2007 prediction review Posted by: McQ
on Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Well, it's that time again. As we did in 2006, it's time to review those predictions we received last year about this time and see who did the best with their predictive powers. Here's what you everyone was asked to address last year:
Iraq - Direction?
Iran - Become nuke power? Will sanctions be enforced and if so to what effect?
North Korea - Will they try to sell nukes? Outcome of 6 party talks?
Afghanistan - Heading toward collapse or will it survive the threat of a resurgent Taliban?
China - Continue to grow economically or run into growth problems?
Russia - Continue its drift toward totalitariansim? Why?
Europe - Take steps to curb muslim immigration and influence? What?
Middle East - Any radical changes foreseen? Alliances?
Islam - Changes? Moderation? Increased radicalization?
UN- UN able to enforce sanctions on Iran? Will it remain ineffective or will new Sec Gen be able to change that? Darfur? Somolia?
Environment - Any movement in the international environmental movement? In what direction?
Economy - see the world economy growing, shrinking, stagnating? Why?
Immigration - Any answers this year? Bush team up with Dems? Fence?
Health Care - Any movement toward a more consumer oriented system or a single-payer government system?
Social Security - Continue to ignore it or actually confront its problems?
Environment - Any progress on environmental agenda?
Congress - Predictions about the Democratic control of congress? Budget and Spending - More? Less? About the same? Laws, investigations and various other possibilities? Real ethics reform in Congress or lip service.
Supreme Court - Any new nominees? How many and who? Chances of getting out of committee?
'08 Presidential contenders - See anyone begin to emerge from the pack? Who?
Economy - Growth, recession? Which sectors are going to be strong? Housing going to collapse?
Culture in general - what's the next big cultural trend?
Miscellaneous - anything at all you feel requires a good prediction, like MK ever recovering from the worst case of BDS ever recorded?
So, how did we do? Well I've laid it all out below the fold.
First, Foreign Affairs.
On Iraq, everyone was pretty pessimistic and no one really predicted any success. In fact, most predicted the surge would fail:
Iraq - after the misnamed "surge" operation fails to quell the violence, Iraq will continue its downward spiral into chaos, drawing more and more attention from its neighbors. Some heretofore unknown scandal involving the Iraq war will be uncovered by Congressional investigations, causing support for it to collapse to the point that forces GWB to begin to withdraw U.S. troops, but he will refuse to get them all out otherwise we will have "lost" (~80,000 troops will remain at year end).
Now that the Democrats have their way and have power to enforce their misbegotten policies, this has no place to go but down, assuming it moves at all. I actually think that it will end up being pretty much a stalemate over the next two years. What improvements happen will be relatively offset by the Arabs in the region mistrusting America and whether not it’s left wing is going to take over completely the government and the policy that affects their lives so greatly. If we hadn’t tried to placate them in the first place this would even be an issue...
Shiites will emerge, consolidate power, and Sunni Arabs will retreat from Baghdad ending the experiment in democracy.
Bush will increase troops, and it will not work. Large portions of the Republican party will support pullout by the end of the year. Congress will not cut off funding, preferring to allow the albatross to hang around Bush’s neck.
Assuming that Bush pursues a 10,000+ troop "surge", US casualties will exceed 3800 by the end of 2007, as a consequence of more troops being on corners and harder-to-secure locations in Baghdad and other cities. Iraqis who have fled to other Middle Eastern countries (such as Jordan and Syria) will begin facing unofficial but intentional pressure to return to Iraq, for fear of them beginning to cause political instability.
The situation will muddle along in 2007. The surge will not work, but neither will Iraq fall into complete civil war. A new political coalition will take over in Iraq, but will only help the situation slightly.
US will not withdraw even though the death toll will reach 5000. Bush & Co. decide to leave the mess for the next administration.
We were obviously a pessimistic bunch, with no one predicting an improvement in Iraq. It's hard to point to any of these predictions and call one the 'closest' of the bunch.
Predictions concerning Iran ran the gamut.
[W]ill not become a nuclear power and sanctions will be inconsistently enforced until their collapse. They will intervene more brazenly in Iraq as our presence declines.
Having too many irons in the fire, Iran will suffer an embarrassing debacle in foreign affairs due to overreach.
Unquestionably Iran will become a nuclear power.
Israel will bomb Iranian nuclear facilities (0 for 1 on this one so will try again).
Iran will buy nuke from North Korea.
Iran won’t become a nuke power, but it will continue to go down that path. Sanctions will be piecemeal and irrelevant.
Iran will not be able to develop a nuclear weapon within one year. Uranium enrichment will continue. Ahmadinejad’s popularity will continue to decline within the country, assuming that no US air strikes occur in critical parts of Iran.
Sanctions will not be seriously enforced, but Iran’s economy will still be weak. Iran will not become a nuclear power in 2007.
Iran & Syria will just sit by and watch, waiting for the US to really shoot itself in the foot.
Sean, Badger and Harun were pretty darn close with their predictions about Iran.
Afghanistan: stays basically the same. The Taliban capture a town or two and hold it for a day or two and withdraw after extreme losses. The MSM screeches that Afghanistan is collapsing, but somehow it doesn’t.
Afghanistan will survive, but whether not they thrive depends on early on what happens in Iran. How much money, and muscle Iran can bring to keeping the Islamo fascist movement going in Afghanistan, remains to be seen. Without any major change in the power structure and Iran, Afghanistan will survive but won’t make much progress.
Afghanistan - Will be stronger at the end of the year against radical muslim forces.
Forces within Pakistan’s government will resume their support for Taliban insurgents.
Survives. Increases as a storyline if US begins to pull out of Iraq by year’s end.
Opium exports will be higher than in 2006. Taliban will begin to purchase higher-level weaponry (RPGs and IEDs with shaped charges) in higher quantities. Warlords in non-southern religions will either begin to increase collaboration with Taliban elements or begin committing increasingly alarming human rights violations in order to reduce their presence. Fewer NATO troops will be present in December 2007 than December 2006. McQ will disagree with the Warlords prediction, altough there won’t be any solid evidence proving or disproving.
Afghanistan will take a turn for the worse after western governments pressure the Afghan government to spray the poppy fields.
In the case of Afghanistan I'd have to say that Harun gets partial credit, as does Bithead and Badger, but Foobarista had the best prediction concerning the status there.
So how about China?
Even as they’ve been growing they’ve been running into growth problems. The two rather go hand in hand, particularly for a centrally dictated economy. What’s keeping them going at the moment and historically over the last twenty years are so is the huge influx of western cash. The question is whether not they would survive that cash being cut off either by a policy change, or by recession here in the west, or both.
Chinese economy will stall due to problems it gets into with North Korea stability.
[E]conomic progress ends because of disruption in oil supplies in the Middle East.
Continues to grow.
Will begin "greenwashing" campaign in preparation for resisting calls for climate change action.
China will continue to grow strongly, but the renminbi will slowly appreciate against the US dollar, helping our exports slightly but not slowing their exports too much.
China, Japan, Iran, Venzuela, and others will start to shift their US dollar reserves into Euros and Gold. Dollar will continue to weaken.
Nobody is talking about the real estate bubble in China but it is much larger than anything in America and is truly built on government printed money. China has been building commercial real estate that nobody can use for many years now propped up by an insolvent financial system. A lot of China’s economy is a house of cards and if many around the world get their wish with the Yuan rising dramatically against the dollar, the house of cards comes down. The question is whether the Chinese can shore up their financial institutions before this happens. I’m not predicting this in 2007 necessarily, but when it happens it will go swiftly and a lot of money will magically disappear almost overnight. Good for the worldwide liquidity glut, but bad for the world economy.
China will send warships into the Caribbean to "look after" its oil drilling interests.
China Law Blog:
China will continue to grow in 2007 AND it will continue experiencing tremendous problems arising from that growth and from the lack of rural growth.
Mixed bag here. Some partial credit to Bithead and China Law Blog. No one foresaw the product problems (toys) or the contaminated food as something which would slow trade. Most are still waiting for some sort of collapse. Sean, however, was correct when he simply noted the Chinese economy would continue to grow.
Russia and Europe.
One former Soviet Republic will see a change in government due in large part to their dependence on Russian energy supplies coupled with Russian actions to exploit that dependency.
Bithead - Russia (check the questions asked in the body of the post):
Yes. As to why I would think that to be blatantly obvious; its centralized government is being threatened by freedom more so, even, than the Chinese at the moment. Totalitarianism is a knee jerk reaction for such governments.
And on Europe:
They will try, but I fear it to be too late for them. I said so a year ago during the riots in France. I see nothing to change that perception.
Russia - Political unrest due to poor economy and harsh winter.
Europe - Major terrorist attack(s) will cause curbs in Islamic immigration and the way Europeans deal with islamic terrorism. Chirac will fade into obscurity and off the world stage.
Russia: will aid Iran to keep us busy and take another stab at the Ukraine.
Europe: only cosmetic changes to immigration.
Russia - Continue its drift toward totalitariansim? Why? Yes. Because Putin is a thug, and because democratic institutions never really took root.
Europe - Take steps to curb muslim immigration and influence? What? No.
Russia: Will not become more democratic, but there are few further transgressions against democratic institutions that Putin really needs to take in order to consolidate power. Putin searching for a way to remain in office for another term will be a major issue, but I don’t know how it will be resolved.
Europe: No steps to curb Muslim immigration.
Russia will continue its drift to an authoritarian model, but not fully totalitarian. Think Mexico during the PRI years. But with more political killings.
Europe will not take any direct steps to curb muslim immigration, but sentiment will move strongly against allowing Turkey to join the EU. Kosovo will remain a protectorate in 2007. Sarkozy becomes President of France.
I think Harun gets the gold star for predictions on this one. Almost dead-on. The rest all get partial credit.
The last two questions I asked in the Foreign Affairs arena were about the Middle East - Any radical changes foreseen? Alliances? And Islam - Changes? Moderation? Increased radicalization?
On the Middle East and the War Muslim Radicals- Turkey and Saudi Arabia are going to be heard more from this coming year. Turkey probably not in a good way. Africa will continue to be ramped up in the war but they will use Turkey to peck away at us from a new direction.
Bithead (Middle East):
This one’s difficult; Iran, certainly has the possibility of coming to grips with itself and an almost livable government. I suppose that a transition from what they have now to almost livable is an improvement. That having been said, there’s still Syria to deal with. The real issue though, is not whose running each country, but the cultural dynamics involved. Those trends send alliances , and for that matter just about any other governmental influence.
In the religion itself? I don’t think so. In the how the religion is perceived by its adherents? Well, that, perhaps is another matter. My read is that it’s about an even split between those who will become more moderate, and those who will become more radical. And unless the ones that are more radical will become more desperate and more violent, while the ones who were becoming more moderate will be less so. Guess who’s going to win that battle?
Middle East - Israel will bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. President of Iran assassinated. Syrian president will be replaced as well.
Islam - After major terrorist attacks more peaceful muslims will start to reject the more radical leaders.
Islam: fundamentalism continues to sweep Muslim countries as moderates are intimidated into silence.
Middle East: aside from the above, Mubarak doesn’t survive the year.
Middle East - Any radical changes foreseen? Alliances? No. Perhaps a more explicit alignment of Sunni countries against Shiite countries.
Islam - Changes? Moderation? Increased radicalization? None, though there will be an argument to be made that increased radicalization has taken place.
Middle East: Middle Eastern opinion of America will decline even further as shown by polling.
Turkey will invade northern Iraq in hot pursuit of PKK guerillas.
Again, Harun seems to be the closest for the "Middle East" with his Turkey prediction. As for Islam, I don't see any predictions which get a full nod and only a few which get a partial one.
Under the heading of international politics, the following questions were asked:
* UN- UN able to enforce sanctions on Iran? Will it remain ineffective or will new Sec Gen be able to change that? Darfur? Somolia?
* Environment - Any movement in the international environmental movement? In what direction?
* Economy - see the world economy growing, shrinking, stagnating? Why?
On global warming: a scandal will erupt regarding doctored research in a major study claiming to demonstrate AGW effects. This will most likely happen in the UK, where a generation of politicians and bureaucrats in all major UK parties have hitched their careers to greenism. Kyoto continues to be ignored and its disassembly proceeds. Al Gore keeps proclaiming global gloom and doom in the midst of record cold snaps.
[UN] A change at the head isn’t going to change a damn thing. There is too much in the way of incompetence spread through the organization, to say nothing of corruption, for it to be useful. I call it about a 50/50 shot that they will be able to enforce sanctions on Iran, but it’s a sure bet that either way it’s not going to bring that errant dog to heel. They will be equally effective elsewhere in the world.
[Environment] Since the concept of global warming is every bit as much a religion as Islam is, look at my answer above about Islam and make the translation. The religion won’t change, how that religion is perceived by its adherents is another matter, and it will be about an even split between those who will become more moderate and those who will become more radical the ones were more radical will probably end up become more violent than they have been, and start burning live things down as opposed to simply burning down buildings and SUV’s.
[Economy] Shrinking. As to why... the increased reliance on socialist policy.
UN- the new secratary general will establish himself as someone that wont deal with rogue states like Kofi Annan did. Look for more aggressive measures to enforce UN resolutions.
Environment - Al Gore and the environmental movement will still be hailed in the press but still make numerous Major but wrong predictions.
Economy - The US economy will slow down and with it most of the rest of the world. This will hit China hard. Uncertainty in the Middle east and terrorist attacks in Europe will spike oil. NK situation will deteriorate which will cause more problems for China.
UN- UN able to enforce sanctions on Iran? Will it remain ineffective or will new Sec Gen be able to change that? Darfur? Somolia?See above. Ineffective.
Environment - Any movement in the international environmental movement? In what direction? The movement continues to shift its focus to using lawsuits and NGOs to force policy shifts on global warming.
Economy - see the world economy growing, shrinking, stagnating? Why?America keeps the world economy afloat, though growth is largely stagnant.
[Environment] Growing pressure for some sort of climate change program in the USA, but Europeans will also begin to call strongly for China and India to cut emissions as well.
[Economy]Asia will grow strongly. Europe will grow moderately. US growth will slow, and possibly have a slight recession.
Global warming hysteria will grow but the 2007 hurricane season will be similar to this one.
I think most were on track with the UN (of course it's hard not to be right when you predict inaction on that institution's part). Retired Military had the best environmental prediction and everyone seemed somewhat pessimistic at the end of last year about the international economy.
Now to the fun stuff. Domestic issues. Beginning with immigration, I asked:
Immigration - Any answers this year? Bush team up with Dems? Fence?
Stories in the MSM about ’racist’, ’violent’, ’unlawful’, ’anti-immigrant’ groups will increase greatly as the ground is prepared for New and Improved! Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
There is an unquestionable historical pattern, here. The last thing the Democrats want to do is actually solve a problem. To do so is to allow the horse to eat the string carrot... at which point, the horse stops moving. Or in the case of Democrat rank and file, the Democrat voters stop supporting Democrats. They know they can maintain power longer, if they simply mollify the right noises at the proper times, and be completely ineffective in solving the problems they claim to care about so deeply.
Fence will not go up. Bush and the dems will pass sweeping immigration reforms giving away the baby and the bath water to the open borders crowd. At least 3 million more mexicans will cross the border this year. ICE will continue the "show" catch and release raids.
One of the few good things to come out of this year’s Congress is a deal that liberalizes immigration in return for some window-dressing on border security. The ladder sector of the Northern Mexican economy explodes.
Bush finds an issue he can work with the Dems on- and will do so. The phrase "path to citizenship" will get a lot of ink in 2007 while the words "fence" and "enforcement" drop off the MSM map.
Amnesty, yes. No serious fence. The term “undocumented worker” used more and more by the MSM.
FRNM gets the gold star on this one with Shark, Retired Military and Harun getting partial credit.
Next, health care: "Health Care - Any movement toward a more consumer oriented system or a single-payer government system?"
Oh, the democrats will be making significantly more noise about it now that they have the bully pulpit. But that’ll be about the size of it.
Hillary will stay away from this issue like the plague and no reporter will ask her. McCain will push for more govt controlled health care.
Stalemate, as Dems push for universal insurance, while Republicans counter with a Massachusetts-style system.
Democrats will make noises, but keep this for the 2008 elections.
Americans begin to hear Democrats explain how much national health insurance we could have afforded in lieu of the $2 billion/month sunk in Iraq.
I think Sean and Acetracy nail this one pretty well. Both predictions while different are exactly what we're hearing and seeing at the moment.
On to Social Security - "Social Security - Continue to ignore it or actually confront its problems?"
Social Security - will remain untouched, although Medicare will get some attention.
SS/Medicare: this can gets kicked down the road for another year, as does any significant efforts at tax reform and pork elimination.
In this case, the fact remains, that the only way the democrats can see to solve the problem is to spend more money on it, which is certainly going to lose them votes. Meantime, the republicans are going to be playing the part of the little Dutch boy plugging the holes in the dike.. as I pointed up Jeff Sessions as doing. This isn’t going anywhere.
No movement on the 600 lb gorilla. No legislation and congress will do zip. Plan on McCain, Gore and others trying to break away from the pack to mention it but absolutely no details other than maybe Gore’s lockbox. Count on the crisis to get much worse once Immigration reform kicks in and about 1 million new folks go on the rolls of Social security recipients. Dems will work to raise taxes to cover the short fall.
Depends what you mean. Bush tries to link a payroll tax increase to private accounts. It goes nowhere.
No reform legislation will be seriously debated in Congress. Bush will not advance it as a major domestic issue.
Democrats will make noises, but keep this for the 2008 elections. Their plan will be remarkably close to Bush’s plan, but include a watchdog agency to monitor wall street “abuse” of individual accounts.
Expect Social Security to "miraculously" saved by a tax increase.
I think Foobarista and Badger get the no here where various others getting partial credit.
Now the "environment" - " Environment - Any progress on an environmental agenda?"
Since this global warming thing as a total farce, one would hope not. But you know as well as I do that they are going to lay additional regulations on already beleaguered American automobile manufacturers. After all, it’s "for the children".
Dems will pass antibusiness laws in the name of the enviroment which will hurt the economy. Watch for Gore to call for passing the Kyoto accords.
Bithead nailed the CAFE standards and Congress has mandated a lot of change in the "Energy Bill" which could hurt the economy as Retired Military predicted.
Speaking of Congress: "Congress - Predictions about the Democratic control of congress? Budget and Spending - More? Less? About the same? Laws, investigations and various other possibilities? Real ethics reform in Congress or lip service?"
One major democratic figure will succumb to friendly fire in the Democrats’ ethics investigations, before their political survival instincts regain control and the ethics reform efforts are sent to various committees to die, away from the public eye.
Are you kidding? These are Democrats, after all. Budget and spending cuts? Forget about it, unless you’re talking about the military. Let’s remember the only thing they cut under the Clinton administration was in fact, the military. Carter, too. Yes, they will try to investigate and possibly impeach Mr. Bush. As for real ethics reform, come and ask me that question after they remove John Murtha from office. (And, just as a toss in, no I don’t think the democrats are going to try to remove John Murtha from office. Nor will they, without some serious help from republicans. But I don’t see that happening, either. The obvious answer is, there are any simply paying lip service to ethics. And I don’t expect that to change.
More spending than ever before. Some cuts in the military and more give me programs. Dems will justify it by saying the "children" have been neglected for the past 6 years in favor of big business and big oil.
Denizens of the lefty blogosphere who don’t remember politics pre-Bush are in for a rude awakening as the Dems struggle to keep their coalition together, even on seemingly simple issues. Spending increases. Investigations are a disappointment for the base. Ethics reform is better than expected.
Democrats will take steps to decrease the budget deficit and will produce tangible results. (I’m a little vague because I can’t remember exactly how the budget works and if one is even supposed to be introduced within the next year).
No formal impeachment, but lots and lots of adversarial "hearings" and investigations.
Democrats will resist going bananas until the end of 2007 when they will begin their “show trials.”
Democrats will propose tax changes that Bush will veto: 70% income tax on excessive incomes (over $10 million); National Intangibles Tax for all tax entities with net worth over $5.0 million; Eliminate the cap on Social Security taxes (now at $92K); Reduce the Social Security taxes by 5% on all incomes under $50,000; Propose a flat tax on Corporations eliminating the complicated corporate tax code, preferred treatment to certain industries, and save corporate America $billions in tax reporting costs.
Politics: "gridlock" will not produce the results that many in the libertarian and conservative world had hoped for or predicted. Bush will not use his veto pen very often but instead will make deals with the Democrats. All of those deals will boil down to trading tax increases for something Bush wants. The mainstream media will "shocked" at how well the Democrats and the Bush administration are getting along and compromising with each other. Presidential legacies are built one of 2 ways: winning wars or adding new and expansive government programs, which means taxes. Expect Social Security to "miraculously" saved by a tax increase.
Heh ... there are some complete "whiffs" in this one. Actually Sean and Shark come the closest to reality with their predictions.
On to the Supreme Court: "Supreme Court - Any new nominees? How many and who? Chances of getting out of committee?"
New nominees, depends on who decides to kick in the next two years. As to getting out of committee, see also: snowball, hell. Unless of course, Lincoln Chafee or someone of the like decides he likes robes.
One new supreme court justice. I predict Janice Rogers Brown. The dems will howl like no tomorrow. The MSM will talk about the will of the people but she will be approved because noone wants to vote against the first African AMerican female supreme court justice especially after the last 2 picks were white men.
Justice Souter retires. The seat stays open for at least a year as multiple nominees are shot down. A series of 4-4 non-decisions in the interim gives the Republicans increasing ammo, as the conservatives and independents are given a stark display of choice between unpopular decisions supported by the Left and popular ones by the Right. Sensing this, Dems eventually let a Souter-like stealth candidate get through.
No resignations. Predicting whether or not someone will die is inappropriate. If a death does occur and someone similar to Roberts or Alito is nominated, they will be blocked in the Judiciary committee by party line vote.
Badger takes this one and Bithead gets a nod as well.
Now for the real fun one: "'08 Presidential contenders - See anyone begin to emerge from the pack? Who?"
Bush’s refusal to completely withdraw from Iraq will doom GOP candidates to consistently poll behind their Democratic counterparts for the last six months of the year, causing widespread panic in the party’s power centers, but nothing get’s through to change Bush’s mind.
Obama’s flash in the pan burns out, and the Hillarybeast cements herself as the undisputed frontrunner long before the Iowa caucuses. On the R’s side, Giuliani and McCain become the two to beat, with Romney a distant third. Romney looks more and more like a VP candidate...
The only guarantee I can make you here, is that the current frontrunners, will not be by this time next year.
McCain will get baptized by the press (if he actually gets the nomination in 08 and then ripped apart) but will be behind the suprise front runner - Condi. Edwards, Gore, and Kerry, wont last out the year. Kerry will be the first to bow out.
The Obamas will hog the spotlight like Howard Dean, to disrupt the primary process until the 1st primary.
By the end of the year it is Giuliani-McCain, with Romney and Huckabee as second-tier candidates for Republicans and Obama-Edwards with Clinton and Vilsack as the second-tier candidates.
Obama will announce his candidacy and will be considered the frontrunner in Iowa and New Hampshire by December 2007. He will be roughly tied in the polls with HRC in Nevada.
Get ready for the meme (already used here by our friend MK): if you don’t support Obama, you’re a racist! This will be text, subtext and footnote to all MSM stories about Obama once the race gets underway.
Obama will gain strength and will win the Democratic primary over Hillary Clinton.
Cheney will have a heart attack, resign and Bush will appoint Romney as VP to enhance his running for the Republican nomination.
By the end of 2007 it will be perfectly clear that there will be no viable presidential candidate that any self-respecting libertarian would ever vote for.
Looks like Obama was on a lot of minds at the end of last year, but I have to give the gold star in this category to Badger in terms of predictions. But DS gets honorable mention for stating what is turning out to be a truth as well.
Click over to read some of the rest of the predictions which really didn't fit under any of the questions asked. They're, uh, interesting.
I'll close with predictions about blogging: "Consolidation? Commercialization? Improvements?"
Blogger will be folded up into some other org, possibly connected with YOU Tube.
Dems will try to pass laws to halt influence of blogs vs their partners in Crime the MSM.
More of the same from last year. Increasing numbers of bloggers are subsumed into Time/Newsweek/USNews (see Sullivan/RCP) or as party apparatus (see Kos).
There will be a larger MSM scandal like Rathergate or the current AP Hussein kerfuffle.
Of course we had TNR's Beauchamp fabulism plus a bunch of photoshopped pics, etc. And I think Sean is on track with his "subsuming" prediction.
Anyway, a lot of fun and as you can see, it's not easy predicting the future. I'm going to be doing this again for 2008 but I think this year I'll wait until we're all back at work first since we seem to have many more readers and commenters during business hours than on holidays.
If you want to see the full predictions from each person submitting them, you can go here