In The Year 2012- 5 Predictions
by J. Andrew Zalucky
So the New Year has begun, and after a chaotic and tumultuous year in both foreign and domestic politics, I have a few predictions for the coming year. Predictions are faulty by definition, as the progression of events depends on a limitless amount of factors influencing decisions and outcomes, factors that no human could possibly have a complete knowledge of. Thus, much of what we predict is based on intuition in accordance with our own experience.
Of course, there are some scholars who have applied scientific methods to the art of prediction. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is probably the most notable example. Here is a TED Talk he gave back in 2009. While this is not perfect, it is certainly better than what a “psychic” (or any other type of fraud) could possibly do. That said, I don’t really feel like number crunching at the moment, so let’s see how well my gut serves me this year.
In the year 2012:
1. Mitt Romney will win the Republican Primary
As Ezra Klein points out in The Washington Post,
The Republican presidential primary increasingly feels like a bad work of history. It feels like the author is straining to inject drama and uncertainty into a story that’s barreling toward an obvious and inexorable conclusion. And that conclusion is, of course, Mitt Romney.
From a posture of self-interest, the Republican Party really has no other option than to run Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman. Part of me still hopes that Huntsman will make a strong showing in New Hampshire, as I believe he is the strongest candidate. But as time goes on, the mediocre Mr. Romney looks more and more likely to win. This sets the stage for a rather unremarkable election cycle, pitting Romney against a more and more mediocre President Obama, a man clearly in over his head.
2. Ron Paul will run under a 3rd party ticket
That is unless Ron Paul somehow makes it through the primary on top. As I’m sure the party believes one 1964 is enough, this seems rather unlikely. However, Ron Paul would make a very formidable 3rd party candidate. Barring any crazy possibility, this looks like an easy path for Obama’s re-election, as a 3rd party ticket on the Conservative side would easily hand Obama several swing states, and even parts of the South.
3. The Republicans will hold onto the House- barely
With a media-consensus pronouncing them as radicals and obstructionists, the Republicans will have significant challenges ahead of them in certain districts. It’s very possible that people in the industrial mid-west, whose outlook has not improved since the 2010 elections, will angrily exchange the red pill for the blue pill once again. While much of the electorate is still concerned with deficit reduction, there has been a shift in focus towards job creation and income inequality, thanks in part to domestic movements like Occupy Wall Street and international ones like the Arab Spring.
4. Democratic movements will increase in intensity
For the moment, dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be able to retain stability in their respective countries, but things will get more difficult as the year progresses. The latest round of economic sanctions has hit Iran’s currency very hard, and if enough of the population (and a few minor mullahs) perceive this as the fault of the government, than things will begin to shake once again. I happen to agree with de Mesquita in that Iran doesn’t actually plan on building a nuclear arsenal, but that they want to make the international community to think they do. This gives them a bargaining chip and a tool to blackmail its Sunni neighbors. And then there’s Israel, but I don’t really have time for that at the moment.
As for Syria, Assad’s days in power may be over within the year, but his crackdown on the civilian population will become more brutal and more outlandish. In 2011 alone, over 5000 Syrian citizens have been killed by the regime.
Notice I said “civilian population”. There is a tendency among journalists to say “Assad has continued to enforce a crackdown against his own people”. If we in the democratic west want to even begin to show real support for these nascent movements, than we must start by changing our language to suit reality. It is abundantly clear that he does not possess the consent of those he governs; therefore they are not his people.
5. The world will not end
I don’t think I really need to say much else. As the absolutely laughable doomsday predictions of 2011 should show, things like this don’t really merit much attention. Oh well, if anyone needs help throwing a rapture party, let me know, I’ll bring the queso dip.