Sunday, January 1, 2012

Predictions for 2012

What the heck!  No one will check at the end of the year to see if I was right about any of my predictions.  So, what do I expect in 2012 for myself, for poli sci, for civil-military dynamics, for civil war and ethnic conflict, for tv and movies?  Hmmm, tall order.

Personal predictions:
  • I will blog less in 2012 than in 2011.  Preparing to and then actually moving is going to take a lot of time.  Plus I am already over-committed for the first several months of the new year.
  • I will whine a lot less about Quebec after the summer.  I will no longer subscribe to the Montreal Gazette, so the only Quebec-based news will be filtered through Ottawa and Canadian outlets.  Plus I will no longer be driving on roads that are similar to Vimy Ridge.
  • The Dave and Steve book on NATO and Afghanistan will be submitted by the spring (but probably not published until 2013).  As long as NATO does not start another intervention, this should be feasible.
  • I will travel less than the past couple of years.  Transition to Carleton, the end of research for the book, new projects that require less fieldwork all will mean less time on airplanes and in hotels.  It was a good run but I fell just short of the next status level of frequently flyer.  Oh, but one big exception--taking the family to Harry Potter land (Orlando) to compensate them for all of the cool trips they missed.
  • I will struggle in my teaching at Carleton initially since I have not taught a class smaller than 80 in a few years and will also need to figure out how to teach more policy-oriented stuff to MA students looking to move into the policy world.  Oh, and the pop culture and other razzle dazzle will not be as useful.
Political Science:
  • Lots more anxiety about the academic/policy divide; the future of the discipline; the academic job market.
  • No one will win any paradigm wars this year (that is for 2013).
  • Most of the folks making the most noise, getting the most circulation of their ideas, will have the weakest ideas and weakest evidence (the Robert Kaplan rule continues).
  • Blogging, twittering, use of facebook will continue to gain popularity for doing professional political science stuff.  Oh, and more folks will fall in love with google citation.
Civil-Military stuff:
  • Budget cuts across the advanced democracies will lead to more friction, even in public, between officers and civilians. 
  • However, these "crises" will pale in comparison to the fundamental civil-military dynamics in the Mideast.  The big questions will be whether enough of the Syrian military sticks with the government and continues to use force against the civilians; whether the Egyptian military realizes that it is time to go back into the barracks; and whether the Libyan military and police can develop a relative monopoly over the tools of violence.  Arab Spring really hinges on these questions, and my best non-area expert guess is: yes, no, enough.  That is, Syria and Egypt will not be happy stories this year, but Libya will eke out a relatively successful outcome.
  • The Republican debates will make it clearer that Obama has been a pretty good commander-in-chief, listening to but not submitting to the military.
Civil War and Ethnic Conflict:
  • While folks tend to see more conflict than there is, I am guessing that there will be more ethnic strife, again due to the continuing economic crises.  Austerity measures do not make social stress better.  We have already seen xenophobic parties do better in the advanced democracies (and just note the claims being made by the outbidders in the GOP).
    • I will continue to feel more squeamish about the "upsides" of xenophobia that I wrote about in Kin or Country.
  • Darfur and South Sudan will continue to see significant conflict with Sudan, whose government has about as much credibility as the Egyptian military.
  • No deal between Israel and Palestine.  The forces of intolerance are growing stronger, especially on the Israeli side.  The pendulum will eventually swing back, but only after something tragic happens, like a semi-civil war among the Israelis.
  • Other deals, such as Northern Ireland, will continue to be generally observed with some cheating.
Pop Culture stuff:
  • The Emmys will continue to do a far better job rewarding quality in drama (Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc) than in comedy (Parks and Rec, Community).
  • I will become increasingly annoyed by the fantasy-oriented stats at the bottom of the screen rather than scores when watching football.
  • Very few of the movies currently thought to be Oscar bait next fall (WWZ to name one) will actually be nominated.
  • Next fall, the new TV shows will mostly be horrible, but I will still find myself watching more stuff, especially if we can get in Ottawa a satellite dish/cable outlet that carries FX Canada.

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