People do inexplicable things in January, like laying off drink for a month, taking out gym memberships they will never use, and making predictions about the year to come. As I shall not be ‘going dry’ this month or any other, and as I do not intend to alter a ‘fitness regime’ of afternoon naps in a sauna, the only remaining way to make a public fool of myself is to predict what will happen in 2019:
1. Look to the skies. I don’t know what a Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse is, but it’s coming to the US on the night of January 20. And the year will end with a transit of Mercury, and an annular eclipse over the Arabian Peninsula. I don’t know what that means, either, other than that the atmospherics aren’t good.
2. The atmospherics are no better in the markets. Global stocks have just had their worst year since 2008. Chinese manufacturing output is down, and Eurozone manufacturing growth is at a two-year low. The US economy will slow in 2019, and the year may well end in global recession.
3. The Mueller Report will be published. There will be plenty of smoke, some fire, but no smoking gun. No one will fully understand which Russians said what to which Trump associates.
4. More substantial material will be turned up by the Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s enquiries into the Trump Organization’s finances. Many people will secretly admire Trump’s Godfather-style financial arrangements. But Jared may go down like Fredo.
5. Despite a recurrence of the rash of predictions about Donald Trump’s premature retirement from the presidency, he will remain in office in 2019, and make regular noises about running again in 2020.
6. Trump will continue the withdrawal of American forces from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The voters will approve, the foreign policy ‘experts’, less so.
7. Negotiations with North Korea will continue. There will be an agreement to have an agreement, but not much more.
8. Nancy Pelosi will defer the launch of impeachment proceedings by House Democrats until after the party has chosen its presidential candidate for 2020.
9. A protracted and ugly nomination process will lead to the eclipse of the Democratic old guard. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will retire. The 2020 Democratic ticket will be Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren.
10. If Donald Trump runs, he will win the Republican nomination despite a challenge from the party. If he doesn’t, Nikki Haley will be the 2020 nominee. If she runs, she will win.
11. The Facebook backlash will continue, and so will popular calls for legislation on online privacy. A tech giant will buy up a smaller tech giant, and there will be renewed calls for anti-trust legislation. It won’t happen.
12. While Americans will be consumed with Trump’s legal troubles and the nomination circuses, Europe will enter a multi-dimensional crisis that threatens the stability of the European Union and the Euro currency.
13. Brexit will happen, but it won’t. Britain will leave the EU in March 2019 in a ‘No deal’ scenario, but predictions of apocalypse will be premature. The EU will agree to maintain current arrangements to allow for further negotiation. The negotiations will take years.
14. Extremist parties of all stripes will make major gains in May’s European Parliament elections.
15. Theresa May will lose power. Macron will look even more foolish. Merkel, having announced that she won’t run again in 2021, will look even weaker.
16. France will end the year in recession. Germany will see mass gilet jaune-type protests. The Italian banks will have to be bailed out, again.
17. Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud will win the Israeli elections in April. Netanyahu will ride out corruption allegations, form a right-wing coalition much like the one that he formed after the last elections, and continue to deepen Israel’s security ties with anti-Iran Arab states.
18. Hezbollah will provoke Israel into war in Lebanon. Under rocket fire from Lebanon, the Israelis will strike Iranian targets in Syria. All sides will claim victory. The real winners will be Russia and Turkey. Putin and Erdogan will extend and exploit the end of the war to assert their restored regional authority.
19. Further instability will follow the death or retirement of an 84 year-old Arab leader. Will he be Lebanese president Michel Aoun, or King Salman of Saudi Arabia, or Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority? If it’s Salman, Mohammed bin Salman will succeed to the throne of Saudi Arabia. If it’s Abbas, Hamas will inherit the West Bank and Netanyahu will have trouble containing the annexationists in his government.
20. Predictions of the death of print media will be disproved. Book sales in 2019 will be higher than in 2009. In the spring, a new monthly magazine will appear in the US. People will rush to subscribe, in order to understand why the world is going to hell around them, and to enjoy a quality of writing and analysis they can’t find anywhere else. It will be called Spectator USA. Happy New Year!
Dominic Green is Life & Arts Editor of Spectator USA.