While the leadership transitions of 2012 have altered this year's political landscape, they have left the nuclear agenda for 2013 regrettably unchanged. Thankfully, this new backdrop may provide opportunities to find new solutions to old problems.
Sectarian and ethnic polarisation now dominates Iraq's political landscape. It could lead to toxic instability in 2013 as the Syrian civil war bolsters a restless Sunni Iraqi opposition while the Kurds continue to assert their independence from Baghdad.
The end of ambiguity about Pyongyang's nuclear capacity raises fundamental questions affecting China, the United States, and the future of international non-proliferation strategy. Indirectly, these consequences could actually work to the advantage of the West in its attempts to prevent Iran 'going nuclear'.