Looking into the New Year – what can we look forward to in 2012?

Summary:  Yesterday’s post looked backwards (How accurately did the FM website forecast events in 2011?).  Today we look forward.  What can we expect in 2012? In brief, lots of action — but few endings.

The real challenge in strategy is not in finding the data, nor even in its analysis; in the internet age, bucket-loads of data are readily available, while much econometric analysis is relatively straightforward; instead, the true challenge is to properly assess the functional relevance of the various phenomena. If one is looking at the wrong variables, one will of necessity predict the wrong outcomes …
— Eric Kraus, Truth and Beauty, 14 December 2011

“Always in motion is the future.”
— Yoda, Jedi-Knight

The FM website exists for two reasons:

  • To help readers better understand the geopolitics of our world, and how it’s changing;
  • to awaken Americans from their slumber, so we can retake the Republic.

So with the focus provided by those goals, what can we guess about 2012?


Update:  To put 2012 in context, historians might see 2011 as the tipping point for the Republic.  The climax of the rapid decay since 9-11, when our ruling elites realized our weakness — and exploited it.  Now comes the consolidation of their quiet coup, and the attempts at a counter-revolution (probably unsuccessful).

  1. The Constitution will continue to die, sliding ever-faster into the grave.  The American people will continue to slumber while our ruling elites increase their power.
  2. Obama will continue to govern with a center-right policy mix, continuing what is in effect Bush Jr’s third term.
  3. The GOP will continue to describe Obama as a radical leftist (with their unaffiliated action groups describing him as a illegitimate President, perhaps even Moslem).
  4. The 2012 Presidential election will be decided on two axises:  the economy and the GOP’s ability to select a strong candidate — or one that can be sold to the  American people as such.  As they have done with cardboard candidates like Dole in 1996 (age 63), McCain in 2008 (age 72) — and perhaps with Ron Paul in 2012 (age 76).
  5. The GOP will continue their “the worse, the better” tactics to prevent any effective public policy action by the US government in 2012.  So 2013 will be the year of decision for America, out next opportunity for major reforms.
  6. The US will continue its mad crusade against fundamentalist Islam — bombing people across the globe– its public support driven by information operations run against the American people by the US government.
  7. Our foreign wars (Iraq and Af-Pak) will continue to wind down. As the adrenalin high of the wars fade, we’ll see the damage they’ve inflicted on the US military (see here for details).
  8. The craft of the Navy and Air Force will continue to age, as the Services are unable to convince Congress of the necessity to buy replacements.
  9. The Marine Corps will continue to search for its next life, torn between the nation’s need for a 4GW-savvy mobile striking force and its institutional fantasy to be a second Army.


  • The Euro-crisis will accelerate, perhaps even to a conclusion.
  • Currency flight will continue from the periphery.
  • Europe will slide into recession, probably a severe recession.
  • The combination will shake the foundations of Europe’s political and economic regimes.  We can only guess at the result.


  • China’s (and East Asia’s) economy will continue to slow; the resulting stress will provide the greatest stress on the regime since the period following Mao’s death.  We’ll learn the validity of the China doomsters’ theories.  For a good summary of the situation see today’s column by Paul Krugman: “Will China Break?


  • The facade of the global warming crusade will continue to crack, showing the evolving but still uncertain science behind it. Public confidence in science will be the greatest casualty.
  • Cyberwar will become the primary terrain for small wars between nations, replacing proxy wars in the Third World (more on this another day).
  • 4GW will continue to become the dominate form of violent conflict in this century, both within and between nations.

Some of the unknowns for 2012

The effect of slow solar cycle 24 on Earth’s climate?  Solar scientists will learn much from this cycle.

Will the ENSO continue to cool the Pacific (with more and stronger La Nina than El Nino cycles)?  More cooling might disrupt crops, boost food prices, and destabilized less-developed nations in East Asia and Latin America.

Will Obama (desperate for re-election) or Israel (desperate, seeing the ranks of its friends dwindle and its enemies gain power) attack Iran? Often history turns on illogical decisions.

For More Information

See these FM Reference Pages for more posts on these topics:

  1. Predictions – how do they look now?
  2. Forecasts – possible futures for America and the World
  3. Speculation about the future by western military and intelligence agencies, section 6 on Intelligence agencies – how they work, how they don’t

12 thoughts on “Looking into the New Year – what can we look forward to in 2012?”

  1. Will drone warfare continue to look as attractive and game changing now that the Iranians have taken a cutting edge example, whole and intact?

    Air power, and particularly the promise of drone warfare is reminding me of pre-WW1 European militaries. They’d gone so long without fighting a serious opponent that they all had wildly overestimated their own strength. In the same way, 20 years of fighting nations with at best vintage soviet equipment seems to have gotten people talking about “Global reach” and “Precision targeting”.

    1. At one point beyond visual range air-to-air combat was the future as well. The problem came when they designed weapons and tactics for the future without considering the realities of the present.

      In this case, it seems as though the assumed capabilities of drones are far in advance of what their demonstrated ability is when operating in the teeth of serious resistance.

      1. “the assumed capabilities of drones are far in advance of what their demonstrated ability ”

        That’s usually the case with military technology, which often leads people to underestimate the potential of new technology. That’s almost always a mistake.

  2. Hopefully we dont get a solar emp or anything in this upcoming solar cycle. Ive read that strong flares can occur during weak solar cycles.

    What do you forsee on the oil price and peak oil situation in 2012?

    1. (1) There is no basis on which to worry more now than any other day about about a large solar storm. It is foolish to pick one of the thousand major danagers and obsess about it. For more about this see:

      (a) Impacts of Severe Space Weather on the Electric Grid, JASON Defense Advisoy Panel, November 2011 — How might space weather affect the electric grid?

      (b) “Severe Space Weather Events: Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts“, National Academy of Sciences, May 2008 — The summary is here.</

      (2) The world has more than ample excess oil production capacity for 2012. Probably 2013 as well, even with rapid global growth in 2012-13 (which is IMO unlikely). Plus, natural gas output will probably surge during the next few years as the new drilling methods are applied in other nations.

    2. I can see why rapid economic growth is unlikely with oil prices shooting up again.

      Why Oil Prices Are Killing the Economy“, Gregor Macdonald, Chris Marstenson.com, 19 December 2011

      A Severe Decrease in Oil Supply Could Devastate the World Population“, Professor Chris Rhodes Prof Chemistry 1994-2003, Liverpool John Moores University), OilPrice.com, 20 December 2011

      Gerald Celente Warns of 2012: Economy Will Crash, Banks Will Close, Chaos Will Ensue, Military Will Take Over“, Mac Slavo, SHTF (S*** Hit the Fan), 16 December 2011

      Video: “Peak Oil Facts“, Richard Heinberg, 16 June 2008 — Part of the “Why Are Things Falling Apart?” series.

      Lets hops so cause the news doesent look good.

      1. I’ll look at these. But IMO your comments are more useful as an indication of American decline due to our love of ignorance. When you cite The Economist or some other reliable source, then we can pop the corks — America might be waking up and embracing reality. The first step to national renewal.

      2. “Lets hops so cause the news doesent look good.”

        There is no news here. Not even any information. Just the usual tripe you post, most of this is just speculation that ignores the actual research done on the issue (ie Macdonald), fringe theories (ie, Rhodes, who leads with the discredited abiotic theory of oil’s origin), wild guessing about the future (ie, Salvo), and confident misrepresentation and exaggeration (ie, Heinberg).

  3. “The craft of the Navy and Air Force will continue to age, as the Services are unable to convince Congress of the necessity to buy replacements.”

    I have to disagree with you here. Congress understands the need to replace the Navy’s and Air Force’s fighter fleet. Unfortunately, Lockheed Martin has done an outstandingly poor job of running the F-35 program and it is now years behind schedule and billions over budget.

    I’d say the real problem are the existence of just two companies able to manufacture combat aircraft in the US (Boeing and Lockheed Martin.) Many critics warned the F-35’s development and production schedule couldn’t be met but Lockheed was too big, too rich, and too well-connected in Congress to stop.

    1. Not so. The problems with the F-35 might reduce the tiny numbers of the planned production run, but even if plans were executed in full the aircraft fleet would shrink.

      There are no plans to replace the current numbers of US military aircraft and ships. The cost is prohibative using current and planned aircraft and ships.

  4. Ezra Klein discusses the odds of progress in 2013

    Gingrich and Romney have the same problem“, Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 14 December 2011 — Conclusion:

    At the end of the day, the GOP will nominate somebody for president. And that individual is likely to have supported some policies that are now associated with President Obama. There will be some groveling, but eventually, Republicans will forgive such youthful indiscretions. The bigger problem will be if that individual wins.

    At that point, they’ll need actual solutions for the problems facing the nation. But the Republican Party has ruled out an individual mandate to help with health-care reform, a cap-and-trade program to mitigate global warming and speed the development of renewable energy options, tax increases to help reduce the deficit, and stimulus to help boost the economy. That leaves a potential GOP president with a lot of problems to solve, but few workable policies with which to solve them.

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