8 JANUARY 2003
The world in crisis, the things to do and the things to expect
The world is returning to its old mould.
War looms over Saddam Husseins Iraq despite there not being a shred of evidence (as the UN attests) to prove that weapons of mass destruction have been secretly deposited in the secret chambers of a Presidential Palace.
In Communist North Korea, the defiance of a dictator is reaching new and dangerous peaks.
In the Middle East, the killing of innocent civilians by nowhere to go Palestinians and unruly Israelis continues.
And in Africa undemocratic governments continue to rule in apparent disregard for human rights.
On Europes doorstep in the Balkans, democracy is still in its infancy.
In this pot pourri of global events, the Maltese government can only act by following the European Union position.
There is not much else it can do.
But Europe has still to show what it stands for.
A case in point is the financial packages for hospitals, schools and infrastructure given to the Palestinian Authority by the European Union only to be later decimated and bulldozed by the Israeli Army.
Europes impotence leaves the US in a position of strength and bossiness, a strong phrase, but one that perfectly describes the situation in the New World.
It should not be so, Europe will soon the new giant with a dynamic 500 million base.
The probability of war in Iraq may not have a direct impact on Malta but it will have one on a fragile Europe suffering from recession and high unemployment.
The declaration of war on Iraq will serve to drown the European economy even further. Malta can only lose, not gain.
In a period where the euro is still in dire straits and the European Union is facing an expansion of so many new states, an unnecessary war on Iraq is very unwelcome.
There is little we can do, other than brace ourselves for the worst.
As inflation, tourism and others change with impending doom, Malta can only look on.
Yet, Malta has its own problems - a referendum and national election in the coming weeks is not conducive to good business. The uncertainty of Europe and partnership are not helping investment.
With a slow growth and the first three months of the year in election mode, one can only imagine how the countrys accounts will look in the future.
The thing to do is to stay put; cost cut and thinks of new and innovative ways of spending less.
It sounds so doomsday, but this is the brave new world that we enter in this great year of destiny.