The New Year is traditionally a time for prognostication and crystal ball gazing, and The Oligarch Kings will be no stranger to this. Here, in no particular order, are my best guesses for the year that is about to come. Enjoy. I think..
Politically the world will be paralysed because so many important countries are having elections at the same time. China, Russia, France and America all go to the polls in 2012 meaning that four out of the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations are unsure of their way forward, becoming inward looking at this most decisive of years. Not good.
America will be paralysed because she is going to the Polls and nothing will be done unless it absolutely must. Despite the soaring rhetoric, expect no initiatives from Obama. The election itself is a mess. The GOP, presented with an open goal by a President seemingly frozen into inaction, have mustered the most lack-luster parade of muppets, grotesques and losers in a generation. Not one speaks for America. None of them has a hope of beating Mitt Romney, and Romney hasn’t a hope against Obama. Not that the electorate seem to care, they just hate everyone.
Europe will be as paralysed in 2012 as she was in 2011. France is off to the elections in 2012 and everyone will just tread water to see what happens. Expect Sarkosy to lose if it goes to a second round and watch for Maria Le Pen, the Pepe le pue of French politics, to gain ground and acceptability. The Eurozone will labour on for at least the first half of the year and if it doesn’t disintegrate by the summer might be expected to make it to the year end, but not in good shape. Here, as in America recession will come again. In Russia, expect Putin to survive as head boy within an increasingly stressed and fractious Russia. Britain will stumble on downhill, abandoned by its gripless elite, who can only pray they can distract the rabble with a Jubilee and Games.
The Middle East will continue to fall apart. Last year’s “Arab Spring” will prove only to have unearthed monsters of fascism and sectarianism to consume Egypt and Libya. Assad will not survive the Syrian revolts, and in his destruction Iran will become more isolated and volatile whilst Israel, unchecked by the US, may become over emboldened. If not actual war, then expect alarms and excursions at the Straits of Hormuz. Iraq, freed by America to be a beacon of democracy, will be racked by corruption, sectarianism, greed and disorganisation. A legacy of ashes. The actions of Turkey reduce their chances of entry to the EU.
Financially America is ham-strung. She cannot take the deficit reduction action (cuts in Defence or Welfare) or revenue enhancing measures (taxing the rich) that she must before the election because of vested interests, and Obama seems to lack the courage to act as a Statesman in the country’s interests, even though those were against his own and his party’s political interests. He risks permanently damaging America’s position in the World. In Europe the need for political and financial union to be strengthened in order to save the Eurozone is clear to any child, but for similar reasons to America politicians they are too afraid of the reaction of their electorate to act.
Socially, in the West, the public become increasingly restive. There will be more protest, strikes, riot and demonstration. The Middle Classes are not the pleasant, fey polite church going bunch we imagine them to be, and they are finally getting really angry about their jobs, pensions, earning and futures being sacrificed to an unelected bunch of Bankers and Political self interest groups. In the failure of the Liberals, and the forcible impoverishment of the middle classes to pay for these failures of the political and financial elites, the far right wing will again become an attractive choice, which it has not been in seventy years. Depression, the bitch that bore the Nazis, will bear wolves again. There will be stench of real revolution in the air come the second half of the year.
But then again Andy Murray might win Wimbledon.
Copyright David Macadam 2011