It's long been an economic truism that the United States pays the lion's share of the U.N. budget. Moreover the European Union (EU) countries pay the largest bloc of dues of the 193 member organization.
It should come as no surprise that a country haunted by the aftermath of civil war, challenged by military coups, mired in corruption, and facing the undertow of poverty would be a prime candidate for drug smuggling.
The world is confronted by a maze of crises ranging from North Africa to the Middle East and South Asia.
Shortly after the Security Council unanimously condemned the recent North Korean missile launch and demanded that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea abandon nuclear testing, Pyongyang rulers decided to up the political ante.
The hydra-headed challenge of global terrorism continues as the threat continues to change and mutate in response to increasingly effective counter-measures.
Regions of a vast landlocked country, remote but strategic, have fallen under the control of al-Qaida terrorists and fundamentalist forces. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled a regime which persecutes women, imposes stringent Sharia law, and desecrates and destroys ancient towns and even mosques. The outside world has shrugged off this simmering crisis. Afghanistan 2001?
The global economy risks sliding back into recession.
It's time once again to look at the crystal ball, or snow globe, and attempt to peer ahead at the global political and economic horizon as we enter the New Year.
One year ago the renowned author, playwright, and former President of Czech Republic Vaclav Havel died at age 75. In tribute to this extraordinary European Renaissance Man, I'm reissuing my column in the spirit of memory and the season.
The European Union, the concert of 27 countries ranging from the Bay of Biscay to the Baltics and the Balkans has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.