An appropriate mind game for the beginning of a new year, a new presidency, perhaps even a new era in IR: what are your predictions for the coming two years, what developments are we to witness between now and 2011, what themes and topics will dominate the international headlines, what will be our (America’s) prime concerns?
Imagine you’re a political novelist expected to deliver a spy thriller set in the Middle East in mid 2010, to hit bookstores in the fall of 2011. What do you anticipate the public’s interest to be? Resource wars (oil ”“ a bit trite, isn’t it? ”“ water), new developments in the ”œwar on terror” (although I hope this phrase to no longer exist in 2011), private military contractors gone berserk, Iranian nuclear enrichment, the never-ending quest for peace in Israel/Palestine, the economic rise of the Gulf States, the quagmire the US faces in Afghanistan/Pakistan, the future of Iraq after US withdrawal? Most important, do you think the American public will continue to be interested in developments abroad at all or is the coming recession going to overshadow everything and turn readers’ demands from tales from foreign shores to bread and butter issues at home, is America going to experience an isolationist revival?
Perhaps all this won’t matter as former KGB analyst, Russian professor Igor Panarin predicts a breakup of the US (check out the map!) for June 2011. According to him, Sarah Palin will have a Russian passport, Californians the Yuan as their currency, and Sean Paul will have to return home to San Antonio via immigrations in Ciudad Mexico by then.
Let’s share well-grounded thoughts, estimations, predictions, forecasts, prophecies (no end time scenarios and nothing like the above wishful thinking, please)in an open thread, the more the better!
I’m glad you all enjoy debating Professor Panarin’s pipe dreams, but that was only meant as an amusing side note. What I’m truly interested in is your take on whether the current recession will overshadow interest in the wider Middle East among American fiction readers. Please share your thoughts with me on that one, too!