So another year draws to a close, and as is my custom I’ll be looking back on my predictions for 2022 and having another bash for the year to come.
So this what my crystal ball showed last time:
(1) Russia to invade or annexe Ukraine but not start World War III
Well, Russia did indeed invade Ukraine, and despite a lot of hyperventilating from various politicians World War III has not ensued. The jury is still out on whether this will end well or ill for the Russians, but I’m going to claim a hit.
(2) China not to invade Taiwan and not start World War III either
If I can quote myself: “My prediction is for tension to keep on ratcheting up but without any actual explosion, at least in 2022.” Pretty much sums it up. If anyone, it’s been the US trying to stir up trouble rather than China, which has quite enough on its plate at the moment.
(3) Donald J. Trump to announce his candidature for the US Presidency
And so he has. Not that it has caused too much excitement yet.
(4) Scotland to demand another referendum on independence
Quoting myself again: “It is likely the courts will be involved. But my prediction is that there will be a serious official request to hold such a thing.” The Scottish government did indeed bring legal proceedings to try and establish if an independence referendum could be held in 2023 without Westminster’s approval. The Supreme Court said no, although that surely won’t be the end of the matter.
(5) Global supply-chains to deteriorate to the point of causing serious shortages
This has not happened on quite the scale I was expecting, I will admit. There are shortages of this and that – antibiotics, some other medications, specific foods (eggs, for example, at least in the UK) – but nothing apocalyptic. Then again we are entering a major recession, so there’s less demand for stuff and hence less strain on supply-chains.
Still, as Meat Loaf might have said, four out of five ain’t bad. So, what about 2023?
(1) The government of a major industrialised nation to face a serious popular uprising
I almost discarded this one when I heard about the recent shenanigans in Germany featuring an alleged plot to mount a coup as well as large-scale anti-government demonstrations, but I don’t think either of those things would quite count. I’m talking about something large-scale, well-organised, and threatening enough to provoke a substantial reaction from the government; something along the lines of the 1926 General Strike, say. It’s possible that the Canadian Truckers’ Convoy might already have been such a thing, but I don’t feel that I have sufficiently reliable information to say – I live a very long way away from Canada, and have no contacts there.
It doesn’t have to be successful, by the way; it probably won’t be. I’m just saying it’s likely to be tried. However, I’m not going to guess at which nation (or nations) will kick off, because there are too many plausible candidates.
(2) A resolution to the Ukraine conflict which is less unfavourable to Russia than the West would like
I am not saying that Russia will “win,” whatever winning might mean in the context. There may well not be a permanent settlement, at least not next year. What I predict is that (a) the active fighting will stop, and (b) Russian will get a reasonable measure of security on her western border, whatever that looks like.
If this happens, I would also predict that the mainstream will quickly forget that Ukraine exists and will start obsessing about something else, as they have (for example) with the wars in Syria, Yemen, various parts of Africa, et cetera. But that’s rather like predicting that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning.
(3) A major corporation will declare bankruptcy
And no, I’m not thinking about Twitter. (Or the
fairy gold cryptocurrency sector, come to that.) But I reckon at least one “household name” company will be revealed to be deep in the manure over the course of the next year. There are too many dubious business models being propped up by dubious money for this not to happen. Quite a few banks probably fall into that category, for one thing.
By the way, I’m still going to claim a partial hit if the corporation in question is acquired for a song by a rival and/or bailed out by the relevant government. That’s just more dubious money sloshing around.
(4) A country to leave/be expelled from the European Union
Again there are multiple candidates for exactly which country we’re talking about for this one. Hungary, Poland, and Italy are all possibilities. Leaving voluntarily is more likely than expulsion, as the good old UK has provided a precedent, if not an especially encouraging one.
I would probably admit that this is a fairly long shot for 2023, and is included here mostly because of my ghoulish curiosity to see exactly what the fallout might be. But it’s not impossible.
(5) A war to break out for control of one or more of the metals required to build EVs
This is going to be a tricky one to adjudicate, because of course the ostensible justification for the war will be something else. I remember a sardonic comment by a US General around the time of the First Gulf War to the effect that he wouldn’t be there if Kuwait’s principal export were carrots. I don’t expect to see that level of honesty in the future.
As for the specifics, I would expect either cobalt or lithium to be the metal in question, although there are plenty of others. Although many of these minerals are largely mined in China, of course it won’t be China on the receiving end. The picture is further complicated by the fact that some of the candidates for “liberation” already have wars going on – the Democratic Republic of Congo comes to mind.
But I am pretty sure something along these lines will be tried as it becomes clear that the ambitions expressed by several major(ish) industrialised nations to transition to EVs will require a lot in the way of physical resources. More, indeed, than are actually available, although you won’t hear that admitted publicly until it can be blamed on the reluctance of the evil [insert name of bad guys here] to roll over and just let us have their stuff.
So there you have it. If you’d like to chip in with your own predictions, or tell me why you think one or more of these won’t happen – well, feel free to leave a comment below!
Comments are welcome, but I do pre-moderate them to make sure they comply with the house rules.