As below, here are some of my biggest wishes, for international affairs and countries other than the UK and NZ. As before, from lowest to highest priority (and the list could easily have been twice as long).
10. A new WTO trade round is rescued from oblivion: The Obama Administration has been absolutely disgraceful on trade, and so the dark economically illiterate forces of ill-guided economic nationalism have raised their ugly heads. It would be enormously beneficial if the US, EU, Japan and the key developing countries got their heads out of their arses and talked multilateral liberalisation of trade in agriculture and services. If this is done it could lift global GDP by 1-2%, could dramatically improve the lot of people in food producing countries, service providing countries and consumers worldwide. It's an indictment on the Obama Administration and the EU that neither have the competence nor courage to lead this.
9. Robert Mugabe is dragged from a car, beaten up and left to die with his wife and lackeys in central Harare, and Zimbabwe gets a truly open accountable government: This repulsive murderous crook continues to be lauded around Africa (explaining the standards of morality on much of that continent) and by the UN. A bullet would do, but it would be a delightful message to his Stalinist gangsters and fellow dictators elsewhere as to what can happen to thieving violent bullies. Let's hope 2011 finishes without Robert Mugabe.
8. Kim Jong Il dies and his son succeeds him, averts a military coup and starts reform seeking guidance and friendship from South Korea: North Korea is in a sad state due to 60 years of misrule and totalitarianism. There are plenty there who want reform who know it is needed and fearful of what will come. There are various paths for it to go down, the best one is to follow its neighbour to the south, of strong rule establishing open civil society, ever opening markets and progressively confronting the lies its people have been bathed in for decades. Only through reform and economic growth can the strong role of the military be sidestepped. Only with firm deterrence, but with a friendly hand to assist change with someone who seeks it can this happen peacefully. Japan wont be trusted, China can't be trusted and South Korea has done an impressive job that Pyongyang need not look elsewhere.
7. The Communist Party of China separates party and state, putting the Party under the rule of law for the first time, and loosens freedom of speech some more: The biggest hindrances to the growth of China being seen benignly is the iron fist it uses to maintain domestic control, and its unwillingness to have modern independent judiciary and separation of politics from governance. It is too much to expect China to become a fully liberal state, but a key step forward would be separating party and state, so that the party and its officials can be prosecuted for breaking the law. Accompanying this should be legal guarantees of free speech to discuss government policy and the behaviour of all politicians and officials. Only when Chinese people and institutions can hold government accountable, and the Chinese government and CPC stop acting like a moody teenager whenever criticised, will China have become a modern country.
6. The West-bashing climate change agenda comes to a complete halt, as people in Western countries choose politicians that are unwilling to sacrifice their economies and freedoms to let China, Russia, Gulf States and India emit all the CO2 they wish, and they stop believing the armageddon rhetoric of the anti-capitalist green movement: It's about time that average people in richer countries stopped tolerating taxes and regulations on their behaviour for the sake of letting the likes of Kuwait and other countries with fast growing economies to do as they wish. The middle and low income of rich countries should not be penalised to allow the rich in poorer countries to do as they wish, particularly because there is no evidence to support the kind of pillaging interventionism demanded by the developing countries (who want more money to pay for the luxuries of their political elite). Energy efficiency and cleaner energy are all very well, if people are prepared to pay for them, and governments get out of the way of developing them, but no more should be done.
5. The Obama Administration has its spending plans frozen, as the new US Congress slashes spending and starts focusing Americans on achieving a balanced budget in less than 4 years: Unless the US stops growing government and stops debasing its currency through continued borrowing, it will continue to slide relative to other economies. The US can recover, but it will need a wholly different approach to the spend and borrow policies of recent history. Here is hoping Americans can maintain the courage.
4. Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Belgium face sovereign debt defaults, effectively destroying the Euro: All of countries have sustained decades of socialist style big government economic policies, running almost perpetual deficits and borrowing, and all have sought to use the Euro as a hard currency to sustain their economic irrationalism. The tension in the EU is either it governs national fiscal policies or the Euro is unsustainable. Let the Euro collapse, and the short term pain will result in a longer term re-evaluation of the EU, fiscal and monetary policy and demonstrate that the Western European quasi-socialist approach has been irrational, unsustainable and immoral.
3. An end to Islamist insurgency and terror: As much as so many haters of Western values and individual freedom cheer them on, I wish very simply, that Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and all other Islamist insurgents fail to carry out any further attacks, whether they be in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. The reason should be obvious, it may be idealistic, but this scourge continues to cost in lives, injuries and cash an incalculable amount every day. Appeasement of Islamism is no virtue.
2. Fiat money is subject to serious review by governments across the world: Fiat money has proven to be what it has always been, a way for governments to manufacture nothing from nothing, generating either inflation of consumer goods or commodities and property. Time to reconsider the entire basis for monetary policy and to examine the role fiat currencies had in the financial crisis. It is the single biggest elephant in the global economic "room".
1. The Iranian people overthrow the country's brutal theocracy: Having already destroyed any semblance of democracy effectively by military coup, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is now pursuing nuclear weapons with the forked tongue of a cruel mindless liar. The people of Tehran know better and rattled this evil regime briefly a year or so ago. It would be right for them and especially right for the Middle East and the world if this murderous brutal regime was overthrown.