Friday, January 01, 2010

Looking at 2009 predictions

My 2009 predictions were pretty timid
but not much unexpected happened, as far as the predictions went. News in 2009 came in the form of issues I didn't anticipate in January such as Yemen and the attempted green revolution rather than predictions that were actually wrong.

Egypt continues its corruption-based relationship with the US. I was surprised by how excitedly and unashamedly Obama endorses this relationship. For me, Egypt is the issue that proves that on foreign policy, Barack Obama is a weak and dishonest embarrassment to the liberal movement that expended the most resources to elevate him to office.

Gaza remains in Hamas hands. Hemmed in though by Egypt which is more hostile than I expected.

Netanyahu stayed in the lead and won.

Abbas is still in power in the West Bank.

Hezbollah won the popular vote and but did not win a majority of seats in Lebanon's Parliament. The US was either unwilling or unable to persuade its Lebanese allies to maintain their denial of a Hezbollah veto in cabinet.

Syria and Turkey did not have ground-breaking events but Syria is significantly less diplomatically isolated than it was a year ago and Turkey surprised me with how it has turned away from Israel in its public statements.

We have a civil war in Yemen that involves Saudi Arabia.

There was no deal to slow Iran's enrichment. The Obama administration lost a year by not giving up its no enrichment demand. We only have a few years to go before Iran unilaterally suspends because it has enriched all it needs. I didn't even have a prediction about Iran's election, but nothing was at stake as far as foreign policy was concerned.

Pakistan has been slowly becoming more violent but has not imploded.

Obama is increasing the amount of troops in Afghanistan by more than I expected, we have not seen the payments to the Taliban start, but that does not mean they have not. That will be clearer this time next year.

Overall I'm struck by two things. The first is that areas that we know to look at are pretty easy to project one year into the future. The second is that there can be major events over the course of a year in issues that didn't even seem interesting when the year started.

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