To kick off 2011, I thought I'd put together my top-10 international affairs wish list for the year, going from left to right on my wall map. But like Spinal Tap, only better, my list goes to 12:
1) Even more U.S. states pass decriminalization initiatives or medical marijuana laws. Yes, California's infamous Prop 19 to legalize pot was narrowly defeated, 54 percent to 46 percent, but a majority of U.S. states are either considering such laws or already have them in place. In the four years since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug lords, 30,000 "soldiers" of various sorts have been killed. This has always been a domestic demand problem that cannot be fixed by a foreign policy of killing supply -- or suppliers -- abroad.
2) Even more economic failure for Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. The poster boy for the illogic of "21st century socialism," Chavez has overseen a tanking economy, and will face a less-compliant parliament come January. His extra-constitutional solution? Presidential rule by decree for 18 months, giving Chavez everything he needs to fix the next presidential election. Expect more control over the media and more government takeovers of private-sector industries to deflect blame for food and electricity shortages. Let this be a lesson for the Western Hemisphere.