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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 22-Mar-2014
22-Mar-14 World View -- The 'New Normal': Russia and China annex other countries' territories with impunity

Web Log - March, 2014

22-Mar-14 World View -- The 'New Normal': Russia and China annex other countries' territories with impunity

Xi Jinping redirects China's ideology from Marxism to Nationalism

This morning's key headlines from

The 'New Normal': Russia and China annex other countries' territories with impunity

Pro-Russian troops in Crimea on Thursday (AP)
Pro-Russian troops in Crimea on Thursday (AP)

With Russia's annexation of Crimea now a fait accompli, it's well to remember that this isn't the first recent annexation of other countries' territories. China has already seized islands in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to the Philippines and Vietnam, and is operating on the belief that any "short, sharp attack" on any one island won't bring an American response. China intends to continue annexing islands in this fashion. ( "16-Jan-14 World View -- China threatens military seizure of South China Sea island from Philippines")

The news on Friday is that Russia is massing over 20,000 troops on the border with eastern Ukraine, evidently with the intention of invading, in order annex some or all of that territory. It's really not logical for Russia's president Vladimir Putin to stop with Crimea, since there are plenty of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, and because Crimea can't survive without the fresh water, electricity, gas and food that it imports from Ukraine. NBC News

Russia protests Estonia's treatment of its Russian minority

Russia has long complained about Estonia's insistence that its large Russian minority in the country should learn to speak Estonian. But recent remarks by Russian diplomats that, for example, Russia was "concerned by steps taken .. in Estonia as well as in Ukraine" to user language to "segregate and isolate groups" is giving rise to fears that Estonia is one of the countries on Vladimir Putin's list to be invaded in order to protect Russian citizens.

Estonia has a centuries old bitter history with Russia. People today vividly remember that Josef Stalin's Red Army reoccupied Estonia in June 1940, and made it part of the Soviet Union. On a one-night operation, June 13-14, 1941, thousands of Estonians, mostly women and children, were deported to Siberia, while tens of thousands of men were forcibly relocated to Russia to fight in the army. This period of bloody Soviet rule left a deep mark on the Estonians, and so when the German Nazis invaded later in 1941, they were greeted as liberators. The Nazis were just as brutal as the Soviets, but when the Red Army returned in September, 1944, some 70,000 Estonians fled the country, and formed a diaspora throughout Europe and North America. After the war, Stalin's Soviet brutality continued by forcing ethnic Russians to relocate to Estonia to dilute the Estonian population. Estonia only became independent in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Today, as Estonia is well into a new generational Crisis era, it is haunted by ghosts of "Nazi sympathizers" who opposed the Soviets, and a substantial Russian minority, mainly descendants of Russians whom Stalin had forced to relocate to Estonia after the war, who consider themselves to be victims as well.

There are several countries that separate Russia from the European Union, and many of them have sizable ethnic Russian minorities who consider themselves to be victims. Many of these countries, including Estonia, are members of Nato, meaning that if Russia invades, then Nato will be required by treaty to fight the invasion militarily.

Russia as a whole, and Putin in particular, are becoming increasingly nationalistic, and it's possible that Putin will conclude from the experience of annexing Crimea that Nato won't respond militarily even after a Nato country is invaded, but will simply adopt new sanctions such as making it illegal for Russian politicians to visit Disneyland. Similarly, the Chinese may conclude from Russia's experience in Crimea and their own experiences in the South China Sea that they can continue annexing other people's islands and territories with impunity. But that would be a mistake on the part of the Russians and Chinese. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, nationalism is going to surge on all sides in this generational Crisis era.

It's true that there's a "new normal" today that permits Russia and China to annex foreign territories with impunity. But actually it's the same "old normal" that existed in 1938 when Britain allowed Nazi Germany to annex Sudetenland with impunity. As nationalism increases on all sides, which always happens in a generational Crisis era, sooner or later the "new normal" gives way to military force, and a new war, which has been the "real normal" since time immemorial. International Business Times

Xi Jinping redirects China's ideology from Marxism to Nationalism

A year after taking office, president Xi Jinping is emerging as the strongest Chinese leader in decades. He's adopted Mao Zedong's populist style by means of photo ops such as eating steamed buns with ordinary citizens.

Xi is also making deep changes to China's ideological culture, in order to resolve a major ideological conflict. Modern China was founded when Mao and his peasant revolutionaries defeated Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists, in the climax of the Communist Revolution in 1949. Today, however, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) elites in Beijing cower in fear at the thought of a new Mao-style peasant revolution. So just as Mao's movement obliterated China's Nationalist past, replacing it with a revolutionary Marxist culture, Xi is introducing a new orthodoxy which obliterates Mao's revolutionary culture in favor of a return to the Nationalist past. This includes a new revival of Confucius and "the excellent elements of traditional Chinese culture." Naturally, this new direction also builds on the popular resurgence of interest in traditional culture among many citizens, amid the sense that Chinese society has lost its moorings in the midst of rapid economic and social change.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, none of this is going to make any difference. The lives of 1.35 billion Chinese are not going to be affected in any way by the adoption by a few Beijing elites of a new ideological culture. These cultural changes always come from the people, anyway, not from the politicians or elites. China had a "peasant revolution" in the 1850s-60s called the "Taiping Rebellion," and had another peasant revolution in the 1930s-40 called the "Communist Revolution." China is now due for a new peasant rebellion, and an ideological diktat won't change that in any way. Jamestown

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Mar-14 World View -- The 'New Normal': Russia and China annex other countries' territories with impunity thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Mar-2014) Permanent Link
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