On the Fringes with Elizabeth Stewart

The Year of the Diplomat?

Welcome to the Year of the Goat – and according to Chinese sages, 2015 will be a year of compromise… which sounds like a good year for diplomats. Coming at the half-way point of the 12-year cycle, we’re supposed to get a grip on the upheavals set in motion at the start of the cycle (think financial crisis and Arab Spring).

Well,that’s what the Astrologers say. What do the diplomats think? In the Embassy Chinese New Year snap poll, diplomats are less hopeful, with three out of four saying 2015 will not be a better year for diplomacy than last year.

However, there is room for progress in some areas: In Ukraine, a majority think the situation will improve and three out of four are optimistic about European reform and a deal over Greek debt. Most are cautiously optimistic about a Nuclear deal with Iran too.

But things look bleak when it comes to progress tackling ISIS or the Middle East Peace Process. In Africa diplomats don’t see much progress in stopping insurgencies such as Boko Haram or the conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan.

On Climate change, it’s 50/50 on whether we’ll get a deal to replace Kyoto.

So will the Year of Goat also be the Year of the Diplomat? Don’t kid yourself.