What will happen in 2018? Take my quiz

UNPREDICTABILITY IS THE hallmark of the new world disorder. No year in living memory as astonishing as 2017. When it began, few could have imagined that the United States would trash its alliance with Europe, support a savage bombing campaign in Yemen, re-ignite conflicts with Cuba and Iran, and cozy up to brutes like those ruling Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Philippines.

The most striking development in the world during 2017 was the change in America’s global role. Rather than seek to stabilize troubled regions, we became the premier geopolitical arsonist. As we weakened ourselves with astonishingly self-defeating policies, other countries stepped in to fill the power vacuum. The world has always been a puzzle, but now it more resembles a three-dimensional chess game wrapped in a Rubik’s Cube.

In the past, specialists with experience and expertise were best positioned to predict the course of world events. That is no longer true. Today, anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s. It is the ultimate democratization of punditry. What will happen in 2018? Let your imagination — and your fears — run wild.

1. By the end of 2018, the president of the United States will be

a) Donald Trump

b) Mike Pence

c) Paul Ryan

d) General James Mattis as chief of a military junta

2. The Secretary of State will be

a) Rex Tillerson

b) Mike Pompe

c) Nikki Haley

d) Rand Paul

3. President Vladimir Putin of Russia will

a) send troops to invade a European country

b) sign a friendship treaty with China

c) compete as an independent athlete at the Winter Olympics

d) grant political asylum to Donald Trump

4. Hillary Clinton will

a) continue blaming Putin and Susan Sarandon for her election loss

b) start a support group for victims of sexual predation

c) be indicted

d) finally fade away

5. If war erupts, the aggressor will be

a) Russia

b) Saudi Arabia

c) North Korea

d) the United States

6. The new national leader with the biggest impact on the world will be

a) Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for turning Mexico against the United States

b) Silvio Berlusconi, for proving the eternal appeal of geriatric scoundrels

c) Imran Khan, for definitively pulling Pakistan out of the US orbit

d) Andrei Navalny, for upsetting Putin as a write-in candidate and leading Russia into NATO

7. Kim Jong Un will call Donald Trump

a) a baying hyena of imperialism

b) a lily-liver’d boy

c) a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward

d) a great peacemaker

8. Trump will tweet that Kim Jong Un is

a) so sad

b) so fat

c) so ungrateful

d) so dead

9. The United States will send more troops to

a) Afghanistan

b) Syria

c) Africa

d) all of the above

10. The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to

a) Federica Mogherini, foreign affairs chief of the European Union, for showing that Europe can be a more responsible world leader than the United States

b) Ahmet Sik, Sahin Alpay, and Ahmet Altan, as representatives of imprisoned Turkish journalists

c) Bangladesh, for accepting masses of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar

d) Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, as exemplars of female resistance to America’s “long war.”

11. The winner of the soccer World Cup will be

a) Brazil

b) Spain

c) France

d) Iceland

12. The most prominent foreign leader to fall from power will be

a) Theresa May

b) Angela Merkel

c) Nicolas Maduro

d) Prince Mohammed bin Salman

13. The most devastating cyber-attack of the year will

a) disable North Korea’s nuclear program

b) produce false vote counts in the US election

c) paralyze the New York Stock Exchange

d) set off an earthquake and tsunami

14. The largest-casualty terror attack on US soil will be perpetrated by

a) a Muslim immigrant

b) a Christian fundamentalist

c) a deranged gun collector

d) a robot powered by artificial intelligence

15. Iran will

a) restart its nuclear program

b) be attacked by a Saudi-Israeli-American coalition

c) stop requiring female citizens to wear head scarves

d) remain the most stable Muslim country in the Middle East

16. Israel will

a) attack Lebanon

b) bomb Iran

c) lose support in Washington

d) annex the West Bank

17. The United States will

a) attack North Korea

b) attack Iran

c) continue helping Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen

d) follow George Washington’s advice and abandon “projects of hostility”

Reluctantly I offer my own choices: 1 (a), 2 (b), 3 (b), 4 (d), 5 (d) 6 (a), 7 (a), 8 (d), 9 (d), 10 (d), 11 (c), 12 (c), 13 (b), 14 (c), 15 (d), 16 (a), 17 (c). Taking this stab in the dark makes almost certain that when 2018 ends, I will be revealed as a wildly unreliable guide to our brave new world. Only critics who themselves take the quiz, however, will be entitled to point out my poor judgment.

Stephen Kinzer is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Follow him on Twitter @stephenkinzer.

Leave a Reply