Saturday, January 01, 2005
New Year Predictions (01.01.2005)

Just wondering around the various websites hoovering the predictions that appear halfway sensible, without the overwhelming indulgence or stupidity that prejudice stages.

Andrew Stuttaford at the National Review appears optimistic:

The elections in Iraq will go better than expected, but the situation there — at least in the Sunni Triangle — will continue to be grim: at best Belfast, at worst Beirut.

Nearby, Iran will admit to nuclear weapons capability and no one will know what to do, and to the North economic confidence and performance in Russia will slow — perhaps dramatically — as investors lose confidence in Putin.

The Times correctly pointed out that the key issue for Bush and the one that will define the first year of his presidency is Iraq and its elections:

Much depends on the elections scheduled for late January. The US may well face a series of unpalatable choices about whether to step up its presence in an effort to stabilise the country, or wash its hands of Iraq altogether as it stumbles towards a degree of unstable self-determination.

Unfortunately, most of the predictions were similar (house prices down, stocks up, China and India are new economic giants) and safe. It is clear that the complex landscape that has unfoldedover the course of the twentieth century continues to unfold with the uncontrollable proliferation of WMDs and the benign/malign effects of globalisation. As these situations cannot be controlled or contained, my prediction for 2005 is that we will continue to pay an increasingly expensive risk premium for living in security in the First World. Or in English: higher taxes for defence.


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