Actually, ‘prophecies’ is really the wrong word. Even ‘predictions’ is a bit much. Let’s call these guesses, some educated, most not. And I’ll confess up front that I’m usually terrible at this sort of thing, so if any of these frighten or disgust you, take heart! But it’s fun, so here goes:
Mitt Romney will end up winning the Republican nomination for President rather easily. He will choose Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, as his running mate. He will also break with precedent and name John Huntsman and Rep. Paul Ryan as his choices for State and Treasury, respectively, prior to the election.
I suspect that Robert Reich may be correct in his prediction that Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden will flip spots this year, with Clinton joining the ticket with Obama as a way to reinvigorate the Democratic base. In any case, I don’t think it will be enough for the President to overcome a double-dip recession (see below) and retain the presidency. This just feels like 1992 to me. If the election were in 2013 or even 2011, I think Obama might have survived, but everything I’m reading suggests that 2012 could shape up to be an economic disaster equal to or greater than 2008. At best, things will be very sluggish, and so Obama loses 370 to 168 in the Electoral College.
Miscellany: The GOP will introduce a bill to amend the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the debt deal) to exempt the Pentagon from sequestration (which would mean that the burden of cuts would be borne by non-defense discretionary programs like the Veteran’s Department and the National Institutes of Health). The bill will pass the House easily but fail in the Senate. The GOP will use the issue as an example of Democratic ‘weakness’ on military preparedness. Also, the Occupy movement will resurface in a major way next summer in Tampa and Charlotte, respective sites of the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Protesters attempting to occupy public spaces near the convention sites will be met with a violent police response in both cities.
I’m predicting a double dip recession in 2012, fueled by a new financial crisis that could dwarf 2008. This time, the crisis will be brought on by European sovereign debt and a partial collapse of the derivatives market, which is (stupidly) $100 trillion larger than it was in 2008. As more European governments find it impossible to raise sufficient cash in the bond market and thereby cover their existing debt obligations, Germany will back away from providing any more float, effectively undercutting the European Central Bank’s (ECB) strategy of extend and pretend. This will trigger the collapse of one or two major European banks, which will in turn trigger margin calls on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of the derivative instruments known as credit default swaps. These margin calls will overwhelm both the ECB’s $640 billion bailout program and the US Federal Reserve’s new European lending window, creating a liquidity crisis that will reverberate pancake-style around the world, including Wall Street. The Eurozone will disintegrate. Global invester confidence will plunge and markets along with it. The Chinese, who are heavily invested in Europe, will suffer the most, both through the direct loss of their European assets, as well as through the contraction of one of their largest markets. In the United States, recently thawing investment will re-freeze, unemployment will drift back toward 10%, and the economy will experience several consecutive quarters of negative growth. Housing prices will tumble further and gold will rise above $2,000 an ounce.
I’m tempted to predict that Israel will finally pull the trigget and launch an attack on Iran, but the Israelis know that Americans rally to their president during periods of international crisis. And the one thing Benjamin Netanyahu wants above all is Barack Obama back on the block in Chi-Town. So, the Israelis will hold their fire and wait for President Romney, who has all but promised to do the deed himself.
At any rate, in 2012 the Iranians will be more concerned with influencing events to their east and west, moving closer to both Karzai in Afghanistan and Al-Maliki in Iraq. A spring offensive on Kandahar by the Taliban will put US forces on their heels again, as they discover that Pakistan was serious about its threat to limit US operations on the Afghan-Pakistani border after the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by US gunships in November. The Taliban will have new operational and logistical legroom, which will result in intense, sustained engagements and a rising US death toll. In Iraq, renewed anti-Shiite terrorism by Al-Qaeda will only pull that government further in the direction of Iran. Al-Maliki’s governing coalition is entirely dependent on the support of Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, who has been studying in Iran for the past few years. Al-Sadr will make a heroic return to Iraq next year, bringing with him assurances of Iranian support and friendship.
On the upside, I will predict something of a thaw on the Korean peninsula, as the leadership situation in the PDRK clarifies.
I predict that by this time next year we will have a new Holy Father, and it will be Odilo Cardinal Scherer, Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He will take the name Gregory XVII.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
A weak eligible class will provide the Hall with the chance to correct some lingering injustices in their past choices. As a result, in 2012 the Hall will announce that Warren Zevon, the B-52’s and Todd Rundgren will finally be inducted, along with first ballot candidate Nirvana.
NFL: Green Bay Packers. NBA: Miami Heat. Baseball: Los Angeles Angels. Hockey: Boston Bruins. In boxing, the long-awaited Mayweather-Pacquiao fight will finally happen next autumn. Mayweather by decision in the fight of the year.
This blog will feature more female voices and perspectives, both as contributors and commenters.
Happy New Year everyone!