I have a blog post up at American Thinker that examines that question and, since I am not blessed with the gift of second sight, come to no definitive conclusion.
However, a short list of the challenges facing the US and the world will show there is little cause for optimism:
We are likely to find out rather quickly just how bad 2012 could be. In a couple of weeks, the first of several bond sales by Italy will commence – a total for the first quarter alone of over $115 billion – and there is fear that investors will drive the cost of borrowing beyond what Italy can pay.
Greece, also, is facing an uncertain year as austerity measures begin to make life painful for most of the country.
Either one of those nations could still precipitate a crisis that could push the world economy into a severe recession – or worse.
Then there is the prospect of war with Iran and the unknown consequences that would ensue. There are also unanswered questions about whether the Syrian uprising will spread, what might be the consequences of a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, and the chance that Iraq will disintegrate into sectarian violence again.
What might happen in South America if Hugo Chavez were to die? Can Mexico successfully battle the drug cartels and prevent the violence from increasing in America? And what about China’s economy and the real estate bubble that is just now beginning to burst?
As for America, can Obama survive the worst economy in several generations and win re-election?
The potential for catastrophe is actually greater in 2012 than it was in 2011. Whether world leaders can manage these numerous crises and potential crises and bring us all safely through to celebrate the advent of 2013, or we will continue to muddle through, kicking the can down the road and go into next year no better off – or worse – than we are now.
There is nothing that has happened in the last year that would give us hope that world leaders can do what is necessary to stave off economic disaster — or prevent other catastrophes like Iran building a nuclear weapon. The tough decisions are continuously put off for another day, delaying the inevitable confrontation with disaster. Each time we kick the can down the road, the ultimate solutions become harder to implement. Every failure in this regard makes the pain inflicted that much more difficult to endure.
Is it possible to be optimistic? No doubt the ostrich is feeling pretty good. Other than him, I doubt it.