Predictions for 2012 (UPDATED)

Okay, my first blog post for the New Year! I’ve decided to go out on a limb and make some predictions for events in the coming year. When I am wrong, you may gloat at my wrongness. I reserve the right to say, “it doesn’t matter.” So, with that, here we go:

  • Mitt Romney will win the Iowa Caucuses. Ron Paul will come in second, and Rick Santorum third, making Rick Santorum the default anti-Romney of the culture warriors of the Christian Right (and neoconservative warmongers everywhere) — a spot Santorum will hold until the end of the primaries.
  • Ron Paul will not win any primaries, but will place a respectable second in just about all of them. He will not be given any speaking time at the GOP convention.
  • Santorum may win the South Carolina primary. He will not win any other GOP primaries, and will place second only in a few. He will suspend his campaign for lack of funds sometime before the convention.
  • Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee for president. He will choose Condoleezza Rice as his running mate.
  • That won’t matter. Barack Obama will be re-elected in November 327-211 electoral votes (I’m assuming Indiana, North Carolina and Nevada vote Republican again; otherwise, the map looks identical to 2008).
  • Democrats will narrow the GOP majority in the House but will not win enough seats for a majority. I’m not sure at this point whether the GOP will win control of the Senate.
  • Sometime in April, the Arab League will finally tire of the Syrian government’s refusal to live up to any of the myriad agreements with the opposition to stop killing people and will refer the matter to the UN Security Council. By May, after a round of UN demands, the Security Council will authorize a no-fly zone over Syria and the creation of safe havens. NATO (mainly Turkey, the US, France and Britain, as well as some US Gulf allies, such as Qatar, the UAE and possibly Saudi Arabia) will lead the military operations. The war against Syria to depose the Ba’ath government will last about 120 days, and will end with the toppling of the current Syrian government. Assad and his family, however, will have escape options Qaddafiy never had.
  • Iran and Hezbollah will bluster and even provide some covert support to the Syrian government (and in the case of the Al-Assad family, Iran will provide a place of exile), but in the end, neither will go to war to defend the regime in Damascus as both will determine their own survival depends on their not waging war.
  • In the case of Hezbollah, the end of the regime in Damascus will mean it’s end as a military power. Hezbollah will be disarmed at some point (not in 2012), with a portion of its fighting force pensioned off and the remanded folded into the Lebanese army. Hezbollah will accept this in exchange for a cementing of its role as the main representative of Lebanon’s Shia community in Lebanon’s politics and society.
  • In the case of Iran, the Islamic Republic’s leadership will decide that bolstering the emerging dictatorship of Nuri al-Maliki and the Iraqi Shia is more important to Iranian security than saving the Ba’ath regime in Syria. 
  • Israeli military forces will not participate in the UN war against Syria in any way, shape or form.
  • Republicans in the US won’t know how to oppose the UN-led war in Syria. They will want to oppose it because it’s something Barack Obama is doing, but then it will be the US bombing Syria, which is something most of them have wanted to do for a long, long time. Rick Santorum will eventually voice the most coherent GOP response: “Why stop at Syria? Bomb Iran too!” Outside of the neocon nationalists, this view won’t go over well.
  • But because of this, more people will take Ron Paul seriously. It will be too late for his campaign, however.
  • Democrats in the US won’t know how to deal with the UN-led war in Syria either. But they will generally back the Obama administration on the matter.
  • The war in Syria will have no significant effect on US domestic politics. It will be over several months before the general election, and will have no serious near-term economic, political or military consequences.
  • The Sunni government that will come to power in Syria following the ouster of the Ba’ath will be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. It will make security guarantees to Syria’s Christian and Alawite communities that will largely be kept. That government will also become the base of support for a renewed Sunni opposition to the Shia government of Iraq.
  • For all the talk in both Washington and Tel Aviv, neither the US nor Israel will attack Iran in 2012. Enough comfort will be taken from the fact that Hezbollah is no longer a significant threat to anyone and that Tehran has lost its most important ally.
  • Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin will both face sustained Arab Spring-style protests and low-grade revolt following their (contested) re-elections.
  • The banking crisis in the EU will continue to limp along unresolved. Austerity will continue to bit hard in Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, but none of those nations in the Eurozone will leave in 2012. Greece will leave the Eurozone, but not in 2012.
  • Another sustained round of Occupy Wall Street protests will hit the West beginning in late spring. These will be somewhere more violent, but largely because authorities are going to be less tolerant of protests than they were last year.
  • Charles will not become of king of Great Britain in 2012.
  • And the world will not end on December 21, 2012.
Well, that’s that. Let’s just see how prescient I am (or am not) in the coming weeks and months.

UPDATE: Ooops, there’s one predication I most definitely did want to make that I forgot about.

  • In late summer, the US Supreme Court will issue a 5-4 ruling striking down the portion of the Affordable Health Care Act that requires Americans to purchase health insurance. The majority will actually go one step farther in their opinion, striking down a 1942 court ruling, Wickard v. Filburn, that gives the U.S. government the constitutional ability to regulate certain kinds of economic activity.
(Okay, this last one may merely be wishful thinking on my part.)