While it is impossible for humans to predict the future, it is possible to look at the trends of the past year and guess where things might head in the coming year. Here are several of my guesses for 2010:
- The Pakistani conflict with al Qaeda and the Taliban will come to a head. More specifically, I think that one of those organizations will succeed in assassinating a high level political leader and in carrying out several mass casualty attacks. The Pakistani government will become so unstable as to be unable to effectively rule any part of the country and significant questions about who controls the country’s nuclear arsenal will arise. The potential for conflict with India will reach its highest level in years. This situation will cause the United States and NATO to be forced to send more troops to the region.
- Iran will demonstrate its capacity to build and deliver a nuclear weapon. More than likely, this revelation will be unintentional and as the result of dissident forces inside the country delivering proof to the international community. The potential for an Israeli strike against Iran will be very high, especially in the second half of the year. The potential for regional conflict, when combined with events in Pakistan/Afghanistan will be very high. The potential for conflict with Iraq will be very high. The potential for civil war in Iran will reach its peak, though an Israeli strike will almost surely prevent such a war from happening.
- The war in Afghanistan will be revealed to be even more difficult than first officially acknowledged. More specifically, the Taliban’s capacity to launch and sustain operations throughout the country will prove to be far more dramatic than anyone publicly anticipated. The relative apathy of the Afghan people toward the ongoing conflict will prove to be a major impediment to progress for coalition forces. All of these problems will be magnified by growing problems Pakistan and Iran.
- A major terrorist attack against a Western nation will succeed. This will be an event with a casualty count in at least the hundreds and will probably involve a mass transit system or a major gathering place. This attack will happen in spite of the superficial security efforts put in place as a result of earlier false alarms or failed attempts.
- Third party candidates will make significant inroads in the November general election. This phenomenon will cut across political ideologies as more and more people realize that the main party candidates fail to represent their interests at all levels of government. While many of the third party candidates will not necessarily win, their effect on the races they run in will force the main parties to reevaluate their approaches.
Here are some other things to watch in the coming year:
- One of the major sports leagues will be rocked by a major doping or cheating scandal. I think this is inevitable, and the two sports I would watch most closely are Major League Baseball and NCAA football or basketball.
- Insurgents will continue to destabilize the governments of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Watch for the potential of widening conflict and regional instability.
- The credibility of climate science will be further eroded by more revelations of scientific malpractice. However, the political movement to force global warming controls on the world population will reach a fevered pitch.
- The Large Hadron Collider will produce a result that is completely unexpected. What did everyone expect when even the scientists who built the thing have no idea what might happen?
- The economy will remain flat in 2010. While the recession will technically end, the burden of massive government borrowing will prevent a sustainable recovery and the potential for a second dip will begin to show itself by the end of the year.
- There will be military action between North Korea and Japan. North Korea’s constant taunting of Japan will reach a head when Japan responds.
- Venezuela will overstep its bounds when it is revealed that it is supporting Iran’s nuclear arms program and harboring terrorists.
Yes, I know there’s nothing good in these predictions and that is because I do not expect 2010 to be a “good” year. The world has been building up to this kind of instability for a while, and it has been 65 years since it relieved that kind of pressure.
On the other hand, God is always in control of all things and, despite our naive optimism to the contrary, He warned us things were going to get worse. With that in mind, I pray that all of us cleave more fully than ever to the Rock that is our Hope and keep ourselves focused on Heaven.