Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
It’s a tricky business making predictions, especially in the new Trumptonian world. Like quantum mechanics, it's a counter-intuitive and weird place. With the very foundations that underpinned our world-view tarnished, or distinctly wobbly, don’t take anything for granted. It’s also extraordinary arrogant of me - I have no unique insights nor information. There again, most commentators are in the same position. After all, anyone with a modicum of intelligence should be able to have a stab at it. Sheer immodesty compels me. Here, goes.
In 2018 Trump will be the ‘gift that keeps giving’. I reckon he’ll survive attempts to impeach him. Although, he will become an isolated and a forlorn figure. Don’t worry; his self-belief is so massive that he won’t notice. There is something of King Lear about Trump. With no clear successor, he may yet exit a burning palace.
For those around Trump, it’s not looking so good. Jared Kushner is toast. It’s only a matter of time before his fall will be orchestrated to deflect blame away from Trump. The Russian saga will then evaporate. Steve Bannon is already laying the tracks for that process. For him, it’s a win-win situation. Take out Kushner, then affirm his loyalty to Trump. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bannon back in the White House.
North Korea will seek talks. The other options are unthinkable. The risk comes in an accident as each postures, rattling their sabres, making the other side edgy. China has a significant stake in this game, and may yet prove the deciding factor. Simultaneously, Russia is seeking to make capital of the situation. However, Putin doesn’t have the reach to make a significant difference.
In Britain, Teresa Mayhem will finally falter. The cracks are there for all to see, getting wider by the day as leaks of chaos abound. A general election is a distinct possibility. Boris Johnson is waiting his moment to pounce, while Jacob Rees Mogg has a considerable following. That could translate into a leadership run. How that turns out is anyone's guess. The public is angry with politicians, making the outcome difficult to predict.
Opposition leader Corbyn won’t get the majority he seeks. Middle England has yet to embrace him and some of his loony-left friends. Standing on the stage at Glastonbury, speaking to the converted only gets you so far. He has serious restraints. The albatross of Diana Abbott is circling his head, ready to go off message. Her anti-white stance and pure incompetence damage the whole Labour brand. Would you want this woman as Home Secretary? She may appeal to the Metropolitan London elite, but I doubt the rest of the country is. I may be wrong, as I've been in the past.
As regards Brexit, it’s anyone’s guess. The omens are not looking good for a deal that will please the British public. It’s a brave man who calls that one.
In Germany, a weakened Angela Merkel will soldier on in partnership with other parties. Her enormous generosity in opening Germany to refugees will continue to dog her. Meanwhile, her vision for Europe is eroding. To her east, the reelection of Putin is certain. That’s a no-brainer. He’ll meddle when possible, to make life uncomfortable for Western politicians.
On a positive note, Saudi Arabia will continue to modernise and may confront the mad mullahs of Iran. There are signs that Saudi women will attain the rights they deserve, which is the best thing that could happen.
ISIS having lost land will fragment and evolve into a multi-cell organisation. That’s as dangerous. Without a unified command structure, taking out the leadership is no longer an option. We can expect low-level operations using crude options, such as vehicles and knives. The threat is evolving.
The fall out from the Weinstein saga will continue to rain down. The exciting twist should be details of actresses that surrendered themselves to him to further careers. When the dust settles, men and women will need to redefine their relations by having difficult conversations. The outcome should be positive.
On the health front, a universal flu vaccine is looking possible. Most countries are making progress on the health front. Surprisingly, the USA is going backwards. Access to firearms and drugs, plus inaccessibility to medical care will continue to drive down life expectancy. Its fallen for two years and is due to drop further in 2018. Opioids caused two-thirds of those deaths, with young black men the primary victims.
There is much to be positive about. World population growth is stabilising, as more women get control of their reproductive cycle. This outcome should dampen many of the adverse impacts of human activity. Recognition of our impact on the planet's ecosystem will drive initiatives to control our excesses. Expect more on that front. To that end, we need to remodel our consumer society. That’s a long-term project.
If I’m correct about any of this stuff, it's pure luck. Let’s check back here in a year - it will be interesting to see how things went. Happy New Year!
Walter De Havilland is one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Hong Kong Police.