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December 2013

The World in 2014 - the United States of America

The United States of America(USA)...the state of the union of the United States of America in 2014 is strong. This democracy has been and will continue in 2014 and beyond to be that beacon of freedom to aspirers , that token of hope to the oppress, that ray of opportunity to desirers, that function of development to cravers and that country of innovation to the daring. There is no Utopia, there is no true Shangri-La, yet the USA remains the best blend of freedoms, wills and opportunities offered anywhere in 2014.

The World in 2014 - Asia

Asia...the most populated place on the planet will undergo many socio-political and economic changes in 2014. Many of these changes will be strikingly violent as some authoritarian governments seek full control of the lives and spirits of their people; while populations, fed up with the way things have been for years, will rise in revolt of perceived tyranny to take control into their own hands of their respective destinies. Some of these changes will be democratic as millions of people of nations will cast votes in elections throughout Asia in 2014.

The World in 2014 - Europe

Europe...aye, the grandeur that was Europe - Athens, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, is no more. Yet, Europe, with many determining and transitioning matters coming to the fore in 2014, appears strong; and if not because of any other factors, then the continent's participation in supranational institutions of the European Union(EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO) is its greatest stabilizing force for the future. Into 2014, the EU remains as a powerful economic pact for its members and those states seeking inclusion into the pact, like Ukraine.

The World in 2014 - South America

South America...the geographic and social beauty of this region is more than enough to keep it at the fore of international relations into 2014 and beyond. From lush wetlands and mountains of Angel Falls in Venezuela, to the pristine and eye-popping beaches and their sights in Brazil, to the harsh and bone dry Atacama Desert in Chile and Peru, to the characteristic Andes Mountains, to the Amazon River, to the Rainforest and to the fertile lowlands of the Pampas in Argentina; the diversity of South America is vast. From toned bodies on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, to the streets of Sao Paulo, to the jungles of the interior rainforest, to the hills of Bolivia and Ecuador and to the catwalks of the beauty stages in Colombia and Venezuela, beautiful people teem in South America. Yet, with all this beauty, South America has its problems which are very much like Central America: drugs, money laundering, re-emerging socialists and border disputes with each other and internationally as is the case with Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands. Against a backdrop of a history as a place for fleeing Nazis and where successions of violent dictatorships, coups and military rule has resulted in many deaths and missing people, 2014 will see an above average political transitioning in 2014. Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay are worthy of increase monitoring. Leftist leaning governments on the continent will attempt to spread their ideologies in the region and they will do this with increase investment and influence from the East. Increase violence could permeate among the drug cartels as they react to Uruguay's official announcement as an official pot grower. Argentina's continued wrestle to gain favor with Falkland Islanders could create another international event as was the case back in the 1980s. Venezuela could see much internal turmoil as its socialist government attempts to retain losing strength especially at the state level, where already, as opposition forces gain strength, the government creates so called parallel governments to wash the impact of the opposition. A sea or land dispute escalation with Guyana could consume much of the Venezuelan government's time and capital. Greater stability could come to Colombia in 2014 as Farc rebels give up their armed campaigns to join the legal political process. Brazil, oh Brazil, you have struck international goal in being awarded the Soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. However, many Brazilians express disappointment for they feel left out of the economic windfall. To ensure stability leading up to and during both events, Brazil's government must give something to its people: I would suggest free public transportation on buses for Brazilians during both events. I hope my friend, attorney, Miss Fernandes of Sao Paulo would agree to such a overture. In summary, 2014 could be a good year for South America. While the drug trade remains a problem, I believe the greatest risk to the region comes from the amount of influence governments there would allow imperial seeking Eastern countries to have in South America, especially when such influences are covertly dressed in infrastructural projects. 

The World in 2014 - Central America

There is not much to opine about Central America, for one prediction for one country here could be the same anywhere in the region. These countries of Central America have territory disputes with at least one neighbor where the dispute could be over land or simple navigation of a river like Rio San Juan over which Nicaragua has sovereignty but where Costa Rica claims navigational rights. Drugs and people trafficking are prevalent in Central America. Of note here is a reminder of the history of the region. Civil wars are known throughout Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and the political tension and spats between competing parties could trigger chaos in any of these lands. Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras are worth some extra monitoring. Panama, still a drug shipment point, has gotten somewhat better since the days of Noriega, yet money laundering remains an issue as in very much the other six countries of Central America. One of the more stable of these lands is Costa Rica, still somewhat of a favorite place for many spring breakers from the United States. Costa Rica has no standing military and is very picturesque. But like all the others, drugs is a major problem.

The World in 2014 - the Caribbean

This tourist mecca, sun-drenched, white-sanded beaches region will continue into 2014 as mostly peaceful and tranquil. Yet, external forces relating to the drug trade and radical Islam will penetrate some of the island borders. Moreover, greater access to firearms as a result of the drug trade will see increase violence at the local level, especially throughout the English speaking Caribbean including Barbados, Antigua, Grenada and the US and the British Virgin Islands. Islamic radicalism must be monitored in Trinidad and Tobago. In Jamaica, the proliferation of arms, their origins and their destinations should also be monitored. Alternatives to the local island Governments as the major employer throughout the region should be explored as island to island adjust their economies to meet IMF agreements and policies. In Cuba, improved signs of non-isolation from the Castro government should be awarded and rewarded after all, the World trades with China, why not Cuba? In Haiti, hopefully the political atmosphere there could adapt to good change and allow Haiti the opportunity to flourish as a production hub as an alternative to Southeast Asia. All in all, the weather and beaches should remain awesome into 2014.

A Day of Peace

Even if for one day, I plea to all actors in conflicts around the World to cease all operations for 24 hours. For 24 hours, is it possible for the World to go without conflict? Peace for 24 hours. If we could attain this, then we could work on a longer peace. These are my brief wishful thoughts on this Christmas Day 2013.(The World in 2014 resumes tomorrow.)

A Prayer for the Children of Conflicts

Our Father, I beg that you cast your strength and your power upon solutions and alleviations to the sufferings of the world's children wherever they might dwell on this Christmas Eve. I pray especially for the children of Syria, South Sudan and Central Africa Republic. Into your hands father, I entrust these innocents that your will be done. In the name of your son, I pray, Amen.

The World in 2014 - Canada and Mexico

Canada...oh Canada, oh Canada, your quiet temperate abode should experience no major changes in 2014. Yet you should remain vigilant in respect to the management, the exploitation and the conservation of your highly desired natural resources. Investors from the East will arrive with fists full of dollars to entice explorations of your fragile and beautiful Yukon region and beyond. How Canada manages its courtships from the East will determine whether or not the land north of the United States border will remain quiet beyond 2014.

The World in 2014 - Africa

What can I say about Africa in 2014 that wasn't said or occurred 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and so on and so on? Whenever I speak about or write about Africa, I sob. I sob not only because of the reoccurring heart-wrenching sight of thousands of famine thinned children with mal-nourished pop-bellies; not only because of the thousands of innocents killed every year in petty tribal conflicts and civil wars; but I cry for the Continent as a whole, its despair, its shortcomings and its seeming perpetual non-development. I cry for Africa even though Africa would never cry for me and for no one else apparently, not even for itself would Africa not drop a tear. This ancestral home of most of the world's population is a complex ecosystem and its socio-economic and political systems are even more complex. The Africa I address here is non-Arab Africa. Not Egypt, not Libya, not Algeria and not Morocco. Crisis after crisis grips Africa each year - from tribal squabbles, to civil war to cross border wars. 2014 will be the same. Africa will go into 2014 without the presence of Nelson Mandela. For 95 years, he was the soul of Africa, especially in the last 50 years, and in his absence, Africa has no one who comes remotely close to filling his void. I am fearful of an Africa without Mandela. In South Africa, I see internal fighting especially in light of the allegation of the $20 million government funded renovation to President Zuma's private residence at a time when many South Africans still live in utter squalor. I see a strong possibility that the ANC will lose the government there and at some time in 2014, the Afrikaaners will attempt to retake some of the power they have lost. In Central Africa Republic, after more strife and thousands of deaths, conflicts will continue to flare up. Religious and tribal assertions will be the driving forces. In South Sudan, non-South Sudanese will continue to destabilize the current government. In Somalia, the transitional government there with some new US aid money, will attempt to demonstrate to Somalis that it is possible to function as a government and that it is better equipped to carry out such functions more so than the warlords. But corruption and interference from neighbors  will continue along with the threat of terrorist groups and pirates. In the Congo, they will reach some stability, but this stability could only be maintained if the US would add some military advisers of some kind to the country which is highly unlikely given the attitude of the US 113th Congress. In Nigeria, the largest of the African states, close observation needs to be given as it approaches elections in 2015. Religious violence will continue especially in the North where it becomes increasingly hard for the government to police. The notorieties committed there in the name of religion are unbelievable and gut sickening. In the delta of Nigeria, the question will be whether or not the present president seeks re-election and a focus would be on those who stand to lose a lot of influence if he doesn't against a background of a threat to "light up "the delta should he not be allowed to seek re-election. Miss management of oil revenues and corruption will continue to plague Nigeria. In Ethiopia, plans to dam a section of the Nile River will bring new spats with affected neighbors. In Summary, Africa will enter 2014 as it did 2013, 2012 etc. There will be wars, conflicts and spats. No great changes apart from a change in government here and there will take place until a strong Continent- minded leader emerges at some point in time in the future perhaps out of Nigeria, Tanzania or Kenya.