From Pico Iyer’s New Year’s Day piece in the LA Times:

“The e-mails keep streaming in, here in my little apartment in Japan, from friends in California and places farther east. The world is unraveling daily, they say; we’re going through a period of darkness unprecedented in our history. The war against terrorism is a war without end, in effect; the strikes of 9/11 have put us all on edge, even on trial, for life…
…The cries I hear in my friends’ voices are those of conscience, and there’s something stirring in their concern about America’s war-mongering and injustices.
And yet, I feel like saying, America — though still the strongest power in the world — is by no means the largest or even the central one. One in every three people on our planet lives in China or India, and for those worthy souls, the new century is a time of possibilities unimagined before. There is corruption and oppression and pollution all over China; India is still a byword for suffering and poverty; and yet, for well over 2 billion of our neighbors in the global village, history is moving in a positive direction right now.”