Be on the Lookout for Major Outcomes
As always, a lot is on the horizon, much of it important. What follows is not the definitive list by any means, but the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I think about the following issues and potential outcomes. I would be major outcomes on the following items in the next 4-6 months, for better or worse.
Ukraine: The war is, unfortunately, not likely to end in this short time frame, but my sensing is that the expected Russian Spring offensive is not going to amount to much. They simply lack the capacity or skills at this time. So it may continue to be a slugfest, but if Ukraine can pull some rabbits out of the offensive operations hat, the Russians might finally find a face-saving way to end this atrocity. Failing that, Ukraine may at least be able to further box in and minimize the Russian presence. From now through the Summer, the potential for major shifts is present.
China/Taiwan: It really would make little sense for China to act aggressively toward the US just now, but they are feeling, and acting, belligerently, especially in the South China Sea. Recent US return to bases in the region has China antsy. The leader of China is feeling vulnerable personally on several counts. An actual conflict may be seen by some of the Chinese leadership as a much-wanted diversion. Any real shooting conflict has impressive risks for both parties, but I am raising my estimate to 50/50 in the coming months. I hope that is dead wrong.
Mass Migration to the US: This is a tough one, but I expect to see the current surge reduce markedly in the coming months. Biden has tried hard to deal with the problem in an efficient and humanitarian way, unlike Trump. But the reality is that the surge is just too large to handle. Communities along the border and in high traffic areas like New York City are deluged.
We simply have to reduce the flow, and part of that is getting the word out that just showing up at the border is not a winning strategy. I hope we can do better at screening people in their home countries, and that we continue to provide a place for those under political or other threats to their lives, but somewhere between a wall and open borders, there must be a better course of action.
Jimmy Carter Passes: The former president likely will pass soon, giving us reason to reflect on his legacy and the examples he strived to set. It feels odd, but his public obituary is already rolling out as he enters hospice care but is still with us. The Carter presidency is full of lessons, joyful and painful. Let’s hope we take the occasion of his passing, when it comes, to recommit to the good he espoused.
The National Debt: This train wreck is coming sooner rather than later. McCarthy has pledged default will not happen, and a bipartisan path to get there is clear, with the needed votes. But the Speaker has a large and noisy group who don’t care about governance. If he bucks them, they will set up a vote to recall him (a power he gave them to get their votes for Speaker). We most likely will pull off a solution at the last minute, but I am not as confident as I would like to be that we will do so. Pershaps someday yet we will legislate out of existence the deficit dance. If we passed laws to spend, the debt comes with it automatically. No other country runs this nonsense. Why should we do so?
JWST: The Webb Space Telescope continues to amaze and perform almost perfectly – even better than hoped. It seems that every week something completely unanticipated is discovered and shared with us. I, for one, cannot get enough. My bet is that we will have at least a couple of fundamental, unimaginable discoveries over the next few months. Prepare to be dazzled.
Books and Schools: The folks who like to burn books and gut history curricula are on a bit of a tear these days, but I see communities and educators starting to push back. The fight will go on (it always has), but in the current round, I think the good folks will win. One does not have to listen long to the crowd pushing this terrible agenda of denial to get their drift. In the end, I think most people want their kids educated and exposed to the world at large, not just some group’s fantasy land. In the end, truth will triumph. I hope.
See you next week.
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