javedanfar is an Iranian – Israeli Middle East analyst and the co-author of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and The State of Iran. The following post was originally published in The Diplomat, a stellar international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region.
By Meir Javedanfar, The Diplomat
The publication of an analysis last week by Tehran-based ASR Iran made for interesting reading. Entitled “Iran’s blows against the White House; will Obama have the same fate as Carter?” the writer concluded that:
“What has happened in recent months, and will probably continue, brings up memories of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and its impact on the defeat of the Democrats and Jimmy Carter’s personal failure. Perhaps finally, as a result of the blows received from the Iran front, Obama will become one of the few single term U.S. presidents – unless in the few remaining months he carries out serious reforms in bilateral relations and comes down from his ivory tower and returns to the negotiating table with Iran as an equal.”
The line about Iran’s recent “blows” against the United States is no doubt referring to the U.S. drone currently in Iranian hands, thecapture of a supposed U.S. spy and Iran’s continuing ability to continue with its nuclear program, including claims that Tehran is transferring sensitive nuclear activities to fortified underground sites.
By Brad Chase - Special to CNN
In 2008, the youth vote helped sweep Barack Obama into office. Americans 18-29 spread the word on social media, energized fundraising and went to the polls.
In 2012, the youth vote is moving on and throwing those omnipresent “Hope” bumper stickers and t-shirts in garbage bins.
Not because of apathy. Not because another candidate generates more enthusiasm. Not because of his character. Not because they think voting is pointless. The 18-29 vote is up for grabs in 2012 because youth can’t afford cars to put bumper stickers on and those t-shirts are worn out from too many days sitting on the couch unemployed.
The sobering reality: just 55.3 percent of Americans between 16 and 29 have jobs. And earlier this year, Americans’ student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever. FULL POST
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
2011 will likely be recorded as a year of historic change. Mass uprisings have upended governments across the Arab world. Economic mismanagement in Europe led to changes at the top in Italy, Greece and Spain. 365 days ago you couldn't have predicted these events. You couldn't have imagined so many leaders would lose their jobs.
So what if I told you that you can predict that in 2012, a lot of leaders will say goodbye? No, I'm not gazing into a magic crystal ball. You see, 2012 is the year of elections.
59 countries will be tallying up votes - local, state or national. There are 193 countries in the world so that's about a third of the world's nations. 26 of these may see a change in national leadership. Together, these changes could affect 53% of the world's population, representing half of the world's GDP. And a lot of the change is concentrated in the world's most powerful countries.
Four out of the five U.N. Security Council members could see changes at the top. That's Russia, China, France, and, of course, the U.S. These four countries alone represent 40% of the world's GDP.
Editor's Note: Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, is an expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy, and U.S.-China relations. Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
By Elizabeth Economy and Adam Segal, CFR.org
If there were one word to describe Asia in 2011, it would likely be tremors—not only the physical ones that devastated Japan, but also the political ones that reverberated throughout the region shaking India, China, and Thailand, waking up Burma, and further unsettling North Korea.
1. So Long Earthlings
After a stroke in 2008 and years of poor health, Kim Jung-il was not long for this world. Yet few anticipated that the Dear Leader’s 17-year ruinous reign would end in December 2011 due to the “great mental and physical strain caused by his uninterrupted field guidance tour” while sitting on a train. With his platform shoes, puffy hair, and love of film, he was an easy target for others’ mockery (see Greetings, earthlings, a classic cover from The Economist). Yet he consistently managed to outmaneuver Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, and Seoul - testing nuclear devices, launching missiles, and demanding food and energy aid - all the while impoverishing his country. It is too early to predict whether Kim Jung-un, Kim Jong-il’s inexperienced and untested son and heir, will do anything differently - the rest of the world and the North Korean people, in particular, can only hope. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter.
By James M. Lindsay
Year’s end is time for taking stock, to count up successes and assess failures. It is also time to remember those who are no longer with us. Here are ten people who made a significant mark on the American foreign policy debate who died this past year.
Warren Christopher (b. 1925) served as secretary of state during Bill Clinton’s first term. Christopher served in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II, clerked on the Supreme Court, had a successful career as a lawyer in private practice, and served as deputy attorney general at the end of the Johnson administration. He served as deputy secretary of state throughout the Carter administration; his greatest success was negotiating for the release of the fifty-two American hostages held in Iran. As secretary of state, Christopher also oversaw the signing of the 1995 Dayton accords, although much of the credit for the achievement went to assistant secretary Richard Holbrooke. FULL POST
"Minorities accounted for 92 percent of population growth in the 2000s. The pie charts in the picture above appear the same size, but remember that the country grew more than 30 percent faster in the 1990s than in the 2000s. If population growth is the pie, then minorities are taking a larger slice of a shrinking pie. "
Editor's Note: Stephen S. Roach, a member of the faculty at Yale University, is Non-Executive Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and the author of The Next Asia.
By Stephen S. Roach, Project Syndicate
Today, fears are growing that China and India are about to be the next victims of the ongoing global economic carnage. This would have enormous consequences. Asia’s developing and newly industrialized economies grew at an 8.5% average annual rate over 2010-11 – nearly triple the 3% growth elsewhere in the world. If China and India are next to fall, Asia would be at risk, and it would be hard to avoid a global recession.
In one important sense, these concerns are understandable: both economies depend heavily on the broader global climate. China is sensitive to downside risks to external demand – more relevant than ever since crisis-torn Europe and the United States collectively accounted for 38% of total exports in 2010. But India, with its large current-account deficit and external funding needs, is more exposed to tough conditions in global financial markets. FULL POST
By Fareed Zakaria
The past year has been filled with tumultuous events - the Arab Spring, the euro-zone crisis. But the most striking trend of 2011, one that will persist in 2012, was one that got little notice: the emerging powers that weren’t.
By now everyone knows that a new and rising group of nations, including China, India, Brazil and Russia, are reshaping the globe. Yet if 2011 demonstrated anything, it was the inability of these countries to have much influence beyond their borders. They continue to grow their economies, but they all face internal and external challenges that make them less interested and less capable of exercising power on an international or even regional scale.
Let’s start with China. Chinese growth continues to be robust, though clearly the government is worried about the inflationary effects of the massive stimulus program it implemented after the financial crisis, which has created a boom-bust cycle and inflationary pressures across the country. The regime, however, is expert at dealing with economic challenges; political ones are harder. FULL POST