Whenever new year is coming there is a possibility to sit down and contemplate about past deeds, present challenges and future prospects. All the events take place in time and space and if one looks around oneself he finds a funny world around indeed!
What is the flat world we inhabit to use the catchy phrase of Thomas Friedman? Whilst thinking by myself here in Salaspils I stopped at the analogy of the apartment block. So, IMAGINE, the humankind lives in the apartment block in the age of pax americana. In order to run the apartment block smoothly the US is the the manager, employment and security provider of the house. In this demanding task to run the house the house manager works via such prominent international intermediary big bodies as the UNO, NATO, WTO, WB, IMF, and a smaller lot comprised of Amnesty International, Transparency International , Oxfam, etc.
To make your imagination more colourful remember the typical post- Soviet suburban area and perhaps you see the 9 storied houses that look identical from Prague to Vladivostok?! Thus, in this house surrounded by nature the whole world lives in. The house must be provided with electricity, water, sewage system and heating and folks must eat somethin as well. So, the whole world in order to live in the aprtment block must do bit by bit in order to be able to pay the rent.
More well off nations live on upper floors, thus they could not only enjoy the upper view but also live closer to Gods themselves. In the basement there is Al Quaida and North Korea. They live by the sole purpose of blowing up the the whole apartment block and returning to the state of nature.
Further up we go we can see more complicated tasks performed in order to be upwardly mobile. Gulf States have specialized in providing the house manager with oil and have reached the floor 8, thus they can say that they have reached the same closeness to the Prophet, and their excuse for living one floor lower is that they are about as close to Prophet as the heretic Christians.
The US, EU, Japan and the rest of white Anglo-Saxon Commonwealth live happily on the top floor by helping to entertain the house manager with luxury goods and throwing nice parties in their specially decorated apartments.
On the floor 7 South Korea, Singapre, Taiwan and other South East Asian nations simply show the others below that it is possible to be upwardly mobile.
On the floor 6 East Europeans and Mexicans are happily guessing that they would be allowed to reach the upper floor one day by being members of white race and undertaking everyday chores of lazy 9' th floor inhabitants.
The middle Kingdom is situated on the flors 5 and 4 where the BRIC' s live. Simply the sheer size does not allow Brasil, Russia, India and China to move as swiftly as East Europeans, Mexicans or South East Asians do. Because they have so many belongings and human resources their reallocation takes ages and probably shall mean only two options. Either they shall get stuck in the Middle Kingdom of floor 4-5, or they simbly shall outgrow their size, brake put the walls of the house and shall demolish the whole house with them. Already, the BRIC' s see that their former vassals have been swifter. So, the heating provider Russia or furniture and clothing provider China threaten to choke off their upper floor neighbours for the sake of - being ungrateful and leaving the former metropolis behind...
Further below the middle Kingdom we see shabby conditions of floor 4 to 1 where janitors, plumbers, simple laborers struggle for their existence. Myriad of African states, former Communist paradises of peasants and wrokers can be divided in two lots. The floor 3-4 inhabitants still believe in the everyday rat-race euphemistically called also continuous economic growth. Central Asian STANS, Ukraine, Uganda, Ghana, Equador and others want to use the mix of Western advice and remnants of indigenous expertise to rapidly reach the floor 7. In the meantime the floor 1-2 folks have given up their secular dream of stability and slowly turn themselves into holes like Somalia, Afghanistan, Transdniestria, Zimbabwe or Haiti.
What is the panacea that allows nations to move within the aprtment block? The simplest answer is education, and here better chances are for those who are daring to try something new. Orthodoxy in learning is the luxury for the rich and powerful.
New year shall probably not bring any significant changes in the house managment. Just the rumours whirl about the changing party atmosphere from the top floor. The US parties after the Iraq adventure are not as popular anymore among the lower floor aspirants, and the loose intergovernmental EU states want to have more leisure and less bossing from pax americana. Is there pax europea on the horizon? Perhaps New Year shall bring us some nice news, because the Baltic Sea area is the most dynamic part of Europe:)