BACKGROUND: I am in my mid 70’s and have retired with my soul-mate (and two dogs) to sunny Florida. I served 20 years in the US Air Force and retired as a Captain; 20 years as a Software Engineer in the Boeing Company/NASA and retired after the completion of the International Space Station; and also spent about 365 years as a Mathematics teacher in Houston’s Independent School District. See WorldOutsource.com for more details. Watching from the side-lines for over 70 years, you see patterns and you learn to peer into the future – and you predict things. Turns out, I am a pretty-good predictor and would like to share my 2016 predictions with you.
ECONOMY: It does not take a rocket-scientist to predict a very bleak economic 2016 outlook for the United States and thus for the entire globe. The recent fall in the price of oil and in the value of the Stock Market, has become our new reality and will soon become the focus of all our attention. Can something turn this smell of recession around? Yes – a war can turn it around.
WAR: Our allies no longer trust the US to defend them due to our debt-burdened economy and our enemies no longer fear us because of our declining military might. Hence, one can see the potential for various conflicts occurring in the near-future (especially within the timeframe of a lame-duck administration, hesitant to begin something it cannot finish). Here are the most likely hot-spots around the world, ranked in order of their probability of occurrence. It is important to recognize that the United States has no formal Mutual Defense Treaty with Israel, such as we have with most other countries.
=> Iran – Saudi Arabia/US: (80% Chance). The Iranians are torqued over the recent executions of Shiites in (Sunni) Saudi Arabia. The Iranians must proceed cautiously however, because of Mecca, Saudi Arabia (they cannot disturb the holiest site of Islam) and because of the United States (whose President may or may not decide to engage in a seemingly minor conflict). But, be that as it may – attacking just the Saudi’s oil fields could drastically change the price of oil and thereby change the economic calculus of the US. The 1931 treaty between the US and Saudi Arabia, granted the Saudi’s favored nation status.
=> North Korea – South Korea/US: (30% Chance). Current bickering between the North & the South, by way of leaflets and mega-speakers blaring propaganda across the demilitarized zone, is creating a genuine hostile relationship. One small atomic warhead fired into Soul, South Korea, would be catastrophic and would beg for a full-force response; based upon the 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Republic of Korea.
=> China – Taiwan/US: (25% Chance). Not mentioned very often is the passion that the Chinese government has for re-acquiring the missing piece of their Motherland – the island-nation of Taiwan (AKA Formosa). The only reason they have not already taken Taiwan back, is because of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty between the USA and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Will the US risk a war with China to honor that treaty? Not sure.
=> Iran – Israel: (20% Chance). There is one dominant emotion which is overflowing in the Middle East – the destruction of Israel. There is nothing more important to Iran and now they have acquired the finances to purchase whatever they want. Israel has signed a variety of Memorandums of Agreements about Ballistic Missile Threats, etc. -- but there is no Mutual Defense Treaty between Israel and the US. It is also unclear if the current administration would be interested in getting involved; with Russia giving full protection to Iran’s security.
=> Russia – Ukraine/US: (15% Chance). Just like Iran wanting Israel, Russia wants the Ukraine. The only defense related document that would bring assistance to the Ukraine in the event of an invasion, is the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which was signed in 1994 – in exchange for Ukraine’s adherence to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Would NATO come to the defense of the Ukraine in light of a full-scale Russian invasion?
=> China -- US: (10% Chance). The South China Sea and the presence of man-made military islands could possibly cause a minor conflict between the US and China; as could violations in the cyberspace, trade-tariff issues, monetary devaluations, and territorial disputes -- such as the Senkaku Islands dispute with Japan north of Taiwan.
=> Russia -- US: (6% Chance). The Syrian interests of both Russia and the US could become a point of contention, if wiser-heads do not prevail. Keep in mind that Russia’s long-term goal is to acquire 60% of the world’s oil.
=> Iran -- US: (4% Chance). The aggressive actions of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, especially in the Persian Gulf (near the Farsi Island), could easily ignite a conflict. Keep in mind that Russia is the ever-present protectorate of both Iran and Syria.
TERRORISM: The number of Muslim Extremist groups threatening our security continues to increase, as does the possibility of domestic attacks on our national structures, in our schools, in our shopping centers, and at our sporting events. The number of resident terrorist (within the US) will dramatically increase as the number of Syrian refugees’ balloon in the coming months. There may also be a surge in home-grown militia backlashes against this foreign invasion.
IMMIGRATION: United States vs.Texas will be settled by Supreme Court in June, which will either expose or shield as many as 5 million immigrants who have lived in the US for at least 5 years. This action plus current efforts in Congress to alter the US refugee policy, will determine the immigration situation well into the next calendar year.
POLITICS: On the far left, we have Bernie and he is very popular – with a small chance of success. On the far right, we have Donnie and he is very popular -- with a small chance of success. So, the LEFT tries to kill Bernie and the RIGHT tries to kill Donnie – but this exclusion is not like exclusions of the past. The exclusion of Bernie will SUBTRACT the youth group from the potential Democratic voting-block. Just like the exclusion of Donnie will SUBTRACT about 40% of Republican voters from their rolls. It isn’t supposed to work like that according to the establishment – normally we kill guys we don’t like and our guy wins. But not this time – this season is unlike any other voting season in history.
=> Why? Because there has been an awakening in the sleepy populace – a switch has been thrown on both sides of the political spectrum. This awakening is more like that of a social migration to an ideal. The Bernie folks are Bernie folks – not Hillary folks. The Donnie folks are Donnie folks – not Jeb folks. If Bernie and Donnie go away – the social movement voters go away. This is important for the establishment to take note, because you are swimming in uncharted waters and it is very easy to drown. What to do? Listen to the people and do not tell them who they like. Find out how deep the movement has grown and cultivate it. Fertilize the weeds; they may grow into a healthy crop of produce.
David R. Fashenpour|
West Melbourne, FL 32904