It has been a busy week in the international arena; an assassination in Iran, Syria descending further into civil war, results of elections in Egypt, alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan and Burma(Myanmar) coming in from the cold. We are but fourteen days into the new year and we are already seeing the seeds of new crises, conflicts and political tensions – not to mention the continuation of old rivalries and problem cases. The last seven days could give an indication of future trends in international politics for 2012 and the complexities that western policy-makers will face.
More positively, we are seeing potential glimmers of hope; democratic movements are gaining a foothold across the world, especially in the Middle East and Asia. Policy-makers and global strategists will be keenly watching events as they unfold, trying to predict just what 2012 may have in store for us. Their lack of foresight in 2011 and their failure to predict events – especially the Arab Spring movement – will lead to a greater push to be proactive rather than reactive.
The unrest in Syria, which I discuss in length in a previous article entitled “Violence in Syria,” has once again come to the forefront of UK foreign policy news. Not only did Russia and China recently make the decision to veto a UN resolution calling on Syria to stop hostility against its own people, but yesterday marked the Universal Periodic Review on Syria at the UN Human Rights Council. As the Syrian Government continues to kill, torture or jail mostly anybody wanting reform, the UK continues to take every opportunity to highlight the violence which simply does not seem to be stopping. Foreign Secretary William Hague says Britain will “continue to stand side by side with the Syrian people and redouble efforts to work with international partners to increase pressure on the regime.”