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After reviewing the events of 2011, I feel the New Year should follow a few patterns.
First, President Barack Obama will most likely be reelected. None of the Republican candidates seem to stand much of a chance. Herman Cain’s standing was absolutely decimated by the sexual harassment claims.
Rick Perry completely fell apart multiple times during the debates, which will hurt his credibility. None of the other candidates seem to be getting much public attention. With the announcement of the withdrawal from Iraq being so perfectly timed, Obama will probably return to office.
Whether this is good or bad for America is up to the historians of the future to decide.
Also, the Iranian capture of the surveillance drone will probably not affect the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles substantially.
Iran claimed to have taken the drone down by hacking into its control systems. Since the drone seemed almost undamaged, at least from the top (as seen on an Iranian news release) it is unlikely that antiaircraft weapons were used, so the official storyline seems plausible.
However, it would be difficult for terrorists or insurgents to muster the same resources as a country. So, this method of countering UAV surveillance would be difficult — if not impossible — for terrorists to replicate.
With the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the U.S. will probably still use drones to keep an eye on the area.
Plus, those drones are designed to prevent reverse engineering, so it will not yield as much technology to Iran as people like to think.
Furthermore, an Associated Press story said that the model that was captured was a few years old, so it is not even the best technology available. Overall, drones will continue to be an important part of the U.S. military’s power projection.
Basically, I predict that nothing major is going to change in those two areas.
Other issues, like Iran’s threats against the U.S. Navy and their nuclear program, are simply too unpredictable, with far too many variables for me to make anything close to a prediction.