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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 23-Aug-2014
23-Aug-14 World View -- Who's to blame for the rise of ISIS?

Web Log - August, 2014

23-Aug-14 World View -- Who's to blame for the rise of ISIS?

In major escalation, Russia moves trucks, troops, artillery into Ukraine

This morning's key headlines from

Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. surveillance plane in international waters

Photo taken on Tuesday by surveillance plane of Chinese J-11 fighter jet conducting a 'dangerous intercept' of the surveillance plane (DOD)
Photo taken on Tuesday by surveillance plane of Chinese J-11 fighter jet conducting a 'dangerous intercept' of the surveillance plane (DOD)

The Obama administration is launching a protest to China, after a Chinese fighter plane made three passes dangerously near a U.S. surveillance plane in international waters.

The incident is reminiscent of an April 2001 encounter, when a Chinese F-8 interceptor crashed into a U.S. surveillance aircraft off the southern China coast. The Chinese aircraft crashed into the sea, and its crew was killed. The U.S. plane made an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island, and its 24 crew members were imprisoned for 10 days.

In the current incident, a Chinese J-11 fighter jet, a version of the Russian SU-27, made three passes dangerously near the U.S. plane, and zoomed directly in front of the Navy plane at a 90-degree angle to reveal its belly, which was packed with weaponry, according to a Pentagon spokesman. At one point the Chinese warplane flew alongside the Navy aircraft, putting their wingtips as close as 30 feet apart. The encounter ended with the Chinese pilot doing a barrel roll over the top of the U.S. plane. Stars and Stripes and Washington Free Beacon

Who's to blame for the rise of ISIS?

Politicians in Washington are scrambling to explain why they didn't foresee the rise of the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS). Apparently the White House talking points are that when President Obama referred in January to ISIS as "a JV [junior varsity] team," it's because no one could foresee what would happen in the eight months since then.

In 2011, when Syria's Alawite/Shia president Bashar al-Assad started exterminating innocent Sunni women and children, it was obvious to me and everyone that something was going to happen. As time went on, al-Assad turned Syria into a global "jihadist magnet," drawing jihadists and would-be jihadists from around the world. I wrote about that constantly, and how dangerous it was. No matter how obvious, Washington is filled with highly paid analysts and experts and politicians who apparently were incapable of seeing that coming.

Navi Pillay, the U.N.'s High commissioner for human rights, says that it was pretty obvious to her as well. On Friday, she strongly criticized the Security Council for allowing the situation in Syria to "metastasize" out of control:

"Short term geopolitical considerations and national interests, narrowly defined, have repeatedly taken precedence over intolerable human suffering and grave breaches of and long term threats to international peace and security. I firmly believe that greater responsiveness by this council would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. ...

[Syria's conflict] is metastasizing outwards in an uncontrollable process whose eventual limits we cannot predict."

This remark was clearly intended to condemn Russia, not only for vetoing any attempt to even criticize al-Assad for trying to exterminate Sunnis, but even to provide a continuing supply of heavy weapons so that he can do the job more thoroughly. She stated the consequences of the Security Council's inaction, and she used a phrase that's worth remembering: Syria's conflict "is metastasizing outwards in an uncontrollable process whose eventual limits we cannot predict."

So now panic is setting in the White House -- panic that they're going to be blamed for doing nothing. The White House said on Friday that the U.S. would do "whatever it takes" to stop ISIS. They were talking about using air strikes to defeat ISIS, as they've been doing in Iraq for several weeks. But every analyst I heard said that ISIS would never be defeated with air power alone, and ISIS would never be defeated unless it were attacked in Syria, as well as Iraq.

So the White House sees itself being dragged back into an Iraq war, but this time involving Syria as well. The White House sees this as politically damaging to them.

The White House refused to exclude air strikes in Syria as well, raising the possibility of partnering up with the genocidal monster Bashar al-Assad to fight ISIS. Several analysts have pointed out that the Syrian regime has very sophisticated anti-aircraft capabilities, and there's a real risk that an American warplane would be shot down.

The larger picture is that in this generational Crisis era, there's a kind of "ping-pong escalation" going on. Each entity does something to raise the stakes, and then the other side has to go even farther. The is the "regeneracy" process described by generational theory. There is no realistic scenario that I'm aware of that would defeat ISIS without a full-scale war in Iraq and Syria. "Whatever it takes" is going to be a very great deal indeed.

The same kind of ping-pong escalation is going on in the Gaza war. Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that Hamas "would pay a heavy price" for the death of a four year old Israeli boy on Thursday, killed by a Hamas rocket from Gaza. An Israeli air strike on Thursday killed three top Hamas military advisers. Hamas promised revenge, even against its own people -- Hamas killed 18 Palestinian "collaborators" in Gaza.

There's little doubt where all this is going -- full-scale war in the Mideast. What a lot of politicians are worried about today is who is going to get the blame. Guardian (London)

In major escalation, Russia moves trucks, troops, artillery into Ukraine

Nato is reporting that Russian troops have moved artillery across the border into eastern Ukraine and are firing on the Ukrainian military from inside Ukraine's borders. This is a major escalation by Russia, and threatens a larger war between Ukraine and Russia. It's been known for some time that Russia has been surreptitiously supplying to the pro-Russian separatist militias heavy weapons, including the surface-to-air missiles that the separatists used to shoot down the Malaysian Airlines flight 17 passenger plane.

At the same time, Russia's massive 280-truck "humanitarian convoy" moved across the border from Russia into Ukraine, without the permission of the Ukraine government. The convoy was supposed to be coordinated with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who would take responsibility for overseeing the distribution of aid, but the convoy no longer has any connection with the ICRC. Ukraine's government is calling this a "direct invasion."

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued the strongest condemnation yet of Russia's actions:

"I condemn the entry of a Russian so-called humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and without any involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross. This is a blatant breach of Russia’s international commitments, including those made recently in Berlin and Geneva, and a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia. It can only deepen the crisis in the region, which Russia itself has created and has continued to fuel. The disregard of international humanitarian principles raises further questions about whether the true purpose of the aid convoy is to support civilians or to resupply armed separatists.

These developments are even more worrying as they coincide with a major escalation in Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces. In addition, Russian artillery support – both cross-border and from within Ukraine – is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces. We have also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, NATO is observing an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine."

Rassmussen added that, "Instead of de-escalating the situation, Russia continues to escalate it."

Russia responded in the U.N. Security Council by criticizing Lithuania, a temporary member. for having requested an emergency meeting to discuss Ukraine, and for systematically opposing Russian initiatives. According to Russia's U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin:

"At times it seems there is no clear chain of command in Kiev, because some assurances are given (to Russia) at a very high level and then others do not give the orders which are required ... by the border police to let the (aid) trucks in. That game could not continue indefinitely."

"We waited long enough and it was time to move," he added. "And this is what we did."

Washinton Post and Nato News and Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Aug-14 World View -- Who's to blame for the rise of ISIS? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Aug-2014) Permanent Link
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