Happy New Year from Drishtikone.
When contentious times arrive, your friends show up but even more importantly, your enemies show up in greater numbers. It is then up to you as to how you would like to address the situation. 2020 has put us on that cusp.
No matter where we live or work, the scourge of fundamentalist, fanatic and violent ideologies and men (and women) is there as ever. But now it is different. It is cloaked in the silken robes of intellectualism. It was always so. Just that the face did not let the hate behind show forth.
Now, it has.
Besides the trials set for humanity via Artificial intelligence, Robotics, and other technologies, there will be other man-made challenges. Of ideologies, machinations, politics.
And, we humans will have an opportunity to either find ourselves. Or be the harbingers of the end.
It will depend on our vision. A 2020 vision.
Enhance yourself and create clarity. For yourself and others.
Wishing everyone a 2020 vision for our collective future.
Every year we review the past year and make our predictions for the next. We have done this for last many years.
- Annual Predictions for 2019
- Annual Predictions for 2018
- Annual Predictions for 2017
- Annual Predictions for 2014
- Annual Predictions for 2012
- Annual Predictions for 2010
- Annual Predictions for 2009
- Annual Predictions for 2008
- Annual Predictions for 2007
Now as every year, let us go ahead and look at the year to come.
- How we fared last year – reviewing the Annual Predictions for 2019?
- Annual Predictions for 2020
- Year of reform and bold actions
- US Presidential Elections: Trump may get it again
- Pakistan – too smart for its survival
- Year of Change
How we fared last year – reviewing the Annual Predictions for 2019?
Last year, in all, we made 9 predictions. Let us look at how they fared?
Prediction #1: Crisis in Pakistan
What we said was – “assassination of someone like Hafiz Saeed is imminent. Also, a major crisis will be unleashed in governance of Pakistan fueled by economic breakdown and international forces”.
What happened: The full showdown has been avoided. However, there is an underlying governance crisis going on in Pakistan. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of Imran Khan has lost most of its support due to rising prices, falling economy and brazen actions abroad which were thoroughly pushed back by allies like the adventure with Turkey and Malaysia which got a snub from Saudi Arabia. Read this, this and this to understand the crisis of governance. There is another major challenge in the Army. General Bajwa’s extension has created groups and those groups are fighting. Watch this.
Prediction #2: Nasty and Dirty Elections 2019
What we said was: “the coming elections will see things getting dirtier and nastier. One or more attempt on the life of Narendra Modi is imminent, as will be on some other leaders of BJP. This is strengthened by the arrests across UP and Delhi of 10 ISIS terrorists and the arms haul from them.”
What happened: Thankfully, there was no assassination attempt on the Indian PM Modi during elections. But there were enough who did give an indication of its rumblings. For example, the sacked BSF soldier who got a ticket by Samajwadi Party (SP) (but EC disqualified it) said that he was in touch with Hizbul Mujahideen and LeT and did talk about conspiracy to kill Modi. Also, new Intelligence reports in December 2019 have warned Indian security agencies of the possible assassination attempt on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Jaish-e-Mohammad, because of abrogation of Article 370 and 35A. From the landscape of things and given that there was a widespread conspiracy by the Urban Naxals backed by Congress to assassinate Modi, it may very well be possible that there were other instances as well, which may have been foiled by the Indian intelligence services.
Prediction #3: Local and grassroots leadership
What we said was: “Local, Vernacular, strongly pro-India as well as pro-Dharmic and ‘from the ground’ leaders will come up and create local movements that will challenge the polity, commerce, and social norms of India’s society in an unabashed, strong, confident and forceful way. 2019 will be an unmistakable imprint of such forces on India.”
What happened: Jamyang Tsering Namgyal became an instant hit when he gave an inspiring and aggressive defense of Article 370 in the Parliament. He is not an exception. In the 2019 Lok Sabha 58% of the total strength of the House were first-time MPs.
Highest ever number of women MPs – 78 – took charge of the Lok Sabha in 2019. This is a record.
This shows that the Indian democracy is broadbasing and not being confined to a few.
Prediction #4: Attacks in Pakistan
What we said was: “major attacks are done by these groups within Pakistan itself because of the Army’s inability to handle and monitor them due to lack of money.”
What happened: Army has been busy with trying to prop up General Bajwa after his 3 year extension, which has created a lot of fissures within the Pakistani Army. No major terror attack happened in Pakistan. Yet some did, although not that big. One was at the Sufi shrine (of Ali Hajveri) called Data Durbar was targeted by a suicide bomber. The responsibility was taken by Hizbul Ahrar – a splinter group of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Also some major attacks have happened in Balochistan. For example, Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS) (an alliance of ethnic Baloch militant armed groups) terrorists stopped five or six buses at Makran Coastal Road and then selected 16 individuals who were gunned down. Similarly two attacks happened in Loralai, Balochistan in January and February. There was another blast in Quetta market and at Pearl Continental Hotel.
Not that we were looking for terror attacks in Pakistan, but the way things are there, it could have been worse. It is good that it wasn’t.
Prediction #5 and 6: Alignment of Afghanistan and anti-Pakistan forces
What we said was: “India’s relationship with Afghanistan government will strengthen, but so will they be with some militant group within Afghanistan to counter the Taliban and Pakistanis. Emergence of a group like Northern Alliance may very well be on the anvil for this year.”
What happened: India’s relationship with Afghanistan’s moderate regime has been on the up. Even the US think-tanks acknowledge that. There was a major crisis looming in that relationship with the US-Taliban negotiation – as those who know Taliban realize a deal with them is a non-starter. In September, US President Trump announced that the talks had broken down due to over-playing their hand by Taliban.
Admittedly, no overt force like Northern Alliance has taken shape yet. Or come out clearly. But the ground realities in Afghanistan and Pakistan will make it necessary.
Prediction #7: 9-11 Copycat plan from Pakistan… again
What we said was: “Also, with economy in a downward spiral and world not giving Pakistan much attention, things will not just spiral down for at least some areas badly and also something spectacular (at the level of 9-11) may be planned to get more leverage from the West.”
What happened: While there was a large fingerprint of Pakistan in 9-11, no such major incident happened this year. That does not mean that the terrorists there are sitting quietly. This is something that we surely did not get right. Yet.
Prediction #8: Democratic nominee
What we said was: “As per me, unless you are a natural like Avenatti or Trump, you are better off being a natural as the goody-two-shoes option like Beto or Tulsi.”
What happened: Well Avenatti got into a legal mess and was a non-starter, and for good. Beto lost steam, but another “goody-goody” guy Pete Buttigieg did make a strong impact. As did Tulsi Gabbard, who had at the time of writing had not even announced her candidature. The top 10 contenders currently are:
- Joe Biden
- Bernie Sanders
- Elizabeth Warren
- Pete Buttigieg
- Andrew Yang
- Amy Klobuchar
- Cory Booker
- Michael Blomberg
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Tom Steyer
The final candidate is still not clear. And, we believe that the field will be further shaken up in the coming months. And, it could be (should be?) a non-establishment candidate like Pete Buttigieg or Tulsi Gabbard.
Prediction #9: Disposition of Islamist-Left ‘activism’
What we said was: “cracks in unencumbered and anarchy promoting activism which always acts as a front for Islamic apologists will show up very clearly by the end of 2019”
What happened: Contrary to what we said, the influence of Islamists in the leftist movement grew. In fact, Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager is a Pakistani who ensured that Sanders got aligned with Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA has strong terror links and has been suspended in Canada for funding jehadis. At this moment these relationships are not looking destructive, but they will as time goes on. It will put the leftists squarely in the lap of the Islamist Jihadis, if they already aren’t there. There is a limit to the betrayal of civilized world that these clueless leftists can orchestrate by playing tango with the Islamists.
Having reviewed the last year’s predictions, it is now important to look at the coming year and see where we go from here.
Annual Predictions for 2020
Last year we had said that Modi will see a very tough fight in the elections and will barely win the elections – “Modi will win the elections, but barely. He might have to create alliances. And he may have to hit Pakistan – which will exert the most influence on 2019 elections in some big way.” Well we were right and wrong. Until Balakot strike happened, the elections could have slipped out of the hand, but after Balakot, the election result took a new turn and the victory was unprecedented. Here is an interesting graphic which showed the awareness of Balakot amongst the social media users.
Modi got the credit for the boldness of the Balakot strike and rightly so.
And, that was good because as expected by us, Pakistan, China, European and even Americans – did exert their influence on the Indian elections in different ways.
In 2020, there are two main State Assembly elections – Delhi (70 seat Vidhan Sabha) and Bihar (243 seat Vidhan Sabha). Apart from that there will be state by-elections for Gujarat (3 seats), Karnataka (2 seats), Kerala (1 seat), Madhya Pradesh (1 seat), Uttar Pradesh (3 seats).
Both, the Delhi and Bihar elections will be interesting.
Delhi, despite non-performing and drama-prone Chief Minister may not have a good BJP alternative to him. Manoj Tiwari does not “cut it” as yet. What you need is a seasoned politician. And, in Bihar as well, there is no real face of BJP. In Delhi though, BJP may have a chance to throw a “wrench in the works” for the Aam Aadmi Party and take away many seats and make it difficult for Arvind Kejriwal to form a government.
Bihar will be tough for BJP again. It will be one of the main contenders, but not the clear winner.
Year of reform and bold actions
With no real elections at stake – Delhi and Bihar anyways are not BJP’s strong areas – this year will see even more reforms. And even more protesting. Because the opposition can do nothing really much otherwise. And for even those protests, it will have to spin several falsehoods like for the CAA violence and anarchy. They were not protests!
As the protests grow – for any and everything – so will Hinduphobia. They are directly linked these days. Left of 2020 is really the Islamist-Left. With the global leftist media personnel aligned to its ways, the attack on the Modi government will be much more severe as the reforms and further actions unfold.
Modi 2.0 has already brought in major changes and reforms in India – Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, Criminalizing of Triple Talaq, passing of CItizenship Amendment Act of 2019 (for persecuted minorities in neighboring Islamic countries), Creation of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) [and appointment of General Bipin Rawat] have been some of the main actions taken by the government. All this since May 2019! Less than one year.
So here are a few things that the government will attempt in the coming year or in the very near future if it is not done until the end of the year:
- Uniform CIvil Code: Article 44 lists Uniform Civil Code as a Directive Principle of the State policy. The country can only ensure proper equality and justice if India is able to have a common judicial system across all religions. Given that the atmosphere is already charged enough and even though the lines have been drawn by the opposition, the time would be right to get done with all the contentious issues at the same time, instead of taking the country through this chaos multiple times. For, the Modi-haters will shout and make their noises.
- Left Wing Terrorism: The level of left wing extremism has taken a new level with the current Anti-CAA violence and arson. It is no longer just a “student agitational group”. It is a group that plots to kill the sitting Prime Minister, create anarchy in the country and run the country down globally. The time has come to teach this gang a lesson. And Amit Shah has said it in so many words as well – see the tweet below.
- Modernization of the Police force: In the current abti-CAA violence and arson, it became clear that the police in India is ill-equipped and does not have enough powers. It is time to modernize it. The problem is that police is a state subject. And even when the approved central outlay for the 3 years’ period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 is Rs. 7,380 crore, the states have done precious little. For example, the utilization of funds for modernization by the states for 2015-16 was as low as 14%! This anti-citizen stance by the states will be challenged going forward.
Two legal issues – Ram Mandir and Sabarimala
Sabarimala was perceived as an attempt by the judiciary to influence matters of faith. The Hindu system of temple building is based on Agama shastra which follows certain norms. They have nothing to do with social customs or ways. These are purely to do with the way the Prana Pratishta has been done. Please read the this post on Sabarimala on Drishtikone. Recently a Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices AM Khanwilkar, RF Nariman, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra referred the earlier Sabarimala verdict to a larger 7 Justice bench (by a 3:2 margin with Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissenting) for addressing “all such religious issues relating to Sabarimala, the entry of women in mosques and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawood Bohra community.” This will enforce that all these issues are evaluated with all the religions in view.
The chances are that when all the religions are thrown in the mix, the decision may be very different than one which was given earlier.
Ram Mandir issue has now been settled by the Supreme Court. The construction of the temple will start in 3-4 months time now. There will be challenges from certain sections of the communities, which will need handling by the state and the central government.
These two religious verdicts and their subsequent actions will remain in the news in this new year.
The time is nigh – PoK action
Two main events will happen in two of the most powerful power centers – Europe and US. And, 2020 is when these two power centers will be at their weakest. Here’s why.
Brexit Timeline: On January 31st, as per current schedule, UK is officially scheduled to leave the European Union at London time 11 p.m. Post that, a transition period will start until December 31, 2020. During this period nothing will change for businesses or citizens except that UK will losing voting rights in EU. The EU laws will still be applicable in UK. The UK government will need to do its own trade deals with other countries in this time. Late November will be the last time to sign off on go forward agreement. On December 31st, if no extension is asked or provided, and the deal has been completed, the Brexit will be final.
US Presidential Election: As the Brexit drama will be unfolding on the European continent and as a result (apart from the actions of Russia and China) the European economies falter, the US Presidential elections will also be staged. Staged, because, that is what the media does. The polarization and the hate messaging in the society will increase to a level unseen or unheard before. Because, right in the middle of this, another thing will be happening – Senate hearings for Trump’s impeachment! If the House did a number on Trump and made it like a spectacle, then Senate can only do one better. And, they will. They will not just make the DNC pay for the House performances, but also throw the impeachment in the garbage can. This whole “pissing match” (for lack of a better term) between GOP and DNC will polarize the country in ways one cannot imagine. And Putin can do his tricks all over again. In a nutshell, as 2020 comes to a close, US democracy would have been weakened and in chaos.
When Europe and US are busy somehow keeping themselves afloat, and Russia and China are engaged in making full use of these “opportunities”, that will be the right time for India to take the action that they need to take for straightening out their borders and issues. Two main things are happening:
Chief of Defence Staff consolidation: This action boosts the Indian security establishment in many ways. The way Indian security forces cooperation will be enhanced will be critical to India’s future actions and responses. CDS General Bipin Rawat is an experienced hand and knows what needs to be done for the eventual action.
Appropriate Weaponization: The S-400 delivery is schedule to commence from October 2020 and will be completed by April 2023. Basically the delivery of five squadrons of “Russian-made Almaz-Antei S-400 Triumf air defense systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) for service in the Indian Air Force (IAF) will begin in 2020“. Also, by May 2020, 4 of the 36 Rafale fighter jets will be flying the Indian skies. As the new year starts, a new Dhanush regiment with 18 medium artillery guns would have been inducted into the Indian Army.
When the world is busy handling its own dial-tone issues, and the Indian armed forces are primed for defense and action, and the situation in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is at the right boil (massive protests in PoK against Pakistani government), is when the time will have come. For Kashmir to be whole.
US Presidential Elections: Trump may get it again
As we had said earlier that these are the current leaders in the Democratic race for the party nominees. The “DNC establishment” favorites are Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren.
- Joe Biden
- Bernie Sanders
- Elizabeth Warren
- Pete Buttigieg
- Andrew Yang
- Amy Klobuchar
- Cory Booker
- Michael Blomberg
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Tom Steyer
Joe Biden is completely ill-suited at this stage of his career to run against a bully like Trump. Even at his best, he couldn’t sustain himself. And, that was when times were “decent”. Now, it is a completely different environment. Biden stammers, gets nervous and forgets stuff when he is under pressure. If Kamala Harris or Cory Booker can do that to Joe Biden, what Trump can do to him is unimaginable.
Elizabeth Warren seems too high-strung and strait-jacketed to be effective and aggressive. And, from whatever I have watched and heard about her, her main plank is the health-care. And, that is a BIG problem. Quite simply – she cannot deliver on it. If Obama, with all his other-worldly charisma, could only muster a system that was half-decent and needed repairs, which was repealed later; Warren has to be simply smoking some Marsian weed to even think that she can force-feed something even more radical down America’s throat. As much as I would like that to happen, I am rational enough to know that it cannot happen. So anyone who is selling such a thing is at best a snake-oil salesman/woman!
Bernie Sanders has the most high-strung and committed volunteers behind him. They have virtually brought him “back from dead” for this race. But he is not establishment. And, on top of that, he has chosen to align with the jihadi terror groups for appealing to the Islamist-Leftists. Alongwith his “pro-poor” message, he wants to get the Islamists help as well. That will become his undoing if he becomes to nominee.
Right now, although our favorite is Tulsi Gabbard for the nomination, we think that reasonably speaking, Pete Buttigieg may be the most-likely nominee, if the establishment does not intervene and does its masochistic machinations! So, the chances are that the establishment would not let it happen so easily.
If, however, Pete becomes the nominee by some quirk of fate, then Tulsi – with her cross-party lines appeal – will be the best running-mate for him. I would highly doubt if Tulsi will align herself with any other nominee, as all others will set themselves up for failure against Trump.
Our take: If there is any other combination (other than Pete-Tulsi), Trump’s second term is a surety.
As the already mentioned in above sections, impeachment drama unfolds, and the Presidential race inspired polarization runs deep in the society, other powers like China and Russia specifically will fill the power gaps on the world stage.
Pakistan – too smart for its survival
Pakistan is known to box above its weight. It has done that time and again in the Afghanistan theater, the whole Nuclear proliferation and the terrorism market it has spread globally. But that is with respect to its security establishment.
What it faces now is a different level of challenge. The economic ruin. That is where the whole establishment loses its foundation. If the security establishment in Pakistan does not have access to unlimited money that it can use to fund its operatons and ways, there is nothing left for its survival.
That foundation is going.
And, in that scenario, it is still playing games. Imran Khan wanted to take charge of the Islamic world (the mythical “Ummah”) along with Turkey and Malaysia. Without the Saudis. And, the reaction from the Kingdom was immediate and swift. Imran Khan was offloaded from the aircraft given for the ride by the Saudis. And recently, he was forced to drop out of the summit with Malaysia and Turkey. Now, that made the Turkish leadership mad! So, Pakistan has ended up making two of its allies/masters mad at itself because it was trying to play with both while it is in the state of a beggar!
The February 2020 deadline for FATF blacklisting decision is coming for Pakistan as well. They may escape in February again. But the other important date will be October 2020. So, this year will be a tough year in economic terms, if its not already been that is. That, introduces further chaos in the polity as Imran Khan’s government loses face further. In fact, many are already saying that Army may be thinking of planting Bilawal Bhutto as the PM after taking Imran Khan out. So in the coming year such political machinations may take place in Pakistan.
Year of Change
2020 will be the year of a lot of change. It will be the beginning of a new world order. In an unspectacular way though, but unmistakably, a new world order will start taking shape. The foundations of the current systems will shift. Liberal double games will be challenged by right wing push back globally. While both have their issues, the problem will be that the Islamic forces worldwide will march with Leftists as their cheer-leaders. This will tear modern societies apart in the West.
As Artificial intelligence, robotics and genome science takes charge of mankind, economies will change fundamentally as will the societies.
How we cope with these changes will decide largely as to how our coming generations will inherit the planet. This decade will in many ways define our heritage to our coming generations.
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