Four leaders to watch
Over the next months and years, four men will shape the histories of their respective nations. It's interesting how similar they all are, not in personality, but in the problems facing them.
George W Bush has a divided nation before him, whichever way you look at it.
If he is to live up to even just the domestic elements of his inauguration (or should it be reauguration?) speech, he has a mammoth task ahead of him.
Not only that, America is in huge financial trouble. At least, this is the impression I've got from my varied news sources on the net. In such a materialistic society as the USA, this is Real Bad Trouble.
Some obviously think Bush is an evil blockhead; or a puppet of the incredibly wicked Christian Right.
Others - although I haven't read much of this - think he is a good man with good ideas who is bravely pushing ahead with what he believes is right, even if it's unpopular.
Whatever your opinion of Bush, it will be very interesting to watch the next four years.
Mahmoud Abbas also faces a divided nation - if Palestine can even be called a nation yet.
I don't have in-depth knowledge of the whole Palestinian situation, so I won't say much. But if this newcomer has really been able to negotiate a ceasefire with groups like Hammas and Islamic Jihad, he must have something to him!
Again, I don't know much of the situation, so I'm open to correction here, but my perception is that Islamic Jihad exists to make war - that's what the name means. So for Abbas to get these guys to agree to NOT make war ... I'm impressed!
Victor Yuschenko has finally taken his rightful place as President of Ukraine.
He, too presides over a divided country. East Ukraine generally supports ties to Russia, which is physically and ethnically closer to them. West Ukraine generally supports getting closer to the EU, and this is the direction Yuschenko has favoured too.
It will be interesting to see how Yuschenko keeps the promises he has made in his inauguration speech, particularly to prevent Ukraine becoming a "buffer zone or a battleground for anyone".
Them's fighting words. The kind of words that win hearts, and create national pride where it's needed most.
The fourth leader is unknown as yet. In fact, I'm not even sure if it'll be one person or a committee ... I'm talking about the elections in Iraq. The problems of Bush, Abbas and Yuschenko sort of pale into insignificance compared with the struggles ahead for Iraq's leadership. If you pray to anyone about anything, pray for Iraq. I'm sure it needs it right now!