I CAN’T SAY ANYTHING of real value about the 2010s. We entered the decade with the establishment-saving aplomb of Obama, who inherited two rather pointless wars and the worst financial crash since 1929, and managed to smile through it all with a little help from his Hollywood friends. But his made for TIME magazine popular revolution was short lived, and soon he was challenged by Tea Party types who somehow forget they had supported George W. Bush wholeheartedly just a few years before, this scion of the establishment who left office in complete disgrace with people throwing their shoes at him. The decade basically degenerated from there. It was a decade of populist uprisings, political fragmentation, civil wars, terrorist attacks, secession movements, and posturing, vain demagogues. Yet by the time 2020 arrived, almost none of the big questions raised in the 2010s had been resolved. There was still no wall between Mexico and the US, Britain was still in the EU, Crimea was still Ukrainian on paper, NATO trudged on, Putin was still in office as was Syria’s Assad, and the world continued to burn.

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