Whatever else Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and all the others at Annapolis seek to achieve, there is one important thing they can do.
Poor John Howard. Reckless on Kyoto, clueless in Iraq, fickle on civil liberties, mean to migrants and minorities, ruthless towards the workers - and now jobless. He has lost his own seat, which he has represented since 1974, the first sitting Prime Minister since 1929 to do so.
The rising anxieties about nuclear weapons are rooted in two major and parallel developments: a renaissance of nuclear power and a resurgence of old-fashioned national security threats that supposedly had ebbed with the end of the Cold War.
Clearly, a general election in Pakistan is free and fair if it delivers the election to the general. Pervez Musharraf's mastery of Orwell-speak is unmatched among contemporary leaders beyond Burma. Benazir Bhutto is under house arrest for her own safety.
For outsiders, as for Pakistanis, the choice is between worse and the worst: a militantly Islamic, 165-million strong, nuclear-armed failed state at the strategic crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. President Pervez Musharraf has been triangulated ever more tightly by the jihadists, Islamists and judiciary.
The European backing for "tough" American policy towards Iran suggests that the age-old instinct for appeasing the predatory propensity of the great and powerful is alive and well.
"I only know of one duty. That is to love." One particularly threatening day in April 2006, I had this quote by Albert Camus printed in large capital letters and hung over my desk in my new office in the Red Zone of Baghdad.