I and many others thought the world could not be more turbulent, short of war, than it was in 2016 when Britain said YES to Brexit and United States President Donald John Trump was elected. And then we had 2017 and collectively realized how wrong we were. So rather than make that mistake again, I acknowledge the times.
In a turbulent, unstable world with more twists and turns than the best roller coaster in the world, I predict a couple of major political shocks will happen this year:
- Germany will be forced back to the polls because Angela Merkel will be made to resign
- An attempt to crash the Venezuelan Government of Nicolas Maduro will happen, but he will declare full martial law, block the media and try to impose total control
- The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans Pacific Partnership will limp forward, but not before a second country walks away from it
The North Korean crisis will continue to simmer away. There will be at least one nuclear test. More missile tests will follow. Defections will increase and further incidents like the one with North Korean soldiers trying to shoot down a defecting comrade will occur. It remains on tenterhooks. Just one missile accidentally landing on the territory of another nation or hitting something it shouldn’t have could spark an international emergency.
The Australian Government will make it to 2019, but remain one by-election away from collapse. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will continue to be a lightning rod for criticism from a broad spectrum of critics. The Australian Labor Party will continue to sleep walk towards victory in 2019, but will gradually become aware of the need to replace Bill Shorten as leader – possibly with Tanya Pilbersek.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will win the 2018 selection. In a race with opponents of any credibility banned or harassed into silence, Mr Putin will be effectively the only candidate left on the ballot paper.
The United States mid terms will be a bitter contest and end up on a knife edge with a Congress and Senate virtually paralyzed, thus setting up a bitter remaining two years in President Trump’s first term in office. Mr Trump will fire Robert Mueller and Congressional and Senate Republicans will block attempts to have Mr Trump removed from office. Hostility between Republicans and Democrats will become incandescent.
Syria will continue to be a glaring black mark on the worlds conscience. Wrecked by war, with world leaders continuing to be diverted by sexier issues such as Brexit, anything Mr Trump does, North Korea and so forth, it will continue to struggle for attention that it so badly needs and some sort of agreement to allow unfettered aid in. It may need to be supervised by a United Nations peace keeping force.
The environmental degradation will continue apace, not so much because of Government attitudes – in fact it seemed like there was sudden interest in the latter part of 2017 to act on plastics – but because the inertia of the problem is such it will take years of comprehensive action by all of the major powers to reverse the train. Individually though there will be more positive signs from individual nations that they are starting to realize how much danger the global ecosystem is in.
George Lucas will call time on the Star Wars franchise after the ninth film is released to the public. Mr Lucas will try to tie up as many loose ends as he can, whilst deliberately leaving future events in the Star Wars universe to the public’s imagination. “A long time ago in a galaxy, far far away” will march off into past times, but perhaps in a galaxy not so far away.
The #MeToo hashtag will continue to be a symbol of women coming forward – but also some men – to say that that they were abused, that they were mistreated, not only by the now thoroughly disgraced Harvey Weinstein, but also his brother and other film directors who thought they were above the law. There may be attempts to prosecute him based on more recent allegations.
Hang on to your hats, because this is going to a real roller coaster ride.