Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Following the lead of the Volokh Conspiracy's pseudonymous Philippe DeCroy and The New York Times' William Safire....


  • A year from now, Iraq will be where Afghanistan is today: a troubled but largely ignored backwater where things are much better than before the US invasion, and American troops help minimize the chaos, but there's still plenty of turmoil, and the long-term political structure of the country has yet to be fully sorted out.

  • Another terrorist "mega-attack" will occur, this time somewhere in Western Europe.

  • Yasser Arafat, Kim Jong Il, Ayatollah Khamenei and Hugo Chavez will (barring death by natural causes) still be clinging to power in their respective political entities at the end of the year, although perhaps somewhat more precariously than at present. The "engagement" strategies pursued by the UN, EU, OAS and other multilateralist organizations with respect to these leaders will have absolutely no effect on their strength or belligerence levels. Their satrapies will suffer further declines in living conditions, but will otherwise (and, particularly, in political terms) remain largely unchanged.

  • The major American market indices will experience yet another year of net decline, as will the US Dollar and real estate market. The American economy will have dipped back into recession by the end of the year, and the domestic American political debate will have largely shifted from international politics to economics. The president's popularity will suffer significantly as a result, although not as severely as his father's did.

  • Japan will at last begin adopting some necessary financial reforms. Their short term effect on its economy will be markedly negative.

  • A note on the method: The ICBW prognostication technique is a carefully calibrated, high-precision process, consisting of the following steps: (1) Observing the current state of affairs; (2) Considering that things usually don't change all that quickly, and that rapid changes are usually highly unpredictable, anyway; (3) Assuming that most things will stay more or less the same, except where change appears inevitable; and (4) Where change is inevitable, assuming that the outcome will be, at best, not particularly positive.

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