Nobody really knows what will happen in 2010, although Larry Sabato's Jeanne Dixon-inspired post at Politico comes pretty close. But there are ten stories that will shape the world this year - for better or for worse. Other crises may erupt (I have not, for example, included the long-running conflict between Israelis and Palestinians on the list), but these ten stories as they develop are most likely going to be the events that determine what kind of year 2010 will be.
10. The New Japan
The Democratic Party of Japan government under Prime Minister Yuko Hatoyama is the first strong non-LDP government in Japan since the MacArthur era. It came to office promising dramatic changes in everything from Japan's bureaucratically-dominated governing system to U.S.-Japan relations-while getting the economy back on track. Any one of these would be a tough job, and with restive coalition partners and many inexperienced politicians tasting real power for the first time, the government has hit some obstacles. Japan is still the world's second largest economy and despite its pacifist constitution it remains a top military spender. The success or the failure of the DPJ over the next year may not be as dramatic as political stories in other parts of the world-but it matters a lot. The relationship between the United States and Japan has been the cornerstone of stability in Asia for more than fifty years; let's see what happens now.