This time instead of the great powers of central Europe dragging the rest of us into a European affair, it seems that nearly every corner of the earth is facing some sort of imminent disaster that could combine into a very unpleasant situation.
In America, where we have been living beyond our means for decades, the time has come to pay the piper. Trillion dollar deficits, rising unemployment, printing of money, $4 gasoline, a weakening dollar and entitlements are combining into a grim outlook for our immediate future. Add to this the toll taken by climate change - unprecedented outbreaks of tornadoes, massive floods, and record droughts - throw in a hurricane or two and we are on the way to serious disruptions.
Politically America is split over what do about all this. Many are simply unwilling to admit that numerous forces are trending towards disaster and keep talking about the return to prosperity. Some favor still more tax cuts until there is little left of government, or increased oil well drilling as the universal balm; some favor Keynesian pump-priming and emissions controls. Still others are totally confused by events that are foreign to the way of life they have known and seek solace in demagogic claims to return the country to growth and prosperity.
The EU too is beset by problems. Although Germany and France seem to have avoided the excesses that are besetting others, most of the EU members, like the U.S., are suffering from living beyond their means. The Union has been bouncing from economic crisis to crisis for months. Regional sources of energy -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- are playing out and the continent will soon be even more dependent on imported energy to keep moving about and the lights on. Germany's and Switzerland's recent decisions to foreswear nuclear power stations only add to the problem.
Location: Cayman Islands