Well Santa Claus sure just hit up the Palestinians and the Chinese. Sharon (the bionic man of Israeli politics) and his new buddies at Labor are putting their new deal on paper, so the pullout is looking good. The Israeli's are tossing in 170 Palestinian prisoners (the non-violent type) to sweeten the deal, and Hammas' Gaza faction is even backing peace talks. Christmas is looking good for the Arab-Israeli conflict, a little too good. I'd be ready for the hiccups to start early in the new year. Hammas' other factions aren't so ready to deal as Gaza is, and they'll be likely to voice their opinion with semtex. There's still a lot of budgetary stress in the Israeli government, so I'm still standing by my theory that that'll be the weak link on Israel's side of the fence. Sharon's driving this bus right now, and he's got a lot of support, but there should definitely be some third party structure going on. Mr. President, get in or get somebody else in! Somebody's gotta sweeten the deal for everyone involved, just like the trade deal for Egyptian-Israeli cooperative products.
In China there's yet another carefully worded change of policy on free expresion. Now, according to the Chinese government, you can believe whatever you want and people can't discriminate against you for your beliefs! Careful about how you exercise them, though, that's still regulated. The moral here, though, is that China is testing the waters about freedom of religion. This move is going to spark religious activity (or rather, did spark), and how that activity progresses will determine Beijing's future actions, a Sun Tzu approach to domestic policy.
Hmm... maybe that'll be good for article fodder... yes... excellent... my plans for world domination are coming along nicely.