A look into old journals is sometimes helpful to appraise recent history.

I looked into German '88 military journals - one top story; the new Bundeswehr structure 2000. That planning was outdated in less than two years.

Well, the end of the Cold War doesn't happen very often, so maybe other plans fared better?
Our exceptions in 1998 did certainly not look like the past years.

OK, so maybe today's expectations for the next ten years make more sense?
Doubtful. A look into 20th century history tells us that expectations about economic, political or military affairs are rarely accurate if they reach farther than one to at maximum about eight years.

Some apparently widely accepted assumptions irritate me most because they seem to reach farther than that:

"The next wars will be small wars, none against major national forces."

"PR China's economy will grow at a rate of x per cent."

I know also some assumptions that are so extremely accepted that few care to even mention them, like my anti-favourite ('no major conventional war in Europe in the future') or the assumption that the current global security alliance system won't be changed much.

And then there are some strange predictions whose credibility seems to be very regional, like the weird predictions of some right-wing Americans that Europe will be taken over by Muslims by reproduction (they know probably only suburbs of Paris and nothing else about Europe).

Disadvantageous predictions are sometimes proved wrong because the predictions caused some prevention - that's a good effect. Prediction of problems ("doomsaying") seems to have a purpose.

Prediction of "no problem" scenarios (like "no conventional war in Europe ...") does not seem to have a positive function (except temporary good feeling).
So let's not trust good predictions and stay alert.

Sven Ortmann

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