The end of a year invites reflection on the events and trends that have shaped it. In 2021, they include the COVID-19 pandemic, recently reinvigorated by the Omicron variant; the steady march of climate change, which has intensified pressure to reach net-zero emissions; and geopolitical tensions, especially the great-power rivalry between the United States and China. On all of these fronts, 2021 was a year of deterioration.
As difficult as 2020 was, it concluded with grounds for hope. Effective COVID-19 vaccines were being deployed. The US had a new president, who, unlike...
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