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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 24-Dec-2018
24-Dec-18 World View -- Generational Dynamics analysis of the troop withdrawal from Syria

Web Log - December, 2018

24-Dec-18 World View -- Generational Dynamics analysis of the troop withdrawal from Syria

The future of Generational Dynamics

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from

Donald Trump's announcement of troop withdrawal signals end of 'War on Terror'

James Mattis and Donald Trump (Reuters)
James Mattis and Donald Trump (Reuters)

President Donald Trump's announcements of troop withdrawal from Syria and partial troop withdrawal from Afghanistan signal a major policy change, in that it signals the end of the "War on Terror" that began on 9/11/2001.

The announcement is being widely ridiculed by the mainstream press and politicians, most of whom probably couldn't find Syria on a map if they had to.

Much of the ridicule followed from the letter of resignation from Defense Secretary James Mattis, following Trump's announcement:

"My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position."

Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, also resigned. Typical remarks from the mainstream media are that the Trump White House is now in a downward spiral because Mattis was "the only adult in the room."

With this major change of policy occurring right at the end of 2018, an end-of-the-year look at events is in order. As the end of the year approaches, this is a good time for a thorough review of many Generational Dynamics principles and to see how these principles apply to an in-depth analysis of the announced troop withdrawal from Syria. Military Times and Fox News

Generational Dynamics analysis of the troop withdrawal from Syria

In the last two years, I've seen and heard one hysterical condemnation of president Trump's policies after another in the mainstream media, mostly from so-called "experts" who have no clue what's going on in the world. These people have been wrong almost every time, but that never stops them.

On the other hand, I've written thousands of generational analyses in the last 15 years, and they've all turned out to be true or are trending true. None has turned out to be wrong.

The withdrawal from Syria signals a major change in policy that has completely baffled the mainstream "experts." So these people have been repeatedly wrong time after time for two years, and I've been repeatedly right for two years, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to be right again, and they're going to be wrong again. So, Dear Reader, believe whom you wish.

In the last two years, I've pointed out many times that Trump's policies make perfect sense when viewed from the point of view of Generational Dynamics. Trump himself is familiar with Generational Dynamics analyses, because he was educated about them by his former chief strategist and advisor Steve Bannon, with whom I worked off and on for several years. And, once again, despite the fact that the mainstream "experts" are totally baffled, Trump's policies in Syria make perfect sense from the point of view of Generational Dynamics.

Actually, this one is pretty easy. The Generational Dynamics prediction has always been that we're headed for a "Clash of Civilizations world war." The "allies" will be the United States, India, Russia and Iran, while the "axis" will be China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries.

I've written about the reasons for this hundreds of times, and the summary behind the reasoning is as follows: China is very closely allied with Pakistan, which is very closely allied with the Sunni states. China and India are bitter enemies, as are Pakistan and India. Russia and India are very closely allied, and India is very closely allied with Iran, as Hindus have been allied with Shia Muslims going back to the Battle of Karbala in 680. Connecting the dots, the US is going to be allied with India, Russia and Iran, versus China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim states. If that seems surprising, remember that Russia was our bitter enemy before WW II, was our ally during WW II, and was our bitter enemy after WW II, so you can't judge from today's political alignments how nations will act when they're facing an existential crisis in the form of a generational crisis war.

So that's the Generational Dynamics prediction, and we assume that Trump is aware of it and believes it, as he should. Now we take note of the of the following:

So if you're baffled by Trump's withdrawal policy, just read the above list. When you look at that list, it makes perfect sense to withdraw some resources from Syria and Afghanistan, in order to allocate them to the approaching war with China. It makes perfect sense to prepare for the coming preemptive attack by China on the United States. Keeping troops in Syria does not do that.

So why did Mattis and McGurk leave? I don't know for sure, of course, but I assume that Mattis and McGurk don't believe that we're headed for a war with China. They're wrong. I assume that many people reading this article don't believe that we're headed for a war with China. You're wrong. If Mattis and McGurk want to focus a lot of resources in Syria, then they're "fighting the last war." If Mattis and McGurk are unwilling to face what's going on in the world with China, with startling events unfolding in China almost every day, then Mattis and McGurk should go.

On Sunday morning I listened to the news shows, and heard one "expert" after another talk about "chaos," "Trump out of control," "Trump is crazy," "the wheels are coming off," "Trump should be impeached," and so on. I would be concerned, except that it's no different from what I've heard every Sunday for two years, except that the screams today are perhaps a bit louder and a bit more hysterical and high-pitched.

I have a theory. I think that most people are viscerally aware that we're headed for war with China, and they can't stand to think about it, so they become hysterical and displace their hysteria from China to Trump. There was a similar level of hysteria in the late 1930s directed at Franklin Roosevelt, as the war in Europe against Nazi Germany approached. The best example was Neville Chamberlain's promise of "Peace in our time." Washington Post

The future of ISIS and the Kurds

The big picture is that it makes sense to withdraw forces from Syria in order to prepare for an inevitable war with China. But many people believe that we have a moral obligation to protect the Kurds and to continue to fight ISIS. (Many other people claim that we never any business being in Syria in the first place.)

An argument that I heard several times in mainstream media is: "Trump says ISIS is defeated and he's wrong. ISIS is still in Syria, in Egypt, in Nigeria, in Yemen, in Afghanistan, and so forth. ISIS is spreading around the world, and is nowhere near being defeated."

This argument was put forth by several "experts" -- college professors, book authors, diplomats, etc. And yet, this argument is so dumb that it serves as a good example of brainless idiocy we're seeing as common fare today.

Let's take Egypt for example. Has ISIS really spread to Egypt? The jihadist group in Egypt was originally the al-Qaeda linked Bedouin-based Sinai terrorist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM). In 2015 it changed its name to al-Wilayat Sinai (Province of Sinai) and changed its allegiance to ISIS. This was a change for public relations reasons, and nothing else. It allows ABM to be associated with an up-and-coming brand name, and it allows Amaq, the ISIS public relations agency, to put out press releases about the group. But it's exactly the same group. Being aligned with ISIS or aligned with al-Qaeda is completely irrelevant. Now that ISIS is on the run, ABM may change their allegiance back to al-Qaeda, though they'll look like complete fools if they do. The point is that fighting ISIS in Syria has nothing to do with fighting ABM in Egypt. The two are completely unrelated except for a public relations link.

This is really basic, obvious stuff, that any so-called "expert" should understand before calling himself an "expert." Instead, these "experts" have no clue what's going on, probably couldn't pick out Syria on map if they had to, are wrong time after time, and yet continue to say one really dumb thing after another. It reminds me of 2007, when a survey by Congressional Quarterly and the London Times revealed that so-called "experts" at the time didn't even know whether al-Qaeda was a Shia or Sunni group. ( "Guess what? British politicians and journalists are just as ignorant as Americans (14-Jan-2007)") All of this goes well beyond ideology. It's sheer ignorance and stupidity, by people who babble endlessly with no idea what they're saying.

So what about ISIS in Syria? Is ISIS defeated there, as Trump claimed? ISIS mainly consists of jihadists who came to Syria to fight against Bashar al-Assad after he began genocidal attacks and ethnic cleansing targeting Arab Sunnis, particularly after his massive attack on innocent women and children in a Palestinian refugee camp near Latakia. ( "1-Dec-18 World View -- Evidence grows of Assad's 'final solution', extermination of Arab Sunnis in Syria")

In November 2016, the US announced a joint operation with the Kurdish led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) to recapture al-Raqqa, the ISIS "capital city" and "Caliphate," and a city of over 300,000 people, from ISIS. ( "7-Nov-16 World View -- US-backed Kurdish militias in Syria make surprise announcement of Raqqa operation")

That was the commitment that President Obama made, and President Trump followed through on that commitment. There was no commitment to fight ISIS forever, and there was no commitment to protect the Kurds forever. The Kurds are better off today than they were when the joint operation began, and ISIS has been ejected from al-Raqqa, and has been reduced to just one of many local jihadist groups in the world. America's commitment has been met.

I discussed some of these issues in yesterday's article on al-Shabaab in Somalia. America has been fighting the "war on terror" since 9/11/2001, and by one estimate, America is still conducting counterterror operations in 76 countries. And yet, after 17 years, the war on terror has been increasingly a failure. As I've written many times, the current violence in the Arab/Muslim world can be dated to three epochal events that occurred in 1979. These were Iran's Islamic Revolution, the Salafist attack on Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. These three events led to the growth of modern terrorism, including the 9/11 attacks, and there is absolutely nothing that the US can do to stop this, certainly not with US special forces.

Here we have one more example of so-called Mideast "experts" having absolutely no clue what's going on. They have no idea what happened in 1979, they go on tv and make one dumb statement after another, they always turn out to be wrong, but it goes on anyway. That's the world we live in.

One particularly laughable "expert" interview occurred on Sunday on the BBC World Service. The politician made every possible criticism of Trump and the Syria decision that he could think of. The interview lasted about four minutes, and at different times he said that Trump would be turning northeast Syria over to a reconstituted ISIS, and then to Iran, and then to Russia, and then to Turkey, and also to al-Assad. Oh really? Which one is it? And if there's a war among all these groups, does we really want the American military to be involved in it? On whose side? There's a war coming, no matter what we do.

The point is that terrorism will not be stopped, and is the precursor to a larger regional Mideast war that is coming with 100% certainty, pitting Arabs vs Jews, Sunnis vs Shias, and various ethnic groups against each other. This will be part of the Clash of Civilizations world war, and nothing can be done to prevent it.

America's joint operation with the SDF to eject ISIS from al-Raqqa was a benefit to America, to Europe, the Kurds, and the world. But it's over now. America is in no position to fight ISIS forever, or to protect the Kurds forever, and troop withdrawal from Syria was going to happen sometime. Business Insider

The future of Afghanistan

In addition to a troop withdrawal from Syria, President Trump announced that 7,000 of the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan would be brought home.

Ever since President Obama announced the troop surge into Afghanistan in 2009, I've written repeatedly that the Taliban cannot be defeated. This is an outcome of the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan and, more importantly, the extremely bloody Afghan civil war from 1991-96. This is yet another example of something that the mainstream so-called "experts" are completely oblivious to, and yet these are the crucial events to understanding what's going on today.

The events of the last ten years have shown that this war cannot be won, and the situation is actually getting worse each year. Earlier this month, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the incoming head of the US Central Command, testified that the Afghanistan war is unsustainable.

Reducing the number of American troops in Afghanistan does not end our commitment to Afghanistan, which is to aid in the training of Afghan soldiers to defend themselves. It does mean that the Taliban have fewer American targets to kill, which is probably a good thing.

In the past, I've speculated that a part of President Trump's strategy is that, as war with China and Pakistan approaches, to keep American troops active in Afghanistan, and to continue to maintain several American military bases in Afghanistan, including two air bases in Bagram and Kandahar International Airport. If this is the strategy, then removing 7,000 troops will probably not affect it. Fox News

The future of Generational Dynamics

At my age, I'm unable to get employment as a journalist, analyst, or a senior software engineer, because no one wants to hire an older person. (Actually, age discrimination in the computer industry is so great that no one over age 45 or so can get a job anymore.) This means that my only income source is social security, and I'm going to run out of money in a few months, which will be the end of BOTH me and Generational Dynamics. I've done this work for years as a public service, but now that has to end. If you think that this work has been valuable, then any help that anyone can provide to resolve this situation would be greatly appreciated. Resume

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Dec-18 World View -- Generational Dynamics analysis of the troop withdrawal from Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Dec-2018) Permanent Link
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