On the eve of the year 2007, it is evident to anyone with the fortitude to see reality that the world is not getting better, nor even staying the same, but getting worse.
There are a few positive developments. But they are mostly technological and medical. More people are eating better and living longer than ever before. And the Internet gives more people access to more information (and more lies) than ever before. But aside from medical and technological progress, there is little positive to report. And, as always, the technological breakthroughs are frequently morally mixed bags.
Almost wherever one looks, there are more reasons for pessimism than optimism.
Africa is probably in worse condition than at any time in recorded history. Though often exaggerated, great numbers of young and middle-aged people are dying from AIDS; corruption in Africa is so widespread and deeply rooted that aid workers are telling the West to stop giving funds to Africa because those funds only serve to prop up corrupt regimes and increase poverty, malnutrition and violence; about three million people have died in the ongoing wars in the Congo; and the Islamic Arab regime of Sudan has allowed or directed genocide.
In Asia, China, sitting on reserves of over a trillion dollars, is beginning to regard itself as a world power, and most of where it meddles, it plays an immoral role (regarding Iran's nuclear weapons and the North Korea regime). As China's economic power grows, it will increasingly seek to flex its muscles. This could mean tension over Taiwan, but it will even more likely mean that Japan will try to become a military power once again and perhaps develop its own nuclear weapons -- because of North Korea's weapons and because of China's strength and ambitions. A strong Japan, given North Korea's lunatic regime and China's drive for regional dominance, is a positive development but an unfortunate one nevertheless.
Russia, like China, increasingly uses its power in immoral ways, and its government is becoming increasingly authoritarian.