If there is any quantum of solace for the Obama administration, it might be that 2016 could make 2015 look good.
Here are five bad moments that might happen in 2016:
5. Year of the Euroskeptic
Obama is heavily invested in the “European project.” In fact, if he could have his way, the U.S. and Europe would be twin nanny super-states straddling the Atlantic. But may come to a screeching halt in 2016. The European Union (EU) is already under pressure after the Euro-crisis, the Ukraine crisis, and the recent flood of refugees from the Middle East. Now, the political ranks of the euroskeptics — those opposed to the EU — are growing. Great Britain could vote for “Brexit,” a referendum to opt out of the EU this year. The new Polish government is riddled with euroskeptics. 2016 could be the beginning of the end.
4. Caliphate Strikes Back
Both Washington and Baghdad are crowing about pushing ISIS out of Ramadi. The happy face could be short lived. The anti-ISIS forces have not really been tested. Most of the fighters left town before the government troops showed up. And, in a part of the world where honor is “power,” ISIS will want to find a way to take back the initiative to show it still has a winning hand. Watch out.
3. Iran Deal Dissolves
There are already signs that both sides are getting grumpy. Iran recently fired a rocket to within a hair’s breadth of a U.S. aircraft carrier—not a friendly gesture. Congress just imposed new visa restrictions, which angered Tehran. All of this rubbing the wrong way is bound to get worse. The deal may never be fully implemented.
2. North Korea Gets Nasty
This one is kind of a gimme. Sooner or later, Pyongyang always does something provocative. The Great Leader is overdue. Expect another nuclear test or ballistic missile firing.
1. More Transnational Terrorist Attacks
The number of attacks aimed at the U.S. is getting bigger. They are happening more frequently. It could just be a matter of time. If the next plot has clear links to terrorist groups overseas, the administration will face enormous pressure to respond. It may be past time for the U.S. to rethink what it is doing to stop the global Islamist insurgency directed at us.
Oh yeah. Happy New Year!