"Events, Dear Boy, Events" is a quotation attributed to former British Prime Minister Harold McMillan, referring to the thwarting of his best intentions by events happening outside of his direct control.
Th ever-readble David Warren reflects on the likely impact of unforeseen events in a number of key geo-political theatres in the year ahead;
1. The new Bush team: -
"The appointment of Condoleezza Rice to replace the retiring Colin Powell at the U.S. State Department is not a clear shift to right or left, an advance or retreat from what has previously been understood as the "Bush doctrine". It will become clearer when Ms Rice has made a statement or two after assuming the office."
2. The Israel/Palestinian issue:
With Arafat definitively gone ("in stable condition after dying in a Paris hospital" as James Taranto likes to put it), but Mahmoud Abbas pledged to continue Arafat's irredentist policies. Throughout the West, we seem to be assuming that Mr. Abbas is a lot more pragmatic than his words would suggest, if they were taken at face value. For reasons I gave recently, I think the Palestinian people are in the mood for peace, even at a fairly high price in abandoned dreams. But again we won't know until the game (of Arab-Israeli peacemaking) resumes in earnest.
The likely emergence of a Shia dominated coalition, after decades of Sunni hegemony, will have consequences that we will all be talking about. What will it mean for US plans to disengage? What will it mean for neighbourhhod tyrannies such as Syria?
Lots of big issues - and we will see all of these slowly uncoil and emerge from the dense fog of the currently unknown in the coming months!