Last year was fun. What’s in for us in 2018?. Did we reach Peak Arse-hole in 2017? Probably not yet.
The first half of the twentieth century saw two world wars, numerous revolutions and deaths by the millions. The seventy years beyond saw difficulties aplenty, but the big three democracies, The USA, Britain and Germany all maintained the peace by working together. In 2018 they are each looking self-absorbed, distracted and weak. Their allies are disorganised, riven with internal problems, and unable to push them back on track.
There is danger in 2018.
Let’s break it down to sectors.
Much was made last year that the popular right had failed to upset the political applecart. Europe remained united and strong her historic mission unchanged. This assessment was totally wrong. The right made great inroads last year, upset a great deal, and will continue to set the political agenda in Europe this year.
Italy goes to an election in March. We may expect 5 Star the Eurosceptic, right wing popularists to do well and place further pressure on Brussels.
Spain is straining under the tensions of Catalonia. Again, foolish stupid political elites both in Madrid and Brussels combine to made worse out of bad.
France is failing to live up to the hopes of the Macron election. Macron is unable to bring in his business reforms, and has the open hostility of the unions firing up strikes every other week. Macron has also had to give in to the policies of the far right in tightening up immigration controls and actually deporting asylum failures. He desperately needs to cling to Merkel to give himself some gravitas and Merkel…..just needs someone. Sadly, the hoped-for Merkel and Macron show is well past its sell by date.
You see Germany is in a mess. A truly terrible, terrible mess brought about by first, Merkel’s Immigration policies and secondly, by her pig-headed refusal to take the hint from last year’s election and go on a cruise. No conclusion since the general elections last September and frankly none is likely until Easter. Expect this to go to an election (again) round about Easter and a bloodbath thereafter. Expect that the AfD (Adolf for Germany) party will continue to increase their standing in Germany.
Austria, Hungary, Poland and Czech all show varying levels of buyer’s remorse over relations with Brussels striking out with their own policies regarding Immigration and political Islam. Hungary has her elections in April or May and we may expect President Orban to continue taking Hungary to the right at a hands gallop.
The British will spend the year sitting back watching with delicious horror as the Conservative party, first has an internal cabinet purge, then an internal Parliamentary fight in the full glare of the press, followed by a resignation of May, a new contest for leader and finally another totally unnecessary election. Despite these wide-open goals, Corbyn and the Labour party will make a complete Tuesday of it by not having made up their own mind on Europe, and appearing even more sloppy and amateurish than the Tory’s. The election will result in another hung parliament and the whole sorry charade will limp on into 2019 whilst the Labour Party also indulges in another internal bun-fight. Leaderless and rudderless the great ship of state floats by.
Oh, now if you thought that Irish border stuff had been sorted out last year….think again, and as for a EU/UK Trade deal in place by the autumn …not a chance. (Either of which will be the cause of Theresa May getting the old heave-ho).
But hey on the plus side there is a Royal Wedding AND a Royal baby to look forward to.
The big event in America’s calendar are the midterms in November. Almost everyone predicts that the democrats will do well. Almost no one sees the docken in the screw. #MeToo is sweeping out from its film and theatre base, scything through academia and into the House and Senate. At present there are over 264 accusations of sexual harassment or impropriety hanging over politicians of both parties, each of which has the power to derail its candidate. Expect this to increase over the year with utterly unsettling results come November. Any one succeeding in unhorsing a candidate could upset the whole result. And given the present febrile state of the press it could all be blink-of-an-eye stuff. Don’t bet on the Democrats coming good this round.
But do bet on getting to see the serious 2020 Democrat candidates earlier on in this cycle. By December we should have an idea of the ten best candidates against Trump coming forward. My bet to watch is Joseph P Kennedy III.
Trump will face pressure and vilification and the constant siren calls of impeachment. None of which will get anywhere. The nonsense that is the “Lets-blame-Russia-for everything” excuse committee will continue unabated but also get nowhere.
Middle East 2018
This area will just continue to collapse in ruins. Iran will be plagued by low level unrest and protests followed by cack-handed repression. At the moment the strength is with the government, as this is a focus free uprising. No leaders or structure. However if some force or another manages to coordinate this unhappiness, stand by for real fireworks. However, before all that Iran has an immediate problem coming in mid-January with Donald deciding how hard he will really be over their deal.
Yemen will continue to be a hell on earth. Do not expect anyone to actually help here. Yemen simply is not that useful to anyone. The Saudis will increase pressure on Iran, raising the chances of all out war. They will be supported (as always) by America and Israel on the one hand, and opposed by Russia and Turkey on the other. My suggested Middle-Eastern surprise card is Algeria when the old boy is finally switched off at the mains and the “powers that be” indulge in a palace coup opening the country to ISIS infiltration. And Europe to floods of migrants.
Sub Saharan Africa 2018. Ghastly. Basket cases the lot of them. No change.
Asia 2018. North Korea will remain a running sore. Do not expect war this year though. Both parties are poncing round one another in the hope the other will back down. Next year, 2019 though might be more difficult. China will continue to flex her military muscle in the South China Sea. Will Trump be able to resist?
Russia 2018. Putin will be returned to the surprise of no one at all. We might watch events in Ukraine where he will test the resolve of the West and probably find us lacking.
Copyright David Macadam 2018