From new flu strains to refugees to Obama’s final moments as U.S. president, a year of big change and challenges

Many authors give their predictions for the coming year at Foreign Policy:

ScreenHunter_1596 Jan. 01 20.06The world is melting

Thomas E. Ricks

My guess is that global warming will become the top story of 2016.

This will happen because we will face a series of anomalous and odd weather events — big storms in unusual places, storm surges in cities that historically have not been flooded, shifts in ocean currents, and such. One effect of this will be to sweep away the lingering skepticism about global warming. Another short-term bottom line: I wouldn’t invest in Florida banks or real estate anytime soon.

A year of borrowed time

Stephen M. Walt

Trying to predict the “big story” of 2016 is a mug’s game, because surprises are inevitable and vivid events — like a terrorist attack — receive too much attention, while subtler but more important developments are often neglected.

The big story for 2016 is how much will remain unchanged. The U.S. economy will continue its modest recovery. The European Union will struggle with an array of intractable challenges. The Islamic State will still be a problem. Russia’s power will wane, and China’s influence will continue to rise, along with global sea levels. The nuclear deal with Iran will remain in force, but there won’t be significant thaw between Tehran and Washington. Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, and Argentina will continue to disappoint. China, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States will dominate next year’s Olympics. There will be no progress toward “two states for two peoples” in Israel/Palestine and no lasting peace agreement in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, or Ukraine. Terrorist attacks will kill more innocent people but in all likelihood not very many. Despite the Paris agreement, atmospheric temperatures will continue to rise, with alarming long-term implications.

In short, the global agenda a year from now will look a lot like the one we see today.

More here.