"I hope none of these dangers come to fruition in 2018, or beyond. I don't want 2018 to be a year of living dangerously. I want it to be a year of living abundantly."
We are on the final countdown. Less than a hundred hours of 2017 remaining. I know - it is time to get refreshed on all verses of Old Lang Syne, so we can belt it out on News Year Eve. It is also the time that many of us reflect on our soon to be past year. Was it a good year or not? Are we better off at the end of this year or not? I would rather take a peek ahead towards 2018 to see what is coming. It could be a very good year, or it could be one fraught with danger and disappointment.
North Korea - I am afraid the time is up in 2018. According to our military experts, the 8,000 mile ICBM that North Korea has coveted for years, is just about done. The only question which remains is if it is done enough to carry a survivable, and lethal warhead containing either a nuke, anthrax or VX nerve gas. By the way, even though VX had been internationally banned, that does not matter a wit to the Norks. They have plenty and stand ready to use it.
The question remains, can the United States back North Korea into a corner, making them behave without going to war? I do know this - we are closer to war on the Korean Peninsula now than we were at this time last year. At any time, the North Koreans could unleash hell on earth in Seoul, South Korea. That would drag us in, and maybe the Chinese also. It could turn into WW III in the blink of an eye. This rouge nation, North Korea, has my vote for first place. First place to make 2018 a very dangerous year.
Islamic State - The good news? In 2017 we finally had a President and a Secretary of Defense who allowed our generals to fight the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The result? ISIS went from holding territory the size of Ohio, to just a few thousand fighters huddled up on the border of Iraq and Syria. The President wants this final few to be mopped up sooner rather than later.
The bad news. ISIS has reconstituted. This thing with the caliphate did not work out well, so now they want to wage urban warfare in Europe and the United States. Low tech - extremely low tech. Like renting a truck at Home Depot and running people over. Like stabbing as many people as possible at a busy mall. Like targeting our police forces with sniper attacks. And if that is not enough to be concerned about, OBL's son has declared a jihad on the west. Yes, our old arch enemy, Al Qaeda, is still around. They are still trying to perfect an untraceable explosive which can put inside a laptop and strong enough to take down a plane.
Because of the brazen nature of all elements of the Islamic State, I give this second place for danger in 2018.
Stock Market - Many have enjoyed the gains in 2017. What a year! However, some analysts are concerned - very concerned. Did we go up too fast? Have expectations outstripped reality? Do the DOW or NASDAQ contain bubbles? Is there another bubble in the housing industry? Are we starting to issue toxic mortgages again by using NINJA loans? What would happen if a massive cyber attack hit our financial institutions? Like the North Korean promulgated Wanna Cry Virus, or worse? Many cyber experts think it is only a matter or time before a cyber attack could really be a punch to our financial solar plexus. I give a financial incident third place in the danger category for 2018.
Civil War - Please, don't laugh at this one. I think anyone who is honest will admit that year after year, our civil discourse becomes worse. As a country, we have become ever more divided. You can blame Trump, Obama, or even Bush (43). Or just blame all of us. When I say civil war, I do not mean like the North against the South. I am not even saying it would be bloody. I mean it would cripple what little discourse we have left as a nation. Washington, as well as many state capitols would slide into total entropy. Nothing would get done. Think I am practicing histrionics? Just look at how the last legislative session in Minnesota ended up. This gets my vote for number four in the danger category going forward.
Insolvency - If I were doing this for a ten year period instead of only 2018, this one would be higher than fifth place. Many talk about our national debt. Yes, it is bad, and only going to get worse. The tax bill, updating the infrastructure, the fix or replace to ObamaCare, the growing number of Social Security recipients. But there are many states (mostly blue) which have unsustainable debt (hello, California). We have many municipal pensions which are seriously underfunded. How bad is our debt right now? Under the right circumstances, it could bring down our house of cards. It is out there - growing - threatening. Yes, even though in fifth place, it is a danger none the less.
There are more I could list, but I would be violating my own rule about making an article too long. Am I being a Dr. Rain Cloud this morning? I hope not. In fact, I hope none of these dangers come to fruition in 2018, or beyond. I don't want 2018 to be a year of living dangerously. I want it to be a year of living abundantly.