It's All Gone a Bit 1989
We awoke to images of anti-government protests in Hungary, sparked by the Prime Minister's admission of misconduct. Though rain stopped play today, the storming of the TV station (always the fist thing to go down in a revolution) was eerily reminiscent of the end of the Cold War back in 1989.
Then, though perhaps we should have seen it coming, a military coup in Thailand. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had been on shaky ground ever since calling a snap election to prove his credibility, and tacitly admitting defeat and withdrawal from politics yet never really letting go of the reins (Tony Blair - something to ponder there. But the sight of tanks in Bangkok is still quite a shocker.
All this distracted attention from the backdrop of UN headquarters in New York, where world leaders are gathering for Kofi Annan's final session in charge. It's not been a day of minced words, with prominent personalities calling for moves to end the Israel-Palestine conflict and even the sight of Bush - commendably - demanding action on Darfur:
Mr Bush said that if the Khartoum authorities did not do so quickly, the UN had to act. "Your lives and the United Nation's credibility are at stake," he added, addressing the people of Darfur.
The US president also announced the appointment of a special US envoy to the region.
Fine words then, but not much action for now. But Bush was also struggling to justify his increasingly isolated position on the Middle East, the bigger fish being fried at the expense of Sudan.
All this and also a shake-up in Saddam's trial: continued protests in Taiwan; and bombs in Somalia. Anchors across the rolling news channels were looking somewhat out of breath.
What does all this mean? Well, for now it is of course too early to tell. But I think that today has dealt quite a blow to the institutionalising agenda of neo-liberalism. Hungary's problems stem from economic failure that has, if anything, been exacerbated rather than assuaged by EU membership:
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the biggest problems facing governments in former Eastern Bloc countries has been how to marry the expectations of the electorate with the harsh realities of running free-market economies that aspire to join the single European currency.
Even worse in Thailand, one of the leading lights of ASEAN but also the source of the 1997 financial crisis. I expect that investors will be watching events with dismay: the image of Asia as a stable region for trade has been shattered once again.
China, on the other hand, will probably be laughing all the way to the bank as foreign companies get the jitters and pull out.
And finally, the UN as an institution is once again under the microscope. It came out of the Lebanon fiasco somewhat bruised, and the mainly European contingent of peacekeepers have yet to prove their worth under any major test. Now there is a growing onus for it to engage with the fractious Israel-Palestine conflict, an issue at the very root of much of the tension in the world today.
What happens with Sudan and Darfur is an even graver immediate issue: can this embattled institution stand back yet again and allow genocide in our own time? We shall see.