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We are entering a period of dramatic political transition. By early 2009, four of teh five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (France, Britain, the United States, and Russia) will have new leaders. Other key states, including Japan, Iran, and Israel, may as well. Several have already made the switch, such as Germany, France, and Italy. International organizations, too, will refresh their leadership, with a new secretary-general now installed at the United Nations and possibly a new head of the International Atomic energy Agency in two years.

Rarely have the political starts aligned so dramatically.

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