As it's New Year's Eve, I figured I'd reminisce on some of the big fails of the past decade and make some predictions for the next decade. Here goes, my bottom ten moments of the decade:
1) "I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." – Dick Cheney, March 16, 2003
2) "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." – Dick Cheney, on the Iraq insurgency, June 20, 2005
3) “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. For those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them." – George W. Bush, May 29, 2003
4) “I recognize we didn't find the stockpiles [of weapons] we all thought were there.” – George W. Bush, Sept. 9, 2004
5) "It's a slam-dunk case." – CIA Director George Tenet, discussing WMD in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2002
6) “We’re busy exporting Democracy abroad to Afghanistan and Iraq, which is fine, but what we really need to do is a better job at making our Democracy work right here at home.” John Kerry, May 22, 2005
7) "All of 'em, any of 'em that have been in front of me over all these years." --Sarah Palin, unable to name a single newspaper or magazine she reads, Oct. 1, 2008
8) "[The Federal Reserve] utterly failed to prevent the financial crisis." – Commissioner Brooksley Born, questioning former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, April 7, 2010
9) "You could not construe what [Goldman Sachs] did as anything other than deliberate and disruptive... We're not going to let the American people be played for chumps here." FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides, June 7, 2010
10) "To the passenger who called me a motherfucker, fuck you., I've been in this business for years and that's it I've had it." – Air steward Steven Slater, who grabbed two bottles of beer and slid down the emergency chute after being abused by a passenger. (OK, this isn't a fail. Kudos to Slater for pulling a Zidane.)
Here are my ten predictions for the next decade (bear in mind that I have no crystal ball or insider info, and am speculating – this is, after all, just a blog):
1) With Chinese influence growing rapidly in Latin America, the Western Hemisphere becomes divided by a frosty cold war-style relationship. The threat to the US is not nuclear, it's economic. The Left in Latin America grows stronger than ever thanks to Chinese backing. Migration to the United States slows, as Latin Americans move increasingly within Central and South America, and to Mexico.
2) The European Union collapses, Germany tries to lead its neighbors out of the muddle.
3) After US troops withdraw from Afghanistan, China and Russia move in to exploit all mineral wealth in the region. (They're already doing this, but I am predicting increased on-the-ground activity and collaboration/deal-making). The Taliban grows stronger and the Afghan people don't profit from any of this.
4) The white American upper-middle class begins to move out of suburbia, being replaced by Asian-Americans and Hispanics, who are striving harder than ever to achieve that dream.
5) George P. Bush is elected president of the United States in 2016. After 8 years of Obama (and a highly successful second term), Republicans manage to take power again and make people forget about the previous Bush era by bringing in a Latino Bush.
6) Mexico "conquers" its cartels, and Chinese organized crime syndicates take over the gangs still smuggling into the United States. Consumption does not diminish. Colombia remains the major producer in the region.
7) The economic crisis and post-war years spur a period of innovation in the United States. Small business, entrepreneurialism, community and the arts flourish, ushering in a new era of what I will call compassionate capitalism.
8) China finds itself at risk of collapse, as its political regime continues to clash with its increasingly powerful capitalists. The United States, sensing an opportunity, steps in to smooth over the conflict and regain leverage over the Chinese. (How it does this is beyond my realm of knowledge, I just like the sound of this.)
9) Shi’a, Sunni and Kurdish factions fail to maintain a cohesive government in Iraq. But fears of Iraq descending into civil war do not materialize – Iran's silent hand manages to prop up Shi'a power in the country just enough to ensure stability.
10) West Africa emerges as a hub of terrorism and organized crime. Countries like Yemen, once believed to be threats but under constant surveillance, simply slip into the background.