Monday, January 19, 2015
1. Obama will attempt to oppose some form of gun control by executive fiat. This is most likely to come via some sort of international treaty, or possibly through federal regulation. To get a hit on this one, new federal regulations restricting the sale of firearms (as defined by law, i.e. receivers and frames) or ammunition will have to be imposed, or Congress will have to act to stop it.
2. Obama will attempt to normalize relations with Iran. This will stop short of recognition, but he'll try to establish some sort of liaison with Tehran, something akin to what he's doing with Cuba. Congress might or might not scuttle this, I'd guess the former, but that's not part of my prediction.
3. The Republican leadership seems to have the idea that this is their chance to show they can govern reasonably. They'll fail. They will fail to pass important legislation on any "big" issues (e.g. health care) and most notably will not come close to producing a balanced budget. On the one issue on which they might be able to do something, immigration reform, they'll follow the Democrats' example of legislating against the will of the people and pass an amnesty bill. Oops, that's two predictions...
4. Congress will pass an immigration reform bill and Obama will sign it. It will be alleged that it does not put illegal aliens on a fast track to citizenship, but it will have the usual provisions for appropriate federal regulations to be written, and will be a de facto amnesty and citizenship bill.
5. Benyamin Netanyahu's Likud will win in the upcoming Israeli elections, returning Netanyahu to power.
6. Shortly thereafter, Israel will fight a war with Hezbollah and win. This will actually be an attack on Iran, and it will be supported by Sunni states, most notably Saudi Arabia. The entire shambles in the Middle East comes down to a fight between Sunni Arabs and Shia Persians and Arabs, with none of them much liking the Sunni Turks. If this mess is ever fixed it will first involve stopping the Iranian regime, and after that killing off the Sunni Islamic radicals. But that's longer term and not part of my prediction.
7. Russia will suffer a strong recession. The damage will greatly weaken Putin's popularity, and he'll resort to increased authoritarianism at home and aggression abroad in order to protect his position.
8. Ukraine will push back the Russian invasion. By the end of 2015 Russian forces will still be in Ukraine, but they'll hold less territory. Yes, predictions 7 and 8 together mean I think Putin is on the way out, but not this year, unfortunately.
9. China will go into recession. This is a perennial prediction of mine. Supposedly a stopped clock is occasionally right. One implication is that oil prices will be further depressed. Another is that demand for U.S. debt will fall. Janet, are you paying attention?
10. The discovery of extraterrestrial life, or evidence of it, will be announced. This one is usually my wild card. Why now? It think the substantial work being done with SETI and with the search for planets in other star systems is bound to pay off soon. I have no particular insight that says it's this year, but it must be close, so I guess sooner rather than later.
There it is... up before Obama's State of the Union address, when he'll no doubt confirm all I've said here!