Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Flashpoint stories for 2007
There is an old saying: No matter where you go or what you do, there you are. And here we are at the changing of the years; a great time to take stock of all the flashpoints that came our way in 2006, and what we might expect in 2007.

That is what our special edition of AC 360, "Flashpoints", is all about.

We chose five major flashpoints from the past year: Iraq, Immigration, the Israel-Lebanon conflict, Terrorism, and the political upheaval of the last U.S. election. Then I had the pleasure of sitting down with a smart panel of folks to talk the issues over: Lewis Black, the comedian and political commentator; Arianna Huffington, the influential voice behind The Huffington Post; Reza Aslan, a young and exciting author with powerful insights into the Muslim world; and Wade Davis, a National Geographic Explorer in Residence whose expertise is cultural anthropology.

Working through a stack of electronic maps and graphs with them, I enjoyed a remarkable hour of ideas and insights...and a sense, through their eyes, of what the coming year might bring. Certainly, our list of flashpoints was not exhaustive, but they were more than enough to spark a lively conversation...and Lewis Black, as you might guess, took off on a tear more than once.

One example, I asked him what steps we could take in 2007 to improve the situation in Iraq? He rolled his eyes, and gestured in that "crazy uncle" way, and said: "If I knew that I wouldn't be doing what I do for a living.". Then with a broad smile, "I'd be working for Halliburton!"

Before Lewis and the other left I asked them: What Flashpoints did they think might directly affect Americans next year?

They have their ideas, and I hope you'll watch this unusual show to hear more...but now I want to hear from you: Higher gas prices? More political discontent? What flashpoints do you think will light up the news in 2007?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 9:53 AM ET
  37 Comments
I think equal right for gay American's will be a huge flash point in the year 2007. With New jersey starting it off this DEC. My opinion is since I am a gay American if you leave religion out of it and just focus on equal right's why would any one care if Gay Americans receive equal right's. Thank you CNN for an amazing year on being us the news and I look forward to next year anyway you bring it to us I know it will be honest and true. Have a wonderful and safe New Year
Posted By Anonymous Anthony Guiliano Allentown PA : 11:10 AM ET
Flashpoints, well let's see...

Iraq
Saddam Hussein's execution
Higher gas prices (the election is over)
Illegal Immigration (will always be a flashpoint for us here is AZ)
Israel
South Korea
Iran
The new Democratic Congress
Katrina (still)
Global Warming
The America Middle Class
Darfur

Those are just a few I can think of. I think each will have an impact on 2007. Some are subjects we should not forget (Katrina & Darfur).
Posted By Anonymous Melina - Mesa, AZ : 11:34 AM ET
Tom,

I think it will be Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. What do we do, how do we do it and when do we do it. It will color everything from daily politics to gas prices. And it will be a constant topic of all the TV pundits, real or fake.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte Doisy, Stockton CA : 11:46 AM ET
Hi Tom,
I think a flashpoint for 2007 would be good news. Good, happy, we all agree, let's have a chorus of Kumbaya kind of news...Well, I know that's probably not how the real world will be in 2007, but one can hope. I'll leave the predictions of flashpoints to others. I'm sure there will be many. I will say I just spent 2.75 a gallon for gas..My point? I had a FLASH of anger. Take Care..Happy New Year
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 11:47 AM ET
Good Morning Tom~
I am so glad you are hosting the special edition of AC 360 "Flashpoints". It sounds like an interesting panel. Lewis Black should add humor and I love the perspective from National Geographic.
To answer your question, fortunately, I don't have a crystal ball to see what will light up the news in 2007 and it's a darn good thing. I think if we knew the future news stories there would be a shortage of xanax!!!!!!!!!! ! I prefer to deal with one disaster at a time. That's the best I can do. Today, I don't "feel good" because I am trying to cope with the death of James Brown!!! See you tonight Tom. You are Always fun!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 11:54 AM ET
2007 flashpoints: National Islamism v. Arab nationalism.
Posted By Anonymous Schuyler Deerman, Berlin, Germany : 12:38 PM ET
Hey Tom, I'll be looking forward to seeing the show tonight.
You can be sure that once the candidates for the Presidential race make their intentions known they'll start getting hacked to death, You'd think if they have something dark and sordid in their past they'd know better in this day and age of YouTube, not to run unless they're at least 75% clean. Of course to our detriment we'll eat it all up.
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 12:57 PM ET
A new year always brings human challenges, news pops and points of discontent around the world. As I reflect the breaking news of 2006 and realistically try to imagine what 2007 will hold it's anyone's guess.
Famine, terrorism, war, murder,weather related disasters, abduction, financial woes, and government misconduct will surely be just a few of the news stories that our world will come to know during the new year. These things seem to be constants in our world wide community.
Wouldn't it be nice if mixed in all the mayhem of 2007 we could be blessed with a bit of good news along the way. "Breaking News---Cure for Cancer discovered today!" "We interrupt this program to --- let you know that food supplies around the world have increased to meet demand--No one on Earth experiences hunger again!" "This just in ---No bloodshed on the planet Earth today--life is good!"
It never hurts to dream, and think positive. Life is hard enough a little dose of optimisim in your personal space might cause those around you to see the new year in a different perspective. That new perspective might just light up the world we live in and fill it with hopes, dreams and aspirations for a year that holds a bit of good news along the way.
Posted By Anonymous Zann Vickers Easterwod----Martin, Tennessee : 1:07 PM ET
I think the Iraqi war will continue to be of major concern, in fact I think we may see decisions made in 2007 they may be a turning point in this war... I also think the immigration issues facing the US will have to be tackled by lawmakers with a much tougher stance than in the past... If we don't somehow become more united in resolving these issues the US will continue on its spiral downwards towards a division of sides that we have not seen in a very very long time...
Posted By Anonymous Sherry Sarasota, Florida : 1:14 PM ET
Hey, Tom - I'm expecting a fullblown constitutional crisis as it becomes apparent that Bush intends to throw an unspecified number of more young American lives away in the meatgrinder he has created in Iraq.

There will be subpoenas and hearings but guess what? Nothing anyone can do, in either party in Congress, can override the Commander in Chief. Expect domestic unrest as it dawns on the seventy percent that denial approaching psychopathology isn't impeachable.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 1:16 PM ET
Jobs, outsourcing, and "guest workers" is going to become a bigger and bigger issue, especially as the economy slows down. Right now, everyone blames Bush and the neocons for outsourcing engineering jobs to India and China and for replacing Amercian workers with cheap guest workers on H1-B and similar visa's. It cost them a lot of votes. The Democrats, however, appear to have their eyes set on committing politicial suicide by granting some sort of amnesty to the millions of undocumented workers here. (And, note to the press, no one believes the nonsense you write about them not taking jobs from American workers - they take jobs and they deflate wages and benefits.) I expect these issues to launch a successful third party and a bunch of candidates that is going to change the politicial landscape in 2008 and beyond. I, for one, a stanch Democrat, WILL NOT vote for any candidate ever again that isn't oppossed to all H1-B, L1 and related visa's, granting any sort of amnesty to illegal workers, and doesn't do something (use the tax laws!) about outsourcing.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Brooks, Eugene, Oregon : 1:32 PM ET
The war in Iraq. Unless president Bush makes major changes in policy there, things will only spiral out of control. Adding 30 thousand troops will not be nearly enough to stabilize the country. Unfortunately, when he leaves office, the situation will be much worse than it is today. But come to think of it almost everything he's touched, he's managed to make worse.
Posted By Anonymous Scott Clore Loveland Oh : 3:19 PM ET
Hi Tom-Happy Holidays! This sounds like a great and lively hour. I am 1/2 way through Reza's book and hope to finish it this week. I enjoy his insight on 360. I would think Iraq and politics will be fast and furious this new year. Mr. Bush seems to want to continue this conflict in Iraq and Republicans and Democrats are going to start positioning themselves for 2008.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago,Il : 3:32 PM ET
Gas prices are the least of our worries. What about the education crisis? I am tutoring a ten year old who can't tell time. Children need a better education than they are getting now. Oh, and interesting story Tom!
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Paris, KY : 4:13 PM ET
Tom, I, too, look forward to tonight's broadcast. The Iraq War shall be in the forefront in 2007.
aybe the world will not turn a blind eye to the horrors going on in Dafur any longer. But I do believe, as shallow and as superfical as it sounds, the big 2007 stories will be the celebrity break ups, make ups and blunders. Unfortunately, a lot of our fellow Americans just don't get that there is something bigger going on in the world than Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump's war of words. Though I liken the whole celebrity news thing to a bad car accident that I can't stop looking at, it saddens me that for some people that is "it" when it comes to big news. That's why I like 360 so much; it gives me the good news and the junk food news as I call it, too. ( When Anderson made fun of the tearful Miss USA, I laughed out loud. It was beyond fabulous!)
Posted By Anonymous Beth Ferguson, MO : 4:39 PM ET
Hey Tom~
News stories in '07? Iraq, more Africa, election '08, natural disasters, more Bushism errors, Can Ty solve the rubik's cube in ONE minute in "07? MORE warm fuzzy animal segments inbetween intense news stories in '07 like Anderson and the gorillas!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 6:18 PM ET
I think a flashpoint in 2007 will be continued international conflicts, especially within Africa and if the U.S. gets involved with the fighting in Somalia. Thus, the need for some great Google mapping from the one and only Tom Foreman!
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 6:35 PM ET
Considering the sheer amount of books written about the Iraq war and foreign policy regarding it, that will probably take reign in the major coverage of the year. But, what about Africa??? Undoubtedly this will be a major flashpoint of 2007 since 2006 is paving the way for some extreme changes.
Posted By Anonymous Aruna Rao, Minneapolis, MN : 6:46 PM ET
I don't think I could have said it better than Charlotte. I would hope, though, that Health Care Insurance for all Americans will get some serious discussion.
Posted By Anonymous Karen Baumhower, Holland, Ohio : 6:50 PM ET
Hi Tom, possible flashpoints in 07:

1) More severe storms and hurricanes, highlighting and further validating the effects of global warming

2) More Iraq war (unfortunately)

3) Prelude to 2008 elections

4) Iran

5) North Korea
Posted By Anonymous Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 8:22 PM ET
The environmental crisis.
Posted By Anonymous Meliss Saratoga Springs, NY : 9:41 PM ET
I have always been the optimist setting at the table when we are trying to solve problems; but not this year. I have no new ideas. I just think that this is the time for everyone of us to stand tall, square our shoulders, hold our heads up high, look everyone in the eye and firmly declare that we were wrong in our decisions and our actions as we tried to solve the problems in the Middle East. We made terrible mistakes. We overstepped our capabilities and tried to rule over all. So let's apologize; come home; return to diplomacy; and, resolve to work with every nation to turn this world around. We can re-unite our country and help re-unite the world Our world can surely be better than it is today.
We need to show our children and all the others how survive the worst days of the last several years. We have survived WWII, Korean Way, Viet Nam War and we can do this. I am willing. Are You? It starts with two---you & me.
Posted By Anonymous Kate Redford, Salem, Oregon, USA : 11:01 PM ET
The kind of flashpoint I think would light up the news in 2007 is for Saddam
Hussein of Iraq to ask forgiveness for all his sins with the Roman Catholic Church Pope before his hanging 30 days from now.
Posted By Anonymous Vic Canoy, Glenn Ellyn, Illinois : 11:05 PM ET
Tom, I see these 2007 flashpoints:
- Despite the slumping housing market, the stock market will continue to climb. Why? We're a country of spenders.
- Immigration reform WILL be passed. Why? We need the influx of job seekers, and the people will cry out for legislation.
- The Democrats will NOT lead us out of Iraq. Why? Simply put, we need to control both the oil and the two largest rivers in the Middle East to retain our control over the region.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Insani, Beavercreek, OH : 11:09 PM ET
Why was the map at he center of the camera shot showing the West Bank as part of Israel, wit hthe word "Israel" inside Palestine's borders?
Posted By Anonymous andy, arlington, VA : 11:37 PM ET
well im watching the segment Flash Point i started watching it @ 2215hrs. the points of title are good the opinions between the five ppl. what got me was that the person not sitting down would not shut up and listen. i believe that its one problem most americans have even on the topic of war. i believe americans fear that illegal immigrants will take their jobs yet americans don't want to work the jobs the illegals work.
Posted By Anonymous Jose Perez,Longview,TX : 11:41 PM ET
Great topics, great graphic aids, clear, concise and focused agenda for discussion. Now next time could you get some commentators that actually have something useful to add to the discourse. Lewis Black stuttered incoherently for most of the discussion. Arianna Huffinton is so whiny that it is diffucult to figure out what the heck she is blathering about. Reza Aslan and Wade Davis were well versed and were, when not being overridden by Lewis Blacks stammering and arm waving, were insightful and interesting. Although I did not agree with their assertions they were at least contributing to the usefulness of the debate. Better luck next time, I will chalk it up to another 40 minutes of my life that could have been better spent.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Smith, Tulsa, Oklahoma : 12:15 AM ET
The one thing the panel did get correct is that those of us in the hinterlands outside of NYC do not trust either party, we do not believe that either party has the best interest of everyday Americans in their hearts, we do not believe either party will put what is good for America ahead of what is good for the party. We have been waiting since September 11, 2001 for the common elected American who becomes the great Leader of America in a time of Crisis. We are still waiting.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Smith, Tulsa, Oklahoma : 12:16 AM ET
Here is what I hope: I hope that the stories that are the flashpoints for 2007 are stories that truly matter. I think that there will be several stories on the repositioning of political power in the US, the implentation of a new plan for Iraq, the consequences of Iran having nuclear weapons/technology, and a possible direct confrontation between Israel and Iran (remember Iraq in the 1980's?). I also think that the country will have to re-examine what happened with Katrina and government failures toward the poor. This will be helped in large part by the Democrats positioning themselves for power in 2008.
Posted By Anonymous Jen B, Grand Junction, CO : 12:26 AM ET
Hopefully, it will be the environment. Global warming has made such dramatic impacts this past year that no one has payed much attention too. However, things must be done.
Posted By Anonymous Molly Gray, La Canada, California : 12:38 AM ET
As I look at the numbers being posted in the retail business I have to conclude that the direction of our nation and a plan to move it forward is going to be a flash point in 2007. Two thirds of the economy is the consumer and the consumer is not happy with the lack of leadership at the top. Not happy translates to not going to spend and that will keep us in a decline. I am not ready to hand my nation over to my grandchildren in a state of decline. The leaders will need to concentrate on a plan to move the USA forward and stop spending so much time and money trying to be the savior of the world. Couple of immediate problems is the lack of a retirement program for the baby boomers that is keeping them in the work force past their time and an affordable medical plan that covers everyone in the country.
Posted By Anonymous Raymond Brusstar, San Jose California : 6:27 AM ET
I believe Iraq, is by far the biggest flashpoint and disappointment of this past year.

What's Hot Today.com
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Marlton, N.J. : 8:47 AM ET
I understand the five flashpoints that you have chosen, but wonder what happened to Katrina? There is so much work still be done and the story is not over. Perhaps the stories are not so compelling, but this is a chance to what history being made. Have you visited any of the devastated areas lately? How New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast recovers should be of interest to anyone who might be a victim of a natural disaster in the coming years. Has FEMA learned its lessons? Does every municipality have a worst case scenario disaster plan in place? How does one rebuild when the money is only sent after the project is completed? And speaking of troops, can imagine what would have happened to areas devastated by Katrina and Rita if the troops in Iraq had been sent there for a month?
Posted By Anonymous Ruth Brewington, Metairie, LA : 9:15 AM ET
Sadly, most people will continue to question how the country will survive and flourish over the next 2 years under the direction of a mad and bumbling idiot, who will continue to inject fear and spew nonsense on the same old things; terrorism, Iraq, Al Queda.
Posted By Anonymous Lucy, Toronto, ON : 10:35 AM ET
Hey Tom,

For the Americans in 2007, how Bush will work with Democrats & what he'll decide about Iraq will be in the stories a lot. Also, who will run for the Presidency. For the world, Darfur & Congo(I hope),Iraq of course, if the Lebanese government will fall,Afghanistan and the resurgence of the Talibans. About that, our Prime Minister has prolongued the mandate of our militaries there until 2009 and he is sending more troops. What most of you might not know is that we have a new leader of the opposition and the polls are favorable to him to be the next Prime Minister. There's a good chance we will have elections this year and that guy is against our troops being in Afghan.to fight. He wants them to focus on reconstruction or pull them out. OUr militaries have been helping many countries rebuild for years, they are good at that. It is a new role for them to be fighting, and they are doing a great job in the south of Afghan. fighting Talibans, rebuilding and training Afghans(even if they would need more time). So, if we have a change of Prime Min. it could affect our role in Afghanistan.
And it is one of many strategic points for terrorism. It is splitting our Country but we support our troops. I am struggling a little to see our troops fighting but I know enough to understand that there is no way in hell they would be able to rebuild with the Talibans regaining strenght.

There is so much to watch in '07, but lets not forget Iran. We will see how far gone he is. Hopefully, there will be good,inspiring news amongst that. I'm still the eternal positive!

A great year to all.

P.S.: To all Americans & his family, my sympathies on the passing of President Ford.

Joanne R,
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne R. Laval Quebec : 11:12 AM ET
Its a no brainer that the Iraqi war will be one of the highlights of 2007. I also believe weather will be another one. One can only hope that 2007 will be a stepping stone to alot of the human problems being resolved and a solution or solutions put in place to reverse global warming. If everyone on the planet would remember this is the only planet we have maybe everyone would start sharing nicely!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Webster NY : 11:13 AM ET
Tom, It was a good show with intelligent and informed guests. If politicians would listen to people like your guests, who look at things from various angles, they might start to do something to change the horrendously deteriorating condition of the U.S. Maybe they would actually do something about issues like Iraq and the U.S. permitting people to walk across the border, get comfy and then demand rights.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 1:20 AM ET
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