A Peek into the Clouded Future
Let's see what pundits see in their 2013 Seeing-Stones.
Nouriel Roubini @Nouriel tweets a really upbeat message. "Main 2013 global tails risks: US cliff, EZ crisis, China hard landing, war between Israel & Iran, Asia islands disputes causing conflict".
What did he miss? Well Syria for one. But the New York Times has that covered. "U.N. Seeks New Aid for Syria Crisis and Predicts 1 Million Refugees by Mid-2013".
He missed Africa for another. "France sees military intervention in Mali in six months." But they don't see France doing it.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday expected a possible military intervention to quash Islamist terrorists in northern Mali during the first six months of 2013.... Le Drian reiterated Paris' refusal to send French combat forces to the conflict-torn African country but it will provide technical support to African troops to retake northern Malian region from Islamist insurgents.
And there's Pakistan. Bruce Reidel of Brookings sees America continuing in the "deadly embrace" of Islamabad. His book "Deadly Embrace" now out on Amazon, describes how in the words of one reviewer, America is "paying rent to fight the roaches". And the Financial Times thinks Pakistan is going to need more rent. "Power shortages are only the most visible of a plethora of financial, social and political crises that threaten the viability of the feeble economy."
But not everyone sees gloom and doom. Neil Irwin at the Washington Post thinks a new golden age is dawning. He writes, "the stars are aligning for 2013 to be the beginning of a period of above-par growth." The debt has been paid down. Housing is back. Construction may boom. The finances of state and local governments are healthy again. [corrections thanks to Josh] It's morning in America, without the "u".
My own guess is that 2013 will be a mix of good and bad. No span of 365 days is ever all one thing or the other. The only trouble is that it will probably take till 2014 to figure out which things were good and which were bad.