For those who enjoy following politics and government, 2004 promises to be a banner year.
Beginning on a world scale and working our way back to local, here are some areas that should prove interesting and some predictions on how things might turn out:
* By this summer, the violence will have slowed enough in Iraq to allow the United States-led coalition to turn over control of the country to the Iraqis, albeit still backed up by the American military. Later in the year, the Iraqis will elect their own people in a free election that will serve as a model for democracy in the Middle East. One of the reasons for our rosy view of coming events in Iraq is based on the next prediction.
* Also by this summer, it will become obvious to Americans as well as political observers around the world that President Bush is simply unbeatable. Whether they pick Hillary or Howard, Clark or Kerry, the Democrats are going to be no match for a George W. Bush riding on the back of an improving economy and a string of successes in the war on terrorism. While that won't be good for the Democrats, it's likely to make the world a more peaceful place as tinpot dictators from Arafat to Kim Jong II come to understand that America isn't going to give up its war on terrorism and that they'll face four more years of dealing with a strong U.S. president.