Blogging will continue to be rather light from now until I finish this project I'm working on. Don't worry, we're not going away, not at all; we'll be here at least two or three times a week. If there's a pickup in the news, of course blogging will be heavier, but over the last couple of weeks there's been a welcome hiatus in the Department of Bad News for us to comment on.
With absolutely no inside knowledge of the subject, but after reading in a variety of sources, I predict that the fighting in Iraq will basically end by next summer. I think the capture of Saddam gutted them, I really do, I think the Coalition is winning a lot of hearts and minds, and I think that Bush and Blair have decided they're not going to lose this one, no matter what the French say. (That is Iberian Notes's only prediction for the New Year. We are going to do a retrospective piece on our predictions for 2003 sometime pretty soon.)
I'm going to make one more prediction. As meat consumption increases a great deal in the Third World since those areas are almost all getting richer, it will drop in the wealthy West. I think Great Britain, where according to polls over 10% of people claim to be vegetarians, is showing the lead on this issue. We rich Westerners can afford whatever we want to eat, and it's arugula and radiccio salad with chevre! Seriously, we've done so much making conditions for poor people better (of course I know they're nowhere near perfect) that the next objective of Those People Who Are Better than You's main campaign is going to be the expansion of vegetarianism and increased attention toward animal rights. I'm no Food Fascist, I criticize no one for eating big steaks. People are naturally omnivores, that's the way evolution came out, and I am not denying that fact. But as we begin to see that mammals are capable of reason and fear and affection and contentment and anger and just about every other human quality except language, I believe that more and more people will decide to be vegetarians in theFirst World.