Here are my predictions for 2017. Given my batting average for my 2016 predictions of approximately 50% and my surprise diagnosis of cancer in 2016, which was a poignant reminder of life's inherent unpredictability, my predictions are prognostications rather than factual statements of what will actually occur.
- National and international affairs
- Syrian President Assad will remain in power, Iraq will move closer to fragmenting, and the Islamic State will continue to pose a terror threat. Israel, supported by the Trump administration, will continue building settlements on Palestinian territory; Peace with the Palestinians will become more elusive. In short, 2016 will not see major changes in the Middle East.
- US politics, along with those in several European nations (e.g., France and Italy) will become more polarized. Right wing populist candidates are likely to win in many European elections.
- The Trump administration will prove chaotic. Trump will continue to seek the limelight without thinking through the consequences of his words or actions. The US Constitution's emoluments clause will have unprecedented importance because Trump will fail to draw a clear legal distinction between his political responsibilities and his business interests. His family's involvement in government will also result in charges of nepotism. Trump will chafe at the limits of his power, e.g., feeling frustrated when Congress, the Supreme Court, federal bureaucracy, and state and local governments refuse to do his bidding.
- The Putin-Trump honeymoon will sour in 2017 as these two narcissistic autocrats discover that although they have similar personalities but conflicting agendas.
- China will become the US's enemy #1, sparking trade conflicts and heightened military tensions.
- North Korea will continue testing missiles and nuclear weapons. The wars in Yemen and Syria will continue. Terror groups will continue to operate in Africa and the Middle East as well as executing strikes in Europe.
- The price of oil will remain below $60 per barrel even though OPEC successfully trims production. Trump's campaign promises to increase employment in the coal industry and to expand US oil production will largely prove hollow.
- The US economy will grow slowly, in spite of Trump's campaign pledge to achieve 4-5% growth, with stock prices ending the year up, unemployment flat, and wages showing some slow growth. Interest rates will continue to move upwards.
- Social and cultural
- Any GOP repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) will delay full implementation for several years to give Congress time to devise alternatives to the law's popular provisions.
- Abortion foes will experience modest success. Broader efforts to limit access to birth control will fail. Efforts to rescind progress toward full equality for LGBTQ persons will have, at most, marginal success.
- Climate change deniers may succeed in voiding the Paris agreement and voiding some executive orders. Nevertheless, other nations, US states, and corporations will continue to take actions to minimize harm to the climate and environment.
- The number of persons who identify as non-religious will continue to grow in 2017.
- The white supremacist movement in the US will grow in numbers and visibility.
- Personal: I will end the year as I began it, with my cancer in remission.
What are your predictions for 2017? (I encourage you to post your predictions as a comment to this post.)