For one thing I think that this year is pretty likely to be a replay of last year. Re-runs are rarely as entertaining as the first run and when you didn’t much care for the first run For another there are all sorts of areas in which I don’t find myself with nearly as clear a view as I did in prior years. Take Iran, for example.
In prior years I’ve had substantial confidence that Iran wouldn’t test a nuclear weapon and that neither the U. S. nor Israel would attack Iran, at least not openly. I was also darned confident that the color revolution that optimists saw so brightly on the horizon would never materialize. Iran’s mullahs are serious, they aren’t democrats, they have plenty of resources at their disposal, and they don’t much care what level of force they need to employ to maintain their power and their vision of Iran’s future.
One of the many things that WikiLeaks has rendered beyond debate is that practically everybody other than peace activists in the West believes that Iran’s nuclear development program is a nuclear weapons development program. Our government believes it; the Russians believe it; the European governments believe it; the Gulf governments believe it. I have long thought that the preponderance of the evidence supported the idea that the Iranians were developing nuclear weapons or, at the very least, wanted everybody (including their own people) to believe that they were.
Will Iran demonstrate a nuclear weapon this year? I really don’t know. What will the U. S., Israel do in response? Again, I really don’t know.
- Kim Jong-Il will die this year and be succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-Un. This is so widely believed it’s barely a prediction at all.
- At the end of 2011 unemployment in the U. S. will be no less than 9%. I think that the BEA will be able to jigger the numbers sufficiently to keep the official figure below 10%.
- GDP growth for the year will be at or below 3%. Growth will be sufficiently concentrated that it will feel worse.
- There will be no anti-austerity riots by public employees in the United States like those in Greece. The real question is whether there will be anti-public employees riots.
- The Tea Party Movement will prove to be a genuine populist movement rather than just another name for regular Republicans. They’ll be just as unhappy with business as usual on the part of Republicans as they were with overreach by Congressional Democrats.
- PPACA will not be repealed or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
- At least one state will either default, be bailed out by the federal government, or be allowed to declare bankruptcy. It may well be Illinois.
- Rahm Emanuel will be allowed to run in the primary for Chicago mayor.
- The Social Network will win the Academy Award as Best Picture.
- Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, and Geoffrey Rush will all be nominated for Academy Awards. It’s likely that three of them will win (all five can’t because they’re in conflict)
- American forces will leave Iraq on schedule.
- At least 90,000 American soldiers will be in Afghanistan at the end of 2011.
- Julian Assange will not be convicted of sex charges in Sweden or of espionage in the United States.
- President Obama’s approval rating as measured by the RCP average will not go over 50%.
- The Coen Brothers will not announce that they’re beginning production of a new version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma.
- House prices as measured by the Case-Shiller index of twenty leading markets will decline at least an additional 10%. 20% is the floor.
There were some additional predictions I’d intended to make so I’ll add them here:
- There will still be prisoners at Guantanamo at the end of 2011. Like the Bush Administration before it the Obama Administration doesn’t know what else to do with them and it’s unwilling to take the heat for making the wrong decision.
- The EU’s actions will be successful in deferring the sovereign debt crisis among its member nations through 2011. The problems haven’t been solved—the can has just been kicked down the road.