2017 has been a roller coaster — both in the US and abroad, the year ends with the world in a very different place than it was 12 months ago.
However, as has become our tradition, the Business Insider Military and Defense team is going to predict the future.
In the past, we’ve done well. Last year we correctly identified many of the problems the world would face in 2017, including some that directly challenged the new US president — Donald Trump.
It’s clear Trump will have more decisions and crises to face in the upcoming year. To be sure, other global leaders will as well, but the “America First” president has proved to be unpredictable, if nothing else.
Your guides for this year’s journey are Peter Jacobs, Alex Lockie, Christopher Woody, Daniel Brown, David Choi, and Ben Brimelow.
Here’s what we think will happen in 2018:
Trump will remain president of the United States
Impeachment papers introduced in the House. Senators calling for his resignation over sexual assault allegations. And Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation getting closer to the White House with each new revelation.
It can seem sometimes that the walls are closing in on Trump’s presidency. But, in all likelihood, he’ll still be standing when 2018 comes to a close.
Impeachment proceedings have been shot down by Democratic leadership. Even if “Chuck and Nancy” take up the cause, they’re still the opposition party — Republicans control both houses of Congress and have no reason to usher out a president of their own party.
As a growing group of Democrats call for Trump’s head over longstanding sexual assault allegations, it’s becoming clearer that the charges won’t stick (regardless of their potential validity). Even as a sea change takes over Washington and takes down more lawmakers, the allegations against the president didn’t hobble his candidacy and, barring some new revelation, the White House will stick to its current line — deny, deny, deny.
The obvious albatross around Trump’s neck is the Mueller investigation and the president’s potential ties to Russia.
Everyone from his campaign chairman to his national security adviser to potentially his son and son-in-law may be caught up in it. But Trump remains the president — and will through the next year.
— Peter Jacobs, Military & Defense Editor
The US and North Korea will not enter into large scale war
As I have argued elsewhere, both the US and North Korea have too much to lose to go to war. Both sides can achieve a palatable outcome without exchanging nukes.
That said, Trump will continue his “maximum pressure” approach to North Korea and bring the world to the brink of war. North Korea will complete additional tests of nuclear devices or ballistic missiles. International diplomats will bite their fingernails to the stub but ultimately a large scale war won’t break out.
This is not to say small scuffles may happen. The US may board a North Korean ship, or attempt to shoot down a missile test.
North Korea may shell a relatively uninhabited part of South Korea. It may detain more US or South Korean citizens. It may lodge a cyber offensive or emulate some of Russia’s “hybrid war” tactics in the South, but the big show doesn’t happen.
Remember: There is tremendous leverage in threatening to initiate the end of the world with nuclear war, but nothing to be gained by actually ending it.
— Alex Lockie, News Editor
China will flex its muscles in the Sea of Japan
China’s actions in the Pacific have not exactly been warm and inviting.
China conducted a number of flying missions that made Japan rather nervous this year. These were usually with H-6 bombers and other surveillance aircraft over the Miyako Strait, an open area of water between Miyako Island and Okinawa Island.
When Japan complained about violations of its airspace and the increased activity, the Chinese responded with an abrupt statement: “Get used to it.”
— Ben Brimelow, Military & Defense Intern