One of the primary reasons for the hurried construction of The Blast of War and its forthcoming sequel (which I hope to have ready for release in the next few weeks) A Land War in Asia is that much of the timeline I set forth for the hypothetical Third World War depicted therein takes place in the very near future and it has always been my hope to have the full work (which will, when complete, total in the range of 200,000 words) finished before any of it comes to pass. Of course, the altruistic motive for doing this is to illustrate the very dangerous path that we are presently on in the hopes that someone in power will execute a course correction. The more selfish motive is so that, when much of what I have written actually happens, I can point to my words and say, “I told you so.” In the latter spirit more than the former I thought I would take a few moments, as I procrastinate over the conclusion to A Land War in Asia to review a few of the predictions made in The Blast of War that have already been realized or begun to be realized in some form.
Let’s consider some news from recent weeks which point towards the fulfillment of a few of the prophecies I made in The Blast of War:
China’s boom will transform into bust, with global consequences:
Scattered bits of data – obviously the Chinese government’s official figures ought to be regarded with some skepticism – point an alarming picture. China has experienced a property boom much like that seen in the West a few years ago. The fall, however, appears to have marked the tipping point – with housing prices in most markets having begun to experience month-over-month declines. The Shanghai Composite is down 22% in 2011 after falling 14% in 2010. Violent protests in one Chinese village – Wukan – have escalated to the point that the central authorities have lost control there.
Asia’s problems will be complicated by the revival of American manufacturing:
I’m fond of quoting (in fact, I believe I invoke it in the book) Mark Steyn’s remark that, “China will grow old before it grows rich” but, as I have pointed out in the past, the arc of history augers ill for China in the medium-term as well. China’s newfound prosperity is almost entirely dependent upon the use of cheap labor to export manufactured goods to the West. This is not a long-term solution, in my view, because the rapid advance of technology will soon make local and automated production cheaper than even than the lowest-paid human laborers. When that day comes – and I think it’s coming sooner than anyone realizes – where will that leave China? It will make that nation a powder keg consisting of a billion and a half people, many of them young men doomed to never find wives as a result of that nation’s population policy, governed by an authoritarian government whose raison d’être has just vanished.
Europe will continue to attempt to patch over its problems rather than solve them:
One of my constant fears in writing has been that the European Union and the Euro will blow apart faster than I predicted, thus forcing me to either diverge my narrative from the real world or to conduct a massive rewrite. Instead, the European establishment has behaved exactly in the way that I predicted, refusing to confront its core problems and instead embracing one desperate patch after another. Like addicts who will do anything for a fix there appears to be no level to which the Eurocrats will not sink in an effort to preserve their dream of a European superstate. At the time I first made it I felt that my prediction that the European political class would resort to military force rather than abandon the Euro was perhaps the most far-fetched part of my story. Now I am not nearly so certain.
Britain will extricate itself from the European Union:
Here is one area where I feel that it’s possible that I missed the mark by just a little bit – though we shall see if that is the case in the end.
I have never believed that Britain would, in the end, agree to bind its fate to the continent. Its destiny ought to rest with the rest of the English-speaking peoples. I therefore feel that my predictions have been vindicated to some degree by David Cameron’s decision to use Britain’s veto to protect the City of London from the ravages of new regulations and obligations that might have been imposed by a strengthened bureaucracy in Brussels.
In my book I predicted that Britain would secede from the European Union. I still believe – and fervently hope – that this will be so someday. It increasingly appears that such a move would be a popular one among the British people. Indeed, since his veto Prime Minister Cameron has seen his Conservative Party once again overtake Labour in the polls.
Where I may have erred is in the matter of Cameron himself. I personally believed that Britain’s Europhile political class would never acquiesce in any move against the EU by the British government and that it would therefore require a political realignment to make such a thing a reality. David Cameron, he of the “Big Society” did not appear to be a likely candidate to make such a stand and perhaps, in the end, he will not be. But perhaps he will after all.
Obama will be re-elected thanks to a divided opposition:
Finally, though I have repeatedly stated that I think that President Obama will not be re-elected given his standing in the polls and the state of the economy some eleven months before the election, The Blast of War sketches out a scenario in which he might be re-elected even under conditions where he ought to be defeated. Specifically, in my book Obama wins the election with roughly the same 40% of the vote that George McGovern and Walter Mondale won while losing forty-nine states each. He does this as a result of the presence of two independent candidates in the race who split the vote with the regular Republican nominee. Given that Ron Paul, Donald Trump, and Jon Huntsman have all made noises about running third party campaigns, this is a possibility that ought not be dismissed too lightly. Certainly the Obama campaign and its many friends in the media, being fully seized of the severity of the situation, will actively work behind the scenes to encourage such an outcome.
Anyways, these are just a few thoughts. I suppose I ought to get back to work on Volume Two.