I've never been big on predictions, much less had the talent to match the trenchant dazzle of Jim Kunstler's annual revel (my favorite line: "Unlike the 1930s, we are no longer a nation who call each other 'Mister' and "Ma'am,' where even the down-and-out wear neckties and speak a discernible variant of regular English, where hoboes say 'thank you,' and where, in short, there is something like a common culture of shared values. We're a nation of thugs and louts with flames tattooed on our necks, who call each other 'motherfucker' and are skilled only on playing video games based on mass murder.")
No, history is too filled with contingency to make crystal balls reliable. The conventional wisdom of our experts is perhaps more corrupted and thus worthless than at any time since 1929 or 1914. Our collective inability to see things as they are, rather than as we wish them to be, makes any clear-eyed assessment immediately consigned to the perdition of "doomers" and "he's so negative." We have more "information sources" than ever before, and we are more ignorant. Even so, we can take a spin through the major themes that the new year and decade will bring.
For America: The continued bleeding of multiple wars will continue to be underreported and ignored by most of our fellow citizens, barring a major calamity. And yet it will be an uber-burden that will keep building new matrices of trouble for the nation. One example is how our military is essentially providing cover for China to spend billions extracting Afghanistan's resources for the good of the Chinese economy. The military is the jobs and stimulus program for the United States, but unlike investment in, say, infrastructure and research, it will not repay itself. It is, in Ross Perot's famous locution, the giant sucking sound. We can't pacify tribal "nations" driven by medieval theology (and I'm not talking about Gilbert, Ariz., here). Our efforts will not stop terrorism. Let me go really far out on a limb and say President Obama's "limited" Afghan surge will end up like LBJ circa 1966.