2005 is nearing it’s end, and so it seems like a good idea look back a bit and see what the year has brought us.
It started out in the aftermath of the tsunami, forcing us to realise two things: Though we’ve come some way some things remain out of our control, and our society has truly become global. The second (and possibly the first too) is mainly to the benefit of us, but it also means that conflicts and threats in one part of the world will have a tendency to spread and become a concern for everyone. This is one of the things that has forced upon us the so called War on Terror (which, while not completely inaccurate, is not an entirely proper name), and it means that we can not let any part of the world fall into the hands of Islamists.
The heart of this ideology, the third of the great threats to Western democracy, lies in the much troubled Middle East, and many of the articles on this blog has touched upon this subject. Many things have been going in the right direction in 2005; in particular the slow but steady progress towards democracy in Iraq. There’s still an awful lot of violence and terrorist acts in the country, but a constitution have been written and parliamentary elections have been held — something completely unthinkable only a couple of years back when Saddam Hussein held his people captive. Whether it’ll all go well in the end or not is obviously still unclear, and many challenges lie ahead, but the oppurtunity is there and positive effects have slowly spread in the Arab world.
It’s neighbour Iran is worse then, and I still feel that the threat the Islamic Republic poses, not just to it’s region and to Israel but to the West in general, is under-estimated. The Islamist ideology is not just a front in order to remain in power for the leaders of Iran — it is a truly and deeply felt conviction. And the combination of a President who believes in the Twelwth Prophet thinking that the Apocalypse will be upon us within two years, and Iran slowly but steadily marching towards becoming a nuclear weapon possessing state is not a promising one. The West needs to find a strategy to deal with this pretty soon — talking and promising not to use force could prove fatal.
While Iraq is getting better and Iran remains a poor place to live in some countries are getting worse, one of them being Russia. Under Putin’s time at the helm the once semi-free country (according to Freedom House) has now fallen back into the unfree category again. While not a threat just yet, it’s worth keeping a close eye on a Russia in which many people with leadership ambitions dream of old days of influence.
And in Europe the European Union keep doing what it’s always been doing; some things good and some bad. A few optimists hoped that the leadership of Tony Blair could bring on improvements in the budget, but the French got their way and so we’ll continue to hand out loads of money to farmers rather than cutting the tariffs. Truly a shame, but not unexpected by any means. How to get the big beast doing what it should is a tough task to solve, but it needs to be solved before all confidence is lost in the project that clearly does have it’s advantages.
Finally I wish to thank all my readers once again. Slightly over 30 000 unique visits have been recorded up until now, with November ending at about 5700. That may not make this blog one of the bigger ones, but it’s vastly more than I expected with the numbers being 278 back in January. It’s fun to know that you read this, and do feel free to comment and post your thoughts. And keep reading. This blog will be back in usual style in 2006.