Wednesday, December 31, 2014


"As 2014 comes to a close, the Financial Times once again engages in a harmless bit of soothsaying. As ever, we invite some of the FT’s experts and commentators to dim the lights, dust down their crystal balls and predict what the next 12 months will bring on topics ranging from the British general election to the outlook for wearable technology. This is a hazardous enterprise, of course. Looking back at last year’s essay in New Year forecasting, there were a few predictions we would rather not talk about. Chris Giles said the Bank of England would raise interest rates in 2014. Simon Kuper predicted that Brazil would win the football World Cup. Clive Cookson predicted that Virgin Galactic would launch its first successful commercial flight this year. Some colleagues should take a bow. Victor Mallet correctly declared that Narendra Modi would win India’s general election; Jonathan Ford was bang on about Scotland voting No to independence (even if that looked shaky before the poll); Gideon Rachman foresaw wins for both the French National Front and Britain’s UK Independence party in the May European elections. Of course, an exercise such as this is only partly about providing the right answer to a given question. Much of the skill lies in choosing the correct question in the first place. Last year, it did not occur to us to inquire whether Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine, whether a shady group called Isis would become a strategic threat in the Middle East or whether Cuba would come in from the cold. It will doubtless be the same in 2015. Things will happen in the theatre of global news that none of us can — as yet — imagine".
James Blitz, "FT Predictions: the world in 2015". The Financial Times. 30 December 2014, in
"Tu ne prévoir les évènement que lorsqu'ils sont déjà arrives". ['You can only predict events which have already happened'].
Jean Ionescu. Les Rhinocéros. Act Three. (1959).
While I doubt that my predictions will come out as well as those of the superior intellects of the Financial Times, I still believe that it will be a worthwhile endeavor to hazard a few surmises as to what will come out in anno domini 2015. So, here goes:
i) That the regime crisis: a combination of an economic and political crisis in matushka Russia will proceed as predicted in this space for while now. That the Putin regime will prove incapable of doing anything else other than papering over the cracks in its crumbling economic framework. Something evidentially visible as per to-day newspaper 1.
ii) That the situation in Ukraine, both political and economic will gradually improve.
iii) That the American economy and indeed America's overall position in the world will improve. Look for an overall growth rate of at lease three and half to four percent in the upcoming year. Memories of the boom years of the late 1990's will return in full force.
iv) That the price of oil will remain subdued for the entirety of anno domini 2015, not rising any further than sixty to seventy dollars a barrel. As the economic boom in the United States is not matched by any other region or group of countries elsewhere.
v) That the European Union will struggle onward in the seemingly eternal muddle that is its economic and political framework. More or less along the old, pre-Great War Viennese adage that: 'the situation is hopeless but not serious'.
vi) That Peking's geopolitical situation will continue to decline, as it continues to alienate its neighbors by its aggressive policies in the South and East China Seas
vii) That Britain's current coalition government will be returned to power, in some guise or other. With the opposition Labour Party failing to take advantage of the overall less than positive national mood. The UK Independence Party will prove to have been a damp squib, but failing to win more than five seats in the new Parliament.
viii) That Mme. Hillary Clinton will decide to run for the Presidency of the United States.
ix) That ex-Governor Jeb Bush will also decided to run for the Presidency of the United States.
x) That the ferocious violent ISIS grouping will gradually lose both territory and influence as it is pounded from both the air by the Americans and their allies as well as on the ground by among others: the Assad Regime, the Kurds of both Syria and Iraq, by Jordanian forces with American assistance on the ground as well.
Perhaps my predictions are too optimistic. But I prefer heroic optimism rather than realistic pessimism. In any case we shall soon enough see the validity of my skills as a predictor of the future or lack thereof.
1. Kathrine Hille, "Russia takes steps to prop up struggling companies". The Financial Times. 31 December 2014, in See also: Sergei Aleksashenko, Mikhail Krutikhin, & Yuval Weber "What Should We Do About the Weakening Ruble, Lower Oil Prices and Sanctions?" Carnegie Moscow Center. 23 December 2014, in


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