WASHINGTON – The dawning new year has been witness to good news from a number of the world’s most protracted conflicts and dangerous trouble spots.

Promising developments are suddenly marking the global landscape: between nuclear powers India and Pakistan; in Sudan, where rebels this week reached an agreement with southern rebels that could end Africa’s longest civil war; in Libya, which recently announced it would give up its unconventional weapons programs to reenter the community of nations; in US-Iranian relations, with Iran agreeing to international inspection of nuclear sites; and even in North Korea, which this week offered to freeze its nuclear programs.

While foreign-policy experts generally remain cautious about linking these events too closely or about assigning them a common catalyst, they do see some common threads.

Let’s hope it’s a pattern.