Last year was one wild, unpredictable and unforgettable ride, but 2017 could well be as frighteningly full of shocks, with everything from global trade wars to a new nuclear arms race potentially on the horizon.
Those who vividly remember the Cold War find it surreal to hear Moscow and Washington talking almost eagerly of nuclear arms buildups after two decades of historic co-operation on arms control.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in December of Russia's need to upgrade its nuclear weapons arsenal and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump reacted by telling a morning show: "Let it be an arms race … we will outmatch them at every pass."
It's not quite clear how intense an arms race will develop if Putin and Trump forge better relations, but the dangers of 14,000 warheads held by Russia and the U.S. are still incalculably vast.
Not just because they can reduce civilizations to instant rubble in war, but because even in peace, command systems are subject to false alarms and accidental use and increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Yet in stark contrast to during the Cold War, there's scarcely any public debate about the weapons these days, says Eric Schlosser, a leading author on nuclear control.
"My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat," he wrote in the New Yorker as the year ended. "These machines have been carefully designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that someday they will."
Note EU-Digest: We are sitting on a "nuclear time bomb" folks and putting our heads in the sand
ain't going to help. Now is the time to become active in organizations which can and will
get rid of rotten corrupted politicians and financial institutions,
improve social standards and address environmental dangers. As for the
believers among us, keep praying, but not only for yourself, but also
for peace, wisdom and for others, many of which are far worse off than we are.
Read the complete report: 'Without precedent in modern times': Why the world's vortex of crises will keep swirling in 2017 - World - CBC News