Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The Top Five Reasons to Still Feel Thankful About the World

| Nov. 25, 2020

Believe it or not, this year's pandemic-afflicted globe offers plenty of grounds for gratitude.

This is a hard year in which to feel thankful. As disasters go, 2020 may not rank with 1914 or 1939, to pick just two famously bad years, but it is still likely to be remembered as one of the more lamentable periods in modern history, and few people will be sorry to see it end. It is easily the worst year I've ever lived through, and I count myself as luckier than most.

Yet as Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I am striving to be grateful for those aspects of life that give me hope. Being thankful for small mercies, appreciating there were bad things that might have occurred but didn't, and highlighting the positive developments that have helped us get through this annus horribilis is a way of reminding ourselves that the present crisis will not last forever and that it is within our power to make things better.

In that spirit, here are my top five reasons I'm still thankful this year.

1. No great-power wars.

It's been awful—more than 60 million people sickened worldwide, almost 1.5 million dead, and societies disrupted in countless ways. Economies everywhere are in recession, poorer countries have taken a huge hit, and the careers of many people—and especially women—have been set back years. Schooling has been disrupted in ways that will affect future productivity, and mental health problems will be more severe and cast a long shadow over the future....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Walt, Stephen M.“The Top Five Reasons to Still Feel Thankful About the World.” Foreign Policy, November 25, 2020.

The Author

Stephen Walt