New Year’s Eve day and difficult not to think about 2012 and what it will bring. We are in a moment of relative calm. Kim Jong Il has been laid to rest and N. Korea is quiet for now while we wait to see what kind of leader Kim Jong Un will be. The Arab League observers are in Syria so we are waiting to see if their efforts are fatally thwarted or if we will see a path to resolution. China is talking about turning its attention to space, even though domestic issues might keep Chinese feet firmly planted on earth. It will be interesting to watch. The economy in Europe is still an issue, but we are waiting to see if the intervention of the European Central Bank will help. Our own economy seems to be moving in more positive directions, although faster would be better. Egypt is not stabilized but again there is still potential for positive outcomes.
Iran is a bit of a “fly in the ointment”. Since we have no presence in Iraq we are aware that Iran could form an alliance with Iraq which might put Iraq in the category of nations hostile to the United States. Iran, facing new sanctions because of its nukes, is threatening to hold missile tests right across a problematic section of the Straits of Hormuz and to disrupt oil shipments. We all know “them’s fightin’ words”, but most of us who are sane don’t want a war with Iran so will have to keep looking for political or economic solutions.
We have some breathing room to enjoy celebrating a new year, although we also realize that this is an artificial time break. Monday will follow Sunday and there will be little to differentiate the new year from the old except that we will have to write a new year on our checks and documents, which we will probably forget to do from time to time. In spite of what we know, people enjoy milestones, markers, things that humanize the scale of life and the vast universe around us. This is our moment, once a year, to take stock of where we’ve been and to try to imagine where we want to go. I hope we go to good places in 2012. As Buzz would say, “to infinity and beyond” and then he would whoosh off towards the great whatever. (Sorry to reference Toy Story but we have a lot of toddlers in our family right now.) Let’s drink our champagne, or eat our lentil soup, or watch our fireworks, or kiss our loved ones, or all of the above, and head off with Buzz into the great whatever. Rev up those jet packs.