Global Trends by Martin Khor
Monday 31 January 2007
The year 2007 was turbulent, symbolized by the violent death of Benazir Bhutto last week. Wars and civil strife continued around the world and the global economy faltered. More of the same may be due next year.
The year 2007 ended with a bang, with the shocking news of the tragic death of the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Her brutal killing will become the symbol and most visible manifestation of what will be remembered as a violent year for many parts of the world.
It has left
The specter of terrorist
attacks, that make victims of innocent civilians, haunts many countries.
The year 2007 saw the continued
American omnipresence in
Allies of the
The “other war”, in
In the Middle East, as the
year was ending, the Bush administration launched a new initiative towards
a peace process between
The serious split in Palestinian ranks, between the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah, and the Hamas party that won the election and last year took physical control of Gaza, has had tragic consequences and also made the situation more complicated.
In the other “hotspot” of
But an even greater and extremely
embarrassing block came from an unexpected quarter. The
This has taken the winds
off the sails that the
Nearer home, the ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawarta confounded the military officials that ousted him in a 2006 coup as well as his civilian political opponents. The political party of his allies won the most seats in elections earlier this month. There are complex negotiations ahead, but the bet is that the controversial Thaksin will bounce back into Thai politics in 2008.
The long-awaited Asean Charter was finally adopted this year but it had been much watered down from its original and previous drafts and the Asean Summit that gave birth to it was seriously marred by the inability of the rest of Asean to discipline Burma or even to go ahead with a mild programme of hearing a presentation on the latest situation by the UN envoy to Burma.
A few months earlier, the well-publicised huge protests by Burmese monks, and the way they were suppressed by the ruling junta, shook up Burma as well as the world’s conscience. But hopes that democracy and a new government will finally dawn on that nation have been put on hold – though by no means extinguished -- yet again.
On the economic front, the
rosy picture of good growth in most parts of the world in recent years
has been clouded by the uncertainties in the financial sector originating
Many economists expect the
situation to worsen, with a possible recession in the
2007 will also be remembered
as the year environmental issues, especially climate change, returned
to the centre stage. The year ended with the
The stage is set for 2008 to bring more exciting times. But exciting does not necessarily mean good, and it is likely that there will be greater turbulence in the year that begins tomorrow.