As President Obama or Mitt Romney will discover, the only predictable thing about foreign and domestic events is unpredictability. Woodrow Wilson didn't foresee World War I. Jimmy Carter called Iran an 'island of stability.' Terrorism got only brief mention in the 2000 Bush-Gore debates.
Between now and the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, there will be many predictions of what the next four years will bring. Most of those will be wrong. As it always does, the fate of the administration will hinge on things that no one can predict.
The future is full of unknowns. In 1912, Woodrow Wilson campaigned for president on domestic issues, and his 1913 inaugural address did not even mention the words “war” or “military.” When he delivered that speech, he surely had never heard of the man Gavrilo Princip. In 1914, this obscure young Serb assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, triggering a chain of events that would result in World War I.
Closer to our own time, Jimmy Carter was another president whose campaign had a domestic emphasis. In 1976, he made brief remarks questioning the scope of arms sales to Iran, but otherwise had little to say about that country.
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