It has been a tough and challenging Quarter around the World. There has been welcome development in Cyprus as the European Union and Cyprus have agreed to a deal to avoid a financial meltdown. At least the small depositors won’t have to be faced with a levy and all depositors under 100,000 Euros will be protected under the European Insurance Scheme. This is also the latest in a series of “fires” that the European Union has had to deal with. The age of austerity is here to stay for a while longer. The United Kingdom continues to be dealing with the aftermath of the massive austerity imposed by David Cameron’s Government and has again been placed on negative watch as a result of the continued concerns about the long-term economic viability of the country.
Beyond Europe, there is Africa. The President of the Central African Republic has been overthrown by Rebels. France has had a long-standing presence there. The Central African Republic is one of those basket cases that does not seem to get its’ act together. It is rich in mineral resources–but it has not been endowed with leaders that would allow it to be developed into the powerhouse that it could possibly be. This is the situation with leaders throughout Africa. I view this as especially tragic as I see the same situation developing in South Africa. Zimbabwe adopted a new Constitution curbing Mugabe’s Powers. But it will not matter because Mugabe will continue onward with his thugs running around Zimbabwe with impunity as the Country suffers. I was hopeful when the leader of the MDC became Prime Minister. But I have been disappointed with the lack of progress despite the hope I had back in 2009 as I was witness to history and commented on it in Outsiders.
I have also been reflecting upon the continued challenge that China poses. The Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) is reporting that China is destined to take over the United States as the Number 1 Economy in the World by 2016. As the Political Class in Washington continues to live in its’ own fantasyland, the rest of the World continues to move on, to build and to look to a viable future. China is planning its’ own Space Station and flexing its’ muscle as never before. America, in the meantime, continues to “rent space” as someone recently noted to catch a ride to the International Space Station.
Pervez Musaharf returned to Pakistan with dreams of a political comeback after having driven the Country to the ground that ultimately culminated in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The only good news I see coming out of Pakistan is the possible election of Imran Khan that may present the only hope of an outsider working to transform a Pakistan ravaged by Corruption and Insurgency throughout the Country. There is also, Afghanistan. The last reports I reviewed noted that Karzai wants to have peace talks with the Taliban. This is after he made the speech about how the US and the Taliban were in collusion for the US to extend its’ stay in Afghanistan–while Chuck Hagel was in Afghanistan. I have written for the longest time about how useless he was–now it appears that the whole World knows. The question is what happens after 2014.
Despite a very challenging World, I can’t help but remember what Gandhi reminded us about the seven sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle. It seems to me that our World seems to have forgotten his admonitions to be avoided at all costs. He also told us that we have to be the change we want to see in the World–the question continues to remain whether we have the courage or not.