Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007: Year At A Time (Part I)

The year 2007 does not stand out in history as much as say 1776 with the US Declaration of Independence, or 1945 with the atomic bomb destruction of Hiroshima, or for that matter the year 2000 celebrated as the turn of the millennium although some argue that 2001, said to be the first year of the 21st century, is the "actual beginning" of the new millennium.

For the most part, 2007 is as regular a year as the sun regularly rises in the morning and sets in the evening. The machinery of governments kept rolling, the expected world events kept in pace with tradition, and for certain humankind grew in numbers but also fell to disease, disaster and dreadful conflicts.

However, despite being a relatively lackluster year, 2007 had its own moments -- instances of note which, to some marks a good year, to others bode ill omen, while for the rest holds memories void of reward and relevance.

Peace Elusive

The world was in conflict in 2007 as in the years and decades previous. It's nothing new, that is to say its nothing particularly disturbing. But as in all human conflicts marked by violence, it is a matter of serious discourse.

The US campaign in Iraq continued even as hundreds died relentlessly by the works of suicide bombers all year-round. Britain, one of the pillars of the "coalition against terror" that gave the thumbs-up for the US to invade Iraq in 2003, began withdrawal of its troops off Basra. And while troop withdrawal from Iraq is the current sentiment of a vocal segment of the international community, the US (even as Bush had agreed on sending some US soldiers home during the holidays with certain limitations) is still reluctant to let go of Iraq, pointing at neighboring Iran this time as a growing threat in the region.

Other regional conflicts and unrest included the ongoing Taleban insurgency in Afghanistan, ethnic wars at Darfur in Sudan allegedly fueled by support coming from China, the age-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict even as the Annapolis Conference took place last November, the 2007 Lebanon conflict, the continuing insurgency in Southern Philppines, the violent crackdown on anti-government protests in Burma (Myanmar), and the war in Somalia among others.

Tension also marked the issue of North Korea's nuclear program which started with Pyongyang's alleged nuclear tests in the last quarter of 2006. By January 2007, Japan and South Korea along with other concerned nations decried a nuclear North Korea and sought sanctions against Kim Jong-Il's regime. A month later, NoKor have committed to nuclear disarmament in exchange for aid and have since been under the watchful eye of the US and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) all throughout 2007. Also, in August, North and South Korea signed a peace declaration which sought to establish a permanent treaty to replace the truce which led to the cessation of the Korean War back in 1953. By the end of December 2007 however, tension resurfaced as North Korea missed its deadline to bare-all as promised its nuclear plans.

Next on 2007: Year At A Time (Part II) - World Finance and the Environment in 2007.

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