02 July 2007

The year so far

Now that we're about halfway through 2007, I thought I'd go back and look at some of the events I either predicted or hoped for at the beginning of it. Predictions first:

(1) The United States will get through 2007 without a major terrorist attack on its territory. Europe will suffer at least one or two attacks on the scale of the Madrid or London train bombings.

So far so good over here. As for Europe, the British have cause to be grateful for the diligence of their police and the incompetence of their Muslim terrorists.

(5) The US will try a new military strategy in Iraq, but it will ultimately fail due to inadequate planning, reliance on half measures, and continuing reluctance to confront neighboring countries about their meddling.

There are some signs that the "surge" is pacifying Baghdad and winning over formerly-insurgent groups in Anbar, but it's too soon to tell what the final outcome will be. No sign yet of dealing seriously with Iran, Syria, or Saudi Arabia.

(6) Jean-Marie Le Pen, or someone like him, will gain a startlingly-large number of votes in the French election, forcing the political establishment to confront the problem of Muslim violence and intimidation in France.

As it turned out, the establishment (Sarkozy) had gotten the message and is starting to address the issue. Le Pen's work is done.

(8) Nobody will do anything about the Darfur genocide.

This, of course, is the one prediction I felt totally safe in making.

(10) A consensus will emerge (outside the hard right) that the Bush Presidency is a failure, but he will not be impeached.

How the heck was I supposed to know the man would blunder so badly that even the hard right would join the consensus? (See his illegal-alien-amnesty fiasco last week.)

On predictions (2), (3), (4), (7), and (most frighteningly) (9), it's too soon to say what, if anything, will happen this year.

Next, events I hoped would happen:

(1) In the US, the strident hard-line conservatives who spew hatred and contempt for liberals in general, and the strident hard-line liberals who spew hatred and contempt for conserva-tives in general, will both be marginalized, and more centrist figures on both sides will start to rekindle an emphasis on national unity in place of the present toxic political atmosphere.

I really think things have improved somewhat.

(2) Giuliani will decide to run for President.

Done, obviously.

(3) The Russian people will tire of Mafia-style government and bring about their own Orange Revolution, finally bringing Russia into close alignment with the West, where it belongs.

Realistically, this isn't going to happen unless there's a major economic downturn or their election next year is blatantly stolen.

(4) The US government, under pressure from public opinion, will finally adopt effective measures on illegal immigration -- tough employer sanctions and a full-length barrier at the border.

Well, at least we stopped our "leaders" from making the situation even worse. Will we keep up the pressure strongly enough to make them start enforcing the law? Given what people's attention span typically is, normally I wouldn't be too hopeful, but it's clear that the public is unusually energized over this issue.

On (5) through (10), no sign of progress yet, but I'm an optimist by nature.

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