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


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 3-Aug-07
Still tilting at windmills, the UN will send "peacekeepers" to Darfur

Web Log - August, 2007

Still tilting at windmills, the UN will send "peacekeepers" to Darfur

What "peace" is there to keep in this massive crisis civil war?

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to deploy an international force of 26,000 peacekeepers to Darfur, with a mandate to stop the massacres of civilians that have killed hundreds of thousands of people and created millions of refugees.

The resolution is considered to be a major foreign policy victory for Gordon Brown, who has just replaced Tony Blair as Britain's Prime Minister.

This must be the most popular war in the world. Everyone (or almost everyone) was in favor of 2003 invasion of Iraq when they thought it would be easy, but not it's being described as the greatest crime in the history of the world.

But the Darfur war is different. This is a wonderful war, something that's worth intervening in. And besides, it'll be easy, won't it?

In 2004, so-called "peace activist" Jesse Jackson called for sending American troops to Darfur. He was against the Iraq war, presumably because that's a "bad" war, but he was all gung-ho about charging into the middle of the Darfur civil war, I guess because that would be a "good" war.

And Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who may well be the stupidest person in the Senate, wants to move troops from Iraq to Darfur civil war. He was on Meet the Press a few weeks ago, with a long harangue about how "incompetent" Bush was because he sent too few troops into Iraq, and he said over and over that the surge is a failure because "All the troops in the world cannot settle a civil war." And then he goes on to claim that we should send 2500 troops into Darfur to "end the carnage" and "stop the bleeding."

So he's criticizing Bush for sending too few troops into the Iraq war, which is NOT a civil war, but wants to send 2500 troops into Darfur, which IS a civil war involving millions of people.

What is it about the Darfur civil war that makes everyone so stupid?

Reuters published a "Fact Box" on the Darfur war a couple of days ago. It begins:

Now that doesn't convey what happened at all. I went to a lot of trouble over many months to dig out this history of this war, and I summarized the history a few weeks ago.

I won't repeat it all here, but it's important to understand that this war began as a series of land disputes in the 1970s, with low-level violence increasing over time. The Janjaweed militias were formed in the 1990s as a kind of people force to settle these disputed.

Darfur - southwest region of Sudan <font size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Darfur - southwest region of Sudan (Source: BBC)

What makes the Darfur war extremely fascinating from the point of view of Generational Dynamics is two events:

In April, 2002, some young men of one Darfur village complained to the Sudan authorities that the Janjaweed militias were harassing them. But instead of getting, help, the young men were jailed.

I keep talking on this web site about how tiny events can have huge effects, provided that they take place at the time of certain generational changes, and this was one of those times. The Darfurians were infuriated by the action by the government.

Now, the event that Reuters identifies as the start of the war occurred on February 26, 2003, when those young men attacked a police station to take back their lost weapons from the time of the arrest.

This triggered PANIC in Sudanese in Khartoum, and that soon escalated into the fighting we're talking about now. That's what happens to all countries in generational Crisis eras. That's what happened last summer when two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped near the Lebanon border and and Israel panicked and launched the Lebanon war within four hours, with no plan and no objectives. That's how generational crisis wars start.

When all the fuss over Darfur started in June, 2004, I wrote that "the UN is completely irrelevant" By this I meant that UN peacekeepers could no more stop this crisis civil war than UN peacekeepers could stop a tsunami.

This new UN attempt appears to be something of a joke. First off, there's no peace for the peacekeepers to keep. Second, it will take many months to form the 26,000 man force. Third, the peacekeepers are not authorized to fight, so they'll have to stand and watch the genocide occur.

Actually, that's what happened in 1995 with the Srebrenica massacre. To this day, the Europeans are still in shock that they "allowed" this to happen, right in their own backyard.

And the fourth reason that the UN resolution is a joke is because it will do no good under any circumstances. As I've said before, a crisis civil war cannot be stopped any more than a tsunami can be stopped. A crisis civil war is an elemental force of nature.

But fortunately, all is not lost. Gordon Brown can now brag about his brilliant political victory. President Bush can claim some credit too. In fact, there's enough credit to around for all the Security Council members and their leaders to enjoy. They can brag about how they accomplished stuff. They can point to it when it's re-election time. It's a total victory to everyone except those being killed in Darfur.

This evening, a web site reader sent me an e-mail message with a link to a Slate article, "Getting Comfy With Genocide."

The author, Ron Rosenbaum, argues that "there seems to be an emerging consensus, or at least an unspoken shared assumption, that genocide is not the exception but the rule in human affairs. The past century, from the Armenians to the Jews to the Rwandans, from Bosnia to the Congo to Darfur, certainly makes it seem that way."

In fact, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, genocide IS the rule in human affairs.

The article says,

"One aspect of the shift is a new "realism" about genocide that reflects the way the world has come to tolerate it: We now tacitly concede that in practice, we can't or won't do much more than deplore it and learn to live with it.

Another—more troubling—trend is toward what we might call "defining genocide down": redefining genocide to refer to lesser episodes of killing and thus lessening the power of the word to shock.

One has to admire the honesty of Barack Obama, who argued in the recent Democratic YouTube debate that even if rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq might lead to genocide, he'd favor going ahead and getting the troops out. He wasn't saying he was happy about the possibility—he was just expressing the view that the word genocide shouldn't freeze all discourse: He wouldn't let it be a deal-breaker.

Some were shocked by this remark. Others agreed that fear of a future genocide should not inhibit efforts to stop the current killing. ...

In other words, let's get real. Let's not pretend we care about the possibility of future genocide in Iraq if we do little or nothing about it where it's already happening now [in Congo and Darfur]."

So it's interesting that the author appears to be endorsing a major principle of Generational Dynamics, even though he probably knows nothing about Generational Dynamics. (3-Aug-07) Permanent Link
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