I'll score myself "correct" on this one. Although I obviously didn't expect the Gaza withdrawal, it doesn't appear to have had much effect.
There will be a major effort to rejuvenate the Middle East peace process, following the upcoming Palestinian Authority elections. The effort will come to absolutely nothing, and attempted Palestinian terrorist attacks and Israeli military incursions into Palestinian towns will be roughly as frequent at the end of 2005 as they are today.
Mostly right, but the "Syrian fig leaf" was largely unnecessary, in retrospect, as blaming the local Al Qaeda forces was enough of an excuse for the Americans to remain.
The coming election in Iraq will completely change the characterization--though not the actual character--of the American involvement there. A new Iraqi government, dominated by the Shiite slate, will assume power, and invite the US military to remain to continue its reconstitution and training of the Iraqi army and security forces, and to help protect the country from "insurgent groups", who will increasingly be labeled as foreign-supported and even foreign-staffed. Syria will be the main target of this rhetoric, because it's much weaker than Iran. But no action beyond diplomatic and economic sanctions will be taken, partly because the US is loath to expand its military burden, and partly because maintaining the Syrian fig leaf will be too useful for both the US and the new Iraqi government as an excuse to support the continued presence of US troops.
An easy gimme, as it is every year.
Messrs. Chavez, Khamenei and Kim will remain in power yet another year, barring natural or accidental death. Likewise, Kofi Annan will survive the oil-for-food imbroglio and remain UN Secretary General.
This one wasn't exactly spot on, I'm afraid. The main stock market indices closed virtually unchanged from the beginning of the year. The real estate market has indeed shown signs of peaking late this past year--almost exactly at the moment when I bought into it, in fact (friends can confirm that I privately predicted that outcome). Likewise, oil prices peaked in the third quarter and have declined since, easing inflation fears. However, both markets unquestionably ended 2005 above their final 2004 levels. Inflation was, indeed, kept under control, but the US dollar staged a stunning rally throughout the year, and economic growth remained strong both in the US and China.
The US stock markets will decline overall in 2005. The real estate market will (finally) peak and decline. Inflation will be kept under control by lower oil prices and rising interest rates, but the dollar will continue to fall--though somewhat less precipitously--and economic growth will slow accordingly as interest rates, the drop in the markets, and the ripple effects of the slowdown in China all take their toll.
I don't think the various Iraq- or surveillance-related scandals qualify--overzealous conduct of the War on Terror is what the public expects from the Bush administration, and he's therefore unlikely to be blamed for it. A corruption scandal, on the other hand--possibly related to the Abramoff affair--is a possibility in the coming year.
An event will occur in 2005 that will blossom into a huge, crippling scandal for US president Bush--though possibly not until 2006.
Right on schedule....
A scandal will also damage the career of television psychologist "Dr. Phil" McGraw.
Now for my nothing-much-changes predictions for 2006....
As always, these predictions were arrived at by an untrained unprofessional with a closed mind. Don't try this at home, if you value your reputation and dignity.