Friday, January 1, 2016

Spewful Semi-Predictions for 2016

Facebook reminded me that I used to make predictions on January 1st.  And then Defence One produced their own.  So, to procrastinate a bit on the project of the day, I thought I would try again to make some predictions about the forthcoming year.

The personal ones are the easiest:
  • I will be endlessly promoting Adapting in the Dust, including linking to the sound track and talking about the book tour.  
  • I will whine more about American politics and less about Canadian politics now that the Canadian election is behind us and the American one, alas, is just going to get uglier.
  • My effort to commit to fewer things during my upcoming sabbatical will probably fail but not dramatically as it will be hard to say no to whatever interesting opportunities arise.  Indeed, perhaps the podcast plans will go ahead....
  • I will probably be doing less media stuff as I will be traveling much and the end of the election campaign means less discussion of international stuff except for various episodes along the way.
Pop Culture:
  • Lots of whining of too many superhero movies, too much TV and all the rest, but we will have a great year of film and tv anyway.
  • Rogue 1 will make somewhat less money but be a better film than Force Awakens, even though I enjoyed SW: FA a lot.  
  • Cap will win the Civil War against Iron Man but at great cost.  
  • DC?  Its TV shows will rock, and its movies will not.

Political Science:
  • The more things change, the less things change.  Heaps of anxiety about the job market, policy relevance.  The open access to data stuff will not be resolved, but perhaps will not lead to yet another war between quants and quals.  Please no.
  • The big names will lament that they are not as powerful as they wish they were, and the rest of us will be annoyed because they are powerful and use their power often unwisely.
  • As always, the worst ideas will get the most play (the Robert Kaplan rule...).  
  • Less people will wonder why folks do online media stuff.  The problem will be sorting through all of the traffic.  
NATO and European Security:
  •  I don't expect war between Russia and NATO to break out this year.  While Putin is tempted to try to break NATO, US and allies have done enough in Baltics to make aggression there riskier.  There will be other ways that Putin messes with US/NATO/Europe, and the alliance will have a hard time reacting.  
  • I don't expect much out of the Warsaw Summit as NATO is too divided.  I don't expect Europe to fold on sanctions against Russia.  I had previously expected such an outcome, but European leaders seem to be holding the line pretty well.  I have not been there since spring, so I cannot say whether pressures have increased to reduce sanctions.  Putin will use the gas pipelines as leverage, but Merkl seems ready to stand tough on the current sanctions (but also reluctant to do much more).
Asian Security
  •  I don't know much about Asia, but will have to learn some since I will be going to Japan twice in 2016 and maybe to South Korea as well (that trip might happen in 2017). 
  • I expect China not to back down on the various crises brewing over territories--East China Sea with Japan, South China Sea with ... pretty much everyone else.  I am pretty status quo oriented so I don't expect things to blow up.  But minor military disputes?  Sure, ships firing near other trips, planes chasing planes, etc.  The problem here is way too many actors, which makes crisis management far harder.  In Europe, most of the relevant actors are in one organization or are working with that one organization (NATO).  In Asia, nope.
 Civil-Military Relations and Ethnic Conflict
  • People will often call something a crisis in civil-military relations when it is not really a crisis but perhaps the usual sort of tensions.
  • But there will be some more coups in the world.  I'd ask Jay Ulfelder for his predictions, but his blogging is at an end.  Tis our loss.
  • The Republican candidates will continue to say stupid stuff both about civil-military relations (I will always do what the Generals/Admirals tell me) and ethnic conflict (oy, don't get me started).
The US Election:
Here's the set of predictions that easiest to get so very visibly wrong.  HRC in the Dem primary is not a risky prediction.  In the Republican campaign, I would have bet on Rubio a couple of months ago, but not so much anymore.  It looks like Cruz will take the nomination, with Trump petulantly sticking around.  Will Trump run as an independent candidate in the fall?  He probably has not slaked his addiction to media attention, so I'd guess that he will stick around.  Whether he runs or not, HRC takes the election, even in a time of heightened fear about terrorism.  Why?  Because the GOP primary campaign is not causing any swing voters to think that Cruz or Trump would make the US more secure.  HRC will do well among minorities since the taint of Trump will remain (plus Cruz has been almost as xenophobic).  My daughter reminds me that HRC's efforts to be cool to young folks does not work--that she should stick to her policies, which they prefer.  Well, in the fall, Cruz vs Clinton will give the young (who may or may not turn out) a real choice.  Finally, the electoral map gives me some confidence.  So, I predict Clinton to win despite herself.

The funny thing is that 2016, aside from worsening climate change, will be a better year for most on most measures.  But the campaign will make us all feel worse.  Sorry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cruz is in a much better spot to win the nomination than at the start of the campaign, but you still shouldn't bet the house on it - it takes a special kind of personality to piss off that many GOP colleagues in Congress, and he's the Goldwater to Trump's Wallace.

Far more likely that Trump wreaks havoc until the convention, forcing a last-minute 'cordon sanitaire' and running a wingnut VP pick with an establishment figure on the ticket (a la 2008); Trump screams that the party has "betrayed" him and goes independent. The end result will be the same, nevertheless.