In the dying days of the year, other long held assumptions of stability have be thrown into question - not least by the rising tide of protest against Russia's Vladimir Putin.
The one certainty for 2012, many believe, is more of the unexpected.
"2011 was a nightmarish year to be a policy maker or an investment portfolio manager but it was a great one to be a political analyst," says Newton. "I'd certainly expect the same for next year."
Image: This image released by Time Magazine shows the Person of the Year issue featuring "The Protester".