2004 Election Year
The 2004 election year starts this week. Twelve months from now, we will have another presidential election. A lot can happen between now and then, and probably will. Here are my predictions of major events that will take place over the next 12 months.
1) A significant quantity of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), previously hidden by Saddam Hussein's thugs, will be discovered sometime after the first of the year, probably in the spring of 2004. The discovery will be near the border with Syria, possibly across the border into Syria.
2) The discovery of WMDs in or near Syria will precipitate an attack on various strategic military and terrorist sites within Syrian borders, causing a major skirmish between U.S. and Syrian forces.
3) With major battles erupting in Syria and continued hostilities within Iraq, there will be an extensive internal movement within Iran, led mostly by younger generations, toward democracy. The old regime will attempt to put down the rebellion but the younger generations will eventually prevail in a bloody revolution.
4) With all the turmoil in the Middle East, North Korea will test a nuclear weapon in direct disregard of the wishes of the rest of the world. They may even do so above ground, causing potential atmospheric problems for their neighbors. They will then be prepared to use a second nuclear weapon in an aggressive manner against South Korea or the United States, having suckered the U.S. into some sort of ill-advised action.
5) If China has ambitions to capture Taiwan by force, the climate would be suitable for such action. The U.S.A. would be overextended in the Middle East and Korea, thus unable to defend Taiwan as promised by treaty.
6) Bush will be the Republican candidate for reelection but there will be a new VP running mate this time, probably Colin Powell. Health concerns will be the reason given for Dick Cheney's retirement.
7) Although Gen. Wesley Clark and Howard Dean are the present front-runners, Dick Gephardt will be the Democratic candidate for president. His running mate will be someone from a key electoral state such as California, Florida or Illinois.
8) Bush will win the election in a landslide. Third parties, particularly the Libertarians and the Green Party, will fare much better than ever before.
I don't have a crystal ball but some things just seem inevitable. If weapons of mass destruction are ever to be discovered it will likely happen sometime in early 2004, when it would coincidentally make the biggest impact on the 2004 elections. If so, it would almost assuredly trigger the above scenario.
Whether or not we did the right thing by our incursion into Iraq will be debatable forever. Saddam Hussein was an evil beast who perpetrated torture and murder upon thousands of innocent human beings. Even if we never find weapons of mass destruction, the world is a better place now that he is no longer in a position of power. But by doing so, a giant can of worms has potentially been unleashed in the Middle East that may eventually spread throughout the world.
I may be entirely wrong in my speculations of foreseen events but time will tell. We've gotten ourselves into a global quagmire, for better or worse, and must not relent until a noble conclusion can be reached. As long as we resolutely insist upon common decency to all of humanity, we will prevail in the end.
One final prediction -- a year from now I'll write a column bragging about my prowess as a prognosticator or coming up with excuses as to why I was wrong. Either way, it gives me subject matter for another column. When you write a column every week you need to keep the flow of gibberish going and make it seem as though you actually have something worthwhile to say.
And when you run low on gibberish, you can always make predictions.