20/20 Insight: Top 10 Political Predictions for the New Year
The year 2019 will go down in the history books as the year when Donald J. Trump suffered not only the non-stop trials and tribulations of the Mueller Report, which cleared the 45th POTUS of collusion with the Russians, but impeachment as well. However, there are many other upcoming events in the New Year that have – believe it or not – nothing to do with impeaching Trump.
- Trump emerges victorious against Hillary Clinton in the 2020 presidential election
The biggest story of the New Year will be the incumbent Donald Trump successfully defending his presidency against Hillary Clinton, who announces her candidacy in January to dethrone the populist. Her decision, aside from a thirst for vengeance, is based on poll results that show her ahead of all Democratic nominees by a wide margin. In late 2019, Clinton began testing the political waters, appearing on a number of talk shows, including Howard Stern, where the prospect of another shot at the White House dominated the conversations.
- Major Riots Sweep the United States
Even before the 2020 presidential election, the United States will witness violence on its streets across the country, as the excitement and tensions ahead of the 2020 election bring out the worst in people on both sides of the political aisle. Simple exuberance, however, is not the only reason for political passions spilling over. The Republicans provoke Liberal hostility with their own court proceedings against top Democrats.
- Barr-Durham Report Splits the Nation
In March 2020, federal prosecutor John Durham – famous for going after the Genovese and Gambino crime families in the 1980s – will release the findings of the long-anticipated Attorney General report, which examined the origins of the Russian inquiry that led to spying on Trump campaign aid Carter Page. The report will be followed up with indictments against dozens of high-ranking officials from the Obama administration, including former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brenna and even Hillary Clinton herself. Barack Obama will be called to testify in the high-profile trials, which will push the political situation in the United States to the breaking point.
- US-Russia Relations Begin (Slow) Recovery
In late 2020, following Trump’s reelection, Moscow and Washington will begin the slow process of rebuilding their bilateral relations, severely weakened for years by domestic acrimony in the United States. With the Democratic Party largely sidelined, and the 2020 elections behind him, Trump will no longer feel compelled to take a tough approach towards Russia. He will move to ease sanctions against Moscow, a move that is reciprocated by Vladimir Putin. Suspicions, however, will remain between the two nuclear powers with NATO continuing its militarization on the Russian border and Moscow responding with the research and development of powerful weapons to maintain the strategic balance.
- Turkey Threatens to Leave NATO
Following months of heated rhetoric between Ankara and Washington as Turkey attempts to exert some degree of independence in its foreign policy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns the Trump administration that it is reconsidering Turkey’s membership in the Western military bloc. For many the announcement will come as no surprise. At the end of December, Erdogan threatened to close two strategic military bases used by the United States in Turkey – Incirlik and Kurecik – in the event that Washington imposed sanctions on Ankara for buying the Russian-made S-400 missile system. Such a move would deprive the US of nuclear weapons in the secular state, which sits on the doorstep to the turbulent Middle East. The war of words between Trump and Erdogan ratcheted up a notch when the Trump administration said it would retaliate by denying Turkey participation in the F-35 fighter jet program.
- New Russian Hypersonic Weapon Forces New START Talks
Faster than anyone could have predicted, Russia has unveiled a hypersonic glide missile, the ‘Avangard,’ which is capable of reaching Mach 27, which is many times the speed of sound. The new weapon, which was put on display for US inspectors in late 2019, renders the US missile defense system in Eastern Europe effectively obsolete. This places Moscow in a very good position for keeping alive the New START Treaty, which was signed between Russia and the US in April 2010 and designed to reduce number of strategic nuclear missile launchers by 50 percent. New START is the last major arms deal between the US and Russia after Washington walked away from both the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF). With New START set to expire shortly after the next US presidential inauguration in 2021, it could mark a turning point in bilateral relations, presently hampered by the US domestic political scene.
- Worldwide Crackdown on the Internet
Have you ever criticized the government, dabbled in ‘conspiracy theories,’ or expressed your dislike of left-wing progressive ideology, like the transgender movement, for example? Then you may very well find yourself shut off from the Internet in 2020. Plans for draconian control over the flow of communication and information are already in the works. At the end of December, with much of the world’s attention on the holidays and shopping, the United Nations approved a bid that seeks to create a new convention on ‘cybercrime’, a term that could be applied to everything from political dissidence to conspiracy theories, stoking fear that a full-blown effort to restrict online freedom is underway. However, with major IT companies, like Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter already acting as the Internet chokepoints and gatekeepers on information, perhaps the UN is already too late with its initiative.
- Major ‘UFO’ Incident
One of the greatly downplayed stories of 2019 has been the unprecedented number of UFO sightings reported around the world. Does this mark the beginning of a full-scale invasion of planet Earth by some distant alien-inhabited galaxy? Or is this just a case of ‘mistaken identity’ and the supposed UFOs are in reality super-advanced weapon systems getting a test-drive by the Pentagon? Whatever the case may be, public interest in the extraterrestrial hit such a feverish pitch in 2019 that a calling over Facebook to “storm Area 51,” a US Air Force complex Nevada Test and Training range, attracted the attention of some 2 million users (just 150 people, however, showed up for the event). I’m guessing that with public enthusiasm over UFOs at an all-time high, combined with advanced technology not publicly known, earthlings are set for an ‘encounter of the third kind’ sometime in 2020.
- Transgender education ousted from US public school system
During the 2020 presidential debates, the question of transgender ideology, which says that a biological male can become a female just by willing it so, will take center stage. Trump, in true conservative fashion, will pledge to banish transgender education from public schools, while defunding any college or university that pushes the unproven pseudo-science on its campuses. Clinton will take the opposite stance, promising to protect the message and those who accept its central tenets. Following reports that many people who have ‘gender reassignment surgery’ are attempting to reverse the radical procedure, the issue will start to grab international headlines.
- Global recession
Although the global economy appears to be smooth sailing at the moment, there are some warning signs that could spell danger down the road. In the United States, where Wall Street has witnessed a record-breaking year of profit-taking, the third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) slowed to 1.9 percent. This is worrying considering that manufacturing is slumping. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index dropped to 48.1 percent in November from 48.3 percent in October, almost a full percentage point below expectations from some economists. It is the fourth straight reading below the 50 percent red line. Readings below 50 percent show business conditions worsening. Currently, it seems the only thing preventing the US economy from falling into recession, possibly dragging the rest of the world down with it, is the overspent American consumer, who is in debt to the tune of over $13 trillion. How long will US consumer spending help keep the US economy afloat? That may turn out to be the big question of 2020.
By Robert Bridge
Source: Strategic Culture