Despite some last-minute brinkmanship by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the US and Afghanistan seem to have worked out a bilateral security agreement to govern the 8,000 to 10,000 (mostly US) troops that will remain in Afghanistan from next year. But Afghanistan remains a source of significant uncertainty _ and high anxiety _ in an already unstable region.
Syria's agony has generated a variety of unproductive responses: verbal condemnation of the excesses of President Bashar al-Assad's regime; disagreements about the wisdom of armed intervention; and all-around confusion about the possibility of finding a viable long-term solution. Worse, in this sorry state of affairs, the world may be getting a glimpse of a very ugly future.
Isolated and impoverished by decades of international sanctions, Myanmar has emerged in recent months as both a beacon of hope and a potential new Asian flashpoint. With Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi freed from two decades of house arrest to campaign vigorously for a seat in parliament in the special election to be held on April 1, Myanmar's commitment to rejoining the international community appears to be genuine. But this opening has other consequences, most importantly setting the stage for a new "great game" of strategic competition.