Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 5-Feb-07
Politicians are behaving increasingly anxious and desperate

Web Log - February, 2007

Politicians are behaving increasingly anxious and desperate

Once again, there was little that made sense on the Sunday news talk shows.

Senator John McCain, speaking on the ABC show, explained what would happen if we withdraw from Iraq:

"If we withdraw, you'll see a level of violence that will exceed anything that we have seen. You'll see a bloodletting in Baghdad that makes Srebrenica look like a Sunday school picnic. If we leave, we'll have to come back at some time, because the Sunnis, Turks and Kurds will be involved."

Well, as it turns out I wrote an article on the Srebrenica massacre, when the survivors were commemorating the 10th anniversary in 2005.

But, as I've explained too many times to count, Iraq is not in a civil war, and even if you insist on calling what's going on today a "civil war," it still can't spiral up into a Srebrenica-like massacre for many decades. That's because Iraq is in a generational "Awakening" era, and a Srebrenica-type massacre is impossible except in a generational "Crisis" era, and Iraq is decades away from that.

So once again, we went through another day of discussion based on entirely wrong assumptions. This means that many possible solutions are being discarded because of the supposed danger of a Srebrenica-like massacre. This is a HUGE PROBLEM in today's government policy-making, and mistakes like this can cause disasters.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd express look anxious and furious as they addressed their Democratic party colleagues on Friday. <font face=Arial size=-2>(Source: ABC)</font>
Senators Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd express look anxious and furious as they addressed their Democratic party colleagues on Friday. (Source: ABC)

America is, of course, currently in a generational "Crisis" era, and one way to see that is how desperate and angry the politicians are getting. This was very apparent on Friday, as can be seen from the adjacent screen shots, depicting their facial expressions when they were addressing their fellow Democrats on Friday. Typical comments were to the effect: "George Bush is incompetent" and "George Bush is stupid" and "George Bush sucks." It's not too easy to tell the speeches apart.

This has its humorous side, of course, and the politicians are so paralyzed by their own bickering that they can't even vote themselves a pay raise. This is one of the few things about today's situation in Washington that still gives me a chuckle.

Actually, I got another chuckle on Sunday morning when George Will described how the Democrats are competing in a kind of auction to decide who can be the first to end the war:

There's an auction underway. There's a bidding war.

Hillary Clinton said this (on Friday): "If we in Congress don't end this war before January of 2009, as president, I will." That means, she said [she'll end the war in] 23 months.

Edwards says, bring 50,000 out now, and the rest within 18 months.

Senator Obama said, "Pikers! No, 14 months."

Governor Richardson in New Mexico said he wants them out in this calendar year. That's a little bit less than 11 months.

But Mr. Vilsack, not to be outdone, says he wants them out immediately.

The only way you top that is by saying you want the troops out by last Thursday. And I assume that someone will say that soon.

One reason that George Will's speech is so funny is because the politicians look like morons doing this, especially since none of them is willing to challenge the belief that if we withdraw then we'll have that Srebrenica-type massacre that John McCain was talking about. That's part of the "common wisdom" in Washington now.

The other reason that this is so funny is because all they're doing anyway is screaming and yelling at each other like a bunch of teenage girls, since the most they're going to do about it is pass a non-binding resolution whining about the war, and they probably won't even be able to do that. I used to have a little respect for Hillary Clinton because she took a principled position on the Iraq war in 2003 and stuck to it, unlike her peers who simply jumped into the mud en masse to grovel after the latest poll results. But now she's down in the mud with the rest of them. Is there anyone who really likes this bunch? It's hard for me to believe.

John Edwards on Meet the Press very harshly blamed the incompetence of the Bush administration, but seems to have absolved them of the charge of lying about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). He says that in 2002, when the intelligence was being discussed, he spoke with his contacts from the Clinton administration, and they all agreed that the there were WMDs in Iraq.

Here's another quote, from Senator Dianne Feinstein on CNN: "[The Iraqi government] refuses to do what's necessary to stem the tide of this civil war. Therefore the American presence becomes a buffer in the middle of Shia against Shia, Shia against Sunni, al-Qaeda foreign fighters, and a huge conflagration that's building."

No, Senator Feinstein, there's no huge conflagration building.

I wrote down another quote: "This place could go chaotic, no matter what you do." But I must have forgotten to write down who said it. Tsk. I'll have to be more careful in the future, but what's the difference? Any of them might have said it.

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol, speaking on the Fox News show, described the Democrats' behavior as "desperate." I have to agree, since that's exactly what I was thinking.

I've come to recognize what's going on, as more examples pile up.

Do you remember, dear reader, what I wrote about on December 7. I described it as possibly the most bizarre day even Washington had ever seen.

You had Jim Baker, head of the Iraq Study Group, holding up his index finger and saying, "Flip Syria! Flip Syria! Flip Syria!"

You had Bob Gates being confirmed as the new Secretary of Defense, saying, "We're not winning the war, we're not losing the war, but the present policy isn't working." Do you remember what Senator Ted Kennedy said to that remark? He congratulated Bob Gates for the "great atmospherics."

And we had journalist David Gergen say this on CNN: "This is the best moment we've had in over three years."

Yes, people were giddy, giggling, jivin', hangin' loose, and everyone was happy.

But oh, they aren't happy any more. They're a bunch of manic-depressives who were in a manic state two months ago, but are now in a depressive stage. Can't they just take a pill? Instead, they're just yelling. "George Bush is an idiot." "End the war now." "George Bush sucks."

In fact, we really saw this a couple of weeks ago, after George Bush's "library" speech, when NBC "journalist" Chris Matthews melted down on MSNBC, and ranted and raved about the stupidity of George Bush for half an hour, when it was perfectly clear that Matthews had no idea what he was talking about.

I've seen this same kind of behavior in friends, as well, both online and analog. There's a kind of desperate fanaticism, as they panic and almost become crazy. It happened last week to the entire city of Boston, as people exploded over the cartoon hoax.

Well, that's not quite right, is it. It was the college-age fans of the cartoon show who were laughing and ridiculing the Boomers, and it was the Boomers who were furious. Same with all the other examples -- it's always the Boomers who are bickering and yelling at each other, and it's the same Boomers who are now melting down, as their anxiety turns to panic and fury and fanaticism.

Washington is in a very dangerous place right now. It's filled with Boomers who think they know everything but are very ignorant, who think they know what's right but are having their core beliefs challenged at every turn, who think they're good at politics, but are ready to strike out in fury at anyone who challenges them.

And, as I've pointed out before, it's not just America. Pretty much every country that fought in World War II is in a similar state of anxiety, panic and fury. Something that we don't like may very well be happening soon. (5-Feb-07) Permanent Link
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