2013: Predictions for the Year Ahead

by Shihang

Happy new year everybody! It has been a long time since I have been excited about a year, but 2013 is different. This is the year I pass out of the Singaporean system, I go to college and fly the coop, so to speak. It is a year to look forward to.

It also promises to be an exciting year for the world. 2012 will take some topping, but I believe 2013 is up to the task. In fact, I’ll put my neck on the line and make the following predictions about how things will go hilariously wrong this year.

1. Washington becomes ungovernable, President resorts to a nuclear deadline for ongoing debt deficit negotiations

After Congress failed to pass Mitch McConnell and Vice President Biden’s “small deal” and triggered the deflationary fiscal cliff, President Obama, evidently frustrated and running short of options, has proposed a so-called “nuclear deadline” for the continuing talks.

“America needs a solution and she needs it fast,” the President said in a speech delivered in Washington today, “which is why I have ordered the movement of 500 of our nuclear warheads to the basement of Capitol Hill. If we pass February without an agreement, the nuclear deadline will trigger and explode in a massive atomic blast, laying waste to the congressmen, their aides and much of the nation’s capital. I hope this will spur Democrats and Republicans to an agreement.”

The Speaker of the House John Boehner has criticised the President’s plan as irresponsible brinksmanship, and resorting to mass murder to achieve the Democrats’ agenda. “Some Representatives have made their position clear to the government,” he continues, “no deal can be made that does not involve massive tax cuts for selected billionaires and cuts to all programmes that do not benefit the wealth-creating citizens of this country, giant fiery conflagration of doom or not.”

On the other hand, economist Paul Krugman has come down in favour of the President’s plan for finally coming down hard on recalcitrant Republicans. “Further more, the rebuilding necessary after an apocalyptic explosion will surely have stimulative effects on the economy,” he added.

2. Years of secret research pays off; North Korea becomes world superpower after developing Gundam robots

The reclusive communist state has experienced a startling reversal of fortunes recently after its scientists successfully developed a series of robotics technologies that bear a startling resemblance to the robots from the hit anime, Gundam. Over night, the robots have taken over all productive functions in the economy, boosting GDP a hundred times over and allowing all citizens to enjoy a life of leisure after communist redistribution of the gargantuan returns to capital.

“It wasn’t always easy putting our future in the hands of scientists who may or may not have developed groundbreaking robots that resemble well-known anime characters,” Kim Jong-Un, former Supreme Leader (the country is now post-political), said tearfully. “But I’m glad I persisted in my father’s and grandfather’s madness and belief in juche.”

The sudden enrichment of the hermit kingdom has led to a cultural flowering as well, with North Korea’s Department for Communication scoring a surprising hit single in the US charts with their adaptation of a 2012 song. Their single “Gundam style” is accompanied by a spectacular video featuring Gundam robots dancing in the Himalayan mountains and in space.

3. Palestinian scientist’s invention of pocket dimensions leads to an anti-climatic end to Arab-Israeli tensions

In another scientific triumph, a Palestinian scientific team announced the discovery of pocket dimensions, an achievement that quickly led to the relocation of the Palestinian state to the dimension.

The science behind the move is still unclear at this point, although one prevalent hypothesis has to do with the vibration of strings in string theory. “There could be over hundreds of such dimensions,” one researcher, who declined to be named, said, “the potential for the development of the human race is immense.” Palestine has laid claim to all these dimensions and all natural resources found within them.

In a surprising side-effect, Palestinian have agreed to cede disputed territories completely to Israel. In a statement, Mahmoud Abbas said, “with all these natural resources and vast swathes of land that our scientists have found, quarreling with Israel over an eggshell seems a little childish. They can have it; our people’s migration to our new holdings will commence immediately.”

When asked for comment at the sudden resolution of a centuries old conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared dazed by the reversal. “Well to be honest, it was a massive shock for us all,” he mumbled, “I mean, the boys were all set to go. We have been prepping for this push for years.” When asked if he was pleased by this unconventional two-state solution, he expressed uncertainty. “Well, in a way, we did win, and we still have Jerusalem, which is good,” he said,” but at the same time, I am a little bummed out that Abbas got such a good deal. Isn’t there some way to claim that this move on their part is some sort of unilateral aggression?”

4. European leaders propose divisive solution to Eurozone woes, raising spectres of the past

European leaders continue to grapple with economic uncertainties, as the latest set of currency runs occurred on East European economies. A faction in Brussels proposing a division solution has reportedly gained traction.

“The idea is simple,” MEP Milos Janik, one of the architects of the proposal, tells us,” Europe has a two-speed economy: the well-developed economies of France, Germany and the Scandinavian states on one hand, less developed economies of the East and the Mediterranean region on the other. An administrative division into two Eurozones with separate Central Banks and monetary policies will be better able to cope with the crisis in weaker countries without affecting healthier Western economies.”

The plan has been greeted with some alarm, with some accusing Mr. Janik’s faction of retrogressing to a pre-1989 division. Mr. Janik denies the similarity. “Well it can, for convenience, be called East and West Europe, although I can see why historically speaking that might be confusing,” he admits. He however notes that the split between the two regions is not ideological. “Prudent fiscal governance and economic-friendly policy is not exactly an ideology,” he says, a little scoffingly.

But even supporters of Mr. Janik admit that there are kinks to be worked out. Particularly divisive is the matter of the Common Market, one of the key attractions of the European Union. “There is a lot of debate about the trade relations between the two blocs if the plan goes through. There is a vocal minority that calls for continued free trade but practically, there will be some barriers to trade,” a Brussels insider says. “Enforcement will be an issue as well. The borders between East and West Europe are particularly porous, so I have heard proposals for some sort of physical barrier, a fence of some sort, perhaps a wall.”