Friday, December 11, 2009

Revisiting Predictions 2009: The Recap

All the remains of our cadaver of days,
I keep hidden away
Keep them there just in case
I wanna visit that place
Blow the dust from the bones
Off a body of years that I leave all alone
--Mother Mother

Last January I predicted the following:
1. There will be all out war in Afghanistan
On this count, 2009 has had the worst of all periods of the long struggle. Despite the small contingent (relative term of Canadians, there are now almost 90,000 NATO soldiers there, and the pitched battles have become more of a real war as opposed to an insurgency, as the Taliban have taken over areas, not just minds. NATO is now retreating to major centres in a serious retrenchment. 2010 looks even more gloomy.

2. ...A civil war in Pakistan. While not called a civil war in Pakistan, essentially, we have the western NWFP/Waziristan areas in a fight against the eastern federally controlled areas. The Taliban overstretched its mandate, getting to within spitting distance of Islamabad and the federal government took exception...with some prodding from a certain superpower.

3. The Housing Bubble will not completely deflate in 2009 Has it completely burst? In some places yes (ie: Vegas, Florida), so this prediction was not totally accurate. However, the central banks have come under pressure politically, meaning that rates have become artificially low again, reinflating the bubble in certain places and asset classes (ie: Vancouver housing market).

4. The Recession will not end in 2009. On this point, Canada has pulled out of recession. Is it possible that we will go back into recession? Quite possibly. If stimulus funds dry up, there is a chance that demand could drop off again. Technically, we are out of the woods on this one.

5. Oil Prices will take the wind out of the sales of Iran, Venezuela and Russia. Venezuela's Chavez is weaker than ever has the state creaks under debt, inflation, overspending and resurgent opposition. Iran, as I thought, is has been on the brink for some time, just as the '79 revolution was a long term project, so is the 2009 project. Russia, for its part, is about even from the beginning of the year, keeping a low profile after an explosive '08.

6. FARC will be all but dead by year end. FARC is not dead, but it is on deaths' door. FARC is still confined to border areas with suspected help from Chavez on the Venezuelan side and Correa on the Equadorian border of Colombia.

7. Obama will lift the Cuban Embargo. I was dead wrong on this point. Things have gotten better between the countries, and the shuttering of Guantanamo will surely help. The Embargo, however, will live to see another day.

8. The Liberals will win a general election this summer. Dead wrong on this point.

9. The environment will cease to be a top issue as long as the economy is in the tank. This is a general rule in any recession, and this one is no different. When the economic clouds cleared a little bit, we restarted the meetings to come to a global consensus on emissions targets.

10. Not all of these gloomy predictions will be right. Spot on the mark. This was my best prediction of the year.

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