Not bad in general--the markets decided to go sideways rather than "rise modestly", but growth did maintain its fairly robust trend, the Fed finally bumped up interest rates a bit, and real estate prices did rise. Oil prices did bounce briefly in the spring, but then resumed their slide.
While the terrorism and refugee crises obviously distracted attention from the continuing EU bailout crisis, the Greek bailout went roughly as I predicted, with Greece accepting new austerity measures in return for a bailout extension.
Pretty spot-on, I'd say...
I think I can be forgiven for not predicting Trumpmania. But it's also interesting that Walker turned out to be much less ready for the national stage than his political skill at the state level suggested. It may be that state and federal politics are becoming more distinct than they were in the past.
Mostly correct, but I failed (as did the Israeli government, I gather) to predict the current campaign of low-level, low-tech terrorist attacks.
The Islamic State lost ground in 2015, but has responded, bizarrely, by lashing out at its external adversaries--France, Saudi Arabia, and the US.
I certainly didn't expect that the Obama administration would ever be willing to cave as completely to the Iranians as they did in their 2015 pseudo-agreement (it has been neither signed by Iranian representatives nor ratified by Congress).
My biggest miss of the year. Putin has reacted to the collapse of his nation's economy by acting even more boldly abroad--in Syria, for instance. And in China, low oil prices appear to have been insufficient to compensate for decades of bubble-like economic growth reaching a breaking point.
Once again, I'm years ahead of my time...
And now for this year's predictions:
- The US economy will stall this year, as trouble abroad (in China, Canada, and other oil-based economies) hurts exports and the Fed's tentative forays into non-zero interest rates burst various mild bubbles in the stock and other asset markets. The stock market and real estate markets will fall, interest rates will remain very low, and the price of oil will not rebound significantly from its current lows.
- Immigrant-related issues will continue to distract the continent from the greater threat of disintegration due to the incoherence of its monetary union. Hence bailouts of bankrupt southern members will continue as a quid pro quo for cooperation in stemming the flow of Middle Eastern and African migrants. Meanwhile, rightist, populist, nativist parties will continue to surge across the continent, jettisoning many of the domestic and foreign policies anchored into place by the previously-dominant bureaucracy/union/activist/corporatist coalition. (Hostility to Israel will of course be one of the few policies to survive the purge.)
- Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will narrowly win the presidential election over Republican nominee Marco Rubio, with the crucial Republican-vote-diverting assistance of third-party candidate Donald Trump. However, the Republicans will maintain their Congressional majorities--just barely, in the case of the Senate.
- The stalemate in Syria will continue mostly unchanged, tying down the main pro-Assad participants (Russia, Iran and Hezbollah) as well as the anti-Assad ones (Turkey, Saudi Arabia) while the US largely stays on the sidelines. ISIS will continue to weaken under the pressure of its many enemies, and its big terrorist "successes" of 2015 will be repeated very sparsely if at all. On the other hand, Israel will find itself increasingly drawn into the fray in support of the Sunni rebel side, as the Iran/Assad/Hezbollah axis intensifies its drive to establish a front along Israel's Golan Heights border with Syria. Finally, the Kurds will once again be in the region's crosshairs, as Iran, Turkey and ISIS all increase their pressure on them, each for its own reasons. The Obama administration will sit that one out as well, leaving the Kurds in a precarious state.
- The current "stabbing intifada", consisting mostly of random Palestinians spontaneously attacking random Israelis with knives, will evolve into a complex game in which the Palestinian Authority attempts to carefully calibrate the level of violence so as to keep Hamas and other radical groups occupied without provoking a major Israeli crackdown. Ultimately this strategy will fail, and at some point Israel, responding to one or more high-casualty attacks, will launch a major "lawn-mowing" operation in the West Bank to round up terrorist organizations hiding out in PA-run areas. World condemnation will follow, although European vituperation will be milder than usual, as a result of the new terrorist-hostile political environment there, as well as greater Israeli willingness to take active measures to counter European meddling.
- Disney will announce that following the huge success of "Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens", Star Wars Episode 8 will be entitled, "The Force Has Breakfast".
Readers are once again encouraged to add their own predictions in comments. Just think--You Could Be Right!