The European Union faces enormous challenges as the sovereign debt crisis continues to rattle the 27 nation bloc. As Hungary takes over the body's rotating presidency this month, the EU would prefer to focus on reform of the euro, energy security and other big issues. But instead Hungary finds itself on the defensive for changes at home that some critics say are chipping away at democracy in the former communist country.
Chinese President Hu Jintao's scheduled visit to the White House next week comes at critical moment in U.S.-China relations.
America has entered a new year with a rising national debt and deficit projections. Meanwhile, China continues its ascent as a global economic player. In the years to come, an economically bruised U.S. may have to share the superpower spotlight with the competition.