Though some have claimed that 2012 was “the best year ever” on a global scale, it certainly doesn’t seem that way from a cursory glance at the headlines. Civil wars, revolutions and natural disasters seemed as rampant as ever, but amid the chaos, there appeared to be steps in the right direction.
In the Middle East, the "Arab Spring" continued to revolutionize the region. Egypt’s elections, which brought Mohamed Morsi to power, have since sparked fighting between his supporters and those accusing him of trying to consolidate power.
There was the continuing crisis in Syria; an increasingly isolated and nuclear-ambitious Iran; yet another military flare-up between Israelis and Palestinians; and the lethal attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, prompted political controversy in the U.S.
The Great Recession clung to Europe, with Greece and Spain particularly volatile as citizens resisted austerity measures. The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize, but violent protests in Athens and beyond tested fiscal resolve.