The year of heated warfare and brazen exhilaration is over. 2005 will be a year of rolled up sleeves and the results of our choices. Not that the war in Iraq will end, but the worst of that conflict and the end of the political campaign leaves in its wake a time of settling in and working through the next steps.
There will never be a V-T Day, when we wave the flag, march in parades, and celebrate the surrender of the mortal enemy, Terrorism. And 2005 will be a continuation of that heated fight, and we will suffer casualties both at home and abroad. But the year will be one of progress at home and in foreign affairs. Not advancement that dazzles, but workmanlike, serious, and ultimately world-changing.
Here are 20 New Year Predictions from the Rooftop:
1. Iraq: There will be no meaningful reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq during 2005, and there may be an increase. However, the insurgency will begin losing its popular support and violence will decline.
2. Iran: The opposition in Iran will grow in strength and the government will accelerate meaningful reforms rather than face upheaval. There will be a thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations.
3. Palestinians: There will be significant progress on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, with Egypt and Jordan exercising a strong hand. A firm timetable will be set for the establishment of a Palestinian State.
4. Attack on the U.S.: As a result of the progress in the Middle East, those who do not benefit from the advance of democracy will turn to additional terror in the U.S. and attempt another major attack in 2005.
5. Deaths: There will be major losses in evangelical leadership, as key leaders die. As I’ve mentioned in this space, there is a generational shift in the evangelical community, with the entrepreneurs of the 1950’s passing or fading from active involvement. (Who will die in 2005, and what will the impact be? I’ve provided my 15 names to the morbid Dead Pool, competing to predict the most of those who will pass to the next life during 2005. Mine are a combination of religious leaders, statesmen, and heads of state, among others.)
6. Conservatives: Bush will begin falling out of favor with the most conservative groups, as more focus returns to domestic issues and he fails to deliver on their social priorities.
7. Evangelical Politics: The political high water mark will soon pass for the evangelicals, as leading evangelicals overplay their hand and politicians calculate that they will succeed in 2006 with more moderated positions.
8. Network Change: At least one of the major networks will make an attempt to bring more conservative viewpoints to its reports, but in a way that will be more showcasing than meaningful change.
9. Blogosphere: Blogging will explode, but there will be efforts to organize the blogosphere to create categories of bloggers, and to further separate types of blogs and degrees of professionalism.
10. Charity Scandal: There will be a major legal case against one or more charities, probably Trinity Broadcasting Network, but perhaps elsewhere. This will have a slight negative impact on charitable giving.
11. Supreme Court: Two Supreme Court seats vacancies will be created, one at Chief Justice. Bush will want only two confirmation battles, so he will nominate two new justices—a conservative for Chief Justice, and a moderate for Associate Justice. This will enrage just about everyone, but both will be confirmed.
12. Bin Laden: Osama Bin Laden will be captured or more likely killed, but the impact will be largely symbolic, since he has been ineffective hiding in a cave anyway.
13. Fair Tax: The Fair Tax movement will grow and progress will be made in the Congress, although passage is years away.
14. Radio: Democrats will push for a return of the Fairness Doctrine, as an attempt to defang the Republican advantage on talk radio. The effort will not succeed.
15. China: The growing business class in China will push for more civil freedoms as their economic power grows, and the Communist government will yield some ground.
16. Same-Sex Marriage: The homosexual community in America will change tactics, backing away from the same-sex marriage initiatives and seeking equal rights for homosexual couples without using “marriage” language. This will not raise the same red flags among many groups across the country.
17. Economics: There will be steady economic growth, and the stock market will continue its climb and end the year over 11,000.
18. Pharmaceuticals: The positive economic trends will be marred by the collapse of major pharmaceutical companies, fueled by massive class action suits.
19. Social Security: Social security restructuring will see some progress in 2005 because of a relentless campaign by the Bush administration. Fear of demagoguery will prevent meaningful reform, but the steps taken will be seen—in retrospect—as the beginning of serious change.
20. EU: The European Union will seek to flex its muscle and establish itself as a major economic and political competitor to the United States—opposing the U.S. on key international and trade policies. The U.S. will shrug and turn to the Far East.
That’s the view from our rooftop. How do you see the New Year forming up? Share your predictions or argue with ours.