That leaves predictions, so for what they are worth here is my Nostradamus impression for 2008 – It will interesting to see how far off I am next December.
The US will largely leave Iraq by June, and the country will head for civil war as fast as it can. By the time of the US elections the Shia’s will be backed by Iran, the Sunni’s by Syria (and Saudi Arabia), and the Turks will take their chance to kick the shit out of the Kurds.
The whole region will spiral towards Islamism or more extreme despotism, as regimes try and hang on to power. The US public will shrug, say “Wahdaya expect from towel heads?” and turn back to domestic concerns.
Hilary Clinton will beat Obama Barack for the Democrat slot, because he has one or two little secrets that he has lied about (or at least white washed), that will come out later, and she will beat whomever the Republicans eventually put up.
I suspect that despite her unpopularity with half the US, it will not stop her getting something of a landslide victory. The Hispanic democrat vote will tip the balance in Mid West seats for the first time (This will be a long term problem for the Republicans who either need to lock down the borders properly, or embrace Spanish!). I also predict she will be a one term president only.
The US economic meltdown will be avoided, mainly because no one can afford for the US economy to go to the pans …. The world’s bankers will chip in and keep the dollar afloat.
Iran will become the new regimes biggest problem, because Bush hasn’t got the clout to sort out the Mullahs anymore. He missed his chance in 2003, because he was too arrogant to take the offer the Iranians made then, when they thought the US would just carry on through Iraq and into Iran. The problem will not be left to Israel, as they don’t have the muscle to do the job permanently, and they don’t have the need to, they know that the US will not stand for a nuclear Mullah!
Talking of which, Pakistan is predicted by the CIA as likely to be a Taliban state by 2015 … recent events have only strengthened the predictions validity. What to do if the nuclear arsenal of over 100 warheads is threatened by Islamic forces? This problem could overshadow Iran in the next President’s in box.
Iran is theoretically a democracy, so it’s possible it will reform, but not ever give up its nuclear weapons …. However if the Pakistan solution shows that the West has got the nerve to act, they may just take a more pragmatic rather than confrontational line.
The EU will face a major crisis over Kosovo, when it backs the Albanian Muslim Mafia’s land grab from Christian Serbia. The Russians may well take a very belligerent line when this crisis occurs, and with the US and UK on overstretch, it would fall to the cowardly Germans and French to provide the forces, should warfare breakout again in the area, They won’t, and the Serbs must be aware that the US would never get a free hand to bomb again (The Russians would take it as a national weakness to let that happen again).
Putin will remain Czar in Russia for the foreseeable future in what ever guise it takes.
France will be more positively assertive in foreign affairs, with its much touted “Mediterranean Union”, but this is not likely to be popular at home, with Muslims and Arabs a big problem on the domestic front.
Israel and the Palestinians will talk about talks, but nothing will happen. The Israeli’s don’t have to do anything, and the Palestinians are just to dumb to realize what a number the other Arabs have done on them for fifty years, in telling them that they are a nation and not just Arabs. Keeping them locked into refugee camps and poverty for political reasons, instead of integrating them back into the Arab lands as full citizens. They still demand a return to 1967 borders, they will never get this, and each decade that passes just lessens their leverage.
Africa …. Ha Ha Ha … all the tiny reforms will revert back to nothing as African dictators such as the Kenyan President just fix election results as before. All the Aid money will end up in Switzerland as usual and the Chinese money will join it.
Thabo Mbeki will become a lame duck, and a populist such as Jacob Zuma will take power (He may lose out because of corruption charges, but may well be king maker). The days when another “intellectual” runs South Africa are over, so moderates such as Cyril Ramaphosa are likely to miss out. Mugabe will just carry on destroying Zimbabwe with the connivance of SA because the West are leaving it to an “African Solution” …. Much as it has done in the racial genocide called Darfur which will also carry on with no solution.
China will declare itself “Number One nation” at the next Olympics (and amazingly not one of its athletes will fail a drug test, despite all the seven foot Chinese men they have discovered and all the world records shattered by their women … East German style) …. Technically the EU will win twice as many medals, but that doesn’t count because “we are not one country” LOL
Finally, Cuba’s million year old dictator Castro will die this next year. He may or may not have ‘retired’ before this happens. There will not be any large changes as his brother Raul takes over again, supported by ‘socialist’ Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, but within five years the communist regime will have ceased to exist, except maybe in name only.
So there they are to be shot at ....