It has been predicted that the world will end on 21 December 2012. That's not long is it? Well, I am prepared to go out on a limb here, and say that the world will not end on 21 December 2012 - and if it does, then nobody is going to be around to say "you were wrong, you idiot". And this is from someone who normally stays well clear of making predictions.
This current "scare" if you like, and believe me there seem to be plenty of folk who are genuine believers in this prediction, comes from an old Mayan calendar. Mind you, the original prediction of the world coming to an end using the same calendar was for 2003, and when that passed without incident some bright scholar said the earlier interpretation was wrong. Well they would, wouldn't they? If things don't happen the way you predicted the first time round, move the boundaries.
So let's stay with predictions for the time being.
I am sure I read somewhere that the Arab Spring, which is now a couple of Arab Winters ago, was predicted as being the dawning of a new democratic era in the Middle East. I say "new", but then I guess they hadn't had much of an old one, but it was just as well they didn't put a time limit on that particular prediction! Egypt, which for my money STILL actually holds the key to overall peace and stability in the region has already proven there might be a number of "Springs" to go. Sure, they held elections which by most accounts were reasonably democratic, and a new leader was duly elected. But what did he do after a few months in office? Started to act like a cross between Messrs. Mugabe and Chavez and tried to give himself unlimited powers to do whatever he liked. Okay - so he has now done the right thing and repealed those powers, but too late Mr. Mursi. Your opposition, which is substantial, will never ever trust you now - and I suspect your supporters will be less than impressed.
I am focused on the Middle East because there are many predictions involving the region including the famous one from Nostradamus that suggests the third world war - heaven forbid - will start there. And frankly, I do not see much that is encouraging there at present. The Syrian regime is, remarkably and regretably, still in power but the rebels are now a really mixed bunch who represent a number of different factions all with their own agendas who, I suspect, will find it impossible to come to an agreement with one another when the regime is toppled.
So 2013 in the Middle East ( pre- supposing that the Ancient Mexicans are not right) is going to be rough. Afghanistan, Iraq, perhaps Bahrain, maybe Libya, and watch out for some increased activity from Iran as Mr. Ahmadinejad's reign comes to an end. I suspect he is not going to go quietly.
And then there is Europe, both the mainland and the supposedly United Kingdom, all continuing to suffer economically. If the media is to be believed, there are going to be more disputes and disagreements, as well as labour unrest. And surprise surprise, Mr Berlusconi's New Year gift to Europe in his intention to seek re-election as Prime Minister, as he continues to find ways to avoid prosecution for his previous misdeeds. I mean let's face it, even China now has an age limit for its Presidents and Premiers. If we are into predictions, I cannot see Europe being a happy place in 2013.
And taking Britain separately, the ruling Conservative Party (with not a great deal of Lib Dem help) seems to be playing into the hands of the Labour Party for the next election - despite doing some quite sensible things, which do not appeal greatly to the general public. They think they will do better under a Labour Government which will feed the populist line by arranging hand-outs to far more people than actually deserve them.
The USA seems to be bumping along quite happily, but its future appears to depend on the will of the President to do things right during his second term in office. I have heard much criticism of his first term, but in this my first hand knowledge is lacking so I should not comment. And for Canada, all I can say is thank you for letting Mr. Carney go to the Bank of England. There are plenty of people in Britain who would like him to fail - but there are plenty more who think he is the best person they could get for the job - from anywhere. Me included. Good luck.
And so to Asia, which has in general weathered the economic storm - with the "only" major political storm that might get out of hand, being the various countries making claims to the ownership of various groups of islands. This is going to be much more complicated than might appear, and should be watched very carefully in 2013.
My carefully worded prediction to the Economist event "The World in 2011" , which took place in December 2010 about the demise of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (which I rather scarily got correct) and the subsequent fall from grace of his son Kim Jong Un (which I have not yet got right!) just goes to show that predictions are as much a matter of luck than anything else. But the second part of that prediction - included at the insistence of my good friend and unidentified at his request collaborator - might just be taking a turn that way.
If you have been watching the news lately, and the current fuss over yet another rocket launch, there are rumours around that this not a display of North Korean military expertise (the last launch was a humiliating failure - and the current one has just been halted for "repairs" ), but a necessity for the "Dear Successor" who - despite the warm and cuddly image he has tried to portray with his new wife, particularly to his generation - is not going down too well with the old guard.Hmm! There could be a prediction there somewhere!!