Entering an uneasy decade

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we are faced with uncertainties that could probably challenge even the most talented of the fortune tellers.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we are faced with uncertainties that could probably challenge even the most talented of the fortune tellers.

Both at home and abroad, there will be several crossroads, where decisions made in one way or another will have far reaching consequences, although less so domestically than on the international scene.

Here in Alberta, 2010 will probably be dominated by the debate over whether the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Ed Stelmach still retains the confidence of the electorate. With the latest scandalous revelations surrounding Bill 50, including those alleging that the government bureaucrats have been trying to silence everyone who questions the need for new power lines, the voters are likely to keep fleeing the ranks of the PC supporters. Though it is highly unlikely that the government could be forced to face the electorate given its massive strength at the legislature, the more the election is delayed, the more the likelihood of the PC party being buried in the ballot box for good.

At the national level, while it is unlikely that we will be facing the prospect of another election, the possibility will always remain as an option for the Liberals: In case the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks likely to catch a strong wind of economic growth, the main opposition may not want to allow the minority government to use that handsome data to strengthen its hand.

The more troublesome clouds, however, appear to be gathering over the world’s eternal hotbed for trouble, the Middle East: Iran may well see the downfall of the irrational administration of President Ahmedinejad. If however, US and/or Israel attempt to use the country’s internal strife for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, hell’s floodgates might well be opened with a new and more spectacular wave of terrorist attacks on western targets around the globe.

On the Palestinian question, the sides continue to drift away from what was once thought to be a common ground, a two-state solution. This is another bad omen as radicalism on the Palestinian side will continue to nurture extremism, meaning more terrorist attacks.

In South Asia, Pakistan will continue to grow weaker as the authority of the central government keeps collapsing gradually and this will make things even worse in Afghanistan, with the Taliban fighters finding more freedom to move over the border between the two countries to deal blows on NATO forces, including Canadian troops.

Looking back at the beginning of 2009 for a comparison, the optimism that marked the time, due largely to the election of Barack Obama to the office of the President of the United States, appears to have vanished into thin air.

What has yet to be tackled is a big pot of problems, including how to return the global economy to a path of sustainable growth and how to make meaningful decisions to fight global warming.

– Mustafa Eric

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