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21-Nov-17 World View -- China's envoy to North Korea fails to end nuclear crisis

Speculation grows of North Korea's Kim Jong-un illness as his weight soars

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Speculation grows of North Korea's Kim Jong-un illness as his weight soars


The gargantuan Kim Jong-un inspects a tractor factory last week (AFP)
The gargantuan Kim Jong-un inspects a tractor factory last week (AFP)

A year ago, reports indicated that concerns were growing among North Korea officials about the health of child dictator Kim Jong-un, who had been gaining weight rapidly from consuming high-quality cheeses, Big Macs, vodka, steak, and sushi, and who had been apparently drinking heavily and smoking heavily, with the result that he was suffering from gout, diabetes, high blood pressure, high uric acid, and high cholesterol. Earlier this year, state media showed him limping.

Now the speculation about his health has been growing again. Recent pictures show he has ballooned in weight again and appeared to be struggling. On a cosmetic factory visit, he was uneasy on his feet and needed a folding chair, while on another trip to a shoe factory his face was dripping in sweat.

The child dictator has also been quiet for two months in provocative actions. The last ballistic missile launch was on 15 September, while the last nuclear test was on 3 September. Some analysts are attributing this long pause to American president Donald Trump's threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea, and later adding that the military options are "locked and loaded," later referring to Kim as "Rocket Man."

But other analysts speculate that this delay in nuclear and ballistic missile testing is another sign that he is unwell. Either way, nobody seriously believes that North Korea has ended its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile testing, and new tests can occur at any time. News Corp Australia and Deccan Chronicle (India) and Daily Star (London)

Related: N. Korean officials reportedly alarmed at Kim Jong-un's drinking and massive weight gain (04-Aug-2016)

China's envoy to North Korea fails to end nuclear crisis

A special envoy sent personally by China's president Xi Jinping to North Korea has returned to China amid signs that he apparently failed in his mission.

The envoy, Song Tao, met with several North Korean party officials. But as a special envoy sent personally by Xi Jinping, Song Tao should also have had at least a brief meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, but several sources confirm that no meeting took place, something that is being interpreted as a snub directed at Xi Jinping himself.

Even more important, there is no sign that any agreement was reached on the nuclear crisis, which many international observers had been hoping. When the envoy was first announced, even Donald Trump tweeted that it was a big move, and "we'll see what happens."

Well, there was no sign of a breakthrough on the nuclear crisis, and the snub that Kim delivered to the envoy suggests that whatever proposal Song Tao brought with him from Kim Jong-un was not only rejected, but was rejected in as offensive a way as possible.

Actually, proposal that China most likely advanced has already rejected by the US, referring to it as "insulting." At the United Nations in September, China stated its "freeze for freeze" proposal:

"The situation on the peninsula is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a vicious circle. The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. ...

The proposal by China and Russia of a two-track approach, which promotes the denuclearization of the peninsula, and the establishment of a peace mechanism in parallel the suspension initiative which calls for the DPRK to suspend its nuclear missile activities and for the United States and the Republic of Korea to suspend their large scale military exercises and the step by step conception from Russia are the basis on which both countries currently propose a roadmap to resolve the peninsula issue."

Under this proposal, the United States and South Korea would end their annual joint military exercises, while North Korea would supposedly freeze its nuclear weapons development. This freeze for freeze proposal is something of a joke, since the West has made numerous concessions in the past in return for a North Korean promise to end nuclear weapons development, but they simply go underground with development, and later repudiate their promise whenever they want.

At the same United Nations Security Council meeting, US ambassador Nikki Haley responded to the proposal statement by calling it "insulting":

"The idea that some have suggested the so-called "freeze for freeze" is insulting. When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon, and an ICBM is pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. no one would do that, and we certainly won't."

So, we don't know whether the same "freeze for freeze" concept was proposed by Song Tao to the North Koreans, but many believe that it was, and that it was rejected as firmly and offensively as possible. Xinhua and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Nikkei and The Diplomat

Trump declares North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism

President Donald Trump has announced that the US will designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism, referring to it as a "murderous regime."

Iran, Sudan and Syria are currently the only countries on the list. North Korea used to be on the list, but it was removed by President George Bush in 2008 in the hope that it would convince the North Koreans to end their development nuclear weapons.

However, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged, there are already so many international sanctions on North Korea that designating it as a state sponsor of terrorism will have little effect except symbolically. AP and Daily Mail (London)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Nov-17 World View -- China's envoy to North Korea fails to end nuclear crisis thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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20-Nov-17 World View -- Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down

Plans go ahead to impeach Mugabe

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down


Robert Mugabe, giving his speech on Sunday
Robert Mugabe, giving his speech on Sunday

The people of Zimbabwe, as well as the international media reporters, were uniformly stunned (or gobsmacked, as one BBC reporter said) by Sunday's events, that were incredible even by the standards of Zimbabwe.

First, as expected, the governing party of president Robert Mugabe's governing Zanu-pf party voted to expel him from the party, and to demand his resignation. According to the resolutions of the Zanu-pf Central Committee:

"The Central Committee congratulated the masses of Zimbabwe for their participation in the historic solidarity march yesterday in support of the Zimbabwe War Veterans’ Association. ...

That Cde R.G. Mugabe be and he is hereby recalled from the position of President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF forthwith. Further, the resolutions that Cde R.G. Mugabe should resign forthwith from his position as President and Head of State and Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and if the resignation has not tendered by midday tomorrow 20 November 2017 (Monday), the Zanu-PF Chief Whip (Cde Lovemore Matuke) is ordered to institute proceedings for the recall of the President in terms of Section 97 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. ...

That Cde E. D. Mnangagwa be the party’s nominee to be appointed to fill the vacancy of State President in terms of Part 4, paragraph 14 sub paragraph 5 of the Sixth Schedule of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 20. That the Extraordinary Congress scheduled for 12th to the 17th of December 2017 should proceed for purposes of ratifying the decisions we have taken this afternoon, in particular ratifying the appointment of Cde ED Mnangagwa as the First Secretary and President of Zanu-PF. The Extraordinary Congress should also ratify the decision we have taken today to recall Cde R.G. Mugabe as President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF. ...

That Cde Phelekezela Mphoko be and is hereby recalled from the position of Vice President and Second Secretary of Zanu-PF for being divisive, a member of the cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the Office and decorum of the Office."

According to numerous reports, Mugabe and the army had reached agreement that Mugabe would announce that he would step down in a speech televised nationally (and, in fact, globally, since a lot of people around the world, including myself, were watching it live).

So as the world watched, Mugabe came into a conference room with a dozen army generals, shook their hands, and sat down at the table to read his speech.

Now what happened next is open to speculation. According to some social media, one could see Mugabe switch speeches just before he sat down, though this has not been confirmed.

At any rate, there's little doubt at the shock and surprise on the faces of the army generals as Mugabe read his speech. Instead of resigning, he said that he would be presiding over the December 12-17 Extraordinary Congress mentioned in the above Zanu-pf statement, and then he went on to forgive the army:

"We cannot be guided by bitterness or revengefulness which would not makes us any better Zimbabweans. ...

The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or to compromise it the outcomes in the eyes of the public. The way forward thus cannot be based on swapping by tricks that ride roughshod over party rules and procedures. ...

Whatever the pros and cons of the way they [the army] went about registering those concerns, I as the president of Zimbabwe, as their commander in chief, do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe that these were raised in the spirit of honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the stability of our nation and for the welfare of our people. ...

We must learn to forgive and resolve contradictions real or perceived in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit.

I’m happy that throughout the short period the pillars of state remained functional."

He gave the speech in a halting manner, with several pauses, and seemed at times to be confused. At the end of the speech, he said goodnight, and then he apologized for having said some things out of order, and hoped that they could be corrected.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was dumbstruck. "I am baffled. It’s not just me, it’s the whole nation. He’s playing a game. He is trying to manipulate everyone. He has let the whole nation down."

Some people expressed sadness that 93 year old Mugabe had skipped his chance to leave office with dignity, and instead would be humiliated by the events to come. Reuters and Zimbabwe Herald and Zimbabwe Herald

Plans go ahead to impeach Mugabe

The Zimbabwean War Veterans Association, otherwise known as the "old guard," is the organization of veterans that won the war against Ian Smith, the white supremacist leader of Rhodesia, leading to independence of Zimbabwe in 1980.

Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of the Zimbabwean War Veterans Association, said that Mugabe has a Monday noon deadline to resign, and then plans to impeach Mugabe would begin on Tuesday, as scheduled. Furthermore, he said that people would take to the streets on Wednesday, hoping to replicate the events of Saturday, when hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets demanding that Mugabe step down.

However, some analysts are saying that the plans to impeach Mugabe are fraught with complications.

One problem is that there may not be sufficiently severe charges to justify impeachment in the eyes of some members of the parliament.

Even if an impeachment is successful, then who would become president? In the Zanu-pf statement quoted above, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa should become president. But Mugabe recently fired Mnangagwa as vice president, with the objective of replacing him with his own wife Grace Mugabe, who would then succeed him. So Mnangagwa could not become vice-president unless Mugabe could be convinced to reinstate him prior to being impeached and convicted.

Otherwise, the next candidate to become president would be the second vice president -- Phelekezela Mphoko.

However, if you look again at the Zanu-pf statement quoted above, Mphoko is accused of "being divisive, a member of the cabal, protecting criminals, preaching hate speech and behaving in a manner inconsistent with the Office and decorum of the Office."

So if the strict rules of Zimbabwe's constitution are followed, then the entire impeachment process is potentially blocked by many severe complications.

Mugabe was undoubtedly aware of all this when he refused to resign. According to some commentators, he may be trying to provoke the army into deposing him by force, which could theoretically trigger an intervention by the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc of nations. Australian Broadcasting and Guardian (London) and The Nation (Kenya)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Nov-17 World View -- Robert Mugabe stuns Zimbabwe by refusing to step down thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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19-Nov-17 World View -- Ecstatic throngs in Harare Zimbabwe demand that Robert Mugabe step down

The events in Zimbabwe show how history unfolds and disasters occur

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Ecstatic throngs in Harare Zimbabwe demand that Robert Mugabe step down


Anti-Mugabe protests in Harare Zimbabwe on Saturday
Anti-Mugabe protests in Harare Zimbabwe on Saturday

Up until a few days ago, anyone in Zimbabwe who criticized the 93 year old genocidal dictator Robert Mugabe risked being jailed and tortured. Mugabe's wife, 52 year old Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe, said earlier this year that Mugabe would continue governing from the grave:

"One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper,

You will see people voting for Mugabe as a corpse. I am seriously telling you — just to show people how people love their president."

That's why everyone, including foreign reporters, were shocked and thrilled to see tens of thousands of people cheering ecstaticly on Saturday and marching in the capital city Harare, carrying banners that read "Mugabe must go!" and "Leadership is not sexually transmitted" -- the latter an allusion to the attempt by Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as president. Another sign read, "Mugabe must rest now!", alluding to the fact that Mugabe falls asleep during meetings.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe's army took control of the government after arresting the president Robert Mugabe and confining him to his home. In addition, the army arrested a number of other ministers who are supporting Mugabe.

However, the army is insisting that this is not a "coup." The reason is that the African Union is compelled by its constitution to intervene if a coup takes place.

Alpha Conde, who is Guinea's president and is also president of the African Union said on Thursday:

"We demand respect for the constitution, a return to the constitutional order and we will never accept the military coup d'état.

We know there are internal problems. They need to be resolved politically by the Zanu-PF party and not with an intervention by the army."

The Southern Africa Democratic Development Community (SADC) would also have to take action in case of a coup, and so is insisting that it's an internal government matter.

Thus, it's essential to the army that Mugabe be replaced by means of a constitutional transition of power. This requires that Mugabe step down voluntarily. However, Mugabe is not playing along. He says that he plans to remain in office, and die in office. So the army is resorting to a kind of "plan B" to convince Mugabe step down. The first step was to encourage people to come to Harare on Saturday with anti-Mugabe protests and demand that he step down, although with the streets flooded with singing and dancing people on Saturday, it's clear that they didn't need much encouragement.

For the next step in the plan, on Sunday, Mugabe will be fired as leader of the government party, Zanu-Pf, though he'll still be president of the country. In addition, his wife Grace will be fired as head of the Zanu-Pf Women's League. At this point, the plan is that Mugabe will no longer have any friends, allies or supporters, and the hope is that he'll accept a dignified exit. In that case Emmerson Mnangagwa, who used to be Robert Mugabe's vice president, will be elevated to be president. However, I heard one official say that if Mugabe still insists on staying in office, then things will "get ugly."

By the way, neither Emmerson Mnangagwa nor Grace Mugabe have been heard from since Wednesday.

Meanwhile, watching the street interviews with the people singing and dancing in Harare on Saturday, it's obvious that most of the people were in their own state of denial. Under Mugabe, they've suffered one economic disaster after another, as Mugabe's "indigenization" program threw out farm and business owners who knew how to run a farm or a business, and replaced them with thugs and cronies from Mugabe's Shona tribe who didn't know how to run a farm or business.

The gleeful people on the streets of Harare interviewed on Saturday were saying things like "Mugabe fought our first war of independence, and now when he's out it will be our second independence," with the implication that things will get better. But things aren't going to change at all. Mnangagwa is the same kind of genocidal psychopath that Mugabe is. The same "old guard" will be in charge, though with different players, and the same Shona thugs and cronies will be running the farms and businesses.

And in the next few weeks and months as people realize that nothing is going to change, there are going to be plenty of new crises. Reuters and Zimbabwe Herald and Times Live (South Africa) and CNN

The events in Zimbabwe show how history unfolds and disasters occur

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the events in Zimbabwe the last few days are really quite remarkable. Seemingly the entire popular of Zimbabwe suddenly underwent a huge, massive change in behavior and attitude. Two weeks ago, everybody loved Mugabe. On Saturday, everybody hated Mugabe and wanted to get rid of him.

And we know what triggered this change: Mugabe's announcement that he would fire his vice president so that his own wife could replace him as president. The resulting change was so fast and so massive that reporters keep saying that they can't believe it even happened.

This kind of massive change in public opinion and behavior is the stuff of history and major historical events, including major historical disasters. In other circumstances, that kind of massive lightning change in public opinion and behavior can cause a panic that leads to a war, as happened for example when Israel panicked and attacked Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. The attack was triggered when Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers along the border, and the attack came four hours later, with no plan and no objective.

That same kind of lighting change of public opinion and behavior can also cause a major financial panic and crash, and sometimes we don't even know what the trigger is. I often like to point out that, even today, 88 years later, we still don't know what triggered the stock market panic on August 28, 1929, and why it didn't occur six months earlier or six months later.

Today there's a huge stock market bubble, with the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio almost 25, far above its historic value of 14. China, the world's second largest economy, is running on a huge debt bubble and a huge real estate bubble.

Of special note is the Bitcoin bubble. When I wrote about it a month ago, Bitcoin was just above $5000. Today it's close to $8000, having been at just $728 a year ago. Bitcoin investments have nothing backing them except hot air and promises, and the explosive growth of Bitcoins is one of the most dramatic bubbles since the Tulipomania bubble of the 1600s. When the Tulipomania bubble burst after a panic in 1637, people cursed tulips for decades. When a panic occurs and the Bitcoin bubble implodes, the cursing will be far worse.

The thing we should learn from the last two weeks in Zimbabwe is that a panic can occur with lightning speed. Events that are provably impossible today become not only possible but completely real tomorrow. And unless you've anticipated those events and prepared for them, then you'll suffer the consequences.

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Nov-17 World View -- Ecstatic throngs in Harare Zimbabwe demand that Robert Mugabe step down thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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18-Nov-17 World View -- African leaders once again furious that they won't get a climate change bonanza

The flaws in the climate change story

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Climate change superstars Germany and Norway humiliated at climate change conference


Kinshasa, the capital city of Democratic Republic of Congo, has benefited enormously from carbon emissions
Kinshasa, the capital city of Democratic Republic of Congo, has benefited enormously from carbon emissions

The latest annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP23, ended on Friday accomplishing nothing bug a new collection of news stories about politicians from countries around the world taking credit for climate change leadership, and expressing outrage that Donald Trump announced that he was leaving the previous climate change agreement, and thereby allowing the world to slide into planetary climate disaster.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in particular has been a world leader in feigned environmental concern. Years ago, she promised to close Germany's nuclear power plants, saying that they were too dangerous. She has repeatedly lambasted Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate change agreement.

But it now turns out that Germany is not anywhere close to meeting its CO2 emission commitments, and in fact is going backwards. Germany's carbon emissions haven't declined for nearly a decade, and in fact have been increasing for the last three years.

Germany did reduce carbon emissions in the 1990s, but even that accomplishment is dodgy. In 1991, Communist East Germany merged with West Germany to form today's Germany. East German factories were still the same ones that the Soviets had built in the 1950s when they annexed East Germany, and by 1991 those old, creaky factories were spewing huge amounts of environment poisons, including CO2. During the 1990s, the West Germans spent huge amounts of money to modernize the East German factories, and in doing so they reduced carbon emissions.

But those were the easy days. The commitment to close all nuclear power plants by 2022 means that Germany's huge economy is going to depend on coal for energy, and today 40% of German energy supply is coal-based. So Merkel is going to have to do a U-turn on either nuclear-generated energy or coal-generated energy, and either way, there is no chance at all that Germany will meet its climate change commitments.

Norway is another environmental superstar that is having similar problems. Norway, with its cold, clean, crisp Nordic climate, has always appeared to be an environmental model, if you didn't count the fact that it's a major producer of oil and gas, which are its most important exports.

In 2015, Norway awarded oil licenses to Statoil, Chevron and other companies, allowing them to drill for oil in Norwegian waters in the Barents Sea.

Well, Greenpeace and other environmental groups are suing Norway, saying that the awards are unconstitutional because "Under article 112 of the constitution ... the Norwegian state has a duty to not hurt the climate." According to Greenpeace:

"Our goal is that the court agrees with us that licenses awarded in the Barents Sea are invalid and should be withdrawn because it violates future generations’ right to a healthy environment."

The attorney representing Norway evoked laughter in the courtroom by saying:

"This is a type of constitutional activism we have not seen before and that is different from our legal tradition in Norway.

This is an American-style use of our judicial system. ...

It would stop all future oil licenses awarded off Norway and would imperil hundreds of thousands of jobs."

What the examples of Germany and Norway show is that the whole climate change program is a fantasy put forth by politicians for domestic purposes. Ironically, Donald Trump is the only politician willing to tell the truth. Council on Foreign Relations and Reuters

African leaders once again furious that they won't get a climate change bonanza

African leaders were furious at last year's climate change conference because Donald Trump had unexpectedly won the US presidential election and said that he would pull out of the climate change agreement. Even so, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged a rapid scale-up in funding for climate change programs, especially to support developing countries. "Finance and investment hold the key to achieving low-emissions and resilient societies," he said.

So now it's a year later, and there's another climate change conference, and African leaders are furious again, because there were plenty of promises made this week, but no commitments.

Africans claim that they're entitled to money because they're the victims of climate change. That is, the West has caused the climate change, and the Africans are suffering because of it. Augustine Njamshi from the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) says:

"In general, Africa has not gotten what it wanted at this Cop23. Because the discussions that matter to us, things that matter to us have been relegated to the background and all that we're hearing is what the developed countries want, and that is not in the interest of Africa. ...

Africa has not contributed to this [climate change] problem, yet it's bearing the consequences in a great way, in a massive way and we don't have the luxury to adapt to the climate change consequences, as well as we don't even have the means to do any mitigation."

Actually, Africa has benefited enormously from carbon emissions. At the beginning of this article, there is a picture of Kinshasa, the capital city of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). You can see the skyscrapers, apartment buildings, roads, cars, and other infrastructure made possible by research and manufacturing performed by the West. If it hadn't been for the West's CO2 emissions, the people of Kinshasa would still be living in thatch huts and driving around in carts pulled by donkeys and camels. Africa is as responsible as anyone else is for carbon emissions because of the enormous benefits they get.

And what would happen if a huge pot of money were given to Joseph Kabila, the president of DRC, to mitigate climate change? Where would that money go? Anyone who knows anything about what's going on in Africa knows the answer. Kabila would use the money to provide support and weapons to government militias slaughtering, raping and mutilating thousands of people in Kasai province, where 3.9 million people have already been forced to flee their homes.

I've been writing about climate change conferences for years, and it's always been clear that they have nothing to do with mitigating any climate problems. They have only one objective: To force the United States and other western countries to pay billions of dollars to leaders of "underdeveloped" countries, so that those leaders can use the money to pay their cronies, pad their bank accounts, and buy weapons to kill their enemies. I'm not aware of any proposal coming out of a climate change conference that would actually reduce carbon emissions. And the examples of Germany and Norway described above illustrate this.

However, the conference did produce some good news for African leaders. According to Chinese state media:

"[Xie Zhenhua] said, through donating energy conserving or renewable-energy facilities as well as climate change surveillance instruments, and promoting climate-friendly techniques, China has offered funds, technologies and capacity building to the least developed countries, small-island countries and African countries.

Since 2011, Chinese government has channeled 580 million yuan (about 85 million U.S. dollars) to help other developing countries to cope with climate change, through various initiatives ranging from low-carbon and adaptation projects to capacity building activities.

China has signed 32 MOUs with 28 developing countries on the donation of materials needed in battling climate change, including over 1.2 million energy-saving or solar-energy lamps, some 13,000 solar photo-voltaic power generating facilities, and over 10,000 clean stoves, among other donations. China also donated satellite monitoring facilities to help these countries with early warning of extreme weather.

Moreover, China helped train thousands of climate officials as well as technicians from more than 120 countries on five continents, according to Xie."

The 1.2 million energy-saving or solar energy lamps donated by China should be particularly helpful to the people of Africa in mitigating the effects of climate change. At least they won't be used to kill people. Deutsche Welle and Radio France International and Xinhua

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The flaws in the climate change story

As I've written in the past, you can accept all the claims by the climate change scientists that climate change is occurring, and that it's caused by human behavior. Even under all those assumptions, climate change predictions are still wrong, and have been consistently wrong for about 30 years since climate change scientists have begun making them.

The reason that climate predictions are consistently wrong is that climate scientists simply ignore very important issues. I've tried raising these issues with client scientists, but they simply blow me off since these issues don't fit their narrative.

Here are two very important issues that client scientists ignore:

As regular readers are aware, Generational Dynamics predicts that the world is headed for a world war that will kill billions of people through nuclear weapons, ground war, disease and famine. Climate scientists claim that climate change is caused by human activity, and so, the large reduction in population will completely remove whatever threat the climate scientists are predicting.

With regard to technology, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Singularity -- the point in time when computers will be more intelligent, more able, and more creative than humans -- will occur around 2030. Each year we're increasingly able to see some of the components that will bring that about. Artificial intelligence is under development in every research lab in the world, and is advancing rapidly. In particular, every military in the world is doing research on robots, vehicles and aircraft that can kill enemies without human intervention. Combine all that with 3D printing, and you can imagine a world where computer entities are more intelligent than humans, can duplicate themselves, and can fight against humans.

Even if you don't believe in that scenario, there's no doubt that a great deal of new technology is being developed that can mitigate the climate change problem. Think about how much technology has been developed in the last 50 years, and think about how technology development is growing exponentially faster. With or without the Singularity, climate scientists have absolutely no clue what the temperature will be at the end of the century, because they have absolutely no clue what technology will be developed to mitigate it.

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Nov-17 World View -- African leaders once again furious that they won't get a climate change bonanza thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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17-Nov-17 World View -- Cambodia dissolves the opposition political party so that Hun Sen can be reelected unopposed

Comparing Awakening Eras in Cambodia, Syria, Zimbabwe and other countries

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Cambodia dissolves the opposition political party so that Hun Sen can be reelected unopposed


Phnom Penh exhibit commemorating the Cambodian killing fields war of 1975-79
Phnom Penh exhibit commemorating the Cambodian killing fields war of 1975-79

Cambodia's Supreme Court, believed to be completely controlled by prime minister Hun Sen, ruled on Thursday that Hun Sen's opposition party should be dissolved, and that its members should be prohibited from political activities:

"The supreme court has decided to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue party [CNRP] and ban 118 individuals ... from doing political activities for five years starting from the day of this verdict announcement."

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Cambodia is in a generational Awakening era. The Buddhist society of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in 1975-79, led by Pol Pot, perpetrated one of the top mass genocides of the 20th century. The genocide killed something like 1.7 to well over 2 million people, out of a population of 8 million. So around 20% of Cambodia's population were killed, making it possibly the worst genocide, on a percentage basis, of the 20th century.

This is exactly the same story that I've been writing about many times recently. A country has a generational crisis civil war where ethnic or tribal groups commit thousands of atrocities, tortures, mutilations, rapes, and killings of each other. All the survivors are traumatized for life, and when one side or the other takes power after the war ends, they continue using some of the same techniques to stay in power indefinitely. We've written about this in Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere.

Hun Sen and his Cambodian People's Party (CPP) have controlled the government since the end of the war, and Hun Sen himself has been the country's leader since 1985. The crackdown began in 2013, when Hun Sen was declared the winner of a close election whose results were disputed by the opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The CNRP has been gaining in popularity since 2013, and many people thought that Hun Sen might be defeated in the 2018 elections, something that he and his supporters would have to prevented at all costs, by any means possible.

So Hun Sen began targeting CNRP leaders, arresting many of them. The CNRP was particularly shocked on September 4 when 100 police showed up at the home of the CNRP leader Kem Sokha and arrested him for treason.

Following the arrest, Hun Sen said:

"The treason of colluding with foreigners to betray the nation requires [us] to make an immediate arrest.

The third hand [the United States] used to use Lon Nol to conduct a coup [in 1970], now the same problem happened.

The Americans used to do it, this problem, with Lon Nol and now the American does this problem with Kem Sokha."

It's always fun to see how the United States get blamed for every problem in the world. This charge of treason was based on a 2013 video in which Kem Sokha spoke of getting US assistance to plan his political career. Hun Sen accused Sokha, his family, journalists, foreign NGOs, the CIA, and the “extremist” ruling party of Taiwan of orchestrating regime change in Cambodia.

If this sounds vaguely familiar to you, it's because it sounds the same as the delusional statement by Zimbabwe's Commander Chiwenga that we reported yesterday following the Zimbabwe coup, that "our revolution [is] being hijacked by agents of our erstwhile enemies who are now at the brink of returning our country to foreign domination against which so many of our people perished."

So Hun Sen has been arresting leaders in the opposition CNRP political party, and now has arranged to have the entire party dissolved by the court, so that he can win an election next year. Phnom Penh Post and Guardian (London) and ABS-CBN (Manila) and Phnom Penh Post (5-Sep)

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Comparing Awakening Eras in Cambodia, Syria, Zimbabwe and other countries

Possibly the most significant finding from the development of Generational Dynamics these last 15 years was the discovery of the destructive role that generational Awakening eras play in country after country. We've seen this destructive role in today's article on Cambodia, and in previous articles on countries from Syria to Burundi to Zimbabwe.

In any country, an Awakening era occurs after the Recovery Era that follows a generational crisis war. A generational crisis war is the worst kind of war, because the value of a human life goes to zero at the war's climax, and the only thing that matters is survival of the country or society and its way of life.

Western nations are not immune from the atrocities of a crisis war. In World War II, American troops were sent onto the beaches of Normandy, even though it was known that tens of thousands of them would be slaughtered. Later, the reverse happened as the Allies firebombed Dresden and Tokyo, and then nuked Japanese cities. These events fit the definitions of "war crime" because they targeted large numbers of innocent civilians, and would be described as such if it weren't for the fact that Western nations won the war.

All nations and societies perform these atrocities during a generational crisis war, especially as the climax of the war approaches. But there are two distinctly different kinds of generational crisis wars, and it's important to treat them separately, because their behaviors during the following Awakening eras are completely different.

In an external war, one nation's army invades another nation, with the intent to capture territory or resources. There may be atrocities, including torture, rape, and mass slaughter, but in the typical case, when the war ends, the invading army leaves the country that it invaded, and future relations between the two countries can be negotiated through international diplomacy, such as in the United Nations. The two sides do not have to "live with" one another.

But that's very different from an internal civil war, where one tribe or ethnic group fights another within the same country. Typically, the two tribes live in the same cities, neighborhoods and streets, work in the same businesses, intermarry and allow their children to play with one another.

So for example in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the Hutus and Tutsis had lived together for decades, had intermarried, had their kids play games with each other and so forth. Then one day, a Hutu leader announced over the radio, "Cut down the tall trees." The radio announcement, which was heard all over the country, was some sort of visceral signal. On cue, each Hutu did something like the following: Picked up a machete, went to the Tutsi home next door, or down the street, murdered and dismembered the man and children, raped the wife and then murdered and dismembered her.

So when the war ends, the situation is quite different than in the external war, since these two tribes or ethnic groups still have to live with one another, in the same cities, streets and neighborhoods. There are always calls for reconciliation and little feel-good news stories, but the horrific atrocities are never forgotten. Even worse, each tribe remembers the atrocities that the other side committed, but develops amnesia about the atrocities that its own side committed. And those partial memories are passed down to the children, who come of age during the generational Awakening era.

Generational Dynamics is based on the foundational work on generational theory developed by Strauss and Howe and published in their book The Fourth Turning. That book was brilliant at the time that it was published, but the research is now 25 years old, is badly out of date, and has been shown to contain a number of serious errors.

The core error is the assumption that all generational timelines of all nations are synchronized with each other, and in particular are synchronized with "Anglo-American timeline" of Britain and North America since the 1400s. The book doesn't even recognize the concept of Awakening eras in other countries, since they are a time of spiritual awakening and new ideas that are only possible in the atmosphere of freedom that occurred in Britain and America. If they exist at all in other countries, then they're synchronized with Britain and America, which doesn't even make sense since there's no reason why a tribe in mid-Africa should be following the timeline of medieval England.

This core assumption is discarded in Generational Dynamics in favor of the "Principle of Localization," which says that each society and nation has a separate and distinct generational timeline throughout history, although timelines of two countries can merge at times of massive invasions and genocide.

So now returning to the distinction between external and internal wars, the Awakening eras of different countries are quite different. The spiritual awakening described by the Fourth Turning may occur in America and Britain, but it certainly does not occur in the other countries we've been discussing, the ones that fought tribal or ethnic internal civil wars. In those countries, an Awakening era is a time of government oppression, jailings and torture, in order to suppress the other tribe or ethnic group.

There is some commonality between the two kinds of Awakening eras. In both cases, they begin 15-20 years after the climax of the preceding crisis war, when the new generation growing up after the war comes of age and can make its voice heard -- and does so in riots and youth demonstrations protesting government policies.

In the case of an Awakening era following an external war, these anti-government protests do have a flavor of spiritual awakening, as they did in America in the 1960s. But in countries where the Awakening era follows a tribal or ethnic civil war, these protests are seen by the government leaders as a threat being posed by the tribe or ethnic group on the other side in the war. For that reason, the government leaders suppress them, often violently.

This was true in all the countries that we've been discussing recently and comparing with one another -- Cambodia, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, DRC, and so forth. All of these countries are currently in generational Awakening eras following a tribal or ethnic crisis civil war in the 1960s-80s, and they're on completely different timelines than America and Britain. And yet, they're all very similar in that the leaders are doing everything possible to stay in power for decades.

One question that I'm asked frequently is why this analysis doesn't apply to the American Civil War of the 1860s.

The American civil war was not a war between two tribes or ethnic groups, as the black slaves generally supported the South. The fault line was geographical (North vs South), and so it had the characteristics of an external war. The tribal and ethnic civil wars that I've been talking about occur when two ethnic groups live together, often in the same villages and neighborhoods, and people start raping, torturing and slaughtering their next door neighbors. This is a highly personal kind of war, very different from an external war, where one country raises an army and invades another country, and then the army withdraws when the war ends. The American North and South were like two separate countries, with very different economies and lifestyles, not like Hutus and Tutsis living next door to each other. That's why that kind of personal civil war could not have occurred, and the two were really more like two separate countries. If the black slaves had risen up and fought against the southern whites, then the Awakening era would have been far bloodier.

There are many events and actions in history that seem completely inexplicable. How could anyone have been so delusional and so stupid as to do X? The Generational Dynamics discovery of the significance of generational Awakening eras in countries after a tribal or ethnic civil war provides answers to many questions that have puzzled historians for decades or even centuries.

Related: Mainstream media frets over Steve Bannon, the Fourth Turning, and Donald Trump (09-Feb-2017)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Nov-17 World View -- Cambodia dissolves the opposition political party so that Hun Sen can be reelected unopposed thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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16-Nov-17 World View -- Zimbabwe coup splits ruling Zanu-pf party along generational lines

More on the evacuation of ISIS militants from Raqqa, Syria

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

More on the evacuation of ISIS militants from Raqqa, Syria

A couple of analysts that I heard on Wednesday provided additional information about the evacuation of militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) from Raqqa that I described yesterday. The coalition permitted hundreds of ISIS militants, along with tons of weapons and ammunition, to be transported by bus into Deir az-Zour, where they were free to fight again.

According to these analysts, the ISIS evacuation into Deir az-Zour was actually a strategic move by the US coalition. The militants were transported into a region of Deir az-Zour that was already controlled by ISIS, and there are Syrian and Iranian armies and Hezbollah and Russian warplanes trying to recapture that region from ISIS. Thus, the evacuation of ISIS fighters from Raqqa to Deir az-Zour actually has the purpose of supporting the enemies of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

The Youtube video for the full BBC report on the ISIS evacuation from Raqqa can be found here: Youtube

Related: BBC reports hoax by US-led coalition about ISIS evacuation from Raqqa Syria (15-Nov-2017)

Zimbabwe coup splits ruling Zanu-pf party along generational lines


Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly fled the country (AFP)
Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly fled the country (AFP)

Insisting that there was "no military takeover" of Zimbabwe, General Constantino Guvheya Nyikadzino Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) on Wednesday led a military takeover of the Zimbabwe. A statement by the ZDF spokesman said:

"To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of Government. What the Zimbabwe Defense Forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict. ...

We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency, The President, of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde R.G. Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.

We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice. As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy."

Zimbabwe's 93-year-old president Robert Mugabe has not been heard from. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma said that he has spoken to Mugabe, who told him that he's ok, but he's confined to his home under house arrest.

Zimbabwe's 52-year-old first lady, Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe, the wife of the president, has not been heard from either. The rumor is that she's fled the country. The logical country for her to flee to is South Africa, but she can't go there because she's wanted for violent assault. In August, she went to South Africa and went to the Johannesburg hotel room of her two sons, where she found her sons' friend, a 20-year-old model named Gabriella Engels. Mugabe beat the crap out of Engels with the heavy plug at the end of an extension cord, leaving her with numerous gashes and scars, and putting her entire career at risk. So it's still not known what country she's fled to, but there are reports that on Wednesday she was seeking asylum in Namibia.

The military coup was apparently triggered when Robert Mugabe sacked vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa so that his wife Grace can succeed him and be the next president, thus forming a kind of Mugabe dynasty.

Mnangagwa is part of the "old guard" that fought alongside Mugabe in the violent "war of liberation" and victory over Ian Smith, the white supremacist leader of Rhodesia. After the war ended, Mugabe's Shona tribe turned against their co-victors, the Ndebele tribe. Mnangagwa developed a reputation for ordering the unbridled slaughter, rape, torture and murder of Ndebele tribesmen and women, leading to Operation Gukurahundi, one of the greatest holocausts of the last century.

So Mugabe and Mnangagwa have always been great friends, sharing their psychopathic atrocities targeting the Ndebele, but they've been feuding recently, and Mugabe decided that the next president should be his wife Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe. This choice was also supported by the Youth Wing of Mugabe's Zanu-pf party.

But this choice infuriated the old guard of war veterans who had fought alongside Mugabe, hence the coup. Reuters (15-Aug) and Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe Commander Chiwenga gives a totally delusional explanation for the coup

Mugabe's old guard war veterans are steeped in the erotic excitement of the memories of their youths, when they fought against the white supremacist Ian Smith and won.

On Wednesday, Commander Chiwenga of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces referred to this liberation struggle to explain the purpose and objective of the coup:

"Zimbabwe’s history is hinged on the ideals of the revolution dating back to the First Chimurenga [civil war] where thousands of people perished. Zanu-PF is the political Party that waged the Second Chimurenga for our independence; the struggle that caused the loss of over 50 000 lives of our people; the struggle in which many Zimbabweans, in one way or the other, sacrificed and contributed immensely for our liberation. Many of these gallant fighters still live on with the spirited hope of seeing a prosperous Zimbabwe, but also the hope of leaving behind inheritance and legacy for posterity. ...

Our peace loving people who have stood by their Government and endured some of the most trying social and economic conditions ever experienced are extremely disturbed by what is happening within the ranks of the national revolutionary Party. What is obtaining in the revolutionary Party is a direct result of the machinations of counter revolutionaries who have infiltrated the Party and whose agenda is to destroy it from within.

It is saddening to see our revolution being hijacked by agents of our erstwhile enemies who are now at the brink of returning our country to foreign domination against which so many of our people perished. The famous slogan espoused by His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces, Cde R. G. Mugabe; “Zimbabwe will never be a colony again” is being seriously challenged by counter revolutionary infiltrators who are now effectively influencing the direction of the Party.

It is our strong and deeply considered position that if drastic action is not taken immediately, our beloved country Zimbabwe is definitely headed to becoming a neo-colony again."

This statement is completely delusional. There is no possible scenario where Zimbabwe would become a colony again.

The "erstwhile enemies" that Chiwenga is referring to are Grace Mugabe and her supporters. Chiwenga is seeing hallucinations. He think's Mugabe's wife is going to make "our beloved country Zimbabwe" into a "neo-colony." This guy's a total nutjob. And young people in Zimbabwe listening to this statement are going to know immediately that it's crazy.

This is a neurological problem that seems to strike many leaders who come to power after winning a particularly gruesome tribal or civil war. Ordering and participating in thousands of atrocities, tortures, mutilations, rapes, and killings is only possible for a certain kind of sociopathic man, and the after effect leaves them traumatized for life. Syria's Bashar al-Assad and Iran's Supreme Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei are also complete nutjobs, just like Mugabe and Chiwenga.

When I first heard about the Zimbabwe coup attempt yesterday, I immediately thought that it would be an Awakening era climax -- an event that resolves the generational conflict between the generations of survivors of the previous generational crisis war versus the generations growing up after the war. The survivors of the war are traumatized for their entire lives, and so they have quite different personalities and behaviors than those growing up after the war, who have no such traumas.

However, that clearly hasn't happened. The generational conflict has not been resolved. The "old guard" is still in control; only the names of the players have changed.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is an extremely dangerous situation, as can be seen from the example of Syria. Bashar al-Assad is completely delusional, and has unleashed his psychopathic fury on his political enemies, as I've been describing since the war began in 2011. Al-Assad has created millions of refugees flooding into neighboring countries and Europe, and has created jihadist militias ISIS and al-Nusra. This has destabilized the entire Mideast.

The old guard in Zimbabwe appears to be equally delusional, and so the current crisis is far from ended. Zimbabwe's neighbors are particularly worried about a flood of refugees from Zimbabwe. There are already a million Zimbabweans working in South Africa, for example, and a flood of refugees similar to what happened in Syria would destabilize southern Africa. Zimbabwe Herald

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Nov-17 World View -- Zimbabwe coup splits ruling Zanu-pf party along generational lines thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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15-Nov-17 World View -- BBC reports hoax by US-led coalition about ISIS evacuation from Raqqa Syria

Apparent coup is in progress in Zimbabwe against 93-year-old Robert Mugabe

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

BBC reports hoax by US-led coalition about ISIS evacuation from Raqqa Syria


A picture of Raqqa taken on October 28 (AFP)
A picture of Raqqa taken on October 28 (AFP)

Calling it "the dirty Raqqa deal that no one wants to talk about," the BBC has found that the US-led coalition military issued extremely misleading statements last month, when the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) was evacuated from Raqqa, the capital of their self-styled caliphate.

It was in November of last year that the coalition made a surprise announcement that an operation would begin to recapture Raqqa from ISIS. The announcement was controversial because the principal fighters would be from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), comprising a majority of Kurdish fighters and a minority of Arab fighters, backed by American warplanes. Turkey was particularly opposed to the participation of the Syrian Kurds, whom the Turkish government considers to be all terrorists. However, the Kurds were chosen because the US considers them to be the best and most effective fighting force in Syria versus ISIS.

By September of this year, there was widespread reporting that the SDF had almost entirely recaptured Raqqa from ISIS, and that total victory was only a few days away. However, in mid-October there was another surprise announcement: Instead of killing or capturing all the ISIS fighters in Raqqa, they would be permitted to leave and go to live elsewhere.

I wrote briefly about this evacuation deal last month when it was announced. I went back to my news article archive to reread the articles that I had used as sources at the time. According to these articles:

This sanguine description has been contradicted in several ways by the BBC report. The reporter, Quentin Sommerville, visited Raqqa and followed the path that the bus convoy took last month into Deir az-Zour. He interviewed dozens of people who were either on the convoy, including bus drivers, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal.

Sommerville reported the following, based on interviews with witnesses and bus drivers and on amateur video:

According to Sommerville, interviews with human smugglers working on the Syria-Turkey border have revealed a surge in people trying to cross the border into Turkey. It's feared that some wish to return to their home countries in Europe and Russia to continue the jihadist fight.

The BBC says that once the Raqqa investigation was completed and the facts were presented to the coalition military, they confirmed them. Al Araby (UK, 15-Oct) and BBC and Daily Sabah (Turkey) and Daily Mail (London)

Update: The Youtube video for the full BBC report on the ISIS evacuation from Raqqa can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4KLrQKJn3c

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Syria war violence surges as Bashar al-Assad repeats Aleppo genocide in Ghouta

It was a year ago that the army of Syria's psychopathic president Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia's air force, was determined to slaughter as many of the 275,000 residents of Aleppo to be killed, even though only all but a few thousand were innocent civilians. Syrian and Russian warplanes bombed hospitals, schools and civilian neighborhoods even in cities where al-Nusra was never present. ( "7-Oct-16 World View -- UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura predicts total destruction of Aleppo by Christmas")

The violence against Aleppo and other western cities was to have ended as a result of the "de-escalation zone" agreement reached by Russia, Iran and Turkey, meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan. However, the agreement never really had a chance, because al-Assad opposed it.

So it's not surprising that al-Assad is repeating this genocidal attacks on the Sunni Muslims that he hates, this time in East Ghouta.

Ghouta has always been particularly hated by al-Assad. In 2013, he ordered what a United Nations investigation found to be large scale' use of Sarin gas on the people of Ghouta, including women and children.

According to Jan Egeland, the UN Special Envoy for Syria:

"I feel as if we are now returning to some of the bleakest days of this conflict again. ...

Nowhere is it as bad as in eastern Ghouta, which is the area just next to the capital Damascus city, it is in rural Damascus, east of the capital. This epicenter of suffering has 400,000 civilians, men, women, and children, in a dozen besieged towns, and villages. ...

Winter is coming, winter in Syria is as hard as it is in Europe, the difference between in Europe and in Syria is that people are now sitting after a 7-year war, longer than the second World War, they have little, if no, reserves, they have no heat in the house, they live in a ruin, it will be a horrific winter. In eastern Ghouta the price of a food basket is ten times that of the average in the country, so people cannot afford food and that will be their situation as the harsh winter is coming."

We can assume that we're going to see a repeat in Ghouta that we saw last year in Aleppo. As I've written many times, al-Assad is the worst genocidal leader so far in the 21st century, and the war in Syria will continue as long as he's in power.

There is an interesting contrast between the two stories presented in this article.

In Aleppo, and probably in Ghouta, al-Assad and Russia are using the 'Grozny Model' to pursue mass slaughter, as Russia used against Grozny in its 1990s war against Chechnya.

But in Raqqa, rather than commit mass slaughter against civilians, the SDF and the coalition allowed the ISIS fighters to escape, and even provided transportation for them.

So we have two similar situations, but two different military strategies. Perhaps one day historians will look back at this time to decide which strategy was the best. United Nations and Syria Direct and Al Araby (UK)

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Apparent coup is in progress in Zimbabwe against 93-year-old Robert Mugabe

As this article is being written on Tuesday evening ET, there is an apparent military coup in progress, as soldiers have reportedly taken over the headquarters of Zimbabwe's national broadcaster, ZBC, in the capital city Harare. Heavy gunfire and artillery have also been heard, as well as loud explosions.

The coup attempt was apparently triggered when Robert Mugabe, the 93 year old president, sacked the VP so that his wife can succeed him.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Zimbabwe is in a generational Awakening era. This means that if the coup is successful, it would be an Awakening era climax, something that signals a victory of the younger post-war generation over the generations of war survivors. This is similar to the forced resignation of President Richard Nixon in America in 1974, which was also an Awakening era climax, signaling the victory of the young post-war Boomer generation over their parents, the World War II survivors. When a successful coup is part of an Awakening era climax, then it's sometimes also called a "velvet coup," since there's usually little violence involved. BBC

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Nov-17 World View -- BBC reports hoax by US-led coalition about ISIS evacuation from Raqqa Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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14-Nov-17 World View -- Severe drought in Kenya increases violence among herders, farmers and police

Tensions rise between Kenya and Tanzania over chicks and cattle

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Severe drought in Kenya increases violence among herders, farmers and police


Dead cattle, allegedly shot and killed by police during shootout with herders (Standard Media)
Dead cattle, allegedly shot and killed by police during shootout with herders (Standard Media)

A severe drought in Kenya has in the last year resulted in increasing violence between three groups -- (1) farmers and ranchers who own about a million acres of land, versus (2) herders (also called pastoralists) whose cattle herds have been dying of starvation and who invade ranches to find grazing land, versus (3) the police whose job it is to prevent violence between the other two groups.

Pro-herder groups are accusing the police of being pro-farmer and of purposely shooting and killing about 300 cattle in the province of Laikipia on November 1. The police say that they were ambushed by about 1,000 herders who used the cattle as shields and then fired at the police, who returned fire blindly, unable to see the herders through the herd. The police also say that only 75 cattle were killed.

(As an aside, this is the second time recently that I've heard this story. The four American soldiers who were killed in Niger were ambushed when jihadists sent a herd of cattle towards them, blinding them, and then attacked, using heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles.)

Although farmers and herders have generally gotten along with each other for years, the population of herders has been growing along with their herds, and the drought has led to a crisis where many herders' families are facing starvation. The herders say that because of the drought crisis, herders should have some controlled access to the ranches of farmers and ranchers.

This has all become linked to tribal politics in Kenya, especially with the chaos surrounding recent presidential elections. Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta won reelection in the August 8 election, but Kenya's Supreme Court agreed with the opposition that the election was "invalid, null and void" because of electoral committee irregularities and illegalities.

A new election was held October 26, but the opposition boycotted it, with the result that Kenyatta won that election by over 90%. The opposition is also challenging that election.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is from the market-dominant Kikuyu tribe, which is the tribe of wealthy landowners, farmers and ranchers.

His opponent, Raila Odinga, is from the Luo tribe, an offshoot of the Kalenjins, who are the tribe of marginalized herders and pastoralists. Odinga says that the government should compensate the pastoralists whose livestock were killed by the police, adding:

"Pastoralists should have controlled access to ranches during moments of drought. Criminalization of pastoralists should stop since they contribute to the nation’s economy."

The Supreme Court is now considering motions by Odinga and the opposition to nullify the October 26 election as well. Lawyers representing the electoral commission are asking the court to throw out the motions submitted by Odinga, and are also accusing Odinga of promoting election day violence.

In 2007, there was a presidential election where Odinga from the Luo tribe was defeated for president by another member of the Kikuyu tribe.

After the December 2007 president elections, there was a period of extremely bloody inter-tribal violence in the Rift Valley in Kenya, beginning early in 2008. The worst atrocity occurred when 30 people were lured into a church to escape violence, and a young gang locked the doors and set the church on fire, burning everyone alive. All in all, more than 1,200 people were killed in the tribal violence between the Kalenjins, who are mostly herders, and the Kikuyus, who are mostly farmers.

In 2017, there are fears that there will be renewed violence related to the election chaos, combined with the violence between herders and farmers. IRIN - United Nations and The Nation (Kenya) and Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya) and The Economist

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Tensions rise between Kenya and Tanzania over chicks and cattle

Kenya has launched a formal protest against the neighboring country Tanzania for auctioning off 1,300 Kenyan cattle and burning alive 6,500 Kenyan chicks.

Two weeks ago, Tanzania seized and burned alive 6,500 chicks that had been brought from Kenya into Tanzania by traders, claiming that the chicks had been imported illegally.

Then last week, Tanzania seized and auctioned off 1,300 cattle that had crossed the border from Kenya in search of grazing land.

A Kenyan official said that the act had violated historical relations between the two countries:

"Kenya-Tanzania relations are longstanding, rich and complex and should not be jeopardized by a hardening of positions over minor issues that can be easily resolved through candid and open dialogue."

Statements issued by Tanzania's president John Magufuli said:

"Those who sneak with their livestock into this country will not be spared. ... Let them (Kenyans) also take similar action if cows from Tanzania are arrested in their country."

According to another Kenyan official, "This man [Magufuli] is a disgrace to East Africans. He continues to sabotage good neighborliness with his government officers harassing Kenyans over flimsy grounds." The National (Kenya) and Capital FM (Kenya) and The Nation

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Nov-17 World View -- Severe drought in Kenya increases violence among herders, farmers and police thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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13-Nov-17 World View -- Poland's Independence Day march hijacked by right-wing 'White Nationalists'

Recalling President Trump's July 6 speech in Warsaw Poland

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Poland's Independence Day march hijacked by right-wing 'White Nationalists'


Far-right demonstrators burn flares and wave Polish flags on Saturday (AFP)
Far-right demonstrators burn flares and wave Polish flags on Saturday (AFP)

Tens of thousands of people marched in Warsaw on Saturday at the 99th anniversary celebration of Poland's Independence Day. Poland became an independent nation on November 11, 1918, the day that World War I ended.

Many of the marchers carried right-wing "White Nationalist" banners, including "Clean Blood," "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust," and "White Europe, Europe must be white." Some wore masks and waved red and white Polish flags, chanting "Death to enemies of the homeland," and "Catholic Poland, not secular."

However, it's not known how many in the crowd sympathized with these views, as many people told reporters that they were not part of the radical-nationalist groups, but were simply attending in celebration of Independence Day.

The march was not an official government event, but had three main right-wing sponsors -- All Poland Youth, National Movement and National Radical Camp, which is known by its acronym ONR. All Poland Youth has been organizing these demonstrations since 2010. They started out small, but have growing in size until this year, when the overshadowed the other Independence Day events.

This is not surprising, as xenophobia and nationalism have been occurring in countries around the world, and have been growing as we go deeper and deeper into a generational Crisis era, and the survivors of World War II die off.

Poland's Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszcza was pleased that there was no violence:

"Independence Day... was safe. We could see wide and red in the streets of Warsaw, it was a beautiful sight. We are proud that so many Poles decided to take part in events."

The Independence Day march turned violent in 2014, when some of the members of far-right groups broke away from the main rally and started to throw stones and flares at the police.

This year, there were 8,600 police in Warsaw to keep the far-right groups and the anti-fascist protesters apart, and so violence was almost completely absent.

According to official figures, more than 65,000 people took part in 308 events nationwide, and 60,000 took part in an Independence March in Warsaw. The News (Warsaw) and CNN and Politico (EU) and BBC (11-Nov-2014)

Nationalism and xenophobia continue to rise around the world

As regular readers know, I've been writing about the worldwide rise of nationalism and xenophobia for years. In America, we've seen xenophobia on the right directed against Muslims and Mexicans, who are mostly Christians, and we've seen xenophobia on the left directed against Tea Partiers and Midwesterners who (I believe) are mostly Protestants. We've also seen calls for violence from left-wing groups including Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

In Europe, there's been widely publicized xenophobia directed against Muslims and Roma, but that's far from the only case.

An interesting example is the UK and its Brexit vote, which was largely directed at immigration issues related to the EU rules about "freedom of movement." However, "freedom of movement" in this context has nothing to do with Syrian and African immigrants. It refers to EU citizens being able to move freely from EU country to EU country, and although immigration of Syrian refugees was a part of the Brexit motivation, the main issue was actually Christians from eastern European Union countries like Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

So, if we want to speculate, it could be that part of the opposition to the EU by far-right groups in Poland is a reaction to the xenophobia of the British directed at Poland.

The phrase "European Project" refers to the efforts, begun in the 1950s, to take steps to prevent another massive war in Europe, following the devastation of two world wars that destroyed Europe. The war survivors fully understood that the massive destruction of Europe had been caused by nationalism and xenophobia. This lead to the Treaty of Rome in 1957, and eventually to the formation of the European Union.

The European Project worked well, in that there's been no major European war since then. However, the World War II survivors that signed the Treaty of Rome and created the European Union are now almost all gone. The younger generations have no clue how destructive nationalism and xenophobia can be, and how they can lead to the massive destruction of a new world war.

As the saying goes, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."

Each time that a World War II survivor dies or retires, and is replaced by a younger person, then there is one more person who has no clue about the destructiveness of xenophobia and nationalism.

In Japan, the xenophobia is directed at China. In China, the xenophobia is directed at Japan and the United States. In India, it's directed at Muslims in Pakistan. In Pakistan, it's directed at Hindus in India. So nationalism and xenophobia are not narrow attitudes directed at just one group, but are an organic part of every population during a generational Crisis era, and may be directed at any religious or ethnic group, depending on the country. Guardian (London) and Jewish Chronicle

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Recalling President Trump's July 6 speech in Warsaw Poland

On July 6, President Trump gave a speech to a euphoric crowd in Warsaw Poland linking today's world to the 1930s, and compared the dangers that Poland faced then to the dangers that Europe faces today from terrorism:

"Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people. A vibrant Jewish population -- the largest in Europe -- was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland's Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.

In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising. ...

This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we're in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life. You see what's happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.

We are confronted by another oppressive ideology -- one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe. America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We're going to get it to stop.

During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have. While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.

We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent."

As I wrote at the time, Trump's speech is consistent with the principles and analysis provided by Generational Dynamics. That analysis was provided to Trump by his chief advisor at the time, Steve Bannon, who is an expert on Generational Dynamics, as well as on military and world history.

However, in July, Trump had an additional message for the people of Poland:

"We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will. Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?"

Unfortunately, the right-wing groups in Warsaw are not listening to President Trump's message about defending our values. Marchers carrying signs that say "Clean Blood," "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust," and "White Europe, Europe must be white" may think that they're defending their borders, but they are not. Instead, these right-wing groups are writing a prescription for a new world war, and, once again, total destruction of Europe, this time with nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, there's no way to stop this. As the WW II survivors continue to die off, xenophobia and nationalism will continue to increase on all sides, until some event triggers a small conflict that spirals into full-scale war and a world war. Those who are lucky (or unlucky) enough to survive will have plenty of time to contemplate what they did wrong.

Related: Donald Trump's speech in Warsaw Poland evokes the Clash of Civilizations (07-Jul-2017)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Nov-17 World View -- Poland's Independence Day march hijacked by right-wing 'White Nationalists' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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12-Nov-17 World View -- Deadly violence increases in English-speaking regions of Cameroon

Cameroon's 84-year-old president Paul Biya exhibits same violence as other African leaders

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Deadly violence increases in English-speaking regions of Cameroon


The Median newspaper depicts anti-government protests while Cameroon president Paul Biya is addressing the UN General Assembly on 25-Sep (Cameroon-Concord)
The Median newspaper depicts anti-government protests while Cameroon president Paul Biya is addressing the UN General Assembly on 25-Sep (Cameroon-Concord)

Violence in the Southern Cameroons, the Anglophone (English-speaking) region of mostly Francophone (French-speaking) country, has been taking an increasingly violent turn in recent days, as pro-separatist activists start to retaliate for the government violence that began in November of last year.

In the past few days, Anglophone activists have ambushed and killed four Francophone security personnel, in retaliation for government violence that killed dozens people since October.

Peaceful protests began late last year when Anglophone lawyers protested that the legal and court systems are biased toward Francophones, with many laws passed without even being translated into English. They joined by teachers protesting that all courses in the schools had to be taught in French, and that any use of English was forbidden. The Francophone police responded by severely beating several protesters, and shooting two of them dead.

During the past year, the Francophone government has used increasingly harsh methods to end the peaceful protests. This included shutting down the internet in the Southern Cameroons for several months, causing businesses to close and making it impossible for individuals to bank or make purchases online, in the hope that shutting down the internet would convince the separatists that Cameroon is too nice a place to separate from.

On September 22, the violence took a dangerous turn, with small explosions targeting local security forces. Starting on October 1, when the Liberation Movement of Southern Cameroons issued a symbolic declaration of independence for the state of "Ambazonia," an increasingly violent Francophone government crackdown began. Hundreds of people were arrested, and helicopter gunships were used to fire on innocent civilians and kill them. At least 5,000 people have fled across the border to neighboring Nigeria to escape the violence. Reuters and Cameroon Concord and Guardian (Nigeria) and Today (Nigeria)

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Cameroon's 84-year-old president Paul Biya exhibits same violence as other African leaders

I keep writing the same story over and over about leaders using violence to stay in power forever, whether it's Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Joseph Kabila in DRC, or, outside of Africa, Bashar al-Assad in Syria. What these leaders all have in common is that their countries had an ethnic or tribal generational crisis civil war 30 or 40 years ago, and each leader and his cronies and thugs from the same tribe have stayed in power all 30-40 years after the war ended, It's now a generational Awakening or Unraveling era, and these leaders are using slaughter, rapes, jailings and atrocities against the other tribe to stay in power.

At the end of World War II, there was a British colony, the Anglophone "British Cameroons," and there was a French colony, the Francophone "French Cameroun" colony. The last generational crisis war was the "UPC Revolt," 1956-1960, which was a bloody civil war by communists attacking the French government in the Cameroun colony. The outcome was independence in 1961, when the British Cameroons colony and the French Cameroun colony were merged into a single country, and the Anglophones became a disadvantaged and marginalized minority. Today, the Anglophone regions are known as the "Southern Cameroons."

Paul Biya was born in 1933, and became president in 1982. He consolidated his power by orchestrating a fake coup, giving him an opportunity to eliminate all his rivals, and making him, in effect, a dictator.

Biya's government has done some really stupid things in the past year, apparently in the belief that by directing increasing violence at the peaceful protesters, they'll stop peacefully protesting. Unfortunately that's partially true, but not in the way Biya wants, since some of them turn into violent protesters.

According to Carlson Anyangwe, a retired law professor from Anglophone Southern Cameroons:

"We don’t know why but when they shoot you, the body is taken away. Whether you’re dead or not, we don’t know. I’m sure if our people had arms, you would’ve heard of skirmishes between our people and the military. But because they don’t have guns or anything, they’re just protesting with their bare hands and taking the risk of being shot at and being killed."

Many people fear a full-scale civil war between the Anglophones and Francophones, but that's almost impossible right now in a generational Unraveling era, where there are still plenty of survivors of the bloody "UPC Revolt" still alive, but as these survivors die off, the level of violence is only going to increase. Mail and Guardian (South Africa) and Cameroon Concord

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Nov-17 World View -- Deadly violence increases in English-speaking regions of Cameroon thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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11-Nov-17 World View -- European Union Brexit negotiator gives Britain a two-week ultimatum

Can the Brexit decision be reversed? The author of the rule says it can.

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

European Union Brexit negotiator gives Britain a two-week ultimatum


UK Brexit negotiator David Davis and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (AP)
UK Brexit negotiator David Davis and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (AP)

It was always pretty obvious to anyone who was awake that the surprise passage of the Brexit referendum on June 23 of last year was a disaster in the making, and now, 17 months later, nobody has a clue how it's supposed to work, any more than anyone did when the referendum first passed.

There are four major issues (or groups of issues) that have to be resolved, and almost no progress has been made on reaching an agreement on any of them.

First, there's the trade issue, so that businesses in both the UK and the EU can make plans for conducting business in the future. Will there be trade tariffs? Will there be product quotas? How many new layers of bureaucracy will have to be created for a business in the UK to sell something in the EU, or vice-versa? Britain's prime minister Theresa May wants to start the trade negotiations right away. But the EU is refusing to even begin talking about trade, until the other three issues have been resolved.

So then May hoped that trade negotiations would begin by October, but they had to be postponed. So now May is hoping to begin trade negotiations at a UK-EU summit scheduled for December 14-15 in Brussels, but that depends on the other three.

So zero progress has been made on the first issue, the trade issue, in the last 17 months, and no date to start negotiations has been agreed.

Second, there's the so-called "divorce bill." This is the amount of money that the UK must pay to the EU to honor their existing commitments. This includes such things as pension payments to British nationals working for EU employers, and spending commitments for EU projects and social programs that Britain committed to and was contributing to before the Brexit referendum passed.

A lot of money is involved here. At first, the UK refused to pay anything. In recent months, Theresa May has said that she would "honor its financial obligations," but she has not committed to any figure. Leaks from the UK side began to mention figures around €20 billion. However, many EU officials are demanding €60-70 billion.

On Friday, Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, issued an ultimatum: The UK must "clarify" what it means by saying that it will "honor its financial commitments," and must do so within two weeks, or there will be no trade negotiations in December. Barnier is not demanding that the UK name a specific euro amount, but it must specify the algorithm by which a specific euro amount will be computed.

Barnier says that the amount of the divorce bill must be "clarified" within two weeks, because the EU-27 (the 27 non-UK members of the EU) will need time to agree to the amount, before trade negotiations can proceed.

It seems pretty clear that if May specifies either a euro amount or an algorithm, then some member states will say it's not enough. So if trade negotiations are to begin at the December 14 summit, then some way must be found to compromise on this issue, but in this generational Crisis era, the mood is for confrontation, not compromise.

So zero progress has been made on the second issue, the divorce bill, in the last 17 months, to the current date.

The third issue is citizens' rights -- what happens to EU nationals working in Britain, and to British nationals working in the EU? Issues like medical benefits, pensions, and freedom of travel will have to be resolved. The EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said that the UK has offered some "useful clarifications," and some progress has been made.

However, there is one citizens' rights issue that is far from being settled: the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Brussels in enforcing the rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK. Barnier is saying that the ECJ is essential in guaranteeing consistent application of case law in the UK and in the EU. But the people in the UK who favored Brexit in the first place HATE the ECJ and the European Parliament, and demand that Britain have control of its own laws. So the ECJ remains a major issue.

So SOME progress has been made on the third issue, citizens' rights, in the last 17 months, but with respect to the biggest part of it, the role of the ECJ, zero progress has been made. Sky News and Reuters and Guardian (London)

The most intractable Brexit problem: Northern Ireland

The fourth issue is the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland (Ireland), which is part of the EU but not of the UK.

In times past, there was a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Those were the times of "The Troubles," and violent clashes between the indigenous ethnic Irish Gaelics (the Catholics) and the descendants of the English and Scottish invaders (the Protestants). These clashes were resolved by the Good Friday Agreement (the Belfast Agreement) that resolved many issues, and particularly eliminated the hard border, turning it into an "invisible border" that anyone can cross at any time. That makes a lot of sense today, when Ireland and Northern Ireland are both part of the EU, and hence of the single market shared by the EU and the UK.

Everyone seems to agree that a way must be found to avoid reinstating the hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. But the problem is that if there is no hard border, then any tariffs and customs duties between the EU and UK can be avoided simply by shipping products across the invisible border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

If there's going to be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, then there has to be a hard border within the UK itself, between Northern Ireland and England.

So the EU is demanding, in effect, that there has to be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the island of England, Wales and Scotland. This proposal is infuriating many officials in Northern Ireland, and is rejected by David Davis, the UK's Brexit negotiator. Nobody has any idea how this will be resolved.

So zero progress has been made on the fourth issue, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Irish Times and BBC

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Can the Brexit decision be reversed? The author of the rule says it can.

It's been 17 months since the Brexit referendum, and so we are now halfway to March 29, 2019, when Britain will leave the EU, according to the rules specified in Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which Theresa May invoked on March 29 of this year. And almost nothing has been resolved on any of the major issues.

Perhaps the logjam can be broken by the time of the Brussels summit on December 14-15. This would surprise everyone.

It's more likely that none of the major issues will be resolved until total panic sets in late in 2018.

It's possible that no agreement on the issues will be met, and the "no deal" option will occur in March 2019. In that case, the UK and the EU like any two stranger nations, and will follow the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules for trade that every nation follows. In this case, at the very least, there will be a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

As more and more people realize that this entire Brexit process is insane, a third option is suddenly being discussed: The possibility of canceling the entire Brexit project and remaining in the EU.

John Kerr, one of the authors of Article 50, was British ambassador to the EU from 1990-95. He is accusing Theresa May of misleading the British people by telling them that the Brexit decision is irrevocable, and that it can be revoked if Britain decides to unilaterally scrap divorce talks.

In a speech on Friday, Kerr said:

"While the divorce talks proceed, the parties are still married. Reconciliation is still possible

We still have all the rights of a member-state, including the right to change our minds. The British people have the right to know this – they should not be misled.

A political decision has been made, in this country, to maintain that there can be no going back. Actually, the country still has a free choice about whether to proceed."

In an interview, Kerr added:

"The Brexiters create the impression that is because of the way article 50 is written that having sent in a letter on 29 March 2017 we must leave automatically on 29 March 2019 at the latest. That is not true. It is misleading to suggest that a decision that we are taking autonomously in this country about the timing of our departure, we are required to take by a provision of EU treaty law."

According to an analyst I heard on RFI, if the UK tries to use this as a bargaining ploy, then it will be rejected by the EU-27. But if the UK sincerely wants to remain in the EU, then it will be approved. Reuters and Guardian (London) and Bloomberg

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Nov-17 World View -- European Union Brexit negotiator gives Britain a two-week ultimatum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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10-Nov-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia blockades Yemen, threatening millions to die in famine

All Saudis ordered to leave Lebanon, as Hariri's fate is unknown

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

All Saudis ordered to leave Lebanon, as Hariri's fate is unknown


A poster depicting Saad al-Hariri, hanging in a neighborhood of his supporters in Beirut.  The words say 'With you forever.'  (Reuters)
A poster depicting Saad al-Hariri, hanging in a neighborhood of his supporters in Beirut. The words say 'With you forever.' (Reuters)

While there aren't concerns that Saudi warplanes will be flying over Lebanon tomorrow, the people of Lebanon are becoming increasingly anxious over what Saudi Arabia is planning, in view of the actions already taken.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia ordered all Saudis in Lebanon to leave immediately. Kuwait and United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed suit immediately. Bahrain had made a similar statement earlier.

This followed last week's completely unexpected resignation of Lebanon's prime minister, Saad al-Hariri, a resignation made all the more shocking by the fact that al-Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia and issued the resignation announcement over television from the Saudi capital city Riyadh.

In his resignation speech, al-Hariri denounced Iran and Iran's puppet organization Hezbollah for sowing strife in countries around the region. He also said that he feared that they were planning to assassinate him, as they had assassinated his father with a bomb in 2005.

It's widely suspected among the people of Lebanon that al-Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia against his will. In Lebanon's capital city Beirut, politicians of all parties, including al-Hariri's own party, are demanding that Saudi Arabia release him and allow him to return to Lebanon and explain why he resigned. Government officials are saying that they will not accept al-Hariri's resignation until he returns and reaffirms it.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Thursday explained in an interview what was going on from the Saudi point of view. He blamed the situation on Iran and Hezbollah, and on Hezbollah's increasing control of the government of Lebanon:

"Hezbollah put roadblocks in front of every initiative that Prime Minister Hariri tried to implement. Hezbollah has pretty much hijacked the Lebanese system. It has been the instrument that Iran used to dominate Lebanon, the instrument that Iran used to interfere with Syria, with Hamas, and with the Houthis. We see Hezbollah’s mischief all over the region. Hezbollah has been responsible for smuggling weapons into Bahrain. Hezbollah is involved in criminal activity, such as drug dealing and money laundering.

We are saying that the world has to make sure that we designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. There can be no difference between a political wing and a militant wing. The world needs to take action in terms of curtailing Hezbollah's activities, and the world needs to push back against Hezbollah wherever they operate. We cannot allow Lebanon to be a platform from which harm comes to Saudi Arabia.

The Lebanese people have been dominated by Hezbollah and we need to find a way to help the Lebanese people come out from under the thumb of Hezbollah. We cannot allow Lebanon to be a base from which attacks against Saudi Arabia can take place and we are urging the Lebanese government in particular to take firm and resolute action against Hezbollah."

Lebanese government officials, speaking anonymously, reject Al-Jubeir's claim:

"Keeping Hariri with restricted freedom in Riyadh is an attack on Lebanese sovereignty. Our dignity is his dignity. We will work with (foreign) states to return him to Beirut."

Lebanon will ask foreign governments to pressure Saudi Arabia to release al-Hariri.

What the people of Lebanon fear most is that their country will now join Syria as the site of a proxy war between Shias, led by Iran, versus Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia. Arab News and Newsweek and Reuters

Saudi Arabia blockades Yemen, threatening millions to die in famine

Saudi Arabia imposed land, sea and air blockades on Yemen, preventing aid organizations from delivering food and medicines.

Yemen has been engulfed in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2014. The war has already killed more than 10,000 and displaced millions, with around 500,000 cholera cases reported in the country since the worst outbreak in decades started in April. Saudi Arabia has been bogged down in the war, making little progress, and has already been accused of creating a humanitarian disaster.

On Saturday last week, the Houthis launched a ballistic missile that reached the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, about 800 km from the Yemen border. The Saudis were able to intercept it with with a surface-to-air Patriot missile, but called it a 'dangerous escalation' in the war. The missile attack has been considered a game-changer in the war because it was clearly an Iranian ballistic missile, and because of the distance it traveled and its accuracy.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia responded by blockading all air, land and sea routes into and out of Yemen, in order to prevent Iran from sending weapons into Iran.

Yemen, which already was facing mass starvation and cholera cases, imports 90% of all its food, and 100% of all its medicines. Humanitarian organizations that have been supplying food and medicines are now blocked from deliveries into Yemen.

On Wednesday, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said that the blockade would cause the worst famine since World War II:

"It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year, where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims."

Saudi Arabia's young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud has been taking one extreme measure after another. He engineered the air, sea and land blockade of Qatar in July, he engineered the isolation of Lebanon, in the last week he arranged for hundreds of high-level government and financial officials to be arrested, and possibly have their assets confiscated, and he's engineered the air, sea and land blockade of Yemen, putting millions of people at risk of starvation.

Saudi Arabia is in a generational Crisis era and apparently is in a state of complete desperation in fighting Iran, and we can really see that in its actions, which are at the most extreme levels of atrocities. We've also already seen this in Syria, where the country's sociopathic Shia/Alawite president Bashar al-Assad has used Sarin gas on innocent Sunni civilians, and with the help of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, has committed genocide against innocent Sunni women and children in Syria.

And now it seems likely that Lebanon, which has always been a fragile country anyway, will be pulled into the same Sunni-Shia proxy battles as the other countries. In this generational Crisis era, the Mideast civilization seems to be collapsing, plummeting into the same pit of atrocities, slaughter and famine that has plagued it for centuries, possibly for millennia.

Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. BBC and CNN and Washington Post

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Nov-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia blockades Yemen, threatening millions to die in famine thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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9-Nov-17 World View -- Donald Trump in Seoul issues stern warning to North Korea -- and to China

Trump's speech targeted at China

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Donald Trump in Seoul issues stern warning to North Korea -- and to China


Donald and Melania Trump in South Korea on Wednesday (Reuters)
Donald and Melania Trump in South Korea on Wednesday (Reuters)

President Donald Trump, speaking to South Korea’s National Assembly on Wednesday, issued a stern warning to North Korea's president Kim Jong-un that his continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles did not protect his regime, but instead the regime into extreme peril:

"All the while, the regime has pursued nuclear weapons with the deluded hope that it could blackmail its way to the ultimate objective. And that objective we are not going to let it have. We are not going to let it have. All of Korea is under that spell, divided in half. South Korea will never allow what's going on in North Korea to continue to happen. ...

To this day, it continues to launch missiles over the sovereign territory of Japan and all other neighbors, test nuclear devices, and develop ICBMs to threaten the United States itself. The regime has interpreted America’s past restraint as weakness. This would be a fatal miscalculation. This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past. ...

Today, I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations, when I say to the North: Do not underestimate us, and do not try us. We will defend our common security, our shared prosperity, and our sacred liberty. ...

America’s men and women in uniform have given their lives in the fight against Nazism, imperialism, Communism and terrorism.

America does not seek conflict or confrontation, but we will never run from it. History is filled with discarded regimes that have foolishly tested America’s resolve.

Anyone who doubts the strength or determination of the United States should look to our past, and you will doubt it no longer. We will not permit America or our allies to be blackmailed or attacked. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. We will not be intimidated. And we will not let the worst atrocities in history be repeated here, on this ground, we fought and died so hard to secure."

In addition, did everything possible to make his warning as personally insulting as possible to Kim himself:

"North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. At the center of this military cult is a deranged belief in the leader’s destiny to rule as parent-protector over a conquered Korean Peninsula and an enslaved Korean people. ...

I also have come here to this peninsula to deliver a message directly to the leader of the North Korean dictatorship: The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face."

Mainstream media reaction to the speech as usual was incoherent, with comments festooned with the usual snarky remarks about Trump himself. Nobody writing about the speech seemed to understand what Trump's strategic purpose was, and many articles concluded that it was a wasted speech because it won't stop North Korea from continuing its development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles -- which it certainly won't. White House and Washington Post and CNN and The Atlantic

Trump's speech targeted at China

There's a paragraph quoted above that's worth repeating:

"America’s men and women in uniform have given their lives in the fight against Nazism, imperialism, Communism and terrorism.

America does not seek conflict or confrontation, but we will never run from it. History is filled with discarded regimes that have foolishly tested America’s resolve."

Everybody knows that it North Korea attacks the U.S., then the regime will be destroyed. So Trump was making this statement not for North Korea's benefit, but for China's benefit. Trump is reminding China that Japan made a disastrous mistake attacking the United States in 1941, and that the US defeated Japan and also saved China.

The reason that most reporters are completely confused about Trump's strategy is because they don't understand Generational Dynamics. As regular readers know, I've worked with Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon off and on for almost ten years, and Bannon is an expert on world and military history, and he's also an expert on Generational Dynamics. Some news reports say that Bannon still talks regularly with Trump, so it's not surprising that Trump's foreign policy this year has almost completely consistent with the Generational Dynamics analysis. If you want to understand Trump's strategy, then you have to understand Generational Dynamics.

Trump and Bannon are well aware of the following:

China has previously said that if the US preemptively attacks North Korea, then China will defend it, but won't defend it if North Korea attacks first.

Testing nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles and flying them over Japan, is already an act of war, and exploding one over the Pacific, as has been threatened, could threaten any aircraft or sea vessels in the area, and the radiation could be carried by the winds to any country bordering the Pacific. Any of these tests could be interpreted as a nuclear attack by North Korea requiring a military response, and if China keeps its promise, won't retaliate. However, this situation would certainly threaten the security of China.

Chinese media have been discussing China's "Plan 2025" to overtake the United States and have worldwide hegemony by 2025. In a recent interview, Steve Bannon described China as "an enemy of incalculable power, not a strategic partner and we have to understand that." He summarized Plan 2025 as having several objectives:

Trump's speech was a warning to China that its plan for world hegemony is going to be a lot more difficult than they expect. Trump may even hope to persuade China to choose a different path, but that can't happen. Generational Dynamics predicts that the world is headed for a Clash of Civilizations World War III, pitting the US, India, Russia, Iran and the West versus China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. Breitbart and South China Morning Post

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Nov-17 World View -- Donald Trump in Seoul issues stern warning to North Korea -- and to China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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8-Nov-17 World View -- US expands military counter terrorism efforts in Africa after death of soldiers in Niger

US and Niger dispute the facts about the four soldiers' deaths

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

US expands military counter terrorism efforts in Africa after death of soldiers in Niger


Three Tuareg women in the city of Agadez, Niger, where the new US military drone base will be built (Pinterest)
Three Tuareg women in the city of Agadez, Niger, where the new US military drone base will be built (Pinterest)

Following the deaths on October 4 of four American soldiers in Niger on the border with Mali, the U.S. is planning an expansion of the American military presence in Africa's Sahel region (the strip of Africa just below the Sahara desert, separating the Arab north from Black Africa to the south), as part of its counter-terrorism strategy in Africa.

The planned military expansions had been discussed earlier, but the events of October 4 gave them increased visibility and impetus.

The Trump administration said last week that it would contribute an initial $60 million to the newly constituted "G5 Sahel" counter-terrorism force, led by France and containing 5,000 troops from five Sahel nations -- Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. However, the administration is demanding that other countries also contribute money to the effort, which is considerably short of its budget of about half a billion dollars.

The second development is that the US has convinced the government of Niger to permit the US to operate armed drones over Niger airspace. Niger had refused permission in the past, but acquiesced after it was argued that an armed drone could have saved the lives of the American soldiers on October 4.

The US had already committed $100 million as the initial construction costs, including fuel and equipment, of an American drone base in Agadez, in central Niger. According to an American military spokesman in September:

"At the request of, and in close coordination with, the Government of Niger, United States Africa Command is establishing a temporary, expeditionary cooperative security location in Agadez, Niger.

Agadez is an ideal, central location to enable ISR collection (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) to face the security threat across the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin region."

Niger's government had approved the drone base only for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, using unarmed drones. But last week's announcement permits the use of armed drones, allowing the drones to protect American forces in operations such as those on October 4.

The United States already has 800 troops in Niger, in a base near the capital city Niamey in western Niger. Eventually, these forces will be relocated to the new base in Agadez. Washington Post and Reuters and Reuters (30-Sep)

US and Niger dispute the facts about the four soldiers' deaths

As more details come out about the deaths of the four US soldiers and five Nigerien soldiers on October 4, it appears that they were the targets of a very well-planned ambush, apparently motivated by a desire for revenge.

Note: "Nigerien" refers to Niger, while "Nigerian" refers to Nigeria.

A team of 12 American and 30 Nigerien troops were on a supposedly low-risk reconnaissance mission, where chances of contact with militants were considered unlikely. They were leaving the border village of Tongo Tongo, when the village chief asked their help in getting medicine to treat sick children. There was a 40 minute delay, time that was used by the militants to set up the ambush.

About 100 yards outside the village, they heard gunshots, and the militants sent a herd of cattle toward them, generating large clouds of dust, allowing the militants to see them, while they were blinded by the dust. There were about 50 militants, using heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles.

However, there is a dispute between the American and Nigerien militaries about the nature of the mission. The American military insists that it was purely a reconnaissance mission of a type that had been performed many times before without incident.

But Niger’s Defense Minister Kalla Moutari described the operation as "a reconnaissance mission, but also to neutralize the enemy." Specifically, the mission aimed to detain and question Doundou Chefou, an actively sought jihadist considered to be particularly dangerous.

According to a senior US intelligence official, "They were up there so long on a mission that morphed, they were spotted, surveilled and ultimately hit." Washington Post and France 24

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Nov-17 World View -- US expands military counter terrorism efforts in Africa after death of soldiers in Niger thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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7-Nov-17 World View -- Democratic Republic of Congo issues farcical call for elections in December 2018

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe sacks the VP so that his wife can succeed him

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Democratic Republic of Congo issues farcical call for elections in December 2018


A family flees violence in Kasai province in Democratic Republic of Congo (UNHCR)
A family flees violence in Kasai province in Democratic Republic of Congo (UNHCR)

On Sunday, the electoral commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced that a presidential election will be held on December 23, 2018. Unfortunately it's hard to see this announcement as anything but a joke, although the same kind of joke seems to occur in one African country after another.

DRC president Joseph Kabila was supposed to step down on December 19 of last year, but he pulled a stunt worthy of any African leader: He did everything possible to prevent new elections from taking place, and then refused to step down because there hadn't been any elections. There was a threat of civil war in DRC, but the Catholic Church intervened and brokered an agreement: Elections would be held in December of 2017 to choose Kabila's successor, and this time Kabila would really step down.

It was always obvious that the agreement was a farce, and that Kabila would ignore the agreement. That has in fact happened, because once again Kabila did all he could to prevent new elections from taking place, and now with December 2017 upon us, there will be no elections.

So now Kabila's election commission has announced that the election will take place in December 2018. So are we going to see another year where Kabila prevents a new election, and then makes some new agreement for an election in December 2019?

The norm for the leaders of many African countries is to refuse to step down, to misappropriate huge amounts of money from the treasury and from foreign aid to pay money to his political cronies and thugs to buy their loyalty, to pay money to buy weapons to be used against the political opposition, and then to target his political enemies with mass slaughter, mass atrocities, mass rapes and mass torture, in order to stay in power.

That's certainly what's happening in DRC. As we reported in July, in the 16 years he's been in office, he and his family and cronies have taken control of dozens of business, and more than 71,000 hectares (175,444 acres) of farmland, own diamond mines, a part of the country's largest mobile phone network, companies that mine mineral deposits, gold and limestone, a luxury hotel, stakes in an airline, a share of the country's banks, and a fast-food franchise.

If he allowed an election to take place and the opposition won, then he would undoubtedly begin to lose control of that vast wealth, and might be thrown in jail for corruption. So we can be pretty certain that Kabila will not allow an election in December 2018, or ever -- or at least not a rigged election. However, the Trump administration has told Kabila that an election must be held by December 2018, or international aid will be cut off.

The opposition stronghold is the central province of Kasai, where more than 3,000 people have been killed in escalating violence blamed on a government-sponsored militia. The UN has identified more than 80 mass graves and said it had found toddlers with limbs chopped off and pregnant women with their bellies sliced open, their unborn babies mutilated.

The violence has resulted in 3.9 million people forced to flee their homes to escape the violence. Hundreds of thousands have fled to Zambia, Angola and other neighboring countries as refugees, creating a humanitarian disaster in those countries, and threatening to destabilize the entire region. Deutsche Welle and The Citizen (South Africa) and UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR)

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Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe sacks the VP so that his wife can succeed him


Robert and Grace Mugabe (AFP)
Robert and Grace Mugabe (AFP)

What Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe is doing is just a variation of what Joseph Kabila is doing in DRC, but the intended outcome is roughly the same.

Mugabe is 93 years old, and has used violence, rape and torture to stay in power for 37 years, but even he knows that he can't be president forever. Mugabe's wife, 52 year old Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe, said earlier this year that Mugabe would continue governing from the grave:

"One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper,

You will see people voting for Mugabe as a corpse. I am seriously telling you — just to show people how people love their president."

However, Grace now has another solution -- she will replace Mugabe as president.

Grace Mugabe and the vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa have been feuding, and recently he accused her of poisoning him. On Saturday, Grace Mugabe called Mnangagwa the “root cause of factionalism," and she accused the vice-president’s supporters of booing her while she gave a speech. She said, "What if I get in [as vice-president]? What’s wrong with that? Am I not in the party? If people know that I work hard and they want to work with me, what is wrong with that?"

So on Sunday, Mugabe fired vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa, clearing the way for his wife Grace to become vice president, and then succeed him as president.

Mugabe is from the Shona tribe, and in the early 1980s, he launched a massive genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign against his traditional tribal enemies, the Ndebele tribe. During that campaign, known as Operation Gukurahundi, accomplished with the help of training by North Koreans, tens of thousands of people, mostly from the Ndebele tribe, were raped, tortured and slaughtered.

In 1999, Mugabe adopted his "indigenization" program. At that time, Zimbabwe was considered the breadbasket of Africa, second only to Kenya in food production. Mugabe threw all the white farm owners out of the country, and turned the farms over to his incompetent cronies and thugs in the Shona tribe. By 2003, Zimbabwe was starving, and the number of Zimbabweans dying of starvation continued to grow. By 2008, the official rate of inflation was 231 million percent. ( "24-Feb-2014 World View -- Mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has 90th birthday")

So Kabila and Mugabe are cut from the same cloth -- destroying the economy with massive corruption and using massive slaughter, rape and torture to stay in power. But whereas Kabila used the trick of preventing elections in order to stay in power, Mugabe is using the trick of getting his wife to replace him, and effectively rule the country from his grave. Once again, it's hard to see this as anything but a joke.

Unfortunately, we've seen the same sort of thing in one form or another in other African countries, including South Sudan, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Eritrea, as well as in non-African countries, including Syria and Thailand. The methods vary, and the levels of violence vary, but the outcomes are always the same -- to keep the élites in power by any means possible. Reuters and Guardian (London) and The Herald (Zimbabwe) and AFP (18-Feb-2017)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Nov-17 World View -- Democratic Republic of Congo issues farcical call for elections in December 2018 thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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6-Nov-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia and Lebanon face increasing instability as crises multiply

Yemen's Houthi missile attack on Riyadh called a 'dangerous escalation'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hezbollah's Nasrallah calls for calm in the streets of Lebanon


Iran now claims to control four Arab capitals: Beirut (Top L), Sanaa (Top R), Baghdad (Bottom L), Damascus (Bottom R) (AlWeeam)
Iran now claims to control four Arab capitals: Beirut (Top L), Sanaa (Top R), Baghdad (Bottom L), Damascus (Bottom R) (AlWeeam)

Following the shocking resignation on Saturday of Lebanon's prime minister Saad Hariri, fears are growing of instability and street protests. Hariri played a crucial role in the government as a Sunni Muslim, balancing a Syriac Maronite Catholic president and a Shia Muslim speaker of parliament, both of whom were closely allied with Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

The fears that that at best the government will simply be unable to make any decisions at all, as had happened in recent years, and at worst that street protesters will riot and blame Nasrallah for the country's severe economic problems.

Some people fear that Nasrallah will deflect attention from himself by starting a war with Israel.

Nasrallah is calling for calm, and for avoiding street protests:

"This created a state of anxiety in Lebanon and especially with the rumors that accompanied it. We call for avoiding a return to the previous tensions or to any street protests. ... All of us must remain calm within legal frameworks ... and I don't think that there is any party to clan in Lebanon whose interests are in Lebanon returning to chaotic conditions of the past."

However, the Foreign Ministry of Bahrain issued a statement calling on its citizens to leave Lebanon:

"Due to the current circumstances and developments in the Republic of Lebanon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests all citizens of the Kingdom of Bahrain, currently present in the Republic of Lebanon, to leave immediately and with utmost care and caution.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stresses that all citizens should not travel to the Republic of Lebanon at all, for the sake of their safety, in order to avoid encountering any risks as a result of these developments."

Nasrallah said that the reasons for the resignation were not understood in Lebanon, and that anyway they weren't Lebanese reasons. He offered as proof the fact that Hariri traveled to Saudi Arabia to resign. "The shape of the resignation proves that Hariri was forced to do so and that the resignation was a Saudi decision." Arab News and Al Manar (Lebanon, Hezbollah) and Bahrain Foreign Ministry

Yemen's Houthi missile attack on Riyadh called a 'dangerous escalation'

Saudi Arabia is calling a ballistic missile attack by Houthi militias in Yemen a "dangerous escalation" of the war in Yemen, in which a Saudi-led coalition is fighting against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia blames Iran for the missile attack.

On Saturday, the Houthis launched a ballistic missile that reached the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, about 800 km from the Yemen border. The Houthis have been regularly launching missiles into Saudi territory, but Saturday's missile attack is considered a game-changer because of the distance it traveled and its accuracy. The Saudis intercepted the ballistic missile with a surface-to-air Patriot missile, which caused it to shatter into fragments near the airport, before it could reach its target. There were no casualties.

The Saudi-led coalition responded to the "dangerous escalation" with a major escalation of its own. The Saudis have shut down all of Yemen's land, sea and air ports, and have launched airstrikes, supposedly the largest barrage since the beginning of the war, on Houthi targets in Yemen's capital city Sanaa.

Yemen has been engulfed in war since September 2014, when Houthi fighters attacked the government in Sanaa and overthrew the internationally recognized government. The war has already killed more than 10,000 and displaced millions, with around 500,000 cholera cases reported in the country since the worst outbreak in decades started in April. Saudi Arabia has been accused of creating a humanitarian disaster. Reuters and Al Jazeera

Saudi's young Crown Prince Salman forces rapid change among multiple crises

The 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by far the youngest ruler that Saudi Arabia has had in decades. He is bringing about vast changes, very quickly, but opening up the country to instability.

This weekend, there have been a series of crises in rapid succession. First, Saad Hariri resigned as Lebanon's prime minister while in Riyadh. Hours later, the Houthi missile attack on Riyadh occurred, called a "dangerous escalation" by the Saudis, who responded with their own escalation in the form of port closings and a barrage of airstrikes.

Next, Saudi Arabia announced a major purge of political and business élites, involving the arrest of 11 princes, four ministers, and dozens of former ministers accused of corruption. Just as the resignation of Hariri has raised questions about the stability of Lebanon's government, the size of the purge has raised questions about the stability and predictability of the Saudi government.

Saudi officials were still reeling from those three events, when there was news that Saudi Prince Mansour bin Muqrin was killed in a helicopter crash, when traveling near the Yemen border. There were immediate concerns that the helicopter was shot down by a Houthi missile, but no explanation has been given, and the Houthis themselves haven't claimed credit, suggesting that the crash was not related to the Yemen war. Several other Saudi officials were killed in the same crash.

If this were the 1990s, or even the early 2000s, when the Mideast was relatively stable, even these four events could be handled as a matter of course. But ever since the "Arab Spring" of 2011, the Mideast has become increasingly unstable almost continuously.

Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Jordan Times and CNN and Al Jazeera

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Nov-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia and Lebanon face increasing instability as crises multiply thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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5-Nov-17 World View -- Saad Hariri shocks Lebanon by resigning as PM while in Saudi Arabia

Lebanon enters the Sunni/Shia front line between Iran and Saudi Arabia

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Saad Hariri shocks Lebanon by resigning as PM while in Saudi Arabia


Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (L) and former prime minister Saad Hariri (R)
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (L) and former prime minister Saad Hariri (R)

Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, shocked the country and the region on Saturday by announcing his resignation as prime minister of Lebanon from a television studio in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

The main points of his announcement were:

Hariri's exact words are as follows:

"You are the people of a great Lebanon, with its traditions, values and bright history. You were the beacon of science, knowledge and democracy until you became governed by groups that did not care for your wellbeing. They were supported by forces outside the borders, which implanted among the people those who wished to cause strife, and formed a government inside a government. This ended with these forces controlling branches of government and obtaining the final say in the affairs of Lebanon and the [lives of the] Lebanese.

I refer, frankly and unequivocally, to Iran, which plants sedition, devastation and ruin, which is attested to by its interference in the internal affairs of the Arab nation, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen – driven by a deep hatred of the Arab nation and an overwhelming desire to destroy and control it. Unfortunately, I found the sons who put their hand in [Iran’s] hand, and openly declare their loyalty to them and seek to kidnap Lebanon from its Arab and international environment, with its values and ideals. I mean Hezbollah, which is the arm of Iran not only in Lebanon but also in other Arab countries.

To the great Lebanese people: over the past decades, Hezbollah has unfortunately managed to impose a fait accompli in Lebanon using the force of its weapons, which are alleged to be solely for the resistance [to Israel]. ...

We live in an atmosphere similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Rafiq Hariri, and I have sensed that someone has been targeting me.

Based on the principles I inherited from the late martyr Rafiq Hariri and the principles of the Great Cedar Revolution, and because I do not want to let the Lebanese down or accept any deviations from these principles, I declare my resignation as Lebanese prime minister. I am convinced that the will of the Lebanese is stronger and their resolve is stronger. They are able to overcome these forces from inside or outside. I hope that Lebanon will be the strongest free independent country, with no authority over it except for its great people, governed by law and protected by one army and one weapon."

Reuters and Daily Star (Lebanon) and Naharnet (Lebanon)

Lebanon enters the Sunni/Shia front line between Iran and Saudi Arabia

Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005 because of his opposition to control of Lebanon's government by Syria's leader Bashar al-Assad. Public and international pressure forced Syria to withdraw completely from Lebanon, but this only strengthened Hezbollah, which was and is the puppet of Iran and Syria.

Saad Hariri clearly does not have the charisma and leadership qualities of his father, and is still in the shadow of the explosive death of his father 12 years ago. He shares his father's belief that Lebanon should be run by Lebanon's people, not by Iran and Syria. So with Hezbollah continually gaining strength in Lebanon's government, Hariri became the most vocal opponent of Hezbollah. That could explain why he felt that his life would be in danger if he made the announcement in Beirut, and felt it was necessary to announce his resignation in a foreign country - Saudi Arabia.

However, his political opponents are saying that the decision to resign on television in Riyadh is inexplicable except as a plot by Saudi Arabia. Iran's officials are saying that the resignation was engineered by US president Donald Trump and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. It seems unlikely that Trump was involved, but it's quite possible that the Saudis strongly urged Hariri to step down.

Lebanon's constitution requires that the three main offices be occupied by specific sectarian groups.

Hariri became prime minister in 2016, under a deal where Michel Aoun, a Maronite Catholic and close ally of Hezbollah, because president. When Hariri took office, he promised quite optimistically to end sectarian divisions.

That was never possible anyway, but the war in Syria only made things worse. As Iran's puppet militia, Hezbollah became Iran's major fighting force in Syria, and also took control Lebanon's national army.

After Hariri's resignation on Saturday, it falls to the Beirut government to find a new Sunni Muslim prime minister. If, as many believe, Hariri resigned because of pressure from Saudi Arabia, then the Saudis won't stop there, and will pressure other prominent Sunnis in Lebanon not to take the job. What many people fear is that Lebanon's government faces years of chaos, just as it did following the explosive death of Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

However, it's worth pointing out that after 2005, many people thought that Lebanon was close to a new civil war. During the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006, which took place on Lebanon's soil, I quoted Lebanon's President Émile Geamil Lahoud as saying:

"Believe me, what we get from [Israeli bombers] is nothing compared to [what would happen] if there is an internal conflict [a new civil war] in Lebanon. So our thanks comes when we are united, and we are really united, and the national army is doing its work according to the government, and the resistance [Hezbollah] is respected in the whole Arab world from the population point of view. And very highly respected in Lebanon as well."

This was Lahoud expressing the fear shared by all survivors of the last war that its horrors would be repeated. As I pointed out at the time, Lebanon was in a generational Awakening era, with the survivors of the last crisis civil war still alive, so there was no chance of a new civil war.

Over ten years have passed since then, and most of those survivors are still alive, and so there's still no chance of a new civil war (unless the politicians force one to occur, as Bashar al-Assad has done in Syria).

The larger picture is that Saturday's resignation puts Lebanon squarely in between Saudi Arabia and Iran and their battles for regional hegemony. Saudi Arabia is fighting Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, with no end in sight. Saudi Arabia has led this year's land, sea and air blockade of Qatar, giving Qatar's relationship with Iran as one of the reasons. And the Saudis are very anxious about Iran on the cusp of a major victory in the war in Syria by establishing control of a swath of land all along the "Shia Crescent," from Iran, through Iraq, through Syria, and then on to Lebanon in one direction, and the Mediterranean Sea in another direction.

In Syria, the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) is losing territory rapidly, and it appears that its total defeat is only weeks away. The defeat of ISIS will free up Iran and Hezbollah to focus on its other enemies -- Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Ever since the ironically named Arab Spring began in 2011, we've seen chaos and war spring up in one Arab country after another -- Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Now Lebanon may join the list, as the end of ISIS and the resignation of Hariri completely change the political landscape across the region.

We've pointed out in the past that all the various armies and militias fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria now have nothing better to do than start fighting each other. In defeating ISIS, the Turks, the Iranians, the Kurds, the Shia militias, Hezbollah and the Syrian rebel militias have all achieved a famous victory, and now they're going to celebrate by killing each other.

As I'm writing this article on Saturday evening ET, there's late news that the Houthis in Yemen have launched a ballistic missile that reached the King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh, about 800 km from the Yemen border. The fact that the Houthis now have these medium-range ballistic missiles, probably supplied by Iran, that can reach as far as Riyadh is a game-changed in the Yemen war, and could lead to a further escalation in the region.

As regular readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Daily Star (Lebanon) and CNN and Debka and Al Jazeera

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Nov-17 World View -- Saad Hariri shocks Lebanon by resigning as PM while in Saudi Arabia thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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4-Nov-17 World View -- Socialist Venezuela may or may not have declared bankruptcy on Thursday

Socialist Venezuela may have reached the end of its economic road

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Socialist Venezuela may or may not have declared bankruptcy on Thursday


During his televised speech on Thursday, Maduro grabs an empanada (a rich pastry) from his desk drawer when he thinks the cameras are off, while most of his people are starving (Caracas Chronicle)
During his televised speech on Thursday, Maduro grabs an empanada (a rich pastry) from his desk drawer when he thinks the cameras are off, while most of his people are starving (Caracas Chronicle)

In a nationally televised speech on Thursday, Venezuela's Socialist president Nicolás Maduro Moros announced that Venezuela would be "refinancing and restructuring" and "reformatting" its debt:

"I decree a refinancing and restructuring of external debt and all Venezuelan payments. We’re going to a complete reformatting. To find an equilibrium, and to cover the necessities of the country, the investments of the country. ...

We have to pay the amount of US$1.121 billion from the Pdvsa 2017 bonus and we have the money to fulfill this obligation," the head of state announced, adding that the government also has resources to continue providing necessities to Venezuelans.

We have the money for this payment, and we also have the money for raw materials, medicines and food. ...

I am naming a special presidential commission led by Vice President Tareck El Aissami to begin refinancing and restructuring all of Venezuela’s external debt and (begin) the fight against the financial persecution of our country."

As various articles have pointed out, this announcement by Maduro didn't make sense, and was contradictory. Refinancing and restructuring are two different things. Refinancing implies an orderly market transaction, while restructuring implies a default and bankruptcy. Nobody knows what "reformatting" is.

Some analysts are suggesting that Maduro is in so far over his head that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

The "special presidential commission" will be led by Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who is under sanctions by the US Treasury Department for protecting drug lords and overseeing a network exporting thousands of kilograms of cocaine. El Aissami announced that his government will hold a bondholders meeting on November 13 to reaffirm Venezuela's commitment to paying off its debts.

Maduro says that Venezuela would make a $1.1 billion payment that's due now. That payment was made, and if it hadn't been, then Venezuela would be in default, but it still makes no sense to make a payment just before refinancing or restructuring.

Finally, Maduro says that even with this payment, the country has the money for raw materials, medicines and food. Actually it doesn't. Maduro has been starving the people and the hospitals for years, and that isn't going to change.

Venezuela got into this situation by faithfully following Socialist principles. When oil prices were high, Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chávez used the overflowing treasury and even borrowed more money to buy votes with enormously expensive social programs. When oil prices crashed in 2014, Maduro paid off debts by incurring huge new debts. Telesur Tv and Reuters and Bloomberg and Washington Post and DealBreaker

Socialist Venezuela may have reached the end of its economic road

All told, there’s $143 billion in foreign debt owed by the government and state entities. Maduro would like to borrow more money, to incur even larger debts to make payments on current debts, but is unable to do so since August 28, when US president Donald Trump imposed sanctions that prevent further borrowing.

The International Monetary Fund said last month it expects inflation in Venezuela to reach 2,350% in 2018, up from about 500% in 2017. This has made Venezuela's currency, the bolivar, almost completely worthless.

Because Venezuela's bonds have been high risk for some time, they've been paying very high yields (interest rates) - almost 10 times as higher than those of neighboring Colombia. Investors have purchased these bonds hoping for big returns. Big institutional investors in the United States include T Rowe Price, Ashmore Investment Management, BlackRock Investment Management, and Goldman Sachs.

Because of US sanctions, Maduro can't borrow any more money from Western companies "Today, if Venezuela wants to go out to the world to refinance one of these bonds we have to pay, it can’t. It’s prohibited by the global financial dictatorship of the North American empire."

Maduro could borrow more from China and Russia, which are not covered by US sanctions. However, Venezuela already owes $37.2 billion to both countries, and both countries are said to be demanding economic reforms.

Venezuela is sitting on the largest oil reserves in the world, but oil production under the Socialist government has fallen almost 3% this year. The disastrous Socialist economy is in disarray, and its refineries run at less than 50% of the available capacity, because the oil companies are being run by Maduro's Socialist cronies, not by people who actually know how to run an oil company. In the past, Venezuela has borrowed money from Russia and China via an oil-for-loan agreement, but oil production has been falling because of the incompetence of Maduro's Socialist cronies.

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union took on the task of supplying money to Socialist Cuba. Now Russia has to decide whether to take on the task of supplying money to Socialist Venezuela, which has three times the population, at a time when Russia's own economy is in despair.

So Maduro has three choices.

First, he can convince Russia to bail him out again, and continue bailing him out forever into the future.

Second, he can simply stop paying, and go into default. In this case, his creditors will go after the country's foreign assets, including Citgo and tankers that dock at foreign ports.

And third, he can try to convince Western investors, along with the IMF, to bail him out. They would only agree to this if Maduro agreed to massive economic reforms, and probably Maduro himself would have to step down.

Recent history tells us that Russia will bail him out at least one more time, but even Russia may be losing patience. With Tareck El Aissami's meeting with bondholders scheduled for November 13, we may have an answer soon. Reuters and Bloomberg and Economist

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Nov-17 World View -- Socialist Venezuela may or may not have declared bankruptcy on Thursday thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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3-Nov-17 World View -- Violence in Nigeria grows over clashes between herders and farmers

Oklahoma! - The farmer and the cowboy should be friends

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Violence in Nigeria grows over clashes between herders and farmers


Fulani herders in Nigeria (royaltimes.net)
Fulani herders in Nigeria (royaltimes.net)

I've written many times that many ethnic wars are based on fundamental clashes between farmer tribes and herder tribes. in country after country, there a classic and recurring battle between herders and farmers, I've described in Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and even America in the 1800s. The farmers accuse the herders of letting the cattle eat their crops, while the herders accuse the farmers of planting on land that's meant for grazing. If the farmers put up fences, then the herders knock them down.

In Nigeria, it's estimated that 2,500 people were killed and move than 62,000 people lost their homes in 2016 in just four provinces, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa and Benue states. The federal government lost $13.7 billion in revenue as a result of these conflicts. According to former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar: "There is a breakdown of communal trust, conflict resolution mechanisms and these conflicts have become deadly," and "the current situation is threatening the fragile peace in the nation."

A report last month from the International Crisis Group describes how the clashes have been getting more widespread and violent, and are becoming sectarian, as the herders are mostly Faluni Muslims from northern Nigeria, and the farmers are most Christians from southern Nigeria:

"Violent conflicts between nomadic herders from northern Nigeria and sedentary agrarian communities in the central and southern zones have escalated in recent years and are spreading southward, threatening the country’s security and stability. With an estimated death toll of approximately 2,500 people in 2016, these clashes are becoming as potentially dangerous as the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east. ...

Familiar problems – relating to land and water use, obstruction of traditional migration routes, livestock theft and crop damage – tend to trigger these disputes. But their roots run deeper. Drought and desertification have degraded pastures, dried up many natural water sources across Nigeria’s far-northern Sahelian belt and forced large numbers of herders to migrate south in search of grassland and water for their herds. Insecurity in many northern states (a consequence of the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east and of less-well-reported rural banditry and cattle rustling in the north-west and north-central zones) also prompts increasing numbers of herdsmen to migrate south. The growth of human settlements, expansion of public infrastructure and acquisition of land by large-scale farmers and other private commercial interests, have deprived herders of grazing reserves designated by the post-independence government of the former Northern region (now split into nineteen states). ...

The spread of conflict into southern states is aggravating already fragile relations among the country’s major regional, ethnic and religious groups. The south’s majority Christian communities resent the influx of predominantly Muslim herders, portrayed in some narratives as an “Islamisation force”. Herders are mostly Fulani, lending an ethnic dimension to strife. Insofar as the Fulani spread across many West and Central African countries, any major confrontation between them and other Nigerian groups could have regional repercussions, drawing in fighters from neighboring countries."

The Fulani herders are now sometimes equated to terror groups like Boko Haram as a consequence of their attacks on farmers. The Fulani herders are also playing a big part in the generational crisis civil war in Central African Republic, as we've described in the past.

Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, is a Fulani and owns large herds of cattle. He has been accused of complicity about the Fulani attacks on farmers.

In order to protect farmers, Benue State, which is in Nigeria's middle belt separating the north from the south, passed an "Anti-Grazing Law. The law was passed in May, but only came into effect on Wednesday. The law prohibits open grazing of cattle, and requires herders to maintain their herds of cattle on ranches. The law is being accompanied by a training program to teach herders modern methods of ranching.

However, the new law is somewhat laughable, as there's no way that it will stop Fulani herder attacks on farmers. On Thursday, an attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen on a village in Benue State resulted in one death and many others missing. Daily Trust (Abuja) and International Crisis Group and Vanguard (Nigeria) and The Nation (Nigeria) and Daily Post (Nigeria)

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Oklahoma! - The farmer and the cowboy should be friends

Violent clashes between farmers and herders are not unique to Africa. They occur in any country that has a growing population and has both farmers and herders. In particular, there were many bloody battles between farmers and herders in 1800s and early 1900s America.

In 1941, those battles were still fresh in the lives of many alive at that time, and they were a sub-plot of the great Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical Oklahoma!.

One of the most festive song and dance production numbers in the show was "The farmer and the cowboy should be friends."

The number is instructive to today's audience's because it provides hints of just how bitter the fight was between farmers and cowboys. The play takes place around 1900, just as Oklahoma was becoming a state. The lyrics begin:

"Oh, the farmer and the cowboy should be friends,
Oh, the farmer and the cowboy should be friends.
One man likes to push a plough,
The other likes to chase a cow,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends.

Territory folks should stick together,
Territory folks should all be pals.
Cowboys dance with farmer's daughters,
Farmers dance with the ranchers' gals."

However, as the music and dancing continue, the farmers and cowboys start sniping at each other:

"Eller:
The farmer should be sociable with the cowboy
If he rides by and ask for food and water
Don't treat him like a louse
Make him welcome in your house

Ike:
But be sure that you locked up your wife and daughters"

The ensuing mass brawl is fully choreographed, as farmers and cowboys take swings at each other in time to the music.

If you'd like to enjoy five minutes of music and fun, then check out the Youtube video of the number from the 1955 film. YouTube

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Nov-17 World View -- Violence in Nigeria grows over clashes between herders and farmers thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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2-Nov-17 World View -- Israel and Saudi Arabia prepare for war with Hezbollah, as Syria war winds down

Saudi Arabian minister calls for 'toppling Hezbollah'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Israel and Hezbollah prepare for war with each other


Hezbollah supporters chant slogans and gesture on al-Quds day in southern Lebanon on June 23 (Reuters)
Hezbollah supporters chant slogans and gesture on al-Quds day in southern Lebanon on June 23 (Reuters)

With the rise of hopes, delusional or not, that the war in Syria will settle down within a few months, all the players are now looking ahead to the wars to follow.

Hezbollah, Iran's puppet Shia militia organization in Lebanon, was originally formed in 1985 to launch war with Israel, and still has no other objective other than war with Israel. War with Israel is its only reason for existing.

Israel and Hezbollah last had a war in 2006. That war was a disaster for both sides, and also a disaster for Lebanon, much of whose infrastructure was destroyed. Since then, Hezbollah has made it known that it's preparing for a much more effective war with Israel, although this plan has been delayed by the war in Syria.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke on nationwide television in Lebanon October 1, to mark Ashura, the holiest day in the Shia Muslim calendar, and used the occasion to once again threaten to destroy Israel, and to warn that Israel would be devastated by war:

"I call on anyone who came to occupied Palestine to leave it and return to the lands you came from, so you will not be the fuel for any war waged by your foolish government.

[Israel's prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his government do not know how the war will end if they start one, and they do not have an accurate picture of what to expect should they embark on the folly of war."

Israeli defense officials believe that Hezbollah has an of between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles and a fighting force of 50,000 soldiers, 10,000 of which are already positioned in southern Syria, ready for war with Israel.

An extensive report released last month by the High Level Military Group, a think tank made up of retired generals and defense officials from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Colombia, India, and Australia, agrees with the Israeli military assessment of Hezbollah, and also agrees with Nasrallah of the effect of war on Israelis:

"Policymakers expressed concerns about how prepared the Israeli public is for the level of devastation that would be wrought in a major military clash with Hezbollah.

Younger Israelis are less familiar with the threat of direct attack than older generations, and Israel’s success in neutralizing less sophisticated rockets fired from Gaza may have led to inflated expectations of its capacity to intercept the volume of rockets likely to be fired by Hezbollah."

In a war, Hezbollah would be launching about 1,000 missiles per day at Israeli targets, although without guidance systems the missiles could only be launched in the direction of the desired target.

But in the last few months, reports have emerged that Iran is constructing manufacturing facilities in Lebanon for volume manufacturing of precision-guided missiles. These missiles could be launched from anywhere in Lebanon, and could be programmed to strike any target in Israel with accuracy. In the past, Iran tried to transport convoys of these missiles overland from Iran to Lebanon, but Israel has been very successful with airstrikes in Syria or Iraq to destroy the convoys before they could reach Lebanon.

The manufacture of these precision-guided missiles within Lebanon is thought be "crossing a red line" for Israel. Israel would probably launch a preemptive strike on the production facilities in Lebanon, which would be a significant escalation on the relation between Lebanon and Israel since the end of the 2006 war. Hezbollah could then launch a retaliatory strike on Israel, risking tit-for-tat escalation that would lead to full-scale war.

Some analysts are advising Israel to strike right away, before Hezbollah has a chance to fully arm. That option is certainly being debated, but whether it will be adopted remains to be seen. Times of Israel (26-Oct) and National Interest and Times of Israel (1-Oct) and High Level Military Group (PDF) and Israel Hayom (1-Sep)

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Saudi Arabian minister calls for 'toppling Hezbollah'

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Gulf Affairs, Thamer Al-Sabhan, said on Monday that Hezbollah should be toppled:

"[Saudi Arabia] is determined to stand resolute against Hezbollah, the satanic militia working to recruit and train outlaws in the party’s strongholds in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is declaring war on Saudi Arabia with the Iranian weapons. ... Those who believe that my tweets are a personal stance are delusional and they will see what will happen in the coming days

I addressed my tweet to the government because the Party of Satan [Hezbollah] is represented in it and it is a terrorist party. The issue is not about toppling the government but rather that Hezbollah should be toppled.

The coming developments will definitely be astonishing."

Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of supplying rockets and other weapons to the Houthis, Saudi Arabia's enemy in the war in Yemen.

However, one pro-Hezbollah report mocked al-Sabhan by saying, "Al-Sabhan obsessively tweets about Hezbollah and continues to make promises about destroying the Lebanese group." Arab News and Naharnet (Lebanon) and Al Masdar News (Damascus)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Nov-17 World View -- Israel and Saudi Arabia prepare for war with Hezbollah, as Syria war winds down thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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1-Nov-17 World View -- Chinese geologists warn of looming nuclear disaster from North Korean tests

China and South Korea reach an agreement on THAAD missile defense system

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China and South Korea reach an agreement on THAAD missile defense system


Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in National Assembly announces that South Korea would not pursue additional THAAD anti-missile deployments (The Hankyoreh)
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in National Assembly announces that South Korea would not pursue additional THAAD anti-missile deployments (The Hankyoreh)

In a surprise announcement, China agreed to remove the harsh economic sanctions that it had imposed on South Korea in anger over South Korea's deployment of America's advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system.

In July of last year, South Korea's President Park Geun-hye announced her decision to deploy the THAAD system on South Korean soil. This was specifically a reaction to ballistic missile and nuclear threats from North Korea, but it infuriated China because THAAD's powerful radar could also give early warning to the United States of a pre-emptive missile attack by China on the United States.

Early this year, news broke that the Lotte Group, a South Korean multinational conglomerate, had agreed to a land swap that would allow THAAD to be deployed on a piece of land previously owned by the company. The enraged Chinese imposed harsh economic sanctions, particularly targeting Lotte Department Stores in China and South Korea with a boycott.

The economic sanctions have been devastating for South Korea's economy, banning South Korean goods for sale in China, banning South Korean pop stars and entertainers, and banning travel agencies from selling packaged tours to South Korea.

Despite the sanctions, the first THAAD deployments began in March, with two launchers.

South Korea's new president Moon Jae-in took office in May, after an election campaign promising to end THAAD deployment, and to develop closer ties with North Korea. But North Korea repudiated Moon's overture, conducting a new series of ballistic missile tests. As a result, Moon abruptly reversed policy and approved the deployment of four more THAAD launchers.

So it was unexpected that South Korea and China issued a statement on Tuesday that "The two sides attach great importance to the Korea-China relationship," and that they would establish normal relations as quickly as possible.

According to China's Foreign Ministry at a press conference on Tuesday:

"China's position on the THAAD issue has been clear and consistent, which remains unchanged. We have noted that the ROK stated publicly that the ROK [Republic of Korea - South Korea] will not join the US anti-missile system, develop the ROK-US-Japan security cooperation into a tripartite military alliance or make additional deployment of the THAAD system, and the current THAAD deployment in the ROK will not undermine China's strategic security interests. We hope that the ROK will match word to deed and follow through on these remarks to properly handle the relevant issue.

Properly handing the THAAD issue and removing the obstacles to China-ROK relations are the shared aspiration of the two countries and conform to the common interests of the two sides, we hope the two sides can jointly work to bring the bilateral relations back to the track of normal development."

I find this to be a very strange statement, because the wording implies low expectations that the détente between the two countries will succeed. The statement does not explicitly say that China is lifting its economic sanctions, and it only expresses hope that South Korea will not develop a closer military alliance with the United States -- in particular that no more THAAD launchers will be deployed.

There was one more Q&A at the press conference that I found strange:

"Q: China said several times that the people-to-people and cultural exchange calls for public support. As the ROK and China reached agreement, what change does China expect to see in public opinion?

A: As we all can see, for some time, the feelings and relations between the Chinese and ROK people have been affected by the THAAD issue. We hope that the two sides can properly handle the THAAD issue and bring the normal exchange and cooperation in various fields back to the track of normal development. We believe this is of positive significance to the change of public opinion in the two countries."

The answer implies that bad feelings and relations between the peoples of China and South Korea were caused by the THAAD issue. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the most likely explanation is that bad feelings and relations between the Chinese and South Koreans have been growing for some time, and that the THAAD was just a trigger for open hostility. This view is supported by e-mail exchanges that I've had with readers in the past indicating that there is extreme hostility between Chinese and South Koreans. It seems unlikely that Tuesday's agreement to improve relations is going to do much to change these bad feelings and relations in the future. Business Insider and China's Foreign Ministry and The Hankyoreh (Seoul) and Global Times (Beijing)

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Chinese geologists warn of looming nuclear disaster from North Korean tests

There have been reports that 200 North Korean workers were killed in a series of tunnel collapses on October 10 at the main North Korean nuclear testing site at Mount Mantap. These reports come from a single unverified North Korean report, and are doubted by some analysts.

However, what is apparently certain is that senior Chinese nuclear scientists and geologists are saying that any further nuclear bomb tests could risk a huge nuclear disaster that would affect both North Korea and China.

The problem is that Mount Mantap, where North Korea has conducted five underground nuclear tests, is now in danger of collapsing completely, releasing huge amounts of radiation and nuclear debris that would affect large parts of northeastern China.

The warnings have been delivered directly to North Korean scientists by nuclear scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geology and Geophysics. They warned North Korea that further nuclear tests could blow the top off Mount Mantap and spark a potential catastrophic collapse at the nuclear testing site, resulting in radiation releases and other forms of contamination. The warnings were summarized by an unnamed researcher at Peking University:

"China cannot sit and wait until the site implodes. Our instruments can detect nuclear fallout when it arrives, but it will be too late by then. There will be public panic and anger at the government for not taking action.

Maybe the North Koreans themselves have realized that the site cannot take another blow. If they still want to do it, they have to do it somewhere else."

The Chinese geologists delivered the warnings to the North Koreans on September 20. Two days later, on September 22, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho at the United Nations said:

"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific. We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un."

This would, of course, be equally disastrous, as the explosion could affect any aircraft or sea vessels in the area, and the radiation could be carried by the winds to any country bordering the Pacific. News Corp Australia and South China Morning Post and Chosun (Seoul)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Nov-17 World View -- Chinese geologists warn of looming nuclear disaster from North Korean tests thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Nov-2017) Permanent Link
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31-Oct-17 World View -- A 'powderkeg' as Australia closes refugee camp and refugees refuse to leave

Australia and Papua New Guinea unable to agree on the future of the refugees

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

A 'powderkeg' as Australia closes refugee camp and refugees refuse to leave


Protesters in Australia's PNG Manus Island refugee center (AAP)
Protesters in Australia's PNG Manus Island refugee center (AAP)

About 600 male refugees inside a refugee center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are barricading themselves inside, refusing the leave as Australia and PNG attempt to shut down the center on Tuesday.

The men are refusing to relocate to other to other more residential facilities in PNG, saying that they fear violence by the locals.

Starting in 2013, Australia's prime minister Kevin Rudd announced that any asylum seeker who arrives by boat without a visa will have "no chance" of being resettled there as a refugee. Australia intercepted refugees who tried to reach the country by boat and sent them to offshore refugee centers. Under an agreement with the respective countries, men have been sent to Manus Island in PNG, while men, women and children have been sent to refugee centers on Nauru.

From the point of view of meeting its objective, the policy has been successful. While there had previously been tens of thousands of "boat people" per year arriving in Australia, that number has been reduced to almost none, because refugees know that they will be transferred to one of the offshore detention centers.

However, the policy has been extremely controversial, and has been opposed by humanitarian organizations, who claim that the refugee centers in PNG and Nauru are filthy and unsafe, with numerous stories of beatings, torture and sexual abuse.

Australia's refugee policy was thrown into chaos in May of last year, when the PNG Supreme Court ruled that PNG's Manus Island refugee center was inhumane, and had to be shut down. After months of finger-pointing between PNG and Australia, the Manus Island refugee center is officially closed as of Tuesday, November 1.

However, the refugees have barricaded themselves into the center and are refusing to leave. In order to force them to leave, food, water, electricity and sanitation will no longer be provided to the center after Tuesday. At some point, police try to forcibly remove them.

This situation is being described as a "powder keg." All along, there has been sporadic violence between the refugees in the center and between the refugees and locals. According to some reports, handsome young male refugees from the center and attractive young girls from the neighborhoods have formed secret relationships, with violence breaking out when the girls' families discover what's going on.

So now refugees are being asked to relocate to refugee centers in residential neighborhoods, and are refusing to leave because a number of PNG locals have threatened violence against anyone moving into their neighborhoods. Reuters and Sydney Morning Herald and Post Courier (PNG) and Radio New Zealand

Australia and Papua New Guinea unable to agree on the future of the refugees

When the PNG Supreme Court issued its ruling last year, Australia issued a statement saying that PNG was responsible for the health and welfare of the refugees after they leave the refugee center. On Saturday, PNG's government issued a statement saying Australia was completely responsible. Humanitarian groups are demanding that the refugees all be relocated to Australia, something that's opposed by Australian government officials, who fear that such a move would trigger a new flood of boat people arriving in Australia.

As usual, money is a large part of the motivating factor here. In May, the Australian government confirmed that it had spent A$4.89 billion (US$3.83 billion) on its Nauru and PNG Manus operations since 2012. Thus, the refugee centers have been a valuable source of income to the two countries involved, and they don't wish to lose it. So few people in PNG's government are suggesting that the refugees simply be shipped back to Australia.

Under Australia's agreement with PNG, Australia is financially responsible for food, services and healthcare. These financial obligations will continue, even if the refugee center is closed, however the contractors providing the services will be under contract to PNG rather than to Australia. Estimates are that Australia will pay $150-$250 million per year.

In a statement Saturday by PNG's immigration minister:

"It is PNG’s position that as long as there is one individual from this arrangement that remains in PNG, Australia will continue to provide financial and other support to PNG to manage the persons transferred under the arrangement until the last person leaves or is independently resettled in PNG.

PNG has offered refugees the option of resettlement but will not force refugees who do not wish to settle in the country ... they remain the responsibility of Australia."

As of the date of closing of the camp, there is no agreement on what will happen to the refugees. Some may be granted refugee status and remain, others will be refused and will be deported back to their home countries. Some will be transferred to other refugee centers on PNG, and others will be transferred to Nauru.

Some may be transferred to third countries. In November of last year, President Barack Obama and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed an agreement to allow 1,250 refugees being held in the offshore detention centers to be resettled in the United States. President Donald Trump reluctantly agreed to honor the deal, but so far only 54 refugees have been transferred to the United States.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the rapid worldwide growth in the number of refugees and displaced persons is one of the main factors leading to the next major wars in the world. The Crisis Group estimated a year ago that there were 65 million such people, mostly from war regions in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and South Sudan. Sydney Morning Herald and Crisis Group and Asian Age and Guardian (London)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Oct-17 World View -- A 'powderkeg' as Australia closes refugee camp and refugees refuse to leave thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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30-Oct-17 World View -- India begins shipping wheat to Afghanistan through Iran's Chabahar port

In retaliation, Afghanistan bans entry of Pakistan trucks

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

India begins shipping wheat to Afghanistan through Iran's Chabahar port


Map displaying the trade routes related to the Chabahar and Gwadar ports.  Purple lines show China's trade routes through Gwadar, while red lines show India's planned trade routes through Chabahar.  (Defence.pk)
Map displaying the trade routes related to the Chabahar and Gwadar ports. Purple lines show China's trade routes through Gwadar, while red lines show India's planned trade routes through Chabahar. (Defence.pk)

A long-awaited "historic" first occurred on Sunday, when India shipped its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through Iran's Chabahar port. The shipment travels by sea from Mumbai, India, to Chabahar, and then overland through Iran to Afghanistan.

The agreement for India to invest $500 million to increase the size of the Chabahar port was signed in Tehran in May of last year, in a signing ceremony attended by the leaders of Iran, Afghanistan and India. Sunday's shipment was more symbolic than otherwise, since the port will take at least another year to be fully functional.

The shortest overland route from India to Afghanistan is, of course, through Pakistan, but in December 2015 Pakistan decreed that Indian trucks would no longer be permitted to travel overland to Afghanistan. Pakistan required India to follow a complex route shipping goods by sea to Karachi, where they would be loaded onto Pakistani trucks for overland delivery to Afghanistan.

The Chabahar is also being developed in competition to Pakistan's Gwadar port, which is receiving heavy investment from China as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The purple lines in the map above show China's traditional trade routes across the sea, using China's "String of Pearls" port facilities (purple stars), while the red lines show the trade routes being planned using Iran's Chabahar port.

India and Pakistan, of course, have very poor relations. India is very concerned about China's heavy investment in Pakistan in the CPEC program. In return, Pakistan is very concerned about the fact that India is also investing heavily in Afghanistan's infrastructure, building on the relationship between Afghanistan and India at Pakistan's expense.

As regular readers are aware, Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Pakistan Today and Pajhwok (Afghanistan) and The Hindu and Livemint (India, 10-Dec-2015)

In retaliation, Afghanistan bans entry of Pakistan trucks

Much of the competition between the Chabahar and Gwadar ports is related to strategic military planning in anticipation of the coming war between India and Pakistan, but a lot of it also has the more prosaic objective of providing jobs for truck drivers.

Pakistan's December 2015 decree forbidding Indian trucks from traveling overland through Pakistan to Afghanistan had the effect of causing Indian truck drivers to lose jobs and Pakistani truck drivers to gain jobs, since shipments from India had to come through Pakistan's Karachi port, and there loaded onto Pakistani trucks for overland delivery into Afghanistan.

In addition, in recent years, Afghanistan trucks have not been allowed to enter Pakistan, although at one time they were permitted to carry goods overland to either the port of Karachi or to the border with India.

On Sunday, Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani issued a decree forbidding Pakistani trucks from entering Afghanistan. According to Afghanistan's transport ministry:

"The Afghanistan and Pakistan Trade Agreement (APTA) has expired. Before this Pakistan did now allow Afghan trucks to enter its territory. So we do the same and after this, Pakistani trucks will be unloaded at borders and Afghan trucks will carry the goods to Hairatan and Shir Khan ports."

Afghanistan trucking company execs were delighted. One said, "By this move lots of people will get job opportunities and the transit companies will also get work." Another said, "Pakistani trucks go to every part of our country, but our trucks are not allowed to enter Pakistan. We want the government to do the same to Pakistan."

Apparently anticipating this decree, Pakistan has recently tried to head it off by offering to negotiate with India on the terms of a new transport deal. However, India turned down the offer, according to an Indian government official who said, "It wasn’t a real offer, as far as India sees it." Tolo News (Afghanistan) and The Hindu

Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) - conduit of smuggling

The Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) was originally signed in 1950, and has undergone numerous changes over the years. The original purpose was to permit land-locked Afghanistan to import goods through Pakistan's Karachi port, without the Pakistan authorities charging customs duties on the goods, since they simply passed through Pakistan. The agreement also allowed Afghanistan trucks to travel overland to India, though that is no longer permitted.

India has asked to be included as part of the APTTA agreement, and to allow its trucks to deliver goods to Afghanistan through Pakistan. Pakistan has refused for several reasons, two of which have already been given: for strategic military reasons, and to prevent Indian truck drivers from taking jobs from Pakistani truck drivers.

However, there's a third reason, having to do with smuggling and corruption.

There's evidence that something like 50% of the goods currently being imported under APTTA -- such as cotton goods from China, or vegetable fats and oils from Indonesia and Malaysia -- never reach Afghanistan. Instead, corrupt Customs Officials permit them to be unloaded within Pakistan for sale there, evading customs duties.

These foreign goods flood into Pakistan in competition with locally produced goods, and the losses in customs duties from smuggling was estimated to be $35 billion from 2001-2009.

One figure estimates that APTTA accounts for 75% of an estimated $5 billion worth of smuggled goods entering Pakistan. Some other figures estimate that around 40% of transit goods do not cross the Pak-Afghan border, or they re-enter into Pakistan from Afghanistan. China envisions its trade to increase by more $1 trillion over a decade. Even a small percentage of that volume of trade smuggling into Pakistan would be crippling to its economy. Business Recorder (Pakistan) and Business Recorder

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Oct-17 World View -- India begins shipping wheat to Afghanistan through Iran's Chabahar port thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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29-Oct-17 World View -- New Somalia terror bombings again raise question of US military strategy in Africa

Dozens killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, bombings, two weeks after hundreds killed

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Dozens killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, bombings, two weeks after hundreds killed


Aftermath of two car bombs in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday (CNN)
Aftermath of two car bombs in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday (CNN)

At least 23 people were killed and dozens injured from a series of coordinated suicide bombings and gun battles on Saturday afternoon in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia.

The al-Qaeda linked Somalia terror group Al-Shabaab claimed credit for the terror attack. The first attack was a car bomb outside the Nasa Hablod hotel, usually frequented by Somalia politicians. A second car bombing in the same area targeted security forces and ambulances as they arrived at the hotel to respond to the first bombing. A third bombing occurred when an attacker detonated his explosive vest inside the hotel. The explosions were followed by heavy gunfire.

Saturday's bombings came just two weeks after a massive truck bombing in a busy marketplace in Mogadishu killed 350 people. That was by far the worst terror attack in Somalia's modern history.

If there's any black humor in this horrific situation, it's that al-Shabaab claimed credit for Saturday's attack, but not for the attack two weeks ago. According to most analysts, the reason that they didn't claim credit for the previous attack is that so many civilians, including many women and children, were among the 350 dead, and al-Shabaab feared a public relations disaster. Nonetheless, Somali civilians are furious at al-Shabaab and hold them responsible for all those civilian deaths. The latest attack targeted politicians, security forces and ambulance drivers, and apparently the al-Shabaab terrorists believe that ordinary people will love them for helping to stamp out (or blow up) government corruption. Garowe Online (Somalia) and Long War Journal and AP and CNN

Somalia attack comes as Niger ambush leads to review of US military aims in Africa

Since October 8, when I first reported on the deaths of four US troops in Niger, this little-known event has become the subject of major political controversy.

The story that has emerged pretty much follows what was known at that time. A convoy of American soldiers were ambushed by a group of dozens of militants, believed to be linked to Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), a militant group that has sworn allegiance to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There have been additional details coming out that indicate that the ambush was planned by local villagers, who tipped off the militants, and then delayed the American convoy from leaving long enough for the militants to get into place for the ambush.

The first controversy that has arisen was the national and international scandal as it was debated in media around the world whether President Trump had or had not momentarily forgotten the name of one of the soldiers, surely a question of galaxial significance, and well worth five or six days of constant 24-hour media coverage.

And second, there was shock and surprise on the part of many people that there are some 800 American troops in Niger. South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham admitted that he hadn't known that, but said, "They were there to defend America. They were there to help allies. They were there to prevent another platform to attack America and our allies." The 800 US troops in Niger work with 4,000 military personnel from France, the former colonial power in the region, and 35,000 local partners.

There are actually some 6,000 American soldiers in missions in 53 African countries. These soldiers typically provide training and security assistance for local forces, including intelligence and reconnaissance help.


Africa is larger than Europe, America, Alaska, China, and New Zealand (not shown) combined. (Source: Boston Univ)
Africa is larger than Europe, America, Alaska, China, and New Zealand (not shown) combined. (Source: Boston Univ)

(In one sense, 6,000 American soldiers in Africa really isn't a lot, given the size of Africa. Africa is the size of the ENTIRE United States INCLUDING Alaska PLUS all of China PLUS all of Europe -- and there's still enough room left over to throw in New Zealand.)

The reasons given for the increase in American forces is to confront the challenges from Islamic extremists, traffickers, smugglers and antigovernment militias on all sides. In the case of Niger and the Sahel region, al-Qaeda has been long established there in the form of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and lately has reorganized into JNIM (Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslim, or Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims). Now, adding to that, with ISIS being expelled from its major strongholds in Syria and Iraq, there are ISIS-linked militias in Africa, including Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS), which was responsible for the deaths of the American soldiers in Niger.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this effort in Africa is nothing more than a holding action. No one can possibly believe that we can defeat these militias in Africa, just as we haven't been able to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, just as the French haven't been able to defeat AQIM in Mali, just as UN peacekeepers haven't been able to end the war in Central African Republic. The two recent bombings in Mogadishu, Somalia, shows how far off any such defeat would be. On the other hand, a complete US withdrawal could be destabilizing to countries where the US troops are providing support.

So the main American mission is to provide support and training to local national troops, while taking steps to guarantee that no American troops become casualties -- which means that everything possible will be done to learn the lessons from the Niger ambush, to make sure it doesn't happen again. CS Monitor and Deutsche Welle

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Oct-17 World View -- New Somalia terror bombings again raise question of US military strategy in Africa thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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28-Oct-17 World View -- Burundi's Hutu government leaves International Criminal Court to avoid crimes against humanity charges

Burundi's government to amend constitution to let Nkurunziza hold power until 2034

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Burundi's Hutu government leaves International Criminal Court to avoid war crimes charges


Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania.  Over 400,000 people have fled to other countries to escape the Burundi government violence (MSF)
Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania. Over 400,000 people have fled to other countries to escape the Burundi government violence (MSF)

Burundi on Friday completed its formal withdrawal from membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC), one year after the government informed the ICC that it would do so.

Burundi officials are saying that the reason for the withdrawal is that the court is racially biased against Africans, since of the 10 preliminary examinations that have proceeded to full investigations, nine have involved conflicts in Africa. But six of those nine cases were investigations requested by African nations, while two of them, Libya and Sudan (both considered to be Arab countries, but not Black African countries) were referred by the UN Security Council.

Both South Africa and The Gambia also filed plans last year to withdraw from the ICC, citing the same bias against Africa, but both countries later took back their withdrawals.

It's much more likely that the reason for Burundi's withdrawal from the ICC is that one UN report after another has found that Burundi's government, with Hutu president Pierre Nkurunziza, has repeatedly committed crimes against humanity, mostly against members of Tutsi tribe, the historic enemies of the Hutu tribe.

In 2016, there was an initial United Nations report on Burundi, based on interviews with more than 500 people among the over 500,000 who had fled the country from the violence. The violations included torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary jailings and summary executions. Nkurunziza's reaction to that report was to ban the United Nations from Burundi, and to withdraw Burundi's membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The latest report, issued six weeks ago, focused on the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of Nkurunziza's political party. The word Imbonerakure means "visionaries," and for these kids, being "visionary" means raping women and beating people with iron bars. Reports in 2015 indicated that Nkurunziza's police would select targets in the opposition, and would give kids in the Imbonerakure police uniforms, along with instructions to go to the homes of the targets, kill the men with iron bars, rape the women, and then kill the women and children.

Burundi officials were celebrating on Friday on the "great achievement" of withdrawing from the ICC.

Burundi's Justice Minister Aimée Laurentine Kanyana said:

"Without any problem, in total peace and security, we have been able to leave ICC. Let's rejoice!"

A presidential spokesman said:

"The ICC has shown itself to be a political instrument and weapon used by the West to enslave [African states]. This is a great victory for Burundi because it has defended its sovereignty and national pride."

Members of Burundi's government now believe that the countries war crimes and crimes against humanity are now beyond the reach of the ICC, but ICC officials disagree:

"Burundi’s withdrawal does not affect the jurisdiction of the court with respect to crimes alleged to have been committed during the time it was a state party, namely up until 27 October 2017."

A spokesman for Amnesty International said: "The Burundian government has made a cynical attempt to evade justice by taking the unprecedented step of withdrawing from the ICC. But perpetrators, including members of the security forces, cannot so easily shirk their alleged responsibility for crimes under international law committed since 2015."

Overall, the violence in Burundi has claimed between 500 and 2,000 lives, according to differing tolls provided by the UN or NGOs and more than 400,000 Burundians have fled abroad. Iwacu (Burundi) and Standard Media (Kenya) and Amnesty International and Xinhua

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Burundi to amend constitution to let Nkurunziza hold power until 2034

The violence and crimes against humanity began in 2015, when president Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a third term, in violation of the constitution. Nkurunziza did run, and won the election as president. There were peaceful protests in opposition to Nkurunziza, and that's when Nkurunziza began his crimes against humanity, targeting the opposition.

Now Nkurunziza plans to amend the constitution so that he can continue to hold power. Under the planned amendments, he'll be able to hold power until 2034.

Burundi's last generational Crisis war was the war the 1994 Rwanda genocide, in which Hutus tortured, raped and massacred Tutsis, killing over 800,000 in 100 days. Three countries, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, were all participants in the Hutu-Rwanda genocide. The Hutu and Tutsi tribes have been historic enemies for centuries, and have conducted extremely brutal wars with each other, the most well-known of which is the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Today, all three countries are in a generational Awakening era, which follows a familiar generational pattern. When a country's generational crisis war is a civil war between two ethnic groups within the country, then in the decades following the end of the war, especially during the next generational Awakening era, the ethnic group that won the war and took power begins new violence, atrocities, rapes, and arbitrary jailings and executions against the ethnic group that lost the war.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we've seen this time after time, in Syria, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Burundi, Thailand, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Eritrea, and other countries, where leaders in generational Awakening and Unraveling eras use arbitrary jailings, violence and atrocities to keep the opposition ethnic group out of power. Over a period of years, the violence worsens until it turns into a full-scale generational crisis civil war when the next generational crisis era arrives.

The leaders of all three countries involved in the 1994 genocide are using force and violence to remain in power. Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni, 73 years old, allied with the Tutsis, took part in many of these gruesome atrocities and slaughter. The current president of Rwanda is Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, also taking extraordinary measures to stay in power.

President Pierre Nkurunziza was not just a Hutu soldier in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. He was also a Hutu militia leader, and undoubtedly was responsible for many atrocities against Tutsis during the massive slaughter of Tutsis. So from the point of view of Tutsis, you have a hated Hutu militia leader responsible to atrocities and slaughter of Tutsis, and of course they're going be furious and want revenge.

The people of Burundi finally settled the 1994 genocide in 2005, with all sides signing the "Arusha Accords" that set down rules for how the country would be governed. The Arusha Accords specified that a president could only hold power for two terms. They also specified that the constitution could not be amended.

So now a militia leader from a tribe of vicious war criminals, Pierre Nkurunziza, is using extreme violence to stay in power illegally, and prevent his political opponents, the Tutsis from taking power. This will not end well. Iwacu (Burundi) and AFP

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Oct-17 World View -- Burundi's Hutu government leaves International Criminal Court to avoid crimes against humanity charges thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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27-Oct-17 World View -- US sends three aircraft carrier strike groups to waters around North Korea

North Korea renews threat of massive hydrogen bomb test over Pacific

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

North Korea renews threat of massive hydrogen bomb test over Pacific


Farm workers in North Korea (Michael Havis)
Farm workers in North Korea (Michael Havis)

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Ri Yong-Pil, a senior diplomat in North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said that previous threats of a large hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific should be taken seriously.

The original threat came from North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong-ho in September, who said that North Korea was planning to test "an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb," just before giving a speech to the United Nations:

"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific. We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un."

At the time, President Donald Trump tweeted a response: "Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!"

So on Wednesday, Ri Yong-Pil renewed the threat:

"The foreign minister is very well aware of the intentions of our supreme leader, so I think you should take his words literally."

Up until now, North Korea's nuclear tests have taken place underground on North Korean soil. A hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific would be an enormous escalation. The hydrogen explosion would threaten shipping and planes flying overhead, and would release a great deal of radiation and cause environmental damage.

The North Korean threat has been particularly alarming to the Japanese people, since the missile carrying the hydrogen bomb would have to fly over Japanese airspace. The Japanese are obviously concerned that a failure in the propulsion system could bring the missile down on a Japanese city.

It's quite likely that this threat was a factor in the landslide victory of Shinzo Abe's party in last week's parliamentary elections. The prime minister, who is leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) took a highly nationalistic stance against North Korea during the campaign, and said:

"We can no longer let ourselves be fooled by North Korea. We cannot succumb to its threats. By taking advantage of our strong diplomacy, we have to make sure the North will have no other option but change its policy and return to the negotiating table."

Now with Wednesday's renewed threat by Ri Yong-Pil, nationalism is likely to surge even higher. Abe has vowed to change Japan's constitution, and bring an end to Japan's pacifism, and North Korea's renewed threat should make that easier. Guardian (London, 22-Sep) and CNN and Reuters and Daily Star (London)

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US sends three aircraft carrier strike groups to waters around North Korea

The Pentagon on Tuesday announced that the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier and strike group would enter the US 7th Fleet area of operations in the western Pacific. The flagship will be joined by several guided-missile cruisers and destroyers.

It joins the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group already in the region, where it has been taking part in joint exercises with the South Korean navy. The Ronald Reagan is permanently stationed with the 7th Fleet.

According to commanding officer Capt. Carlos Sardiello:

"USS Theodore Roosevelt is prepared to carry out the full spectrum of possible missions, from humanitarian relief to combat operations. When a carrier leaves on deployment, we have to be ready for anything."

Then on Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and strike group would also enter the US 7th Fleet area of operations in the western Pacific.

The Nimitz had previously been deployed with the 5th Fleet in the Mideast in Operation Inherent Resolve, the name of the US military operation against the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Iraq and Syria. Eventually, the Theodore Roosevelt is expected to take the place of the Nimitz in the 5th Fleet area of operations, covering the Middle East.

Having three aircraft carrier strike groups in the region is extremely rare, and represents a huge show of force in response to North Korean threats, in advance of President Trump's scheduled visit to Seoul and Beijing next month.

However, Pentagon officials claim that the deployment of three Navy aircraft carrier groups has been planned for some time. According to spokesman Dana White:

"This was a unique opportunity to show that the U.S. is the only power in the world that can demonstrate that kind of presence and a unique opportunity for them to be together.

It’s not directed towards any particular threat. But it is a demonstration that we can do something that no one else in the world can."

This is the first time since 2007 that three carrier groups have deployed together to the same location. Navy.mil and Military.com and The Hill and Navy.mil and Russia Today

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Oct-17 World View -- US sends three aircraft carrier strike groups to waters around North Korea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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26-Oct-17 World View -- UN Secretary-General in Central African Republic begs for more funding

Bangassou becomes the most dangerous town in Central African Republic

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UN Secretary-General in Central African Republic begs for more funding


Young Christian militiamen pose in southeastern Central African Republic on August 16. (AFP)
Young Christian militiamen pose in southeastern Central African Republic on August 16. (AFP)

The ethnic and religious civil war that began in Central African Republic (CAR) in 2013 was supposed to have ended long before now, but instead the violence has been increasing steadily, and at the same time, the amount of funding for peacekeeping efforts from donor nations is decreasing, leading to fears of an even larger bloodbath than we've seen so far.

At a press conference in CAR on Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said:

"We need the commitment of the international community not only to reduce this suffering, but because there is an opportunity to build a new Central African Republic in peace and security.

This international solidarity can allow the Central African Republic to engage in a process of development for the benefit of all its people.

I am optimistic [that] it is the moment for the international community to commit because it is worthwhile."

Well, if Guterres is really that optimistic, then he's delusional.

CAR is in the midst of a generational crisis war, and a generational crisis war can only end in one way. This is what politicians don't understand. Since 2013, they've sent in different waves of peacekeepers, they've had several elections for president, they've even had a visit from the Pope. Each of these events was supposed to bring an end to the war, but that hope was always delusional. A generational crisis war comes from the people, not from the politicians or the religious leaders. Central African Republic is a huge country, and the war is both religious and ethnic, pitting Christians against Muslims and land-owning farmer tribes against nomadic herder tribes.

Not surprisingly, there is often an alignment between the farmer-herder fault lines and the sectarian fault lines. In Central African Republic, the Muslims are mostly from nomadic herder tribes, while the Christians are mostly from land-owning farmer tribes. However, this division isn't monolithic. As I described a couple of months ago, there are also Muslim farmer tribes, and in some cases the Muslim and Christian farmer tribes are banding together to fight against the Muslim herder tribes.

The politicians and religious leaders are not going to end this war. The people of CAR will have to end it on their own. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the only way that a generational crisis war can end is with an explosive climax. The climax could be literally explosive, as in the case of the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo and the nuking of Hiroshima at the end of World War II. But more likely it's a genocidal explosion that's so horrific that both sides decide that they have to stop fighting. An example is the Rwanda genocide of 1994, when Hutus killed almost a million Tutsis in three months.

It's impossible to predict what sort of explosive climax will end the CAR war, or when it will occur. But it's likely to involve millions of people and be a bloodbath of a kind that's usually remembered for decades or even centuries. And increased international funding of peacekeepers will do nothing to affect it. Newsweek and United Nations and Anadolu

Bangassou becomes the most dangerous town in Central African Republic

A United Nations situation report on Central African Republic (CAR) indicates that violence in CAR has been increasing steadily since October 2016, and has become increasingly widespread, affect more and more regions of the country. It's possible that this is building to some kind of explosive genocidal climax.

According to Tuesday's situation report:

"Since October 2016, violent clashes and inter-communal tensions fueled by armed groups have continuously increased in the Central African Republic (CAR). In the absence of an effective judicial system and basic services by the public administration, armed groups have continued to perpetrate violent and destabilizing acts, of which the civilian population is the main victim. The targeting of minorities, including women and children, has resurfaced, with killings and attacks against communities multiplying.

Conflict and forced displacement is increasingly widespread and impacting previously unaffected parts of the country. Today, the CAR is one of the few countries in the world where almost one person out of two depends on aid to survive.

The number of people displaced has reached an ever-recorded high of 1.1 million people. As the crisis further expands towards the East and North West of the country, there are new massive displacements and there is a significant risk that the condition of people previously displaced that remain in camps will deteriorate. Nearly one family out of four has already been forced to flee. In July 2017, the number of IDPs exceeded 600,000, which represents an increase of almost 50 per cent since January."

Since 2013, we've described a number of bloody clashes between Muslims and Christians in different regions of CAR. Today, the most dangerous town in CAR is the southeastern town of Bangassou.

Bangassou is a Christian-controlled town of about 35,000. In May, Christian militias launched an assault on other armed groups, including pro-Muslim groups or militias from the Fula ethnic group. Seventy-six civilians and six peacekeeping troops were killed. Moroccan peacekeepers rescued about 2,000 people and brought them to the town's Catholic church compound. Since then, unidentified gunmen have been shooting at the church on an almost daily basis. About a million people have been displaced from their homes. All the businesses and buildings have been deserted.

Because there have been increased attacks on UN peacekeepers, in Bangassou and elsewhere, at a ceremony on Tuesday, Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to the peacekeepers:

"I want to say that we need to make sure that the world fully appreciates the heroic contributions of peacekeepers protecting civilians, sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances, like the ones we face in the Central African Republic."

It's a great sentiment, but as a practical matter, there have been few situations where peacekeeping forces have accomplished much. In CAR, peacekeeping forces have been able to keep the two sides apart in the capital city Bangui, but haven't been effective elsewhere.

The violence in Bangassou is being repeated in towns and villages all across CAR. Sometimes it's Muslims slaughtering Christians, or vice-versa, or sometimes it's one ethnic group slaughtering another, irrespective of religion. The current peacekeeping force's mandate expires on November 15. Guterres has urged the UN Security Council to add 900 troops to the 12,500 already there, to enable the force "to shape and influence security situations, rather than react to them."

In a country of 4.7 million people, in thousands of villages at war with each other, it's hard to see what 900 additional troops is going to accomplish. UN ReliefWeb and Gulf Times and AFP and United Nations

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Oct-17 World View -- UN Secretary-General in Central African Republic begs for more funding thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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25-Oct-17 World View -- Kenya closes border with Madagascar as Black Plague epidemic spreads

Pneumonic plague (Black plague) spreads rapidly in Madagascar

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pneumonic plague (Black plague) spreads rapidly in Madagascar


Children are required to wear face masks at school in Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital city (AP)
Children are required to wear face masks at school in Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital city (AP)

Health officials from around the world are converging on the island of Madagascar in an attempt to control an extremely dangerous and rapidly spreading epidemic of the Black Plague before it becomes an international threat.

Since August 1 until Monday, the World Health Organization has registered 1,365 possible case of plague, with about half of them confirmed or considered probable. Over 100 people have been reported killed by the plague.

There are actually two separate epidemics in progress, with different forms of the plague.

About 1/3 of the cases are Bubonic Plague. This form of the plague is fairly common in Madagascar, recurring each year but usually claiming few lives. This form of the plague is carried by rats and then transferred to humans by fleas that bite the rats and then bite the humans. This form is usually confined to remote rural areas, and is triggered by the wide-spread ‘slash and burn’ practice as rats which carry the fleas carrying the bacteria Yersinia pestis move towards habitation locations, thereby facilitating human infection through flea bites, according to the United Nations.

What's different this year is the rapid spread of the most virulent form, Pneumonic Plague or Plague Pneumonia. Unlike Bubonic Plague, Pneumonic Plague is spread through the air from person to person, and is highly contagious. Pneumonic Plague spreads rapidly through heavily populated urban areas, and there have been 846 possible cases registered by WHO so far, particularly the capital city Antananarivo, and two coastal towns of Tamatave and Mahajunga. If the infection is not diagnosed and treated immediately, death occurs within one-three days. The epidemic has not yet reached its peak, according to CDC officials.

The Black Death is thought to have killed around 25 million in Europe in the late 1340s, and 100 million people worldwide. CDC and United Nations ReliefWeb and The Sun (London)

Kenya increase border security from Madagascar because of plague epidemic

Madagascar is an island nation off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. World Health Organization (WHO) officials are trying to prevent the epidemic from spreading to nearby nations on the African mainland.

Kenya has taken immediate action to prevent the spread, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health:

"The World Health Organization has notified the Ministry of Health of a confirmed ongoing plague epidemic in Madagascar. The cases have been reported from eighteen out of 22 regions in the country including traditionally non endemic areas.

In view of the above information, it is necessary that the health care system in the country initiates preparedness and response measures to prevent spread to the country and to promptly detect, notify and appropriately manage any suspected cases in the community or in health facilities if the outbreak spreads to Kenya.

Specifically, all county health management teams, sub-county health management teams, hospital health management teams, health workers in hospitals and those at points of entry are asked to look out for patients with acute onset of fever, chills, headache, severe malaise, chest pain and difficulty in breathing."

WHO has classified the event as a Grade 2 emergency. Over 4,400 community health workers are carrying out contact tracing activities in Madagascar, being supervised by 340 medical doctors and students. Once a person is diagnosed with the infection, "contact tracing" refers to locating all people that the infected person had contact with. In addition, surveillance activities at airports and ports are being strengthened.

According to the WHO, there is a risk of regional spread due to the occurrence of frequent travel by air and sea to neighboring Indian Ocean islands and other southern and east African countries. This risk is mitigated by the short incubation period of pneumonic plague, implementation of exit screening measures in Madagascar, and scaling up of preparedness and operational readiness activities in neighboring Indian Ocean islands and other southern and east African countries. The overall global risk is considered to be low. Capital News (Kenya) and Citizen TV (Kenya) and World Health Organization

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Oct-17 World View -- Kenya closes border with Madagascar as Black Plague epidemic spreads thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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24-Oct-17 World View -- Xi Jinping's 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics' is identical to Hitler's National Socialism

Xi Jinping presents 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Xi Jinping presents 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era'


Ji Jinping
Ji Jinping

China's state media and even the international media are bubbling with excitement these days, after China's president Xi Jinping gave an extremely nationalistic 3-1/2 hour keynote speech at the 19th Chinese Community Party National Congress last week, in which he describe "Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era."

The phrase "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" has been around for a while, but Xi has added "for a new era" to make it his own. "Xi's Thoughts" will be a new ideology that will bring the "China Dream" to fruition, and by 2050 will make China the world leader militarily and economically, and in political and environmental issues, replacing the United States, and with Socialism replacing Capitalism as the economic system of choice for countries around the world.

Furthermore Xi's Thoughts will be made part of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitution, placing Xi Jinping on a par with Mao Zedong among China's great historic leaders.

What does Xi say China's new era will look like? Here are some excerpts:

"This is a new historic juncture in China’s development. ...

The Chinese nation, which in the modern era has endured so much for so long, has achieved a tremendous transformation—it has stood up, grown rich, and become strong, and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation. ...

It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind. ...

China’s development does not pose a threat to any other country. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. ...

No country can alone address the many challenges facing mankind; no country can afford to retreat into self-isolation. ...

China now leads the world in trade, outbound investment, and foreign-exchange reserves. ...

We will make it our mission to see that by 2035, the modernization of our national defense is basically complete, and that by the mid-21st century [2050] our people’s armed forces have been fully transformed into world-class forces. ...

A military is prepared for war. All military works must adhere to the standards of being able to fight a war and win a war. Our army is the people’s army; our defense is national defense. [We must] enhance the education on national defense education, consolidate the unity between the military and civilian, in order to achieve the Chinese dream of a strong military. ...

We have the resolve, the confidence, and the ability to defeat ‘Taiwan Independence’ in any form. We will never allow anyone, any organization or any political party, at any time or any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China. ...

Construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea has seen steady progress."

These claims have to be viewed through the lens of the "24-Character Strategy" (24 Chinese characters) formulated by one of Xi's predecessors, Deng Xiaoping, in 1990:

"Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership."

In particular, the claim that China will have a "world class military" by 2050 should be viewed through Deng's strategy. China is spending many billions of dollars on the military, developing huge weapons systems, a large navy, space technology, and anything else that will permit China to fight a war against the United States long before 2050. If Xi claimed that China has a world class military today, he would be ridiculed by young Chinese, and he would alarm all the neighboring countries in Asia. The 2050 date is "fake news," and by proffering it, he does what's necessary to promote the "China Dream" while hiding his true intentions.

The Chinese have become almost completely delusional. Press reports indicate that many Chinese, especially young Chinese, believe that China's Socialism has already beaten the United States. They point to China's poverty in the 1970s, and claim that the reason that China has become so economically powerful today is because the Socialist dictatorship allows the CCP to force things to happen to prevent a financial crisis.

So the first part of the Chinese delusion is that they think that they've accomplished something that America hasn't. America has made huge economic gains since the 1970s, and developed new technologies in computers, medicine, weaponry, transportation, and in every other field. China has done nothing comparable, and in fact has had to steal technology from the West. The Chinese want to focus on the Nasdaq crash in 2001 and the Lehman crisis in 2008, but in fact the resilient Western economy has survived them and continued to thrive. And the Chinese should take note of the fact that our Federal Reserve central bank can unilaterally do many of the things the CCP can do to recover from a crisis. So China hasn't done anything that the West hasn't done, even if they nurture the delusion that they have.

The second part of the Chinese delusion is that they think that they're immune to financial crises in the future. China is in a huge debt bubble, and when a panic occurs, the bubble will implode much faster than the CCP can print money. Regular readers are aware that Generational Dynamics predicts a major global panic and financial crisis. Western nations will try to recover through monetary and fiscal policy, while China will try to recover through whatever dictatorial methods it can, but this will be a major generational panic and crisis, and neither China nor the West will be immune.

So Socialism has given China nothing that the West doesn't have, but has cost the Chinese people enormously. I sometimes muse what would happen to me in China's Socialist paradise. I write these Generational Dynamics analyses in Boston, and I feel free to criticize anyone in the world (and there's plenty to criticize). But I wrote exactly the same things in Beijing, the CCP's police would drag me out of apartment, throw me into a hole, and hang me by my thumbs. The CCP is increasingly using mobile phones to track everyone's movements and everyone's thoughts, and anyone violating CCP rules risks being thrown in jail. South China Morning Post and Quartz and The Diplomat

Xi's Chinese Socialism and Hitler's National Socialism

What's interesting about "Xi's Thoughts" and "Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era" is that there's no difference between them and Hitler's Thoughts and National Socialism.

I was in school in the 1950s-60s, I was repeatedly told that the difference between Communism and Nazism was that in Communism the government owned all the businesses (which was "good"), while in Nazism it was still a capitalist system (which was "bad"), but the government still controlled everything. That's exactly the economic system that China has today. It's pure National Socialism (Nazism).

Xi's Thoughts are actually about Nazism with Chinese Characteristics, and it's a very scary development because they provide an ideological framework to justify any military action at any time.

As I've written in the past, China is behaving in a highly emotional, irrational, panicky, nationalistic manner, issuing delusional and fabricated evidence to support claims that everybody knows are false claims. This is what makes China so dangerous

Xi Jinping and the CCP are international criminals for invading and annexing regions in the South China Sea belonging to other countries, in violation of international law, which is what Hitler did. China is building missile systems whose only purpose is to attack American cities, military bases, and aircraft carriers, just as Hitler built its air force to attack Britain. China is preparing to launch a war on its neighbors, as well as on America, which it believes it will win, just has Hitler did. This is all delusional.

Instead, China will cause a catastrophe to itself and the rest of the world. History will look back on China as the worst disaster to the world in history, worse than the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese combined. By 2050, China will be worse off than it was in 1950. Xinhua and BBC and China Daily

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Oct-17 World View -- Xi Jinping's 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics' is identical to Hitler's National Socialism thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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23-Oct-17 World View -- Big election win for Japan's Shinzo Abe may mean end of pacifism

Japan's Shinzo Abe wins a 'super-majority' in Japan's lower house

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Japan's Shinzo Abe wins a 'super-majority' in Japan's lower house


Japan's Shinzo Abe campaigning (CNN)
Japan's Shinzo Abe campaigning (CNN)

Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led by prime minister Shinzo Abe, won a landslide victory in a snap election on Sunday, reaching a two-thirds "super-majority" in the lower house of Japan's parliament.

When Abe called for the snap election last month, many analysts considered it a high-risk gamble because his approval rating had been falling. (When Britain's Theresa May called for a similar UK election earlier this year, the result was political disaster.)

Abe's opponents accused him of calling the snap election to create a distraction from the corruption scandal he was facing, based on accusations that he had used his influence as prime minister to help a private university and an ultra-nationalist school in their business deals with the government.

Whatever the motivation, the gamble seems to have paid off in a big way. Abe denied that the scandals had anything to do with this actions. Instead, he took a nationalistic stance against North Korea's growing belligerence and threats. North Korea launched two ballistic missile tests, on August 28 and September 14, respectively, with the missiles flying over Japanese airspace.

On Saturday, Abe said to supporters:

"We can no longer let ourselves be fooled by North Korea. We cannot succumb to its threats. By taking advantage of our strong diplomacy, we have to make sure the North will have no other option but change its policy and return to the negotiating table."

Abe has also gained popularity by "Abenomics," a combination of generous government spending and central bank monetary easing.

The landslide win makes it likely that Abe, who took office in December 2012, will next year win a third three-year term as LDP leader and prime minister. Japan Times and BBC

Abe promises to change the constitution to end Japan's pacifism

Prior to Sunday's election, Shinzo Abe's LDP was able to muster a two-thirds "super-majority," when combined with its coalition partner Komeito. If the final vote count goes as expected, then the LDP will have a super-majority by itself in the lower house, though a coalition will still be required in the upper house. A two-thirds majority is required to amend the constitution.

Abe has said repeatedly that he'd like to amend the constitution to repeal Article 9, which says:

"CHAPTER II - RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

Japan actually has very powerful land, sea and air forces, arguably in violation of Article 9. But they've never fired a shot at an enemy. They're known as "Self-Defense Forces" (SDF), and are currently forbidden from participating in any military action except on Japanese soil in case of foreign attack.

In 2015, Abe was able to get the parliament to reinterpret the self-defense clause to mean "collective self-defense." Under this interpretation, military action would be permitted anywhere in the world when an ally (such as the United States) is attacked. I discussed the meaning of "collective self-defense" in detail in 2014 in "5-May-2014 World View -- Japan debates 'collective self-defense' to protect America and Japan".

A lot of international media discussions of the election are blaming Article 9 on the United States, for imposing it on Japan at the end of World War II. It's true that American General Douglas MacArthur did require the self-defense clause to be included in Japan's post-war constitution, but that was 70 years ago. Japan could have amended its constitution at many points in the last seven decades, but chose not to. The self-defense clause has been very popular, not only because many people believe that it makes war less likely, but also because the Japanese people save a lot of money by just leaving it to the United States to provide military protection. Even the reinterpretation as "collective self-defense" was and is highly controversial.

For Shinzo Abe, amending Article 9 is personal, in that he's following in the path of his grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke, who served as prime minister of Japan from 1957-60. Kishi disliked the pacifism clause because it made Japan too dependent on the United States, and he wanted Japan to be completely self-reliant in national defense. For Abe, amending this clause would fulfill his grandfather's wish.

Earlier this year, in a statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the constitution, Abe set a 2020 deadline for amending the constitution:

"I believe that we must establish the status of the SDF explicitly in the constitution during our generation's lifetime and leave no room for contending the SDF could be unconstitutional. I strongly wish to make 2020 the year that the reborn Japan will make a new start."

Ironically, it's been belligerent actions by China and North Korea that may have made it possible for Abe to get the constitution amended. In particular, the people of Japan (and South Korea) are no longer as certain as they were in the past that the United States would protect them. But with the United States increasingly concerned about protecting itself, Japan and South Korea are both now looking for ways to increase their own military capabilities, and not have to depend on the US as much. With the Japanese people becoming increasingly anxious, Abe may succeed in getting the constitution amended by 2020, despite the fierce opposition. Kyodo News and NBC News and South China Morning Post and CNN

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Oct-17 World View -- Big election win for Japan's Shinzo Abe may mean end of pacifism thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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22-Oct-17 World View -- Egyptian police ambushed and killed by Muslim Brotherhood linked Hasm Movement

Dozens of Egyptian police massacred in ambush by jihadists

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Dozens of Egyptian police massacred in ambush by jihadists


The al-Bahariya Oasis, in the desert region where the ambush occurred
The al-Bahariya Oasis, in the desert region where the ambush occurred

In the largest terrorist attack against Egypt's security forces in decades, as many as 55 policemen were killed in a sophisticated ambush by militants on Friday evening. A large police convoy in four SUVs were traveling to the al-Bahariya Oasis in the vast desert expanse in Giza province southwest of Cairo, based on intelligence that there was a secret terrorist hideout there.

The whole thing was apparently a setup, as the militants were prepared for the arrival of the policemen. When the convoy arrived, dozens of militants opened up with heavy machine guns, recoilless grenades and mortars, and detonated roadside bombs. The Egyptian air force was not called in, leading to suspicions that the militants had penetrated Egypt's security forces.

Militancy has been growing and spreading in Egypt. In the past year, militants have killed hundreds of Egyptian security forces and judges, and have targeted minority Christian communities and bombed churches in Cairo, Alexandria and other areas. This insurgency has continued and grown, even as Egypt's military and police forces claim to have killed thousands of suspected terrorists. Daily News Egypt and AP and Washington Post and Debka

Officials point to Hasm Movement, armed wing of Muslim Brotherhood

No one has claimed responsibility for Friday evening's ambush, but it's believed that the perpetrators were the Hasm Movement, which is believed to be the armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, although MB officials deny a connection. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was violent for decades, but renounced violence in the 1970s. If Hasm is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, it would represent a return to violence for the organization.

"Hasm" in Arabic means "decisiveness" or "termination," but the name of the group may be also an acronym of Arabic phrase "Harakat Sawa'd Misr," which literally means "Arms of Egypt Movement". It first emerged publicly when it claimed credit for an attack on a police officer on July 18, 2016. Since then, the group has claimed credit for a number of deadly attacks on security forces and assassinations of public figures.

Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has cracked down extremely harshly on Muslim Brotherhood members, jailing thousands of them and subjecting many to torture, since, as an army general, al-Sisi led an army coup overthrowing the democratically elected but incompetently governing Mohammed Morsi, and his Muslim Brotherhood ministers.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood still claims to be a non-violent political organization, there's little doubt that al-Sisi's harsh, bloody atrocities committed against Brotherhood members has radicalized some of the younger members, and that may be the genesis of the Hasm Movement, though that hasn't been proven.

Al-Sisi has hands full with the Bedouin-based Sinai terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM - Ansar Jerusalem - Champions of Jerusalem), which changed its name to al-Wilayat Sinai (Province of Sinai) when it changed its allegiance in 2015 from al-Qaeda to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

Al-Sisi has conducted a scorched earth counter-insurgency approach to ABM, which takes advantage of the deeply alienated Bedouin population. However, ABM's appeal among ordinary Egyptians has been limited because of its ruthless attacks on ordinary civilians.

The Hasm Movement has apparently learned from ABM's experience. Hasm have been avoiding attacks on civilians, and have been targeting policemen, security officials and government officials, so that they may be able to gain greater traction among the Egyptian people than ABM has been able to do. Deutsche Welle and Jamestown (21-Apr) and International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and Al-Jazeera

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Oct-17 World View -- Egyptian police ambushed and killed by Muslim Brotherhood linked Hasm Movement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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21-Oct-17 World View -- Zimbabwe bans food imports as new 'bond note' currency crashes

Zimbabwe's people fear further starvation after food imports are banned

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Zimbabwe's people fear further starvation after food imports are banned


Zimbabwe bond note and US dollars (New Zimbabwean)
Zimbabwe bond note and US dollars (New Zimbabwean)

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has banned the importation of fruit, vegetables and other horticultural products, in order to avert a further economic crisis.

According to Zimbabwe's agriculture minister Joseph Wade:

"His Excellency [president Robert Mugabe] has directed me and the Minister of Industry and Commerce to quickly stop the importation of horticultural products as they waste much needed foreign currency. This means that the importation of fruit and vegetables will be stopped immediately. We are finalizing on the exact list of foreign-produced fruits that are occupying shelves in shops.

This must be a positive development for our farmers, we now want them to improve on their production capacity and also to produce quality produce. The foreign currency being wasted on the importation of carrots and grapes will now be utilized towards the purchase of more fertilizers and pesticides."

The reason that Zimbabwe's farm have such low production capacity is because their current owners are almost all from Mugabe's Shona tribe, and apparently are so incompetent that they don't know the difference between a plough and a tricycle.

Robert Mugabe is a genocidal psychopath, just like Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Mugabe is from the Shona tribe, and in the early 1980s, he launched a massive genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign against his traditional tribal enemies, the Ndebele tribe. During that campaign, known as Operation Gukurahundi, accomplished with the help of training by North Koreans, tens of thousands of people, mostly from the Ndebele tribe, were raped, tortured and slaughtered.

In 1999, Mugabe adopted his "indigenization" program. At that time, Zimbabwe was considered the breadbasket of Africa, second only to Kenya in food production. Mugabe threw all the white farm owners out of the country, and turned the farms over to his incompetent cronies in the Shona tribe. By 2003, Zimbabwe was starving, and the number of Zimbabweans dying of starvation continued to grow. By 2008, the official rate of inflation was 231 million percent. ( "24-Feb-2014 World View -- Mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has 90th birthday")

For 15 years, I've been writing these articles about what's going on in the world, and it just never ceases to amaze me about how psychopaths like Bashar al-Assad and Robert Mugabe can stay in power for years and decades, despite the unbelievable amount of destruction they cause. It's almost as if they have some magical hypnotic capability the keeps them in power, no matter how many atrocities are committed, no matter how many men are tortured, no matter how many women are raped, no matter how many millions of people become homeless or are simply slaughtered. It's just a source of unending astonishment how this goes on and on.

And now, food imports are banned, and Zimbabweans have to depend on Mugabe's incompetent Shona cronies to feed them, which will undoubtedly cause many more people to starve to death. Herald (Zimbabwe) and Reuters and AFP

Zimbabwe's people fear hyperinflation again after last month's 'bond note' crash

Zimbabwe appears to be on the brink of an economic meltdown, after a currency panic that began on September 25, resulting in a 50% inflation of the new "bond note" currency, introduced in December of last year, supposedly to stabilize the economy.

In 2008, the inflation rate on the Zimbabwe dollar reached 231 million percent (231,000,000% inflation), essentially making the Zimbabwe dollar worth less than toilet paper. The US dollar and the South African rand became the official currencies. But Mugabe's destruction of the economy continued, as he extended his "indigenization" program to other businesses, shutting them down and turning them over to his incompetent Shona cronies.

Just as Zimbabwe used to be able grow enormous amounts of food, the country's economy should be bristling, thanks to its principal commodity exports, gold, platinum, tobacco, ferro chrome and diamonds. However, these businesses have been mostly turned over to Mugabe's incompetent Shona cronies. Thanks to government corruption and falling commodity prices, Zimbabwe's economy was in a liquidity crisis last year, due to a lack of available US dollars.

So to solve this problem, Zimbabwe introduced a new currency called "bond notes," each one of which is nominally the value of one US dollar. Zimbabweans were told that the value of the bond notes would be guaranteed by Cairo-based African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank). The details of how that guarantee would be executed have never been explained, and many people have been suspicious that the bond notes have nothing backing them at all (just like Bitcoin.)

So there was a market panic starting on September 25 of this year, as people feared that the new "bond notes" were going to have the same type of hyperinflation as the old Zimbabwe dollar.

The bond notes lost 50% of their value and would have collapsed completely, except that Afreximbank stepped in and loaned Zimbabwe $600 million to stabilize the economy. $32 million of that money was used to pay off the electricity company Eskom, which was threatening to switch off electricity to the entire country for lack of payment.

The crisis appears to have eased, but bond notes are still suffering from inflation, with 1.3 bond notes now equivalent to one US dollar. And as long as Afreximbank is willing to continue pouring hundreds of millions of US dollars into Zimbabwe, the economy should remain fairly stable. Independent (Zimbabwe) and New Zimbabwe and Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Oct-17 World View -- Zimbabwe bans food imports as new 'bond note' currency crashes thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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20-Oct-17 World View -- Economists baffled on 30th anniversary of 1987 stock market panic

Examples of the 58 Year Hypothesis: Swine Flu, Iraq War, Israel-Hezbollah war

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Mainstream economists baffled about stock market panic of October 19, 1987


The Philadelphia Inquirer on October 20, 1987, after Black Monday
The Philadelphia Inquirer on October 20, 1987, after Black Monday

They're calling Monday, October 19, 1987, the "worst day in stock market history," it fell 22% in one day (equivalent to a fall of 5000 points today). Analysts and economists were on television all day on Thursday telling sad stories about how shocked they were on that day, but they were completely baffled about why it happened.

The development of generational theory and Generational Dynamics has revealed numerous important historical patterns generated by the regular changes in generations.

One of the most significant discoveries in the development of generational theory is an explanation of the stock market crash of Monday, October 19, 1987 -- why it occurred at all, why it occurred in 1987 rather than, say, in 1980 or 1990, and why the stock market recovered so quickly.

Here are some Thursday media excerpts offering explanations:

Jeff Cox of CNBC claims that, unlike today, "the 1987 [stock market] was stratospheric, doubling in about two years." This is the kind of nonsense you see from analysts who have no clue what's going on. In 1987, the S&P 500 price/earnings ratio index was 14, which means that stocks were fairly priced at the historic average. Today, the P/E ratio is 25, indicating that stocks are in a huge bubble.

If you want to figure out why the "the worst day in stock market history" occurred in 1987, then you have to ask what was unique about 1987 that made it different from 1980, 1985, 1990 or 1995?

If you look at the proposed explanations listed above, they explain nothing. Let's take one example: global tensions, and fear of a Mideast war. Well, just a few years earlier we had had the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, and the deaths of 300 American and French troops in the 1983 bombing of the Beirut, Lebanon, barracks by Hezbollah. If global tensions caused the panic in 1987, why didn't they cause a panic in those earlier years?

None of the other proposals explains why 1987 was a special year, as opposed to all the others.

But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, what made 1987 a special year, different from all the others, was that it was 58 years after the crash of 1929. This leads us to one of the most interesting discoveries of generational theory -- the "58 Year Hypothesis." CNN and San Diego Union Tribune and CNBC and Market Watch

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The 58 Year Hypothesis: False panics of 1914 and 1987

So why did all the senior managers of financial firms panic on October 19, 1987, and join the stock market selloff that caused the market to fall 22% in one day?

If we assume that all of these senior managers were roughly 63-68 years old in 1987, they would have been 5-10 years old in 1929.

Now imagine that you're a 5-10 year old child in 1929, leading a happy life with parents who have plenty of money because they had taken advantage of the stock market bubble in the 1920s. Now imagine that, one day, your parents lose everything. Your whole life is turned upside down, and suddenly your family is living under a bridge and depending on soup kitchens to survive. This is something that traumatizes you and affects your entire life.

And here's the important part: It's not just you. It's every child your age. As you and your age cohort grow older, you share this common memory of the 1929 catastrophe -- something that younger children and younger people have no personal memory of.

So now move forward to 1987, and you're 63-68 years old, and something happens in the stock market that frightens you. It could be almost anything. You talk it over with your other 63-68 year old exec friends, and you realize that you all recognize the danger, but that managers younger than you have no idea, because they didn't live through it before. So you all tell younger people that you think there's going to be a repeat of the 1929 crash, causing a panic. But it's a false panic, because stocks are fairly priced, not in a huge bubble as in 1929.

This isn't the first time this has happened. In 1914, there was a similar false panic, occurring 57 years after the stock market crash of 1857. And, once again, the market recovered quickly from the panic, because stocks were fairly priced.

The 1914 panic had an enormous impact on investors because it ended so quickly, and kept investors from understanding the impact of the 1929 stock market crash. John Kenneth Galbraith's 1954 book The Great Crash - 1929, explained how the brief 1907 and 1914 panics contributed to the 1929 disaster:

"A common feature of all these earlier troubles [previous panics] was that having happened they were over. The worst was reasonably recognizable as such. The singular feature of the great crash of 1929 was that the worst continued to worsen. What looked one day like the end proved on the next day to have been only the beginning. Nothing could have been more ingeniously designed to maximize the suffering, and also to insure that as few as possible escaped the common misfortune.

The fortunate speculator who had funds to answer the first margin call presently got another and equally urgent one, and if he met that there would still be another. In the end all the money he had was extracted from him and lost. The man with the smart money, who was safely out of the market when the first crash came, naturally went back in to pick up bargains. ... The bargains then suffered a ruinous fall. Even the man who waited out all of October and all of November, who saw the volume of trading return to normal and saw Wall Street become as placid as a produce market, and who then bought common stocks would see their value drop to a third or fourth of the purchase price in the next twenty-four months. ... The ruthlessness of [the stock market was] remarkable." (p. 108-109)

This analysis by Galbraith is the basis for what I call the Principle of Maximum Ruin: That a real financial crisis will ruin the maximum number of people to the maximum extent possible. The commonly heard phrase "buy the dip" describes what happens. Since investors don't believe that a real stock market crash is possible, they buy more stocks whenever prices dip. So they keep losing money until they lose everything. This is what happened in 1929, and it's what will happen in the coming panic and financial crisis.

Examples of the 58 Year Hypothesis: Swine Flu, Iraq War, Israel-Hezbollah war

I formulated the 58 Year Hypothesis over ten years ago when I accidentally noticed what seemed to be a remarkable coincidence.

I'm now referring to the "swine flu" panic of 1976. The public became hysterical over the possibility of a new flu pandemic that could kill millions of people, repeating the catastrophe of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Responding to public demands, the government prepared millions of doses of swine flu vaccine. President Gerald R. Ford authorized a mass inoculation program, and 45 million Americans -- more than 20 percent of the population -- were vaccinated. The whole thing was a fiasco because there was no epidemic, and because hundreds of people died from a negative reaction to the vaccinations.

The swine flu panic of 1976 was a false panic that occurred exactly 58 years after the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Once again, the 58 Year Hypothesis explains why the year 1976 was unique. There was no similar flu panic in 1960, 1965, or 1970. It occurred in 1976 because it was 58 years after the Spanish Flu epidemic, and 5-10 year old children who had lost their parents and friends in 1918 panicked in 1976, when they were 63-68 years old, fearing that it would happen again.

Once I identified this "coincidence," I began looking for other possible examples, and it turns out that the 58 year time span occurs rather frequently in generational theory. It seems that when an entire society is traumatized by an unexpected event that was foreseeable but not foreseen, then there is a panic 58 years later that the event will happen again.

The Iraq ground war of 2003 is considered a mistake today, but in 2003 it was extremely populated because the entire country was anxious over Saddam Hussein's development and use of chemical weapons. It occurred 58 years after the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Why was the year 2003 unique? Saddam had been developing and using WMD's for 20 years, and there was no panic. But 2003 was unique because it was 58 years after 1945.

In 2006, Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers near the Lebanon border. Israel went into a state of total panic, and launched the war in Lebanon within four hours, with no plan and no objectives. The war was a total disaster for Israel. There had been other prior confrontations with Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists prior to 2006. What made 2006 special? It occurred 58 years after the genocidal war between Jews and Arabs in Palestine in 1948.

There's still plenty of research to be done on the 58 Year Hypothesis to determine exactly why it happens, what types of events trigger it, and what are other examples. But returning now to the false panic of 1987, go back and read the moronic explanations by mainstream economists and analysts, and you'll see that the 58 Year Hypothesis is the only one that actually makes sense. Jerusalem Post (30-Apr-2007) and LA Times (27-Apr-2009)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Oct-17 World View -- Economists baffled on 30th anniversary of 1987 stock market panic thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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19-Oct-17 World View -- Italy's deals with Libya's warlords substantially reduce flow of refugees

Italy accused of turning a blind eye to atrocities received by refugees in detention centers

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Italy's deals with Libya's warlords substantially reduce flow of refugees


Migrants from Libya's port of Sabratha are transported to detention centers by Italy's deal with warlords (Reuters)
Migrants from Libya's port of Sabratha are transported to detention centers by Italy's deal with warlords (Reuters)

A record 180,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy in 2016, and Italian officials had been expect that number to increase in 2017. Instead, the number has fallen substantially, thanks to a series of deals that Italy's government made with Libya's tribes, warlords, and coast guard, even though the deals have been widely condemned by humanitarian and human rights organizations.

The number of crossings in July 2017 was half what it was in July 2016, and in August, 20 per cent of what it was a year earlier. Crossings were down from nearly 28,000 people in June to below 10,000 in August.

The reduction in the flow of refugees is attributed to a series of deals that Italy has made with various tribes and government officials in Libya during June to cut off the migrant flow. Many of the deals were with tribes along Libya's southern border, to prevent refugees coming from West Africa from entering Libya from Chad, Mali and Niger.

The initiator of the agreement was Italy's interior minister Marco Minniti. According to Minniti:

"But my conviction was the southern border of Libya is crucial for the southern border of Europe as a whole. So we have built a relationship with the tribes of southern Sahara. They are fundamental to the south, the guardians of the southern border, but they had been fighting one another and that meant the southern border was not controlled.

On 31 March the tribes came to my office here in Rome. It was a very difficult discussion; 72 hours were needed to to try to find a solution and to build a peace that respected their independence. All this was very complicated, more complicated than you can imagine, but they were looking for a solution. My conviction is that at a certain point [when] these conflicts become unsustainable the important thing is to be ready when someone is looking for a solution."

That wasn't all. Minniti also made deals with the mayors of 14 cities in Libya:

"We discussed a pact. It was quite simple: engage yourself against the trafficking of human beings and we will help you to build an alternative economy. The problems at the moment is trafficking has been the only industry in Libya capable of producing an income revenue."

What was the alternative economy? The tribal militias in these cities had only one major source of income -- to become human traffickers and collect money from refugees to put them on boats, push the boats out into the Mediterranean, and hope that they'll be rescued by NGOs. In many cases, Italy has accused NGOs of being in telephone contact with these human trafficking militias, and paying off the militias to let them know when refugee boats were pushed out into the sea.

So Minniti offered to provide aid to these mayors to replace the funds received from human trafficking. According to Minniti:

"When I met a sultan of the tribes he said: ‘You have to help me so that my children so that can lead a different life from trafficking.’ We have taken these projects to the European commission. These people want to change and it is the duty of the international community to help in this reconversion."

In return for the aid, the militias are responsible for detaining the migrants and keeping them in refugee camps.

In August, Rome also signed deals with the Libyan coastguard to help it deal with people smuggling, and to permit Italy to perform naval operations in Libyan waters.

These deals are considered to be morally questionable, but their effect has been dramatic, in cutting the refugee flow to Italy and the number of drownings in the Mediterranean Sea substantially.

Italy's prime minister Paolo Gentiloni bragged about the results on Wednesday:

"Italy is proud to be a good example on the issue of migrants. We have reduced the number of people dying at sea and the number of irregular-migrant arrivals."

Gentiloni said that Italy was a model for Europe on how to reduce migrant arrivals. Reuters and Irish Times and Guardian (London)

Italy accused of turning a blind eye to atrocities received by refugees in detention centers

The deals that Italy's government has signed with Libya's warlords, tribes, militias and coast guard have dramatically reduced the flow of refugees, but Italy is being accused of turning a blind eye to the abuse that refugees receive in "concentration camps," where they have been left hungry, brutalized, raped and tortured.

U.N. agencies have said that Italy's policies had trapped tens of thousands of people in dire conditions in Libya. This is particularly true in Libya's port of Sabratha, which Libyan human smugglers have long used as an operations base and a main port for their boats heading across the Mediterranean Sea. Last week, 4,000 migrants were found, trapped in various locations around the city, often starving.

Commissioner Nils Muiznieks of the Council of Europe Human Rights wrote to Italy's interior minister Marco Minniti, all but accusing Italy of violating human rights laws:

"The case law of the European Court of Human Rights is clear about this duty and I think it bears relevance for Italy’s operations in Libyan territorial waters. In light of recent reports on the current human rights situation of migrants in Libya, handing individuals over to the Libyan authorities or other groups in Libya would expose them to a real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, ... [violating] Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Finally, the Commissioner requests information about the measures to ensure that search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, including those conducted by non-governmental actors, can continue to be carried out effectively and in safety."

Muiznieks added, "The fact that such actions would be carried out in Libyan territorial waters does not absolve Italy from its obligations under the convention."

In fact, based on news reports, the evidence is that Minniti has taken no steps at all to prevent refugees from being exposed to atrocities. According to the deals, the Libyan warlords and militias detain the refugees, do not allow them to proceed to Europe, but instead lock them up in detention centers where any form of abuse can be performed on them with impunity. Deutsche Welle and Council of Europe-Commission of Human Rights and Deutsche Welle and BBC

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Oct-17 World View -- Italy's deals with Libya's warlords substantially reduce flow of refugees thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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18-Oct-17 World View -- North Korea crisis: Would the United States sacrifice Los Angeles for Seoul?

North Korea nuclear missile crisis close to reaching a tipping point

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

North Korea nuclear missile crisis close to reaching a tipping point


Gruesome North Korean propaganda painting claiming to depict American war crimes during Korean War (News Dog Media)
Gruesome North Korean propaganda painting claiming to depict American war crimes during Korean War (News Dog Media)

On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that "diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops." When I first heard I immediately thought that he was being intentionally ambiguous, because he could easily have made it clearer whether he meant the first North Korean bomb or the first American bomb.

Tillerson was responding to a question about whether President Trump's tweets undermine him:

"Well, I think what the President is doing is he is trying to motivate action on a number of people's part in particular the regime in North Korea. I think he does want to be clear with Kim Jong-un and that regime in North Korea that he has military preparations ready to go and has those military options on the table and we have spent substantial time actually perfecting those. But be clear, the President has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplomatically. He is not seeking to go to war.

[Question: So he does think it is a waste of time?]

No, sir. He made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts which we are. And we will - as I told others the diplomatic efforts will continue until the first bomb drops."

When we try to interpret what Tillerson and Trump mean by this we have to understand that the United States has run out of time. As Nikki Haley said last month, "We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left." This means that one US administration after another have allowed North Korea to carry out their threats to develop a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.

Most analysts believe that North Korea will "soon" have the ability to target the United States mainland with a nuclear weapon equipped ballistic missile, where "soon" could mean several weeks to several months. Indeed, North Korean officials have repeatedly said that they are working non-stop to develop this nuclear missile capability, neither diplomacy nor sanction nor anything else will stop them. At that point, the North Koreans are expected to do something spectacular, like launch a nuclear missile to land in the Pacific Ocean halfway to the US mainland.

This will be a clear tipping point in the North Korean crisis. The North Koreans believe, possibly correctly, that once this point is reached, then they will be able to use nuclear threats to make demands of the US, South Korea, and Japan, such as demanding that all US troops be withdrawn. The North Koreans would then continue development, and would soon have an arsenal of ballistic missiles with nuclear missiles targeting the US mainland. This will also presumably make the Russians and the Chinese very happy as well.

Would the North Koreans actually carry out their nuclear threats? I keep going back to 2010, when the North conducted two acts of war targeting South Korea -- in May, North Korea torpedoed and sank the warship Cheonan, killing dozens of South Korean crew members, and in November, North Korea killed South Korean civilians by shelling Yeonpyeong Island. In both cases, the South Koreans chose not to respond, but it's pretty clear that they might have.

The North Koreans carried out those two acts of war because they correctly concluded that the South Koreans would not retaliate. Since the beginning of his term, President Trump has repeatedly made clear, through tweets and statements, that unlike the South Koreans in 2010, we actually would retaliate, and forcefully. But after three decades of empty threats by American administrations, the North Koreans may quite reasonably conclude that Trump's tweets are simply another empty threat.

And so we return to Tillerson's remark, and to the question: Why was it so carefully and meticulously ambiguous as to whether "the first bomb" would be dropped by the US or North Korea?

Will Trump and Tillerson permit North Korea get to the point where they have an arsenal of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles pointed at the United States? These are two older men, Boomers, decisive, sharp businessmen who now have to make the most important and critical decisions of their lives. I certainly can't read their minds, but I find it hard to believe that they would just sit back and let North Korea develop a nuclear arsenal with impunity, and then have to lead a humiliated United States a year from now. CNN and AFP and Sputnik News (Moscow) and KCNA Watch (North Korea)

North Korea crisis: Would the United States sacrifice Los Angeles for Seoul?

As tensions over the North Korea crisis rise almost on a daily basis, the above is the kind of question that a lot East Asians are asking themselves. Will the United States allow North Korea to develop a nuclear ballistic missile arsenal that would put Los Angeles at risk? Or will the US strike North Korea's nuclear capabilities and save Los Angeles, but risk a retaliatory North Korean attack on Seoul - or Tokyo?

After World War II, the United States took on the role of Policeman of the World, and in doing so, signed some sort of mutual defense treaty with many countries: Japan, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, the ANZUS agreement with Australia and New Zealand, a special treaty with Iceland, and the NATO agreement with all of Europe. The purpose was to discourage attacks on any of these allies that would otherwise have the risk of spiraling into World War III.

What we're seeing now is a kind of fatal flaw in the strategy behind these mutual defense treaties. The idea was that the United States would protect these countries, but today the United States is more concerned about protecting itself.

And because of the mutual defense treaties, neither South Korea nor Japan has a nuclear capability or nuclear deterrent, even though both countries are threatened with nuclear attack from North Korea (not to mention China), and even though they now feel unsure that they can depend on the United States to protect them.

Development of a nuclear capability Japan is deeply unpopular because of their experience in World War II. But according to Thomas Cynkin, a former U.S. diplomat in Japan, the Japanese have developed a "nuclear latency policy," which allows Japan to develop nuclear weapons very quickly. Cynkin says the country is estimated to have “9 tons of plutonium, enough for over 1,000 warheads,” as well as an advanced space industry, which provides easy access to ballistic missile technology.

There is no such easy path to nuclear weapons development in South Korea. Nuclear development is openly debated in South Korea, but would infuriate the Chinese and draw retaliation. The Chinese were infuriated by South Korea's deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, which is purely defensive, and China retaliated with a harsh economic boycott that's still in place. Deployment of offensive nuclear weapons would dangerously provoke the Chinese.

North Korea's last major test was a ballistic missile test that occurred on September 14. The missile flew over Japan, landing in the Pacific Ocean far enough to have put the American base on Guam within range, raising international anxiety. It's been a whole month since that test, so international anxieties have subsided. But all it would take is another North Korean test of a nuclear bomb, or a long-range ballistic missile, or the two combined, and international anxieties will rise higher than ever, along with a new debate over deploying nuclear weapons in Japan and South Korea. The Diplomat and Washington Post and Cipher Brief and National Interest (5-Sep)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Oct-17 World View -- North Korea crisis: Would the United States sacrifice Los Angeles for Seoul? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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17-Oct-17 World View -- Devastating defeat to Iraq in Kirkuk exposes major splits between Kurdish factions

Kurds flee Kirkuk after Iraq army defeats them in complete rout

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Kurds flee Kirkuk after Iraq army defeats them in complete rout


Children greet Iraqi soldiers as they enter the southern outskirts of Kirkuk on Monday (Reuters)
Children greet Iraqi soldiers as they enter the southern outskirts of Kirkuk on Monday (Reuters)

People in Erbil, the capital city of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), were shocked on Monday at the speed with which their supposedly legendary Peshmerga militias defending Kirkuk collapsed at the approach of Iraqi army forces and Shia militias, in what is seen as a total rout.

For several days, Kurdish forces were locked in an armed standoff Iraqi government troops and allied Iranian-backed paramilitaries known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) on the outskirts of the city. Kurdish leaders were using the strongest rhetoric, saying that Kirkuk would be defended to the last Peshmerga, and that if Iraqi forces attack, they would be soundly defeated. So there's a lot of anger today among the Kurds about how this rout could have occurred so quickly, within about 15 hours.

The Kurds took control of Kirkuk in 2014, at a time when the country Iraq seemed to be falling apart, because the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) defeated the Iraqi army quickly and took control of Mosul, making it ISIS headquarters in Iraq. ISIS also took control of vast swaths of land, including many villages, but it was Kurdish Peshmerga militias that prevented ISIS from taking control of Kirkuk as well.

The Kurds might have been able to retain Kirkuk as part of the regional KRG government, but Kurdish leaders decided to go further and hold a non-binding referendum on September 25 on the question of secession of an independent Kurdish state from Iraq. This referendum went ahead despite almost universal international opposition, as the United States, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq expressed concern that the referendum would create unrealistic expectations and destabilize the region. And that appears to be exactly what happened.

Once the referendum had passed, Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi said that he had no choice but to order military action to capture Kirkuk and prevent a secession from taking place. The rapid advance of the Iraqi forces resulted in quickly seizing control of the city's airport, in addition to an oil field, the strategic K1 military base and the Taza Khormatu district southeast of Kirkuk. A convoy of elite Iraqi counter-terrorism unit forces took control of the governorate building in central Kirkuk in the afternoon, meeting no resistance. Iraqi forces also took control of the governor's office, which had been left deserted.

Al-Abadi said in a statement:

"It is my constitutional duty to work for the benefit of the citizens, and to protect our national unity that came under threat of fragmentation as a result of the referendum that was organized by the Kurdish region.

The referendum came at a time where the country is fighting against terrorism that has come in the form of ISIS. We tried to urge (the Kurds) not to violate the constitution and to focus on fighting ISIS, but they did not listen ... They chose their personal interests over Iraq's interests."

By evening, there was an Iraqi victory parade in Kirkuk.

With the approach of the Iraqi forces, thousands of civilians fled Kirkuk, and headed for Sulymaniyeh and Erbil in the Kurdish region.

However, other civilians were seen cheering on the Iraqi forces as they entered Kirkuk's southern outskirts. That's because Kirkuk is a multi-ethnic city, with a population of a million people, roughly 30% Kurdish, 30% Arab, 30% Turkmen, and 10% Christian. Al Jazeera and Middle East Eye and Iraqi News

Devastating defeat to Iraq in Kirkuk exposes major splits between Kurdish factions

In an article that I wrote two weeks ago, I compared three different independence movements that are currently in the news -- -- in Catalonia from Spain, in the Anglophone Southern Cameroons from Francophone Cameroon, and in Kurdistan from Iraq. As I described, the Kurdistan case is substantially different from the other two. In the other two, there is a resurgence of the extremely vitriolic xenophobic attitudes that gave rise to previous generational crisis wars, and civilians were targeted by government forces. But we saw nothing like that between the Kurds and the Iraqis in the case of the Kurdistan separatist movement in Iraq.

Monday's events modify that assessment. There was a military clash between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, but it was quick and fizzled quickly. There were no reported atrocities, rapes or mass slaughters that are typical of clashes when vitriolic xenophobia is in play. In particular, Monday's military clashes did not target civilians.

Instead, what emerged is a major split among the Kurds themselves. There are two major factions in Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), that were formed in the decades following WW II. During Iraq's last generational crisis war, the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s, the KDP was often aligned with Iran, and the KDP and the PUK fought each other. The two parties have had several brief military clashes since then.

As political parties, the PUK and KDP are about evenly split in the population. With Monday's overwhelming defeat in Kirkuk, we are hearing vitriolic rhetoric in the form of the PUK and KDP accusing each other of "betrayal," and calling each other "traitors."

On Monday, Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and KDP leader, posted a tweet accusing the PUK of collaborating with Iran and with Iraq's Shia militias to defeat the Kurds in Kirkuk.

It seems pretty likely that the hostility between the KDP and PUK is going to grow following Monday's humiliating defeat in Kirkuk. Al Jazeera and BBC

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16-Oct-17 World View -- Bitcoin super-bubble surges through $5,000 and blasts even higher

Stock market continues its huge bubble

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Bitcoin super-bubble surges through $5,000 and blasts even higher


Price of Bitcoin 7/18/2010 to 10/15/2017 (Coindesk.com)
Price of Bitcoin 7/18/2010 to 10/15/2017 (Coindesk.com)

The price of the international currency Bitcoin surged past $5,000 on Thursday, and reached $5,809 on Sunday, before falling back to $5,712.97. It started the year at a measly $966, and has risen meteorically all year, if you don't count the fact that it fell to $3226.41 on Sept 14 from $4950.72 on Sept 1.

I've been asked by several people recently about my recommendations for investing in Bitcoin. Investing in Bitcoin is the road to disaster. I literally cannot think of a worse investment today than Bitcoin, or the various copycat newcomers, such as Ethereum. Bitcoin is almost literally a Ponzi scheme backed by nothing but air.

Let's take a look at some other investments.

Suppose you want to buy an apartment building as an investment. You start by estimating the income -- how much money you'll be paid in rents. Then you estimate all the expenses -- mortgage payments, repairs, real estate taxes, and so forth. All of these income and expense amounts are spread out over time, usually over decades, so you have to perform "present value" computations for future income and payments. (If you're interested in the mathematical details, see my 2008 article, "A primer on financial engineering and structured finance")

So when you're finished, you get a number that represents the value of the apartment building for investment purpose. If the value is, say, $625,000, then you know that you should spend no more than $625,000 for the apartment building, because that's all it's worth.

Another investment is stock shares. A stock share is backed by the company that issues the shares, and the company's earnings are published in annual reports. The higher the earnings, the more the stock share is worth. This is usually measured by the "price/earnings ratio," which is the price of a share divided by the annual earnings per share. Historically, investors expect to earn about 7% return on investment in stock shares, which means that the P/E ratio should be around 1/.07, or about 14. Today, the average P/E ratio is 25, so stocks are way overpriced and in a bubble, as I'll discuss below.

Another investment is tulips. I'm referring here to the historic "Tulipomania bubble" that occurred in Holland in the 1600s, when the price of a single Tulip bulb rose to be higher than the price of a house. The bubble burst in 1637, causing a financial disaster across Europe.

In the fall of 1636, you could purchase a certificate guaranteeing to you a tulip bulb of a certain type and weight the following spring, and you could pay for it with a personal credit note. Edward Chancellor's 1999 book, Devil Take the Hindmost, a history of financial speculation tells what happened:

"By the later stages of the mania, the fusion of the windhandel with paper credit created a perfect symmetry of insubstantiality: most transactions were for tulip bulbs that could never be delivered because they didn't exist and were paid for with credit notes that could never be honored because the money wasn't there."

In other words, at the height of the bubble, there was this "perfect symmetry of insubstantiality": A person would buy a certificate representing a tulip, and give in return an IOU. The buyer could at least hope that the certificate represented an actual tulip, just as the purchaser of an apartment building knows that there is an actual apartment building somewhere.

But with Bitcoin there's nothing. If you spend money on a Bitcoin, and you don't get rid of it right away, then you have nothing that backs it up in any way.

Before proceeding, let me put on my Senior Software Engineer hat. The "blockchain" technology is what the Bitcoin is based on. This is a solid technology, and it's a major advance in programming data structures that goes far beyond currency in leveraging the power of the internet. The problem with internet transactions in general is that if you do something online then you have no way of proving what you did. If you buy a coat online then you may be able to prove through your bank (a third party) that you paid for it, but you can't prove that you bought a coat unless the merchant confirms that you did. That's fine in most cases, but blockchain technology allows you to make any sort of online transaction and prove that it occurred, without having to depend on a third party. This applies to such things as financial transactions, smart contracts, and even voting. So, whatever the value of Bitcoin is, the underlying technology is solid.

So now let me take my Senior Software Engineer hat off, and again put on my Prophet of Doom hat.

There's a concept in Bitcoin technology called a "hard fork." Technically, it simply means that the blockchain software is being updated to a new version where transactions might have a different representation. Ideally, everyone simply uses the new transaction format. But since the Bitcoin community is mostly a collection of airheads, it's possible to continue using both the old and new transaction formats, so that now there are two currencies where there used to be only one, and so there's the opportunity to create two bubbles instead of just one.

Bitcoin had a fork in August, and here's how a news story on Coindesk.com describes it:

"Yet it seems, investors believe the momentum is warranted given the results of the last hard fork in August, which split the network in two, but did so in a way that fairly safely created a new asset called bitcoin cash.

Distributed to all bitcoin owners at the time of the fork, investors were suddenly given an equal amount of valuable cryptocurrency (bitcoin cash has held relatively steady around $300 per coin, but has traded for as much as $1,000). Far from a risky proposition, investors see that extra value as just created out of thin air and delivered to existing investors for free."

Anyone who reads these two paragraphs would have to laugh and think it's a joke. But not for these airheads. These investors think of a hard fork as "extra value as just created out of thin air and delivered to existing investors for free."

So the term "hard fork," which is really an obscure technical term for a software update, has taken on a magical, bewitching aura as something that makes free money out of thin air. And there's a new Bitcoin hard fork coming up soon, and these investors are looking forward to it, because they're going to get more free money.

By the way, Bitcoin competitor Ethereum is implementing a hard fork starting yesterday (Sunday), and investors are torn between hoping for a free money bonanza, and a total disaster.

One more point: The fact that bitcoin uses the internet is both its strength and its weakness. The internet is ubiquitous, making Bitcoin a globally universal currency. But in a regional or global crisis, or a war crisis, the internet is likely to be unavailable, making Bitcoin worthless. Guardian (London) and Coindesk.com and CNBC

Stock market continues its huge bubble


S&P 500 Price/Earnings ratio at 24.55 on October 13, indicating a huge stock market bubble (WSJ)
S&P 500 Price/Earnings ratio at 24.55 on October 13, indicating a huge stock market bubble (WSJ)

Bitcoin isn't the only investment that's in a huge bubble that could implode at any time. There are $8 trillion globally in in corporate and government bonds with negative yields, which means that you invest $1,000, but only get $990 when you sell the bonds. In other words, you don't earn money by investing -- you pay money to invest. But people do it anyway, because they perceive these bonds to be safe havens in which to store their money, and they're willing to pay a price for that safety.

But low or negative interest rates on bonds means that the prices of the bonds are astronomically high, so bonds are also in a huge bubble. If the Fed and other central banks start raising interest rates, which they say they're going to do, then the values of these bonds could come crashing down.

Watching CNBC this week, I learned that stock traders are unhappy because stock market volatility (measured by the VIX) has been extremely low. Traders love the chaos of high volatility, with stock prices jumping up and down, because they're good at making timed trades and making money from them. But with the markets so quiet and placid, traders are unable to make money.

Therefore, traders are hoping for a geopolitical crisis, like a North Korea nuclear crisis or a major Mideast war, to increase volatility so that they can make money.

Many people are crediting the large stock market rise of 19% as a "Trump rally," but taking credit for a stock market rally is extremely dangerous, since then you get the blame when the stock market falls.

According to Friday's Wall Street Journal, the S&P 500 Price/Earnings index (stock valuations index) on Friday morning (October 13) was at an astronomically high 24.55. This is far above the historical average of 14, indicating that the stock market bubble is still growing, and could burst at any time. Generational Dynamics predicts that the P/E ratio will fall to the 5-6 range or lower, which is where it was as recently as 1982, resulting in a Dow Jones Industrial Average of 3000 or lower.

There's actually been a lot of debate and discussion recently on whether a stock market crash is coming, much more discussion than I've heard in the past. One person comes on and talks about price/earnings ratios or other stock price measures to show that stocks are way overpriced. Then a kid comes on, who seems barely old enough to remember the financial crisis of 2008, and says that the American economy is resilient, and there are no signs of an impending crash, and no reason for one to occur at this time.

So I like to point out that no one has any idea why a stock market panic occurred on the particular day October 28, 1929, and why it didn't occur six months earlier or six months later. Even today, economists and analysts cannot give a reason why that was the day. Everyone understands that it had to occur because price/earnings ratios were astronomically high (as they are today). But whether it will occur tomorrow, next week, next month or next year is impossible to predict and, as in 1929, we may not even know why it happened. AP and Business Insider and Bloomberg

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15-Oct-17 World View -- Armies and militias fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria increasingly turn on each other

Syria demands 'immediately' pullout of Turkey's forces from Idlib province

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Mattis and Tillerson work to prevent Iraq vs Kurd military confrontation in Kirkuk


Defaced Kurdistan flags at a former Peshmerga position now held by Iraqi forces on Friday (AFP)
Defaced Kurdistan flags at a former Peshmerga position now held by Iraqi forces on Friday (AFP)

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) says that Iraqi army troops and fighters from the Shia Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU, Hashd al-Shaabi) militias are massed on the border of the city of Kirkuk, which has been controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga militias since 2014, when they evicted the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) from the city. There have already been some conflicts between Iraqi troops and Peshmerga in villages south of Kirkuk in the last few days.

The KRG ran an independence referendum on September 25, and the vote among the Kurds for independence was above 90%. This referendum was internationally condemned before, during and after the vote took place because it created unrealistic expectations.

Now that the referendum has been successful, the Kurds want to be rewarded for all they did in defeating ISIS. They want independence and, in particular, they want to keep Kirkuk. They say they want it for its symbolic value, but it's more likely that they want it because it's sitting on a huge amount of oil. This oil is a big part of Kurdistan's economy. It's currently going through a pipeline through Turkey to the Black Sea, but Turkey, which doesn't want an independent Kurdistan, is threatening to close the pipeline.

With Iraqi army and Shia militia troops massed on the Kirkuk border, KRG says that Iraq's government has set a deadline of early Sunday morning for the Peshmerga to withdraw from positions being held in Kirkuk. As of this writing on Saturday evening ET, that deadline has passed.

The United States is keeping close watch on the situation by means of overflights. Both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have been urging both sides to keep focused on fighting ISIS, not each other. Mattis said on Friday:

"We have to work on this. The Secretary of State has the lead, but my forces are integrated among these forces, and they are working, too, to make certain we keep any potential for conflict off the table. ...

We are trying to tone everything down and to figure out how we go forward without losing sight of the enemy, and at the same time recognizing that we have got to find a way to move forward.

Everybody stay focused on defeating ISIS. We can’t turn on each other right now. We don’t want to go to a shooting situation."

As everyone has been saying for months, all the various armies and militias fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria would have nothing better to do than start fighting each other, once ISIS was defeated. In Iraq, ISIS has been evicted from Mosul and other major cities. The Kurds, the Iraqi army and the Shia militias achieved a great victory, and now they're going to celebrate by killing each other. AFP and Kurdistan 24 and Bloomberg and Rudaw (Kurdistan)

ISIS fighters permitted to leave Raqqa, Syria, with human shields

The eviction of ISIS from Raqqa, their former stronghold in Syria, is almost complete. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), consisting mostly of Syrian Kurdish fighters, are permitting dozens of buses to evacuate the remaining ISIS fighters and their families, along with about 400 civilians to be used as human shields. The SDF, backed by US warplanes, have been fighting ISIS in Raqqa.

According to the SDF, the buses will take the surrendered fighters further east to Deir az-Zour province, much of which remains under ISIS control.

The evacuation deal was pursued by the United States military as a way to allow the SDF to secure the last parts of the city, without requiring bloody house to house fighting that would kill hundreds of civilians. According to a US-led coalition statement:

"The arrangement is designed to minimize civilian casualties and purportedly excludes foreign Daesh [ISIS] terrorists as people trapped in the city continue to flee the impending fall of Daesh's so-called capital.

People departing Raqqa under the arrangement are subject to search and screening by Syrian Democratic Forces."

With ISIS defeated in both Iraq and Syria, the analyst Sami Hamdi, editor of International Interest, gave a concise analysis of what can be expected next, in an interview on Al-Jazeera (my transcription):

"In Iraq you have the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) that terrify the Sunni population, who were marginalized in the first place, and whose villages constituted the haven in which ISIS operates.

In Syria you still have a dictatorial regime hell bent on crushing its people's democratic desires.

You have the Kurdish who are pursuing independence. You have the Russians who are terrified of an American-leaning state. You have the Iranians who wish to establish hegemony in the region.

So we don't really see any reintegration. On the contrary, we see humanitarian crises in cities such as Mosul. We will see a humanitarian crisis in cities such as Raqqa.

There is nothing to suggest that there will be a reintegration of these communities into mainstream society. And this leads to one outcome -- a division within the region, new borders, a modern Kurdistan, and other areas seeking their own independent autonomous states.

When we talk about the defeat of ISIS we should be wary. ISIS on the ground will be defeated. Losing Raqqa will be a big blow to them. But ISIS in the political discourse will continue.

Because as long as there is an ISIS in the mainstream media and political discourse, Iran can justify keeping the Revolutionary Guards in Syria.

As long as there is an ISIS in Syria, Turkey can justify military force to restrict Kurdish movement.

As long as there is an ISIS, Russia can continue to keep its troops in Syria, on the pretext of fighting terrorism.

As long as there is an ISIS, the Popular Mobilization Units can claim legitimacy to stay as an ultra-violent military force outside of military control.

So ISIS will be defeated militarily, it might resort to guerrilla tactics, but politically in the discourse, it's not quite time for the international powers to shelve the topic of ISIS and pursue other interests."

In neighboring Deir az-Zour province, the army of the Syrian regime captured the ISIS stronghold of Mayadeen. Telegraph (London) and CNN

Syria demands 'immediately' pullout of Turkey's forces from Idlib province

As we've been reporting in the last few days, Turkey has deployed tanks and troops into Syria's Idlib province, with the objective of bringing peace to the Idlib "de-escalation zone." Turkey's incursion is part of an agreement reached with Iran and Russia in Astana, Kazakhstan, in July.

However, now Syria's Foreign Ministry is demanding that Turkey withdraw its forces, something that almost certainly result in renewed fighting in Idlib, particularly between the al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and other anti-Assad Sunni rebel militias, many of whom are opposed to the presence of HTS.

According to the Syrian statement:

"Syria condemns in the strongest terms the incursion of units of the Turkish army in Idlib province, which constitutes a flagrant aggression against the sovereignty and security of Syrian territory.

The Turkish aggression is not tied in any way with the understandings that were reached between the guarantor states in the Astana process, but constitutes a violation of these understandings."

The Syrian government has in the past expressed opposition to the entire "de-escalation zone" agreement, but the agreement was forced on Syria's president Bashar al-Assad by Russia's government. Al-Assad has announced that he expects to regain control of all of Syria, and few people doubt that if given the opportunity, he would like to bomb all of Idlib province into oblivion, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, as he did last year in Aleppo.

The Astana agreement is supposed to bring about a ceasefire throughout Syria, and bring peace. However, as the saying goes, "Peace is that brief, glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading."

As regular readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Anadolu (Ankara) and Deutsche Welle and Russia Today

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14-Oct-17 World View -- Thousands of Haitians living in Miami scheduled for deportation in January

The last UN peacekeepers leave Haiti after 14 years

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

The last UN peacekeepers leave Haiti after 14 years


People dump trash and raw sewage into canals that run through Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When it rains, the canals overflow and flood poor neighborhoods. (NPR)
People dump trash and raw sewage into canals that run through Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When it rains, the canals overflow and flood poor neighborhoods. (NPR)

Haiti often appears to be a cursed nation. One of the poorest nations in the world, it has suffered one calamity after another.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was established in 2004 after armed conflicts that had spread across the country. Then, on January 12, 2010, the earthquake struck, killing 316,000 people and leaving more than 1.5 million people homeless, and 3.3 million facing food shortages. More UN peacekeepers were sent in the aftermath, including some of Nepal that infected the water with cholera. Haiti had previously been free of cholera, but now cholera is endemic.

There have been numerous attempts to help the Haitian people, including a Haiti Fund sponsored by former presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush. The fund received some $54 million in donations, which was donated to small businesses in the form of grants and loans, with an emphasis on fish farming, architecture and nursing. All the money was spent in about 18 months. According to the fund spokesman, by the time the fund had closed down, it had directly created or sustained 7,350 jobs and affected more than 311,000 people in Haiti.

Now that the peacekeeping mission is being closed down after nearly 15 years, the descriptions of its accomplishments are only lukewarm. Sandra Honoré, the head of the peacekeeping force, says that Haiti has made significant progress since U.N. forces arrived in 2004 amid massive street protests and a bloody rebellion that toppled democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide:

"The Haitian people enjoy a considerable degree of security and greater stability. Political violence has diminished considerably. Armed gangs no longer hold the population hostage. All three branches of power are in place with the executive and legislative branches restored to full functioning.

However, [immediate improvements] have yet to be felt by the vast majority of the population, particularly in poor urban areas."

So with that relatively unenthusiastic endorsement, the stabilization effort is ending on Sunday, when the last peacekeepers will be withdrawn.

The final report on the effort, delivered to the UN Security Council, listed several achievements, but warned of some potential problems, eight months after Jovenel Moïse took office as president.

One issue is that elections to establish councils and assemblies at the municipal levels have been stalled. As regular readers are aware, this is a story that I've seen over and over, in country after country in a generational Awakening era, following a civil war. A political leader, usually on the winning side of the war, takes power and refuses to give it up, often using brutal tactics, including torture, jailings and rapes to suppress the opposition. This kind of brutal tactic hasn't occurred in Haiti, but Haiti has a history of such tactics, and the peacekeepers haven't left yet. It remains to be seen whether and when these elections will be held.

A second issue is that Moïse is building an army of 3,000 soldiers, to fill the security vacuum left by the departing peacekeepers, and he is taking direct control of the recruitment. Haiti has a history of the prime minister or president of using the army as a weapon against the opposition, in order to remain in power.

There's already a Haitian National Police which now has about 15,000 trained members, which was set up by the departing peacekeepers. But apparently Moïse would rather build his own army, with his own people in charge and under his complete control. Miami Herald and United Nations and Public Radio International and ReliefWeb and BBC (11-Jul)

Thousands of Haitians living in Miami scheduled for deportation in January

Some 24,000 Haitians arrived in the United States following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, and they were given "Temporary Protected Status" (TPS) by the Obama administration, allowing them to stay in the country and work, and send remittances back to their families in Haiti.

The TPS for Haiti was meant to last only 18 months, but it kept getting 18-month extensions under the Obama administration. When the last TPS extension expired in May, the DHS announced a final six-month extension. In a statement from DHS:

"The Department of Homeland Security urges Haitian TPS recipients who do not have another immigration status to use the time before Jan. 22, 2018, to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States."

According to immigration rights activist Marleine Bastien:

"Thousands of Haitian TPS recipients have been living in the U.S. for an average of seven to 25 years. To deport them and force them to leave behind their U.S.-born children will be a catastrophe of great magnitude."

Bastien says that if Haitians are deported back to Haiti, they'll be facing famine and poverty. Many will go underground to avoid being deported.

Bastien is demanding that the TPS benefit be extended not just for another 18 months, but forever, or until a way is found to get Haitians off TPS, and grant them legal residency. Miami New Times and Miami Herald

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Oct-17 World View -- Thousands of Haitians living in Miami scheduled for deportation in January thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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13-Oct-17 World View -- Turkey's tanks and troops cross border into Syria's Idlib

Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announce unity agreement

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Iraqi troops and tanks seen massing near Kirkuk, poised to attack Kurds


 A group of masked Hash Al-Shaabi forces (Iraqi Shia Muslim Popular Mobilization Units) seen near Kirkuk late Thursday (Kurdistan 24)
A group of masked Hash Al-Shaabi forces (Iraqi Shia Muslim Popular Mobilization Units) seen near Kirkuk late Thursday (Kurdistan 24)

Iraqi forces along with Iranian-trained paramilitaries have been seen on Friday morning massing near Kurdish-occupied Kirkuk in northeastern Iraq. Iraq has rejected Kurdistan's independence referendum, and oil-rich Kirkuk has become a flash point.

It's not known whether the massing of Iraqi forces is simply a show of force, or is the prelude to a full-scale attack on Kirkuk. Kurdistan 24

Related: Kirkuk becomes the flash point after the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum (03-Oct-2017)

Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announce unity agreement

Egypt announced on Thursday that the Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas had reached a reconciliation agreement, as an outcome of the Egypt-sponsored reconciliation talks being held in Cairo.

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets across Gaza on Thursday in celebration of the agreement, with loudspeakers on open cars blasting national songs, youths dancing and hugging and many waving Palestine and Egyptian flags.

As expected, the agreement did not even attempt to address the two major issues splitting Fatah and Hamas:

As we pointed out yesterday, the average of Gaza's population is 16.9, and so the Izzadin Kassam brigades is undoubtedly heavily populated with teenagers who wouldn't be inclined to take orders from 82 year old Mahmoud Abbas anyway.

Nonetheless, this agreement was greeted with loud cheers from Gaza civilians, because it promises respite from heavy sanctions that have been imposed on Gaza by both Egypt and Fatah. Egypt rarely opens the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, and so it's impossible for Palestinians to leave Gaza or for supplies to be brought in. The agreement calls for the Rafah crossing to be controlled by the Fatah-Hamas unity government.

The other sanctions had been imposed by Fatah in the form of cutting the salaries of employees in Gaza, and cutting the electricity supply to Gaza. The unity government will restore the salaries and electricity.

The agreement supposedly transfers administrative control of Gaza to Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA) as of December 1, subject to further negotiations in November.

The agreement also stipulates that legislative, presidential and national council elections should be conducted within one year of its signing. It's worth remembering that the open rift between Hamas and Fatah began in 2006 when Hamas resoundingly defeated Fatah in legislative elections. If there's a presidential election, then it's very likely that Mahmoud Abbas will be replaced by someone much younger and much less willing to compromise, and much more willing to fight a war with Israel. Al Ahram (Cairo) and Reuters and BBC

Related: Palestinian reconciliation talks ignore Hamas commitment to destroy Israel (12-Oct-2017)

Turkey's tanks and troops cross border into Syria's Idlib in apparent truce with HTS

The first convoy of Turkey's military forces crossed into Syria's Idlib province late on Thursday. This is the first deployment following Saturday's announcement by Turkey of a major military operation in Idlib province. The purpose of the operation is to establish a "de-escalation zone," as agreed in July by Turkey, Russia and Iran, meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The primary objective of the de-escalation zone operation is to bring peace to Idlib, by protecting Sunni Muslims from Bashar al-Assad's forces and by keeping the different anti-Assad rebel groups from fighting each other. I had been expected that the Turkish forces would evict al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) from Idlib in order to reach this objective.

HTS was not part of the de-escalation deal and opposed it. But HTS militias in the last few days have been seen escorting Turkish reconnaissance teams into Idlib, suggesting that Turkey and HTS have reached a peace agreement, or at least a ceasefire agreement, for the time being.

So for the time being, Turkey's incursion into Idlib has these objectives:

According to reports, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the head of HTS, is deeply distrusted by moderate rebel groups (Failaq al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki brigades, and Ahrar al-Sham), who are eager to initiate a conflict with HTS.

Warplanes from Russia and al-Assad have been stepping up airstrikes on Syrian civilians, including women and children, striking hospital and schools. Civilians in Idlib, many of whom fled Aleppo, are reluctantly accepting the need for Turkish forces. According to one resident, "Turkey intervening may be the best solution to Syria's situation because Russia and Assad will stop at nothing to destroy the whole of Syria." Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Reuters and Syria Deeply and Middle East Eye

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Oct-17 World View -- Turkey's tanks and troops cross border into Syria's Idlib thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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12-Oct-17 World View -- Palestinian reconciliation talks ignore Hamas commitment to destroy Israel

Palestinian unity talks face disagreement on Hamas's 'resistance weapons'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Palestinian reconciliation talks ignore Hamas commitment to destroy Israel


Israeli soldier on the Gaza border (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli soldier on the Gaza border (Jerusalem Post)

The two major governing factions for the Palestinian territories -- Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and Fatah, which governs the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank -- are meeting in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, in order to try to find a way to form a unity government. The meeting comes at the invitation of Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

In 2005, Israel withdrew all Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip, in order to promote peace with the Palestinians, and as a step in the so-called "peace process" between Israel and the Palestinians. The intention was that Fatah would govern both Gaza and the West Bank, and negotiations for permanent peace with Israel would proceed.

However, in 2006 the rival faction Hamas scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the Gaza Strip, completely shutting out Fatah. Fatah tried to regain control of Gaza through military means in 2007, but was quickly defeated by Hamas. in a stunning surprise victory that shocked the entire Mideast.

Since then, there have been numerous attempts at a "unity government" between Fatah and Hamas, and all have failed spectacularly. And so, at the invitation of Egypt, why not give it another shot?

It's easy to believe that the Palestinians are homogeneous, all with the same world view and behaviors. That may have been true decades ago, but it's certainly not true today. The Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have been physically separated from one another for several generations, and the two regions have grown into two completely distinct cultures.

There are even important demographic differences, according to the CIA World Fact Book: The average age in the West Bank is 20.8, and in Gaza it's 16.9. The average population growth rates are 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively. By way of contrast, the average age in the United States is 37.9, and the growth rate is 0.8%.

So if the average age in Gaza is 16.9, then Gaza is essentially a society of teenage children. Furthermore, the unemployment rate in Gaza is 43%, one of the highest in the world. So now tell this society of children with little education and no hope of a job that they're going to be governed by the 82-year-old PA president Mahmoud Abbas, and from that fact alone you can see what a fantasy the entire Palestinian unity and reconciliation process is.

Nonetheless, the Palestinian press says that the meeting in Cairo has a "positive atmosphere," and the talks were held “out of a sense of national responsibility and in response to the aspirations of the Palestinian people looking for an end to the division, achieve national unity and strengthen the steadfastness of our people.”

Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said that the talks were a prelude to peace:

"Ongoing Egyptian moves to help our Palestinian brothers start a new stage of unity in the Palestinian ranks is preparation for a just peace between Palestinian and Israeli sides, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to meet legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a secure, stable and prosperous life."

However, the two Palestinian factions decided to not even discuss the question of peace with Israel, but to appoint a new commission to study the matter.

The first detailed Generational Dynamics analysis that I wrote was in May 2003, after President George Bush offered his "Mideast Roadmap to Peace," which was to bring peace to the Mideast. The analysis, "Mideast Roadmap - Will it bring peace?", said that a Mideast peace was impossible, because the Jews and the Arabs would be re-fighting the 1948 war that following the partitioning of Palestine by the United Nations, and the creation of the state of Israel.

I wrote that a new war was being prevented by Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat, traumatized survivors of the 1948 war who would do anything to keep it from happening again. I wrote that when these two men died, and younger people were in charge, it was likely that war would begin again.

At the death of Yasser Arafat in November, 2004, the amount of international rejoicing was enormous. Everyone in the West believed that it was Arafat who had prevented the Israeli-Palestinian peace process from going forward. Actually, as I explained repeatedly, it was not Arafat preventing peace. It was the younger generations of Palestinians who were preventing peace. If Arafat had any role at all, it was to hold back the tide of a major new war.

Arafat was replaced by Mahmoud Abbas in January 2005, another survivor of the 1948 war. It's my belief that Abbas continued to prevent a major war with Israel, following the path of Arafat. It's worth noting that since then there has not been a war between Israel and the West Bank, although Israel has had two wars with Gaza, and one war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Palestinian News Network (Pnn) and Times of Israel and Palestinian News Agency (Wafa)

Palestinian unity talks face disagreement on Hamas's 'resistance weapons'

According to Israel's Major General Yoav Mordechai, Hamas terrorists in Gaza are using lasers to blind Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border. In a statement he said:

"The leadership of Hamas leadership is not able to control its operatives, and will thus lead to an Israeli response against Hamas activists.

This situation is dangerous because the continued provocative attempts to blind soldiers carried out by the terrorist operatives, even if not guided by their commanders, is likely to lead to escalation at this sensitive time of developments in the Palestinian arena; therefore, be warned.

The continuation of this phenomenon will lead to an IDF response."

This perfectly illustrates why there will be a major war between Palestinians and Jews long before there's any peace. Even if Hamas leadership and Hamas commanders wanted peace, the Gaza population, consisting mostly of children with an average age of 16.9, do not. This kind of thing is at the heart of any Generational Dynamics analysis.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the Palestinian unity talks as a threat to the existence of Israel:

"We expect anyone talking about a peace process to recognize Israel and, of course, recognize a Jewish state, and we won’t accept faux reconciliations in which the Palestinian side reconciles at the expense of our existence.

We have a very straightforward attitude toward anyone who wants to effect such a reconciliation: Recognize the State of Israel, dismantle Hamas’s military wing, sever the relationship with Iran, which calls for our destruction.

Hamas's military wing, Izzadin Kassam, may be a deal breaker in the Palestinian unity talks. Mahmoud Abbas has said that he would not accept a scenario in which Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, kept control of its weapons.

On the other hand, a spokesman for Hamas said:

"The resistance's weapons are legal. They are here to protect Palestinians and free their lands [from Israeli occupation]."

So apparently Hamas's spokesman agrees with Netanyahu -- that the unity talks present a risk to the existence of Israel. AFP and Israel National News and Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel and Tasnim News (Iran)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Oct-17 World View -- Palestinian reconciliation talks ignore Hamas commitment to destroy Israel thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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11-Oct-17 World View -- Tensions between Turks and Iraqi Kurds grow as another ISIS stronghold falls

Hundreds of ISIS fighters surrender as Iraqi town of Hawija falls

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hundreds of ISIS fighters surrender as Iraqi town of Hawija falls


Iraqi forces flash victory sign after defeating ISIS in Hawija (AFP)
Iraqi forces flash victory sign after defeating ISIS in Hawija (AFP)

In a dramatic turn, hundreds of fighters from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) have surrendered en masse, following the recapture of the town of Hawija from ISIS occupation, suggesting that morale is collapsing among ISIS fighters.

However, they didn't surrender to the invading Iraqi Shia government forces, presumably out of fear of retribution. Instead, they fled to the city of Kirkuk, which is held by Peshmerga (Kurdish militia), and surrendered to them. According to one Kurdish security official:

"Approximately 1,000 men surrendered over the last week. Not all, however, are terrorists. It's fair to say hundreds probably are [ISIS] members, but that will be clear after the debriefs."

ISIS was effectively defeated in Iraq in July, when Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq, after a bloody nine-month battle. ISIS still holds some territory in western Iraq in a stretch of land along the border with Syria.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says that the rest of ISIS-held territory will be recaptured by the end of the year.

Russian state media have been somewhat schizophrenic about the situation. On the one hand, they've congratulated the Iraq government for the victory in Hawija. On the other hand, because some ISIS fighters have fled across the border into Syria, they've gone off the deep end by claiming that the United States is only "pretending" to fight against ISIS in Iraq. Very funny. Reuters and Sputnik (Moscow) and Al Bawaba and Russia Today

Tensions grow between Turkmens and Kurds in Kirkuk

The fight against ISIS has unified many groups of forces -- the Iraqis, the Kurds, the Turks, the Russians, the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Americans -- in a common goal of defeating ISIS. As ISIS continues to lose ground in both Iraq, all of these forces are increasingly turning their attention to fighting each other.

As we reported a couple of days ago, Kirkuk is becoming a flash point in northeastern Iraq. Since 2014, it was the Kurdish Peshmerga militia forces that have fought ISIS and prevented a takeover of Kirkuk, and now the Kurds expect to retain control of Kirkuk, especially as a result of the overwhelming passage of the September 25 Kurdistan referendum on independence from Iraq.

Turkmens are the third-largest ethnic group in Iraq, and claim to have been denied their rights since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003. However, they've had their own internal problems because they've had their own sectarian split between Sunni and Shia Turkmens. However, the Turkmens in Kirkuk are united in that they do not want to be part of an independent Kurdistan.

Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds have been cooperating as long as the fight against ISIS in Mosul was progressing. But now, Turkey's government is opposed to an independent Kurdistan, and is particularly opposed to Kirkuk being part of Kurdistan.

Devlet Bahçeli, the head of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), says that contested regions of Iraq, such as Kirkuk and Mosul, are "the lands of Turkmens." There is a big Kurdish community in Turkey, including members of the terrorist group Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been conducting terrorist acts in Turkey for decades. Turkey fears that any sort of Kurdish independence in Iraq will energize the PKK in Turkey. Bahçeli says:

"The safety of Kirkuk is the safety of Ankara. If the land of Turkmens is put into the fire, Turkey will not be safe.

The independence bid is an attempt to resurrect the Sévres [Treaty] and to fracture neighboring countries

“A rehearsal for Kurdistan will affect the future of the Republic of Turkey. It is a question of survival, a matter of sociological fragmentation."

Bahçeli referred to the 1920 Treaty of Sévres, which divided up Ottoman territory after World War I. Al Monitor and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Oct-17 World View -- Tensions between Turks and Iraqi Kurds grow as another ISIS stronghold falls thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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10-Oct-17 World View -- UAE official says Arab blockade was engineered to prevent Qatar hosting 2022 World Cup

Numerous controversies surround FIFA's award of World Cup 2022 to Qatar

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UAE official says Arab blockade was engineered to prevent Qatar hosting 2022 World Cup


Al Wakrah Stadium, with a 45,120 capacity, and a state of the art cooling system, is under construction and scheduled for completion by the end of 2018
Al Wakrah Stadium, with a 45,120 capacity, and a state of the art cooling system, is under construction and scheduled for completion by the end of 2018

I usually don't do sports stories, but this bizarre sports story has geopolitical implications.

A Sunday tweet by Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan, head of Dubai Security for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said:

"If the World Cup leaves Qatar, the crisis will go away ... because the crisis is created to break it."

The "crisis" refers to the land, air and sea blockade of Qatar that was imposed on June 5 by four Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Nobody expected the blockade to last for more than a few days, but now four months have passed, and there's no end in sight.

The four countries listed 13 specific demands that would be necessary to resolve the crisis. The demands included: sever most ties with Iran; sever all ties to the Muslim Brotherhood; shut down al-Jazeera; terminate Turkey's military presence in Qatar; pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years.

So now, a UAE official is saying that none of those demands was relevant. The purpose of the blockade was to force Qatar to give up hosting the 2022 World Cup, and that "if the World Cup leaves Qatar, then the crisis goes away."

The World Cup, or world football (soccer) championship, refers to what is probably the most prestigious sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympics. It's sponsored by the International Football Federation (FIFA, or Fédération Internationale de Football Association).

The UAE official did not say why the Gulf states were seeking to prevent Qatar from hosting the 2022 World Cup. Perhaps it's because Qatar defeated Saudi Arabia on November 26, 2014, to win the Gulf Cup of Nations that the Saudis had been favored to win. Since then, Saudi officials have complained frequently that Qatar won the competition to host the 2022 World Cup through bribery and corruption. AP and Gulf Times (Qatar) and Al Bawaba (Palestine) and Peninsula Qatar and Arab News (27-Jun)

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Numerous controversies surround FIFA's award of World Cup 2022 to Qatar

From the day in 2010 that FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, it's been extremely controversial, and has had numerous scandals.

Qatar itself is not really a football (soccer) playing country. At the time of the award, FIFA ranked Qatar as 113th in the world. Today its rank is 109. The Qatar team has never reached the World Cup final.

A major scandal was that Qatar's proposal to host the World Cup apparently lied about the country's intentions for handling the summer heat. The event is supposed to take place in June or July, when Qatar's weather is sweltering, with high temperatures typically ranging from 105F to 120F. In its proposal, Qatar wrote the following:

"Each of the five stadia will harness the power of the sun's rays to provide a cool environment for players and fans by converting solar energy into electricity that will then be used to cool both fans and players at the stadia. When games are not taking place, the solar installations at the stadia will export energy onto the power grid. During matches, the stadia will draw energy from the grid.

This is the basis for the stadia's carbon-neutrality. Along with the stadia, we plan to make the cooling technologies we’ve developed available to other countries in hot climates, so that they too can host major sporting events."

This was close to a science fiction fantasy. After Qatar received the award, it demanded that the dates of the World Cup be changed from June-July to November-December. FIFA finally agreed to the change over many objections from individual football clubs that they would be forced to make major changes to their own schedules.

Another major scandal has to do with the building of stadiums and other infrastructure required for the event.

By some estimates, the World Cup is going to cost Qatar approximately $220 billion, which is about 60 times the $3.5 billion that South Africa spent on the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This has always been an issue, but now with the Arab states' blockade on Qatar, Qatar's economy has been suffering, and this cost may be prohibitive.

Human rights have become an even more explosive issue. Qataris are the richest people in the world, on a per capita basis, because of the country's oil wealth, and so the Qatari people are used to a life of leisure, with servants drawn from the huge number of migrant laborers coming from countries like India, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. There are said to be five migrant workers in Qatar for each citizen. Hundreds of thousands of those same foreign workers would be the laborers building the stadiums and other infrastructure.

Being a migrant worker in Qatar has been described as close to slave labor. A Qatari boss sponsors the migrant worker, and then has total control over him or her. The worker is not permitted to leave change jobs, or leave jobs, or return home, without the permission of the boss, and must work as much as 21 hours per day if required, with no overtime pay. An unpaid worker has little recourse.

This is known as the "Kafala system," used throughout the Gulf region. It's so abusive that it's described as a system of modern day national slavery. Because of the World Cup controversies, Qatar was forced to announce in December 2016 that it was abolishing the Kafala system, giving migrant workers additional rights to change jobs or leave the country, but the main abuses of the Kafala system are still in place.

A final major scandal were the allegations of corruption -- that Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup because of bribes paid to various FIFA officials. An independent investigation was conducted, but FIFA refused to release the final report when it was completed in September, 2014, only releasing a summary that said that Qatar was cleared of wrongdoing. In June of this year, the full report was finally released to the press. It raised a lot of questions, but did not prove wrongdoing.

Those are the major scandals. One minor scandal had to do with alcohol consumption, which is illegal in Qatar. Qatar has said that alcohol consumption by non-citizens will be permitted under strictly controlled circumstances. City AM (London, 25-Feb-2015) and BBC (8-Apr-2015) and Special Broadcasting Service (Australia) and BBC (13-Dec-2016)

Related: Migrant Indian workers in Saudi Arabia face starvation (01-Aug-2016)

A new 'risk report' raises doubts about Qatar hosting World Cup 2022

The tweet by the UAE minister saying that the Gulf crisis was engineered to prevent Qatar from hosting World Cup 2022 may have been triggered by a report issued two days earlier by a British consulting firm, Cornerstone Global.

The report is entitled "Qatar in focus: Is the Fifa World Cup 2022 in danger?" and it says that thanks to pressure from the Gulf blockade, the chances have increased substantially that Qatar will not host the event. In particular, logistics costs for construction of the stadiums and other infrastructure have increased 20-25% because of the blockade. The report contains these excerpts:

"Western diplomats have privately stated they do not know whether or not the tournament will take place as planned.

The reasons for this are many and include open allegations of corruption - both in the bidding process and in the infrastructure development.

Qatar is under greater pressure regarding its hosting of the tournament... the current political crisis has seen - or at least raised the possibility of - a Qatari opposition movement emerging.

This means an increased risk for those working on, or seeking contracts for World Cup 2022 infrastructure... with a risk of non-payment and no realistic ability to enforce any legal contracts.

Given the current political situation... it is certainly possible that the tournament will not be held in Qatar.

Any cancellation of Qatar hosting the World Cup 2022 will likely be abrupt and will leave contractors involved in a precarious situation that may not be easily resolved.

Construction sources in Qatar have informed us that companies working on the World Cup, whilst not panicking yet, are already feeling the impact of the sanctions, with logistics proving costly and challenging to re-organise in light of the border closures with its neighbours.

A group of five project managers working for a variety of small multi-national companies, all with government contracts related to World Cup construction, told us in July 2017 that their costs have increased by between 20 and 25% due to logistical problems. ...

Sources within the project have indicated that several members of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee have threatened to resign over excessive interference by senior officials on spending and allegations of corruption."

Qatar officials have responded by saying: "In the context of the current political situation we question the motives of an organization - which makes no secret of its affiliation to the countries blockading Qatar - of publishing a report based entirely on media reports and anonymous sources." BBC and Arab News

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Oct-17 World View -- UAE official says Arab blockade was engineered to prevent Qatar hosting 2022 World Cup thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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9-Oct-17 World View -- Turkey announces major military operation in Syria's Idlib province

Turkey's success in Idlib is far from certain

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey announces major military operation in Syria's Idlib province


Idlib Syria today (AFP)
Idlib Syria today (AFP)

Turkey announced that it is beginning a military operation in Syria's Idlib province. It will follow the terms of an agreement made in Astana Kazakhstan by Turkey, Russia and Iran to create four "de-escalation" zones in Syria with the objective of ending the war. Turkey's military operations will be in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which includes Idlib, Latakia, Aleppo and Hama, and is bordered by Homs and Turkey itself.

The purpose of the operation will be to eliminate that al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). However, Turkey has an additional objective: To prevent the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), currently controlling the city of Afrin north of Idlib near Turkey's border, from entering Idlib and thereby controlling a corridor in northern Syria along Turkey's border.

The terms of the operation are as follows:

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the deployment on Saturday and said that Turkey would not allow a "terror corridor" on its border with Syria, referring to Kurdish objective to establish the state of Rojava in northern Syria as a corridor along the border with Turkey. Erdogan said:

"There’s a serious operation in Syria’s Idlib today and it will continue. For now Free Syria Army is carrying out the operation there. Russia will be protecting outside the borders (of the Idlib region) and we will handle inside.

Russia is supporting the operation from the air, and our armed forces from inside Turkey’s borders."

The phrase "from inside Turkey's borders" is interpreted to mean that Turkey's army will not (again) enter Syria, for the time being.

Erdogan also said that Turkey would not be "cornered by any threats from Syria and Iraq." He referred to the three million Syria refugees currently being hosted by Turkey, and said:

"We are not intervening in the domestic affairs of any country. We are just trying to secure our own home affairs... How safe we can be when there is chaos in Syria? ... Can we escape from the results of developments in Syria?"

There has already been a firefight between Turkey's troops and HTS. Early on Sunday, Turkey's military was removing sections of a border war between Turkey and Syria, and HTS began firing on a Turkish bulldozer. Turkish artillery returned fire.

Another major Turkish objective is to prevent the chaos of more tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing into Turkey to escape bombing by Syrian and Russian warplanes, and joining the millions of Syrian refugees already in Turkey.

In a harbinger of things to come, on Sunday morning warplanes from the Syrian regime military struck a marketplace within the Idlib de-escalation zone, killing at least six people. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Anadolu (Ankara) and Reuters and Yeni Safak (Turkey)

Turkey's success in Idlib is far from certain

Idlib province is currently under control of al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). However, there are also thousands of civilians, including many women and children, who fled from Aleppo last year when the Bashar al-Assad regime, with help from Russian airstrikes, was trying to make Aleppo uninhabitable.

There have been two jihadist groups formed in Syria following the brutal attacks by al-Assad's Shia/Alawite regime on peaceful Sunni Muslim protesters, starting in 2011, particularly following al-Assad's completely unprovoked attack on a Palestinian refugee camp in August 2011, killing many women and children.

That attack triggered the arrival of tens of thousands of young Sunni Muslim jihadists from over 80 countries around the world, from southeast Asia, from Africa and from Europe and Russia's Caucasus. Those jihadists formed the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). In the last year, ISIS has been the target of all the other militias -- the Americans, the Syrians, the Russians, the Kurds, the Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Iraqis. The presence of ISIS allowed all these other entities to adopt a joint strategy of fighting ISIS, while keeping out of each other's way.

One difference in Idlib is telling the good guys from the bad guys. Since ISIS consists almost entirely of foreign fighters from over 80 countries, it's fairly easy to distinguish an ISIS fighter from an ordinary Syrian. But HTS is consists of Sunni Muslim Syrians, as does almost the entire population of Idlib province.

Even within the anti-Assad rebel groups, there are differences. HTS was formed from the merger of a number of rebel militias, after Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) broke off its allegiance to al-Qaeda, since many moderate rebel groups want to oppose al-Assad, but want nothing to do with al-Qaeda. This has caused clashes between the former al-Nusra militias with the moderate rebel militias, and there are reports that the moderate rebel militias are leaving HTS. This hugely complicates Turkey's job in evicting HTS, since it's far from clear what HTS is.

The fight against ISIS is coming to an end, and now all the entities now fighting ISIS are scrambling to gain control of as much territory as possible. In eastern Syria, almost everyone wants control of all the oil fields around Deir az-Zour.

In Idlib, Turkey wants to provide protection to all the Sunni Muslims living there, especially since Bashar al-Assad considers them all to be cockroaches to be exterminated. Although Idlib is a de-escalation zone, Bashar al-Assad has made it clear that he considers the de-escalation zones only a temporary solution, and when ISIS is defeated he plans to turn his military around and take control of the entire country, including Idlib. This scenario would result in the population of Idlib fleeing into Turkey, which Erdogan has said he will not permit.

Turkey has been promising for months that when its military operation in Idlib was completed, and HTS was evicted, then Turkey would build mass housing in Idlib, so that all the civilians will stay there, and not try to flee to Turkey.

I believe you can see, Dear Reader, the huge conflicts that are approaching as the fight against ISIS ends. Turkey will not tolerate the destruction of Idlib, and Russia has agreed with Turkey about that. Syria will not permit Turkey or anyone else to be in control of Idlib, and Russia has agreed with al-Assad about that as well, although it contradicts the previous agreement. Al-Assad promised last year when he destroyed Aleppo and made it uninhabitable that doing so would end the war, but there is no sign now that the war is anywhere near an end. Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Sputnik News (Moscow) and AFP and Al Jazeera

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Oct-17 World View -- Turkey announces major military operation in Syria's Idlib province thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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8-Oct-17 World View -- Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) blamed for deaths of US troops in Niger

Jihadist ambush in Niger forces a review of military operations in Africa

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) blamed for deaths of US troops in Niger


Ambush of US soldiers occurred near Niamey, the capital city of Niger
Ambush of US soldiers occurred near Niamey, the capital city of Niger

Four US troops, along with five Nigerien soldiers, were killed on Wednesday in an ambush in Niger near the border with Mali. This was the first time that US forces have died in Niger.

The 12-member US team was leaving a meeting in unarmored pick-up trucks, when they were lured into an ambush and began taking from small arms, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

There were 50 attackers, believed to be part of a Mali jihadist group linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). The service members, including multiple Army Special Forces soldiers, exited the vehicles, ran for cover, and began returning fire, killing some of the attacking militants. In addition to the four deaths, two service members were injured, and were evacuated to a hospital in Germany.

Note: "Nigerien" refers to Niger, while "Nigerian" refers to Nigeria.

After the ambush, US officials realized that one of the US service members were unaccounted for, and it was feared that he might have been taken prisoner. A large-scale search-and-rescue operation involving US, French and Nigerien troops was launched, and US Navy SEALs were flown to a US military base in Sigonella, Sicily, in anticipation of a possible rescue attempt. However, they never went to Niger as the body of the fourth dead soldier was found on Friday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the ambush, but there are two major choices, one linked to al-Qaeda and one linked to ISIS. The first is the "Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims" (JNIM, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslim) that we described at length several days ago. JNIM and its al-Qaeda predecessors have conducted many other operations in Niger, including kidnappings and suicide attacks.

However, the US military believes that this ambush was performed by “Islamic State in the Greater Sahara” (ISGS), which is linked to ISIS. Little is known about ISGS, since it's overshadowed by the al-Qaeda linked jihadists, and competes with them. They have links to Boko Haram in Nigeria, and their fighters are believed to be nomadic people, such as the Tuaregs. CNN and SOFREP and Long War Journal and Washington Post

Jihadist ambush in Niger forces a review of military operations in Africa

In 2013, Barack Obama informed Congress that 100 troops would be deployed to Niger. They set up a drone base near Niamey to assist the French with surveillance and intelligence, and also began serving in a train, advise and assist role with Nigerien forces. The U.S. had already been providing the French with aerial refueling for its Mirage and Rafale warplanes. Since then, that number has grown to 800 troops.

On September 24, the Pentagon and AfriCom said armed U.S. drones had conducted several "precision strikes" on an ISIS training camp in Libya, killing 17 militants.

Despite these attacks on ISIS targets, Wednesday's ambush apparently caught the US military completely by surprise. Africom spokesman Colonel Mark Cheadle said:

"This was not expected. Had we anticipated this sort of attack we would have absolutely devoted more resources to it to reduce the risk and that's something we are looking at right now. ...

It was not meant to be an engagement with the enemy. The threats at the time were deemed to be unlikely, so there was no overhead armed air cover during the engagement."

The American troops in Africa are there to train Nigerien troops in anti-terrorism tactics to battle violent extremists, including counterterrorism, intelligence and security techniques. But in this case they were carrying out a joint patrol with Nigerien forces, suggesting that they were taking part in military operations, and yet were unprepared for the ambush.

Cheadle added that Africom was reevaluating its force protection procedures for its advisory missions.

It's little reported, but the US military is increasing its presence in Africa, with counterterrorism operations in mind. The largest U.S. base on the continent is in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, which gives U.S. forces the ability to launch airstrikes and special operations raids into nearby Yemen and Somalia while also covering the critical Bab el-Mandeb waterway that leads into the Red Sea.

There are bases in Somalia and Kenya, for the fight against al-Shabaab. Tunisia has an American drone base that can strike al-Qaeda and ISIS offshoots in Libya. There are American forces in Chad and a drone facility in Cameroon, both helping the fight against Boko Haram. US involvement in Africa is slated to grow. Military.com and NPR and Reuters and Foreign Policy

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Oct-17 World View -- Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) blamed for deaths of US troops in Niger thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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7-Oct-17 World View -- Burma's Rohingya crisis merges with the Kashmir crisis, inflaming the entire region

Bangladesh builds huge refugee camp for 800,000 displaced Rohingyas from Burma (Myanmar)

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Bangladesh builds huge refugee camp for 800,000 displaced Rohingyas from Burma (Myanmar)


Hindu nationalist National Panthers Party billboard demands that Rohingyas 'Quite Jammu', or else be deported. (Hindustan Times)
Hindu nationalist National Panthers Party billboard demands that Rohingyas 'Quite Jammu', or else be deported. (Hindustan Times)

Some 500,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have crossed the border from Burma (Myanmar) into Bangladesh since August 25, when Burma's army launched a full-scale scorched earth ethnic extermination campaign on the Rohingyas in Burma's Rakhine state. According to Bangladesh authorities, some 4,000-5,000 additional Rohingyas were crossing the border each day, with 10,000 more waiting at the frontier.

Bangladesh had originally allocated 2,000 acres of land to set up a refugee camp to accommodate 500,000 refugees, but with the flood of refugees continuing, officials have set aside another 1,000 acres for the new camp, to expand the camp to house 800,000. Rohingyas have already set up 23 makeshift camps along the border, and Bangladesh will move them all into the new camp.

This is an extremely serious situation, as it has been "the largest mass refugee movement in the region in decades," according to the United Nations.

After several years of these atrocities by Burma's army, Rohingya activists have formed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which conducted terrorist attacks on August 25 and triggered the current round of "clearance operations" by Burma's army. Burma's ethnic cleansing is radicalizing many young men in the Rohingya population, with plans growing for retaliatory attacks on the Burmese population and army.

Regular readers are aware that Generational Dynamics predicts that the world is headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war, pitting the US, India, Russia, Iran and the West against China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim nations. It's impossible to predict the exact scenario that will lead to that war, but today there are two clear crises that could escalate into world war: The North Korea nuclear missile crisis, and the enormous Rohingya Sunni Muslim refugee crisis. Guardian (London) and Reuters and NPR

Rohingya crisis expands into Kashmir, creating a mega-crisis

For years, there's been a community of several thousand Rohingya Muslims living peacefully in India-governed Jammu and Kashmir. That number has increased by over 6,000 between 2008 and 2016. J&K is thousands of miles from their original homes, but the Rohingyas say that they were forced to be there, according to 35-year-old Mohammad Yusuf, the head of a camp for Rohingya refugees:

"We are in India because of some compulsions, and not out of choice. We know this is not our land. We will leave on our own once those compulsions are addressed by the global community and we get justice.

We were boarded into a train and asked to embark at the last station when the whole train gets empty. We were not aware that it is Jammu. We came to know at the railway station that some Rohingyas were living here and met them. This is how we reached here."

The Rohingyas co-existed peacefully, and even received money and supplies from other residents last year when a large fire in the refugee camp destroyed all their belongings.

But apparently some residents harbored underground resentment of the Rohingyas, because this resentment suddenly exploded into full-scale xenophobia and hostility in April.

At that time, the Hindu nationalist Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party began putting up large billboards asking residents to "wake-up" and "save the history, culture, and identity of the Dogras". The billboard directed Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees to "quit Jammu."

The National Panthers threatened to launch an "identify and kill movement" unless the government deported the refugees. They also demanded that any resident renting out a room to Rohingyas should be arrested and sent to jail under a law that allows detention without trial for six months.

The Rohingyas say that they're just trying to survive with their families. "We are not involved in any criminal activity and are doing odd jobs to make our living. Most of us work as wage laborers, rag-pickers, scrap-dealers and a few are working at railway stations as sweepers."

India has taken the side of Burma and supports Burma's atrocities, rapes, slaughter, and "clearance operations" of Rohingyas. Indian officials say that Rohingyas in Kashmir and elsewhere in India are being radicalized by terrorist groups from Pakistan, training the Rohingyas for terror attacks in India.

Pakistan has always taken the view that it's India that's committing atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir, and that the Rohingya crisis has now given India one more weapon to use against Pakistan in Kashmir.

It appears that the Rohingya crisis between Burma and Bangladesh has merged with the Kashmir crisis between India and Pakistan, resulting in a much larger crisis. As hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas are forced to leave Burma because of its ethnic cleansing program, the entire region is becoming more destabilized, with the possibility of triggering a war. Scroll (India, 8-May) and Pakistan Observer and First Post (India, 20-Aug)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Oct-17 World View -- Burma's Rohingya crisis merges with the Kashmir crisis, inflaming the entire region thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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6-Oct-17 World View -- Syria's war resumes in full, as 'de-escalation' agreements unravel

International Red Cross: Fighting in Syria worst since Aleppo

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

International Red Cross: Fighting in Syria worst since Aleppo


From August 2016: Five year old boy, Omran Daqneesh, sitting confused in an ambulance in Aleppo after being pulled from the rubble of one of Bashar al-Assad's airstrikes.  To al-Assad, this boy and others like him are just cockroaches to be exterminated.
From August 2016: Five year old boy, Omran Daqneesh, sitting confused in an ambulance in Aleppo after being pulled from the rubble of one of Bashar al-Assad's airstrikes. To al-Assad, this boy and others like him are just cockroaches to be exterminated.

Syria's president Bashar al-Assad promised last year that when his air force was finished killing as many people as possible in the battle of Aleppo, then the Syrian war would be end, because his opponents would have nothing left to fight for.

A report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) indicates not only that the war has not ended, but that in fact the level of fighting across much of Syria has reached the levels of the battle of Aleppo.

Much of the fighting is around the eastern city of Deir al-Zour, which is one of the last strongholds in Syria for the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There are many groups fighting ISIS in Deir al-Zour: The Syrian army backed by the Russian military, Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias, and mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which have been supplied weapons by the US military.

However, there is also fierce fighting in three "de-escalation zones" -- Idlib, rural Hama and eastern Ghouta -- that were set up in a series of "peace talks" held in Astana, Kazakhstan. The participants in the meetings were Russia, Iran and Turkey, but most noticeably did not include the Syrian regime, or any of the opposition groups to Bashar al-Assad. The result is that it appears that the de-escalation zones are unraveling, to no one's real surprise.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 3,000 people, including 955 civilians, were killed during September, making it the deadliest month of the conflict so far this year. More than 70% of the civilians were killed in air strikes. Furthermore, as many as 10 hospitals have been damaged during the last 10 days, cutting hundreds of thousands of people off from access to basic healthcare.

In a separate development, al-Assad's air force is once again using Sarin nerve gas on civilians, based on laboratory analyses of samples taken from the north Syrian town of Ltamenah which was bombed by Syria's air force. The Syrian air force bombing injured around 50 people, although nobody was believed to have been killed. The finding was announced on Thursday by the by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

According to Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations: "For years the Assad regime has used chemical weapons to murder and terrorise innocent Syrian civilians. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the Syrian regime not only lied about the extent of their chemical weapons programmed, but that they will continue to refuse to cooperate with watchdog organizations like the OPCW."

As I've written many times in the past, Bashar al-Assad is the worst genocidal monster so far this century. The Syrian war began in 2011 when al-Assad ordered his army and air force to attack peacefully protesting civilians, including women and children. Things really turned around in August 2011, when al-Assad launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians. He dropped barrel bombs laden with metal, chlorine, ammonia, phosphorous and chemical weapons onto innocent Sunni women and children, he's targeted bombs on schools and hospitals, and he's used Sarin gas to kill large groups of people. He considers all Sunni Muslims to be cockroaches to be exterminated.

After the attack on the Palestinian refugee camp, thousands of young Sunni jihadists from 86 countries around the world traveled to Syria to fight al-Assad, and they formed ISIS. Thanks to al-Assad, millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries to escape the violence, and over a million have fled to Europe. The amount of global destruction that al-Assad has brought about is truly breathtaking.

As I've written many times, al-Assad is a delusional psychopath, and from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, his delusions are based on the experiences of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Syria's last generational crisis war was a religious/ethnic civil war between the Shia Alawites versus the Sunnis. That war climaxed in February 1982 with the destruction of the town of Hama. There had been a massive uprising of the 400,000 mostly Sunni citizens of Hama against Syria's Shia/Alawite president Hafez al-Assad, the current president's father. He turned the town to rubble and killed or displaced hundreds of thousands. Hama stands as a defining moment in the Middle East. It was so shocking that it largely ended the war.

That worked because at that time, Syria was in a generational crisis era, and the destruction of Hama was the climax of the war. The reason for Bashar al-Assad's delusions is that he thought that the destruction of Aleppo last year would end the war in the same way that his father's destruction of Hama ended the war. But this is a generational Awakening era, and that kind of outcome doesn't work. The reason that it doesn't work is that there are many survivors who were shocked by the destruction of Hama in 1982, but are no longer shocked by similar actions since they've seen it all before. So the destruction of Aleppo did not end the war, as Bashar al-Assad delusionally hoped, and now the war is back in full force. BBC and International Committee of the Red Cross and Reuters and The National (UAE)

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Analyst gives a chilling analysis of where the Syrian war is going

As I've written many times, the war in Syria will never end as long as Bashar al-Assad is in power. Syria is in a generational Awakening era, with little desire for war, as the survivors of the 1982 are still war-weary from what happened at that time. This war would have ended long ago, except that Bashar al-Assad, along with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have forced it to continue. Bashar al-Assad is a delusional psychopath who will never allow the war to end, and apparently Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are willing to shed blood and treasure to support him.

Last year, al-Assad claimed that the battle of Aleppo was "history in the making":

"[The liberation of Aleppo was] history in the making and worthy of more than the word congratulations.

History is being written in these moments. Every Syrian citizen is taking part in the writing. It started not today, but years ago when the crisis and the war on Syria began.

I think that after the liberation of Aleppo we’ll talk about the situation as ... before the liberation of Aleppo and after the liberation of Aleppo."

Well, that didn't happen.

Joshua Landis, from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at University of Oklahoma, is an expert on Syria. He was interviewed on the BBC on Thursday, where he gave a chilling analysis of what's to come. Landis was asked why there's been a spike in violence in Syria (my transcription):

"In the south of Syria, near the Jordanian border, it has largely been controlled. But in the north of Syria, there is intense fighting around Deir az-Zour, major provincial capital, held by ISIS, both pro-US Kurdish forces and the Syrian army are trying to take that city, and trying to take the Euphrates, all the way down to the Iraqi border. And there's a scramble to destroy ISIS as quickly as they can, and to grab as much territory. This territory has lots of oil wells in it. It's very important for the future of both the Kurds and Syria. So this is causing a spike in the amount of deaths , because they're trying to go as quickly as they can, they're not being very discriminatory.

Then in the west of Syria, the northwest, near the Turkish border, there's been a lot of fighting and a lot of bombing, by the Syrian air force and the Russian air force, of rebels, largely extremist Muslim rebels. and so this doesn't entirely put paid to the de-escalation zones, but on the other hand it shows how delicate they are, and that the war is far from over."

Landis said that the agreements that created the de-escalation zones are unraveling, and that Syria wants to destroy the hospitals that the Syrian air force has been attacking:

"This has unraveled. And there's a lot of fingers pointing to whose fault it is. There was an attack from Idlib province towards Hama, that gave the Russians and Syrians an excuse to go after these militias in the Idlib province, but now they've gone on for weeks, and they've bombed many hospitals in the region, and they've escalated far beyond a tit for tat basis.

Well, a lot of those hospitals are being maintained by western NGO's, by Syrian charitable organizations and so forth, and I think the Syrian govt wants to destroy them in the northwest of Syria. Idlib province, a rebel-held province, has become a dumping ground for all kinds of rebel groups, and Syria, as well as the Russians, I think hope that they drive a lot of those rebels out into Turkey.

It wants to make the region uninhabitable, and inhospitable, to all groups, so that they flee, making it easier for the Syrian army to push back into the region."

If Landis is correct, this is really a dramatic development. It took months for al-Assad to make Aleppo "uninhabitable and inhospitable," and Landis says that al-Assad wants to do the same for all of Idlib province. Based on the Aleppo experience, this would involve months of extremely bloody fighting

Landis was asked: If ISIS is defeated in the east and in the north, can we expect the Syrian government and its allies to shift their focus to some of the opposition-held regions that are relatively peaceful right now?

"Absolutely. And this is a problem with these de-escalation zones. The United States I think has sold them as something that could be permanent, but Bashar al-Assad has said in no uncertain terms that he plans to take back all of Syria. And the Russians have said that they do not intend to partition Syria.

So for both of them, deescalation zones are a temporary fix. It allows them to fight ISIS now, in the northeast of Syria, but as soon as that fight is finished, they're gonna swing back, and they're gonna begin to mop up rebel-held territory in other parts of Syria. So those truces are temporary, and some of them are breaking down, as you say today."

This is astonishing. According to Landis, al-Assad is going to "swing back and mop up" other parts of Syria, so that he can have control once again of all of Syria. I personally don't believe that this is even possible and that it's all part of al-Assad's delusion, but if it did happen, it would take years of bloody war, with continuing support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, pretty much the only way that a war can end is with an explosive climax at the end of a crisis war during a generational Crisis era. Examples are the 1982 destruction of Hama, or the 1945 nuking of Japan. Awakening era wars can only end with an armistice or peace agreement which is typically violated a few months later. With the delusional Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria, there is no chance at all that the Syria war will end any time soon. Al Jazeera

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Oct-17 World View -- Syria's war resumes in full, as 'de-escalation' agreements unravel thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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5-Oct-17 World View -- Russia considers taking on a huge financial burden - Venezuela

Maduro has 'plans A, B and C' if US imposes further sanctions

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia considers taking on a huge financial burden - Venezuela


Starving teen in Caracas searches through garbage dump for food (Latin American Herald Tribune)
Starving teen in Caracas searches through garbage dump for food (Latin American Herald Tribune)

As Venezuela's Socialist paradise sinks into an ever deepening black financial hole, Russia's president Vladimir Putin must decide in the next few days whether to take on the hugely expensive financial long-term burden of continuously bailing out Venezuela's economy.

Venezuela has an estimated $63 billion of bond obligations. In the next two months, Venezuela has $3.5 billion in debt servicing payments due in October and November. About $0.6 billion of that will be owed to holders of Venezuelan government bonds, and $2.9 billion to holders of bonds issued by Venezuela's nationalized state oil and natural gas company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).

In the past, Venezuela's president Nicolás Maduro Moros or his predecessor Hugo Chávez would simply issue more bonds and borrow more money to meet debt obligations. (This is known as borrowing on your Visa credit card to make payments on your Master Card.)

However, that possibility has been blocked since August 28, when US president Donald Trump imposed sanctions that prevent further borrowing, either by the Venezuelan government or by PDVSA. Three days later, Fitch Ratings Service downgraded Venezuela's bonds from CCC down to CC, meaning that even if Venezuela could borrow more, the interest rates would be significantly higher.

One option available to Venezuela is to default on its bond payments, and turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for future loans. However, the IMF would demand significant economic reforms that the maniac Maduro would never agree to. It's thought that this option would require Maduro to step down, which could result in violence in the streets.

So the other choice is to get Russia to bail Venezuela out -- and not just today, but on a continuing basis. This would mean helping Venezuela make $3.5 billion in debt payments this year, $3 billion more in the spring, and another $3 billion more at the end of 2018.

Russia has helped Venezuela three times in the last 24 months to make billions in debt payments — in February 2016, October-November of 2016 and then again April-May of 2017. Then in August, Russia's nationalized oil producer, Rosneft, loaned $6 billion to PDVSA in the form of pre-payments for PDVSA crude and other products to be delivered in the future.

One unnamed Trump administration official says that the US is just going to sit back and watch to see what happens:

"Will they want to be throwing all sorts of money into a sinking ship. Frankly if they do, I’m not sure from a geopolitical perspective that we wouldn’t be happy to sit back and watch. For the Russians, it’s going to be bad money for them. It’s going to be a sinking investment that is going to derail Russia even more."

Maduro met with Putin in Moscow on Wednesday at the Russian Energy Week conference, and seemed to imply that the financial support would continue:

"I thank you for all the support, political and diplomatic, in difficult times which we are living through. I‘m very thankful for the agreement on grain, it has helped keep consumption in Venezuela stable."

The administration official adds: "Essentially, you [Russia] take ownership of the situation if you come in and rescue them now." Miami Herald and Deutsche Welle and Reuters and Latin American Herald Tribune (25-Sep)

Maduro has 'plans A, B and C' if US imposes further sanctions

The US administration supposedly has an “escalatory road map” that outlines a series of increasing sanctions that could be imposed, including the so-called “nuclear option” – oil sanctions – that could deprive the oil-dependent government of desperately needed cash.

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 19, president Trump suggested that plans are in the works for further sanctions:

"We have also imposed tough calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once thriving nation to the brink of total collapse. The socialist dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country.

This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation, by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives, to preserve his disastrous rule. The Venezuelan people are starving, and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. The situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch. ...

The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people. ... The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.

From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems. America stands with every person living under a brutal regime."

Speaking at the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Maduro said that he doesn't fear further US sanctions on Venezuelan oil sales:

Big names are trying to negotiate at very high levels and avoid such decisions that are wrong and are quite unclear. Venezuela has its plan A, plan B and C, and other alternatives. ...

Oil is tradable, and if there is some decision to go after the oil of my country, I think the same will happen to the consumers in the US. And the companies who are our counter parties and have been such for the last 50 years will probably also suffer.

The biggest companies in the world are interested in buying our oil and oil products. Naturally we will be creating the conditions necessary to cover the needs and demands of those companies. I'm quite firm about this."

It's amazing how thoroughly Socialism has destroyed Venezuela's economy. Venezuela is sitting on the largest oil reserves in the world, but oil production under the Socialist government has fallen almost 3% this year. The disastrous Socialist economy is in disarray, and its refineries run at less than 50% of the available capacity because debt-ridden PDVSA can’t afford proper maintenance.

In fact, PDVSA's own experts say that its refineries were running at 45% capacity in July, dropping to 44% in August, because seven out of 12 crude distillation units were out of service due to extended maintenance work. S&P Global Platts and Reuters (1-Aug) and Oil Price (27-Sep)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Oct-17 World View -- Russia considers taking on a huge financial burden - Venezuela thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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4-Oct-17 World View -- Jihadist attacks in Mali surge with rise of al-Qaeda linked JNIM

JNIM (Group for Support of Islam and Muslims) takes credit for attacks

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Jihadist attacks on UN peacekeepers surge in Mali


Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, built around 1300
Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, built around 1300

On September 24, jihadists attacked a convoy of UN peacekeepers in Kidal, in the region of Gao in Mali. The peacekeepers were all part of the UN peacekeeping force with the cumbersome name Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA). The attack killed three Bangladeshi peacekeepers and injured four others.

This was just one of a surge of new jihadist attacks in the region, across Mali and into Niger and Burkina Faso. The surge in attacks threatens the entire United Nations peacekeeping strategy for Africa's Sahel (the strip of Africa just below the Sahara desert, separating the Arab north from Black Africa to the south).

The security situation in Mali has "significantly worsened," according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. In the four months since June, extremist groups carried out 75 attacks: 44 against Malian forces, 21 against the UN’s MINUSMA operation and 10 against France's Operation Barkhane, mostly in northern Mali, with Mali's forces suffering most of the casualties. This rate of attacks is double those of the same period last year.

The United Nations has 13,000 peacekeepers in Mali, which ranks among its biggest and costliest missions. France has 4,000 troops serving across the Sahel region in five countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) in Operation Barkhane, launched in 2014. France would like to withdraw its troops, and replace them with 5,000 soldiers and police in the "G5 Sahel Force, funded by the UN. However, "funded by the UN" means "mostly funded by the US," and President Trump vetoed the proposal.

Instead, the proposal was changed to consist of troops from the same five countries, with an annual budget of $496 million (423 million euros) a year. But so far only about $127 million (108 million euros) has been pledged.

So a shortage of funding for peacekeeping is being combined with a surge in jihadist attacks, putting the entire UN peacekeeping plan in jeopardy. According to the UN's Guterres, Mali’s peace process must be salvaged to prevent "a descent into a vicious cycle of violence and chaos, jeopardizing the future of Mali and its chances for lasting peace." United Nations (25-Sep) and Relief Web (28-Sep) and African Union (26-Sep) and Long War Journal

JNIM (Group for Support of Islam and Muslims) takes credit for attacks

An al-Qaeda linked group formed early this year, the "Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims" (JNIM, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslim) took credit for the August 24 attack in Kidal, as well as a number of other attacks, and released video as proof.

JNIM was formed by a merger of four Mali-based al-Qaeda linked groups, including Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoon, and Katibat Macina (Macina Liberation Front).

These individual groups were responsible for a combined total of 250 al-Qaeda linked attacks in 2016, up 150% from 2015. Ansar Dine claimed over 80 attacks, while AQIM claimed 21. The majority were never claimed, but were attributed to the jihadists.

The surge in jihadist attacks in 2017 is being attributed to the rise of JNIM. JNIM has performed some large attacks, made possible because the members of the merged organization are able to take advantage of each other's resources. The JNIM merger is considered an ominous sign of things to come for all of West Africa.

Separately, many attacks in Burkina Faso are thought to be the work of Ansaroul Islam, a newly formed jihadist group led by an ally of Mali's Ansar Dine. Long War Journal (18-Mar-2017) and AFP and Long War Journal (18-Apr)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Oct-17 World View -- Jihadist attacks in Mali surge with rise of al-Qaeda linked JNIM thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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3-Oct-17 World View -- Kirkuk becomes the flash point after the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum

Significant differences in the three recent independence movements

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Kirkuk becomes the flash point after the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum


Voting on the Kurdistan independence referendum on September 25 in Erbil (AFP)
Voting on the Kurdistan independence referendum on September 25 in Erbil (AFP)

Kurdistan has not yet declared independence from Iraq, but it may happen as a result of a September 25 independence referendum that passed overwhelmingly, according to Kurdistan president Masoud Barzani. However, Barzani says that at this time rather than declare independence, he wants simply to negotiate with the Baghdad. Nonetheless, if there is any violence in Kurdistan, it will be over Kirkuk.

Starting in 2014, Kirkuk has been under frequent attack by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), and ISIS has always been repelled by the Kurdish Peshmerga militia forces. Now that ISIS has been expelled from Mosul and the danger to Kirkuk from ISIS has passed, Kurdistan's leader Masoud Barzani is saying that Kirkuk belongs to a Kurdistan.

Iraq's parliament has responded by voting to give a mandate to Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi to deploy troops in Kirkuk, and take control of the city from the Kurds. The deployment would be in response to the independence referendum, and the fear that Barzani would declare independence.

The commander of the Peshmerga units in Kirkuk says:

"We cannot agree with the decision of the Iraqi authorities to send troops to Kirkuk. If the Iraqi Army enters Kirkuk it will face our stiff resistance.

The defense of Kirkuk has taken the lives of hundreds of Peshmerga fighters and city residents. Now, the Kurdish forces and civilians in Kirkuk are ready to continue defending the city. There isn’t such a force in the world that could take Kirkuk away from the Kurds."

Kurdistan produces over 600,000 barrels per day of crude oil, mostly from oil fields around Kirkuk, and this oil production forms the greatest part of Kurdistan's income. Kurdistan sells the oil through a pipeline that passes through Turkey. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to close the pipeline, but hasn't done so yet.

The fact that Kirkuk is oil-rich is just one of the reasons why it's become a flash point. The other reason is that, in addition to Kurds, the city is heavily populated with Arabs and Turkmens, and these populations do not wish to live under Kurdish control.

According to reports, Iraqi Shia militias loyal to Iran would like to go into Kirkuk and displace the Peshmerga militias. However, we've already seen this week how heavy-handed military forces in Catalonia have hardened the demands for independence, and the same thing would happen in Kirkuk. Since these Shia militias are controlled by Iran, al-Abadi may not be able to prevent them from attacking Kirkuk. Foreign Policy and Sputnik News (Moscow) and Oil Price and Quartz

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Significant differences in the three recent independence movements

During the last few days, I've reported on three different independence movements -- in Catalonia from Spain, in the Anglophone Southern Cameroons from Francophone Cameroon, and in Kurdistan from Iraq. The Kurdistan case is substantially different from the other two.

In Catalonia, Spain's national police resorted to physical violence to keep people from voting. Video showed people being kicked and thrown and women pulled by their hair away from the polling stations. Reports from other parts of Spain suggest that many people outside of Catalonia say that the violence on Catalans was deserved.

In Anglophone Southern Cameroons, Cameroon's Francophone national police shot and killed at least seven people over the weekend and wounded dozens of others in an attempt to stop peaceful demonstrations. An official was quoted as saying, "What can the Anglophones do? If they don’t want to go to school, so much the worse for them."

In both of these cases, we clearly see a resurgence of vitriolic xenophobic attitudes that gave rise to previous generational crisis wars -- the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, and the bloody civil war in the Cameroon colonies in the late 1950s, respectively.

However, we're not seeing anything remotely like that in the Kurdistan separatist movement in Iraq. Nobody tried to prevent the independence referendum that took place in Kurdistan on September 25. Kurdistan president Masoud Barzani says that the referendum passed overwhelmingly, but Barzani says that rather than declare independence, he wants simply to negotiate with the Baghdad. Baghdad and Iran are sending troops to the Kurdistan border, but there's no sign that they plan to cross the border.

These are the kinds of things that one looks for when doing a Generational Dynamics analysis of a country or event. There is no apparent xenophobic vitriol between the Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi Shias, as there was between the two pairs of groups in Spain and Cameroon, respectively. And, as usual, what's important in a generational analysis is not the behaviors and attitudes of the politicians, but the attitudes and behaviors of entire populations or generations.

So the most likely outcome of the independence referendum in Kurdistan, based on the information so far, is that there will be political posturing and threats, but no actual violence or military confrontation. Of course, this could change at any time, especially if Shia militias controlled by Iran invade Kirkuk to displace the Peshmerga. But without something like that, violence is not expected.

It's doubtful that the situations in Catalonia or Southern Cameroons will lead to independence either, but the difference is that we can expect to see more than political posturing, including actual violence. And if fact there's been violence already, and the level of violence is likely to grow. Daily Sabah (Turkey) and Rudaw (Kurdistan) and Tehran Times and Al Monitor

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Oct-17 World View -- Kirkuk becomes the flash point after the Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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2-Oct-17 World View -- Cameroon police shoot and kill English-speaking protesters on Sunday

Catalonia's leader says the region has 'won the right to statehood' from Spain

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Cameroon police shoot and kill English-speaking protesters on Sunday


Cameroon police with riot shields in the Anglophone region on Sunday (AFP)
Cameroon police with riot shields in the Anglophone region on Sunday (AFP)

With separatist movements growing in Spain's Catalonia region and in Iraq's Kurdistan region, activists in the marginalized Anglophone (English-speaking) regions of Cameroon are demanding independence for Ambazonia, the name that the separatists give to the Southern Cameroons, the home of most of the Anglophone people of Cameroon.

Cameroon's majority Francophone (French-speaking) government has responded by sending in troops to into the Southern Cameroons to stop the protests with force. Over the weekend, soldiers shot and killed at least seven people and wounded dozens others in several cities in the confrontations.

Unrest began late last year when Anglophone lawyers protested that the legal and court systems are biased toward Francophones, with many laws passed without even being translated into English. Anglophone teachers also went on strike last year, protesting that all courses in the schools had to be taught in French, and that any use of English was forbidden.

The police and the army violently dispersed the demonstrators at that time. Several people were severely beaten, dozens of others were arrested and at least two people were shot dead, leading to riots.

On December 8, a pro-government rally was organized in the Anglophone regions, leading to violent clashes with local Anglophones. Four died, several were wounded and around 50 arrested. Demonstrators set fire to a police station, government buildings and vehicles. The government responded to the demonstrations by placing the region under military control. The violence continued with further incidents in January and February. Now violence is rapidly increasing once more.

The Southern Cameroons were originally a British colony ("British Cameroons"), while the remainder of the country was originally a French colony ("French Cameroun"). In 1961, after a bloody internal war, Cameroon became an independent country, containing both regions, under an agreement under which Anglophones and Francophones would would be equal. However, the Francophone majority has failed to keep many promises it made at that time, and they've increasingly made the Anglophones a disadvantaged and marginalized minority,

According to a recent report by the International Crisis Group and published two months ago:

"If a lasting solution is not found, the next resurgence of the Anglophone problem could be violent. The haughty attitude and cynicism of senior government officials, notably when they say that “as long as the Anglophones do not take up arms, the current strike does not worry [us] unduly”, could promote instability. ... “What can the Anglophones do? If they don’t want to go to school, so much the worse for them”, added a senior official. ... They are mistakenly relying on the strike losing impetus and the emergence of divisions among strikers, because although the campaign has weakened since May and even if it fizzles out, the fundamental problem will remain and people will continue to feel dissatisfied."

In the two months since the report was published, there has been a resurgence of the problem, and it has been violent.

The description of the "haughty attitude and cynicism of [Francophone] senior government officials" towards the Anglophone people reminds of the attitudes of the French towards the English during the Napoleonic period and during the War of the Spanish Succession. France and England were united against Germany during the two world wars, but over the centuries they never really have gotten along very well. The crisis in Cameroon seems more and more to reflect this ancient difference between the English and French cultures. AFP and BBC and International Crisis Group (2-Aug) and Crux Catholic News

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Catalonia's leader says the region has 'won the right to statehood' from Spain

Spain's national police resorted to substantial violence on Sunday to prevent citizens of Catalonia from casting a vote in the poll for the independence referendum. Police smashed their way into polling stations, and used force to remove people from the buildings. Video showed people being kicked and thrown and women pulled by their hair away from the polling stations.

Catalonia's government is claiming that 90% of those who were allowed to vote were in favor of the referendum. Live interviews with Catalan people indicated that some who were opposed to the referendum voted in favor of it anyway, as a protest against the Madrid government's violent treatment of ordinary people who were simply trying to vote.

In a televised address, Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont said, "With this day of hope and suffering, the citizens of Catalonia have won the right to an independent state in the form a republic."

Left-wing activists and labor unions are planning a widespread strike on Tuesday. This crisis is far from over. BBC

Related: Catalonia referendum poised to go ahead despite Spain's harsh repressive measures (01-Oct-2017)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Oct-17 World View -- Cameroon police shoot and kill English-speaking protesters on Sunday thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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1-Oct-17 World View -- Catalonia referendum poised to go ahead despite Spain's harsh repressive measures

Hundreds of Catalan families occupy school buildings in defiance of police

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Catalonia referendum poised to go ahead despite Spain's harsh repressive measures


On Friday, hundreds of farmers drove tractors into Barcelona to support the referendum and to protect polling places (Reuters)
On Friday, hundreds of farmers drove tractors into Barcelona to support the referendum and to protect polling places (Reuters)

Spain's government in Madrid is going to extraordinary measures -- some would say heroic measures, others would say abusive, paranoiac measures, depending on point of view -- to prevent Catalonia's independence referendum from taking place on Sunday.

Madrid has sent tens of thousands of national police into Catalonia. The police have gone from house to house confiscating vote record forms, ballot boxes, and almost ten million ballot papers, as well as and campaign leaflets. They've demanded that Google make the Catalonia voting app unavailable, and Google has complied, although many are now turning to encrypted communications with WhatsApp. The police stored Catalonia's parliament and government building, and arrested high-level Catalonian politicians for the crime of preparing for the referendum.

All of these measures have infuriated the Catalans, and the anger is so intense that even if the referendum is stopped, Madrid may lose control of Catalonia's political situation, and the government of Mariano Rajoy, who is already weak, may collapse.

If the referendum wins, then there are widespread fears that it will destabilize Spain and cause chaos in the rest of the European Union trying to deal with the backlash. A YES vote would probably mean that Catalonian leaders would declare independence, even if they currently claim that they won't. Catalan leaders would take steps to enforce the claim, like not forwarding taxes to Madrid, or not honoring Spanish courts, or dissolving the local parliament and calling for new elections. Madrid would be forced into military action. Violence is a distinct possibility, since Catalonia itself is sharply split, as many Catalans oppose independence. Ironically, the Catalans who oppose independence have said that they will boycott the referendum, making a YES vote all the more likely.

In Madrid on Saturday, thousands of people rallied in a central plaza to protest the independence referendum, shouting "Long live Spain!" and "Puigdemont to jail!", referring to Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont.

A lot of this has to do with money. Catalonia contributes more in taxes to Madrid than it takes out in benefits, so of course Madrid doesn't want to permit independence. If Catalonia were getting more in benefits than it pays in taxes, then they wouldn't want independence, and Madrid would be happy to be rid of them. As an aside, money is also the issue in the Kurds' separatist referendum in Iraq, since the Kurds pay more to Baghdad than they receive. In the end, all the supposedly high-minded rhetoric is only about money. That's the way the world works.

The usual gang of international thieves is promoting independence, not because they care at all whether the Catalan people are alive or dead, but because they want to create chaos in the European Union. These include alleged rapist Julian Assange, hiding out in London's Ecuador embassy to avoid facing his rape victim accusers, and Edward Snowden, the American criminal traitor currently hiding out in Russia under the protection of the Kremlin. The Kremlin is the third member of the gang, meddling in the referendum election with trolls and massive amounts of with fake news to discredit Spain's government.

Even if the referendum fails, there may be chaos anyway. On Tuesday, the radical left separatist party CUP will be joined by some of the trade unions in a general strike , to protest against the state's repression and for civil liberties. Euro News and Business Insider and Atlantic and VOA and La Vanguardia (Barcelona) (Trans)

Hundreds of Catalan families occupy school buildings in defiance of police

There are 5.5 million Catalans eligible to vote in Sunday's referendum. When an independence vote was held in 2014, only 40% of the eligible voters bothered to vote, effectively making the referendum irrelevant. This time, Madrid's harsh police tactics, particularly arresting Catalan politicians, have so energized Catalan voters, that many more may be inclined to vote. If over 50% voted and the referendum passed, the separatists would declare a victory.

The Madrid government is aware of this as well, which is why they've been confiscating ballot papers, shutting down Google apps, and arresting Catalan leaders.

There is one final battleground before the referendum: Catalonia's school buildings.

There are 2,315 polling places in Catalonia where people can go to vote, and most of them are school buildings. Madrid police are sealing these buildings off, with the objective of keeping people from voting at all.

Catalan families, including parents and children, have responded by holding parties in the schools all day Saturday, playing football, yoga sessions, picnics, board games, and ping pong in schools, and in to prevent the police from closing the schools. The partying will continue through the night, with the intention of continuing until the polls open at 9 am on Sunday.

Police have been told to forcibly evict anyone who refuses to leave, if the refusal has to do with the referendum vote. So according to reports, the game is played as follows: The police, who really have no desire to evict mothers and children, enter the school and ask if the board games and ping pong are related to the referendum vote. They are told that the parties are completely unrelated to the referendum, so the police have done their duty, and they leave.

The charade is supposed to end at 6 am Sunday morning. Police have delivered an ultimatum to families occupying the schools to leave by that time. Police have been told to use "minimum force" when evicting families from the schools. Washington Post and AFP and AP

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Oct-17 World View -- Catalonia referendum poised to go ahead despite Spain's harsh repressive measures thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Oct-2017) Permanent Link
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30-Sep-17 World View -- Steve Bannon and Henry Kissinger form project to sound alarm on China

Taiwan's prime minister says that Taiwan is an 'independent sovereign state'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Steve Bannon and Henry Kissinger form project to sound alarm on China


Henry Kissinger shares a meal with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, Beijing, 1972
Henry Kissinger shares a meal with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, Beijing, 1972

According to an interview in Bloomberg Businessweek, Steve Bannon and Henry Kissinger have had several meetings, and are preparing a project to sound the alarm about what Bannon views as the primary economic threat to America:

"If we don’t get our situation sorted with China, we’ll be destroyed economically. The forced technology transfer of American innovation to China is the single biggest economic and business issue of our time. Until we sort that out, they will continue to appropriate our innovation to their own system and leave us as a colony—our Jamestown to their Great Britain, a tributary state."

This is a bit of hyperbole, referring to England's Jamestown Colony of Virginia, formed in 1607, but it illustrates the fear that Bannon is presenting of a reversal of roles between China and America, with China becoming the dominant world economic power.

Henry Kissinger, 94, was the Secretary of State in the administration of Richard Nixon whose "secret meeting" with China in 1971 permitted Nixon to "open China to the West" and invigorate US-China relations. As an international consultant, Kissinger has visited China more than 80 times since then. He's considered by many to be the most brilliant geopolitical strategist of our time. Most recently, Bannon met with Kissinger twice in September at Kissinger's country home in Connecticut.

Both Bannon and Kissinger are experts on world and military history, and Bannon is also an expert on Generational Dynamics, so he understands that a new war between China and the US is approaching. As regular readers know, I've worked with Steve Bannon off and on for almost ten years.

Bannon frames the conflict with China in economic terms. He says that China is harming the U.S. by engaging in unfair trade practices, such as the forced transfer of U.S. technology to Chinese companies. According to Bannon, China’s historical disposition toward trading partners is exploitative and potentially ruinous:

"There have been 4,000 years of Chinese diplomatic history, all centered on ‘barbarian management,’ minus the last 150 years. ...

It’s always about making the barbarians a tributary state. Our tribute to China is our technology -- that’s what it takes to enter their market, and [they’ve taken] $3.5 trillion worth over the last 10 years. We have to give them the basic essence of American capitalism: our innovation."

What does Henry Kissinger think of all this? As it happens, Kissinger spoke at a Columbia University conference earlier this week. Possibly with his meetings with Bannon in mind, his speech emphasized that America and China must have been economic relations to avoid World War III and global destruction:

"China’s Belt and Road Initiative, in seeking to connect China to Central Asia and eventually to Europe will have the practical significance of shifting the world’s center of gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific and will involve the cultures of Eurasia, each of whom will have to decide what relationship to this region they will see, and so will the United States.

It is said by many scholars that never before has a power grown in one region as China is doing and that its interaction will lead to tensions and maybe even war. We do not have this choice. That would be a road to the disaster and would do to the world what World War II did to Europe."

Bannon and Kissinger share the view that China and America are headed for a world war, and both are them are (in my view) desperately looking for a way to avoid it, by means of an economic alliance.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, avoiding this world war is impossible. In every century for millennia, every continent of the world has had massive wars that have killed half the population. In the last century, there were two world wars, plus additional massive wars in Africa, China, South America and South Asia. That this will happen in this century is 100% certain. Bloomberg Businessweek and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

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Taiwan's prime minister says that Taiwan is an 'independent sovereign state'

With the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP's) 19th Party Congress set to begin in Beijing on October 18, China's president Xi Jinping is facing a new embarrassment, as Taiwan's prime minister William Lai Ching-te said on Tuesday to Taiwan's Legislative Yuan (Parliament) that Taiwan is an "independent sovereign state."

Lai, 57, took office on September 8. His long-held views on Taiwan's independence from China were certainly well known to Taiwan's president Tsai Ing-wen when she appointed him, and it's even possible that the timing was chosen now, just before the Party Congress, to annoy Xi Jinping.

Lai delivered his first policy report to the legislature on Tuesday, and said:

"“I am a political worker who advocates Taiwan independence, but I am also a pragmatic pro-Taiwan independence theorist.

We are already an independent sovereign nation called the Republic of China. We don't need a separate declaration of independence."

There was immediately a great deal of media speculation, in Taiwan and in China, as to what this means, and whether it indicates a change in Taiwan policy.

President Tsai Ing-wen issued a statement saying that her administration has never changed its position that "the Republic of China is a sovereign independent country," nor has it changed its dedication to peace in the region and maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait.

However, both Lai and Tsai have refused to endorse the "One-China policy," also called the "1992 Consensus," which states that there is only one China, and leaves some ambiguity as to what that means. Furthermore, Tsai has said in the past that "We won't allow our sovereignty to be challenged or be exchanged for anything." It was Tsai's implicit support for independence that allowed her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to win decisively in January 2016.

China's government responded on Wednesday:

"The mainland and Taiwan belong to China, and their relations are never state-to-state relationships, nor one China, one Taiwan. As an inseparable part of the Chinese territory, Taiwan is never a country, and can never become one.

Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory, has never been a country and can never become a country.

The mainland side resolutely opposes any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ words or action, and will never allow the historical tragedy of national separation to repeat itself. The consequences will be reaped for engaging in Taiwan independence separatism."

This threat of "consequences" is based on China's "anti-secession law." This law, passed by the Chinese Communist Party in 2005, requires China to invade Taiwan if Taiwan makes any move toward independence, whether by word or by deed. Arguably, the preconditions for such an invasion have been met repeatedly since Tsai took office.

As the 19th Party Congress approaches, Xi Jinping has suffered several recent humiliations and setbacks, including the decision for China's army to stand down from invading Bhutan's Doklam Plateau, rather than risk a war with India at this time. Perhaps even more significant, the belligerent actions by North Korea have forced Xi to take actions that support the United States over North Korea. This new humiliation over Taiwan certain cannot be pleasant, and he may feel forced, after the Party Congress, to take some action over the political need to score a win. Reuters and Xinhua and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and China Post (Taiwan) and New Bloom (Taiwan)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Sep-17 World View -- Steve Bannon and Henry Kissinger form project to sound alarm on China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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29-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's (Myanmar's) leaders may be inspired by Pol Pot's Cambodian 'Killing Fields' genocide

Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims passes a major milestone

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims passes a major milestone


Rohingyas in Bangladesh receive humanitarian aid (Pakistan Today)
Rohingyas in Bangladesh receive humanitarian aid (Pakistan Today)

According to the United Nations, the Rohingya crisis in Burma (Myanmar) passed a major milestone on Thursday, in that the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh since August 25, when the latest Burmese army military "clearance operations" began, has now topped 500,000, making it "the largest mass refugee movement in the region in decades." UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the crisis "the world's fastest developing refugee emergency and a humanitarian and human rights nightmare."

Counting the refugees who had fled earlier, there are now believed to be "well over 700,000" Rohingyas in Bangladesh. And since the systemic violence by Burma's army is continuing there could be 250,000 more fleeing into Bangladesh in the next couple of months.

Burma's army has been conducting a scorched earth attack on Rohingya Muslims, burning down thousands of homes and buildings, and hundreds of entire villages. The army committed massacres, torture, rapes and other atrocities that have displaced hundreds of thousands of people, with hundreds of thousands fleeing for their lives, crossing the border into Bangladesh.

Burma's government, led by the ethnic cleanser-in-chief and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has been denying that any ethnic cleansing is taking place, and is making the laughable claim that Rohingyas are burning down their own villages and killing each other.

For years, as these military operations were taking place, Burma refused to allow any foreign investigators into Rakhine state. Journalists, NGOs, UN investigators have all be blocked by Burma from entering the region.

Burma has been internationally pressured to allow investigators in, or risk losing aid or having sanctions applied. Finally, Burma agreed to a visit by United Nations officials and other diplomats to take play yesterday (Thursday). At the last minute Burma canceled the visit, refusing to give any explanation, but several hours later said that it was "because of bad weather." Burma claims that the visit will be rescheduled.

The visit was to have been tightly controlled, allowing the UN officials to see only the things that Burma's army wanted them to see. However, that strategy failed disastrously earlier this month, as we reported at the time. There was a tightly controlled visit by BBC reporter Jonathan Head, but then they happened to see some smoke going up through the trees. Head's minders lost control as Head and his cameraman ran towards the fires, where they able to question a Buddhist Burman who admitted to burning down the buildings.

So after that experience, it's not surprising that the Burmese government canceled Thursday's UN visit.

This is an extremely serious situation. The Burma Rohingya crisis is creating a huge refugee crisis and is energizing jihadist groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, and the Mideast. After several years of these atrocities by Burma's army, Rohingya activists have formed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which conducted terrorist attacks on August 25 and triggered the current round of "clearance operations" by Burma's army. This crisis is extremely destabilizing to the entire region, and is just as likely as the North Korea nuclear missile crisis to trigger a war that could escalate into a world war. AP and WHO - Bangladesh situation report and Independent (London)

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Burma has possible parallels to Pol Pot's Cambodian Killing Fields

Every time I write one of these articles about Buddhist Burma's ethnic cleansing and genocide of Rohingya Muslims, some commenters always get confused and think that I'm writing about Rohingya Muslims raping, torturing and murdering Buddhist Burmese. But no, let me be clear, this is about Buddhists murdering, raping, and torturing Muslims, not the other way around.

The phrase "religion of peace" gets thrown around a lot these days. Every time there's a terrorist attack by a Muslim jihadist group, some Muslim leader insists that Islam is a "religion of peace," a claim that infuriates many people in the West.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Islam is NOT a religion of peace. In fact, there's no such thing as a religion of peace. In fact, no religion would exist for long as a "religion of peace," since its population would soon be exterminated by people of other religions who do NOT follow "religion of peace" policies.

On the other hand, many people who comment on my articles seem to believe that Buddhism is a "religion of peace," and claim that Buddhists are somehow congenitally unable to murder, rape and torture Muslim Rohingyas or anyone else. A typical comment is that "Buddhists would never harm anyone, so the Rohingyas must have done something particularly harmful to deserve what's happening to them."

And so, many commenters seem to believe that Buddhism is a "religion of peace." And yet, the Buddhist society of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in 1975-79, led by Pol Pot, perpetrated one of the three or four top mass genocides of the 20th century, comparable to the huge Christian genocides in Russia and Germany in the two world wars, or the huge Muslim genocides in the Mideast coming out of the collapse of the Ottoman empire, or the huge African genocides in the 60s and 70s, or the huge Chinese genocides in the 40s and 50s. Genocide and sex are driven by DNA, not by religion, and all religions have the same DNA.

The Buddhist Cambodian killing fields genocide, 1975-79, killed something like 1.7 to well over 2 million people, out of a population of 8 million. So around 20% of Cambodia's population were killed, making it possibly the worst genocide, on a percentage basis, of the 20th century. By contrast, the Nazi Holocaust killed around 5 million, which was less than 3% of Germany's population. Pol Pot was trying to imitate Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward in China, which was a genocide that killed millions of people out of some two billion, Mao Zedong and Pol Pot may be comparable in their genocides. In all cases, these millions of people were the subject of almost unimaginable atrocities, including torture and rape.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Buddhism is a "religion of war," just like Islam and every other religion. No "religion of peace" would survive more than a few decades, if it weren't willing to become a "religion of war."

So now looking more closely at the Buddhist Cambodian Killing Fields genocide, it may well be that the Buddhists in Burma may be borrowing some techniques from their Buddhist cousins in the 1970s Khmer rouge. This would be a historic example of one group of genocidal Buddhists learning genocide from another group of genocidal Buddhists. This comparison became even more dramatic on this week, when Burma's government announced that the government will take over the land that contained the villages that Burma's army burned down, making the ethnic cleansing permanent.

Right now, this is speculation, and there is no public evidence of this connection between the Buddhist cousins. Perhaps someday, when ethnic cleanser-in-chief and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi writes her memoirs, we'll learn more about whether there is a connection. UC Santa Barbara and Reuters and Al Arabiya

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's (Myanmar's) leaders may be inspired by Pol Pot's Cambodian 'Killing Fields' genocide thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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28-Sep-17 World View -- Uganda lawmakers throw fists and chairs at each other over Museveni's power grab

Thailand's Yingluck Shinawatra sentenced in absentia to five years in jail

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Uganda lawmakers throw fists and chairs at each other over Museveni's power grab


Uganda lawmakers throw fists and chairs at each other in argument over allowing Museveni to illegally remain in power after decades of being in power.  (Africa News)
Uganda lawmakers throw fists and chairs at each other in argument over allowing Museveni to illegally remain in power after decades of being in power. (Africa News)

For the last two days, lawmakers in Uganda's parliament in the capital city Kampala have exchanged kicks and punches, and assaults with chairs and microphone stands. At least two female lawmakers being carried out after collapsing.

The disagreements were over changing the constitution remove the age limit for a presidential candidate. The change would permit Yoweri Museveni, who has been president for more than three decades, to run for another term, seen by many as a Museveni power grab. The constitution has an age limit of 75 years, which would make Museveni ineligible to run again in the next election, in 2021.

Museveni's government attempted to prevent opposition lawmakers from even attending Wednesday's session, by sending security forces to surround their homes to prevent them from leaving.

One MP, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a musician turned politician, described his experience this way:

"The police surrounded my home in order to prevent me from going to parliament today [Tuesday]. I was too smart for them, I instead spent the night somewhere in the ghetto.

[When the police found him and tried to arrest him,] I instead jumped onto a boda boda [motorcycle taxi]; they tried to grab me off the boda but the riders fought them off. Then police officers jumped onto a boda boda to chase me but the boda guys refused to carry the police officers."

Several MPs had similar experiences and marched to parliament. Before the fighting started, opposition lawmakers filibustered and sang the national anthem repeatedly. One opposition lawmaker accused another MP of carrying a gun, and that led to the brawl. The speaker ordered that opposition MPs had to leave, and when they refused, plain-clothes security operatives stormed parliament and dragged them out.

This was carried live on television and on the internet. The result was that the government's Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) banned all live broadcasts as of 8 pm on Wednesday. A statement by the UCC said:

"The Commission has noted with concern that both radio and television broadcasting operators are relaying live broadcasts which is inciting the public, discriminating, stirring up hatred, promoting a culture of violence amongst viewers and are likely to create public insecurity or violence.

The Commission reminds broadcasters that such live broadcasts are in breach of the minimum broadcasting standards as laid down in section 31 of UCC Act 2013."

Amnesty International issued a statement condemning the ban on live broadcasts, saying, "Ugandans have a right to know what their elected representatives are doing, a right the authorities must facilitate rather than hinder." The Observer (Kampala) and The Independent (Kampala) and New Vision (Kampala) and Amnesty International

Uganda follows a familiar pattern of violence for many African countries

Uganda is following a familiar generational pattern that I've described in many other countries, both in Africa and outside. When a country's generational crisis war is a civil war between two ethnic groups within the country, then in the decades following the end of the war, especially during the next generational Awakening era, the ethnic group that won the war and took power begins new violence, atrocities, rapes, and arbitrary jailings and executions against the ethnic group that lost the war.

Outside of Africa, we see this for example in Syria, where the president Bashar al-Assad has for decades been using sociopathic forms of torture on his enemies, and has used everything from Sarin gas to barrel bombs containing metal and chlorine on marketplaces and residential neighborhoods to kill and torture his political enemies.

Uganda's president is from the Hima tribe, which is closely allied with the Tutsi tribe. For decades, and perhaps centuries, ethnic Tutsis and ethnic Hutus have been conducting brutal wars with each other, the most well-known of which is the Rwanda genocide of 1994, where Hutus killed almost a million Tutsis in a period of three months.

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni, 73 years old, allied with the Tutsis, took part in many of these gruesome atrocities and slaughter. By any reasonable measure, he's just as much as a sociopathic monster as Bashar al-Assad.

The same is true of Rwanda and Burundi, the other two countries that were heavily involved in the 1994 Hutu-Tutsi genocide. The current president of Rwanda is Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, while the president of Burundi is Pierre Nkurunziza, a Hutu.

All three leaders are using repressive measures to stay in power long after their mandate has ended. But Nkurunziza in particular has been using torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary jailings and summary executions to suppress the Tutsis, resulting in over 500,000 refugees in neighboring countries, including Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

All three countries are in a generational Awakening era, meaning that there is no chance at this time of anything like the huge 1994 genocide. But there will be continuing government violence, torture and arbitrary jailings in all three countries, and these patterns will get worse as time goes on. Guardian (London, 12-Sep)

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Thailand's Yingluck Shinawatra sentenced in absentia to five years in jail

On Wednesday, a court in Bangkok, Thailand, found Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra guilty of graft in absentia, and sentenced her to five years in jail.

As we reported last month, Yingluck fled to Dubai rather than face an all-but-certain guilty verdict and jailing for alleged graft in the rice stock sales program that she initiated. Yingluck supporters believe that the charges are purely political.

This is worth mentioning in this article because Thailand is also in a generational Awakening/Unraveling era, following Thailand's last generational crisis war, Pol Pot's Cambodian Killing Fields war in the late 1970s. Yingluck and her brother Thaksin were both extremely popular as prime ministers, supported by majority dark-skinned indigenous Thai-Thai "red shirts," but opposed by the minority market-dominant light-skinned Thai-Chinese "yellow shirts."

Just like the leaders of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Syria described above, the élite in Thailand, led by the army, are using violence, army coups and dubious criminal charges to keep them out of power, and allow the minority Thai-Chinese élite to continue in power.

Thailand's police chief announced on Wednesday that he is conducting a manhunt for Yingluck, and is asking Interpol to find her and bring her to justice in Thailand. Bangkok Post

Related: Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra flees to Dubai (26-Aug-2017)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Sep-17 World View -- Uganda lawmakers throw fists and chairs at each other over Museveni's power grab thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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27-Sep-17 World View -- Israel may be the only country recognizing the Iraq Kurdistan referendum

Iraqi Kurds' independence referendum appears headed for big approval

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Iraqi Kurds' independence referendum appears headed for big approval


Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani (C) sits during his meeting with clerics and elders in Erbil last month (Reuters)
Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani (C) sits during his meeting with clerics and elders in Erbil last month (Reuters)

Thousands of ethnic Kurds in Erbil, the capital city of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, were dancing in the streets and setting off fireworks on Tuesday, celebrating what is apparently an overwhelming YES vote on the non-binding referendum for Kurdistan independence.

Voters were asked to answer either YES or NO on the ballot asking them just one question in Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic and Assyrian: "Do you want the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani areas outside the (Kurdistan) Region to become an independent country?"

An estimated 78% of the more than five million eligible voters cast a ballot. The ballots are still being counted, though some reports indicate a YES vote around 90%.

The reasons that they were celebrating is that they were hoping, probably delusionally, that the successful referendum may be the first step in the creation of an independent nation of Kurdistan, something that's been a frustrated hope for at least a century.

Although the referendum took place in Iraq, there are large populations of Kurds in several countries in the Mideast and the South Caucasus. There are 20 million Kurds living Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, and other countries, making it an anomaly that they're one of the largest ethnic groups that didn't get their own state after two world wars in the last century.

The reason that the this particular time was chosen for the referendum is because the Kurds believe that they have leverage for their role in fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), which began occupying Iraq with the the catastrophic fall of Mosul to ISIS in June, 2014.

Since then it's been the Kurds that have been the main fighting force against ISIS. The Kurds protected Iraqi refugees, including Yazidi refugees, from ISIS, and played an important part in expelling ISIS from Mosul earlier this year. The Iraqi Kurdish leader, Masoud Barzani, was emboldened by the Kurds' success in fighting ISIS, and felt that it was necessary to move quickly before the international good will dissipated. Reuters and AP and Atlantic (24-Sep)

Israel may be the only country recognizing the Iraq Kurdistan referendum

Iraqi leader Masoud Barzani may have been hoping for some gratitude from the international community, especially the United States, for the Kurds doing such a great job fighting ISIS in Iraq, and even for the great job that the Kurds are doing fighting ISIS in Raqqa in Syria. Unfortunately, those hopes are not being fulfilled.

Secretary-General António Guterres voiced concern over the referendum in a statement:

"The Secretary-General respects the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of Iraq and considers that all outstanding issues between the federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government should be resolved through structured dialogue and constructive compromise.

The Secretary-General expects that United Nations-mandated activities across Iraq, including in the Kurdistan region, will be allowed to continue unhindered."

There are many countries in the world today with ethnic sub-populations that would like to form an independent region. Many people in Scotland would like to leave the United Kingdom. The Catalonia region of Spain would like independence. China has multiple separatist problems, in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan.

So none of these countries is going to support an independence referendum in Iraq, since doing so would energize the separatist forces in their own countries.

Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi will not even negotiate with the Kurds:

"We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional.

Most of the problems of the [Kurdish] region are internal ones, not with Baghdad, and will be increased with the calls for separation. The economic and financial problems the region is suffering from are the result of corruption and mis-administration."

The United States, the European Union, Turkey and Iran all fear that the referendum could destabilize the region. Turkey, Iraq and Iran are all sending troops for exercises near the Kurdistan border. Iraq is threatening to cut off air travel. Turkey is threatening to close the pipeline that goes through Turkey, and which the Kurds use to sell oil to international markets. Closing the pipeline would cut Kurdistan's major source of revenue. In fact, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Barzani of "treachery," while Iranian officials have called the referendum "evil."

So with almost universal rejection of the referendum results, it may be considered surprising the Israel supports the independent state of Kurdistan. Several times in the last few years, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has supported independence, saying that the Kurds are a "brave, pro-Western people who share our values." Many Israelis feel that they have a lot in common with the Kurds, in that Jews also had to fight to create the state of Israel.

This has led Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei to issue a statement calling the independence referendum a "Zionist plot" meant to fuel violence in the Mideast.

With almost every nation in the world opposing an independent Kurdistan, with only one major exception, Israel, it seems pretty certain that there will not be an independent Kurdistan. United Nations and Al Jazeera and BBC and Jerusalem Post (13-Sep) and Times of Israel

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Sep-17 World View -- Israel may be the only country recognizing the Iraq Kurdistan referendum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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26-Sep-17 World View -- US adopts strategic response to North Korea's threats to shoot down US warplanes

Is there a strategic explanation for Trump's statements and tweets?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

North Korea threatens to shoot down US warplanes


An anti-US rally on Friday in Pyongyang, North Korea (KCNA/Reuters)
An anti-US rally on Friday in Pyongyang, North Korea (KCNA/Reuters)

Ri Yong-ho, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, said that Donald Trump had declared war on North Korea, and that therefore North Korea had the right to shoot down US warplanes, even over international airspace. According to Ri:

"The world, including all member states currently attending the United Nations General Assembly, must clearly remember that this time, America declared war on us first. The U.N. charter acknowledges all member states' independent rights to self-defense.

Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make counter-measures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country."

Ri was probably alluding to the American warplanes that flew over international airspace just east of North Korea over the weekend. Pentagon spokesman Dana White described these flights: "This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea's coast in the 21st century."

White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to Ri's threats as follows:

"We have not declared war on North Korea and, frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd. ... It's never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters.

Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. That’s our focus, doing that through both the most maximum economic and diplomatic pressures as possible at this point."

The events of the past three days follow months of increasingly vitriolic threats and exchanges. Recently, America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley said that North Korea was "begging for war." Russia's president Vladimir Putin said that North Korea would "rather eat grass" than end its nuclear program.

The claim of "declaration of war" is a response to president Donald Trump's speech last week at the United Nations, where he ridiculed North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un by calling him "Rocket Man," and saying he was on a "suicide mission":

"No nation on Earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United Nations is for. Let's see how they do."

Kim responded with an equally personal insult directed at Trump:

"I am now thinking hard about what response he could have expected when he allowed such eccentric words to trip off his tongue. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire."

Trump tweeted in response to Ri's threat: "Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!"

Could North Korea actually shoot down a US warplane? Most analysts believe not. North Korea is believed to have thousands of Soviet-era surface-to-air missiles, but those are old technologies that US warplanes could presumably avoid. However, North Korea has produce its own KN-06 surface-to-air missile, and perhaps Kim believes that it could be successful in shooting down an American warplane. NPR and Washington Post and Foreign Policy

Is there a strategic explanation for Trump's statements and tweets?

What's going on here between the US and North Korea? Is this just two countries stumbling into war, or is there some strategy in operation? There are thousands of attempted explanations on the internet. This is mine.

America faces a very stark choice. Many people are suggesting that we do nothing, which would mean appeasement.

If we do nothing, then North Korea will build an arsenal of nuclear missiles pointed at Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Even if those missiles are launched, they can be used for blackmail. Kim would threaten US forces in South Korea, Guam, and elsewhere. Kim would demand that all of those forces be withdrawn, and he would have the support of China and Russia. He would also be supported by the same people who are advising appeasement now.

When the North Koreans make a nuclear threat, it's quite possible that they would carry it out. In 2010, the North conducted two acts of war targeting South Korea -- in May, North Korea torpedoed and sank the warship Cheonan, killing dozens of South Korean crew members, and in November, North Korea killed South Korean civilians by shelling Yeonpyeong Island. In both cases, the South Koreans chose not to respond, but it's pretty clear that they might have.

So I believe that doing nothing, appeasing North Korea, would lead to war, and I believe that the Trump administration has the same view.

Many of the analyses in the mainstream media start with the assumption that Kim Jong-un is correct in calling Trump a "dotard" and a "madman" with his finger on the nuclear button. These opinions are idiotic, but they are extremely common.

Donald Trump and the US are facing a stark situation. Doing nothing, appeasement, leads to war. Therefore, something must be done. Therefore, we can assume that Trump is following a strategy. I do not for a second believe the idiotic statements by mainstream reports that Trump's name-calling is random and uncontrolled. I believe that Trump's actions, including his tweets, are all part of a strategy. This is my opinion as to what that strategy is.

Part of the strategy is, of course, using strong sanctions, in the hope that North Korea will end its nuclear program. I don't think anyone serious believes that it will since, as Putin said, North Korea would rather eat grass. However, it's possible that the sanctions and threats of military action are really directed at the Chinese. It's apparent that Russia and China have absolutely no objection to North Korea having an arsenal of nuclear missiles targeting the United States, since they won't be targeting China or Russia. However, sanctions and military threats might convince the Chinese to force Kim to stop his nuclear missile program. So that's part of the strategy.

But in the end, no one seriously believes that any of these diplomatic strategies will work. If the US wants to prevent North Korea from having an arsenal of nuclear weapons pointed at South Korea, Japan, and the US, then military action will have to be taken. After Monday's threat to shoot down an American bomber, the Pentagon said that it is preparing military options for Trump.

Many analysts have said that no military action is possible without putting millions of people in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, at risk. However, several days ago, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked whether there were any military options the United States could take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk. Mattis said: “Yes there are. But I will not go into details.” So I don't know if Mattis was telling the truth, but whether he was or not, some military action must be taken.

Several weeks ago, China said that if the US attacked North Korea first, then China would join North Korea in fighting the US. But if North Korea attacked first, and the US responded, then China would not defend North Korea.

So my explanation for Trump's strategy is that he's trying to provoke a military attack by North Korea. In 2010, the North Koreans attacked South Korea by torpedoing the warship Cheonan and by shelling Yeonpyeong Island, as described above. My belief is that Trump is trying to provoke North Korea to do it again, by means of the name-calling and by flying American warplanes just outside of North Korea's airspace. If the North even tries to shoot down an American warplane, then a counter-attack would be justified, and China has promised not to defend North Korea.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we're seeing a typical pattern that historically has preceded any generational Crisis war, where each side "crosses the line," and the other side responds by "crossing the line" further, in a tit-for-tat ping pong of responses and counter-responses, eventually leading to war. As regular readers know, the world is headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war, pitting America, India, Russia, Iran and the West against China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. Unfortunately, this is inevitable, no matter what strategy the US pursues in Korea. Fox News/AP and Reuters

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Sep-17 World View -- US adopts strategic response to North Korea's threats to shoot down US warplanes thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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25-Sep-17 World View -- Rise of far-right AfD party in Germany raises international alarm bells

Angela Merkel scores weak win in German national elections

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Angela Merkel scores weak win in German national elections


Campaign posters: CDU's Angela Merkel: 'Big things start with an ear for the small things.'  SPD's Martin Schulz: 'It's time to solve the problems in Europe, instead of exposing them.' (Reuters)
Campaign posters: CDU's Angela Merkel: 'Big things start with an ear for the small things.' SPD's Martin Schulz: 'It's time to solve the problems in Europe, instead of exposing them.' (Reuters)

It appears that Angela Merkel has won a fourth term as Chancellor of Germany, although the relatively weak win will make it difficult for her to form a governing coalition. Turnout was high, at 75%, compared to 71% in the 2013 election. But perhaps the biggest news from Sunday's election is not Merkel's victory, but rather the rise of the far-right AfD party. (The phrase "far-right" has different meanings in Europe and America.)

Angela Merkel's center-right party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/SDU), has won a plurality of the votes in Germany's national election on Sunday, with 33% of the votes (according to exit polls), down 8.5 percentage points from 41.5% in the 2013 election. The CDU has been the governing party for most of the decades since the end of World War II, having positioned itself at the party of Christian democracy, while shedding the Nazism of the 1930s, but this is its weakest post-war showing.

Merkel's CDU has only 33% of the votes, which is not a majority, which means that if she wants to govern as Chancellor, then she must form a governing coalition with other parties. In the past, the center-right CDU has joined in a coalition with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD). The SPD received 20.5% of the votes in this election, and so the CDU and SPD could, once again, form a majority coalition. But the SPD leaders said that they will refuse to form a coalition with the CDU, and the rise of the AfD is one of the reasons.

The far-right party AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany), received 13% of the votes, gaining 8.5 percentage points since 2013. This is extremely significant in German politics, because it means that AfD is surging past the 5% minimum required to be represented in Germany's Bundestag (parliament).

The AfD is considered nationalistic and xenophobic because of its policies that are anti-European Union, anti-immigrant, and anti-Islam.

The party was formed in 2013 when Germany led the EU in bailing out Greece. The bailout turned into an extremely vitriolic war of words between Germany and Greece, and the AfD was formed as an anti-EU party. They took their name from a phrase Merkel used in 2013, "There is no alternative," meaning that there was no alternative to bailing out Greece.

Then, in 2015, when Angela Merkel approved the arrival of over a million Syrian refugees with the slogan "Wir schaffen es" ("We can do it"), the AfD became anti-Islam and anti-immigrant, though its leaders say that it's not opposed to immigration, only to a flood of immigrants. In the current election, its election posters showed young women on the beach with the slogan "Burkas? We’re into bikinis," and a young pregnant white woman with the phrase "New Germans? Let’s make them ourselves."

Supporters of the AfD sometimes are quoted as saying, "The AfD is the new CDU." By this they mean that after WW II, the CDU became the party of a Christian democracy in Germany, while shedding the Nazi past. AfD supporters see the CDU as having abandoned the Christian heritage, and see the AfD as the new guarantor of a Christian Germany, while ironically ignoring the return to the 1930s style of nationalism and xenophobia.

So if Merkel's first-place CDU forms a governing coalition with the second-place SPD, then third-place AfD will become the major opposition party, which would give them a special status in the Bundestag. For that reason, apparently, the SPD is rejecting a coalition with Merkel's CDU, so that the SPD can be the main opposition party, and prevent AfD from achieving that special status.

So Merkel will have to form a coalition from some of the smaller parties. The Greens (Die Grüne, at 9%) are advocating strong environmental regulations. This contrasts strongly with the Free Democratic Party (FDP, at 10.7%), which is business-friendly. So Merkel would have to perform some difficult political juggling to form a three-way coalition with those two parties.

That leaves Die Linke (the Left, 9.1%), which is the current incarnation of the 1930s Communist Party. Party leaders said on Sunday that they wanted to stay out of a coalition, so that they would be free to vote on their issues.

So Sunday's election is over, but the chaos is just beginning. It's not an absolute certainty that Merkel will come out of all this as the Chancellor for a fourth term, but analysts consider it to be a very likely. Deutsche Welle and Guardian (London)

Rise of far-right AfD party in Germany raises international alarm bells

As I've been writing for years from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we're deep into a generational Crisis era, and nationalism and xenophobia have been increasing in most nations around the world.

Whenever I write about this, many people believe that I'm writing about xenophobia directed at Muslims. While that's true in the case of Germany's AfD, the target varies widely from country to country, and the target is usually a target of political convenience.

A good example is the UK, which voted for Brexit largely because of immigration issues related to the EU rules about "freedom of movement." In the EU context, "freedom of movement" refers to EU citizens being able to move freely from EU country to EU country, and although immigration of Syrian refugees was a part of the Brexit motivation, the main issue was actually European Union citizens from eastern European countries like Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. So the UK's xenophobia was directed mostly at Christians from eastern Europe. In the United States as well, there is xenophobia directed at Mexicans, who are also Christian.

In Japan, the xenophobia is directed at China. In China, the xenophobia is directed at Japan and the United States. In India, it's directed at Muslims in Pakistan. In Pakistan, it's directed at Hindus in India. So nationalism and xenophobia are not narrow attitudes directed at just one group, but are an organic part of every population during a generational Crisis era, and may be directed at any religious or ethnic group, depending on the country.

In the case of Germany, many Jews are concerned that the rise of the AfD means a possible new Holocaust at some time in the future. There are some 200,000 Jews living in Germany, and post-war Germany has gained a reputation as a safe, tolerant place for Jews to live, although Jews point to official data reporting 681 anti-Semitic crimes reported to police so far this year.

As the saying goes, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." What this means is that in each generational Crisis era, there are behaviors that are similar in kind to the behaviors of the previous generational Crisis era, in this case the period leading up to and including World War II. Like most countries, Germany does seem to be on a trend line of increasing nationalism and xenophobia, and if this trend continues, Germany could witness widespread racist hate crimes, as in the 1930s. However, for what it's worth, we don't yet know whether this will be directed at Jews, as it was in the 1930s. However, even if it's directed just at Muslims it would be equally disastrous, and historians of the 2030s may look back and say that there were two Holocausts in the preceding century, one targeting the Jews and one targeting the Muslims. Der Spiegel and Deutsche Welle and Reuters and Jerusalem Post and Foreign Policy (11-Sept)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Sep-17 World View -- Rise of far-right AfD party in Germany raises international alarm bells thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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24-Sep-17 World View -- Analysts draw lessons from the China vs India Doklam border standoff

Chinese and Indian behavior a study in contrasts during Doklam crisis

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Chinese and Indian behavior a study in contrasts during Doklam crisis


China's President Xi Jinping greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto at BRICS summit on Sept 5 in Xiamen, China, shortly after Doklam border agreement was reached (Reuters)
China's President Xi Jinping greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto at BRICS summit on Sept 5 in Xiamen, China, shortly after Doklam border agreement was reached (Reuters)

The military confrontation began suddenly and unexpectedly on June 16, when China sent troops and construction workers to begin road construction in Bhutan's Doklam Plateau, with the apparent intention of annexing the region. The crisis ended just as suddenly and unexpectedly on August 28.

During those 73 days, it appeared that China and India were on the verge of a major border war, repeating a 1962 border war in which India was defeated.

Initially, Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help, resulting in a standoff.

There were no bullets fired, but there were reports of Indian and Chinese soldiers bumping each other with their chests to push each other back.

The Indian media were restrained, rarely saying anything that might inflame the situation or further anger the Chinese.

The Chinese media were the opposite, with extremely belligerent and vitriolic editorials setting deadlines for India, threatening a Chinese military invasion of India that would destroy India's army, and warning India that its defeat would be even worse than the defeat in the 1962 border war.

The international community was demanding that China and India hold negotiations to settle the dispute peacefully. Among the vitriolic threats during the crisis, China said that there couldn't be negotiations until India unilaterally withdrew its troops, and that China's army would destroy India's army if India didn't withdraw.

So it was a big surprise on Monday, August 28, when China and India announced that they had agreed to pull back troops, to end the Doklam crisis. Even more surprising, it turned out that there had been secret negotiations going on for weeks, despite China's repeated insistence that negotiations were impossible until India unilateral withdrew its troops. Yale Global (14-Sept)

Analysts draw lessons from the China vs India Doklam border standoff

So who won? A lot of people believe that India won, because China was forced to back down and negotiate a mutual withdrawal. Others claim that China won in a different sense -- by proving that its army could strike at any point along the 2000 km border between China and India. There have also been reports that China will increase the number of troops stationed near the Doklam Plateau, so that it can be invaded and annexed later, when the time is right.

In fact, a number of analysts believe that China backed off for now simply because the timing wasn't right. When China sent in its troops on June 16, they may have expected to overwhelm Bhutan's defenses and annex the region quickly and easily, but were surprised when India sent in troops to come to Bhutan's defense.

Who would have won a military confrontation? I've seen analysts on both sides of this issue. One thing is certain: If it were a victory for China, it would not be an easy victory, and the conflict could spread to a naval battle in the Indian Ocean, or to other parts of the China-India border.

There are several reasons why the timing was very bad for China to risk getting involved in a larger conflict with India.

One problem is that there was a BRICS summit scheduled for September 4-5 in Xiamen, China. China invests a great deal of prestige in these international summit conferences when they're held in China, and wanted this conference to show China's importance in the world. BRICS is an acronym for five countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) that are considered to be emerging economies. If the Doklam crisis had not been settled, then India's prime minister Narendra Modi would probably have boycotted the BRICS summit, which would have been an embarrassment to China's president Xi Jinping. It's no coincidence that the Doklam announcement was made just a few days before the BRICS summit.

Another issue for China is that the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee is scheduled for October 19. A blunder in Doklam could result in a brutal power struggle that forces Xi to step down, in the worst case scenario. Xi may still face criticism at the Congress for having to back down in Doklam, but probably not as much as in other scenarios.

China's aggressive, belligerent policies in the South China Sea and elsewhere may have won praise among editorial writers in China, it leaves Xi Jinping with numerous questions about where he's leading China. Relations between China and its neighbors -- Japan, Vietnam, sometimes the Philippines -- are acrimonious. It's becoming increasingly apparent that there will be no peaceful reunification with Taiwan, and no political peace in Hong Kong. And the blistering North Korea nuclear missile crisis presents extreme risks to China, as well as to the US.

All of these issues mean that the time was simply not right for a border war with India. China can send troops into the Doklam Plateau any time it wishes, as suddenly as it did on June 16, and with everything else going on, and with the BRICS summit and the CCP Congress approaching, it was wiser to wait until next year. South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG - India) and Rand (9-Sep) and Asia Times (6-Sep) and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong, 30-Aug)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Sep-17 World View -- Analysts draw lessons from the China vs India Doklam border standoff thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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23-Sep-17 World View -- The 1930s Spanish Civil War fault lines explode again over Catalonia independence referendum

Spain's government mounts massive crackdown to prevent Catalonia independence referendum

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Spain's government mounts massive crackdown to prevent Catalonia independence referendum


In Barcelona on Thursday, a protesters holds up a banner reading 'I just want to vote' (Getty)
In Barcelona on Thursday, a protesters holds up a banner reading 'I just want to vote' (Getty)

The government of Spain is facing its biggest political crisis in decades, since the wealthy region of Catalonia is demanding independence from Spain, and is planning to hold an independence referendum next week on October 1.

Catalonia's parliament passed a measure in September officially announcing its plan to hold a referendum on October 1. The parliament said that if the referendum passed, then it would declare independence from Spain within 48 hours.

Tens of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets in Barcelona, protesting the Spanish government and expressing support for the planned vote on Catalan independence.

The Madrid government, backed up by Spain's Constitutional Court, has declared the referendum to be illegal. Spain's King Felipe and Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy have both publicly called on Catalans not to vote. Earlier this week Madrid began a major crackdown on Catalonia institutions to prevent the referendum from taking place

On Tuesday, Madrid took to court 700 Catalan mayors for allowing preparations to go ahead.

On Wednesday, the Guardia Civil, Spain's national police, stormed ministries and buildings in Barcelona belonging to Catalonia's regional government, including the economy department, foreign affairs department, and social affairs department.

Fourteen high-ranking Catalan officials were arrested, infuriating the public.

This was after the police went from building to building, raiding printers, newspaper offices and private delivery companies, searching for election materials, confiscating vote record forms, ballot boxes, and almost ten million ballot papers, as well as and campaign leaflets.

It's quite possible that this crackdown will prevent the referendum from being held, although Catalonia official Oriol Junqueras said that there will be a vote, possibly using ordinary sheets of paper as ballot papers.

However, it almost doesn't matter any more whether the referendum is held or not. Madrid's crackdown, which many criticize as an enormous overreaction, has infuriated the Catalans, and is leading to continuing anti-Madrid street protests. More than 40,000 people have gathered in Barcelona to protest over the arrests and the intervention of the Spanish government in the Catalan independence vote. Reuters and New Europe and El Periodico (Barcelona) (Trans) and Express (London)

The 1930s Spanish Civil War fault lines explode again over Catalonia independence referendum

The Madrid government has flooded Catalonia with almost ten thousand police officers, has stormed Catalonia's government buildings, has confiscated thousands of ballot papers, and arrested Catalonia government officials. To those with long memories, this looks a lot like the beginnings of policies that led to the Spanish Civil War.

In the 1930s, during Spain's Second Republic, the government had granted Catalonia a fair amount of autonomy, though there were occasional bloody street fights between Anarchists and Communists. However, that autonomy changed with the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), which was one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century, and a prelude to the much larger World War II.

Generalísimo Francisco Franco's fascist nationalism, aided by Italy and Germany, led to massive atrocities in Catalonia, with entire villages completely flattened by Benito Mussolini’s Italian air-force and the German Luftwaffe. Franco imprisoned, tortured and executed tens of thousands of Catalan people. At the same time, there were extremely bloody wars between the Anarchists and Communists. The war climaxed with the Battle of Ebro (July to November 1938), in which 15,000 pro-Republic Catalans died, resulting in victory for Franco.

Franco marginalized the Catalans after the war ended, but during the generational Awakening era of the 1950s, Catalan groups were forming underground resistance and opposing Franco. Franco's death on November 23rd 1975 signaled the full beginning of the generational Unraveling era, with calls for renewal of democracy and self-rule in all regions of the country. In 1977, more than one million Catalans marched through the streets of Barcelona and asking for freedom, amnesty and self-rule. But only limited self-rule was allowed.

Today, Spain is well into a new generational Crisis era, and as the survivors of the last crisis war die off, the fault lines that led to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 are reemerging. Catalonia's demand for an independence referendum, and Madrid's overreaction and crackdown on Catalonia last week resulted in little or no violence, but they represent a growing renewal of the tensions that separated Catalonia from Madrid in the 1930s. Guardian (London) and Catalonia Votes and This Is Spain

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Sep-17 World View -- The 1930s Spanish Civil War fault lines explode again over Catalonia independence referendum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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22-Sep-17 World View -- Trump's North Korea sanctions stop short of military blockade

North Korea threatens a 'Pacific Ocean nuclear test'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Trump imposes unilateral financial sanctions on North Korea


Kim Jong-un in a Japanese news broadcast being broadcast on an outdoor video screen in Tokyo. (AP)
Kim Jong-un in a Japanese news broadcast being broadcast on an outdoor video screen in Tokyo. (AP)

President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an executive order imposing a new round of sanctions on North Korea. The new sanctions were approved by the UN Security Council on Monday of last week, and attempt to leverage the power of the US financial system. On the same day, the European Union reached agreement to ban EU investment in North Korea.

To my knowledge, no one seriously believes that these new sanctions will have any major effect on North Korea, any more than previous sanctions have, or that they will motivate the North Koreans to end its nuclear missile development program.

President Trump's sanctions can apply to persons in any country outside of North Korea. The executive order calls for sanctions on persons involved in:

Sanctions may be imposed on any foreign financial institution in any country, if the institution conducts or facilitates trade with North Korea. The White House says that "Foreign financial institutions must choose between doing business with the United States or facilitating trade with North Korea or its designated supporters." Reuters and White House and Reuters

Sanctions fall far short of military blockade first proposed

According to the White House:

"The [Executive Order] directly targets North Korea’s shipping and trade networks and issues a 180-day ban on vessels and aircraft that have visited North Korea from visiting the United States. This ban also targets vessels that have engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited North Korea within 180 days. North Korea is dependent on its shipping networks to facilitate international trade."

Ships and aircraft that have visited or traded with North Korea will be banned from entering the United States for 180 days.

However, this is far short of the kinds of sanctions that Trump had wanted to impose. According to the draft resolution that the US submitted to the Security Council two weeks ago, any U.N. member state would be authorized to inspect North Korean ships suspected of carrying banned cargo and to use "all necessary measures to carry out such inspections."

The banned cargo would include any "crude oil, condensates, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids," as well as textiles. The draft resolution called for an end to the hiring of North Korean nationals, which provide North Korea with hard currency.

This would be an effective trade blockade on North Korea. Although any nation would be authorized to carry out the forced inspections, as a practical matter it's expected that only the US would actually do so. If a North Korean ship resisted the inspection, then there might be an exchange of fire that might escalate into war, putting Seoul, South Korea, into great risk.

It was those fears of escalation that caused Russia and China to threaten to veto the resolution. In order to overcome the objections, the US agreed to water down the resolution to the point where it will have no effect at all on the North Korean regime.

Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked whether there were any military options the United States could take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk. Mattis said: “Yes there are. But I will not go into details.”

Guardian (London, 11-Sep) and Bloomberg (13-Sep) and Reuters (18-Sep) and Washington Examiner

North Korea threatens a 'Pacific Ocean nuclear test'

In a statement a couple of days ago, North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un threatened the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the United States.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho was asked on Thursday what that meant, and he said,

"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific. We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un."

This action, if taken, would be just as much an escalation towards war that the proposed military blockade of North Korea would be. The hydrogen explosion would threaten shipping and planes flying overhead, and would release a great deal of radiation and cause environmental damage.

So the United States and West have two possible paths forward -- a "peaceful" diplomatic approach (sanctions), amounting to appeasement, and a confrontational approach (blockade). The appeasement could trigger war from the North Korean side, while the blockade could trigger war from the American side.

Either action leads to the same outcome. For almost 15 years, I've been writing Generational Dynamics analyses that predict that the world is headed for World War III, pitting the US, the West, India, Russia and Iran versus China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries.

The World War could be predicted, but the timing and the exact scenario leading to that war could not be predicted. But now we seem to be rushing toward war over North Korea, and neither Russia nor China seem willing to take steps to prevent it.

As an additional note, there is a report that Steve Bannon had a secret meeting with a senior Chinese Communist Party official in Beijing last week. Bannon is an expert on world history, and is also an expert on Generational Dynamics. He was recently ousted from the White House as Donald Trump's chief strategy, but according to reports, he still has the president's ear. Bannon fully understands that the world is headed for a world war. Perhaps he hopes that by meeting with the Chinese, he can find a way to prevent it, although Generational Dynamics says that it can't be prevented. Yonhap (South Korea) and Sky News (Australia) and Washington Examiner

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Sep-17 World View -- Trump's North Korea sanctions stop short of military blockade thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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21-Sep-17 World View -- With Trump's sanctions in place, Venezuela expected to go bankrupt soon

Maduro tells Venezuelans to breed and eat rabbits

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

With Trump's sanctions in place, Venezuela expected to go bankrupt soon


 A member of the national guard fires his shotgun during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, in July (Getty)
A member of the national guard fires his shotgun during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, in July (Getty)

An economic analyst is advising Venezuela's government on ways to move Venezuela's assets out of reach of American and other international courts, if Venezuela defaults on its national bond payments, effective declaring national bankruptcy.

Venezuela has met all its debt repayment obligations so far, but some analysts are predicting that Venezuela will default on bond payments before the end of 2017. Venezuela has an estimated $63 billion of bond obligations.

The probability of default has increased substantially since August 25, when US president Donald Trump imposed sanctions that prevent further borrowing, either by the Venezuelan government itself, or by the nationalized state oil and natural gas company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). With both the government and PDVSA severely restricted in borrowing more money to make payments on existing debts, it's believed that there will be a default. On August 31, the Fitch Ratings service downgraded Venezuela's bonds from CCC down to CC, to reflect the increased chance of default after the new sanctions were imposed. Reuters (26-Aug) and Latin America Herald Tribune (31-Aug)

Analyst advises Venezuela on keeping its assets safe from creditors

A lengthy analysis by Mark Walker of Millstein & Co, co-authored by Richard Cooper at Cleary Gottlieb provides a roadmap for Venezuela to keep state out assets out of the reach of creditors. In particular, it describes methods for keeping the assets of PDVSA, the nationalized state oil company, away from its own creditors and the government's creditors.

According to the analysis:

"As the humanitarian, economic, financial and political crisis intensifies in Venezuela, so too does the complexity of the tasks the country must accomplish to reverse the 18 years of mismanagement and policy distortion that marked the presidencies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. The difficulty of reforming the economy in the aftermath of these failed policies is compounded both by the need to carry out this reform in what is likely to be a wrenching change in the political landscape and by the fact that there are stakeholders in Venezuela with a strong interest in maintaining the status quo. That said, Venezuela has no other choice but reform and political change. The current government has openly opposed the reforms necessary to stabilize the Venezuelan economy and create the conditions for sustained growth. It has lost legitimacy and credibility internationally as well as domestically. The President and many of its senior representatives are isolated from discourse by sanctions imposed by the United States, and the acquisition and trading of new debt is now prohibited by the same U.S. sanctions, with other countries likely to follow. Accordingly, we start from the premise that the only Venezuelan government that will be able to carry out a restructuring of Venezuela’s liabilities is a government—which could be a caretaker or transitional government—that demonstrates a credible commitment to the necessary reforms and can undertake binding obligations in a restructuring whose validity under applicable laws is not subject to challenge."

It's good that Walker and Cooper get these assumptions out of the way, because in my opinion the assumptions are unrealistic. In my opinion, Venezuela's Socialist president Nicolás Maduro Moros will never "demonstrate a credible commitment to the necessary reforms." This is the psychopathy we see today in governments around the world -- Syria's president using Sarin gas and barrel bombs on innocent women and children, the governments of Eritrea and Burundi using arrest, rape, murder and torture at will of anyone who expresses opposition to the government, or Burma's government using genocide and ethnic cleansing to eliminate a million Rohingyas.

In my opinion, Maduro's government is headed in the same direction as the governments of Syria, Eritrea, Burundi or Burma, and not in the direction of "a credible commitment to the necessary reforms."

Walker and Cooper agree with that, but make an even more unlikely assumption -- that Maduro will step down and give control to "a caretaker or transitional government -- that demonstrates a credible commitment to the necessary reforms."

So having said that, let's look at the actual proposal:

"Accordingly, we see as the first step and priority in any restructuring process the implementation of measures to protect the country’s assets, particularly those vulnerable to seizure, such as the proceeds from the sale of oil, while it simultaneously commences discussions with the IMF, bilateral lenders such as China and Russia and market participants -- a process that will take several months at the least. Once the nation’s assets are secure, Venezuela will be able to enter into good faith negotiations with the official sector and its creditors, use its scarce foreign exchange in the best interests of the country and stop immediately the pursuit of dangerously uneconomic transactions whose sole purpose is to avoid a bond default. ...

Knowing that a default is both inevitable and necessary, Venezuela must have as its highest priority the objective of protecting PDVSA’s cash generating assets located outside Venezuela."

Maduro in "good faith negotiations"? I don't think so.

Anyway, Walker and Cooper suggest several methods from Venezuela and PDVSA to effectively declare bankruptcy. They recommend that Venezuela modify its existing Venezuelan Public Sector Revitalization Law so that it will be recognized by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as "a collective judicial or administrative proceeding in a foreign country," where "collective" means "one that considers the rights and obligations of all creditors" in allocating PDVSA's assets. This would mean, for example, that the law could not could not favor Maduro's friends -- Russia and China, who are owed $37.2 billion -- over American and other Western creditors. This would require an independent entity outside of Maduro's control allocating PDVSA's assets among creditors and, once again, in my opinion Maduro would rather eat mud than agree to anything like that.

As a last resort, Walker and Cooper advise that if all else fails, then Venezuela should try to get the bankruptcy processed by a UK court, taking advantage of English law which may be more lenient.

Finally, the Walker and Cooper paper returns to the assumption of a transitional government:

"Our premise, however, is that the current regime cannot today restructure its debt and that the Venezuelan Public Sector Revitalization Law will be enacted by a government that is attempting to overcome a humanitarian and economic crisis of historic proportions created by prior administrations. Far from imposing sanctions, we assume that at such time U.S. policy will be to promote a restoration of Venezuela’s economy and the revival of its democratic"

So, the idea is that Maduro will agree to hand power over to an independent transitional government, and the U.S. courts will be extra-lenient, in order " to overcome a humanitarian and economic crisis of historic proportions created by prior administrations. Far from imposing sanctions."

Well, stranger things have happened. And even if Maduro doesn't voluntarily step down, maybe Venezuela's army will finally force him to step down, for the good of the country.

What the Walker and Cooper proposals really show is that Venezuela is at a fork in the road. If Maduro steps down and lets someone else govern, then some of the proposals discussed here could be implemented.

It's tempting to say that never happens, but in fact Communist and Socialist governments did end peacefully in Cuba, East Germany and Russia, and returned to at least a semi-capitalist free economy.

The other alternative is that Maduro refused to step down, and the streets are flowing with blood. Reuters and SSRN papers

Maduro tells Venezuelans to breed and eat rabbits


Yum! Dinner!
Yum! Dinner!

Venezuela's Socialist president Nicolás Maduro Moros has inflicted enormous pain and humiliation of the country's people, with empty store shelves and shortages of everything from toilet paper to medicines to vegetables, jailing owners of closed factories, jailing bakers who make croissants or brownies instead of bread, accusing Twitter of attacking his government, one of the highest murder rates in the world, and an inflation rate of 33% per MONTH, forcing many people to forage for food in garbage cans.

Now Maduro is announcing a "rabbit plan" to help out starving Venezuelans. He announced on state television, "For animal protein, which is such an important issue, a 'rabbit plan' has been approved because rabbits also breed like rabbits."

However, the rabbit plan faced an early setback. Freddy Bernal, the head of Maduro's food program, distributed baby rabbits to families in 15 communities, as a pilot project.

However, instead of eating the rabbits, people kept them as pets. According to Maduro, "When he came back, to his surprise he found people had put little bows on their rabbits and were keeping them as pets, it was an early setback to Plan Rabbit."

Bernal is telling Venezuelans to get over their love of rabbits. People need to understand "that the rabbit is not a pet, but two and a half kilos of meat with high protein and no cholesterol put on the table of Venezuelans." BBC and Daily Mail (London) and VOA

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Sep-17 World View -- With Trump's sanctions in place, Venezuela expected to go bankrupt soon thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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20-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's government in chaos as it faces a new election delay

Russia's 'telephone terror' forces evacuation of over 200,000 people

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia's 'telephone terror' forces evacuation of over 200,000 people


Moscow police block the entrance to Louis Vuitton after bomb scare (Reuters)
Moscow police block the entrance to Louis Vuitton after bomb scare (Reuters)

Dozens of Russian cities have been the target of hundreds of bomb scares, starting on Sunday, September 10. Police cleared two dozen buildings in the city of Omsk, including cinemas, schools, malls and City Hall. In Ryazan later that day, eleven malls and several cinemas and restaurants were evacuated.

On Monday, there were 42 bomb scares in four cities. On Tuesday, 45,000 people were evacuated from 205 buildings in 22 cities across Russia. The bomb scares have continued every day. It's estimated that over 200,000 people have been evacuated in cities across Russia so far, costing the authorities about $5.2 million. And the end is nowhere in sight.

The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the bomb threats "telephone terrorism." The hoaxes are being perpetrated by unknown individuals calling in bomb threats from internet phone systems. Since the internet is everywhere, the bomb threats could originate from anywhere in the world.

One report from an unnamed source says that the internet phone calls were tracked to an IP address in Ukraine. However, other sources in the Russia's Interior Ministry say that the hackers may be based in Brussels.

Other theories are that the hoax phone calls are from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), presumably by Russian citizens from Chechnya or Dagestan who went to Syria to fight Bashar al-Assad.

Russian authorities say that they're doing all they can to find the perpetrators, but for the time being, the authorities are stumped. Window on Eurasia and Moscow Times and Tass (Moscow) and Moscow Times

Kenya's government in chaos as it faces a new election delay

When Kenya's Supreme Court declared that the August 8 election was "invalid, null and void" because of electoral committee irregularities, it gave the government 60 days to hold a new election.

A new election was scheduled for October 17, but Safran Identity and Security, the French IT consultants that provide electronic election management system, says that it will not have its systems ready by then, and is requesting that the election be postponed at least until October 26.

The key players are unable to agree on the details of how to run the new election, and these disagreements raise doubts that any credible election can be held.

The incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, who was reelected in the election declared invalid, has called the four Supreme Court judges who voted to nullify the election "crooks," implying that they were paid off by the opposition. Kenyatta's supporters have been protesting in fron the Supreme Court building, claiming that they stole the election from Kenyatta.

The opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, blames the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which oversaw the first election. Odinga is demanding that its members resign, claiming that the rigged the first election in favor of Kenyatta, and that he was proven right when the Supreme Court nullified the election.

Because of numerous threats of violence, Supreme Court judge David Maraga issued a statement on Tuesday:

"1. You will recall that four weeks ago, the Judicial Service Commission addressed Kenyans through a press conference at this very place over the increasing incidence of attacks by various groups of people who were given to making threats and demands intended to interfere with the work of the Judiciary.

2. Since the Supreme Court delivered the judgement on the 2017 Presidential Election Petition on September 1, 2017, these attacks have become even more aggressive, culminating in lengthy uninterrupted demonstrations right outside the Supreme Court Building yesterday and today.

3. Whereas we recognise and respect the rights of citizens to picket as provided in the Constitution, these demonstrations have bordered on violence and are clear, intended to intimidate the Judiciary and

4. Further, in a particularly unfortunate incident yesterday in Kirinyaga County, Hon. Martha Karua was blocked by demonstrators from accessing the Kerugoya Law Courts for the hearing of her own petition. This amounts to intimidation of petitioners and should never be allowed to happen."

The Supreme Court has said that on Wednesday (today), the Supreme Court would provide details of the reasoning behind its ruling nullifying the August 8 election. Standard Media (Kenya) and Bloomberg and Chronicle (Zimbabwe) and Twitter - David Maraga

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's government in chaos as it faces a new election delay thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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19-Sep-17 World View -- Turkey removing evolution from textbooks, adding more on jihad

Stanislav Petrov, 'The man who saved the world,' dies at age 77

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Next, Turkey will teach that the sun orbits around the earth


High school students in Istanbul protest the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkish high schools.  This protest occurred prior to the July 15, 2016, coup (BBC)
High school students in Istanbul protest the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkish high schools. This protest occurred prior to the July 15, 2016, coup (BBC)

Secularists in Turkey are outraged that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is to be removed from high school textbooks and curricula on biology, and replaced with claims that forms of life are unchanged. Supposedly, mechanisms like adaptation, mutation and natural and artificial selection will still be taught, but students apparently will not be permitted to conclude that these mechanisms cause life forms to evolve.

At the same time, there will be more classes on Sunni Islam religion, and the new textbooks have increased emphasis of the importance of jihad or holy war, saying that it means "love of homeland."

The new curriculum will also have much less information about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk declared that Turkey would be a secular state, with freedom of worship for people of all religions, including Jews and Christians.

The reason being given for all of these changes is that they're necessary for the protection of Turkey, following the aborted coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that he wants to create a "pious generation," and these changes are necessary.

However, as usual for Erdogan, that's a lie. For years, starting long before the coup attempt, Erdogan has been aggregating power to himself, and has been changing Turkey's character from a secular state to a conservative Islamist state.

In June of last year, a month before the coup attempt, there were a wave of protests in hundreds of schools across Turkey over restrictions on student freedom on overtly religious grounds. Students protested restrictions on holding concerts at school, on not allowing girls' hockey teams, and on secular literature or poetry societies. They feared that ordinary high schools would turning in strict religious schools, where girls and boys are segregated, with increased emphasis on teaching Sunni Islamic religion and religious practices.

Since the coup, Erdogan has ordered the firing or jailing of well over 100,000 people in all professions, from waitresses to judges. This purge has included the firing of more than 33,000 of the nation's teachers, about 4%. In addition, nearly 5,600 academics have been dismissed and some 880 schools closed for alleged links to terror groups. AP and Hurriyet (Ankara) and BBC (21-June-2016)

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Stanislav Petrov, 'The man who saved the world,' dies at age 77

It's been revealed that Stanislav Petrov died on May 9 at age 77, though his death only became widely known this month.

Petrov is credited as being "The man who saved the world," because of events that transpired on September 26, 1983.

Petrov was on duty at a Russian nuclear early warning center, when a siren sounded, and he received a computer readout saying that the United States had launched a missile. The big, back-lit red screen had the word "launch" on it. According to Petrov in 2013:

"A minute later the siren went off again. The second missile was launched. Then the third, and the fourth, and the fifth. Computers changed their alerts from 'launch' to 'missile strike'."

Petrov was frozen in place. He believed that if he passed the aler up the military chain, then the Soviet Army would immediately launch a retaliatory missile strike. Instead, he debated with himself what to do, and ended up doing nothing:

"Twenty-three minutes later I realized that nothing had happened. If there had been a real strike, then I would already know about it. It was such a relief."

Petrov violated military protocol, but he was not reprimanded for doing so. Instead, he received an official reprimand not correctly updating his log book.

It's possible, as many people believe, that Petrov's hesitancy saved the world from a nuclear war, but I actually doubt that conclusion. Russia was in a generational Unraveling era, where the entire Soviet bureaucracy, just like Petrov, would have been extremely hesitant to take the word of a computer that a war had begun. I think that it's most likely that the military leadership would have taken a few minutes to verify the attack before launching a counterattack, and war would have been averted anyway. But that's just my guess. We'll never know for sure. Russia Today and BBC (26-Sep-2013)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Sep-17 World View -- Turkey removing evolution from textbooks, adding more on jihad thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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18-Sep-17 World View -- Hamas announces it will reconcile with the Fatah and Palestinian Authority

Egypt forces Hamas to capitulate to Fatah and reconcile

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hamas announces it will reconcile with the Fatah and Palestinian Authority


Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Hamas members (L) (Reuters)
Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Hamas members (L) (Reuters)

We've heard this several times before: Hamas and and Fatah (Palestinian Authority), the two Palestinian groups, have agreed to reconcile and form a "unity government." The new government will contain ministers and MPs from both Hamas and Fatah, and will govern both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Palestinians took control of the Gaza Strip in 2005, after Israel voluntarily withdrew in a move to promote a new step in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. However, the terror group Hamas took control of Gaza and used it as a launchpad for attacks on Israel. In 2007, Fatah attempted to use force to take control of Gaza, with the plan to form a "unity government" between Hamas and Fatah. But the entire Mideast was shocked when Hamas overpowered and defeated the much more powerful Fatah forces. This brief war was punctuated by many atrocities and a great deal of vitriol, resulting in what seems a permanent split between Hamas and Fatah.

Israel and Hamas had brief wars early in 2009, and again in 2014, and these wars triggered renewed calls for a unity government between Hamas and Fatah. A particularly forceful attempt in 2014 raised hopes, but ended quickly.

So Hamas's statement on Sunday morning saying that it was ready to reconcile with Fatah, form a unity government, and hold general elections came as a surprise.

However, there's little reason to believe that reconciliation will last any longer this time than it has in the past, since neither Hamas nor Fatah have kept their promises in the past. Times of Israel and Palestinian News Network and Arab News (Saudi Arabia) and Al-Jazeera (Qatar)

Egypt forces Hamas to capitulate to Fatah and reconcile

The reconciliation announcement was brought about through the determination of Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who called Fatah and Hamas delegations to meet in Cairo last week for reconcilation talks. According to reports, the Hamas delegation refused to be in the same room as the Fatah delegation.

Hamas had refused to reconcile with Fatah in the past, but was forced to do so now for several reasons:

All of this has lead to a financial crisis for Hamas. So with a financial gun to its head, Hamas was forced by Egypt to announce a capitulation, and an agreement to reconcile with Hamas.

How long this magnanimous feeling of reconciliation will last is anyone's guess, but even if it succeeds, there may be unitended consequences. Since the US, Europe and Israel list Hamas as a terror organization, the West may be restricted from negotiating with or providing aid to a unity government. Going further, if there are elections, it's quite possible that Hamas would win the elections giving it governing control of both Gaza and the West Bank. Asharq Al-Awsat (London) and Al-Ahram (Cairo) and The National (UAE)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Sep-17 World View -- Hamas announces it will reconcile with the Fatah and Palestinian Authority thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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17-Sep-17 World View -- Global food price increases affecting world political stability

UN identifies three causes of increase in world hunger

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Global food price increases affecting world political stability


FAO Global Food Price Index, 1961-present
FAO Global Food Price Index, 1961-present

Hunger is a major source of geopolitical instability, whether on a regional or a global level. If a man is unable to feed his family, then he may feel he has no choice but to join an army or militia that will give him money that he can send to his family. And if the army or militia is fighting someone whom the leaders or the politicians blame as being the cause of high food prices and hunger, so much the better if he gets to kill those people.

Food prices surged throughout the 2000s decade, and then began to fall as the global financial crisis forced to buy less expensive foods, such as cereals and sugar instead of meat. However, food prices began to spike again in 2016, raising concern among UN officials. Food prices fell slightly in August, but they're still significantly higher than in August of last year.

Regional food shortages are even worse. The situation is unprecedented in recent times, with four countries simultaneously facing a food crisis.

South Sudan was officially declared to be in a state of famine in February 2017, the first such declaration in six years. Some 100,000 people in South Sudan are facing famine, while 4.9 million people are classified as facing a food crisis.

In Yemen, 17 million people, or two-thirds of the population, are estimated to be food insecure, with the risk of a famine declaration very high.

In northern Nigeria, 8.1 million people are facing acute food insecurity conditions, and in Somalia, an estimated 2.9 million people have been severely food insecure from six months ago.

Other countries are in near-crisis condition: Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar and Syria.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, food shortages and increasing food prices are major factors in leading to the next generational crisis war, or world war. After World War II, officials sought to end hunger forever through the Rockefeller Foundation's "Green Revolution," which brought modern agricultural techniques and technology to countries around the world. These technologies included new hybrid and genetically modified seed varieties and the use of pesticides.

Today, however, the advantages of the Green Revolution have been dissipated. Pesticides and fertilizers have been overused, and have been damaging the land and environment. Genetically modified seeds and foods have generated political controversy, and have plateaued in effectiveness.

And finally there's the unavoidable problem that population keeps increasing. More people means there are more mouths to feed, and more people mean that farmland is used up by urban sprawl, so there's less food production for more people.

If men cannot feed their families, then they will go to war rather than starve. The "good thing" about this is that a generational crisis war kills a lot of people, making more farmland available, and leaving fewer people to be fed. That's the way the world works. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Food Price Index and United Nations and Guardian

UN identifies three causes of increase in world hunger

Some 815 million people were hungry in 2016, about 11% of the world population, an increase of 38 million from 2015. Of these, 489 million hungry people live in countries affected by war.

In an interview with the BBC, Kostas Stamoulis of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that they've identified three reasons for the sharp increase in the number of undernourished people from 2015 to 2016 (my transcription):

In his last point, Stamoulis is certainly referring to, among others, Venezuela, which wasted billions of dollars building a "Socialist Paradise" when oil prices were high, with the result that happens 100% of the time: A "Socialist Catastrophe," where people starve and, in the case of Venezuela, can't even afford toilet paper. United Nations and World Food Program

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Sep-17 World View -- Global food price increases affecting world political stability thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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16-Sep-17 World View -- What you should do about the huge Equifax data breach

Equifax and the rise of Generation-X

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

The huge Equifax data breach puts makes many people vulnerable to identity theft


Equifax headquarters
Equifax headquarters

Here's something that I wrote in my Feb 26 2013 World View article:

"Apparently, Equifax's networks and databases have been hacked

I use different e-mail addresses for almost everything. That way, I know whether a company is using my e-mail address for spam.

In 2005, I registered with the Equifax web site to do some research for a brief period. Starting about a month ago, I've been receiving several spam messages a day to that e-mail address.

Therefore, I conclude that Equifax's networks and data bases have been hacked, and e-mail addresses have been stolen at the very least. Whether Equifax's credit card databases have also been hacked is something I have no way of knowing."

I still receive spam messages to that e-mail address. The latest one was from someone named Natasha who is writing to "foreigners as they are fascinated by the beauty and simplicity of Slavic women," and by the "simplicity and the intense aura of emotions which we have." Tempting, huh?

Apparently, Equifax didn't take network security seriously, even after they'd already been hacked. This doesn't surprise me in the least. When I was working for Ability Networks, their servers were hacked by a combined Phishing/Ransomware attack. No data was stolen, but I warned my employer that they should at least encrypt the social security numbers in their main data base. My warnings were ignored because spending money on security doesn't generate sales.

So here it is over four years later, and Equifax's data bases have been the target of possibly the worst data breach in history. Some 143 million people had their personal information stolen, including social security numbers names, driver's license numbers, dates of birth, and so on. Most of the people are Americans, but some are from Canada, Britain and Europe, and possibly other countries as well.

Somebody who had all that information about you could take out a big loan in your name, commit fraud in your name, or steal your entire identity.

Somebody now has a copy of all that Equifax information in their own database. They can start selling it to other people, or they could use it for other purposes. Since social security numbers can't change, this can happen for years to come. Economist and Fox Business

Steps you should consider taking to protect yourself

I got a phone call today from a perky-sounding girl who said that I qualify for a big discount on the vacation of my dreams, and all she needs is a little information. This is a typical scam for collecting information, sometimes to augment additional information available to the hacker, to get a complete picture to be used for fraud or identity threat. Do not, under any circumstances, give any information to anyone under such circumstances, even the name of your pet cat.

A variation is a "Spear Phishing" attack. You receive an e-mail message from someone you know, perhaps your boss or a friend or coworker or your bank or your broker. The message contains personal information, proving that the message is legitimate. It asks to click on a link, which ends up infecting your computer with malware, allowing the hacker to steal your banking information. The e-mail information was carefully crafted to fool you, perhaps combining information from several sources, such as the Equifax hack, plus your Facebook page, plus a scam phone call. If you receive an e-mail message that asks you to download something, even if it's from someone you know, then contact the supposed sender, and ask him why the hell he's so stupid that he's sending you something so dangerous and inappropriate.

For the protection of your computer, you should make sure that you have anti-virus and anti-malware software installed, and that it's up to date.

For protection from identity theft, you might consider getting a "credit lock" or "credit freeze." This is a service offered by each of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, for about $10 per year each. Equifax is waiving its fee for one year, but you'll still have to pay the others. This service prevents someone from getting your credit report without your permission, blocking them from taking out a loan in your name. It's a pain in the neck to administer, but you may consider it worth the trouble.

The following are links to articles that provide additional information on the above and other steps to protect yourself: Federal Trade Commission and CBS News and NPR and CNBC and Engadget

Equifax and the rise of Generation-X

As I wrote above, Equifax obviously didn't really care much about network security. In my experience, Gen-Xers ignore warnings about things like security if the warnings come from a Boomer, of whom many Gen-Xers are often contemptuous.

Having been in the computer industry my entire life, I've seen several disasters for exactly that reason. At Computer Sciences Corp., a Gen-Xer sabotaged someone's code. At a couple of places, including Fidelity and CACI, managers fired people who warned that the project was headed for failure, and then the project failed anyway. Every disaster of this type that I've personally seen has always involved a dysfunctional action by a Gen-Xers to sabotage a Boomer. I've written about this on my web site dozens of times over the years, and it apparently stems from their anger at their parents' divorce in the 1980s.

The most amazing example is what happened on the afternoon of October 1, 2013, when President Obama stood up at a press conference to launch Obamacare. When a reporter asked why so few people could log on, he answered that millions of people were enrolling for insurance, so the web sites were slow. As it turned out, only six people across the country were able to enroll on that day.

How is it possible that Obama and the entire White House were so completely blindsided by the disaster that was already unfolding that they didn't even know what was going on hours after the launch had begun? How many people had to lie? How many people had to commit fraud? How many people had to be silenced or fired? How many layers of management were lied to, to prevent Obama from knowing the size of the disaster, hours after the disaster was already in progress?

I wrote about this at length in "Healthcare.gov -- The greatest software development disaster in history". As I described, the reason that Obama was completely blindsided on Oct 1, 2013, is because the thousands of people on the healthcare.gov project all lied, every one of them. Obama got what he deserved, and the rest of the country got screwed.

This is the world we live in now, where black is white and white is black, whether you're in the mortgage industry, the computer industry, the newspaper industry, or any other industry, and anyone who talks about what's really going on is subjected to being silenced, one way or another.

Here's something that a web site reader recently wrote to me:

"I have spent my entire adult life in mortgage lending and the amount of corruption is stunning. I have in the past tried to report issues. What I got was referred to agency after agency to ending in frustration. There was even one time that after getting my personal info the guy started asking me if I had some kind of grudge. I said no but asked how that would matter anyway if the information was correct. He then started just burrowing into me, didn't ask a thing about the subject I called about.

It's like there is this secret club with wholesalers and government workers. Like nothing I had seen before. Scared me; thought I was going to be targeted."

These things were almost unthinkable prior in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Silent and Boomer generations were in charge. They only became possible with the rise of Generation-X.

So now getting back to the situation at Equifax, it's even a lot worse than described above.

Equifax learned about the hack on July 29, but didn't inform the public for several weeks. Two days later, on August 1, three Equifax executives sold $1.8 million worth of shares, allegedly to avoid losing money from the stock price falling when the breach was made public. Equifax claims that they were going to sell the shares anyway, and didn't know about the breach.

Equifax itself is in serious trouble for incompetence in protecting consumers' personal data. The attackers breached Equifax's server in April because of a vulnerability in the "Apache Struts" web application software. The Apache Software Foundation had released a patch for the vulnerability in March, but Equifax didn't bother to install the patch, which would have taken minutes.

So Equifax is in trouble for multiple reasons: They didn't install the patch; when the breach was discovered, they didn't notify anyone for weeks; and executives sold their shares, possibly violating insider trading laws. And we won't even both to list the ways in which Equifax botched the announcement of the breach. Based on my experience and years in the computer industry, these are the actions of a bunch of dumb, incompetent kids who think they know everything and really know nothing. They're getting what they deserve. Law.com and Wired and Engadget

Related: Obamacare: 500M lines of code, $500M, only 60% completed (01-Dec-2013)

Release of DOJ memo reveals massive criminal fraud by JP Morgan in financial crisis

I've been writing for years that it was mathematically provable that the banks had committed massive fraud in knowingly selling defective subprime mortgage backed synthetic securities, causing the financial crisis. These fraudulent synthetic securities were created by Gen-Xers who earned Master's degrees in "financial engineering" in the 1990s, and applied their skills to defraud their fathers' generation in the 2000s. It's provable that the fraudulent securities were created by Gen-Xers, since their Boomer bosses had no clue how to do it. But it's also provable that their Boomer bosses knew what was going on, because the financial engineers were taking B-rated securities, slicing and dicing them, and magically converting them into AAA-rated securities, which was mathematically impossible. I wrote about all this in my 2010 article, "Financial Crisis Inquiry hearings provide 'smoking gun' evidence of widespread criminal fraud".

I've repeatedly accused the Obama administration of purposely covering up this criminal activity, and instead allowing JP Morgan, Citibank, and other banks to contribute billions of dollars to Obama's campaigns and pet projects, effectively becoming co-conspirators in the massive criminal fraud that caused the financial crisis.

A 2013 memo from the Obama Justice Department, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, was just released, and it proves that these accusations were all true:

"By this action, the United States seeks to recover civil penalties [against JPMorgan Chase] for a fraudulent and deceptive scheme to package and sell residential mortgage-backed securities [that the bank] knew contained a material amount of materially defective loans. ...

JPMorgan knowingly securitized and sold billions of dollars of mortgage loans that were originated in material violation of underwriting guidelines and law."

Other revelations in the 92 page memo include:

The 2010 article that I wrote was about Citibank, and it proved mathematically that Citibank must have committed exactly this kind of criminal fraud. The memo about JP Morgan shows that the Obama Justice Department was fully aware of this criminal fraud, and was committed to using the Justice Department to cover up the criminal fraud in return for billions of dollars in payments and contributions.

This week there's a lot of stuff coming out about the Obama administration, such as Susan Rice's illegal unmasking of political opponents, confirmation that the Lois Lerner's IRS illegally targeted political opponents. I'm a pretty cynical person. I look upon this as happening because the Obama administration had a Generation-X culture, with little regard for the law or common sense. Let's hope that the Boomer culture of the Trump administration does better. Vanity Fair

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Sep-17 World View -- What you should do about the huge Equifax data breach thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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15-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's (Myanmar's) ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas leading to humanitarian catastrophe

Rohingya genocide forces India to choose between Burma and Bangladesh

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Burma's (Myanmar's) ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas leading to humanitarian catastrophe


Aung San Suu Kyi giving her ironic Nobel Peace Prize lecture in 2012, wherein she called for international protection of refugees
Aung San Suu Kyi giving her ironic Nobel Peace Prize lecture in 2012, wherein she called for international protection of refugees

Genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingyas in northern Rakhine state by Burma's Buddhist army continues.

According to the United nations, 389,000 Rohingyas have fled into Bangladesh since August 25, 10,000 in just the last 24 hours. 60% of those arriving are children. Dozens are being killed or losing limbs by tripping land mines placed by Burma's army on the border with Bangladesh.

Within Bangladesh, there's a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Bangladesh officials are restricting NGOs from delivering food, water and other humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, because that would only encourage them to stay. Bangladesh officials are insisting that Burma must take back all the Rohingyas that have fled across the border. Burmese officials are refusing, or saying that they'll only take back the ones who have papers proving Burmese citizenship -- which none of them have.

Starting in 2011, Buddhists have been attacking Muslims in villages across Burma, particularly the 1.1 million ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State. Mobs of Buddhists have attacked Muslims, conducting atrocities including torture and rape, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to flee from the attacks. Buddhist civilians have joined the Burmese army in burning down entire Rohingya villages to the ground. On August 25, Rohingya activists retaliated with carried out coordinated attacks against 30 Burma police outposts. This triggered massive violence by Buddhist civilians and the Buddhist army.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that the attacks by Burmese security forces on Rohingyas are "completely unacceptable." He told reporters:

"The humanitarian situation it is catastrophic. When we met last week there was 125,000 Rohingya refugees who had fled into Bangladesh. That number has now tripled to nearly 380,000. Many are staying in makeshift settlements or with those communities who are generously sharing what they have. But women and children are arriving hungry and malnourished.

[Question: Is this ethnic cleansing?]

A third of the [Rohingya] population had to flee the country - can you find a better word to describe it?"

BBC and AP

At press conference, Boris Johnson and Rex Tillerson make delusional statements

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the word "catastrophic" certainly does apply to this situation, not just because of the humanitarian aspects, but because of the explosive nature of this event for entire region.

Long-time readers are aware that I keep pointing out that it's a core principle of Generational Dynamics that, even in a dictatorship, major decisions are made by masses of people, by generations of people. The attitudes of politicians are irrelevant, except insofar as they represent the attitudes of the people. So, for example, the Holocaust and World War II would have occurred with or without Adolf Hitler. It was the masses of German people who brought about the Holocaust, not Adolf Hitler.

So it's true that Burmese officials, including Aung San Suu Kyi, are to be condemned for supporting and conducting genocide and ethnic cleansing targeting the Rohingyas. But it's the masses of Buddhist Burman people who are bringing about the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas, as we described last week, as acts of revenge for what happened in World War II. At that time, the Buddhists were on the side of the Imperial Japanese, fighting the British colonists and the Rohingyas. There were massive atrocities committed on all sides, and those atrocities by the Buddhist Burmans, by the Muslim Rohingyas, and by the Christian British, are now being paid back. As that article describes, the murderous Buddhist hatred for the Rohingyas is deep and entrenched, and cannot be changed by some vote in the UN Security Council.

So that's why statements by Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a press conference in London on Thursday are naïve to the point of being delusional.

Boris Johnson said (my transcription):

"To answer directly your point about Daw Suu state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi - let's be clear. She led Burma after a period of decades of repression by a military junta. And I yield to no one in my admiration of what she stood for, and the way she fought for democracy. I think many people around the world share that admiration. But I think it's now vital for her to use that moral capital and that authority to make the point about the suffering of the people of Rakhine.

And I think - nobody wants to see a return to military rule in Burma. Nobody wants to see a return of the generals. But it's also vital that the civilian government and that is Daw Suu - for whom as I say I have a great deal of administration - but it is vital for her now to make clear that this is an abomination, and that those people will be allowed back, to Burma - and that preparation is being made, and that the abuse of their human rights and the killings hundreds, perhaps even thousands, the killings will stop."

For an example of very deep historical irony, read Aung San Suu Kyi' "Nobel Peace Prize Lecture" when she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012: Nobel Prize Foundation

Boris Johnson obviously has great affection for Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he calls by a familiar name Daw Suu, but if Daw Suu were suddenly to express any sympathy for the Rohingyas, and for the atrocities, rapes and murders that her government is perpetrating on the Rohingyas, she would probably raped or murdered herself. As Leo Tolstoy says, describing Napoleon's invasion of Russia, where "millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other": "Had Napoleon then forbidden [his soldiers] to fight the Russians, they would have killed him and have proceeded to fight the Russians because it was inevitable."

So now let's turn to Rex Tillerson's statement:

"With respect to the horrors that we are witnessing, occurring in Burma, I think it is a defining moment in many ways for this new emerging democracy - although it is a power sharing arrangement - we all clearly understand that - and so we appreciate the difficult and complex situation Aung San Suu Kyi finds herself in, and I think it is important that the global community speak out in support of what we all know is the expectation is towards the treatment of people, regardless of their ethnicity, and that this violence must STOP, this persecution must STOP, it's been characterized by many as ethnic cleansing - that must STOP. And we need to support Aung San Suu Kyi and her leadership, but also be very clear and unequivocal to the military power sharing in that government that this is unacceptable, and this is going to many ways define the direction that Burma will take. They need our strong support, we should give them our strong support."

This statement is just a delusional as Boris Johnson's statement. The violence will not stop, the persecution will not stop, and the ethnic cleansing will not stop. Even if some agreement could be reached for a ceasefire, it would be only a temporary ceasefire.

Except for North Korea, the situation with the Rohingyas is probably the most dangerous in the world right now, the most likely to trigger a major war.

It's expected that hundreds of thousands more Rohingyas will flee Burma for Bangladesh, where they're not wanted. This is going to bring about a great deal more Rohingya activism, and terrorist attacks in Burma. At some point, Bangladesh may feel it necessary to take military action to force the Rohingyas back to Burma, the only alternative being to set up huge new refugee camps. Jihadists from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia are taking notice of the atrocities that the Buddhists in Burma are perpetrating on the Muslim Rohingyas, and it's almost certain that there will be backlash from al-Qaeda. Telegraph (London) and AFP and Reuters

Related: Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas witnessed by BBC reporter (09-Sep-2017)

Rohingya genocide forces India to choose between Burma and Bangladesh

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi initially took a position completely on the side of Burma, with the foreign ministry saying that India stands firmly with Myanmar in its "fight against terrorism."

This came on the heels of an announcement by the home office that India would deport its entire Rohingya population, thought to number about 40,000.

According to an Indian analysis, there are several reasons why Modi sided so heavily with Burma, and against Bangladesh and the Rohingyas:

It's significant that Myanmar has announced categorically that its territory will not be allowed to be used for militant activities against India.

However, Narendra Modi has had to slightly modify his policy, by acknowledging the seriousness of the situation caused by the flow or refugees. The reasons are:

India is walking a tightrope between Myanmar and Bangladesh, but has not yet been able to condemn Myanmar’s excessive use of force in the Rakhine state. Live Mint (India) and Swarajya (India) and BBC (5-Sep)

North Korea fires another ballistic missile over Japan


Map showing that the new missile test is considerably more powerful than the previous one on August 29, and that Guam is now within reach (Korea Times)
Map showing that the new missile test is considerably more powerful than the previous one on August 29, and that Guam is now within reach (Korea Times)

As I'm writing this on Thursday evening ET, North Korea has launched another ballistic missile.

Several leaders and analysts have come out with strong hard-hitting statements like, "This is completely unacceptable," and "No one's going to tolerate this sort of thing."

The United Nations Security Council will have another emergency meeting on Friday. Korea Times

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's (Myanmar's) ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas leading to humanitarian catastrophe thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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14-Sep-17 World View -- Kidnapping and sham trial of Lee Ming-che brings China-Taiwan relations to another low

China kidnaps and tortures Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che for sham confession

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China kidnaps and tortures Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che for sham confession


Taiwanese editorial cartoon depicting commonly held attitude toward China's trial of Lee Ming-che (News Lens)
Taiwanese editorial cartoon depicting commonly held attitude toward China's trial of Lee Ming-che (News Lens)

Lee Ming-che, a community college teacher in Taiwan who has posted criticisms of the mainland Communist Party of China (CCP), was kidnapped by Chinese authorities on March 19 in Macau, as he was traveling to China to visit a friend. There was no word of his fate until March 28, when Chinese authorities confirmed that he had been jailed on charges of "pursuing activities harmful to national security." Lee is the first Taiwanese to be accused based on a new law that specifies harsh punishment for CCP critics.

Lee was not permitted visits by his family, and he had no lawyer except one appointed by the CCP. Only when his trial began, on Monday, September 11, were his wife and mother permitted to see him in the courtroom.

On Monday, the CCP released videos of Lee confessing to his alleged crimes, referring to comments written in an instant messaging group:

"I spread some attacks, theories that maliciously attacked and defamed China’s government, the Chinese Communist Party and China’s current political system, and I incited the subversion of state power."
There are few people who doubt that Lee's "confession" was coerced, probably by means of torture.

Lee’s wife Lee Ching-yu said to the Taiwanese media, "Please forgive Lee Ming-che if you see him doing or saying something disturbing in court under duress. That is just the Chinese government skillfully extracting a 'guilty confession.'" Taipei Times (28-Mar) and Reuters and News Lens (Taiwan)

Kidnapping and sham trial of Lee Ming-che brings China-Taiwan relations to another low

The Chinese kidnapped, jailed, tortured, coerced a confession from and tried in court someone who was effectively a nobody, and nothing that he said could possibly have done any harm to the Chinese government. So the question arises why China would spend millions of dollars to do this with no apparent purpose.

According to Taiwanese Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Kao Jung-chih, the timing of the trial was deliberately set for Monday to stop Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu, from traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 10 and reporting on her husband’s case at a meeting of the UN working group on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances, since the court trial disqualified Lee Ming-che as a victim of enforced disappearance, which international law treats as a crime against humanity.

Many analysts believe that China is using the Lee case to send a warning that a crackdown on Taiwan is coming. According to one analyst:

"Beijing has been in the mode of demonstrating that China is not happy with Taiwan and can cause Taiwan pain in a variety of ways. In that sense, Beijing welcomes a deterioration of relations with Taiwan."

Taiwan's premier William Lai begged China to return Lee to Taiwan: "Lee works at a non-profit organization as a human rights advocate. There is no way he could subvert the Chinese government. I felt sorry for Lee being forced to confess at a trial in a manner nobody could accept." Sentinel (Taiwan) and VOA and Taipei Times and News Lens (Taiwan)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Sep-17 World View -- Kidnapping and sham trial of Lee Ming-che brings China-Taiwan relations to another low thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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13-Sep-17 World View -- Qatar and Saudi Arabia have vitriolic exchange at Arab League meeting

Donald Trump promises to solve the Gulf crisis 'fairly easily'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Donald Trump promises to solve the Gulf crisis 'fairly easily'


Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif (L) meets with Qatar's ambassador in Tehran on Monday.  Close relations between Iran and Qatar are at the center of the Gulf crisis (Tehran Times)
Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif (L) meets with Qatar's ambassador in Tehran on Monday. Close relations between Iran and Qatar are at the center of the Gulf crisis (Tehran Times)

On September 7, at a press conference at the White House with the emir of Kuwait, president Donald Trump promised to end the Gulf crisis that began on June 5 when four Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt -- imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar. The reasons given were Qatar's support for Iran, Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the four countries consider to be a terrorist group, and Qatar's aggressive use of al-Jazeera, especially the Arabic channel, to broadcast incitement to overthrow their governments.

Kuwait had been attempting to mediate the crisis, and at the press conference, he indicated that he would welcome help from the United States. Trump said:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: "While I do appreciate and respect the mediation, I would be willing to be the mediator. I was telling the Emir before that if I can help between UAE and Saudi Arabia, where I have a very great relationship -- I spoke with the King yesterday, King Salman, who is a friend of mine, and we spoke on unrelated subjects, but we had a long conversation. If I can help mediate between Qatar and, in particular, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I would be willing to do so. And I think you’d have a deal worked out very quickly.

I think it’s something that's going to get solved fairly easily. Kuwait has been really the leader of getting it solved, and we appreciate that very much. But I do believe that we’ll solve it. If we don't solve it, I will be a mediator right here in the White House. We’ll come together. Very quickly, I think, we’ll have something solved."

So Trump phoned the leaders of both Qatar and Saudi Arabia and asked these two leaders to speak to each other and resolve the issues. Early on Saturday, Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a phone conversation. It was their first conversation since the crisis began, Unfortunately, no issues were resolved. Instead, they got into a public spat about who initiated the call, and who wanted it more than the other.

On Tuesday (yesterday), Trump called the leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressing the need to end terrorism. Tuesday’s call is Trump's third to bin Zayed since the crisis began in June. Trump has also called Saudi King Salman five times, and the emir of Qatar two times. White House (7-Sep) and The National (UAE) and Bloomberg (9-Sep)

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Qatar and Saudi Arabia have vitriolic exchange at Tuesday's Arab League meeting

If any proof was needed that the Gulf crisis will not be solved "fairly easily," and in fact will not solved for a long time to come, it was provided at the Arab League meeting held in Cairo on Tuesday.

Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi immediately threw down the gauntlet by referring to Iran as an "honorable country," and saying that ties had warmed since the blockade began.

The increasingly belligerent relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the increasingly friendly relationship between Qatar and Iran, have become perhaps the biggest difference at the core of the acrimonious Saudi-Qatar relationship.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia became explosive early in 2016 when Saudi Arabia executed 47 alleged terrorists -- 46 Sunnis and one Shia, Mohammad Baqir Nimr al-Nimr. Iran and Shias were infuriated because the execution implied that Shia terrorism is equivalent to Sunni terrorism. Iranian mobs firebombed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and attacked the consulate in Meshaad. Saudi Arabia and Iran broke diplomatic relations as a result. Other Saudi allies followed suit, including Qatar.

However, Qatar restored diplomatic relations with Iran last month. This is a move that was made since the June 5 blockade began, and shows that the crisis is today less likely to be resolved than it was just a few weeks ago.

So at the Arab League meeting, when Qatar's al-Muraikhi said that Iran was an "honorable country," he was really rubbing Saudi Arabia's nose in the disagreement.

In response, Ahmed al-Kattan, Saudi Arabia's envoy to the Arab League, said:

"Congratulations to Iran and soon, God willing, you will regret it.

If the brethren in Qatar think they may have a benefit in their rapprochement with Iran, I'd like to say that they have this evaluation wrong in every way. The Qataris will be held responsible for such a decision. ...

The coming days will prove them wrong because we know that the Qatari people will never accept the Iranians to play a role in Qatar."

That sounds like a threat to me.

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said:

"[The Gulf crisis continues] due to Qatar's unwillingness for peace.

Their direction needs to change and we will continue our policies until Qatar changes its policies of aggression against the four boycotting countries, as long as Doha [Qatar] supports and funds terrorism and intervenes in the Middle East countries' internal affairs."

So Qatar's al-Muraikhi said that the crisis started when UAE-backed hackers hacked the Qatar News Agency, posting fake news. He added:

"Then we saw this vicious media campaign against Qatar, waged by rabid dogs backed by some regimes. [UAE minister] Anwar [Gargash] forgot to mention that the four blockading countries tried a military action against my country in 1996."

Reuters and Al Jazeera (Qatar) and Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

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  • As Hajj approaches, Iran and Qatar remain in dispute with Saudi Arabia (27-Aug-2017)
  • Egypt calls Qatar an 'enemy state' (30-Jun-2016)
  • Gulf Arab states have major split over Egypt and Iran (06-Mar-2014)
  • (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Sep-17 World View -- Qatar and Saudi Arabia have vitriolic exchange at Arab League meeting thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    12-Sep-17 World View -- Pakistan alarmed as highly educated students become terrorists

    Pakistan says that there is 'no terrorist wing at Karachi University'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Students at Pakistan's prestigious Karachi University implicated in terrorism


    University of Karachi, Pakistan
    University of Karachi, Pakistan

    Karachi police investigators and intelligence officials last week conducted a raid on Ansar-ul-Sharia Pakistan (the supporters of Islamic law in Pakistan, or ASP), capturing or killing almost all of the members of the terror group.

    Acting on a tip, police did a house-to-house search for members of the group, and in the ensuing gunfight, four ASP members were killed and several others injured. One cop was also killed, and another injured, with the rest taken into custody. However, the ASP group's mastermind Abdul Kareem Sarosh Siddiqui was injured in the gunfight, but escaped.

    Siddiqui had studied Applied Physics at the University of Karachi, where his father is a professor. A Siddiqui associate, Abu Saleh, was captured by police yesterday. A search of his home resulted in one laptop, two mobile phones, and a hard disk.

    The group was made up of 10 to 12 highly educated people who had studied at at well-known universities, including University of Karachi, the Nadirshaw Eduljee Dinshaw University of Engineering and Technology (NEDUET), and the Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET), all in Karachi, and three of the most prestigious universities in the country.

    ASP may have been formed as early as 2015, and obtained training from al-Qaeda groups in Afghanistan and Syria. The group only became active earlier this year, when they gunned down a policeman in February, and then claimed responsibility for killing a retired colonel in April. As ASP conducted additional targeted killings, they became more confident, and they began killing once per month, and later almost on a weekly basis.

    As in the case of a TV crime drama where the FBI agents profile the perps, police knew that the ASP militants were getting careless, and that soon they would make a mistake that would allow them to be captured. On September 2, they attempted an assassination of a politician Khwaja Izharul Hassan, because he is a "pro-American MQM leader," referring to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) political party. Hassan was unhurt by the assassination attempt, but it led to the tip that allowed the ASP militants to be captured. South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP - India) and Dawn (Karachi) and The News (Pakistan)

    Pakistan says that there is 'no terrorist wing at Karachi University'

    Arrests of highly educated terrorists are proving an embarrassment to Karachi universities and is raising alarm bells, raising the question whether students are receiving terrorist training at these universities.

    At meetings of university officials last week, there were suggestions that students should be vetted and cleared by police with "character certificates" before being permitted to attend university, and that student's personal registration data should be turned over to intelligence agencies for investigation. Reportedly, some teachers said that police verification wouldn’t be fruitful given the low credibility of police department.

    Karachi University (KU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan expressed pride in the students and faculty of the university, adding that the issues being faced by the varsity were blown out of proportion. He denied that there was any connection between the University and terrorists:

    "We do not want to irritate students and their parents. ... Provision of security is the job of law enforcers. There is no terrorist wing in [Karachi University]. We are standing by the side of law enforcement agencies but no decisions have been taken regarding handing over students’ data to intelligence agencies and demanding character certificates."

    Another professor said that it was obvious that the university education of ASP terrorists was irrelevant:

    "The primary reason is that the network in question – triggering scrutiny of university students – was being run via religious institutions and activities in Gulzar-e-Hijri area. Although Sarosh [Sidiqqi] and other members were university students, which most of the urban youth are, they hardly attended the universities. So, it is more than evident that university culture or formal education is not responsible for their deeds. The only institutions that need scrutiny are the religious ones."

    Dawn (6-Sep) and Saama TV (Pakistan) and The Nation (Pakistan) and Xinhua

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    11-Sep-17 World View -- The colorful Mikhail Saakashvili 'invades' Ukraine from Poland and threatens revolution

    Saakashvili to 'march on Kiev' and challenge Poroshenko government

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    The colorful Mikhail Saakashvili 'invades' Ukraine from Poland and threatens revolution


     Mikhail Saakashvili (L) is joined by Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R) and other supporters on Sunday after entering Ukraine from Poland (AFP)
    Mikhail Saakashvili (L) is joined by Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R) and other supporters on Sunday after entering Ukraine from Poland (AFP)

    Mikhail Saakashvili, the man who is stateless, no longer the citizen of any country, "invaded" Ukraine from Poland on Sunday, despite attempts by Ukraine's government to keep him out. Saakashvili is variously described as colorful, ambitious, arrogant, divisive, headstrong, and an egomaniac, has had his citizenship revoked in two countries, Georgia and Ukraine, mainly because he's constantly pissing people off.

    Saakashvili, who has been based in Poland's capital city Warsaw, had vowed to return to Ukraine on Sunday, and challenge the government or president Petro Poroshenko:

    "I'll go through to the end, until victory. But it won't be my own victory, but that of the people over oligarchy."

    Poroshenko has declared Saakashvili to be persona non grata in Ukraine, and said that Saakashvili would be prevented from entering.

    So on Sunday morning Saakashvili took a train to Ukraine. But when it reached the Polish town of Przemysl, the woman in charge of the train said that she had been ordered by authorities to stop the train there until Saakashvili got off. Saakashvili told journalists on the train that authorities were effectively holding hundreds of passengers hostage. He said: "Can you imagine what kind of idiots we’re dealing with?"

    After several hours of delay, Saakashvili got off the train, and got onto a bus that took him to the border of Ukraine, intending to walk across. Polish border guards allowed him pass. But a line of Ukrainian border guards stood arm-in-arm to block Saakashvili from crossing the Ukrainian checkpoint.

    All of these shenanigans were being covered live in the news, and thousands of Saakashvili supporters had gathered at the border crossing. In early evening, Saakashvili and his supporters broke through the line of border guards, and entered Ukraine.

    The Ukrainian border service said in a Facebook post that the crowd broke through a checkpoint and that fighting broke out when guards tried to block Saakashvili's supporters. Deutsche Welle and AP and VOA and Reuters

    Saakashvili to 'march on Kiev' and challenge Poroshenko government

    Mikhail Saakashvili has had an extremely colorful career.

    In 2003, at age 36, Saakashvili became president of the Republic of Georgia, in the "Rose Revolution," massive public demonstrations that brought down the pro-Russian president Eduard Shevardnadze, and brought Saakashvili to power.

    Saakashvili remained in power until 2013, but in the midst of that period, he and Georgia suffered a major humiliating loss, when Russian troops under Vladimir Putin invaded Georgia in 2008, and captured two Georgian provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are still under Russia's control.

    Saakashvili was praised for fighting corruption, he adopted authoritarian policies that he said were necessary to continue fighting corruption, but which became increasingly unpopular.

    Finally, Saakashvili was removed from the presidency in 2013. In May 2015, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko made him a Ukrainian citizen, which resulted in the loss of his Georgian citizenship.

    Saakashvili and Poroshenko had a lot in common. Saakashvili came to power in the Rose Revolution of 2003. Poroshenko came to power in 2014 in a popular revolution similar to Ukraine's Orange Revolution of 2004. Just as Saakashvili had replaced the pro-Russian president Eduard Shevardnadze, Poroshenko replaced the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.

    One more thing they had in common: Russian troops under Vladimir Putin in 2014 invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimea province, just as they had invaded and annexed Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia provinces in 2008. So Saakashvili and Poroshenko became friends.

    So in May 2015, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili governor of the southern Ukrainian port city Odessa, with the direction to end corruption and crime in the city. That didn't work out too well. Saakashvili and Poroshenko started out as friends, but Saakashvili's fight against corruption brought him into conflict with Poroshenko, whom he accused of blocking the efforts to stop corruption. The two then became enemies, and in November 2016, Saakashvili resigned from his job in Odessa.

    In November, Saakashvili announced the creation of a new political party, the Movement of the New Forces, to oppose Poroshenko. In July of this year, Poroshenko revoked Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship, leaving him stateless, a man without a country. However, Saakashvili claims that the revocation is illegal, since under international law it's illegal to revoke someone's citizenship if it would leave him stateless.

    So on Sunday, Saakashvili returned to Ukraine, to lead his new political party to the presidency of Ukraine. He will have many hurdles to overcome, not the least of which is Poroshenko's threat to extradite Saakashvili back to Georgia, where he's wanted on criminal charges over alleged misappropriation of property and abuse of power.

    Saakashvili has some powerful allies. When Saakashvili pushed through the border guards into Ukraine on Sunday, there were several Ukrainian politicians there to greet him. One was Yulia Tymoshenko, who also had been a ally of Poroshenko, and then turned against him. On Sunday, she said, "We've come to defend Mikhail, but we're also here to defend Ukraine," saying that she wanted Poroshenko to be ousted, just as Yanukovych had been ousted. BBC and AP and Deutsche Welle (11-Nov-2016)

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    10-Sep-17 World View -- China demands that Indonesia end plans to rename its own territorial waters

    Indonesia blocks China's repeated attempts to annex Indonesia's Natuna Islands

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China demands that Indonesia end plans to rename its own territorial waters


    Senoa Island, in Indonesia's Natuna island chain
    Senoa Island, in Indonesia's Natuna island chain

    China is demanding that Indonesia rescind its decision to rename its own territorial waters in its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    In July, Indonesia announced that it's renaming the portion of the South China Sea belonging to Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as the "North Natuna Sea." Indonesia is making the name change official by registering the name name through the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the United Nations.

    This has freaked the Chinese out to the point of throwing a temper tantrum:

    "The China-Indonesian relationship is developing in a healthy and stable way, and the South China Sea dispute is progressing well. Indonesia’s unilateral name-changing actions are not conducive to maintaining this excellent situation.

    [Changing] an internationally-accepted name had resulted in the complication and expansion of the dispute [and undermines] the peace and stability of the region."

    As usual with China, this is total farce. China is undermining peace and stability in the region by building artificial islands and turning them into huge military bases, bristling with missiles, radar and aircraft, in clear violation of international law, as determined by a 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, which declared China's activities in the South China Sea to be illegal.

    According to one international relations analyst:

    "In fact, the territorial waters of China is only to the boundaries of its territorial sea recognized by international law. On the other hand, Indonesia also has its own territorial sea territory, and therefore has the right to give a name to the territorial sea of Indonesia."

    China's military belligerence has caused India, Vietnam and Japan to form an alliance opposing China in the South China Sea. Because of China's illegal activities, tensions have escalated substantially in the South China Sea, threatening the "peace and stability" of the region. But that's because of China's belligerent military actions, not because Indonesia is renaming its own territorial waters. Channel News Asia (2-Sep) and The Diplomat and Asia Times and Netral News (Indonesia)

    Indonesia blocks China's repeated attempts to annex Indonesia's Natuna Islands

    The region that Indonesia is renaming is in its territorial waters around the Natuna Islands, a region rich in fish and oil fields. The region is also strategically important, being located at the southern tip of the Malacca Strait that connects the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean.

    Indonesia is very, very far from China. There is no possibility whatsoever that the region in question every belonged to China. But, just like Adolf Hitler in 1939, China's president Xi Jinping sees something that he wants that belongs to someone else, and plans to use China's vast, powerful military to steal it.

    There have already been several incidents, with Chinese fishing vessels illegally fishing in Indonesia's territorial waters.

    In March of last year, an Indonesian patrol vessel had captured a Chinese fishing boat and was towing back to a port where it could be destroyed, after the 8-member crew had been arrested and were being held in custody. The patrol vessel was deep into Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), when two large Chinese warships showed and forced the Indonesians to release the fishing boat.

    This incident caused a great deal of outrage among Indonesians, including calls for a more confrontational relationship with China. However, Indonesia's president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has chosen to continue a steady course, trying to maintain good relations with both China and the United States. To this end, Indonesia has maintained what one analyst calls a "delicate equilibrium" with respect to the South China Sea issue, engaging China diplomatically, while also pursuing a range of security, legal and economic measures designed to protect its own interests.

    It's undoubtedly Joko's diplomatic engagement that caused China, in its recent threatening note, to say that the "China-Indonesian relationship is developing in a healthy and stable way." China considers a relationship healthy and stable only if the other party is doing what China is demanding.

    Unfortunately, however, China continues to pull stunts like the most recent one, demanding that Indonesia rescind its decision to rename its own territorial waters, with the usual implied threat that Indonesia had better comply, or there will be eventually military retribution. The Diplomat (24-Mar-2016)

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    9-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas witnessed by BBC reporter

    Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi under fire for allowing Rohingya ethnic cleansing

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi under fire for allowing Rohingya ethnic cleansing


    Since this photo was taken, Desmond Tutu has condemned Aung San Suu Kyi over the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma (AP)
    Since this photo was taken, Desmond Tutu has condemned Aung San Suu Kyi over the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma (AP)

    Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Burma (Myanmar), and other Burmese government officials have been saying that the Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State have been burning down their own villages and killing each other, presumably to embarrass the government. This claim by Aung San Suu Kyi is typical of the kind of garbage we hear from other international criminals and war criminals, such as Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Russia's Vladimir Putin, and China's Xi Jinping.

    Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and lately other Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, have been demanding that Suu Kyi either stop lying or resign from the government. The Nobel Prize committee has announced that it's not their policy to take back a Nobel Prize, once it's been awarded.

    Desmond Tutu wrote a letter to Suu Kyi, saying:

    "As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again. We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people. We pray for you to intervene in the escalating crisis and guide your people back towards the path of righteousness again."

    And "unfolding horror" is an apt description. Starting in 2011, Buddhists have been attacking Muslims in villages across Burma, particularly the 1.1 million ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State. Mobs of Buddhists have attacked Muslims, conducting atrocities including torture and rape, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to flee from the attacks. Buddhist civilians have joined the Burmese army in burning down entire Rohingya villages to the ground.

    In the last year, Rohingya activists have formed a separatist group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Last month, ARSA carried out coordinated attacks against 30 Burma police outposts.

    This has triggered a new tsunami of violence by Buddhist civilians and Burma's army against the Rohingyas. In the last two weeks, 270,000 refugees have been forced to flee across the Naf River into Bangladesh, joining the 400,000 refugees already there. They're living there in terrible conditions, may sleeping out in the open in the pouring rain, with shortages of food. BBC and Guardian (London)

    BBC reporter Jonathan Head returns from Burma's government-controlled visit

    Foreign officials, including reporters and humanitarian organizations, have been requesting for years to visit Rakhine state, in order to determine what's really happening and whether the government is lying. Burma's government has strictly forbidden such visits, which is all but a guarantee that Burma's government is lying.

    Jonathan Head is the South East Asia Correspondent for BBC News, and he was granted permission to visit Rakhine state under the control of Burmese army minders, who would control what he saw and who he spoke to. He gave a lengthy interview on the BBC World News. Interview does describe exactly what's going on in Rakhine state, but only portions of what Head says are in BBC printed news stories.

    Head's interview contains a great deal of valuable information not available anywhere else. It's an absolutely fascinating as a piece of modern history and generational history, so I transcribed it and am posting most of it here.

    The Burmese minders' attempts to control what Head saw and here were a total farce. The minders were caught in obvious lies, including fabricating a photo with a Hindu actor and Hindu women wearing tea towels, pretending to be Muslims burning down the Muslim villages. Things like this prove the massive stupidity of Aung San Suu Kyi and other Burmese leaders.

    Head was first asked what he saw on the trip:

    "A lot more than we were supposed to.

    It was a government controlled trip, and I think the idea was to show us aspects of the conflict in northern Rakhine State that would reflect better on the government. And so initially we were shown displaced people who talked about how the Muslims had burned them out of house and home, and we were shown various photographs supposedly showing Muslims setting fire to their own homes, although those photographs have turned out to be fakes. A man who's a Hindu in a display center has admitted acting, and a few women put tea towels on their heads.

    It wasn't a very convincing show. We found there was so much fear. We were surrounded by officials and armed police the whole time, that it was impossible for people to speak freely, and even then quietly on a few occasions when we could meet Muslims, they all expressed their deep fear of the government. The government was willing for us to be able to see destroyed villages. And I have to say I was staggered by the extent of it. You cover large distances, and there are whole areas that have been emptied out, where villages have been burned, but even where villages haven't been burned, they're empty.

    One village we saw, dogs had killed a goat, because they were starving, they hadn't been fed. Rice had been left untended. Boats abandoned. Really extraordinary scene of depopulation.

    We were told by the remaining police and soldiers, who are the only people you'd meet there, that this is Muslims and Muslim militants destroying their own villages."

    Head then described how his minders lost control of him when he ran across a rice field to a burning village that they didn't want him to see:

    "Well, on the way back from one of those visits, we happened to see some smoke going up through the trees, and you could see it was fresh, the smoke and flames were just going up.

    We managed to get the vans to stop, and before our minders could stop us, we dashed off through the rice field, they kind of lost control of us. And as we arrived in this village, you could see houses just beginning to go up, and there were young men, Rakhine Buddhists, and they identified themselves as such, very muscular, carrying swords and machetes, hanging around. There was nobody else there.

    As we arrived, they departed, they didn't want to talk, although one of them did admit to a colleague that they had set fire to the buildings, and he said he'd been helped by the police.

    And as we walked further into the village, we just watched house after house going up in flames. We saw a madrassa go up in flames. Pages of Muslim textbooks had been torn out and left all over the park. There were women's clothes, personal possessions everywhere. We've seen people walking out with trolleys full of looted stuff.

    There was no sign at all of the inhabitants. It's a Muslim village. We simply don't know where the people who lived ther had gone."

    Head was asked, Was this ethnic cleansing?

    Absolutely. You can't mistake it really. And when you actually go and talk to Rakhine Buddhists, the hatred you get from them is a horrible echo of other communal conflicts that we've seen and experienced.

    I spoke to one man, and he was foaming up inside about the Muslims. They're very fearful of them too. And of course, the new factor we have now, is that after decades of marginalization and discrimination, Rohingya men have now armed themselves. They're not very well armed, but they've certainly armed themselves and large numbers even with just knives and machetes have joined the armed insurgents.

    And they did launch very well coordinated attacks, although the authorities tell us they knew the attacks were coming or prepared, and it seems that most of the casualties in these attacks were on the militant side. But it's made the Rakhine Buddhists even more angry and nervous towards them, and they said simply they can never live here again. They made no bones about it.

    They want them out. They will do anything to get them out. They LOATHE them. They say that "We HATE them. We absolutely HATE them."

    And so it's no surprise they're joining in this destruction of villages. Once the Muslims have been chased out the destruction of villages is meant to make sure that they never come back."

    Head was asked, Where does that hatred come from?

    "There's a lot of history involved.

    Rakhine itself has a sense of identity as an original Buddhist kingdom, which was then basically forcibly joined to Burma under British rule, but has always been cut off from the main economic heartland of Burma by a range of mountains and it's very impoverished. The Rakhine Buddhists themselves had to put up with a great amount of Bengal migration into Rakhine State, under British rule, to serve the new market for labor, for rice fields, and that tension became particularly bitter during the Second World war when there was an active front line, and the Muslims by and large supported the British forces, and the Rakhine Buddhists supported the Japanese.

    And every time the line shifted, there were massacres, mutual massacres of each community, and it was around that time Muslims became the majority in the very northern part of Rakhine state, which is where all this trouble is happening now, and where in effect we're seeing a rebalancing of the population going on, where Rakhine Buddhists after 70 years are redressing the balance, and pushing Muslims out.

    And that hatred, it is mutual, but the Rakhine Buddhists enjoy a great deal of sympathy from other Burmese Buddhists, and even from the government. The local authorities make absolutely no bones about the fact that they dislike Rohingyas, that they don't think belong there, that they're illegal immigrants. It's an absurd claim, as Bangladeshi officials said to me, in 70 years of history, the government of Myanmar has never once asked the Bangladesh to take back or repatriate anybody that could have come illegally into Myanmar.

    But inside Myanmar, particularly in Rakhine state, there's a deep-seated belief that the Rohingyas are illegal, they shouldn't be there, and they should be wiped out."

    BBC and BBC

    Generational explanation for Burma's genocide and ethnic cleansing

    Burma's genocide and ethnic cleansing follows a generational pattern that's probably been repeated a million times throughout history. Jonathan Head's interview provides a good deal of information about what happened.

    In 1942, Japan invaded Burma to oppose the British. Burma sided with the Japanese, while the British actually pulled out, leaving behind a population of Muslims who had been performing services in the rice fields.

    There was an extremely bloody generational crisis war between the Burmese Buddhists and Muslims, with huge atrocities on both sides. After the war ended, new generations of children on both sides grow up with no personal memory of the war. What they hear from their parents is stories about the bravery of their hero parents, and about the atrocities committed by the other side. Parents always forget to mention the atrocities that their side committed.

    So the children learn to hate the other ethnic group. This is what always happens. As new generations grow up, there are riots, demonstrations, and sporadic violence, but the traumatized survivors of the war make sure that nothing like that happens again.

    Today, all those traumatized survivors of the 1942 massacres and atrocities are all gone, but the hatred remains, as described by Jonathan Head. The younger generations are not traumatized, and have no personal memory of the massacres and atrocities 70 years ago, and have no fear of repeating those massacres and atrocities.

    We see the same kinds of hatreds turn into violence in other situations, whether Jews versus Arabs in the Mideast, Sunnis versus Shias in the Mideast, Christians versus Muslims in Central African Republic, Tamils versus Buddhists in Sri Lanka, and so forth. This is how the world works.

    The future of Burma and the Rohingyas

    The Burma Rohingya situation is an absolute disaster. We know that World War III is coming soon, but we don't know how it will be triggered -- whether in the South China Sea, North Korea, the Mideast, or elsewhere. But the rapidly escalating violence in Burma puts that situation near the top of the list.

    As I understand the figures, there are (were) 1.1 million Rohingyas living in Rakhine State, and now almost half of them have fled into Bangladesh, where they're living in disgusting refugee camps or just in open fields. Now presumably the Burmese plan drive the rest of the Rohingyas out, and burn their villages down as well, so that they can't return.

    Then presumably the Burmese plan repopulate the area with Buddhists. So you're going to have a million Muslims just across the Naf River from a million Buddhists, living in the Muslims' old places. Is there anyone who seriously believes that's a stable situation?

    This has now caught the attention of Muslims in other countries. Muslims in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are talking about a "jihad" targeting the Buddhists in Burma.

    Furthermore, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), declared as early as 2014 that Burma is a place that's ripe for infiltration of ISIS militants. RSIS (Singapore) and Rohingya.org (2006)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas witnessed by BBC reporter thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    8-Sep-17 World View -- Israeli warplanes strike Syrian weapons site, as UN confirms al-Assad's Sarin use

    UN report confirms al-Assad's massive Sarin gas attack on April 4

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    UN report confirms al-Assad's massive Sarin gas attack on April 4


     A Syrian man collects samples from the site of the Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April. (AFP)
    A Syrian man collects samples from the site of the Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April. (AFP)

    A UN report confirms Syria's air force conducted a massive Sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikoun in Hama province on April 4, killing at least 83 civilians. The report, by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, says that the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad conducted over 20 chemical weapons attack in the past four years.

    Readers may recall that on April 6 of this year, American ships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea launched dozens of cruise missile attacks at the Shayrat Airbase in Syria. This airbase was chosen because it was the airbase from which the April 4 Sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun took place. The Syrian regime claimed at the time that the Sarin gas attack never took place, but the new UN report now confirms that it did, and that the Syrian regime was responsible:

    "The commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Syrian forces attacked Khan Sheikhoun with a sarin bomb at approximately 6.45 a.m. on 4 April, constituting the war crimes of using chemical weapons and indiscriminate attacks in a civilian inhabited area."

    The Syrian regime is still claiming that the attack never took place, despite the 83 civilian deaths. According to pro-regime political commentator Marwa Osman, an MIT professor looked at photos and said that "the attack could not have happened":

    "I think this is just the last case, or the last scenario in the hands of the West, especially the US-UK and its EU friends who were against the Syrian government, the Syrian army from the beginning of the crisis. But if you want to talk about the report, the actual information that was given by the report. If you go back to April 2017, just after Khan Sheikhoun, we had a professor, an actual expert on chemical attacks, an MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] professor called Theodore Postol, who actually managed to look at the video and photos that were sent. And just by looking at those photos he literally said this attack could not have happened. And he presented evidence, given the fact that the people were not dressed well for any sarin poisoning, especially after the attack. He presented evidence concerning the people who were there without any gloves, without even any shoes on their feet."

    Osman says that the only reason for the UN report was to undermine the regime's military successes in Deir az-Zour.

    The UN report also documents chemical weapons attacks by the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra front, as well as other militant groups. The report documents 25 incidents of chemical weapons use in Syria between March 2013 and March 2017, of which 20 were perpetrated by Syrian regime forces and used primarily against civilians. United Nations and Canadian TV and Russia Today

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    Israeli warplanes strike Syrian chemical weapons site in Masyaf

    The Syrian regime says that Israeli warplanes fired rockets from Lebanon's airspace and hit a military facility, the Al-Tala’i Scientific Studies and Research Center, near Masyaf in Hama province.

    Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, said that the strike was "not routine," and that:

    "[The target was a] Syrian military-scientific center for the development and manufacture of, among other things, precision missiles. ...The factory that was targeted in Masyaf produces the chemical weapons and barrel bombs that have killed thousands of Syrian civilians."

    Syria's army said that the Israeli rockets targeted "military positions" and killed two army personnel, causing "material damage" to the site. The army statement said that the attack was in support of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh):

    ""This aggression comes in a desperate attempt to raise the collapsed morale of the ISIS terrorists after the sweeping victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism on several fronts, and it affirms the direct support provided by the Israeli entity to the ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” the Army Command said in a statement.

    The Command warned against the dangerous repercussions of such hostile acts on the security and stability of the region, reiterating determination to eliminate terrorism and uproot it from all the Syrian territories whatever the type of support provided to these terrorist groups is."

    Israel is becoming increasingly concerned that Iran's puppet Hezbollah militia, based in Lebanon, is planning a new attack on Israel after being freed from the heavy commitment to fight side-by-side with the al-Assad regime in Syria. According to Israeli sources, it was believed that Hezbollah had planned to take control of the targeted facility, with the manufactured weapons, including chemical weapons, to be used against Israel.

    Israel has been particularly concerned that weapons from Syria, including chemical weapons, could be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon for use against Israel. Former Israel Air Force chief Amir Eshel recently said that Israel carried out at least 100 strikes over the past five years against the transfer of advanced arms, including chemical weapons, from the al-Assad regime to Hezbollah. SANA (Damascus) and BBC and Jerusalem Post and Long War Journal

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Sep-17 World View -- Israeli warplanes strike Syrian weapons site, as UN confirms al-Assad's Sarin use thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    7-Sep-17 World View -- UN: Burundi's Hutu government attacks on Tutsis are crimes against humanity

    Violence by the Imbonerakure, Burundi government's 'visionary' youth wing

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    UN: Burundi's Hutu government attacks on Tutsis are crimes against humanity


    Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania.  Over 400,000 people have fled to other countries to escape the Burundi government violence (MSF)
    Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania. Over 400,000 people have fled to other countries to escape the Burundi government violence (MSF)

    A final report issued on Monday by a special UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has found massive human rights violations by the government of president Pierre Nkurunziza, and ethnic Hutu, to the level of crimes against humanity.

    The report was based on interviews with more than 500 people among the over 500,000 who had fled the country from the violence. The violations included torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary jailings and summary executions. The investigators were not permitted to enter the country for the investigation.

    A year ago, there was an initial United Nations report on Burundi, documenting torture, sexual violence, arbitrary jailings, targeted assassinations and summary executions. The targets of this massive violence were mostly political opponents.

    Nkurunziza's reaction to that report was to ban the United Nations from Burundi, and to withdraw Burundi's membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, a withdrawal doesn't take effect for a year, and the year is not up until October. For that reason, the UN is strongly recommending that the ICC take up an investigation immediately, before the withdrawal takes effect. Reuters and United Nations and Deutsche Welle

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    Violence by the Imbonerakure, Nkurunziza's 'visionary' youth wing

    The violence began in June, 2015, after Nkurunziza announced that he was going to run for a third term as president, in violation of the country's constitution. There were peaceful protests, which Nkurunziza countered by killing anyone who protested. Tens of thousands fled to neighboring countries to escape the violence.

    Today, there are almost 500,000 registered refugees in neighboring countries, including 237,000 in Tanzania, 86,000 in Rwanda, 35,000 in Uganda, and 37,000 in Democratic Republic of Congo. Three-quarters of the refugees are Tutsis.

    In the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which also took place in Burundi, the ethnic Hutus slaughtered close to a million Tutsis in a three-month period. Today's targets of Nkurunziza's violence are not necessarily Tutsis, but are anyone who is politically opposed to Nkurunziza. However, the vast majority of the targets are the Tutsis, since most of Nkurunziza's political opposition comes from Tutsis.

    The UN found that the crimes that violate international law were committed by members of the National Intelligence Services, Burundi's national police and the army.

    A major participant in the violence are the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of Nkurunziza's political party. The word Imbonerakure means "visionaries," and for these kids, being "visionary" means raping women and beating people with iron bars. Reports in 2015 indicated that Nkurunziza's police would select targets in the opposition, and would give kids in the Imbonerakure police uniforms, along with instructions to go to the homes of the targets, kill the men with iron bars, rape the women, and then kill the women and children.

    Burundi is in a generational Awakening era, following the 1994 genocide. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we've seen this time after time, in Syria, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Burundi, Thailand, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Eritrea, and other countries, where leaders in generational Awakening and Unraveling eras use arbitrary jailings, violence and atrocities to keep the opposition ethnic group out of power. Over a period of years, the violence worsens until it turns into a full-scale generational crisis civil war when the next generational crisis era arrives.

    It's worth recalling what happened during America's last generational Awakening era in the 1960s-70s. There was plenty of street violence by young people in Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago, during the "long hot summers." There was also targeted violence by left-wing and anarchist groups such as the Weather Underground. There was similar violence in Europe and other countries during the "Revolution of 1968." UN OHCHR (18-Apr) and "Stand Now and NPR (7-July-2015)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Sep-17 World View -- UN: Burundi's Hutu government attacks on Tutsis are crimes against humanity thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    6-Sep-17 World View -- North Korea and Russia continue to incite a new Korean War

    North Korea threatens the United States with 'gift packages'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Putin says that North Korea would rather 'eat grass' than end its nuclear program


    South Korean tanks take part in exercises in Paju, near the border with North Korea, on Monday. Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday, 'I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.'  (AP)
    South Korean tanks take part in exercises in Paju, near the border with North Korea, on Monday. Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday, 'I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.' (AP)

    Russia's president Vladimir Putin commented on the North Korea situation, and the statements by American's UN ambassador Nikki Haley, saying that North Korea is "begging for war," and that the strongest possible sanctions must be used as quickly as possible.

    Putin said that additional sanctions would be "useless," and could lead to a "planetary catastrophe."

    He said that North Korea had learned the lessons of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, both of which, according to Putin, occurred only because the leaders had given up their weapons of mass destruction. The lesson, according to Putin, is that North Korea needs a nuclear arsenal to protect itself from an American invasion:

    "Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end. It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue. ...

    We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged. ... We all know how this happened and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq.

    As I told my colleagues yesterday, they will eat grass but will not stop their (nuclear) program as long as they do not feel safe. What can restore their security? The restoration of international law."

    I have to laugh when this war criminal Vladimir Putin appeals to international law. He invaded and annexed Crimea, and he supplies weapons to Bashar al-Assad, who uses them to kill innocent women in children in hospitals and schools, and who kills his own people with Sarin gas. Supplying weapons to a war criminal makes Putin a war criminal as well.

    The Libya analogy is nonsense. At the time of the 2011 intervention, a major refugee crisis had already begun in Tunisia and Libya, with hundreds of thousands of people pouring into neighboring countries, and thousands crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. Muammar Gaddafi declared war on the protesters and was threatening genocide, especially in Benghazi. It was this refugee crisis that caused Libyans to demand a no-fly zone, and for the Arab League to do the same, after which the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone, which turned into the 2011 military intervention. ( "5-Mar-16 World View -- A look back at Libya in 2011 as the West debates another military intervention") The invasion of Libya had nothing to do with genocide and millions of refugees, and had nothing to do with giving up WMDs.

    The Iraq analogy is even more ridiculous. Apparently Putin is a total idiot, or he thinks all of us are, because the lesson from the Iraq war is exactly the opposite of what he's claiming. The justification given for the Iraq invasion was that Saddam Hussein was developing WMDs, and would use them to kill perhaps millions of people.

    So Kim Jong-un is doing exactly what Saddam Hussein did, and if there's an invasion of North Korea, it will be for exactly the same reason as the invasion of Iraq. So if Kim Jong-un wants to learn a lesson from Iraq, it should be to stop doing what he's doing, which is the opposite of what Putin apparently believes. By inciting a new Korean War, Kim is inviting an invasion. That's how stupid Putin is.

    So this brings us to what Putin is recommending: He's not recommending sanctions. He's not recommending a military solution. He's saying that the North Koreans would rather "eat grass" than end their nuclear development.

    So what's the bottom line? Putin wants North Korea to develop its nuclear arsenal, aimed at the United States, and not Russia. Putin would like to see the US military tied down to defending against NK's nuclear arsenal, or even have a repeat of the 1950s Korean War. Putin may even believe that that's the route to restoring a new Soviet empire. As I said, the guy's an idiot. Russia Today

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    North Korea threatens the United States with 'gift packages'

    On Tuesday, North Korea's UN ambassador, Han Tae Song, said:

    "I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the third of September, DPRK [North Korea] successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force.

    The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a ‘gift package’ addressed to none other than the U.S.

    The U.S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK."

    So Han says that North Korea is developing a nuclear arsenal to use against the United States for defense. Defense from what? An American invasion? North Korea already has an arsenal of conventional weapons lining the border with South Korea that could be used to destroy Seoul, and that would deter an American invasion if any were even contemplated.

    Han's statement is a clear incitement to war or, as Nikki Haley put it, North Korea is "begging for war." As I described yesterday, this has been going on for a long time. In 2010, the North conducted two acts of war targeting South Korea -- in May, North Korea torpedoed and sank the warship Cheonan, killing dozens of South Korean crew members, and in November, North Korea killed South Korean civilians by shelling Yeonpyeong Island. In both cases, the South Koreans chose not to respond, but it's pretty clear that they might have.

    North Korea's ambassador Han Tae Song could have made a more conciliatory statement, but his threat of "gift packages" cannot have any possible outcome except to increase the probability of war.

    As I wrote yesterday in my Generational Dynamics analysis, North Korea is not afraid of war, and is encouraging war, apparently believing that they'll win because of support from China. Furthermore, in this generational Crisis era, the people in both the US and China believe that they'll win any war quickly. That's a recipe for "a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life," as Putin has suggested, though his solution of "dialog" won't prevent it.

    It's hard to see how Donald Trump has any choice. If North Korea is permitted to build a nuclear arsenal, and the US just sits there and does nothing to stop it, then it will be an enormous humiliation to Trump and to the United States, and will soon lead to war anyway. The die seems already to be cast. Reuters

    Related: America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war' (05-Sep-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Sep-17 World View -- North Korea and Russia continue to incite a new Korean War thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    5-Sep-17 World View -- America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war'

    Trump approves more powerful weapons sales to South Korea

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war'


    Nikki Haley speaking at UN Security Council on Monday
    Nikki Haley speaking at UN Security Council on Monday

    During an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Monday, called as a response to North Korea's weekend hydrogen bomb test, US ambassador Nikki Haley said that North Korea is "begging for war" and that the US does not have unlimited patience.

    Here are some excerpts from her statement (my transcription):

    "To the members of the Security Council, I must say enough is enough. We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best of intentions, it has not worked. Members of this council will no doubt urge negotiations, and a return to talks.

    But as I've just outlined, we have participated in numerous direct and multilateral talks with the North Korean regime, and time after time they have not worked. The time for half measures in the Security Council is over. The time has come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means, before it's too late. We must now adopt the strongest possible measures. Kim Jong-un's actions cannot be seen as defensive. He wants to be acknowledged as a nuclear power. But being a nuclear is not about using those terrible weapons to threaten others. Nuclear powers understand their responsibility. Kim Jong-un shows no such understanding.

    His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war. War is never something the United States wants; we don't want it now, but our country's patience is not unlimited; we will defend our allies and our territory."

    Haley said that negotiations and diplomatic measures have failed repeatedly for decades. Therefore, if diplomatic measures are to be tried again, then all of the most powerful diplomatic measures must be used now, and quickly, as a last resort:

    "The time has come to exhaust all diplomatic means, to end this crisis. And that means quickly, enacting the strongest possible measures here in the UN Security Council.

    Only the strong sanctions will enable us to resolve this problem thru diplomacy. We've kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left.

    This crisis goes well beyond the UN. The United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country that is giving aid to the reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions.

    And what we do on North Korea will have a real impact on what other outlaw nations who seek nuclear weapons choose to conduct themselves in the future.

    The stakes could not be higher. The urgency is now. 24 years of half-measures and failed talks is enough."

    Haley is proposing a maximal round of extremely harsh economic sanctions on North Korea, as a last-ditch attempt to stop North Korea by diplomatic means.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the phrase "begging for war" is an interesting one, because it describes a widespread attitude that can prevail during a generational Crisis era, but not elsewhere on the generational timeline.

    For America and other countries during the 1960s-90s (generational Awakening and Unraveling eras), for most people war was to be avoided. That's because the survivors of World War II were still in power, and they recall the horrors, the atrocities, the rapes, the famines, the genocides, and so forth, and they will do anything to keep it from happening again.

    Today, those WW II survivors are gone, and people in most countries are increasingly nationalistic and xenophobic. They think that they can easily win any war -- that's certainly the attitude of people in the US, China and North Korea.

    So leaders in the 1990s do anything to avoid war, because they have personal memories of the horrors of WW II, leaders today have never experience any such horrors, and with their nationalism and xenophobia, they consider war acceptable or even desirable. North Korean leaders have been taking this one step further, seeming trying to actually provoke war. Hence, "begging for war."

    It's well to remember that North Korea has been "begging for war" for years. In 2010, the North conducted two acts of war targeting South Korea -- in May, North Korea torpedoed and sank the warship Cheonan, killing dozens of South Korean crew members, and in November, North Korea killed South Korean civilians by shelling Yeonpyeong Island. In both cases, the South Koreans chose not to respond, but it's pretty clear that they might have.

    The concept of "begging for war" can take other forms as well. My father, who was a Greek immigrant, told me when I was a kid that in the 1930s the violence by labor unions and communist groups was so great that he thought that America might not survive. I wish I had asked him for more details, but unfortunately I didn't. But we can see the same thing today in America, with the 2006 movie "Death of a President" inciting the assassination of George Bush, labor union boss James Hoffa during the Obama administration repeatedly inciting violence against the Tea Party and other Obama opponents, organizations like Black Lives Matter inciting violence against policemen, and organizations like Antifa violently beating and assaulting anyone they disagree with -- all with the encouragement of Democratic party leaders who have no memory of WW II and its horrors. These kinds of things occur during generational Crisis eras, and are a form of the "begging for war" concept.

    The phrase "begging for war" is extremely startling when coming from a diplomat, because it's a concept that can be understood only through generational theory. For that reason, I'm tempted to think that it had its roots in the days when Steve Bannon was in the White House, as Bannon is an expert on both world/military history and Generational Dynamics. VOA

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    China's UN ambassador Liu Jieyi responds to Haley

    Haley's call for a maximal round of extremely harsh economic sanctions on North Korea would fall most heavily on China, as 90% of North Korea's trade is with China. China is scrambling in every way possible to shift all the responsibility back to the United States.

    A couple of days ago the BBC interviewed a Moscow analyst in Russia's government. He said that really Russia and China don't care if North Korea builds a nuclear ballistic missile, since it will be aimed at the U.S. rather than at either of them. Good to know.

    So China's UN ambassador Liu Jieyi followed Haley at the UN Security Council, and responded to Haley's calls for harsh economic sanctions. His statement was almost meaningless babble, but it did put all the responsibility on the United States:

    "The situation on the peninsula is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a vicious circle. The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula. The parties concerned must strengthen their sense of urgency, take due responsibility, play their due roles, take practical measures, make joint efforts together to ease the situation, restart the dialog and talks, and prevent further deterioration of the situation on the peninsula.

    The proposal by China and Russia of a two-track approach, which promotes the denuclearization of the peninsula, and the establishment of a peace mechanism in parallel the suspension initiative which calls for the DPRK to suspend its nuclear missile activities and for the United States and the Republic of Korea to suspend their large scale military exercises and the step by step conception from Russia are the basis on which both countries currently propose a roadmap to resolve the peninsula issue."

    However, this meaningless babble did contain the "freeze for freeze" proposal that Russia and China are advocating. Under this proposal, the United States and South Korea would end their annual joint military exercises. The whole idea is a big joke, since North Korea would simply continue nuclear weapon and missile development in underground bunkers, and then as soon as Donald Trump said something they didn't like, they'd say that they have to resume testing again.

    Nikki Haley did respond to Liu's statement by calling it "insulting":

    "The idea that some have suggested the so-called "freeze for freeze" is insulting. When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon, and an ICBM is pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. no one would do that, and we certainly won't."

    It's very hard to see where all this is going to go, except to war.

    North Korea is not going to stop developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles under any circumstances, despite sanctions or proposals for negotiations. It's a done deal.

    China is playing the extremely dangerous game "Let's You and Him Fight." It's quite possible that Chinese leaders believe that if there's a new Korean war, then China will be the victor. That's typical of the stupid fantasies that people believe during a generational Crisis era.

    The Trump administration, as far as I can tell, has clearly committed itself to stopping North Korea from developing a nuclear ICBM, using military means to do so, even if it results in a war that will involve South Korea. This was already clear from yesterday's article, and it was reinforced very forcefully on Monday by Nikki Haley. Eric Berne - Let's You and Him Fight

    Trump approves more powerful weapons sales to South Korea

    Not surprisingly, North Korea's weapons tests are provoking Japan and South Korea to consider developing their own nuclear weapons, as defensive measures.

    South Korea is conducting a massive live-fire drill simulating a possible attack on North Korea. The purpose is symbolic -- to expose North Korea's vulnerability.

    South Korea's new president Moon Jae-in suspended deployment of the American-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems when he took office several months ago, because he didn't want to anger China. China is alarmed by the THAAD installation, but not because of the missiles, which are purely defensive, but rather because the THAAD systems have very powerful radar capabilities that can peer deep into China.

    Since then, the North Korean crisis forced Moon to approve the deployment of a single THAAD launcher, much to the anger of China. Now, on Monday, Moon authorized the deployment of four more THAAD launchers. Presumably that won't infuriate the Chinese even more, because the additional missile launchers do not provide any additional radar capabilities.

    US president Donald Trump also took steps on Monday to help South Korea strengthen its military. Trump agreed to remove decades-old restrictions on the maximum payload of South Korea's missiles, as an effective counter-measure to the North's hydrogen bomb test. Trump also said he would approve arms sales worth "many billions of dollars" to South Korea.

    South Korea hosts 28,500 US troops to defend it, and it is banned from building its own nuclear weapons under a 1974 atomic energy deal it signed with Washington, which instead offers a "nuclear umbrella" against potential attacks. Stars and Stripes and AFP

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Sep-17 World View -- America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    4-Sep-17 World View -- Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power?

    Will the United States take some military action against North Korea?

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power?


    The giggling North Korean news reader Ri Chun-Hee announces the nuclear test
    The giggling North Korean news reader Ri Chun-Hee announces the nuclear test

    North Korea claimed on Sunday to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, the country's sixth nuclear test. The detonation produced 10 times more power than the fifth nuclear test a year ago, based on earthquake monitoring measurements.

    According to Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University in South Korea:

    "That scale is to the level where anyone can say (it is) a hydrogen bomb test. North Korea has effectively established itself as a nuclear state. This is not just a game changer, it’s a game over."

    North Korea claimed in state media that they have the capability to produce as many hydrogen bombs as they want, and that they have the ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) technology to reach almost any part of mainland United States.

    However, many experts point out that North Korea has not yet proven that it can weigh down a ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon, and still have the power to reach mainland United States. But even if they don't yet have that capability, the extremely rapid development of their nuclear and ballistic missile technology indicates that they will have that capability soon. Tribune Media (India) and 38 North (S. Korea) and KCNA (N. Korea)

    World leaders express outrage and call nuclear test 'unacceptable'

    Many world leaders gave laughable expressions of outrage that we've heard dozens of times before, repeatedly over many years.

    South Korea's president Moon Jae-in said:

    "North Korea has made an absurd tactical mistake, by committing a series of provocations such as launching ICBM missiles, and conducting a nuclear test. This has heightened tensions on the peninsula and is threatening world peace. It will isolate them further."

    Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe said that the test was totally unacceptable:

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe initially said, "The North's nuclear test, if it turns out to be true, could never be tolerated." Later, his office issued a statement saying:

    "In addition, given the fact that North Korea has belligerently conducted ballistic missile launches repeatedly this year, the UN Security Council has strongly condemned these actions. Under such circumstances, this nuclear test, which North Korea conducted today despite these calls, is totally unacceptable.

    Taking into consideration that North Korea has enhanced its capabilities through its six nuclear tests, including the one today, as well as more than ten launches of ballistic missiles conducted this year, which could serve as a means to deliver weapons of mass destruction, including the two ICBM-class ballistic missile launches in July and the ballistic missile launch in August that flew over the Japanese territories, North Korea’s nuclear and missile development has entered a new level of threat - more grave and imminent - against Japan’s national security and seriously undermines the peace and security of the region as well as the international community."

    The nuclear test was conducted near China's border, and the Chinese have announced that they are test some border towns for nuclear fallout.

    Even worse, the test appears to have timed specifically to embarrass China's president Xi Jinping. Xi is hosting the opening of a major BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) conference, and North Korea's test came hours before Xi was scheduled to give his welcoming address.

    China's Foreign Ministry said:

    [North Korea] disregarded universal opposition of the international community by conducting the test. We strongly urge North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the international community on the denuclearization of the peninsula, abide by relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, stop taking wrong actions that exacerbate the situation and are not in its own interest, and return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue."

    All of the above statements are just hot air, and totally meaningless.

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to augment his equally meaningless statements with a threat of sanctions:

    "I am going to draft a sanctions package to send to the president for his strong consideration that anybody that wants to do trade or business with them would be prevented from doing trade or business with us. People need to cut off North Korea economically. This is unacceptable behavior."

    Once again, this is completely laughable. North Korea has ignored sanctions for decades, and will continue to do so. Sanctions, negotiations, bilateral talks, six-party talks, have all been tried and have all failed, and they will again.

    President Donald Trump tweeted:

    "The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea."

    This is presumably targeted at China, but it's a completely empty threat. At most there might be some tiny symbolic sanctions directed at some of China's banks. If any real sanction is attempted, China will announce counter-sanctions. Either way, North Korea won't be affected. CNN and Japan's government and CNN Money

    Will the United States take some military action against North Korea?


    Pyongyang residents cheer the televised announcement (Reuters)
    Pyongyang residents cheer the televised announcement (Reuters)

    Some people are suggesting that if North Korea becomes a nuclear power, it's OK. After all, China and Russia are nuclear powers, so why not North Korea? Let them have their nuclear ICBMs that can reach any part of the US mainland, and then everything will settle down, according to these experts.

    The problem with that reasoning is that the testing would never stop. North Korea would continue developing bigger and more powerful missiles and nuclear weapons, launching one nuclear ballistic missile after another, presumably resulting in a nuclear explosion in the Pacific Ocean. North Korea's child dictator is obviously having too much fun to want to "settle down" after one nuclear weapon is successful.

    President Trump has said, "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." This is being viewed by many observers as having defined a "red line," similar to Obama's "red line" threat over Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons. Trump followed through on Obama's threat after Obama didn't, and now everyone is watching to see whether Trump will back down the way Obama did.

    A month ago, Senator Lindsey Graham said that he had spoken with Donald Trump, and said that it is inevitable that war is coming with North Korea:

    "I’m saying it’s inevitable unless North Korea changes because you’re making our president pick between regional stability and homeland security.

    If there’s going to be a war to stop him [Kim], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And he [Trump] has told me that to my face."

    On Saturday, hours before the nuclear test took place, Graham said the following in a BBC interview:

    "I am 100% certain that if Kim Jong-un continues to develop missile technology that can hit America, if diplomacy fails to stop him, there will be an attack by the United States against his weapons systems. I'm assuming the worst. I'm assuming that if we drop one bomb, he fires at South Korea, and maybe Japan. Let me tell you have the war ends. It ends with his utter destruction. Thousands of people could be killed or maimed. There's a lot at stake here. And let me ask you - why would the world, given his track record, the North Korean leader, allow him to get a hydrogen bomb with a missile to deliver it anywhere in the world? Why would we do that?"

    On Sunday, Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Donald Trump, Mike Pence and top national security advisers, and promised "a massive military response" to any threat from North Korea against the United States or its allies, including Japan or Guam.

    As regular readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that we're headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war, pitting China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries versus India, Russia, Iran and the West. It's impossible to predict the scenario that will lead to this world war, but right now it looks like the most likely scenarios involved North Korea. BBC and CNN and RFE/RL

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Sep-17 World View -- Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    3-Sep-17 World View -- Floods in South Asia kill 1,400 people in four countries

    Burmese Buddhist attacks on Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar becoming full-scale genocide

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Floods in South Asia kill 1,400 people in four countries


    A flooded street in Karachi on Friday (EPA)
    A flooded street in Karachi on Friday (EPA)

    Some 45 million people in a region stretching from Nepal and Bangladesh through India to Pakistan are dealing with "catastrophic" floods from two months of continuous torrential rain in the worst monsoon season in years.

    Worldwide media have been heavily covering the floods in Texas from hurricane Harvey, but the floods in South Asia have been far more disastrous.

    Wide-scale flooding stretching across the Himalayan foothills has caused landslides and washed away tens of thousands of homes and vast swathes of farmland. At least 1,400 people have been killed. Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed, and many people are facing starvation. In Bangladesh, 1,300 cases of water-borne diseases have been reported. In Mumbai, a multi-story residential building collapse claimed 33 lives, left 15 injured and dozens more buried in the rubble. In Karachi, at least 23 people have died, mostly due to electrocution. New Daily (Australia) and Reuters

    Related: Pakistan appeals for international help with floods (08-Aug-2010)

    Kenya's president Kenyatta lashes out as Supreme Court judges as 'crooks'

    As we described yesterday, Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta was initially restrained on Friday, after Kenya's Supreme Court declared that his presidential election victory was "invalid, null and void" because of electoral committee irregularities. Kenyatta said that he respected the court's decision, and called for peace. But that didn't last long, as he began calling the judges "crooks," saying that there was problem with the court, and promising to "fix it" after he was reelected.

    Isaac Okero, the president of the Law Society of Kenya, on Saturday condemned Kenyatta's remarks:

    "Ominously declaring that they (judges) should wait for him (President Kenyatta) after he is successful in the coming fresh election is unfortunate and wholly inappropriate remark from the Head of State who under the constitution is a symbol of national unity, enjoys immunity from criminal and civil proceedings and must promote and enhance the unity of the nation."

    It's not clear what Kenyatta meant when he said that he would "fix" the problem with the court once he's elected, but if I were one of the judges, I would be looking for a way to get out of the country quickly. The Nation (Kenya)

    Related: Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election (02-Sep-2017)

    Burmese Buddhist attacks on Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar becoming full-scale genocide

    Attacks by Burmese Buddhists, led by Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, since 2011 as we've been reporting, are now clearly crossing the line into full-scale genocide.

    Buddhists have been slaughtering Rohingyas, raping women and burning down villages in a policy to exterminate them. Bangladesh, which already hosts 400,000 Rohingya refugees, earlier refused to allow any more to enter, but they've reversed that policy. In the last few days, 60,000 more Rohingyas have crossed the Naf River into Bangladesh to flee the Buddhist violence, and more are crossing every day. However, even that path is dangerous, as Burma's army on foot and in helicopters are shooting dead any Rohingyas they seen fleeing to Bangladesh, leaving numerous dead bodies in the river.

    When the Rohingyas do reach the Bangladesh side, they can turn around and see their villages being burnt to the ground, and other Rohingyas being shot to death.

    This is rapidly turning into a full-scale genocide, similar to last century's Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, Stalin's Holodomor in Ukraine, and Pol Pot's Killing Fields in Cambodia. The only difference between these is the methods used to implement the "holocaust." BBC

    Related: Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically (28-Aug-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Sep-17 World View -- Floods in South Asia kill 1,400 people in four countries thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    2-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election

    John Kerry and other election observers come under harsh criticism

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election


    Supporters of Raila Odinga celebrate the court ruling (CNN)
    Supporters of Raila Odinga celebrate the court ruling (CNN)

    Kenya's Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the August 8 re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta was invalid, and that a new election must be held within 60 days. The court found that Kenyatta "was not validly elected," rendering the result "invalid, null and void." The ruling was a victory for opposition leader Raila Odinga, who had brought the case, claiming that the election had been rigged.

    The ruling was a complete shock to everyone, including both Kenyatta supporters and opposition, but no one had expected the court to rule against Kenyatta. Corruption is so pervasive in African countries, including Kenya, that normally judges will rule in whatever way the president pays them to rule, and everyone expected Kenya's Supreme Court judges to do the same in this case, irrespective of the evidence.

    In fact, the ruling is being called "historic," because it's the first time that a legal challenge to a presidential election has ever been successful in the entire history of Africa. Odinga said:

    "It’s a very historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension the people of Africa. For the first time in history of African democratization a ruling has been made by a court nullifying irregular elections for the president."

    Kenyatta said:

    "I personally disagree with the ruling that has been made today but I respect it. Millions of Kenyans made their choice but six people [the judges] have decided that they will go against the will of the people."

    Supporters of Odinga were ebullient, and celebrated in the streets for hours. Odinga himself added:

    “It is now clear that the entire edifice of the (election board) is rotten. Clear evidence shows that the commission was taken over by criminals ... they must face criminal prosecution. ... We are ready but cannot repeat the election with this commission."

    It's thought that the reasons for the court's ruling included the following:

    The court will provide detailed reasoning for its decision within 21 days.

    The court ruled that a new election must be held within 60 days. However, an election is enormously expensive, and Kenya is deeply in debt. Furthermore, after the last election fiasco, it will be hard to convince people that the next election will be fair. Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya) and Reuters

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    John Kerry and other election observers come under harsh criticism

    After the August 8 election, and Uhuru Kenyatta had been declared a provisional winner, his opponent Raila Odinga began claiming that the election had been rigged.

    At that point, John Kerry, who had been former president Barack Obama's Secretary of State, and who had led the Jimmy Carter Center's election observer mission in Kenya, said:

    "Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy. Don’t let anybody besmirch that."

    Well, now that Kenya's Supreme Court has besmirched it, Kerry and other election day observers are coming under attack in Kenya. They're being accused of blindly endorsing the election to produce the outcome desired by the government, and of completely ignoring the concerns raised by the opposition.

    Muthoni Wanyeki, who served as Amnesty International’s East Africa Regional Director, supports these accusations against "the election observer industry," and goes further:

    "I feel a real anger about the way they treat us. I’ve had diplomats say to my face that, speaking in the light of history, this election was an improvement [from past elections]. I’m sorry we do not live in history, we live in the here and now and we have a right to free and fair elections. Their attitude in condescending, neocolonial and by saying that things are improving, they’re treating us like small children. Hopefully this ruling is like egg on their face."

    John Kerry on Friday said then that while there were "little aberrations here and there," the election was not rigged. France 24 and CNN and Foreign Policy

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    1-Sep-17 World View -- As other Asian nations back down, India and Vietnam become allies confronting China

    Vietnam protests China's military drills near the Gulf of Tonkin in South China Sea

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Vietnam protests China's military drills near the Gulf of Tonkin in South China Sea


    India's Narendra Modi with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi (Reuters)
    India's Narendra Modi with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi (Reuters)

    Vietnam on Thursday protested China's military drills in waters off the month of Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

    In reply to reporters’ queries about the move of China, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said that all activities of foreign countries in the waters belonging to Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction should comply with Vietnam’s legal regulations and international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    It's doubtful that China will honor any international law. China repeatedly violates other countries' sovereign territories and threatens to use its massive military to kill anyone who doesn't do as they demand.

    In July, Vietnam again protested China's military drills violating Vietnam's sovereignty, and as usual they were ignored.

    In June, China demanded that Spanish company Repsol, under contract with Vietnam, stop drilling for oil and gas in a block that clearly belongs to Vietnam under international law. Vietnam refused. A month later, China threatened to use military force against Vietnamese targets, and Vietnam was forced to step back. Even worse, Vietnam may now be forced to pay Repsol hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

    Despite this setback, what's becoming clear is that little Vietnam is becoming the only country around the South China Sea willing to stand up at all to gargantuan China.

    The Philippines used to stand up to China, but under president Rodrigo R. Duterte, the country has simply given up, with the attitude that China is going to win anyway, so why fight? Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, which previously had expressed some opposition to China's belligerence, have also given up.

    China even gloated about this three weeks ago in a China Daily editorial, following the meeting of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). According to the article:

    "It seems, however, that Vietnam almost put a spanner in the works by attempting to push its own agenda during the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers.

    According to media reports, Hanoi struck a less harmonious note by hypocritically trying to insert tough language criticizing China's island building in the South China Sea, something Vietnam did first, resulting in a delay to the issuing of their joint statement on Saturday.

    But with none of the other ASEAN members being like-minded, Vietnam's proposed phrases were not included in the communiqué released on Sunday."

    China's island building in the South China Sea is a clear violation of international law, as decided in July 2016, when a Tribunal at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague eviscerated all of China's claims to the South China Sea. ( "13-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines humiliates China in harsh Hague Tribunal ruling over South China Sea")

    China is an international criminal that has repeatedly lied about its claims in the South China Sea. And yet, they won a victory in ASEAN removing any mention of China's criminal activities from the final statement. Even the Philippines, which won the Tribunal ruling last year in July, has almost completely given in to China.

    It seems that only Vietnam, among the South China Sea nations, is still willing to stand up to China. Vietnam Plus and Reuters and Vietnam Plus (23-Aug) and CNN (14-Aug) and China Daily (7-Aug)

    India and Vietnam become allies in confronting China

    Of course, Vietnam is not completely alone in confronting China. Japan is very confrontational with China, and has discussed allying with Vietnam against China.

    The United States conducts Freedom of Navigation operations in the South China Sea, sailing intelligence-gathering ships near China's illegal man-made islands, infuriating Chinese officials. The US is also confronting China in Central Asia. As we reported in last week's analysis of Donald Trump's speech on Afghanistan, the US is confronting Pakistan in Afghanistan, and is also maintaining its two air bases, in Bagram and Kandahar International Airport, as forward bases in any future war with China. India and the US recently signed a logistical support agreement.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, what's most interesting is that the US, India and Vietnam, along with Japan, appear to be forming a military alliance to encircle and confront China. India has good reason to ally with Vietnam in confronting China. They share concerns about China's control of the South China Sea, and China's access to the Indian Ocean.

    India is already providing Vietnam with a $100 million line of credit, and has sold Vietnam four offshore patrol vessels that are likely to be used against China in the South China Sea. India is helping Vietnam to build capacity for repair and maintenance of its defense platforms, and the armed forces of the two states have started cooperation in areas like information technology and the English-language training of Vietnamese Army personnel. India has also accepted Vietnam's invitation to drill for oil in the same region that Repsol abandoned.

    The most intriguing issue has to do with the possible sale by India of sophisticated BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile systems to Vietnam. Such a sale would dramatically change the power balance in the South China Sea. Vietnam has been asking India since 2011 to purchase the BrahMos systems, but India has refused, fearing to anger China.

    In 2016, India's prime minister Narendra Modi made it clear that it was no longer as hesitant. The Modi government last year directed BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missiles, to expedite this sale to Vietnam. Two weeks ago, the government of Vietnam appeared to confirm that it had acquired the missiles from India. However, sources at India's Defense Ministry denied selling the missiles to Vietnam. After that, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry gave an ambiguous statement that neither confirmed nor denied the sale.

    What we now know that we didn't know then is that India and China were having back-channel negotiations to back down from the standoff on Bhutan's Doklam Plateau. In public, Chinese media were making vitriolic and offensive threats and accusations at India, saying that China's military would wipe out India's military unless India withdrew, and also saying that no negotiations were possible unless India unilaterally withdraw. That all turned out to be China's usual hot air, because the negotiations were already in progress, and resulted in a mutual pullback.

    So India's denial of the BrahMos sale to Vietnam came at a time when those negotiations were going on, and we still don't yet know whether India denied the sale because they had completed the same but didn't want to upset the negotiations, or because they really hadn't sold the missiles. Asia Times and The Diplomat (22-Aug) and New Delhi TV (23-Aug)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Sep-17 World View -- As other Asian nations back down, India and Vietnam become allies confronting China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    31-Aug-17 World View -- Cameroon's army to force English-speaking children to attend school

    Violence grows as Cameroon cracks down on Anglophone activists

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Anti-government tensions grow in Cameroon's English-speaking regions


    During protests earlier this year, Anglophone protesters used catapults against police in Bamenda, Cameroon (RFI)
    During protests earlier this year, Anglophone protesters used catapults against police in Bamenda, Cameroon (RFI)

    Tensions are growing in the Southern Cameroons provinces of Cameroon, the Anglophone (English-speaking) regions of the country. At least half a dozen schools have been burned down.

    The perpetrators are believed to be members of Ambazonia, the armed wing of the Liberation Movement of Southern Cameroons, a secessionist movement. Ambazonia is the name that the secessionists give to the Southern Cameroons region.

    The Anglophone minority is about 20% of the country's 23 million inhabitants. Starting late last year, there were protests by teachers and lawyers of discrimination by the majority Francophone (French-speaking) government. Anglophone lawyers protested that the legal and court systems are biased toward Francophones, with many laws passed without even being translated into English.

    Anglophone teachers went on strike last year, protesting that all courses in the schools had to be taught in French, and that any use of English was forbidden. Protests by Anglophone lawyers and teachers were dispersed by Cameroon security forces firing tear gas and live bullets.

    Recently, police discovered a cache of weapons and a bomb-making factory, resulting in the arrest of seven people. VOA and Bareta News

    Violence grows as Cameroon cracks down on Anglophone activists

    This year, Anglophone activists began using violence against the security police. The recent burning down of schools was presumably in support of the teachers' strike, which is still ongoing after almost a year.

    So-called "Ghost town" protests have brought Cameroon’s Anglophone regions to a standstill since the beginning of the year.

    The Cameroon government has tried a variety of nearly desperate measures to end the strike.

    In January, the government shut down all internet access in the Southern Cameroons, in order to end the protests. It never made any sense to me why the politicians thought that this would end the protests, but politicians are rarely the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    Anyway, people couldn't do only banking or purchases, and businesses in the region had to shut down. The internet shutdown was a disaster for Cameroon's economy, which lost around $3.1 million. In April, the government was forced to restore internet access.

    In February, Cameroon arrested three English-speaking protesters, Felix Agbor Balla, Fontem Aforteka'a Neba and Mancho Bibixy, and accused them of acts of terrorism, complicity in acts of terrorism, insurrection, propagation of false news, calling for civil war and calling for a return to the federal system, with the possibility of facing the death penalty.. However, they didn't have any actual evidence of those crimes, and so they were held in jail without trial.

    In an act of desperation, Cameroon's president Paul Biya announced yesterday (Wednesday) that all judicial proceedings against these and other activists would be ended, though it wasn't clear if or when they would be set free.

    This week, Biya has banned people from watching a popular cable television channel, SCBC, or the Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation, claiming that it "terrorizes our people." The channel broadcasts programs about the history and culture of the Anglophone region, as well as interviews with exiled lawyers and documentaries about human rights abuses in Cameroon.

    Unfortunately for Biya, the station broadcasts from South Africa, so he has no way of shutting it down, and South African authorities have refused to shut it down for him. Cable operators in Cameroon are no long permitted to broadcast the channel, but people can still watch it over the internet (particularly now that internet access has been restored).

    People can be arrested for watching the channel, and some have already been detained for having videos and text messages on their phones relating to the Anglophone protests. Journal du Cameroun and Amnesty International and Reuters and Journal du Cameroun

    Cameroon will use police and soldiers to force children to go to school.

    The government has deployed an additional 400 police to the Anglophone regions, to join the 959 already deployed. The job will be to safeguard the start of the school term from the "persistent threat of activists."

    According to Ayuk Tabe, who is considered by some as the de facto president of the Anglophone regions, "I don't know any child in this world who'll go to school because he or she has been dragged by a policeman or army officer."

    If you get the feeling that Cameroon's government is run by idiots, I have the same feeling. Instead of sending in the army to force children to go to school, another alternative might be to hire English-speaking teachers to teach things like geography and math in English rather than French, and also to hire some English-speaking judges who could run some courts in English. Steps like that would likely help more than shutting down the internet.

    Biya's clownish actions have been extremely destructive to Cameroon and to its people and economy, but they seem to be typical of what we've come to expect of African leaders. Paul Biya came to power in 1982 and, as usual in African countries, Biya has turned into a dictator, using abusive measures against anyone who even criticizes him, anything to keep himself and his cronies in control.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we've seen this time after time, in Syria, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Burundi, Thailand, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Eritrea, and other countries, where leaders in generational Awakening and Unraveling eras use arbitrary jailings, violence and atrocities to keep the opposition ethnic group out of power. Over a period of years, the violence worsens until it turns into a full-scale generational crisis civil war when the next generational crisis era arrives. Radio France Internationale and AFP

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Aug-17 World View -- Cameroon's army to force English-speaking children to attend school thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    30-Aug-17 World View -- Britain's Labor party makes dramatic U-turn on Brexit policy proposals

    Ireland calls Theresa May's Irish border proposal 'delusional'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Britain's Labor party makes dramatic U-turn on Brexit policy proposals


    Anti-Brexit protestors on June 25 of last year in London (Getty)
    Anti-Brexit protestors on June 25 of last year in London (Getty)

    Britain's opposition Labor party made a dramatic policy U-turn on Saturday on the terms of Brexit negotiations. The new position leaves open the possibility that that when Britain formally leaves the European on March 29, 2019, the terms of the UK-EU relationship will be essentially unchanged for years, and possibly forever. This could effectively nullify Brexit, for all practical purposes.

    Britain's Tory government, headed by prime minister Theresa May, has been struggling to define policies for the UK-EU relationship after March 2019, and has had little success so far. The intention is that there will be a "transitional period" for two years, during which further negotiations will take place on the terms of the final separation.

    There are hardliners on both the UK and EU negotiating sides that are going to make any agreement very difficult. The terms of any agreement will have to be approved by all 27 remaining EU members, by the UK government, and possibly by the UK parliament. It seems unlikely that any agreement whatsoever will be reached on anything, at least until late in 2018, when the time is so late and the situation so desperate that the parties will be forced to agree to something.

    Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary of the shadow government of Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn, published a proposal on Saturday that the UK negotiate a transitional deal with the EU that preserves the UK's continued membership in the EU single market, accepting all the terms of that membership, including free movement of people through Europe, including the UK, and accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice as having a higher priority than the UK's own courts.

    These are exactly the policies that drove the passage of the Brexit referendum -- blocking immigrants from reaching Britain, and giving Britain jurisdiction over its own laws -- so the Labor proposal effectively negates Brexit, especially if the Labor transitional deal lasts more than two years.

    According to some analysts, this proposal could run into trouble because it will be violating the terms of rules for exiting the EU described in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and therefore could be rejected by the European Court of Justice. The Germany parliament may also oppose the proposal.

    The negotiations this fall are expected to be extremely bitter and vitriolic on all sides. Guardian (London, 26-Aug) and Telegraph (London) and EuroIntelligence

    UK's Tory government struggles with Brexit policy positions

    The proposal by Labor is very simple, because it says that everything should be as before, with all the same privileges, rules and restrictions of the existing relationship.

    Theresa May has a much more difficult problem. A proposal that honors the spirit of Brexit requires that every minute law and regulation adopted by the EU and the UK over a period of decades be renegotiated. In fact, the EU and UK sides can't even agree which policies are to be negotiated first.

    The Tories are insisting that the terms of the trade relationship, or "customs union," between the UK and EU be agreed as quickly as possible, so that businesses on both sides will be able to plan for March 2019. The UK says that they can't agree on other things until they've determined what the trade relationship will be.

    The EU negotiators say the opposite. They can't agree on the trade relationship until the terms of the "divorce" have been settled. There are three questions that the EU negotiators say have to be resolved first:

    The trade issue, when negotiations finally begin, is liable to just as contentious. Theresa May would like an agreement of a "customs union" that would allow for "frictionless trade" between the UK and EU, with minimum rules and custom duties. She would also like for UK to be able to begin negotiating trade deals with other countries, such as the US and China.

    The problem with that proposal is that it makes a customs union impossible. The idea behind the EU single market is that anyone can trade with anyone else in the customs union with no tariffs, but imports from other countries could be taxed to protect European agriculture and other products. But if the UK is part of the EU single market, and the UK can also make its own deals with other countries, then other countries could then gain tariff-free trade with the entire EU simply by trans-shipping all goods through the UK. Business Insider (16-Feb) and UK government Brexit position papers

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    Ireland calls Theresa May's Irish border proposal 'delusional'

    Britain's government two weeks ago published its position paper on the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland (southern Ireland), which is an independent nation, but a member state of the EU. The only land border between the UK and other EU members is the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Ireland and Northern Ireland have an extremely bloody history, largely fought between the indigenous Gaelics versus the descendants of the English and Scottish invaders. (See "23-Jun-11 News -- Sectarian violence in Northern Ireland grows again")

    During the 1960s-90s, in a period known as "the Troubles," there was a great deal of violence in Northern Ireland. It was mostly resolved by the "Good Friday agreement" in 1998, and part of that agreement is that the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland must be completely open.

    If the UK leaves the EU under Brexit, then the border in Ireland would be a border between the UK and EU, subject to the usual tariffs and customs rules.

    Theresa May is proposing some kind of "invisible electronic border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but Ireland's EU Commissioner Phil Hogan says that this is delusional:

    "I think that there's a high level of delusion in London at the moment about what is required to be done.

    But if there is an appetite for a pragmatic and reasonable outcome to a free-trade agreement, well then membership of the customs union would make a significant contribution to this.

    I'm very concerned about the Irish question. Ireland is probably the biggest victim of this mess. [UK ministers] still don't realize that the other 27 [member states] have to agree to this transition period of two or three years or whatever they're going to be seeking."

    An Irish Government source confirmed it is prepared to use the "nuclear option" of vetoing the transition period. UK Brexit policy on Ireland and Independent (Ireland)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Aug-17 World View -- Britain's Labor party makes dramatic U-turn on Brexit policy proposals thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    29-Aug-17 World View -- China and India pull back from Doklam, while North Korea sharply escalates missile crisis

    North Korea launches ballistic missile into Japan's airspace

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China and India announce pullback agreement on Doklam Plateau


    Chinese army soldiers in military training (Reuters, 2013)
    Chinese army soldiers in military training (Reuters, 2013)

    China and India made surprising announcements on Monday that they had agreed to pull back troops to reduce tension on Bhutan's Doklam Plateau.

    For almost three months, China and India have each had 300 soldiers just 100 meters apart on the plateau, 3,000 meters above sea level. India did not increase its troop strength on the plateau itself, but brought troops into bases nearby, and raising the alert level in preparation for war.

    The border dispute involving China, India and Bhutan over the Doklam Plateau continued to escalate for a long time, as we reported. China attempted to annex the region, which belongs to Bhutan, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help, resulting in a standoff.

    China made increasingly vitriolic threats towards India, saying that there couldn't be negotiations until India unilaterally withdrew its troops, and that China's army would destroy India's army if India didn't withdraw.

    So now it turns out that there have been secret negotiations going on for weeks, despite the vitriolic threats.

    China's foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying announced China's position at a press briefing:

    "Q: We have learned that on the afternoon of August 28, the Indian border troops and equipment that illegally crossed the Sikkim sector of the China-India border have all been withdrawn to the Indian side, marking an end to the trespassing incident. Do you have more information?

    A: On June 18, the Indian border troops illegally crossed the well-delimited China-India border in the Sikkim Sector into China's Dong Lang area. China has lodged representations with the Indian side many times through diplomatic channels, made the facts and truth of this situation known to the international community, clarified China's solemn position and explicit demands, and urged India to immediately pull back its border troops to the India's side. In the meantime, the Chinese military has taken effective countermeasures to ensure the territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests of the state.

    At about 2:30 p.m. of August 28, the Indian side withdrew all its border personnel and equipment that were illegally on the Chinese territory to the Indian side. The Chinese personnel onsite have verified this situation. China will continue fulfilling its sovereign rights to safeguard territorial sovereignty in compliance with the stipulations of the border-related historical treaty."

    Hua received additional questions, pressing her to explain whether China had also pulled back. She apparently became increasingly annoyed and the questions, and finally answered:

    "A: The Indian side has withdrawn all its trespassing border personnel and equipment to the Indian side. The Chinese personnel onsite have verified this situation. China will continue fulfilling its sovereign rights to safeguard territorial sovereignty in compliance with the stipulations of the border-related historical treaty. In light of the changes on the ground, China will accordingly make necessary adjustments and deployment."

    India's Ministry of External Affairs also issued a statement:

    "In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam. During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests.

    On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going."

    China's Foreign Ministry and India's Ministry of External Affairs

    Related: China and India prepare for border war at Doklam Plateau (12-Aug-2017)

    Many unanswered questions about the China-India Doklam agreement

    The two announcements leave many questions unanswered, including the following:

    Once again, we have to point out that China is a highly militarized country, with a huge army and bristling with missiles, and it's lied repeatedly and continuously about its claims and criminal activities in the South China Sea, and so there is no reason to believe any claims they make about Bhutan's territory on the Doklam Plateau.

    My personal belief, based on all the reports that I've read, is that China was completely surprised by what happened. I believe that China expected to overwhelm Bhutan's army and annex the Doklam Plateau quickly and easily. Instead, I believe that the Chinese were completely surprised by India's intervention, making a quick and easy victory impossible. New Delhi TV and India Today

    North Korea launches ballistic missile into Japan's airspace


    Map showing trajectory of North Korean missile (Yonhap)
    Map showing trajectory of North Korean missile (Yonhap)

    North Korea on Tuesday fired a long-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan, traveling more than 2,700 km with a maximum altitude of around 550 km. Technically, that's an act of war, but Japan didn't try to shoot it down, nor did the United States.

    Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe said:

    "The North Korean missile that was launched passed over our nation and landed in the Pacific Ocean. The government had been monitoring the launch from the moment it was fired.

    We have done our utmost to ensure the safety of the people. The missile that passed over our nation represents the greatest and gravest threat to our nation ever. It is also a threat to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

    This reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat."

    North Korea has been trying to develop a ballistic missile with a nuclear payload since the 1990s, and international attempts have been made to dissuade further development. However, diplomacy hasn't worked, sanctions haven't worked, threats of retaliation haven't work, and Security Council resolutions haven't worked. Government leaders in many countries -- the US, Russia, China, South Korea, and so forth -- have made delusional statements about negotiations with North Korea, but they've repeatedly failed.

    So one choice now is to accept North Korea as a full-fledged nuclear, using nuclear weapons for all sorts of international blackmail. The other choice now is a military option of some kind. One way or the other, the question should be answered within a few months. Korea Times and Australian Financial Review and Reuters and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

    Related: Japan will shoot down N. Korean missiles via 'collective self-defense' (13-Aug-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Aug-17 World View -- China and India pull back from Doklam, while North Korea sharply escalates missile crisis thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    28-Aug-17 World View -- Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically

    Rise of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militant insurgency

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically


    Bangladesh border guards at the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, to prevent Rohingyas from crossing.  There are already 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. (AFP)
    Bangladesh border guards at the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, to prevent Rohingyas from crossing. There are already 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. (AFP)

    Violence between Burma's (Myanmar's) mostly Buddhist army and Muslim ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State has sharply escalated in the last four days, to the point where it's feared that it may have reached a dangerous turning point.

    Starting in 2011, Buddhists have been attacking Muslims in villages across Burma, particularly the 1.1 million ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State. Mobs of Buddhists have attacked Muslims, conducting atrocities including torture and rape, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to flee from the attacks. In some cases, the Buddhists have burned down entire Rohingya villages to the ground.

    The current round of violence was triggered on Friday when Rohingya insurgents carried out a series of coordinated attacks against 30 Burma police outposts and an army base. Using knives, some guns and homemade explosives they killed at least a dozen security force members.

    The army responded with a sweep of violence against Rohingyas, causing thousands of them to flee their villages and head for the Bangladesh border, where they hoped to cross and reach a refugee camp. The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh said Saturday that "thousands of unarmed civilians" from Rakhine state had gathered near its border and were "making attempts to enter Bangladesh." The Burmese army shot them as they were fleeing, including women and children, killing dozens. However, Bangladesh already has 400,000 Rohingyas in its refugee camps and its border guards are refusing to allow any more to enter, and so the Rohingyas trying to flee are hiding out along the border between the two countries. However, an estimated 2,000 Rohingyas have made the crossing since Friday.

    Yesterday, Bangladesh handed over a protest note to the Myanmar envoy in Dhaka, and called upon Myanmar country to stop any fresh flow of Rohingyas towards Bangladesh. CNN and AFP and Daily Star (Bangladesh)

    Rise of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militant insurgency

    The leader of the Buddhist atrocities is Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who says that he's just trying to protect Burma from Muslims. He calls his movement the "969" movement, where 969 is a historic Buddhist sign, referring to the nine qualities of Buddha, the six qualities of Buddha's teaching, and nine qualities of the Buddhist community. 969 is supposed to promote peace and happiness, although Wirathu's 969 movement is a vehicle promoting violence,

    After three years of Buddhist atrocities directed at Rohingyas, a radicalized group of Rohingyas formed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

    ARSA took responsibility for attacks on 8 police posts in October of last year. Those attacks sparked a wave of deadly "clearance operations" by Myanmar’s army and forced some 87,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. The UN believes that military crackdown may have amounted to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

    During the past week, the United Nations Rakhine Advisory Commission, headed by Kofi Annan, issued a final report that confirmed these conclusions.

    ARSA has also taken responsibility for the coordinated attacks on 30 police outposts and an army base that took place on Friday. Whereas the "clearance operations" by Myanmar's army last October appeared to be reasonably disciplined, the reports of the army's attacks on Rohingyas in the last three days suggest that they are extremely undisciplined and disorganized.

    There are also reports of growing violence between ARSA and the Myanmar army, including reports that ARSA militants are shooting at Rohingyas who are trying to flee to Bangladesh.

    India's government is taking a strong position in favor of Myanmar's government, and against the Rohingyas. According to external affairs ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar:

    "India is seriously concerned by reports of renewed violence and attacks by terrorists in northern Rakhine State of Myanmar. We are deeply saddened at the loss of lives among members of the Myanmar security forces.

    Such attacks deserve to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We hope that the perpetrators of these crimes will be brought to justice and we extend our strong support at this challenging moment to the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar."

    The clashes in Rakhine state are current turning into a mêlée that could become a lot more serious quickly, if not now, then when the next round of violence occurs. As the clashes between Buddhists and Muslims continue to grow in Myanmar (Burma), other neighboring countries are also going to be forced to choose sides. Straits Times and AFP and Reuters and Hindustan Times

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Aug-17 World View -- Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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