The Year Ahead Cuba, Rio, North Korea and more: 2016

In the year ahead there will be many things no doubt which will happen. Some of them are predictable like birthdays, others are not like when will ISIS be defeated. The following below is a list of things that can be expected to happen for the upcoming year.

North Korean Nuclear Test: In the final year of President Obama’s presidency the North Korean’s can be expected to show a display of strength by conducting the second nuclear weapons test of Kim Jong-Un’s tenure as supreme leader. Indeed reports surfaced on reputable twitter feeds that North Korea had obtained enough plutonium recently for as many as 6-8 nuclear weapons. This is a development which should be troubling to all. Saber rattling is nothing new in North Korea and should be treated with the deference it deserves, particularly with such an erratic and irrational regime such as the North Korean’s. 2016 is shaping up to be no different.

North Korean Succession Fight: The North Koreans have been inculcated into the Kim dynasties communist cult. It makes no difference then that if it is Kim Jong-Un, or Kim il Sung who dies, there will be grieving. The sort of unstable situation which could bring about a succession fight is as thus. Kim Jong-Un is soaring to new heights of popularity over the success of his regimes economic policies. He is at his absolute pinnacle when one day his plane crashes as he takes it out for a spin above the Paektu sky. When it goes down his wife and young daughter are aboard instantly killing all of them. His succession plan calls for his sister to assume the reigns of power which she dutifully does. A rescue effort is underway to recover his body, and that of his family. However, while that is happening a succession fight erupts in Pyongyang led by those newly empowered in the regime by the amount of wealth which the young Kim brought to the family. With so much on the line including possibly loose nuclear weapons it becomes apparent that the United States and its South Korean ally must do something to prevent the company from completely collapsing. This situation would present an instant dilemma whose repercussions would possibly be felt for many decades to come. Whomever is in power should this dilemma plays out should proceed carefully and choose wisely, the fate of millions is at stake.

Russia and the Olympics: Over the Olympics in first 2008 (the Georgian invasion), and the Winter Olympics of 2014 (the Ukrainian invasion), the Russians have always found away to cause trouble for the United States. With the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections upcoming after the summer games I expect for this year to be no different. The question though is what? I suspect something in Europe, or Eurasia, but I would not be surprised if this time Putin decides to think outside of the box. Here is my best pitch: with the U.S. rapprochement with Cuba going along swimmingly it seems likely to me that as Cuba realigns itself with the western world it will leave room for Russia to seek out partners in former Cuban allies, namely Venezuela. The idea that Russia seeks a naval base in south America is not new. In fact it is rumored that they sought a deal with the Cubans, before relations began to warm between them, and the United States. However, President Obama closes Guantanamo Bay, visits the island of Cuba, and firmly seals relations between the two countries. It should come as no surprise then, when Russia at the height of the summer games in Rio, signs a deal with Venezuela for a military base with a substantial lease. This comes as a surprise to all including the U.S. who had recently been shown favor by the Cubans and so then were surprised by the sudden and substantial moves made by the two countries.

ISIS Tet like offensive in spring or summer: ISIS will once again be on the plate of the American President. This year will be no different for a group that prides itself on its ferocity and brutality. ISIS has been planning an offensive all winter moving equipment into Iraq via the northern route which links Ar-Raqqa with Mosul. By the beginning of spring 40 percent of their heavy equipment has made it into mosul for the counter-offensive. its brutal and as usual lightning fast catching everyone including the american off balance. a humanitarian crisis in northern Iraq ensues. The bulk of the gains are made down south to Tikrit and to the east in and around Irbil. This constitutes a major defeat in the final year of the Obama Administration that had been spinning rhetoric claiming that over 40 percent of ISIS’ territory had been taken from them, and that ISIS was a group on the decline.

Iranian Nuclear Agreement is set in stone: with the physical dismantlement of Parchin and other parts of the Iranian nuclear program the sanctions that the U.S. has levied against Iran were finally lifted and Iran concedes on the matter finally stepping away from the precipice of war. The nuclear inspectors for the IAEA and the JCPoA are allowed to conduct their work inside of Iran unabated and report that Iran is in compliance handing a resounding victory to the Obama Administration that had once contemplated, along with Israel, nuclear attacks on these very same facilities that have now been dismantled and are under compliance.

Spratly Islands Dispute continues to simmer: With the recent sale in December of 2015 to Taiwan of Pac-3 patriot missile defense systems by the U.S. the Chinese press ahead with plans to build military bases on reclaimed territory off the coast of Vietnam, and the Philippines. The U.S. continues to send highly advanced warships near the islands touching off an international dispute, while the Chinese respond in kind with purchases of Russian military equipment, and the domestic development of conventional missile capabilities. The problem is eventually passed to President Obama’s successor who continues the policies of the Obama Administration without any standard deviation.

Some of these things will almost surely transpire. Others will not. But all were predicted by me. Happy New Year and I look forward to writing for you on all the latest International affairs here at thanks, Kevin

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