I have never tried my hand at prognosticating, so why not start now. Sometimes I think I know how events will begin, end, or evolve. I might be completely off base, but what’s the worst that can happen? My career as a fortuneteller comes to an abrupt halt? Just for the hell of it, let’s find out. Here are my predictions for the near and not so near future:
ISIS – President Obama will technically keep his word about no US combat troops on the ground. He will wait until ISIS attempts an incursion across the border into Turkey either as an outright attack or through acts of terrorism. Since Turkey is a NATO member, NATO forces will attack ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. They will create the conditions necessary for the Free Syrian Army to topple Assad. ISIS will be isolated, surrounded by both Arab and European enemies (if our “allies” don’t flake out.) There will be US troops on the ground but under a NATO banner, thus allowing Obama to keep his promise, while in reality, deploying ground troops.
ISIS is an ideology. Ideologies are hard to defeat. When NATO secures the Turkish border and the countries surrounding ISIS-held territories secure their own, ISIS will be contained, but not destroyed. Random acts of brutality will continue. I would not be surprised if Ebola becomes a weapon of war to be exported, but ISIS members will have assimilated into the general population and continue to be a problem. This will happen in the next two years.
NATO will draw down its troops; airstrikes will be suspended. This will happen just before and during the Presidential elections.
After the Iraqi Kurds have stabilized their own territory, they and the Turkish, Syrian and Iranian Kurds will demand a plebiscite to form their own country, Kurdistan. The Turkish government will freak out, but most of the nations of the world (except Iran) will support a plebiscite and we will have a new nation within the next five years.
The Next President – whether Democrat or Republican, male or female, hawk or dove, will recognize that though ISIS is less of a threat, Iraq and Syria will still be in turmoil due to sectarian conflicts. Chaos and fighting will continue in this region for many years. The President will now be able to say this is a regional conflict and no longer consider it to be a threat to national security. He or she will say we have no business being there any more. All troops will be removed and we will let these different sectarian groups figure it out for themselves.
If a Democrat should be elected, Fareed Zakaria will be asked to join the Cabinet either as Secretary of State or National Security Advisor. If he is not recruited, the President will have made a big mistake.
Ebola – will spread to other countries in Africa and incidence of the disease will increase in the US and Europe, but in numbers our health care systems can handle. It will spread into North Africa and from there into Southern Europe and Asia. The lesser-developed nations will have learned the necessary protocols to inhibit the spread of the disease, but it will continue for a while.
If an Ebola vaccine is not discovered soon, The US will ban commercial flights entering our country from the African countries experiencing the brunt of this terrible disease and military aircraft will fly in all necessary equipment and supplies. This will also be a decision of the next President based on popular and congressional opinion.
However, I believe that within the next year, a simple but reliable screening test for Ebola will be developed and within two years, there will be a vaccine that will stop the spread of the disease in its tracks.
Israel and Palestine – Until Israel retreats to its 1967 borders, stops building settlements on the West Bank, makes Jerusalem a Vatican-like autonomous city-state, and gives up land to make Gaza contiguous to the rest of Palestine, giving it access to the sea, there can be no peace. However, should Israel be willing to do this, the Palestinian Authority will disavow Hamas, a two-state solution will be reached, and there will be peace.
Some of these actions will happen, but not all. I predict there will be a two-state solution within the next five years, but not a Palestinian state with Gaza as a contiguous part of it. Jerusalem will not be allowed to be an independent city-state and the Israelis will arrogantly continue encroaching on Palestinian land in the West Bank. Fighting and acts of terrorism will continue even after there are two states, unless Israel allows all the concessions listed above. This will not happen in my lifetime due to Israeli intransigence!
Russia and the Ukraine – Putin has an ego that makes his head as big as a birthday balloon. He does not wish to be seen as a bad guy despite the fact he is. For this reason, he will no longer try to seize land on the grounds that a country has a Russian minority citizenry, but will endorse plebiscites that originate with the minority population, especially if the Kurds get their own state. He will do this to validate his own agenda. However, sanctions and world opinion will soften him up and he will join the world community in a more cooperative fashion. This will be observable by the middle of 2015.
Climate Change – Forget it. It’s too late. We are already beyond the tipping point of no return. The true karmic effects will be felt more and more severely over time. It will take at least another 10 years before governments are willing to make the drastic changes necessary to slow down the devastation that will affect the entire globe. It will take many generations before the full effects manifest themselves. But all of you will be dead by then, so enjoy what you can of what’s left! The giants of industry seem to care nothing for their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. They would poison their own mothers rather than stop fracking, curb carbon emissions, shut down “clean coal” operations, or wean themselves off of oil. Maximum profits over people will be our death knell!
The End of Unfettered Corporate Capitalism – In the US, the developing nations, and to a lesser extent, Western Europe, the disparity between rich and poor will become so vast that there will be an uprising of the working classes. Some liberal billionaires will side with the underclass. This will not always be for altruistic reasons, but practical ones. Consumer Capitalism can only thrive when people have enough disposable income to buy goods and services. (That is why no one should be embarrassed about accepting welfare or food stamps, etc. Though politicians grimace at the idea of a “welfare state,” the truth is that if you don’t have enough money with which to consume things, the government will give you the money just to keep its economic system working. Accept government handouts whenever possible. You will be doing your part to keep our economy going!)
It is not profit that is the problem. It is the maximization of profit that is destroying the dream of a world in which the all people have their basic needs met and then some. It will require getting “dark” money out of politics. It will require that greed be taken out of the equation. It will require a more populist Supreme Court and a liberal Congress to reverse Citizen’s United and restore voter rights. Whether a Democrat or Republican President is elected, none of this will happen because of the manacles placed by corporations on politicians who become beholden to them.
The end of Corporate Capitalism is worthy of an article all by itself. It will be forthcoming. But just let me remind you that true hippies had the answers all along… always have… and the answers are still valid options. Hippies know how everyone can enjoy the offerings of this beautiful planet without depriving the ambitious of getting rich. But no one has listened to us so far, so I am not very optimistic that we are going to see the Aquarian Age as it was envisioned by us 50 years ago. In fact, I am sad to say that it will have to get much worse before it gets better. And that will happen only after we are deeper in the muck… at least another 25 years.
I could make other predictions about the many problems that confront us today, but this is enough for now. Let’s see if any of my predictions come true. If they do, remember… YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
The Unapologetic Hippie(Want to leave a comment? Click “Reply” at the top of the article!)