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Web Log - July, 2016

Summary

31-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines president Duterte cancels 'ceasefire' with Communist Party

FBI investigates alleged Russian hacking of Democrats' servers

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Philippines president Duterte cancels 'ceasefire' with Communist Party


Duterte meets with the Maoist New People's Army on April 26, prior to being elected president (Minda News)
Duterte meets with the Maoist New People's Army on April 26, prior to being elected president (Minda News)

Philippines President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Saturday announced that he was canceling a unilateral ceasefire with a Maoist terror group, the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army (CPP-NPA). The New People's Army is the military arm of the CPP, though in actuality they're a single organization.

During the campaign, Duterte had promised that he would arrange a peace deal with the CPP-NPA, which had been conducting terror attacks for close to 50 years, and is considered to be the longest-running Maoist insurgency in the world. Ironically, the CPP was a long-time supported of Duterte for years when he was mayor of Davao City, believing that he supported their goal of installing a left-wing government in Manila.

Duterte announced a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA on Monday, July 25, but it lasted less than a week. Two days later, on Wednesday, the NPA ambushed an armed forces unit that was heading back to camp in accordance with the ceasefire, killing one soldier and injuring four others. On Friday, Duterte declared that unless CPP-NPA leaders implemented their own ceasefire by 5 pm on Saturday, he would cancel the unilateral ceasefire, and that's what happened. Philippine Daily Inquirer and MindaNews (Mindanao) and CNN Philippines and Sun Star (Davao City, 16-May-2016)

Generational history of the Philippines and the CPP-NPA

The Communist Party of the Philippines was formed in 1968, at the height of the generational Awakening era and of anti-government student protests in many countries, including the United States, France, Germany, and others. A pro-Maoist activist named José María Canlás Sison began the movement with the goal of removing from power the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and of removing the influence of "American imperialism" and "Japanese imperialism" from the country. Japan and the Philippines had been enemies in World War II.

Violence and repression by Marcos' thugs aided the growth of the CPP-NPA, reaching about 10,000 members at its peak, and was supported by weapons, money and training from China's government. However, in 1976 the Philippines and China governments normalized relations, aided by the memory that they had both been invaded and occupied by the Japanese. The result for the CPP-NPA was that the Chinese cut off relations with them.

The Awakening era climax for the Philippines occurred after the 1986 elections, in which the presidency was won by the Corazon Aquino, widow of a popular oppositional senator who had been assassinated by Marcos' thugs. Marcos himself was forced to flee the country, and lived in exile in Hawaii until his death in 1989.

The defeat of Marcos, who had been dictator for 21 years, was considered by many to be a victory of the CPP-NPA. After that victory, the CPP-NPA began to lose its purpose, and turned against itself, with thousands of its members being killed by other members.

Today, it's estimated that there are still about 4,000 members of the CPP-NPA. Although the organization doesn't have anything like the power it had during the reign of Marcos, it can still pull off terrorist attacks to remind everyone that it's still around.

Sison, the founder of the group, still directs it at age 77, but has lived in exile in the Netherlands for many years. Stanford University and Socialism.com (2005) and Jacobin Magazine (Aug-2015)

FBI investigates alleged Russian hacking of Democrats' servers

According to reports, the FBI is investigating hacking and cyber attacks against servers run by several different Democratic Party servers, and that Russia's government is suspected, allegedly to help Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Several different hacking attacks have been alleged, including attacks on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and earlier servers controlled by Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton.

Speaking as a computer industry professional and senior software engineer, several things about this story are fishy.

First, the idea that Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of the Democratic Party servers, and then ordered the release of thousands of hacked e-mail messages through "WikiLeaks," because he believed that doing so would help Trump is bizarre. He would be well aware that any such move had a good chance of backfiring, and could trigger sympathy for Clinton, especially by releasing e-mail messages through WikiLeaks.

The main issue is that no self-respecting "hacker" would attack the Democratic Party servers without also attacking the Republican Party servers. Even if we assume that Putin ordered the hacking he would certainly have ordered the hacking of both.

So we have to assume that the Republican Party servers were attacked as well. Why haven't there been any releases of these e-mail messages? There are two possibilities:

Corporate hacking has become extremely widespread -- by the Russians, the Chinese, and by private organizations.

The hacking of Democratic Party networks should remind everyone of the need for encrypting data on servers. I've seen myself that corporations don't want to take the time to protect their servers, since encrypting information doesn't create sales. ( "10-Mar-16 World View -- Hackers steal thousands of employee W-2 tax documents from Seagate Inc.")

As I've said repeatedly in the past, if you have responsibility for a corporate database containing such things as names, addresses, social security numbers, medical information, and so forth, then put other things on hold and immediately launch a project to encrypt each critical data element, even it means losing a few sales. Reuters and NBC News

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines president Duterte cancels 'ceasefire' with Communist Party thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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30-Jul-16 World View -- Fearing more Brexit-like votes, EU abandons fiscal rules for Spain, Portugal, Italy

Earnings fall, but central bank liquidity floods markets, pushing up stocks

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Portugal and Spain will not be fined for breaching deficit rules


Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem makes a face during a European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels on July 12 (Reuters)
Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem makes a face during a European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels on July 12 (Reuters)

The European Commission, supported by the Eurogroup of individual nations' finance ministers, has chosen to cancel fines that Spain and Portugal owed for breaching EU fiscal rules requiring that their deficit be lower than 3% of GDP. The budget deficits of both countries are considered excessive under EU rules. Spain and Portugal’s deficits last year hit 5.1 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.

Markus Ferber, a German member of the European Parliament said "this is not only disappointing, but it destroys the confidence and credibility of our rules — it is a bad day for our common currency."

Pierre Moscovici, a French politician and currently the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said "This proves that we can be at the same time credible and understanding. It’s not the end of the story. We will have to see what [Spain and Portugal’s] draft budgetary plans are for 2017. So credibility is fully there."

France is the next country in line for close scrutiny by the European Commission, with budget plans due by October 15. In the past, France has been accused of receiving preferential treatment. Earlier this year, Jean-Claude Jüncker suggested that France should not face punitive action for its inability to meet EU expectations, "because it is France."

This love-fest for France was criticized by Ferber, who said: "I don’t like Jüncker’s comments on France. The country is performing badly and will have to see the same treatment. Nothing in the rules allows for the differentiation of member states."

According to one analyst: "This will strike some as a negative in terms of credibility, but the enforcement of the fiscal compact has always been political in nature, and the decision is a pragmatic one. Europe doesn’t need another crisis to deal with right now. Amid the migrant crisis, the terrorist threat, the Brexit vote, and rising populism, it doesn’t need a conflict over fiscal rules as well."

In fact, this is clearly a case of "kicking the can down the road," something we saw repeatedly in Greece's financial crisis which, incidentally, is still far from being resolved. Spain and Portugal are now going to be set new deadlines and required to follow austerity rules that they've failed to follow in the past. Reuters and Politico (EU) and Fitch Ratings

Italy's Monte Paschi bank gets 5 billion euro bailout from other banks

As expected, Italy's third-largest bank, Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), founded in 1472, and the world's oldest operating bank, failed the European Central Bank (ECB) "stress tests," whose results were scheduled for release on Friday. ( "5-Jul-16 World View -- Italy bank crisis more dangerous to EU than Brexit")

Not only did MPS fail, it got by far the lowest score of all 51 European banks tested. The purpose of the "stress tests" is to examine the bank's liabilities and assets, including bad loans, to determine whether the bank could survive a recession. With $55.2 billion in bad loans, MPS was never going to come close to passing the stress test.

After failing the stress test, ECB rules require MPS to lower its portfolio of bad loans, and selling the bad loans to a third party would only get 20% of face value, and this would require a major bank bailout.

As we described in the previous article, there are two ways that MPS could get a bailout:

On Friday, MPS found another way to get a bailout, while still staying within ECB rules. MPS will be bailed out by other banks, who will lend MPS 5 billion euros.

The banks being named are: Santander, Goldman Sachs, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America. The deal will require MPS to sell off 27 billion euros of the bank’s bad debt, repackaged into securities worth a much smaller amount, 9.2 billion euros.

The bailout plan will give MPS 5 billion euros on which to survive, but this is the third such loan in two years, and MPS has already burned through 8 billion euros from the two previous bailouts.

So, once again, it's been necessary to "kick the can down the road," until the next episode of the crisis. Reuters and Politico (EU)

Earnings fall, but central bank liquidity floods markets, pushing up stocks

We truly live in magical times. Earnings have been falling, but the stock market keeps going up. It's as if the law of gravity has been repealed. Or perhaps the alchemists have finally found a way to turn lead into gold.


S&P 500 Price/Earnings ratio at 25.03 on July 29, indicating a huge and growing stock market bubble (WSJ)
S&P 500 Price/Earnings ratio at 25.03 on July 29, indicating a huge and growing stock market bubble (WSJ)

Let's start, as I often do, with price/earnings ratios, also called stock valuations.

According to Friday's Wall Street Journal, the S&P 500 Price/Earnings index (stock valuations index) on Friday morning (July 29) was at an astronomically high 25.03. This is far above the historical average of 14, indicating that the stock market bubble is still growing, and could burst at any time. Generational Dynamics predicts that the P/E ratio will fall to the 5-6 range or lower, which is where it was as recently as 1982, resulting in a Dow Jones Industrial Average of 3000 or lower.

The last time I wrote about this, the P/E ratio was a mere 24.23. That astronomically high number has now shot up to 25.03. That's because stock prices have been staying steady or going up, while earnings have been falling so that the ratio (price/earnings) goes up.

Why are stock prices going up? It's because central banks around the world are "printing money" through quantitative easing (QE) at huge tsunami rates.

According to Deutsche Bank, the European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan (BOJ) are together buying around $180 billion of assets a month.

And that's not the end. The ECB is expected to increase its QE to $110 billion, and the BOJ is expected to increase its QE program to $80 billion. The Bank of England (BoE) is expected to reactivate its QE program, and supply $197 billion more QE.

It's mind-boggling beyond anything in history. There's never been anything like it. It's a credit bubble of such enormous size that it's impossible to predict the enormity of the disaster that will ensue when it finally implodes -- which it certainly will.

Here's a quote from someone on tv described as a "tenured university professor of economics at University of Maryland." It's one the stupidest things I've ever heard, so I transcribed it:

"Companies are learning how to use capital much more effectively. So central banks may have printed a lot of money, they are using money more efficiently, which lowers the price of capital, and essentially raises P/E ratios. We are now trading at about the 25 year average, but the long-term average the moving average over time is trending up. My feeling is that we could be looking at P/E ratios that are stable at 30 or 35 long-term. The average historically is 25, and that's where we are now."

Since I hear stupid things all the time on financial news channels, let's pull this apart for educational purposes.

First, the P/E ratio now is around 25, but historically it's around 14, not 25. You'd think a "tenured professor of economics" would have a clue about that.

Next, a P/E ratio is not stable at 25, and will certainly never be stable at 30-35. So let's explain what's going on here, and why the tenured professor is so confused.

The P/E ratio is actually the reciprocal of a low-risk investment yield or interest rate. That is, the historical value of the P/E ratio is 14, and its reciprocal is earnings/price, which is historically around 1/14, or around 7%. This value, 7%, seems to be some sort of natural constant, the natural value that investments pay in "normal" times. That's why, in the decades after World War II, you had investments that paid around 7%, and you had mortgage rates around 7%. Savings accounts paid a little less, because banks had to make money, and government bonds paid a little less, because they were considered as safe as cash.

So now you have a P/E ratio around 25, which corresponds to a 4% investment yield, and is far below the "natural" value of 7%, but is possible because bond yields are now close to zero or are negative in many parts of the world. At such low yields, an average investor (without access to the huge floods of government money) is not willing to invest his money. That's one reason why investments are so low today. Who wants to invest in a shoe factory, if the most you can get is 4%, and you could lose everything if the shoe factory fails?

So the tenured university economics professor says that he thinks the P/E ratio will stabilize around 30-35, pushing the investment yield down to 3%. That would only happen if much more of the world's government bonds go to negative interest rates, and that can't continue forever, meaning that a 30-35 P/E ratio is far from stable.

So this really is truly a magical, marvelous time to be alive. Enjoy it while it lasts, Dear Reader. Reuters and MarketWatch

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Jul-16 World View -- Fearing more Brexit-like votes, EU abandons fiscal rules for Spain, Portugal, Italy thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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29-Jul-16 World View -- Syria's Al-Nusra splits with al-Qaeda, becoming Jabhat Fateh al-Sham

Al-Nusra may have learned lessons from failures of ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Syria's Al-Nusra splits with al-Qaeda, becoming Jabhat Fateh al-Sham


Abu Muhammad al-Jolani, the smiling terrorist leader of Jabhat al-Nusra
Abu Muhammad al-Jolani, the smiling terrorist leader of Jabhat al-Nusra

Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, announced on Thursday that it is no longer affiliated with al-Qaeda, and was no longer under the command of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The group's leader, Abu Mohamad al-Jolani, announced that the group was changing its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (Front for the Conquest of Syria):

"We have stopped operating under the name of Nusra Front and formed a new body ... This new formation has no ties with any foreign party.

[The change is intended] to remove the excuse used by the international community – spearheaded by America and Russia – to bombard and displace Muslims in the Levant: that they are targeting the Nusra Front, which is associated with al-Qaida.

This new organization aims ... to serve the Muslims, attend to their daily needs and ease the hardships in every possible way, [and to] unite the people of [Syria and] ensure security, stability, and a dignified life for the people."

However, al-Jolani said he remained committed to implementing Islamic law, and gave no indication that it was no longer a terrorist group. Indeed, the U.S. immediately said that it would still consider the group, under its new name, to be a terrorist group, with the implication that targets associated with the group would still be bombed.

The split with al-Qaeda was apparently friendly, suggesting that the split may be part of a larger plan. In an audio message, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri said:

"You can sacrifice without hesitation these organizational and party ties if they conflict with your unity and working as one body.

"The brotherhood of Islam among us is stronger than any organizational affiliation ... Your unity and unification is more important to us than any organizational link."

Anadolu (Ankara) and Reuters and Guardian (London)

Al-Nusra may have learned lessons from failures of ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq

Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) led by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was defeated in the aftermath of the Iraq war, first by an American drone strike that killed al-Zarqawi, and later by president George Bush's "surge" strategy that turned Iraqi Sunnis against AQI. (See "Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq" from 2007.)

The genocidal campaign of extermination against Syrian Sunnis by Syria's president Bashar al-Assad drew tens of thousands of young jihadists from all over the world for the fight against al-Assad, leading to the creation of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Syria, and then its spectacular success in taking control of large regions of both Syria and Iraq. But now, president Barack Obama's bombing coalition strategy, in cooperation with Kurdish and Shia Muslim fighters, has drastically reduced the regions under ISIS control, and raised hope that ISIS is being defeated.

This is the context in which the al-Nusra - al-Qaeda split must be viewed. Both AQI and ISIS imposed harsh Sharia law on the people that they governed, and tortured, killed or raped anyone who didn't comply. It should not be a surprise to anyone that no government of that sort is going to be popular, and indeed both AQI and ISIS lost control when their own constituents turned against them. In the end, even dictators and terrorists must eventually have do what the people want.

Reports all along have indicated that al-Nusra was torn between following a harsh Sharia model versus following a more moderate model of governing. There was a big group of al-Nusra officials who wanted to follow the harsh Sharia model, but there have also been a number of "moderate" anti-Assad, anti-ISIS groups in Syria who have strongly urged a split. The strongest opponent of a link to al-Qaeda was a key ally, Ahrar al-Sham, and maintaining a good relation with this and other allies was essential for the success of al-Nusra.

Thus, the break with al-Qaeda can be thought of in either of two ways. First, it's a sign that al-Nusra has abandoned the harsh Sharia model of governing, and so will be able to ally and possibly merge with other anti-Assad opposition groups, and become the leader of all of these groups, replacing ISIS as the largest and most powerful Salafist anti-Assad opposition group in Syria.

The other way to look at it is that it's all a façade, that the amicable split between al-Nusra and al-Qaeda had the purpose of putting a more friendly face on al-Nusra, and that al-Nusra is still allied with al-Qaeda, but not publicly.

It's possible that both of these are true, and that the new Jabhat Fateh al-Sham will have the best of two worlds -- tacit support from al-Qaeda, but with a more moderate face to the outside world and to the other anti-Assad and anti-ISIS factions.

There's another advantage, according to Brookings analyst Charles Lister:

"Perhaps more significantly, this latest development has also made it entirely feasible that regional states, notably Qatar and Turkey, could now attempt to provide direct material support to the group. Turkey in particular is likely to use the argument that, having announced a severing of its ties to al-Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is as legitimate a partner as Washington’s preferred [anti-ISIS] ally, the Kurdish YPG."

This is a good time to recall the Generational Dynamics prediction for where things are going and where the trend lines are, since there seems to be a new event every week or two that moves us along that trend line. As I've been writing for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries will be one side, and India, Iran, the United States and the West will be on the other side. ( "15-Jul-2015 World View -- Arab views of Iran nuclear deal")

Once again, we have a major new event that moves us along this trend line. Over the past few years, we've seen events that move the US closer to Iran and Russia, and we've seen the increasing alienation of relations between the US and countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Even in the last few days, we see a possible major split between the US and Turkey, with Turkey claiming that exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen worked with the CIA to launch the recent attempted coup d'état, and claiming further that any further delay in extraditing Gulen to Turkey will be proof of American complicity.

Despite reports that ISIS was being funded by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, ISIS has always been and will be too dangerous to the governments of both those countries. But the new Jabhat Fateh al-Sham could very well turn out to be the key that unites a wider group of Sunni Arabs against al-Assad, Iran, Russia, and eventually against the United States, moving the Mideast even further along the trend line. CS Monitor and Foreign Policy and Press TV (Tehran)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Jul-16 World View -- Syria's Al-Nusra splits with al-Qaeda, becoming Jabhat Fateh al-Sham thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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28-Jul-16 World View -- China, Russia vociferously object to South Korea's THAAD missile system deployment

South Korea's fears of an attack from North Korea

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China and Russia vociferously hostile to South Korea's THAAD deployment


Residents of Seongju, where Thaad is to be deployed, conducting anti-Thaad protests in Seoul (Korea Times)
Residents of Seongju, where Thaad is to be deployed, conducting anti-Thaad protests in Seoul (Korea Times)

Earlier this month, the US and South Korea announced the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea by the end of the year. It's considered to be the most advance anti-missile system available anywhere today because it can blast incoming missiles out of the sky with 100% success rate.

It's part of the Obama administration's policy of "Pivot To Asia." Its purpose is to provide both South Korea and Japan with a defense to increasing threats from North Korea of missile attacks, both conventional and nuclear.

Despite request from the US for years, South Korea had resisted deployment of the Thaad system for years, for fear of angering the Chinese. What finally triggered the change of mind was North Korea's fourth nuclear bomb test on January 6, followed by a long-range missile test on February 7.

North Korea immediately said it would retaliate against South Korea, threatening to launch a retaliatory strike against the THAAD deployment by turning the South "into a sea of fire and a pile of ashes." It then conducted more tests, launching three missiles into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said that the Thaad deployment would escalate tensions in the region:

"Such actions, no matter how they are explained, very negatively affect global strategic security, adherence to which is so often discussed by Washington. They may also result in escalation of tensions in the region, new difficulties for resolving acute problems of the Korean Peninsula, including the task of its denuclearization."

China compares the deployment of Thaad in South Korea to the deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962. According to China's state media:

"If Seoul believes that Washington's missile shield could effectively deter the threats from the North, it is making a strategic mistake.

The truth is that the United States does not care about whether South Korea is safe or not. What it truly wants is an anti-missile system that could guarantee America's military supremacy in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

After the United States deployed four THAAD ... systems on its own soil and installed two X-Band radars in Japan, South Korea is now the missing piece. That's why Washington has relentlessly tried to get THAAD into South Korea since 2012.

Once letting THAAD in, Seoul will become one of Washington's handy tools, losing its autonomy in crafting and executing an independent foreign policy."

China's military said that it will take "necessary measures" to respond to Thaad, without disclosing what those measures are. Business Insider and VOA and Xinhua (Beijing) and Tass (Moscow) and The Hankyoreh (Seoul)

South Korea's fears of an attack from North Korea

On March 26, 2010, the South Korean warship Cheonan was sunk by an explosion. (See "21-May-10 News -- S. Korea accuses N. Korea of sinking warship") Then, on November 23 of the same year, the North Korean military launched dozens of artillery shells on South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, killing four people, including two civilians. ( "24-Nov-10 News -- South Korean civilians shelled by North Koreans")

Both of these incidents were acts of war on the part of North Korea, though South Korea never retaliated, but instead allowed the situation to cool down. But with subsequent nuclear tests and long-range missile tests, many South Koreans believe that the North is just waiting for the appropriate time for a full-scale attack on the south, starting with the extremely vulnerable capital city Seoul, which is only a few miles from the DMZ (the demilitarized zone, separating North and South Korea).

Last year, South Korean media reported that a defector who used to serve in a senior position in the North Korean military revealed that in August 2012, South Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un approved a plan for a 7-day asymmetric war against the South, and that Kim has been implementing the plan since then.

The objective is that the North would occupy the entire South Korean territory within seven days, before United States reinforcements could arrive. It also contains a plan to conclude the war within 15 days at most if the North cannot end the war within a week due to resistance by the South and U.S. Forces Korea.

The report lists the following "asymmetric capabilities" that the North would use against the South:

According to a South Korean intelligence official:

"The North did thorough analyses of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It concluded that it won’t have a chance if a war drags on. To end it quickly, Pyongyang reached a decision that asymmetric warfare is the only answer, despite the pressures and condemnations of the international community."

JoongAng Ilbo (Seoul, 8-Jan-2015)

Problems, issues and capabilities surrounding the Thaad system

On Tuesday, South Korea deported two Korean-American activists on after they tried to enter the country for a "peace tour" that would have seen them take part in anti-Thaad protests.

Anti-Thaad protests have been increasing in South Korea, particularly among residents of Seongju, a rural county about 180 miles from Seoul, which is where the Thaad system is to be deployed. Residents feared harmful radiation that could be emitted from the Thaad's electromagnetic radar waves. In order to defuse these protests, the US military personnel invited South Korean reporters to Guam to inspect a Thaad installation that was already installed, similar to the one being planned for Seongju county. US personnel showed that the radiation levels were far below those permitted by law.

This didn't satisfy the residents of Seongju, however, as they pelted the car of prime minister Hwang Kyo-ahn with eggs during his visit to the town and left him stranded in his car for hours.

Other protesters simply claimed that the Thaad deployment would not protect the South from an attack by the North. An in-depth analysis by the U.S.-Korea Institute (38North) at Johns Hopkins University shows that a Thaad deployment, combined with an upgrade of South Korea's existing Patriot anti-missile system, could protect all of South Korea from North Korean missiles:

"The THAAD system intercepts incoming short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles above the atmosphere—exoatmospheric intercept—providing an upper-tier layer of defense when operating in conjunction with the lower-tier Patriots. THAAD consists of five primary components: interceptor missiles, launch canisters, AN/TPY-2 phased array radar, a fire-control unit, and support equipment—including a power-generation and cooling units. These can detect and track targets at a range of about 1000 km—assuming the target has a radar-cross section of about 1 m2."

However, it isn't 100% effective, and a nuclear missile could still pass through, causing many casualties. Hankyoreh (Seoul) and UPI and 38 North (10-Mar-2016) and Lockheed Martin

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Jul-16 World View -- China, Russia vociferously object to South Korea's THAAD missile system deployment thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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27-Jul-16 World View -- France's François Hollande declares war on ISIS after terror attack kills priest

ASEAN and Arab League in chaos as they fail to deal with existential issues

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Arab League in chaos as it fails to address Arab existential threats


27th Arab League Summit opened on Monday in Mauritania in a large tent
27th Arab League Summit opened on Monday in Mauritania in a large tent

The Arab League summit meeting was supposed to take place in Marrakesh in Morocco on March 27, but at the last minute Morocco refused to host the meeting, saying in a statement:

"Amid the lack of important decisions and concrete initiatives to submit to the heads of states, this summit will be just another occasion to approve ordinary resolutions and to pronounce speeches that give a false impression of unity.

Arab leaders cannot confine themselves, once more, to simply analyzing the bitter situation of divergences and divisions without giving decisive responses."

Finally, Mauritania agreed to host the meeting in the capital city Nouakchott. However, this is a small Arab country that rarely hosts conventions, so the summit meeting was held in a big tent.

It was supposed to be a meeting of the leaders of all 22 members, but only a handful of leaders showed up. Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, declined to go, reportedly because he feared an assassination attempt. Saudi Arabia's king Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud declined to attend allegedly for health reasons. Other no-shows included the leaders of Tunisia, Jordan, Algeria, and the Palestinian Authority.

There were pressing issues for the Arab League summit to discuss -- the rise of ISIS, conflict in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, sectarian conflicts between Shias and Sunnis, for example -- but none of those were given serious deliberation.

In the last few years, millions of Arabs have lost their homes, become displaced and become refugees, while hundreds of thousands of others have been killed. Arab lands have been wracked by bombs, missiles, terrorism, even Sarin gas, and the Arab League is completely unable to cope.

There was one hot issue worth mentioning: Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki called on the Arab League to help prepare a legal file to sue Britain's government for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917. (See "10-May-16 World View -- Arab countries seek to overturn the century old Sykes-Picot agreement") The Balfour Declaration was an early document justifying the creation of the state of Israel in 1947.

Beyond that, there were some discussions about free-trade zones and such, but the existential questions affecting pan-Arab security were avoided.

So what's the point of the Arab League? Al-Arabiya (27-Mar) and Gulf News and Brookings and Jerusalem Post

ASEAN in chaos as it fails to address South China Sea threats

China scored a major diplomatic victory on Monday when the ten nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) published a communiqué that contained only a very watered-down statement of what is by far the biggest issue facing ASEAN: The approaching conflict in the South China Sea.

Several nations wanted the communiqué to mention the recent ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that eviscerated China's legal justifications for using military force to annex regions of the South China Sea that had historically belonged to other nations. In one part of the ruling, the Tribunal concluded that China was illegal building an artificial island in part of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines, and was deliberately taking actions that put the lives of Philippines' fishermen in danger. ( "13-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines humiliates China in harsh Hague Tribunal ruling over South China Sea")

However Cambodia, a close ally of China, was able to block any mention at all of the Tribunal ruling. According to analysts, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and to some extent Myanmar (Burma) are becoming increasingly dependent economically on China, and don't wish to undermine their bilateral relationships with China.

Acceding to China's demands, the final ASEAN communiqué said only the following:

"We remain seriously concerned about recent and ongoing developments and took note of the concerns expressed by some ministers on the land reclamations and escalation of activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region."

China issued a statement thanking Cambodia, and saying, "Cambodia's position was the right one and it would safeguard the unity of ASEAN and cooperation with China."

So the same question is asked of ASEAN as with the Arab League. What's the point of ASEAN? What's the point of the Arab League?

The same could be asked of the United Nations. There are major crises in Ukraine, Syria, and elsewhere, and the United Nations is completely helpless to do anything about them. Like the League of Nations that it replaced, in many ways it's become just a debating club. What's the point of the United Nations? BBC and Telegraph (London) and Reuters

France's François Hollande declares war on ISIS after terror attack kills priest

Two attackers slit the throat of and killed an 85-year-old priest celebrating Mass in a Catholic church in France in the small northwestern town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen. The attackers gravely injured one of the worshippers present, and then made a video of themselves giving "a sermon in Arabic" in front of the altar. The police shot both attackers dead.

As usual, the Amaq News Agency, the public relations agency for the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), rushed to claim credit, saying, "The perpetrators of the Normandy church attack are soldiers of the Islamic State who carried out the attack in response to calls to target countries of the Crusader coalition."

This attack followed several terror attacks in France in recent months, as well as four attacks in the last week in Germany. ( "26-Jul-16 World View -- People in Germany are reeling after a week of violence")

France's president François Hollande has used relatively mild rhetoric in the past, but now, under pressure from opposition political parties, Hollande declared war on ISIS:

"Our country is at war. We are at war externally, in Syria and Iraq, and internally, against radicalization, against individual jihadists. [We are] eradicating the criminal networks, and we will continue.

I also owe you the truth - this war will be long. What it’s aimed at is our democracy. Our democracy is the target and it will be our strength, because our unity is our strength. It’s with perseverance that we will succeed. In that way we will be able to win the war against fanaticism and pain, and we will win this war."

As usual, politicians around the world condemned the attack in strongest terms. AP and EU Observer

Turkey fears that Gulen will flee the United States

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to blame Fethullah Gulen, the 76-year-old Turkish Muslim cleric exiled to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, for the failed July 15 anti-government coup. ( "22-Jul-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan gives himself dictatorial powers, moving Turkey away from the West")

Turkey has filed a request for the US to extradite Gulen to Turkey. An American court would have to make the decision to extradite Gulen to Turkey, and that would require firm evidence that Gulen was actually involved in the coup, something that seems unlikely to be provided.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag says that "intelligence" shows that Gulen is planning to flee the United States "at any moment" to a country with no extradition treaty with Turkey. "We think that he is searching for countries to run to, he has chosen some countries," he said, identifying Egypt, Mexico, Canada, Australia and South Africa as places where he could seek refuge. Anadolu (Ankara) and Russia Today

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Jul-16 World View -- France's François Hollande declares war on ISIS after terror attack kills priest thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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26-Jul-16 World View -- People in Germany are reeling after a week of violence

Germany's Der Spiegel asks: Is this the Apocalypse Now?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS takes credit for terror attack in Ansbach, southern Germany


Germany's week of violence (CNN)
Germany's week of violence (CNN)

The Amaq News Agency, the public relations arm of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) has taken credit for the terror attack in Ansbach, southern Germany, on Sunday evening, saying that the attack was carried out by "one of the soldiers of the Islamic State."

The ISIS public relations statement was issued after the police searched the mobile phone of the perpetrator, known only as "Mohammed D", and found a video declaring loyalty to ISIS and announcing a "revenge act against Germans because they are standing in the way of Islam." However, it's believed that Mohammed D was a "lone wolf" inspired by ISIS, but unknown to ISIS prior to the attack.

Mohammed D exploded a bomb on Sunday evening outside a large music festival in Ansbach, injuring 15 people. He was prevented from entering the music festival by police since he didn't have a ticket. There was heavy security at the festival because of three previous violent attacks in Germany during the week.

Mohammed D was a 27-year-old Syrian national who had arrived in Bulgaria in 2013, and was granted refugee status by Bulgaria in September 2013. He left Bulgaria in mid-2014, and came to Germany, where he applied for protection, which was denied. He received deportation warnings from Germany between December 2014 and July of this year, threatening to deport him back to Bulgaria, although it's unclear whether Bulgaria would have accepted him.

Mohammed D had spent time living in a mental care facility and had twice attempted suicide, but failed. On Sunday, he was successful. Deutsche Welle and BBC and Novinite (Sofia Bulgaria)

Germans in a state of shock after four violent attacks in one week

Until this summer, Germany had been largely untouched by the wave of terror that hit France and Belgium in recent years. But now, the attack in Ansbach was the fourth violent attack in a week, and Germans are becoming increasingly anxious. Many are blaming Chancellor Angela Merkel for permitting close to a million refugees to enter Germany last year.

On Monday, July 18, a teenage Afghan refugee hacked at passengers on a train in Würzburg with an axe and knife, wounding five. He was shot dead by police. ISIS claimed credit for the attack.

On Friday, July 22, a German-born teenager of Iranian descent shot dead nine people in Munich before shooting himself dead. According to police, gunman David Ali Sonboly was inspired by other mass shootings that had no political motivation, such as a school massacre carried out by 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer in Baden-Württemberg in 2009. It would be surprising if someone whose heritage is Iran, which is a Shia Muslim country, were inspired by ISIS or al-Qaeda, which are Sunni Muslim terrorist groups.

On Sunday, July 24 in Reutlingen, a few hours before the Ansbach attack, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee took a long knife from the kebab shop where he worked, and used to kill a 45-year-old woman whom he had claimed to be "in love" with. Some unconfirmed reports indicate that the woman was pregnant. Five others were injured as well. A witness hit the attacker with his car, knocking the man to the ground so that police were able to arrest him seven minutes after the first attack. The attacker was previously known to the police for assault and drug offenses.

There's a thread of mental instability that runs through these attacks. The Ansbach attacker had spent time in a mental care facility, and had previously attempted suicide twice, as we mentioned above. David Ali Sonboly carried out his attack on the fifth anniversary of the 77 murders by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik in Norway in 2011. The Reutlingen attack was apparently related to an affair with a woman.

This has led some people to suggest that these attacks would all have occurred anyway even without being "inspired" by ISIS, in the same way that one public murder can lead to copycat murders.

Nonetheless, pressure is growing on Angela Merkel to revise her policies on refugees. Her political allies point out that these attacks were not directed by ISIS, but only claimed by ISIS after they occurred. Her political enemies are blaming the attacks directly on her policies. Germans will go to the polls about a year from now, and Merkel has not yet announced whether she plans to run for a fourth term. The Local (Germany) and Deutsche Welle and BBC and The Local (Germany)

Knife-wielding massacre near Tokyo Japan kills 19

In one of the worst mass attacks that Japan has seen, a man wielding a knife went on a stabbing rampage in a care facility near Tokyo for people with disabilities, killing at least 19 and wounding 25 others.

Satoshi Uematsu, 26, later drove to the police station and turned himself in. He had a bag full of knives, some bloodstained, when he turned himself in. He had been an employee of the care home, but had been sacked. He told police that he wanted to rid the world of disabled people.

Police say that there is no connection to terrorism. Japan Times and BBC

Germany's Der Spiegel asks: Is this the Apocalypse Now?

"I'm tired of living in interesting times," a Twitter user wrote several days ago. According to an article in Germany's Der Spiegel, people on social media ask every day: What is wrong with 2016? When will it be over? What more does it have in store for us?

In just the last few weeks, there was a mass shooting in Orlando on June 12, a huge Istanbul airport attack on June 28, a massive terror attack in Dhaka on July 1, a deadly July 7 shooting in Dallas, and the horrific Bastille Day attack in Nice on July 14. The next day, on July 15, was the attempted coup d'état in Turkey.

And now, in the last week, there have been four violent attacks in Germany, including two on Sunday, and a major knife attack in Japan on Monday.

The article says:

"This year, international political events have overlapped in an unsettling way. Something seems to be coalescing and brewing, though it's not yet clear what. Each new development seems to come a bit faster than the last. It may have begun with the Arab Spring in 2011, but it also continued with the wars in Libya and Syria and was further exacerbated by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and the latest terrorist attacks. We are witnessing the destabilization of the world as we've known it since 1989."

In fact, this is exactly what always happens in a generational Crisis era. There are many reasons, but there are two major ones. First, the last of the Silent generation of survivors of World War II have all but disappeared, and their wisdom is no longer available to prevent geopolitical catastrophes, leaving the world at the mercy of increasingly nationalistic, racist and xenophobic younger generations.

The second reason is the Malthusian reason. As the population continues to increase exponentially, with 200,000 people added to the global population every day, there have been massive flows of refugees in the Mideast, Africa and Asia, destabilizing societies and nations everywhere. Furthermore, growing populations are displacing more and more farmland, and the population is growing faster than the food supply, resulting in constantly increasing poverty and starvation. Both of these reasons give rise to desperate people who are willing to kill in order to get what they believe they're entitled to, and that means increasing chaos and war.

I had to chuckle when I heard the media commentary on Donald Trump's speech last week, characterizing it as full of "doom and gloom." I watched the speech live and didn't think that it was particularly gloomy at all, since all of those doom and gloom things are things that I've been predicting for years, based on Generational Dynamics analyses. Generational Dynamics also predicts that there are no solutions to these problems except another world war.

The article concludes:

"Many of us simply don't understand the world anymore. It will probably be up to the historians of future generations to accurately categorize what exactly it is that we're experiencing in these times of transition. This is, however, not the time to give in to panic -- it is time to have confidence in one's own values and keep fighting for the society one believes in. Geopolitical turmoil is best overcome when one is grounded in clear convictions, which holds true for both citizens and countries as a whole. First of all, a clear compass is needed in order to take responsibility for foreign policy, confront dictators and manage the crises that we're witnessing."

I would respond by saying that those who study Generational Dynamics understand the world only too well, but just aren't happy with what they understand. As Solomon, who had an excellent intuitive understanding of generational theory, says in Ecclesiastes: "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." Der Spiegel (Berlin)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Jul-16 World View -- People in Germany are reeling after a week of violence thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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25-Jul-16 World View -- Migrants trapped in Serbia march toward border with Hungary

The refugee problem continues, despite EU-Turkey deal

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Migrants trapped in Serbia march toward border with Hungary


Last year's Balkan Route: Migrants arrive from Turkey to Greece, through Macedonia and Serbia, then through Hungary or Croatia.
Last year's Balkan Route: Migrants arrive from Turkey to Greece, through Macedonia and Serbia, then through Hungary or Croatia.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of refugees, mostly from the war-torn countries of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, poured into Europe along the so-called "Balkan route." The migrants reached Turkey, then crossed the Aegean Sea to reach Greece and travel to the border with Macedonia. They would cross Macedonia, then travel through Hungary and Austria to reach Germany. In June of last year, Hungary announced that it would build a razor-wire fence on the Hungary-Serbia border, which they did in September. Then the refugees tried to travel from Serbia into Croatia, and from there back into Hungary or into Slovenia, and on to Austria and Germany. But those borders were closed too. ( "20-Oct-15 World View -- As winter approaches, thousands of European refugees may be trapped in the cold".) In March of this year, the entire "Balkan Route" was permanently closed.

Today, there are still about 3,000 refugees trapped in Serbia, living either near the Hungary border, or in the capital city Belgrade. They could apply for asylum in Serbia, but many don't want to do that, because they really want to go to Germany and apply for asylum there.

On Friday, hundreds of refugees marched through Belgrade, launching a hunger strike to demand passage to western Europe. In this context, the "hunger strike" meant that they left untouched free food provided by aid groups. They carried placards reading also stage a sitting protest in Belgrade holding placards that read “Open the border,” “We are responsible global citizens,” “No to violence,” “Stop wars if you want to stop refugees” and “Prove that humanity is still alive.”

After the hunger strike, they began marching toward the border with Hungary. By Sunday, about 300 young men (no women or children) were nearing the border, alongside a "friendly" Serbian police escort. The plan is to demand that Hungary open the border, and demand that is unlikely to be met. There may be a confrontation on Monday. InSerbia and AFP and AP

The refugee problem continues, despite EU-Turkey deal

The EU-Turkey refugee deal has reduced the flow of refugees from Turkey into Europe, but hasn't eliminated it entirely. More than 650,000 people passed through Serbia last year. So far in 2016, more than 100,000 migrants have passed through Serbia, many of them being guided by human traffickers whom they've paid. And 57,000 refugees are trapped in Greece, many of them still hoping to reach Germany.

Many European officials are thankful that the recent coup attempt in Turkey failed, because if it had succeeded, then the new government might not have honored the refugee deal. But even so, there are two major factors that could still cause the entire refugee deal to unravel.

The EU committed to removing visa restrictions on EU travel by Turkish citizens. June 30 was the deadline set by Turkey for the European Union to lift visa restrictions on Turkey, so that any of Turkey's 72 million citizens can travel freely around Europe's Schengen zone. Surprisingly, we haven't really heard anything about this plan since early May, and Turkey may have decided to drop the subject after there was so much opposition from some EU officials, because of Turkish human rights violations.

Since the failed coup, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated that Turkey may reinstate the death penalty. Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as one of the reforms that had been demanded by the European Union before Turkey would be allowed to join the EU. If the death penalty is reinstated, then there will be no chance that the EU will ease visa restrictions. There's probably no chance anyway.

The other major issue that could unravel the refugee deal is that Brussels ruled last September that some 160,000 refugees would be distributed among the 28 EU member states. However, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary have said that they will not agree to accept any refugees. These feelings have hardened even further as the result of recent terror attacks in Europe.

Even ignoring these two issues, Erdogan has fired almost 60,000 people at all levels of government in Turkey. ( "22-Jul-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan gives himself dictatorial powers, moving Turkey away from the West") With Turkey's government in chaos, they may simply lose control of the refugee situation, allowing a new surge of refugees into Europe. Reuters and Al-Jazeera and Daily Mail (London) and Irish Times

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Jul-16 World View -- Migrants trapped in Serbia march toward border with Hungary thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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24-Jul-16 World View -- ISIS claims responsibility for attack on Shia Hazaras in Kabul Afghanistan

Kabul attack targeted Afghanistan's repressed Hazara minority

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS claims responsibility for attack on Shia Hazaras in Kabul Afghanistan


Thousands of Shia Hazara protesters in Kabul on Saturday, just prior to the attack (Reuters)
Thousands of Shia Hazara protesters in Kabul on Saturday, just prior to the attack (Reuters)

At least 80 people, mostly Shia Muslim Hazaras, were killed on Saturday in the worst terror attack in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, since 2001. The venue was a rally by some 10,000 Shia Hazaras, protesting a government policy related to electricity. Afghanistan's interior ministry issued a statement:

"As a result of the attack 80 people were martyred and 231 others were wounded. The attack was carried out by three suicide bombers... The third attacker was gunned down by security forces."

Amaq News, the public relations agency of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), claimed that "ISIS fighters detonated explosive belts amidst a 'gathering of Shi’ites' in Deh Mazang in Kabul Afghanistan." This needs to be confirmed, however, since ISIS has developed the policy of claiming credit for almost every criminal act in the world, whether they've had anything to do with it or not.

However, the credibility of the ISIS claim may be supported by the statement issued by the Afghan Taliban denying responsibility:

"We wish to make clear that the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate have no hand in this incident. At the same time we strongly condemn all acts of cynicism which seek to divide the nation into ethnic groups and sides and then pushed into war. Such incidents are carried out by enemies of the nation and is a deplorable step."

No doubt the Taliban issued this statement because they consider ISIS to be their enemy, and are themselves threatened by the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan.

But the statement is laughable nonetheless. The Afghan and Pakistan Taliban have killed thousands of Shia Hazaras in recent years. In fact, two branches of the Pakistani Taliban, Jundullah (Soldiers of God) and Jaish-ul-Adl (Army of Justice), have committed themselves to the extermination of all Shias, and have even conducted numerous terrorist acts on Iranian soil.

Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani said in a live television address:

"I promise you I will take revenge against the culprits. I have ordered the attorney-general to set up a commission to investigate this incident."

This statement is also laughable, as Ghani has promised revenge against perpetrators of terror acts in the past, to no avail. In this case he's promising to set up a new commission, which should reassure everyone. He's also banned public gatherings in Kabul for 15 days. Khaama Press (Kabul) and Financial Express (India) and The Diplomat

Kabul attack targeted Afghanistan's repressed Hazara minority

The Kabul attack targeted a protest march by around 10,000 Hazaras, protesting plans to develop a new power infrastructure that would provide electricity to Kabul and Pashtun provinces, but would bypass central regions that were home to the largest Hazara community. The Persian-speaking Hazara people, estimated to make up about 9% of Afghanistan's population, are the country's third-largest minority and claim to have been repressed throughout the country's history. With Afghanistan in a generational Awakening era, this kind of protest, especially by young people, is to be expected.

Afghanistan's last generational crisis war was the extremely bloody civil war fought between 1991 and 1996. The war was fought mainly between the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan versus the Northern Alliance of Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks in northern Afghanistan. Today's Taliban terrorists are radicalized Pashtuns, and there's still plenty of visceral hatred between the two sides.

It's no coincidence that both the Taliban and ISIS are fighting against Shia Muslims. Just as the Shia Hazaras fought against the Sunni Muslim Pashtuns in the bloody 1990s civil war, Syria's Shia/Alawites, led by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, have been attempting to exterminate the Sunni Muslims in Syria. In Syria, al-Assad's genocidal actions have drawn thousands of young Sunni Muslim jihadists from Indonesia to Pakistan to Algeria to Chechnya to go to Syria to fight the Shias and Alawites, and these international jihadists have formed the backbone of ISIS.

So, ISIS and the Taliban may be each other's mortal enemies, but they're united in wishing to exterminate Shia Muslims -- al-Assad's Shias in Syria and the Hazara Shia Muslims in Afghanistan. So, whether it was the Taliban or ISIS that perpetrated Saturday's attack, it was not surprising that the Shia Hazaras were targeted.

The bigger picture is that we can see the growing conflict between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims in the Mideast. This is the trend line that I've been writing about for years, as predicted by Generational Dynamics. Furthermore, Hindus have been allied with Shia Muslims against Sunni Muslims in numerous bloody wars, starting with the seminal Battle of Karbala in 680, while the Mongols and Chinese have been bitter enemies of the Russians for centuries.

So it seems that every couple of days something happens to advance the world along the predicted trend lines -- the US, India, Russia and Iran versus China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Muslim countries, with Afghanistan split between the Pashtuns and the Northern Alliance. Reuters (just before the attack) and Deutsche Welle and Saudi Gazette

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Jul-16 World View -- ISIS claims responsibility for attack on Shia Hazaras in Kabul Afghanistan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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23-Jul-16 World View -- Christian pastor's '#ThisFlag' movement threatens Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe war veterans suddenly turn on Robert Mugabe

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Christian pastor leads '#ThisFlag' demonstrations against Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe


Grace Mugabe, the young wife of 92-year-old Robert Mugabe, who he wants to be his successor
Grace Mugabe, the young wife of 92-year-old Robert Mugabe, who he wants to be his successor

Zimbabwe is being suddenly riven by anti-government demonstrations and clashes with security forces that suddenly erupted into a major political force almost spontaneously earlier this month, fed by social media with the hash tag #ThisFlag.

Evan Mawarire, the 39-year-old pastor of the His Generation Church in the capital city Harare, used social media to organize a nationwide "stay-away," a shutdown of schools, businesses and shops around the country. Since any sort of government protest can be punished violently by the government of the 92-year-old president Robert Mugabe, Mawarire chose the national flag as the symbol of protest, along with the hash tag #ThisFlag. According to Mawarire, the Zimbabwe flag used to be a symbol of national pride, but today it's a symbol of endemic corruption, injustice, starvation, and poverty in the country.

The July 6 national shutdown shut down much of the country, and Mawarire was summoned by police for questioning, and was charged with inciting public violence, disturbing the peace, and treason. Mawarire might have been locked up for years, or even tortured and killed, as is not uncommon in the Mugabe government. But court officials were shocked when nearly 200 young lawyers flocked to Harare's Magistrate's Court and volunteered to represent the pastor. The police were forced to free Mawarire after only one night in custody, and drop the charges.

After being freed, Mawarire posted on his Facebook page to his followers:

"You did so well. There was no violence. No one was fighting. No one was throwing stones. Zimbabweans are peaceful people and we can do this very well with peace. ... Continue to pray for Zimbabwe. God is doing something special and amazing."

Several Christian organizations -- the Zimbabwe Catholic bishops’ conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, and other groups issued a statement condemning Mugabe for apparent disregard for the constitution by the government and police and failure to deal with corruption. "These grievances must be viewed as the early warning signs which indicate underlying and simmering tensions that will soon explode into civil unrest if not addressed."

In fact, widespread civil unrest is exactly where this is headed, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics. Zimbabwe is in a generational Awakening era, like America and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, and the first post-war generation (like America's Boomers) are on the path to holding massive protests. Zimbabwe's last generational crisis war was the war for independence that climaxed in 1980. Mugabe's government has used massive arrests, massacres, atrocities and torture to stop earlier protests, but this protest could not be stopped because it used social media, and because the form of the protest was for the protesters to stay and home and shut down the country, rather than march through the streets. Now that one protest has been successful, it's likely that there will be more.

As we described earlier this month in "1-Jul-16 World View -- Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Puerto Rico - three amigos in Marxist economic destruction", Zimbabwe is in the midst of a major financial crisis because Mugabe has destroyed the nation's economy by shutting down the farms and businesses, because they were run by whites, and turned them over to corrupt cronies in his own Zanu-pf political party who couldn't run a business or a farm if their lives depended on it. Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of Africa in the 1990s, but it took Mugabe only a few years to destroy the economy, and to give away the pieces to his corrupt cronies, leaving his political enemies to starve. Mugabe's breathtaking destruction of the country's economy is a major motivation for the protests occurring now. Religion News Service and Catholic News Agency and The Zimbabwe Mail and Nehanda Radio (Harare)

Zimbabwe war veterans suddenly turn on Robert Mugabe

The success of the #ThisFlag movement has triggered other forms of protest. On Thursday, Robert Mugabe's most loyal supporters, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, suddenly turned on Mugabe.

These were the veterans that fought alongside Mugabe in the war of independence. After the war, they were in the front lines of torturing and massacring Mugabe's political enemies. Any anti-Mugabe protestor could count on being arrested and beaten at the hands of Mugabe's war veterans. The veterans have formed the backbone of Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-pf).

So the surprise move to turn against Mugabe has significantly changed the political landscape in Zimbabwe. According to the statement:

"We note, with concern, shock and dismay, the systematic entrenchment of dictatorial tendencies, personified by the president and his cohorts, which have slowly devoured the values of the liberation struggle. ...

Mugabe should understand that his leadership is as a result of our support as we are the vanguard of the ruling ZANU PF, without war veterans who fought for the liberation of this country then there is no ZANU-PF. ... So to Mugabe we say, you cannot stop us as war veterans from debating the succession of the party’s leadership, as we are the spine of the party."

However, one should not assume that this change of heart was motivated by feelings of guilt over past tortures and massacres. Actually, it was motivated by the fact that Mugabe had ordered the firing of the chairman of the veterans association, Christopher Mutsvangwa. According to the statement:

"We still recognize Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa as our national chairperson amongst the war veterans and Mugabe should be warned Mutsvangwa cannot be fired willy nilly as that has to be done through a congress. Mugabe is fond of firing from the party anybody who raises a voice against him and we are saying no enough is enough."

This is taking place in the context of a growing battle over Mugabe's successor as leader of Zanu-pf. The 92-year-old Mugabe claims that his plans are to live past the age 100, but others are not so sure.

Two factions have emerged. The veterans want Mugabe to be succeeded by the current vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mugabe himself wants to be succeeded by his own wife, Grace Mugabe.

In February, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of veterans who were demonstrating against what they described as criticism by Grace Mugabe. According to the veterans' statement:

"Regrettably, the general citizenry has previously been subjected to this inhuman and degrading treatment without a word of disapproval from us. That time has passed. We wish to categorically condemn the brutal suppression of the freedom of expression, whether exercised by ourselves or by anyone else."

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is a very interesting story because it shows how very different cultures can have Awakening eras with many similarities. What unites Awakening eras across all cultures is the rise of the first generation following the previous generational crisis war, and the appearance of marches, demonstrations and other forms of protest, just as occurred in America and Europe in the 1960-70s.

Okay Africa and Reuters and AP and The Standard (Harare - 27-Mar)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Jul-16 World View -- Christian pastor's '#ThisFlag' movement threatens Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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22-Jul-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan gives himself dictatorial powers, moving Turkey away from the West

Turkey moves away from the West

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's Erdogan gives himself dictatorial powers


Military officers under arrest after the failed military coup.  Front row center is Akin Ozturk, a four-star general and former commander of the Turkish air force. (CNN)
Military officers under arrest after the failed military coup. Front row center is Akin Ozturk, a four-star general and former commander of the Turkish air force. (CNN)

Following last week's attempted coup d'état, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday declared a three-month state of emergency that gives him near dictatorial powers that cannot be challenged by the parliament or the courts. Erdogan announced the following:

"As a result of a comprehensive evaluation with members of the National Security Council [MGK], we have decided to recommend the declaration of a state of emergency, in line with Article 120 of our constitution, in order to eliminate the terror organization which attempted to make a coup, swiftly and completely."

In order to eliminate this "terror organization," Erdogan executed a purge the size of which is breathtaking:

In all, 58,000 people have been affected by the purge.

Because of the size and complexity of this purge, many analysts believe that the purge was in the planning stages for several months, waiting for the right opportunity to implement it. It was already obvious in March that something was coming when Erdogan forcibly shut down the only opposition newspaper and jailed the reporters. ( "6-Mar-16 World View -- Turkey's 'shameful day for free press' as government seizes Zaman media")

To Erdogan, free speech is terrorism.

As I wrote last week in "17-Jul-16 World View -- Attempted army coup in Turkey collapses within hours", Erdogan is blaming the coup on a "terrorist group" led by Fethullah Gulen, a 76-year-old Turkish Muslim cleric, living in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania since splitting with Erdogan. Apparently Erdogan believes that the 58,000 police, judges, clerics and social workers that he purged were all part of a terrorist group being controlled by Gulen from his easy chair in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania.

Erdogan is demanding that Gulen be extradited back to Turkey, but Obama administration officials are resisting, saying that they're perfectly willing to extradite him, once Turkey has supplied the required paperwork, something that will stand up in court providing evidence that Gulen committed a crime. So far, that evidence has not been provided. Hurriyet (Ankara) and BBC

Turkey moves away from the West

Even ignoring the long-term conflict with the PKK terrorists, Turkey is a deeply divided country split between the religiously conservative Islamists versus the moderate secularists. This split dates back to World War I, when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, declared that Turkey's society would be secular. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current president, has been reversing that decision, making the society more Islamist.

A number of reports have indicated that young people in Turkey have been more been more Islamist than the more secularist people in the older generations, and have felt discriminated against. Erdogan has been appealing to these younger generations, and it's believed that many of 58,000 people who were purged were secularists.

The West, especially secular Europe, have become increasingly alarmed at these changes, especially in the last couple of days. Beyond the state of emergency, Erdogan has also suspended the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR), which guarantees basic rights similar to those guaranteed by the American Bill of Rights. Turkish officials argue that human rights will still be preserved, and they point out that France suspended the EHCR briefly last year, in conjunction with declaring a state of emergency.

These announcements have revived talks of the death penalty, imposed media restrictions, blocked websites and placed a ban on academics leaving the country. Erdogan has specifically stated that the death penalty might be reinstated.

"I will approve capital punishment if it's passed by parliament. ...

If the EU respects democracy it will accept people's will. The world is not simply the European Union. Do you have capital punishment in the US, Russia, China and in many other countries? Yes."

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as one of the reforms that had been demanded by the European Union before Turkey would be allowed to join the EU. Turkish officials have been getting increasingly annoyed since then because the talks with the EU have repeatedly been stalled. If Turkey reinstates the death penalty, it will have enormous symbolic significance, because it could lead to the final end of any talk about Turkey joining the European Union.

There are strong bonds tying Turkey to the West. Turkey is a member of Nato and has been so for years. More recently, Turkey and the EU have signed the EU-Turkey migrant deal that's reduced the flood of thousands of migrants per day entering Greece from Turkey to just dozens per day. Going beyond these specific contractual international relationships. Turkey is considered in the West to be the linchpin of any Mideast policy, because of its central location.

Despite all that, there is a widespread feeling among authorities in the West that Turkey is moving away from the West. One example is that some Turkish officials are suggesting that America has been partially responsible for the coup because America has given asylum to Fethullah Gulen.

Long-time readers know that Generational Dynamics predicts exactly that -- that Turkey will move away from the West. As I've been writing for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries will be one side, and India, Iran, the United States and the West will be on the other side. ( "8-Jul-16 World View -- Hard issues prevent full reconciliation between Turkey and Russia")

When I first made this prediction, years ago, Turkey was a close ally and Iran was a hated enemy. However, this prediction establishes a trend line that's already being realized -- Iran has been moving toward the West, and Turkey has been moving away. If you want to understand where Turkey is going, then follow the Generational Dynamics trend lines and forecasts, and you will have the answer. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Jerusalem Post and Al-Jazeera

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Jul-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan gives himself dictatorial powers, moving Turkey away from the West thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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21-Jul-16 World View -- India-Pakistan tensions grow over Kashmir issue

Fears grow of major uprising in Indian-governed Kashmir

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Tensions rising between Pakistan and India over Kashmir issue


Saudi migrant workers at a bus stop in Kashmir on Wednesday (AFP)
Saudi migrant workers at a bus stop in Kashmir on Wednesday (AFP)

Tensions are rising palpably between Pakistan and India, with anti-India protests across Pakistan on Wednesday, protesting the ongoing violence in the Indian-governed Kashmir.

Violent clashes in Kashmir began on July 9, following the death on July 8 of Burhan Wani, 22, a 22-year-old commander in the separatist militia Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). Some 50 Kashmiris were killed and over 1,900 injured. About 600 were blinded for life, having been shot by the security forces with "non-lethal" pellet guns. After 12 days, Kashmir is paralyzed and the streets are deserted, as police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear continue to enforce a strict curfew.

Separatist sentiment continued to grow in Kashmir. On Wednesday, residents hoisted dozens of black and Pakistan flags to observe a "black day" to protest the killing Wani. Indian security forces, fearing a further uprising, removed the flags.

As I described in detail in "14-Jul-16 World View -- Police clashes in India-governed Kashmir kill 36 and leaves thousands injured", Pakistan and India, including Kashmir, are deep into a generational Crisis era. The last generational crisis war was Partition, the 1947 war that followed the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, one of bloodiest wars of the 20th century. In the past, with survivors of that war still alive and still in power, no one wanted to see a repeat of the bloody 1947 war. But today, those survivors are almost gone, and the younger generations, with only limited, partial information about the horrors that occurred in that war, are headed for a repeat of the 1947 war.

Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif said:

"Today we are observing Black Day to express solidarity with Kashmiris and are giving a strong message to the world that Pakistanis are with them (Kashmiris) for their struggle to get their rights.

India cannot suppress the voice of Kashmiris through force as they will eventually get freedom. The UN has declared Kashmir a disputed territory and India should hold plebiscite to respect the rights of Kashmiris. Terming Kashmir issue internal matter of India is not justifiable."

Many Indian officials believe that Pakistan is funding and supporting terrorism in Kashmir, which would not be surprising since India and Pakistan have found three wars over Kashmir.

On Wednesday, India's Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar

"India will be able to handle the situation but Pakistan will not be able to do that. You are committing suicide... We are saying this as a good neighbor. [It is] time to open your eyes. ...

When (Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan) Wani got killed, Pakistanis are observing 'black day' and they think we will accept it silently. We will not do that."

Akbar pointed out that when Pakistan suffered a major terror attack killing dozens of children in a school in Peshawar, Indians did not cheer the way that Pakistanis are cheering today. Press TV (Iran) and Saudi (Arabia) Journal and New Indian Express

Mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attack leads Pakistan protests against India

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in cities across Pakistan -- Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, and others -- took to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the ongoing violence in the Indian-governed Kashmir.

The leader of the protests in Lahore was Hafiz Saeed, leader of the terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) at the time that LeT attack conducted the horrific '26/11' terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008, lead the public protests against India in Kashmir on Wednesday. Saeed is designated a terrorist by the U.S. government with a $10 million bounty on his head.

On Wednesday, Saeed said that Burhan Wani was a freedom fighter, and said his death would strengthen the jihad in Kashmir. Indian officials are furious that Pakistan has refused to prosecute Saeed. AP and Asian Age

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Jul-16 World View -- India-Pakistan tensions grow over Kashmir issue thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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20-Jul-16 World View -- The African Union proposes an all-African peacekeeping force for South Sudan

Uganda's president opposes arms embargo on South Sudan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Thousands in South Sudan flee to Uganda to escape violence


South Sudan refugee women and children seek shelter under a UN van. (DPA)
South Sudan refugee women and children seek shelter under a UN van. (DPA)

Thousands of refugees from South Sudan are fleeing across the border to Uganda to escape the possibility of fresh tribal fighting in South Sudan's capital city Juba, despite the fact that the fighting has cooled down in the last week. Over 5,000 refugees crossed the border over the weekend, joining more than 6,000 that had crossed previously.

However, that number of refugees is dwarfed by the number of people who have had to flee their homes and are still in South Sudan. At least 42,000 fled the city of Juba in recent days, and hundreds were killed. The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is responsible for the protection of civilians in refugee camps in South Sudan.

There are fears that if the fighting worsens, then there may be over a million refugees, both internal and flowing into neighboring countries. ( "11-Jul-16 World View -- Fears that renewed South Sudan tribal fighting could spiral into larger war")

Ever since the violence began in December 2013, the number of South Sudan refugees in neighboring countries is around 835,000. UNHCR and Al Jazeera

The African Union proposes an all-African peacekeeping force for South Sudan

An African Union (AU) summit approved the deployment of an all-African peacekeeping to South Sudan, now that there's a lull in the fighting. The soldiers from the force are would come from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.

The new deployment would be in addition to an existing deployment of 12,000 person UN peacekeeping force. The difference between the two (theoretically) is that the UN peacekeeping force is only permitted to keep an existing peace, while the AU force would have the mandate to "impose peace."

However, South Sudan president Salva Kiir will not grant permission for an AU force to enter the country. According to Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan's Information Minister, "We are not ready for a deployment of even a single additional soldier. That does not solve the problem. As a sovereign state ... this thing cannot be imposed on us without our consent. [It would not] serve the interests of the people of South Sudan."

However, the situation is dire. Over a third of South Sudan's population are expected to face severe food shortages over the coming months, and there is a real risk of what the UN has termed a "hunger catastrophe". Deutsche Welle and BBC and Times Live (South Africa)

Uganda's president opposes arms embargo on South Sudan

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni said he was opposed to a U.N. plan to impose an arms embargo on his neighbor South Sudan, saying it would weaken its army just as the country was trying to contain a resurgence of violence.

South Sudan became independent on July 9, 2011. There was constant low-level fighting in the country, but finally major clashes began in December 2013. ( "29-Dec-2013 World View -- Conflicts grow in South Sudan and Central African Republic") Major clashes began again on two weeks ago, on the fifth anniversary of independence.

The fighting is between two tribes, the Dinka tribe, led by the president Salva Kiir, and the Nuer tribe, led by the vice-president Riek Machar.

There's widespread fear that the tribal fighting will spiral into a full-scale civil war.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, that's not going to happen. As I wrote in "Generational history of South Sudan and Dinka-Nuer clashes", the last generational crisis war between the Dinka and Nuer tribes climaxed in 1991 with the "Bor Massacre," starving, displacing and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Thus, South Sudan is in a generational Awakening era, and there are many survivors of the Bor Massacre from both sides who do not want to see anything so horrible happen again, and will do anything they can to prevent it. So an event similar to the Bor Massacre will not occur.

What is happening is that weapons are flooding into South Sudan, with Uganda supplying weapons to Salva Kiir and the Dinkas, and Ethiopia and (Northern) Sudan supplying weapons to Riek Machar and the Nuers. It's the flow of weapons that is sustaining a conflict that would otherwise die out.

We've seen the same thing in Syria. Syria's president Bashar al-Assad launched a war of extermination against the Sunnis in Syria in 2011, and it would have fizzled out long ago, almost certainly with the defeat of al-Assad, except that Russia and Iran have been pouring vast amounts of weapons and soldiers into Syria to prop up the regime and keep the fight going.

Returning now to South Sudan, the United Nations would like to impose a weapons embargo on both tribes, but in view of opposition from people like Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni, that's unlikely to succeed. Reuters and Sudan Tribune

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Jul-16 World View -- The African Union proposes an all-African peacekeeping force for South Sudan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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19-Jul-16 World View -- China's military deploys bombers and closes part of the South China Sea

China makes more delusional claims about the South China Sea

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China makes more delusional claims about the South China Sea


China's map of countries supporting them (China Daily)
China's map of countries supporting them (China Daily)

China state media has issued a report with a map claiming that 70 countries are supporting China's position to reject last week's decision handed down by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague. (See my detailed analysis of the Tribunal decision in "13-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines humiliates China in harsh Hague Tribunal ruling over South China Sea".)

The text in the map shown above says:

"More than 70 countries have publicly voiced support for China’s position that South China Sea disputes should be resolved through negotiations and not arbitration. In contrast, just several countries, mainly the United States and its close allies, have publicly supported the Philippines and called for observing the ruling as legally binding."

Once again, China's claims are totally delusional.

India, for example, most assuredly did not voice support for China's claim that disputes should not be resolved through arbitration. According to a statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs:

"India supports freedom of navigation and over flight, and unimpeded commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UNCLOS. India believes that States should resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability.

Sea lanes of communication passing through the South China Sea are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development. As a State Party to the UNCLOS, India urges all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans."

The Indian statement was very carefully worded so as not to strongly confront China, but it certainly did not reject arbitration.

Prior to the Tribunal ruling, China claimed that 60 countries were in "a chorus" that publicly endorsed China's South China Sea position. The list was completely delusional.

According to an analysis by the the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 8 countries have publicly confirmed their support, 4 have denied Beijing’s claim of support, and 45 have remained publicly silent or have issued statements that are considerably vaguer than indicated by China. In contrast, 11 countries plus the European Union have said that the arbitral award will be legally binding and have called on both China and the Philippines to respect it.

After the Tribunal ruling, an analysis by Lowy Institute seems to indicate that China has fewer supporters today than before the ruling -- not surprising in view of the clarity and presentation of evidence in the ruling. According to Lowy, only three countries now reject the ruling: China, Taiwan and Pakistan. 34 nations have publicly called for the ruling to be respected. Others have either said nothing, or acknowledged the ruling positively.

Also prior to the Tribunal ruling was issued, China released "evidence" of its claims that turned out to be a complete hoax. ( "22-Jun-16 World View -- China's 'ironclad proof' of South China Sea claims revealed as hoax")

It's all very strange. The Tribunal's ruling is purely symbolic in the sense that it has no way to enforce its ruling. Militarily, China is ignoring the ruling anyway, as it prepares for war with its neighbors and with the United States.

Despite all that, China continues to behave in a highly emotional, irrational, panicky, nationalistic manner, issuing delusional and fabricated evidence to support claims that everybody knows are false claims.

This is what makes China so dangerous. They believe that the US has been weakened by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and too anxious to risk another war. This is a major historic mistake that they will regret. They claim to be "peace loving," but the way the world works is that every leader goes to war by claiming to be "peace loving," and blaming the other side. China Daily and India Ministry of External Affairs and Lowy Institute (Australia)

China continues to operate within the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ)

China has claimed that the airstrips on their artificial islands in the Spratly Islands are for civilian aircraft, and they backed up their claims by reporting on two civilian flights, an Airbus A319 chartered by China Southern Airlines and a Boeing 737 by Hainan Airlines, that landed on the airstrips.

We're getting used to outright fabrications and lies from the Chinese, and no one seriously believes that these airstrips will be used only for commercial flights. It's generally thought that China is preparing for war with its neighbors, and that these airstrips will be used for military purposes.

The claim that the artificial islands have only commercial use is laughable. As one analyst wrote sarcastically, "The business plan for the Spratlys would be interesting to read. Perhaps the Chinese would allow Philippine civilian aircraft to land at Mischief Reef to boost revenue."

One of China's artificial islands is on Mischief Reef, which the Tribunal declared is part of the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ), according to last week's decision handed down by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague.

Indeed, Mischief Reef is 300 km (185 miles) west of the Philippines' island of Palawan, but 1,100 km (685 miles) from China's Hainan Island. So it's entirely within the Philippines EEZ, and therefore the artificial islands that China built are now the legal property of the Philippines. Press Trust of India and Reuters

China's military deploys bombers and closes part of the South China Sea

China announced that it will now deploy a combat air patrol with long range bombers in the South China Sea as "a regular practice." According to the Chinese military, "The PLA Air Force will firmly defend national sovereignty, security and maritime interests, safeguard regional peace and stability, and cope with various threats and challenges."

Separately, China's maritime administration said that it is closing off a part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week.

China is in a highly nationalistic, emotional, anxious and dangerous state, and is rapidly increasing its military across the South China Sea, preparing for war with its neighbors and with the United States. AP and India Times

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Jul-16 World View -- China's military deploys bombers and closes part of the South China Sea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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18-Jul-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan gives four-finger 'R4BIA' salute, in signal to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Bahrain tensions rise as Sunni government cracks down on Shias

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's Erdogan gives four-finger 'R4BIA' salute, in signal to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood


Screen grab from video of Erdogan's speech on Saturday in which he gives the four-finger R4BIA salute
Screen grab from video of Erdogan's speech on Saturday in which he gives the four-finger R4BIA salute

Following Egypt's 2013 army coup that ousted the democratically elected Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government, there were massive protests and sit-ins in Cairo and clashes between MB supporters and the army, resulting in nearly 1,000 deaths. Most of the clashes occurred in Cairo's Rabaa Square. In Arabic, the word "Rabaa" or "Rabia" means "fourth," and so MB supporters adopted the name "R4BIA" for the new four-fingered salute, which consists of raising four fingers, and folding your thumb over your palm. ( "24-Aug-13 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan adopts Muslim Brotherhood's four-fingered salute")

In the middle of his first major speech on Saturday following the coup attempt in Turkey, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan flashed the R4BIA four-fingered salute, as shown in the above screen grab, as a signal that he still supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. ( "17-Jul-16 World View -- Attempted army coup in Turkey collapses within hours")

The significance of this is that it's a new indication that Erdogan has no intention of reconciling with Egypt. Erdogan has reconciled with both Israel and Russia in recent weeks, and some analysts had speculated that Egypt would be next. However, Erdogan's four-fingered salute on Saturday is one of several indications that no such reconciliation is possible at this time.

On several occasions, Erdogan has said that his differences are with Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who masterminded the 2013 coup, and not with the Egyptian people. Al Monitor and Washington Post and YouTube - Erdogan - watch 16:30-17:00 and The Conservative Treehouse

Bahrain tensions rise as Sunni government cracks down on Shias

The Sunni-ruled government of Bahrain on Sunday ordered the dissolution of the country's main opposition group, the Shia organization Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, despite enormous international criticism from Western countries and human rights organizations. Al-Wefaq was closed by court order last month. Bahrain's population is 2/3 Shia Muslim, but the country is led by an oppressive Sunni government closely allied with Saudi Arabia.

In May, Bahrain's courts found the Al-Wefaq leader Sheikh Ali Salman guilty of charges relating to "publicly inciting hatred, an act which disturbed public peace, inciting non-compliance with the law and insulting public institutions." Salman's Al Wefaq National Islamic Society issued a statement calling the decision "an alarming politically-motivated verdict [that] only deepens the political and constitutional crisis in Bahrain."

On Sunday, a court in Bahrain ordered the dissolution of Al-Wefaq, accusing it of harboring terrorism, inciting violence and encouraging demonstrations and sit-ins which threaten to spark "sectarian strife," and ordered the seizure of all of the organization's assets.

Iran has not yet commented on the dissolution of Al-Wefaq, but last month when it was closed, Iran issued a statement:

"The oppressed Muslim nation of Bahrain had been under the cruel, biased, unfair, and illegitimate regime of Al-Khalifa for long years. Despite furious acts which included unashamedly racist discrimination, arrest of their religious leaders, imprisoning and torturing women and children, stripping citizenship, violation of their rights without any qualms and several other crimes, this patient people have exercised patience; tightening the pressures has never distracted Bahraini people of their non-violent approach."

It's hard not to laugh at this, given that Iran regularly massacres peaceful protesters, leaving blood running in the streets, and jails political opponents for years. In 2011, Bahrain massacred peaceful protesters, leaving blood running in the streets. When these two countries whine about each other, they sound pathetic. AFP and Al-Jazeera

Bahrain accuses another top Shia cleric for money laundering

Bahrain will try the kingdom's most prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Ahmed Qasim, accusing him on Saturday of illegal fund-raising and money-laundering.

In addition, Bahrain is threatening to strip the entire Shia cleric community of its sources of income, by taking over collection of a Shia tax, known as the fifth or "khums," because it taxes up 20% (one-fifth) of all excess wealth that has accumulated in the accounts of the faithful for more than a year.

Last month, Bahrain revoked the citizenship of Qasim, accusing him of promoting "sectarianism and violence."( "21-Jun-16 World View -- Iran threatens coup, after Bahrain revokes citizenship of Shia cleric")

According to a Bahrain government official:

"Investigations have confirmed that Qasim harnessed the money of poor Shias to finance terror activities in Bahrain and that he sent some of those findings to Iran.

We [the authorities] will be collecting the khums in a transparent way although [I admit that] the process will take time."

Last month, after Qasim's citizenship was revoked, tens of thousands of his supporters to take to the streets. As Bahrain's minority Sunni government continues harsher and harsher crackdowns on the majority Shia population, it's feared that there will be a repeat of the massive protests that occurred in 2011.

According to Rashed al-Rashed, a leading opposition figure in Bahrain, "Nobody can foresee what would happen, but too much blood will be shed in case of Sheikh Qasim’s arrest." Middle East Eye and Tasnim News (Tehran)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Jul-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan gives four-finger 'R4BIA' salute, in signal to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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17-Jul-16 World View -- Attempted army coup in Turkey collapses within hours

Extradition of Fethullah Gulen may be linked to reopening Incirlik air base

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Attempted army coup in Turkey collapses within hours


Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday.  Erdogan accuses Gulen of organizing the coup attempt (Reuters)
Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. Erdogan accuses Gulen of organizing the coup attempt (Reuters)

A botched army coup on Friday attempting to overthrow Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) collapsed within a few hours overnight.

Reports indicate that the army leadership was not involved, and that a group within the army attempted to overthrow the army leadership as well as the government.

On Saturday, 3,000 soldiers and 2,000 judges were arrested.

Erdogan is accusing Fethullah Gulen, a 76-year-old Turkish Muslim cleric, living in self-imposed exile in America since splitting with Erdogan, of orchestrating the coup from his desk in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

Erdogan has been in power since 2007, so it's not surprising that he's made a lot of enemies. There are many reasons why some people might wish to see Erdogan removed from office:

There are many reasons for opposition to Erdogan, and many of them have coalesced under the spiritual leadership of Fethullah Gulen, whether or not that means that Gulen had a more direct responsibility for the coup attempt.

Turkey was deeply divided prior to the coup, and those divisions are probably even deeper now. Millions of Turks say that Erdogan is authoritarian, anti-secular and Islamist. It's unlikely that Erdogan will be able to heal these divisions anytime soon.

As one analyst put it, Erdogan has recently gone to great lengths to reconcile differences externally -- with Russia and Israel -- but what he really needs to do is reconcile differences internally, within Turkey itself. Hurriyet (Ankara) and BBC and AP and Daily Mail (London)

Extradition of Fethullah Gulen may be linked to reopening Incirlik air base

Turkey has a half million man army, the second largest in Nato, and Turkey occupies the central region in the Mideast, literally bridging Europe and Asia. Turkey is considered vital to the West for many reasons:

For all of these reasons, there is great concern internationally that the government of Turkey is going to be increasingly unstable in the next few months.

Incirlik airbase is currently closed since the coup attempt, and the Obama administration would like it to be reopened.

Turkey apparently wishes for the Obama administration to extradite Fethullah Gulen back to Turkey.

Analysts have suggested that Turkey will use the Incirlik closure as leverage to gain the extradition of Gulen.

Gulen lives in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, on a 26-acre compound called the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center. He has denied that he was involved in the coup, and the Obama administration position is that Turkey will have to supply some proof if he is to be extradited.

As long time readers are aware, Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries will be one side, and India, Iran, the United States and the West will be on the other side.

Ten years ago, this trend prediction seemed bizarre, but it's already been astonishing to see Iran and the West move closer together, especially through the nuclear deal, while Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have become increasingly alienated and distrustful of the United States under the Obama administration. This is all in the direction of the trend prediction that I posted years ago.

As I've said before, the reconciliation between Turkey and Russia is strongly anti-trend, so is not expected to last. ( "8-Jul-16 World View -- Hard issues prevent full reconciliation between Turkey and Russia") If the coup brings further instability, it will move in the direction of the above trend, and that will have big effects on the Turkey policies of Russia, Iran, the U.S., and the West. Anadolu (Ankara) and CNN and AP and BBC (27-Jan-2014)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Jul-16 World View -- Attempted army coup in Turkey collapses within hours thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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16-Jul-16 World View -- Nice France terror attack provokes desperate search for solutions

Turkey coup; Protests and violence continue across Indian-governed Kashmir

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Implications of the attempted coup in Turkey


Turkish people take to streets during coup attempt (Anadolu)
Turkish people take to streets during coup attempt (Anadolu)

As of this writing on Friday evening ET, it's thought that the coup has been defeated, but it's far from certain.

Several analysts have pointed out that it's United States policy only to deal with democratically elected governments, and not with coup governments. This policy was already severely tested after the 2013 coup in Egypt, where the U.S. continued providing military aid to the coup government. The issue of military aid to Turkey would be raised if this coup is successful.

Even if the coup is defeated, the fact that Turkey's military is split would have implications for the United States. The United States military is operating out of Incirlik air force base for its operations in Syria and Iraq. The US military and 1,500 US troops and personnel, which depend on Turkey's military while in that base, might potentially be in danger.

Another flash point is the Bosporus, the narrow body of water that connects the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Russia's navy has a substantial Black Sea fleet stationed in Crimea, which Russia invaded and annexed in 2014, and if a Russian ship comes under some kind of attack while traveling through the Bosporus, then Russia's military might enter Turkey and intervene.

As I've written many times during the last ten years or so, based on a Generational Dynamics analysis, in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries would be one side, and India, Iran, the United States and the West would be on the other side. However the coup turns out, this is direction in which Turkey is headed. ( "8-Jul-16 World View -- Hard issues prevent full reconciliation between Turkey and Russia")

As I'm writing this on Friday night ET, it's not entirely clear who is governing Turkey, since president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is holding a news conference in Istanbul while there's still fighting in the capital city Ankara. This coup attempt has exposed a great deal of instability within Turkey, and that instability will continue for weeks and months to come. Anadolu (Ankara) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Protests and violence continue across Indian-governed Kashmir

Reports indicate that Indian security forces prevented tens of thousands of people from attending mosques for Friday Prayers, resulting in anti-India protests and clashes in dozens of places across India-governed Kashmir.

Violent clashes began a week ago, following the death of Burhan Wani, 22, a commander in the separatist militia Hizbul Mujahideen, as I described in "14-Jul-16 World View -- Police clashes in India-governed Kashmir kill 36 and leaves thousands injured".

India has declared Wani to be a "terrorist," but now Pakistan is referring to Wani as a "martyr of the independence movement." This is an allusion to the desires of some groups to have an independent Kashmir, but most anti-India groups want Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. At any rate, the "martyr" designation is inflaming the violence in Kashmir.

Pakistan and India, including disputed Kashmir and Jammu, are in a generational Crisis era, 69 years past the massive 1947 genocidal war between Hindus and Sikhs versus Muslims that followed Partition, the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. Being in a generational Crisis era means that the survivors of the last genocidal crisis war are all gone, and the generations in control today have no personal memory of the horrors of that war. This opens the way for a new genocidal war to begin, and it's possible that the current situation will spiral out of control into that situation. Al Jazeera

Nice France terror attack provokes desperate search for solutions

The number of terror attacks has been growing. In just the past month, there was a deadly July 7 shooting in Dallas, a massive terror attack in Dhaka on July 1, the Istanbul airport attack on June 28, and the mass shooting in Orlando on June 12.

The natural reaction by politicians to the situation is to look for ways to increase their own political power or get money, no matter what the effect on others. This is evident in moronic ideological "solutions to terrorism" that are being proposed. Here are some examples:

The attack in Nice France makes a mockery of all "solutions." It was perpetrated by a permanent resident of France, who lived in Nice with a job as a delivery driver. He was known to the police as a petty thief, but not as a terrorist. No one has claimed credit for the attack, so it may have been perpetrated entirely locally. He has an ex-wife and three kids, so that the attack might have been a way of getting revenge against his ex-wife. He comes from a well-to-do family in Tunisia, where his father was speaking to the press. He expressed shock that his son had perpetrated this act. He said that his son was mentally unstable, and that when he was off his meds he would become extremely angry and break things. So the Nice France attack might simply have been perpetrated by a madman.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is no solution to the terrorism problem. The rise of terrorism is organic, coming from young generations with limited, distorted views of the world. None of the above solutions would reach them. With the worldwide Muslim versus Muslim war growing, there's going to be more and more "spillover" into the West, and so the number of terrorist attacks will continue to increase. All of the "solutions" listed above only make things worse. AFP and CNN

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Jul-16 World View -- Nice France terror attack provokes desperate search for solutions thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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15-Jul-16 World View -- After Brexit, London's real estate bubbles are collapsing

UK commercial real estate market hard hit by 'Brexit clauses'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UK residential real estate market hit hard by Brexit


UK house prices, 1991 to present
UK house prices, 1991 to present

According to anecdotal evidence collected in a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), indicates that the residential real estate market in the UK, especially in London, is crashing.

The findings have to be viewed with caution, since prices increased slightly in June, albeit more slowly than in the past. Since the Brexit referendum occurred on June 23, the June prices surveys don't tell us much.

But the findings that the RCIS announced on Thursday are considerably more dramatic, because they measure changes in buyer sentiment since the Brexit referendum:

According to RICS, the South of the UK has been the hardest hit, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that both the Brexit referendum and tax changes are having an impact on sentiment.

According to RICS, London remains the only region where respondents are seeing prices fall, with this largely being concentrated in the central zones. Near term price expectations are now in negative territory across the whole of the UK with 27% more respondents across the UK expecting to see prices fall rather than rise over the next three months.

RICS points out that only after the initial shock of the Brexit referendum has passed will we get a clearer picture of how the market is faring. Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Business Insider

The UK housing bubble may finally be collapsing

As the chart at the beginning of this article shows, UK housing prices are still at bubble levels. As I've written a number of times in the past, the global housing bubble began in 1996, at the same time as the "tech bubble," and accelerated in the 2000s, reaching a peak in 2007.

The housing bubble then deflated, causing what we now call "the financial crisis," but as the above chart illustrates, the global housing bubble did not fully deflate, and the housing bubble continues to this day.

According to a UBS report published last year, the global housing price increase was 130% from 1996 to 2007, but the subsequent price decline was only 30%. The UBS report blames this on the "gigantic cash injection" from central banks around the world, through quantitative easing and, today, negative interest rates. According to the report:

"Through quantitative easing, central banks have more than tripled the global monetary base since 2008. This gigantic cash injection has lowered real interest rates and slowed the global housing market corrections that began in 2007. The average price decline amounted to 30% in real terms. However, this did not offset the preceding price increase of 130% since the mid-1990s. The correction was thus milder than in previous cycles, setting the stage for today’s overheating housing markets.

When inexpensive financing is combined with bullish expectations, real estate prices eventually uncouple from the real economy. We have seen this in the current cycle, particularly in the world’s leading financial centers, where housing prices are now, in many cases, fundamentally unjustified. The risk of a real estate bubble in these cities has risen sharply. While it is not always possible to prove conclusively the existence of a bubble, it remains essential to identify the signs of one early on."

According to the report, the world's most expensive real estate market was London, though Hong Kong is not far behind. Many European cities, including Geneva and Amsterdam, are overvalued. In the United States, San Francisco is the most overvalued, with New York, Boston and Chicago trailing behind.

As I wrote in "25-Jun-16 World View -- Fallout from Brexit: Impact on geopolitics, economics, and stock markets", the danger is from a long-term crash because of a vicious cycle involving forced selling.

It's impossible to predict exactly when the London housing bubble will collapse, but it's 100% certain that it will collapse at some point, because every bubble in history has collapsed, usually causing enormous pain. It's possible that we're seeing the beginning of a major real estate collapse right now, but it's also possible that central banks will find a way to pour massive new amounts of liquidity into the real estate markets to keep the bubble going. After the "gigantic cash injection" described by the UBS report quoted above, central banks are not about to stop now. The sky's the limit.

One thing to watch out for is that there is a great deal of resistance among mainstream economists, politicians, journalists and analysts to even imagine a collapsing bubble.

We saw this ten years ago, when mainstream financial analysts, economists and journalists would say, "Housing prices can't go down -- people have to live somewhere!" and "Banks won't foreclose -- it's not in their interest to do so!" and "These housing construction firms know what they're doing, and they wouldn't be building houses if it were just a bubble!" It wasn't until 2009 that mainstream economists began saying that there had been a housing bubble years earlier. (See "26-Dec-2015 World View -- 'The Big Short' - an infuriating movie about the financial crisis")

So expect the usual slew of excuses from mainstream economists this time, and don't be surprised if, as usual, they don't have the vaguest clue what's coming. UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index (2015-PDF) and Money Week (3-March-2016) and Bloomberg (6-April-2016)

UK commercial real estate market hard hit by 'Brexit clauses'

Since commercial real estate is often used for investments, Britain's commercial property market is being harder hit than the residential housing market.

Even before the June 23 referendum, some buyers wrote "Brexit clauses" into their contracts to purchase commercial real estate in Britain. These clauses, which are now being invoked, allow buyers to walk away from deals if the Brexit referendum passed, which it did.

Many commercial real estate investors do not plan to occupy the properties they acquire, but are purchasing them as investments. This is particularly true of Chinese property investors, who simply need a place to park their money.

Because of Brexit, many employees working in London may have their jobs moved to the continent. This means that there will be empty offices in London, reducing the value of these buildings to these Chinese investors.

Until the effects of Brexit are well understood, which may not be for two or more years, commercial real estate investors are looking for "safe havens" in other countries. Thus, London's loss could mean other cities' gain. Realtors in Canada, Australia and the US are pitching their countries as safe havens, as Chinese buyers view Britain as too risky. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Jul-16 World View -- After Brexit, London's real estate bubbles are collapsing thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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14-Jul-16 World View -- Police clashes in India-governed Kashmir kill 36 and leaves thousands injured

Jammu-Kashmir violence follows a typical generational timeline after civil war

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Police clashes in India-governed Kashmir kill 36 and leaves thousands injured


Anti-Indian protesters clashing with Indian police in Srinagar in Kashmir
Anti-Indian protesters clashing with Indian police in Srinagar in Kashmir

Hospitals in Indian-controlled Kashmir are being overwhelmed with patients after four days of clashes between police separatist demonstrators. The protestors are demanding that two provinces, Kashmir and Jammu, separate from India and become part of Pakistan, because of the large Muslim population.

The violence was triggered on Friday when activist Burhan Wani, 22, was killed in a gunfight with the Indian Army. Wani was a division commander in Hizbul Mujahideen, a separatist organization, and was very popular with on social media. Hizbul Mujahideen is the largest activist organization fighting against Indian rule in the contested Jammu-Kashmir region.

India's army imposed a curfew on Saturday, but that drew out thousands of angry rock-throwing protesters defying the curfew. Indian army troops used live ammunition and pellet guns to try and quell the violence, which has continued for several days. A mob attacked a police station on Tuesday. Hospitals are being overwhelmed by the arrival of hundreds of wounded patients. In all, at least 36 people were killed, including one policemen, and thousands of people were injured.

With the strict curfew still in place, Kashmir was relatively quiet on Wednesday, despite the fact that it was the anniversary of "Martyrs' Day," when Kashmiris were killed by police firing on protesters on July 13, 1931. Tribune India and AP and Daily Times (Pakistan)

Jammu-Kashmir violence follows a typical generational timeline after civil war

Kashmir was a major battleground for the 1947 Partition war that followed the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, one of the bloodiest wars of the last century. The Kashmir region was a particularly bloody site of the war between Hindus and Muslims, and it's still disputed, with an internationally recognized Line of Control (LoC) separating the regions currently governed by Pakistan from those governed by India.

As I've described in numerous countries that have been through a generational crisis civil war, there is a consistent pattern that such countries almost always follow.

About 20 years after the end of an ethnic civil war, a post-war generation comes of age. They have no personal memory of the war, and all they know is what they've heard from their parents and friends, so they have very limited information. The kids in this generation on each side know nothing of the atrocities their side committed, but know a lot about the atrocities committed against them by the other side. So the two sides of this generation come of age knowing two completely different sets of partial information.

So after 20 years, these young people start to rebel. This can take the form of anything from peaceful protests to violent riots to terrorist attacks. The governing authorities, usually from the side that won the war, fear a renewal of the civil war and react to the protests in various ways. At first, simple police actions work, at least for a while. In Thailand, the army is trying to control the "red shirt" indigenous Thais through coups and a constitutional referendum. In Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza is selectively killing, torturing and jailing Tutsi opponents. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe conducted wholesale slaughter of the Ndebele opponents. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is currently conducting wholesale slaughter of Sunni opponents. In Bangladesh, "the Sheikh Hasina Government has decimated the leadership of established Islamist terrorist formations and their sympathetic institutions," according to one analysis, and arrested over 3,000 people in a sweep last month.

Jammu-Kashmir has following the same pattern. There were constant protests and brief conflicts between Indians and Pakistani Muslims, ending in agreements for peace that lasted weeks or months before low-level violence began again, with each new round of violence worse than the last.

The relatively small protests of the Recovery and Awakening eras became widespread protests and an armed insurgency that began following a disputed election in 1987, as JK entered its generational Unraveling era.

In 1989, Hizbul Mujahideen was formed. Although it was funded and supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, the important fact from the point of view of Generational Dynamics is that it quickly became extremely popular, with thousands of members by the early 1990s. Hizbul Mujahideen has been riven by splintering and internal conflicts, but there are today thousands of anti-India protesters in Indian-governed Kashmir.

There are numerous stories in the press suggesting ways to "solve the core problems" in Jammu-Kashmir. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, no such solutions exist, and there will be continue to be clashes in the future. These solutions completely miss the point. They suggest that some politician pursue peace talks or something similar. That's always the easy suggestion from people who have no clue what's going on. These protests are not coming from politicians. They're growing organically from the population, and no politician can either cause them or stop them. Generational Dynamics predicts that Muslims and Hindus will have a full-scale war, re-fighting the 1947 Partition war that followed the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. The Hindu and Greater Kashmir and SATP (India) and The News (Pakistan)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Jul-16 World View -- Police clashes in India-governed Kashmir kill 36 and leaves thousands injured thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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13-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines humiliates China in harsh Hague Tribunal ruling over South China Sea

Tribunal ruling eviscerates China's 'Nine-Dash Line' claims

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UN Court issues harsh ruling condemning China and affirming the Philippines


Cheering Filipina girls on Tuesday after hearing the Tribunal announcement (AP)
Cheering Filipina girls on Tuesday after hearing the Tribunal announcement (AP)

China was deeply humiliated and infuriated on Tuesday by the announcement that the hated Philippines had beaten them in a major court case on the South China Sea. It wasn't a simple "on balance" victory for the Philippines. It was a ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague where the Philippines had thoroughly thrashed China. The court found that China's claims to the Spratly Islands were invalid, that China's activities in the Spratly Islands were violations of international law and destructive of the environment, and furthermore that China had repeatedly and willfully violated the Philippines' own Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), putting the lives of Philippines fishermen in danger.

The Chinese and Filipino people are long-time war enemies who hold each other in contempt. In this generational Crisis era, the two countries are both highly nationalistic. There is a great deal of international concern right now that the Filipino people will gloat and that China will act like a trapped animal and will use its vast military power to strike back in some way that will lead to war.

There is now a worldwide diplomatic search for some kind of face-saving solution. One thing is for sure: The ruling did not settle the South China Sea issue, and probably made it worse. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and VOA and Guardian (London)

Tribunal ruling eviscerates China's 'Nine-Dash Line' claims

China's famous "Nine-Dash Line" claims -- a Chinese map with line consisting of nine long dashes that encompasses the entire South China Sea, including regions historically belonging to other countries -- was completely eviscerated by the ruling.

The following are some excerpts from the "Conclusion" section of the ruling:

"D. CONCLUSION

The Tribunal considers it beyond dispute that both Parties are obliged to comply with the Convention, including its provisions regarding the resolution of disputes, and to respect the rights and freedoms of other States under the Convention. ...

[The Tribunal] DECLARES that, as between the Philippines and China, China’s claims to historic rights, or other sovereign rights or jurisdiction, with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line’ are contrary to the Convention and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the Convention.

[The Tribunal] DECLARES that Scarborough Shoal, Gaven Reef (North), McKennan Reef, Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef, in their natural condition, are rocks that cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own, and accordingly that [they] generate no entitlement to an exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.

[The Tribunal] FINDS that none of the high-tide features in the Spratly Islands, in their natural condition, are capable of sustaining human habitation or economic life of their own ...; that none of the high-tide features in the Spratly Islands generate entitlements to an exclusive economic zone or continental shelf; and that therefore there is no entitlement to an exclusive economic zone or continental shelf generated by any feature claimed by China that would overlap the entitlements of the Philippines in the area of Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal; and DECLARES that Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal are within the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines.

[The Tribunal] FINDS that, in May 2013, fishermen from Chinese flagged vessels engaged in fishing within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal; and that China, through the operation of its marine surveillance vessels, was aware of, tolerated, and failed to exercise due diligence to prevent such fishing by Chinese flagged vessels; and that therefore China has failed to exhibit due regard for the Philippines’ sovereign rights with respect to fisheries in its exclusive economic zone; and DECLARES that China has breached its obligations under Article 58(3) of the Convention;

[The Tribunal] FINDS that Scarborough Shoal has been a traditional fishing ground for fishermen of many nationalities and DECLARES that China has, through the operation of its official vessels at Scarborough Shoal from May 2012 onwards, unlawfully prevented fishermen from the Philippines from engaging in traditional fishing at Scarborough Shoal.

[The Tribunal] FINDS, with respect to the protection and preservation of the marine environment in the South China Sea: that fishermen from Chinese flagged vessels have engaged in the harvesting of endangered species on a significant scale; that fishermen from Chinese flagged vessels have engaged in the harvesting of giant clams in a manner that is severely destructive of the coral reef ecosystem; and that China was aware of, tolerated, protected, and failed to prevent the aforementioned harmful activities.

[The Tribunal] FINDS further that China’s land reclamation and construction of artificial islands, installations, and structures at Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef (North), Johnson Reef, Hughes Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef has caused severe, irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem; that China has not cooperated or coordinated with the other States bordering the South China Sea concerning the protection and preservation of the marine environment concerning such activities; and that China has failed to communicate an assessment of the potential effects of such activities on the marine environment, within the meaning of Article 206 of the Convention.

[The Tribunal] DECLARES that China has breached its obligations ... with respect to China’s construction of artificial islands, installations, and structures at Mischief Reef: FINDS that China has engaged in the construction of artificial islands, installations, and structures at Mischief Reef without the authorization of the Philippines; and DECLARES that China has breached Articles 60 and 80 of the Convention with respect to the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

[The Tribunal] FINDS, with respect to the operation of Chinese law enforcement vessels in the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal: that China’s operation of its law enforcement vessels on 28 April 2012 and 26 May 2012 created serious risk of collision and danger to Philippine ships and personnel; and DECLARES that China has breached its obligations under Article 94 of the Convention; and that, during the time in which these dispute resolution proceedings were ongoing, China: a. has built a large artificial island on Mischief Reef, a low-tide elevation located in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines; b. has caused—through its land reclamation and construction of artificial islands, installations, and structures—severe, irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem ...; and has permanently destroyed—through its land reclamation and construction of artificial islands, installations, and structures—evidence of the natural condition of Mischief Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef (North), Johnson Reef, Hughes Reef, and Subi Reef.

Part of China's claim to the South China Sea was a kind of leapfrogging from island to island. China would claim one island close to the mainland, then claim another island is close to the first island, and so forth, across the South China Sea.

The Tribunal ruling was that these so-called islands are not islands. They're simply uninhabited rocks, and so they do not qualify to be claimed by anyone.

The ruling makes the following points:

Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling and Russia Today

China reacts angrily to the Tribunal ruling


Chinese media graphic: 'The farce should come to an end'
Chinese media graphic: 'The farce should come to an end'

Here are some excerpts from China's Foreign Ministry statement:

"First, the South China Sea arbitration is completely a political farce staged under legal pretext. ...

Its purpose is clearly not to seek proper settlement of disputes with China, but to violate China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests and put peace and stability in the South China Sea in jeopardy.

The arbitration was conducted according to unwarranted procedure and application of law, and was based on flawed evidence and facts. Such as it is, it will never be accepted by the Chinese people. Nor will it be recognized by anyone in the world who stands on the side of justice. ...

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China solemnly declares that the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it."

China's Global Times contained a bitter, vitriolic editorial:

"If the award were to be followed, China would be left with only a few isolated spots in the Nansha [Spratly] Islands without entitlement to any EEZ and could even be deprived of sovereignty of the waters surrounding the islands and islets. The majority of the Nansha Islands waters would be taken up by the EEZs claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam. Besides, China could not continue with its island construction. The existing facilities might be dismantled by these two countries if they could. With the related resources being owned by Manila and Hanoi in the future, China would have to withdraw its business and other activities from the area.

This not only outrageously denies China's historic rights in the Nansha area and its legitimate maritime interests, but also overthrows the state of de facto control in the region including the Huangyan Island waters. This is ridiculous. The verdict has brazenly violated China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights."

State television reacted to the ruling by showing a documentary showcasing China's military might. China's Foreign Ministry and Global Times (Beijing) and China's Foreign Ministry

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines humiliates China in harsh Hague Tribunal ruling over South China Sea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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12-Jul-16 World View -- Japan's election opens the way to repeal 'pacifism' constitution clause

Increasingly angry China rams Vietnamese boat as tribunal ruling expected

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Increasingly angry China rams Vietnamese boat as tribunal ruling expected


Nguyen Thi Nang (L) sits next to a radio operator, waiting for news from her husband, captain Vo Van Luu, after his boat was reportedly sunk by Chinese vessels in the South China Sea
Nguyen Thi Nang (L) sits next to a radio operator, waiting for news from her husband, captain Vo Van Luu, after his boat was reportedly sunk by Chinese vessels in the South China Sea

In what is likely to be increasingly a sign of things to come, Chinese vessels on Saturday rammed a Vietnamese fishing boat and sank it, and then prevented another Vietnamese ship from rescuing the crew members, as they clung to the sinking ship to keep from drowning. The five crew members were in the waters for over six hours before the Chinese ships left, permitting another Vietnamese ship to rescue the crew. The incident took place in waters that have been fished by Vietnam for centuries.

China's rhetoric has become increasingly panicky, even publicly releasing 'evidence' that turns out to be delusional. ( "22-Jun-16 World View -- China's 'ironclad proof' of South China Sea claims revealed as hoax")

The rhetoric has worsened approaching July 12, when the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague will issue its long-awaited ruling on a case brought by the Philippines against China on the merits of China's claims to the entire South China Sea. The case is brought under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which China claims does not apply to them. ( "7-Jul-16 World View -- South China Sea tension set to escalate after July 12 arbitration ruling")

Here's a typical Chinese media news story:

"On the South China Sea issue, some Western media have spared no efforts to make "news", tapping lies to cover the truth and misguide public opinions thereon, which is considered by experts and scholars to be unfair and misleading. ...

A quick glimpse of the website of the U.S. magazine The National Interest shows that there are quite a number of articles concerning the South China Sea, including ones titled "China's Reckless South China Sea Strategy Won't Work", and "China's Bogus South China Sea Consensus", among others

Almost all of these headlines are biased in opinion and exaggeratedly worded, without uttering the least responsible words as a magazine in a big media country.

Japan's The Diplomat, America's Business Insider and the Washington Post have frequently mentioned in their reports that China intends to turn the South China Sea into its "internal lake" or "a Chinese lake".

In doing so, they just turned a blind eye to the fact that the South China Sea islands have been part of the Chinese territory under international law and since ancient times, and played up sensational concepts in a bid to wrench the facts and misguide their readers.

Some media even simply fabricate stories in order to smear China, attempting to impress their readers that the situation is tense in the disputed waters."

There's a real hysterical quality to this situation. Assuming that the tribunal rules in favor of the Philippines, the tribunal has no way to enforce any decision it issues, so China can just ignore the ruling, which it has already said it would do. But having already rammed Vietnamese boats, manufactured evidence and made fantastical claims, China is in an extremely emotional and dangerous state, and this may have consequences. Sky News (Australia) and Tuoi Tre News (Vietnam) and Xinhua

Japan's election opens the way to repeal 'pacifism' constitution clause

Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won a resounding election victory on Sunday that opens the door for Abe to get Japan's constitution amended to remove the "pacifism" clause, as I wrote three days ago.

The LDP, along with its coalition partner Komeito, now has a two-thirds "supermajority" in both the upper and lower houses of the Diet (parliament). This gives Abe the votes to amend the consitution.

The pacifism clause forbids any military action by the Japanese except in self-defense on Japanese soil. For Abe, amending this clause is personal, in that he's following in the path of his grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke, who served as prime minister of Japan from 1957-60. Kishi disliked the pacifism clause because it made Japan too dependent on the United States, and he wanted Japan to be completely self-reliant in national defense. For Abe, amending this clause would fulfill his grandfather's wish.

However, even with a super-majority in both houses of the Diet, removing the pacifism clause will be very difficult because of widespread opposition to doing so. An exit poll indicates that the country is deeply divided on this issue, with 36% of the voters opposing the change and 29.6% supporting it, with 34.4% undecided.

Those who support the change do so because of growing fears about terrorism, North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons ambitions and China’s military assertiveness, while those who oppose it take pride in the war-renouncing pledge. Japan Today and Japan Times

US will send 560 more troops to Iraq

In yet another flip-flop, the Obama administration announced that it will send another 560 US troops to Iraq, to fight the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter made the announcement on Monday during a surprise visit to Iraq.

This will bring the number of US troops in Iraq to about 6,000, including those on temporary assignment. This is a reversal for President Obama, who promised to withdraw all troops from Iraq, and did so in December 2011. Since then, Iraq's situation has continued to deteriorate, and Obama has been forced to abandon his campaign promises and send troops back to Iraq. One month ago, Obama also further abandoned his campaign promises to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. ( "11-Jun-16 World View -- In a reversal, Obama allows US troops in Afghanistan in combat roles")

The US troops will be part of an effort to recapture Raqqa, ISIS' self-declared capital, and Mosul from ISIS. ISIS has occupied Mosul since June 2014.

According to one analyst, retired Marine general Anthony Zinni,

"Reading between the lines, I suspect that he has some major commitments from the Iraqis, Kurds, and Syrian opposition to go for the gold. ... I also suspect that Carter is convinced that Mosul and Raqqa are isolated. It sounds like he will use this to pressure regional allies to step up their contributions."

Zinni was commander of all US forces in the region as chief of U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000. Washington Post and Time

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Jul-16 World View -- Japan's election opens the way to repeal 'pacifism' constitution clause thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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11-Jul-16 World View -- Fears that renewed South Sudan tribal fighting could spiral into larger war

Generational history of South Sudan and Dinka-Nuer clashes

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Fears that renewed South Sudan tribal fighting could spiral into larger war


South Sudan army forces stand at attention, April 14, 2016 (AFP)
South Sudan army forces stand at attention, April 14, 2016 (AFP)

Fresh clashes have broken out between rival forces from the Dinka and Nuer tribes in South Sudan in the last few days, killing hundreds of civilians, and forcing thousands from their homes. Although low-level violence has been a constant since South Sudan became independent in 2011, there were major clashes that began in December 2013. ( "29-Dec-2013 World View -- Conflicts grow in South Sudan and Central African Republic") There followed 21 months of atrocities, until they were supposedly ended by a peace treaty that was signed by both sides in August 2015.

New reports indicate that several Nuer armies are now heading towards the capital city Juba, and there are fears of a wider war. The United Nations said it was "outraged" at what was happening:

"The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is outraged at the resumption of violence in Juba today [...], which is severely impacting on the civilian population."

According to UNMISS, there is heavy fighting in downtown Juba. Other reports indicate the use of artillery, warplanes, and helicopter gunships. The UN Security Council on Saturday passed a resolution strongly condemning the fighting in Juba.

After the 2011 war that gave South Sudan independence from Sudan, a Transitional Government of National Unity was formed. The president is President Salva Kiir, from the Dinka tribe, and the vice president is Riek Machar, from the Nuer tribe. Both tribes had been united in facing a common enemy in their fight for independence from Sudan, but they turned on each other and started an ethnic conflict after the war.

The clashes in December 2013 were triggered when Dinka president Salva Kiir fired his cabinet and accused the Nuer vice-president Riek Machar of planning a coup. Machar fled the country, and the fighting displaced more than 2.2 million people before the August 2015 peace agreement was signed.

In April 2016, Machar returned to South Sudan to rejoin the Unity Government as vice president. However, Machar's spokesman is now saying the South Sudan is "back to war." Radio Tamazuj (South Sudan) and BBC and Al Jazeera

Generational history of South Sudan and Dinka-Nuer clashes

When Sudan became independent in 1956, the north was largely Muslim, Arabic speaking, while the southern population mostly followed tribal religions. The Khartoum government in the north launched a program to "Arabize and Islamize the South." This triggered a reaction from Christian evangelists, mostly from the US, to come to Sudan and convert the South to Christianity.

There was immediately a north-south war of independence, but there was also a generational crisis civil war between the Nuer and Dinka tribes. This was climaxed on November 15, 1991, when the "Bor Massacre" began. Over the next three months, 2,000 civilians were killed, thousands more wounded, at least 100,000 people fled the area. Famine followed the massacre, as looters burnt villages and raided cattle, resulting in the deaths of 25,000 more from starvation.

The nightmare scenario is that the new clashes will spiral into a repeat of the 1991 Bor Massacre. But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, South Sudan is in a generational Awakening era, so a historic massacre of this type will not occur.

However, there certainly is a great deal of ethnic hatred between the Nuers and the Dinkas. Evidently, the level of ethnic hatred exceeds that of the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda, following their 1994 genocidal ethnic bloodbath. Nonetheless, in this generational Awakening era, we can expect to see repeated clashes between Nuers and Dinkas, separated by peace agreements that fall apart in a few weeks or months. But a full-scale ethnic civil war is not expected at this time. Radio Tamazuj (South Sudan 23-Dec-2013) and Sudan Tribune (31-Aug-2007) and BBC (28-Sep-2015) and ECC Platform (2014)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Jul-16 World View -- Fears that renewed South Sudan tribal fighting could spiral into larger war thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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10-Jul-16 World View -- Violence resurges in Central African Republic's crisis civil war

European Union will pay Sudan's militias to block migration to Europe

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Violence resurges in Central African Republic's crisis civil war


United Nations in Chad registering refugees fleeing from violence in Chad (UNHCR)
United Nations in Chad registering refugees fleeing from violence in Chad (UNHCR)

More than 6,000 people from the Central African Republic's northwest Ouham-Pendé province, near the border with Cameroon, have fled into Cameroon and Chad to escape resurging violence between Muslim Seleka militias and Christian anti-balaka militias.

Last year, United Nations officials had hoped that a visit by the Pope in November, and the election of a new president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, in December, would bring an end to the violence between Muslims and Christians in Central African Republic (CAR). Touadéra has been trying to reconcile Christians and Muslims. He was even seen celebrating the end of Ramadan with Muslims in the capital city Bangui.

The hope was that Christians whose villages were burned to the ground by Muslim militias, and Muslims whose families were raped, murdered and dismembered by Christian militias, will all put aside any desire for revenge, thanks to the soothing words of the Pope and the charismatic hope and change statements of the new president. Apparently it didn't work.

This year alone, some 25,000-30,000 people have been internally displaced, forced to flee from their homes. But the flood of refugees into neighboring countries began on June 12, when clashes erupted between Muslim livestock herders and Christian farmers north-west town of Ngaoundaye, in Ouham-Pendé province.

Battles between farmers and herders occur in country after country, as I've described many times in Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, and even America in the 1800s. The farmers accuse the herders of letting the cattle eat their crops, while the herders accuse the farmers of planting on land that's meant for grazing. If the farmers put up fences, then the herders knock them down.

The CAR sectarian war began in March 2013, when François Bozizé, the Christian former president of CAR, was ousted in a coup in March 2013 by Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, who became president and served until January 2014.

After Djotodia's coup took place in March 2013, Muslim Seleka militias began committing atrocities, particularly targeting the Christian constituencies of the deposed François Bozizé. In December 2013, French Foreign Legion peacekeeping troops arrived to disarm the Seleka militias.

But then the Christian anti-balaka militias "rushed into the vacuum," and began committing atrocities in 2014, for revenge against the Selekas. Since then, both Christians and Muslims have been committing atrocities, and it's become a full-scale generational crisis war. Thousands have been killed, and millions have been displaced.

As I've explained in the past, CAR's last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era, where a new crisis civil war has already started.

Many people had been hoping that the UN peacekeeping force, the Pope's visit, the election of a new president would somehow combine to tranquilize the fighting and end the civil war. However, the Pope's visit was to the capital city Bangui, the new president is sitting in Bangui, with little control over the rest of the country, and the peacekeeping force is just in Bangui, and has been only partially successful in keeping the peace there. Bangui is a tiny dot on the map of an enormous country that's now completely lawless, with two militias in large populations seeking revenge.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is a generational crisis war, and it will not end until a lot of scores get settled with some kind of massive bloody, genocidal climax that will be remembered for decades. And CAR is nowhere close to that point yet. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Deutsche Welle and VOA

In Darfur Sudan, genocidal violence continues after 13 years of civil war

The huge civil war in Darfur, Sudan, was much in the news ten years ago. In 2007, just as President Bush was launching the "surge" that ended the violence in Iraq, Senator Joe Biden called for a complete withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq, and then use those troops to launch an invasion into Sudan to put an end to the Darfur war. "Let's stop the bleeding," Biden said. "I think it's a moral imperative." (From April 2007: "Senator Joe Biden wants to move troops from Iraq to Darfur civil war")

In fact, the Darfur civil war has many things in common with the CAR civil war.

Low level violence began in the 1970s between two ethnic groups, one of farmers (the "Africans") and the other of camel herders (the "Arabs"), in the usual disputes over land and water. The violence increased from year to year, and in the 1990s, Sudan's government in Khartoum delegated the responsibility of policing the region to the Arab Janjaweed militias, formed from certain groups of herders.

Violence continued to increase, and by 2003, it had turned into a full-scale generational crisis war. (A detailed history can be found in my 2007 article, "Ban Ki Moon blames Darfur genocide on global warming") At that point, under direction of the new president Omar al-Bashir, the Janjaweed militias (herders) became extremely violent, with a program of massacres, mass murders, rapes, genocide and scorched earth.

Today, al-Bashir has renamed the Janjaweed militias as the Rapid Support Force (RSF), and they are still committing genocide in Darfur, although that violence isn't in news much anymore, as it was in the days when Joe Biden took an interest in it. As in the case of CAR, the war will not end until a lot of scores get settled with some kind of massive bloody, genocidal climax that will be remembered for decades. Sudan Tribune and World Policy Institute (30-Mar)

European Union will pay Sudan's militias to block migration to Europe

The European Commission has issued a draft proposal to provide €100 million in aid to the militaries of some African countries, who will be asked to use the money to prevent migration of refugees to Libya and then on to Europe.

As I like to point out, almost every day something new happens that a few years ago you would have to have been crazy to believe would ever happen. Whether it's in America, Europe, Africa, the Mideast or Asia, things that could never happen are happening all the time.

A particular beneficiary of the EU's aid program will be Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir, and his government militia, the Rapid Support Force (RSF), led by a former leader of the Janjaweed militias general Mohamed Hamdan Hametti. Hametti will send around 1,000 RSF troops along the border with Libya. Both al-Bashir and Hametti are considered to be guilty of human rights crimes and genocidal violence against civilians in the Darfur civil war. EU Observer

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Jul-16 World View -- Violence resurges in Central African Republic's crisis civil war thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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9-Jul-16 World View -- Nato deploying a 'tripwire' of 4,000 soldiers along Russia's border

Japan's elections put constitution's pacifism clause into question

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Japan's elections put constitution's pacifism clause into question


Shinzo Abe campaigning for Sunday's elections (Kyodo)
Shinzo Abe campaigning for Sunday's elections (Kyodo)

On Sunday, Japan will hold parliamentary elections for half the seats in Japan's upper house. There is a possibility (far from a certainty) that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will, along with its coalition partner Komeito, get a two-thirds supermajority in the upper house. LDP, which is led by prime minister Shinzo Abe, already has a two-thirds supermajority in the lower house.

Japan's constitution may be amended only by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Diet (parliament). So if Abe gets his desired supermajority in both houses, then his LDP party could amend the constitution.

And Abe has said repeatedly in the past that what he'd like to change is the "self-defense" clause of the constitution, that prohibits Japan's armed forces from being involved in military actions except in self-defense. Here is the text of the actual clause, as written by an American team led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had led the American forces to victory of Japan in World War II:

"CHAPTER II - RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

The movement to amend the self-defense clause has gathered steam in the last ten years, primarily motivated by the rise of China and in particular China's military threats against the Senkaku Islands, which are governed by Japan.

In 2015, Japan adopted new "collective defense" laws, partially departing from the pacifism in the constitution. The old self-defense clause of the constitution has been interpreted to permit military action only when Japan itself is being attacked, and only on Japanese soil. The new collective defense laws reinterpret the self-defense clause to include "collective self-defense," which would permit military action anywhere in the world under some circumstances when an ally (such as the United States) is attacked. I discussed the meaning of "collective self-defense" in detail in 2014 in "5-May-2014 World View -- Japan debates 'collective self-defense' to protect America and Japan".

Amending the self-defense clause is extremely controversial in Japan, so much so that Abe isn't even talking about in his campaigning, choosing to focus instead on the economy. That may be an even greater risk, because Japan's economy has not been doing well, and some people blame the weakness of Abe's "Abenomics" program of massive stimulus through monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms. The goal was to reach 2% inflation, but instead Japan remains in a deflationary spiral. Perhaps the only good news for Abe is that deflation is a worldwide phenomenon, so it can't be blamed specifically on him. Japan Times and Constitution of Japan and Manila Times and CNBC

Nato deploying a 'tripwire' of 4,000 soldiers along Russia's border

At an annual summit meeting in Warsaw Poland on Friday, Nato announced that it will deploy four multinational battalions of 1,000 soldiers each, in each of four countries -- Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The deployment will take place in six to nine months.

These four countries have been urgently requesting such a deployment for years, especially since Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. These countries are nervous that Russia's president Vladimir Putin will order his army to do the same kind of thing to one or all of them.

The four battalions will come from four different Nato countries: the United States, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.

It will not be possible to defend against an invasion by Russia's massive army with just 4,000 soldiers. However, this "tripwire" force will almost certainly deter Russia from invading. In Ukraine, Russia's forces were able to just walk in and take over, especially in Crimea, with little or no resistance. But Russia won't be able to do the same in Poland or the Balkans because it would amount to a declaration of war against Nato, which even Vladimir Putin would probably like to avoid. Radio Poland and France 24 and Nato Joint Resolution and CNN

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Jul-16 World View -- Nato deploying a 'tripwire' of 4,000 soldiers along Russia's border thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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8-Jul-16 World View -- Hard issues prevent full reconciliation between Turkey and Russia

Turkey's reconciliation with Egypt appears to be unlikely

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hard issues prevent full reconciliation between Turkey and Russia


Erdogan addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 24, 2014
Erdogan addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 24, 2014

In May, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who said that Turkey would "increase the number of friends we have and decrease the number of enemies." That was the precursor to a flurry of diplomatic activity in June, where Turkey effected a reconciliation with both Israel and Russia.

Russia imposed sanctions on Turkey after Turkish warplanes unexpectedly shot down a Russian warplane near the border with Syria, after the Russian aircraft had been warned several times that it was violating Turkish airspace. ( "25-Nov-15 World View -- Turkey shoots down Russian warplane, evoking memories of many Crimean wars")

The sanctions have been harsh. Turkey was a major vacation for Russian tourists, and tourism was cut off, resulting in $3.5 billion in losses. Russia's exports to Turkey decreased by 43%, and imports from Turkey decreased by 85%.

Russia's president Vladimir Putin had repeatedly demanded that Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologize for shooting down Russia's warplane, and also financially compensate the Russian pilot who was killed. Erdogan has repeatedly used highly nationalistic language to refuse to apologize.

On June 27, it was announced that Erdogan had sent a "letter of apology" to Putin. It turned out that the apology was something of a finesse -- Erdogan did not apologize for shooting down a Russian warplane in Turkey's airspace, but he did apologize to the family of the dead Russian pilot. Separately, Erdogan has also agreed to pay compensation to the family.

In response, Russia lifted the restrictions on tourists visiting Turkey, and there's talk of removing the sanctions on trade. However, economic factors are only a partial explanation for the reconciliation.

Although the shooting down of the Russian warplane triggered the fierce split in relations, tensions had been building over the war in Syria. Turkey was finding Syria's president Bashar al-Assad increasingly intolerable because of his continuing genocidal massacres of innocent Sunni civilians in Syria. Russia, on the other hand, considered al-Assad to be a vital ally. Turkey had helped to fund some moderate "rebel" opposition groups fighting against al-Assad, while Russian warplanes targeted and bombed the groups that Turkey supported, and avoided bombing militias from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

An even more serious problem is the role of the Kurds. The Kurds in Turkey have been fighting an insurrection for decades, and Turkey considers all the Kurds in the region to be working with the terrorist group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Both the United States and Russia have supported the Kurds in Syria and Iraq in their roles fighting ISIS.

Turkey has suffered a series of devastating terror attacks in the last year, the worst of which was the attack on the Ataturk National Airport in Istanbul on June 28. These attacks were perpetrated by both ISIS and the PKK, but Turkey has become increasingly isolated internationally, and has received little sympathy for these terror attacks.

It was this situation that led to the promise by Turkey's prime minister to "increase the number of friends we have and decrease the number of enemies."

As long-time readers are aware, Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, Russia, India and Iran will be allied with the West, while Turkey and the Sunni Arabs will be allied with the Pakistan and China. ( "15-Jul-2015 World View -- Arab views of Iran nuclear deal")

So from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, a complete reconciliation between Turkey and Russia is very strongly counter-trend, and so is unlikely to last long. This should not be surprising in view of the generational crisis wars the two have fought over the centuries. And it also should not be surprising in view of the numerous issues that still deeply divide the two countries, in both Syria and in the Caucasus. Jamestown and Tass (Moscow 27-June) and Hurriyet (Ankara 27-June) and CS Monitor

Turkey's reconciliation with Egypt appears to be unlikely

After reconciling with Russia and Israel, many are suggesting that Turkey should now reconcile with Egypt, possibly even using Israel as a mediator. Saudi Arabia, a staunch Turkish ally and a main backer of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is interested in seeing the two countries reconcile.

Turkey broke relations with Egypt as a result of the 2013 military coup led by the current president, Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi, against the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood (MB) government led by Mohammed Morsi, putting Morsi and thousands of MB members in jail.

Once again, it was Turkey's prime minister Binali Yildirim who set the tone:

"From Russia to Israel, Egypt to Syria, Iraq to Iran, EU countries to the U.S., we are determined to develop peaceful, friendly and practical ties with everyone. We will keep doing this."

Burhanettin Duran, a Turkish official, announced that a working group would go to Egypt to discuss a plan to normalize relations.

However, the Muslim Brotherhood has close relations with Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan suggested earlier this week that reconciliation with Egypt might not be possible while al-Sisi is in power:

"The problem with Egypt is an issue with its administration, especially with its ruler. It is not possible for us to say 'yes' to who tyrannizes the Morsi administration.

The context with Egypt is different from the approaches undertaken with Russia and Israel. ... Sentences handed down to Morsi and his friends have been based on fabrications.

We do not approve of these decisions. ... All of these people in Egypt are our brothers and approving the stance taken against Morsi and his friends would put us in an awkward position as Muslims, as humans and as people who believe in democracy."

However, AKP deputy leader Saban DiSli said that after the reconciliation with Israel and Russia, "God willing ties with Egypt will also ease." Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Egyptian Streets and Al Bawaba (Palestine)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Jul-16 World View -- Hard issues prevent full reconciliation between Turkey and Russia thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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7-Jul-16 World View -- South China Sea tension set to escalate after July 12 arbitration ruling

Obama flip-flops again on Afghanistan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

South China Sea tension set to escalate after July 12 arbitration ruling


3,000 boat Chinese fishing fleet on Sept 16, 2013 (Xinhua)
3,000 boat Chinese fishing fleet on Sept 16, 2013 (Xinhua)

The United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has announced that on July 12 it will issue its long-awaited ruling on a case brought by the Philippines against China on the merits of China's claims to the entire South China Sea. The case is brought under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which China claims does not apply to them.

China has said it will ignore any ruling of the tribunal. It's saying that because it knows it will lose. Indeed, a BBC investigation of some of China's evidence has been shown to be delusional, and possibly a complete fabrication. ( "22-Jun-16 World View -- China's 'ironclad proof' of South China Sea claims revealed as hoax")

According to an editorial in the China state media Global Times:

"As the result of the international arbitration over the South China Sea dispute approaches, China is undertaking a military drill from July 5 to 11 in the waters around the Xisha Islands. ...

The South China Sea dispute has been greatly complicated after heavy US intervention. Now an international tribunal has also been included, posing more threat to the integrity of China's maritime and territorial sovereignty.

Regardless of the principle that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) shall not arbitrate on territorial disputes, the arbitration becomes nothing but a farce. But the US could use it to impose more pressure on China, causing more tensions in the South China Sea.

Washington has deployed two carrier battle groups around the South China Sea, and it wants to send a signal by flexing its muscles: As the biggest powerhouse in the region, it awaits China's obedience.

China should speed up building its military capabilities of strategic deterrence. Even though China cannot keep up with the US militarily in the short-term, it should be able to let the US pay a cost it cannot stand if it intervenes in the South China Sea dispute by force.

China is a peace-loving country and deals with foreign relations with discretion, but it won't flinch if the US and its small clique keep encroaching on its interests on its doorstep.

China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks, but it must be prepared for any military confrontation. This is common sense in international relations."

The "heavy US intervention" refers to America's "freedom of navigation" patrols in the South China Sea. Some $5 trillion in trade passes through the South China Sea on ships each year, including $1.2 trillion of US trade. China has flip-flopped among various positions and threats in the past few years, and some statements in the past have threatened to block international traffic, or at least to require permission of Chinese authorities to traverse the South China Sea. So the US has responded with the freedom of navigation patrols.

China is claiming the entire South China Sea, and is using its massive military force to confiscate regions that have historically belonged to other nations, especially Vietnam and the Philippines. China is building artificial islands and converting them to military bases with advanced missile and radar systems. ( "23-Feb-16 World View -- China's military buildup neutralizes America's aircraft carriers")

China's military is in a highly emotional, irrational and nationalistic state, which makes them very dangerous. They believe that the US has been weakened by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and too anxious to risk another war. This is a major historic mistake that they will regret. They claim to be "peace loving," but the way the world works is that every leader goes to war by claiming to be "peace loving," and blaming the other side. The July 12 ruling will only increase their anxieties.

Some analysts are pointing out that occupying the South China Sea is an existential need for China and for its neighbors. China, Vietnam and the Philippines have high population densities and comparatively low amounts of arable land, further magnifying the importance of food sources outside traditional crops. Food security is an existential threat to all of these countries. For China, taking control of all the fish stocks in the South China Sea is seen as a necessity, and so China sees the need to control access to the South China Sea by other nations.

So all the talk about being "peace-loving" is really irrelevant. China will go to war if that's the only way to prevent Vietnam and the Philippines from fishing in the South China Sea. Out of desperation, Vietnam and the Philippines will see China's military actions as an existential threat, and an attempt to starve their own people. The July 12 ruling will raise anxieties on all sides, and move the region closer to war. Global Times (Beijing) and Jamestown and The Diplomat

Obama flip-flops again on Afghanistan

President Barack Obama flip-flopped again on Wednesday. There are currently 9,800 American troops in Afghanistan, and Obama announced that 8,400 troops would be left in Afghanistan when he leaves office, rather than 5,500. The Taliban are gaining control of large areas of the country, defeating the indigenous Afghan army repeatedly, and Obama is under pressure to reverse himself again on his withdrawal plans. The 8,400 figure is apparently a completely meaningless political number, less than 9,800 so he can claim he's still withdrawing, but large enough to provide cover until he can leave office. It's all pretty cynical.

In October of last year, President Obama reversed himself on the Afghanistan troop withdrawal. Instead of a total withdrawal, he announced that a residual force of 5,500 troops would be left on a continuing basis. This was only one of several similar reversals. He was forced into this because many people believe that the Obama's total withdrawal from Iraq squandered the victory won by President Bush via the 2007 "surge," and because Obama's own "surge" strategy in Afghanistan has been a failure, as I predicted in 2009 that it would be, based on a Generational Dynamics comparison of Iraq and Afghanistan.

By coincidence, Obama's announcement comes on the same day that Britain is releasing the "Chilcot report," a massive condemnation of the roles of the US and Britain for the Iraq war. Thus, it's interesting to compare the media attitude towards Bush's apparent lies in Iraq, and Obama's apparent lies about Afghanistan. The press reaction was predictable. The Sacramento Bee was typical, in one editorial on the one hand expressing sympathy for President Obama's "failed exit strategies," and on the other hand accusing "the Bush-Cheney administration for ... lies about Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein having weapons." Obama's lies deserve sympathy from the Sacramento Bee, while Bush's deserve the greatest condemnation. Like the analysts and anchors on CNBC who constantly lie about stock valuations and don't care that they're lying, the reporters and editors at the Sacramento Bee and New York Times don't care that they've become the public relations arms of the Obama administration. I remember the days when the New York Times could be called "the newspaper of record," but those days are gone. Washington Post and BBC and Sacramento Bee

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Jul-16 World View -- South China Sea tension set to escalate after July 12 arbitration ruling thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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6-Jul-16 World View -- Attack on Islam's holy site in Medina caps end-of-Ramadan jihadist carnage

Bond yields continue to plummet globally into negative territory after Brexit

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Attack on Islam's holy site in Medina caps end-of-Ramadan jihadist carnage


The aftermath of the suicide bombing attack on the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia (Arab News)
The aftermath of the suicide bombing attack on the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia (Arab News)

Muslims around the world are horrified and appalled that the grave of the Prophet Mohammed in Medina was targeted by a suicide bomber on Monday. Four policemen became suspicious of an individual who was approaching the Prophet's Mosque, and when they questioned him, he blew up his explosive belt. Only the four policemen were killed, but they're actions are being credited with saving the lives of many others.

Earlier, two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Faraj al-Omran Mosque in Qatif, with no casualties. And a suicide bomber blew himself up near the US consulate in Jeddah, although some Saudi authorities say that it was the mosque next door, not the consulate, that was the target of the attack. Two policemen were lightly wounded in this attack.

There were no claims of responsibility for the three attacks, but it's assumed that the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) is responsible. It's not even known if the three attacks were coordinated, or if they were independent attacks, all scheduled for the last day of Ramadan, in accordance with pre-Ramadan incitement by ISIS.

Early in June, ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani told "lone wolves" and other ISIS supporters:

"We will make this month [Ramadan], inshallah, a month of calamities for the infidels everywhere. This call specifically goes out to the supporters of [ISIS] in Europe and America."

The scale of the carnage inflicted by jihadists extremists over the past week alone has been staggering. The attacks included more than 250 killed by a truck bomb in a crowded Baghdad market in Iraq; 44 killed at an airport in Istanbul, Turkey; 23 killed in a siege of a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

And yet, in another sense, the ISIS incitement was not really fulfilled. The attacks during the month of Ramadan killed over 800 people worldwide, but the only one that really targeted "Europe and America" was the ISIS-inspired lone wolf who killed 49 people in a gay bar in Orlando, Florida.

As I've written many times in the past, there is a war being prosecuted by al-Qaeda and by ISIS, but it's not a war against Westerners or Christians. The huge mass of casualties from the jihadists wars are other Muslims, and the number of Westerners is minuscule by comparison. This is a war by Muslims against Muslims, whether it's Sunnis versus Shias, Sauds versus Wahhabis, or some other fault line.

Possibly nothing illustrates this more than the attack on the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. This was a shocking escalation in ISIS's war against Muslims. Medina is the second holiest city in Islam, behind Mecca, and is always crowded with Muslim visitors. ISIS considers the Saudi government to be infidels in league with the West, and so perhaps Medina could somehow be a "Western" target. This has been particularly true since November 20, 1979, when young jihadists led by terrorist Juhayman al-Oteibi seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca. By the end, the official death toll was 127 soldiers and 117 militants. Unconfirmed reports indicate that over 1,000 civilians lost their lives. ( "12-Sep-2015 World View -- Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque, site of huge construction accident, has links to 9/11")

But whatever ISIS's justification for attacking Medina, it's still Muslims that are being killed, and it's still the second holiest shrine in Islam. As one Muslim tweeted on Tuesday, "Is there anyone on earth who still thinks these barbarians HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM?" Arab News and The National (UAE) and CNN

Bond yields continue to plummet globally into negative territory after Brexit

Investors worldwide are continuing to seek "safe havens" by investing in government bonds. The demand for these bonds is forcing prices up to historical levels, which means that their yields (interest rates) are falling to historic levels, increasing to negative levels.

Bond yields had already pushed many bond yields lower, thanks to central banks "printing money" via quantitative easing, and pouring it into the banking system. This has pushed bond yields on the most popular bonds in Japan, Germany, Switzerland and much of Western Europe below zero. A negative yield means that if an investor invests a million dollars in bonds, then he'll get less than a million dollars back when the bonds expire.

The Brexit referendum vote, which mandated that Britain leave the European Union, apparently has accelerated the plunge in bond yields as an unexpected consequence, because uncertainty about the UK and EU economies has caused investors to flee to safe havens. ( "25-Jun-16 World View -- Fallout from Brexit: Impact on geopolitics, economics, and stock markets")

On Tuesday, ten-year US Treasury bond yields, going into uncharted territory, fell to 1.367%, down from an already extremely low 1.47% on Friday.

In Europe, the yield on 10-year UK government bonds ("gilts") fell to a record low of 0.780%. The Bank of England has already announced that there will be further quantitative easing during the summer. The yield on Germany's 10-year bonds ("bunds") fell further into negative territory to -0.182%. Switzerland's 50-year bond yields became negative for the first time on Tuesday.

At the same time, massive injections of "printed" money by central banks is keeping the stock markets at historically high levels, despite the fact that second quarter earnings are forecast to plunge about 8%, making the huge stock market bubble even larger, meaning that it will do more damage than ever when it implodes.

There was a major exception on Tuesday to falling bond yields: Italy, whose 10-year bond yields rose slightly. As we wrote yesterday, Italy's bank crisis is extremely dangerous, and may become an EU crisis when bank stress tests are announced on July 29. AFP and Market Watch and Reuters and Zero Hedge

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Jul-16 World View -- Attack on Islam's holy site in Medina caps end-of-Ramadan jihadist carnage thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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5-Jul-16 World View -- Italy bank crisis more dangerous to EU than Brexit

EU Banking Union rules were a reaction to Greece's financial crisis

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Italy bank crisis more dangerous to EU than Brexit


The Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), established 1472, the world's oldest operating bank, will face a crisis on July 29
The Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), established 1472, the world's oldest operating bank, will face a crisis on July 29

Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi is considering "unilateral action" to bail out Italian banks with taxpayer money, in violation of EU rules. Action is needed because Italy's already fragile banking system has a staggering $420 billion of bad loans on its books. Italy's bank crisis and confrontation with the EU has gotten so deep that some analysts that it threatens the European Union "worse than Brexit."

Italy's largest bank is Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), founded in 1472, and the world's oldest operating bank. Its share of bad loans comes to $55.2 billion. There may be a major crisis on July 29, when the ECB announces the results of the latest rounds of bank "stress tests." It's believed that these stress tests will force major recapitalizations on MSP and other Italian banks.

MPS's stock price has fallen 80% in the last year, and fell 14% on Monday, following reports that the European Central Bank is going to issue an "ultimatum" to reduce its bad loans portfolio to $32.2 billion by 2018.

How is MPS going to reduce its bad loans? MPS could call the loans in, forcing the borrowers to pay or declare bankruptcy, and MPS estimates that it would only recoup 39% of the face value of the loans. Or, MPS could sell the bad loans to a third party, in which case it would only get 20% of the face value. This would reduce the bad loan portfolio, but it would also require a bank bailout of MPS, and that's where the confrontation is emerging.

The bailout issue became explosive last year, when Italy arranged for the bailout of four small regional banks (Banca delle Marche, Banca Popolare dell'Etruria e del Lazio, Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara and Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia di Chieti) which received a $3.8 billion bailout, following strict EU Banking Union rules.

Under the terms of the bailout, ordinary savings deposits were spared, but people who had purchased bonds and shares issued by the bank would be wiped out. Some 130,000 shareholders and junior bond holders lost money in the rescue.

A 68-year-old pensioner, Luigino D'Angelo, hanged himself, after learning that his $120,000 savings were wiped out by the bank bailout. The problem is that he didn't have an ordinary savings account. Instead, he had put his money into the bank's high-risk subordinated bonds, probably because some over-eager bank salesman told him that they were high-return, and perfectly safe. He left a suicide note for his wife of 51 years, saying that he felt humiliated and swindled by his the bank, the Banca Etruria.

Because of this highly publicized suicide, which many in the public blame on strict application of EU Banking Union rules, Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi is considering "unilateral action" to bail out Italian banks with taxpayer money. In this case, the bailout would be paid for by the taxpayer, rather than by bond and share holders. Retail investors hold roughly a third of total outstanding Italian bank debt, and forcing them to lose their savings could disrupt financial stability and undermine depositors' confidence, and even threaten bank runs.

This pending crisis comes in the midst of plans for Italy to hold a a constitutional referendum on political reform in October. Renzi has said that he will step down if the referendum vote fails. This has added to Italy's political instability, and Citibank has described the vote as, "probably the single biggest risk on the European political landscape this year outside the UK [Brexit]." Deutsche Welle and Fitch Ratings and International Business Times (10-Dec-2015)

EU Banking Union rules were a reaction to Greece's financial crisis

The plan by Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi to bail out Italy's banks with taxpayer money is a violation of EU Banking Union rules that were adopted as "lessons learned" from the financial crisis and, particularly, Greece's financial crisis.

The Banking Union makes the European Central Bank (ECB) the supervisor of all 6000 banks in the eurozone, applying a single rule book that applies to all of them. Other EU countries that still use national currencies have the option of joining.

The purpose of the union is to prevent the following "vicious circle":

The EU's banking union provides three levels of rules:

In the last case, a "bail-in" process would be used to determine who is going to lose their money to save the bank. If a bank needs to resort to bail-in, authorities would first write down all shareholders and would then follow a pre-determined order in bailing in other liabilities. Shareholders and other holders of instruments such as convertible bonds and junior bonds would bear losses first.

Deposits under 100,000 euros would be protected, and taxpayer money would never be used.

Italy's government followed these rules last year, but 130,000 people had their savings wiped out, and the suicide of the 68 year old pensioner whose savings were wiped out has become politically explosive. These people did not have ordinary savings accounts. Instead, they were talked into investing in high-risk high-return bank bonds, and they ended up being wiped out.

The European Union put these banking union rules into place in 2015, and already they're facing a major confrontation, which may turn into a major crisis on July 29, when the ECB's stress tests of Italy's banks will be published. If Italy follows the rules, hundreds of thousands of additional people will lose their life savings. That's why prime minister Matteo Renzi has issued his ultimatum that he will violate EU rules and bail out the banks with taxpayer money. However, this will only "kick the can down the road," in a familiar process where one crisis is solved, but a new one emerges a few months later. Newstalk (Ireland) and Reuters and European Union Banking Union

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Jul-16 World View -- Italy bank crisis more dangerous to EU than Brexit thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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4-Jul-16 World View -- Massive bombing attack Baghdad Iraq blamed on bogus bomb detectors

Former ambassador Jim Moriarty describes the dancing people of Bangladesh

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Iraq declares 3 days of national mourning after massive Baghdad bombing


Aftermath of Sunday's bombing in Baghdad's Karrada district (EPA)
Aftermath of Sunday's bombing in Baghdad's Karrada district (EPA)

At least 125 people were killed and 200 wounded in two bombing attacks on Baghdad on Sunday. The first attack occurred when a large refrigerator truck packed with explosives blew up in a busy marketplace in the mostly Shia Karrada district of Baghdad, killing 120 people, and partially collapsing four buildings. The second attack occurred when a roadside bomb blew up hours later in a market in al-Shaab, another Shia district, killing at least two people. The so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) claimed credit for the attacks.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Karrada to view the damage, and was greeted by angry rock-throwing crowds who blamed government corruptions and incompetence for the fact that it seems helplessly unable to prevent ISIS from striking anywhere, anytime, as desired. Later, al-Abadi announced three days of national mourning.

The bombings came about a week after Iraqi government forces recaptured the city of Fallujah, an ISIS stronghold near Baghdad. The Iraqi government had hoped that liberating Fallujah would increase security in the capital as authorities believed Fallujah was a launch pad for such attacks. In fact, ISIS has lost about half the territory it controlled as of about a year ago, but still can use suicide bombers to strike Baghdad at will. NRT (Iraq) and BBC and Rudaw (Iraq-Kurds)

Iraq orders police to stop using bogus 'bomb detectors'

Six years ago, the Iraqi government learned that a manufacturer had been supplying the country with bogus "bomb detectors." They came to be used and trusted by soldiers, police, border guards, and hotel security staff, and were (and are) used at security checkpoints, where they're supposed to protect the public from suicide bombers by detecting bombs before they can be exploded.

Some reports indicate that Sunday's bombing at Karrada was made possible because the bomber wasn't stopped at a security checkpoint because the bogus detectors didn't set off an alarm.

So Sunday's truck bombing can be blamed on the bomb detectors that have been known for years to be phony. So it was not until now, Sunday, that prime minister al-Abadi finally ordered police to stop using the so-called bomb detectors, which are little more than empty boxes containing electronics that do nothing.

The bomb detectors were a scam. A British businessman named James McCormick would buy novelty "golf ball detectors" for $20 each, changed the label, and sold them to the Iraq government as bomb detectors for $5,000 each. McCormick is thought to have made $75 million from the scam. He is currently serving a ten-year sentence in jail, after being convicted in 2013.

So why the hell are the Iraqi police still using them years after they were known to be pieces of junk? This is one of these stories that drive me completely crazy, but are so typical of what goes on today Why did it take a massive truck bombing for al-Abadi to order the change?

I've seen this kind of credulity and duplicity repeatedly in the computer industry in the last 25 years. It's perfectly obvious that a software development project is going to fail, and I say so to my manager and I get fired. You can say that I must have some obsessive compulsion to keep doing this, and maybe I do, but I'm always right, and every one of these projects crashed after I left. I wrote about some of this in my article "Healthcare.gov -- The greatest software development disaster in history".

What's happening is that a software development manager with a project that's going to crash doesn't care that it's going to crash. He just wants to keep the project going, get as much money for himself as possible, and then simply move on to the next project, after describing his experience on the project in glowing terms on his resume.

I also see the same kind of thing in financial media, including CNBC and Bloomberg. Ten years ago, during the housing bubble, I was telling people not to buy real estate, and all I got was grief. One friend who bought a house anyway actually blamed me when she lost everything, as if I'd caused the bubble to crash. The "experts" didn't even admit that there had been a housing bubble until after it started crashing.

I've written repeatedly that the stock valuations are astronomically high, most recently last week ( "25-Jun-16 World View -- Fallout from Brexit: Impact on geopolitics, economics, and stock markets"). But every day on CNBC and Bloomberg, you hear experts say that stocks are "underpriced." I used to post the names of these people and call them liars and crooks, but nobody cares, so I don't bother anymore. That's the thing that never ceases to amaze me. People openly and blatantly provably lie about stock valuations on CNBC and Bloomberg, and nobody cares. It's incredible.

And why shouldn't they lie? No one is going to call them on it, except a nobody like me. And when the bubble bursts, they'll just come back on and say, "Wow! That sure was a 'black swan.' Who could have seen that coming?" Incredibly, these experts have absolutely nothing to lose by lying, and everything to gain, and it's just grief for anyone who calls them on it.

So let's relate this back to the situation in Iraq. The Baghdad police have been using bogus "bomb detectors" for years, and everyone in the government knows that they're bogus. Corruption runs deep in Baghdad, so probably a lot of people in government and in the police have made a lot of money reselling these bogus bomb detectors. So what if people's lives are at stake? "If there's ever a bombing, I'll just say I didn't know." Better to let hundreds of people be killed than to tell the truth.

That's the world we live in. Everyone in Washington, on Wall Street, in London, and elsewhere have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by lying and defrauding people. If there's a problem, they find a scapegoat like James McCormick.

Bankers created tens of trillions of dollars of phony subprime mortgage backed securities, with the result that millions of people lost their homes or went bankrupt. But barely a single person has gone to jail, even though the people who committed fraud are well known to the Justice Department. Why should the Obama administration prosecute anyone? These criminals have donated millions of dollars to Obama's election campaigns and projects as payoff, so it's better to be a criminal than to prosecute criminals. Meanwhile, the same bankers are still in their jobs in banks, still defrauding people, causing more people to go bankrupt and lose everything.

And that's how the government officials in Baghdad undoubtedly feel. Al-Abadi has ordered that the police stop using the bogus devices, but the same Iraqi officials are all in the same jobs, finding new forms of corruption, and not caring in the least how many more people end up with their guts sprayed around a public market somewhere in Baghdad. Guardian (London-16-June) and Middle East Eye

Former ambassador Jim Moriarty describes the dancing people of Bangladesh

In the aftermath of the Friday overnight terror attack in Bangladesh's capital city Dhaka, the BBC interviewed James F. Moriarty, America's ambassador to Bangladesh, 2008-11. Here's what he said (my transcription):

"You're talking about the eighth most populous country in the world, you're talking about a country with probably 150 million Muslims, most of them pretty moderate in terms of their religion, and I think that's why you're seeing such a big emphasis from the external terrorist groups right now. They're really want to see countries like Bangladesh or for example Indonesia come under a lot of stress, and see whether they can turn fairly moderate countries into bastions of support for extreme Islam. ...

I think in both cases it's going to be fairly tough [for the terrorists]. Bangladeshis have a fairly strong sense of national identity. Part of that is Islam, but as I said it's a fairly moderate form of Islam, and a large part of that is a Bengali nationalism, not necessarily tied directly into the sense of being an Islamic nation. It's got traditions, it's got singing, dancing, it's got things that go back in history before the region became Muslim."

This is about as silly as you can get. Moriarty paints a picture of Bangladesh as a land of singing, dancing moderate Muslim Bengalis being invaded by terror groups like ISIS.

As I've written several times, most recently yesterday, there are two ethnic groups in Bangladesh, the dominant Bengalis and the subservient Biharis, an outcome of the bloody civil war of 1971. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Biharis living in refugee camps in filthy conditions, with the largest camp just north of Dhaka. So Friday's attack was from a local group of activist Biharis, inspired by ISIS. When these people see singing, dancing Bengalis, the visceral reaction would be to kill them, not join in the dancing.

At first I thought Moriarty was just another hack who had been given an ambassadorship in return for a campaign donation, but I looked up his background and it's quite impressive. It's almost certain that he knows that his statement is completely ridiculous.

If that's true, then why did he do it? My guess is that it's the same thing as the stock valuations or the bogus bomb detectors or crashing software projects. You can't tell the truth because all you get is grief. But if you lie, then you get plush jobs and invitations to speak on the BBC.

In fact, just last month, he was appointed as the Bangladesh Country Director by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of 28 North American retailers and brands. He will lead strategic oversight and outreach activities, with key stakeholders in Bangladesh’s Government, garment industry, and non-governmental and non-profit organizations. That's his reward for lying. Apparel Resources (23-May)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Jul-16 World View -- Massive bombing attack Baghdad Iraq blamed on bogus bomb detectors thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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3-Jul-16 World View -- Bangladesh tries to recover from Dhaka terror attack, the worst in 40 years

Suspicions that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency supported the Dhaka attack

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Bangladesh tries to recover from Dhaka terror attack, the worst in 40 years


Photos of five of the attackers, appearing on an ISIS-linked web site
Photos of five of the attackers, appearing on an ISIS-linked web site

"Blood, shock and horror" are the words being used by Bangladeshis to describe the grim news from the Friday overnight terror attack that we reported yesterday at the bakery in the in the highly secure Gulshan diplomatic enclave of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.

We've previously reported on several of the 18 jihadist attacks in Bangladesh in the last year, as in "24-Apr-2016 World View -- Bangladesh in shock after university professor hacked to death". These attacks targeted upper class secular bloggers and liberals. The attacks typically took place in full public view, as gang arrives on motorcycles to attack individuals, butcher them with machetes in the middle of crowded streets and then take off.

However, for the first time, the attack targeted foreigners and was a lengthy siege lasting over twelve hours. Nine of the victims were Italian, seven were Japanese, one was from India, two were Bangladeshi and one was a U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin. The victims were among roughly three dozen people taken hostage. It's the first time that hostages have been taken in 40 years, and it's being called "Bangladesh's 26/11," in comparison to the three-day '26/11' terror attack in Mumbai India of November 2008.

The so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) claimed credit through its Amaq News Agency, and backed up the claim by posting photos of the carnage in the cafe hours before the police entered the cafe.

I am among those analysts who do not believe that this was an ISIS operation. I do not believe that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, from his ISIS headquarters in Syria, sent out a team of jihadists to a cafe in Dhaka Bangladesh to carry out this attack. Indeed, the Bangladesh police say that all of the perpetrators were Bangladeshi locals, not foreign fighters. It's possible that ISIS supported the operation and even provided some money, but at most it was a local home-grown operation piggybacking on ISIS's public relations facilities for their mutual benefit.

Indeed, as I've written repeatedly, these terror attacks almost certainly were conducted by ethnic Bihari activists targeting ethnic Bengalis. The difference this time was that they copied ISIS's tactics, and used ISIS for support.

In fact, Bangladesh suffered an even larger terrorist attack in February 2009, before ISIS even existed, that was even more horrific, except that it didn't target foreigners. 76 Bangladesh army border guard officers were mutilated and killed in a 33-hour massacre that shocked the country for its brutality. The perpetrators were the troops reporting to them. Bodies of officers and their wives were mutilated and piled into mass graves. ( "(4-March-2009) FBI will aid Bangladesh investigation of border guard officer massacre") In the end, a total of 847 defendants were tried, en masse, and 152 sentenced to hang, with hundreds more facing long jail terms. ISIS didn't exist in 2009, but if it had, they might have claimed credit for the border guard officer massacre.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wondered how the terrorists could do this to their own country. She said the usual things about these attacks being "intolerable" and that she was determined to "eradicate" the terrorists:

"There is no place for terrorists or terrorism on Bangladesh's soil. People must resist these terrorists. My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh.

It was an extremely heinous act. What kind of Muslims are these who kill other people during Ramadan?"

One thing that Hasina always did in the past but didn't do this time was to specifically blame the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ally Jamaat-e-Islam for perpetrating the violence. The BNP is a Bihari political party, so she was using BNP as a code word for Bihari. However, BNP leaders insisted that their political party does not support Bihari violence, and so this time, because of the severity of the attack, Hasina was trying not to be divisive. Daily Star (Dhaka) and Dhaka Tribune and CNN

Suspicions that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency supported the Dhaka attack

Some analysts, especially in India, believe that the Dhaka attack was perpetrated by a Taliban-linked group in Pakistan, supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

Besides mere suspicions, there are two major reasons that give plausibility to these accusations.

First, the Dhaka attacks were similar in nature to the November 2008 three-day '26/11' terror attack in Mumbai. That attack was perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a Pakistani terrorist group with known connections to ISI, though ISI claims that the connections were severed long ago. The Mumbai attack almost resulted in war, as India threatened to invade Pakistani soil to go after Lashkar-e-Toiba. War was only avoided by hard intervention from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Second, Bangladesh was originally part of Pakistan, and was known as East Pakistan. One of the worst wars of the 20th century was the bloody genocidal war between Hindus and Muslims that followed Partition, the 1947 partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, with the latter split into West and East Pakistan. The scale of civilian displacement from their homes was so massive that it was called by some an "exodus of biblical proportions," since it forced millions of Hindus in Pakistan to flee to India, and millions of Muslims in India to flee to Pakistan.

However, that was a generational crisis war only for West Pakistan and western India. Eastern India and East Pakistan are on a different generational timeline, and their crisis war was the bloody civil war of 1971, mainly between the Biharis and the Bengalis of East Pakistan. The outcome of that war was that East Pakistan became an independent country, Bangladesh.

In the Bangladesh of today, the Bengali-speaking Bengalis are the dominant ethnic group, and the Urdu-speaking Biharis, who originally were from India, are the subservient ethnic group.

But that's a flip-flop from how things were in 1949, after the Partition war. At that time, Pakistan declared that Urdu was the official language of both West and East Pakistan, and that the Bengali language was to be marginalized. The Urdu-speaking Biharis became the dominant group, and the Bengali-speaking Bengalis were subservient.

In the 1971 war, the Pakistan army was on the side of the Biharis, fighting against the Bengalis, who were supported by India. The war was incredibly brutal, especially the behavior of the Pakistan army toward the Bengalis. Stories of rape, beheadings and mutilation of Bengali civilians were common. The Bengalis won, making Bangladesh an independent nation, and after that the Bengalis were the dominant ethnic group.

Pakistan today still favors the subservient Biharis over the dominant Bengalis, and so it's quite plausible, though unproven, that the Bihari terrorists received support for Friday's attack from Pakistan's ISI.

(In researching this article, I noticed something strange. The Taliban Easter attack on Lahore in Pakistan on March 29 took place in Lahore's Gulshan Iqbal Park. Saturday's terrorist attack took place in the Gulshan diplomatic enclave of Dhaka. None of the news reports notes this connection, so perhaps it's just a coincidence, but I thought it to be worth mentioning.) Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (PDF-2001) and My Golden Bengal (21-July-2013) and Swarajya (India)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Jul-16 World View -- Bangladesh tries to recover from Dhaka terror attack, the worst in 40 years thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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2-Jul-16 World View -- Bangladesh again shocked by major ongoing terrorist attack

The Battle of the Somme and infant mortality

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Politicians commemorate the botched World War I Battle of the Somme


Tyne Cot War Cemetery, with graves of 11,954 soldiers in the British army (greatwar.co.uk)
Tyne Cot War Cemetery, with graves of 11,954 soldiers in the British army (greatwar.co.uk)

The Battle of the Somme, possibly the worst botched battle in the British army's history, began on July 1, 1916. The British wanted to deliver a knockout blow to the German army. For over a week, the British had fired some 1,738,000 artillery shells at the German line in order to prepare for the British infantry advance. However, the Germans were prepared for this. The German soldiers moved into deep dugouts that had been prepared. When the bombardment stopped, the Germans knew that was a signal that the infantry attack was about to begin, so they left the dugout and moved to their machine guns. Some 100,000 British and French army soldiers went "over the top" to confront the Germans and the machine guns along a 25-mile front. By the end of the first day, the British army had lost 60,000 men.

By the end of 141 days of battle, in November 1916, the British had lost 420,000, the French lost 200,000 men and the Germans 500,000, for a total of almost 1.2 million casualties in this one battle. The British army had not only not delivered a knockout blow, they had moved their front line only seven miles.

The British Generals had botched the situation so badly that by the 1920s, many veterans were describing the entire war as "Lions led by Donkeys."

On Friday, France's president François Hollande and Britain's prime minister David Cameron met at the site of the battle to commemorate the deaths, to give the usual speeches saying "Never again." This commemoration comes just weeks after the commemoration of the Battle of Verdun.

The commemoration comes one week after the Brexit vote, mandating that Britain should leave the European Union. The biggest motivation for the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957 and for the European Union, was that the survivors of World War I and II wanted to guarantee that Europe would never fight wars like the two world wars ever again. The Brexit vote means that this guarantee will not be met.

Today, the survivors of the two world wars are gone, and so it's particularly ironic that the commemoration comes at a time when the European Union is falling apart, and the same nationalistic and xenophobic forces that brought about the Battle of the Somme and other battles are rising again. History Learning and Telegraph (London) and Deutsche Welle

The Battle of the Somme and infant mortality


Estimated infant mortality rates - 1870-1999 - in Chicago
Estimated infant mortality rates - 1870-1999 - in Chicago

There were 38 million military and civilian casualties in World War I, including 11 million military personnel. The number of deaths was astonishing, mainly because there had never been so many deaths in previous wars.

Politicians discussing the Battle of the Somme this week blamed the large number of deaths as "a failure of political leadership," and pontificated that if the political leadership had been better, then World War I would have had fewer deaths.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it's very likely that 38 million people had to die, no matter how well the politicians ran the war. In fact, asking why 38 million people died in World War I is the wrong question. The right question is: Where did all those people come from?

Prior to 1870, some 30% of all infants died before their first birthday. (By age 5, the figure was about 50%.)

But infant and child mortality fell dramatically in the 1890s, and again in the 1920s, as you can see from the graph. This fall in infant mortality meant that a lot more infants lived long enough to become soldiers. That's why there were so many more soldiers in WW I, and then again in WW II. And that's why there were so many more soldiers to be killed.

In other words, curing infant mortality is a wonderful thing for the individual parents, but it has the unintended consequence of creating large population of young boys ready to be sent into war as cannon fodder.

When there are too many people, nature provides several ways to kill them off -- war, disease, and famine. If those 38 million people hadn't been killed by World War I, then they would have had to be killed some other way. That's the way the world works.

Actually, that wasn't the end of it. The global Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed up to 50 million more people. Then 60 million more people were killed in World War II. Hundreds of millions more were killed by Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong in various Communist purges.

Today it's much worse. There are 200,000 people added to the global population every day. At the same time, growing populations are displacing more and more farmland. There is no way that this situation is sustainable, or will end well, and Brexit is just one thing that's leading the way. The Battle of the Somme was just a minor blip compared to what's coming. Oil Price

Bangladesh again shocked by major ongoing terrorist attack

As I'm writing this on Friday evening ET, the hostage crisis in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, is still in progress. There are at least two dead and 20 hostages taken so far.

A public relations media source associated with the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) is claiming credit for ISIS. However, other analysts attribute the action to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS). ISIS and al-Qaeda are in a growing competition to take credit for as many terrorist acts as they can.

The attack took place in an upmarket area popular with wealthy Bangladeshis and foreign tourists. As I've written several times in the past, this is a signal that the act is being perpetrated by a terror group associated with activist Biharis, the ethnic group that lost to the ethnic Bengalis in the 1971 generational crisis war that created the state of Bangladesh from the former East Pakistan. ( "12-Jun-16 World View -- Bangladesh government arrests 3,192 people to stop terrorist killings")

Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Biharis living in refugee camps in filthy conditions, with the largest camp just north of Dhaka, Bangladesh's capital city. These are certainly a large part of the motivation for Bihari jihadist groups to continue terrorist attacks.

So, if either al-Qaeda or ISIS plays any role at all, it would be purely for publicity purposes. It's not surprising that both of these jihadist groups should claim credit, but this is a bloody conflict between two ethnic groups, and it's only going to get worse. Dhaka Tribune

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Jul-16 World View -- Bangladesh again shocked by major ongoing terrorist attack thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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1-Jul-16 World View -- Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Puerto Rico - three amigos in Marxist economic destruction

After Trump's exit, Miss Teen USA dumps its swimsuit competition

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

British government shocked as Boris Johnson stands down


Boris Johnson, next to his wife Marina, waves goodbye on Thursday after standing down (Daily Mail)
Boris Johnson, next to his wife Marina, waves goodbye on Thursday after standing down (Daily Mail)

It's being described as a complete shock, totally unexpected -- that Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and the leader of the successful campaign to win the Brexit referendum, which mandates that the UK leave the European Union, announced that he would not run to replace David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party and become Prime Minister on September 9.

Reports indicate that Boris Johnson was stabbed in the back by a close former ally, Michael Gove. Gove had said repeatedly when asked that he (Gove) was not qualified to be PM, but that he was going to support Johnson and even be his campaign manager. But early on Thursday, Gove flip-flopped and announced that he would run. He announced, "I have come reluctantly to the conclusions Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead." He added that he's decided that he can.

Although Johnson's announcement was a shock, it cannot have been totally unexpected, since Johnson is completely unqualified. His pro-Brexit campaign emotionally targeted anti-EU nationalism and anti-immigrant anxieties about both east European Catholics and Syrian Muslims. Once his side won the referendum vote, he almost completely vanished from view, and it was clear that he didn't have the vaguest clue what he'd been talking about during the campaign, or what to do after winning.

The Brexit outcome has done a great deal of damage to the UK and the EU, and is continuing to do more damage, as we've been reporting the last few days. Perhaps Boris Johnson should be thanked for standing down before he did any more damage. After all, sometimes it seems that the most successful politicians are also the most destructive politicians. Daily Mail (London)

After decades of destroying the economy, Zimbabwe wants investors

In a move of total desperation, Zimbabwe on Thursday announced that foreigners who invested their money in Zimbabwe will be permitted to repatriate their profits and dividends back to their home countries. Previously, investors were required to leave all money in Zimbabwe.

As in Venezuela and Puerto Rico, the economy of Zimbabwe is crashing. There are shortages of fuel, sugar and cooking oil. Cash withdrawals from banks are strictly limited. ATM queues typically contain dozens of people, and frequently the cash machines run out of money. School teachers have been told that they will not be paid, and many don't even have money to buy food.

The change in policy is driven by total desperation. In order to keep the economy from crashing completely, Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Patrick Chinamas is visiting business leaders in Paris to beg for further investments. Currently Zimbabwe owes 10 billion US dollars to the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank, with $1.86 billion in debt repayments in arrears. Chinamas is promising that the arrears will be repaid, but Zimbabwe has no money with which to pay the arrears.

If the most successful politicians are the most destructive, then one of the most successful politicians of all time is 92 year old president Robert Mubage, who has been in power for almost 30 years, and has been responsible for an almost unbelievable amount of destruction, in one incredible Marxist policy after another.

Mugabe is from the Shona tribe. Shortly after taking power in 1980, he consolidated power by launching "Operation Gukurahundi" (The rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rain). During that campaign, accomplished with the help of Mugabe's 5th Brigade, trained by North Korea, tens of thousands of people, mostly from the Ndebele tribe, were raped, tortured and slaughtered.

As recently as the 1999, Zimbabwe was still the breadbasket of Africa, exporting up to 500,000 metric tons of surplus food. By 2003, Zimbabwe was starving. What happened during those three years was a Marxist socialist "land reform" program by Robert Mugabe that confiscated 4,500 white-owned commercial farms and redistributed the property to his own Shona ethnic group. After 2003, more and more Zimbabweans were dying of starvation, because Mugabe has destroyed the farm infrastructure. By 2008, the official rate of inflation was 231 million percent. ( "24-Feb-2014 World View -- Mass murderer Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has 90th birthday")

In 2009, Mugabe abolished the Zimbabwe dollar, which wasn't worth the paper it was written on anyway. The US dollar and the South African rand became the official currencies. But instead of ending the destructive land reform policies, Mugabe added on a new one: Indigenization.

Indigenization required all Zimbabwe businesses to be majority owned by Zimbabweans, again mostly from Mugabe's Shona tribe. Zimbabwe continues to shut down businesses, including foreign banks, that do not comply with the indigenization requirements. Just as Mugabe's "land reforms" destroyed the farm infrastructure, Mugabe's indigenization law is destroying the entire business infrastructure.

So now, with Zimbabwe's Marxist economy close to total collapse, Mugabe's finance minister is in Paris to convince the capitalist investors to pour more money into Zimbabwe. It's laughable except for the fact that so many people are suffering because of Mugabe's destructive Marxist policies. RFI and Financial Times (27-Jun) and Independent (Zimbabwe) and Zimbabwe Government and The Zimbabwean

Venezuela and Puerto Rico join Zimbabwe in economic destruction

Venezuela's Socialist president Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chávez are also among the world's most successful politicians, as measured by the amount of destruction they've brought about in their own country. Like Mugabe, they've destroyed Venezuela's economy with Marxist policies, even though its oil reserves should make it one of the wealthiest economies in the world. ( "15-May-16 World View -- Venezuela economy close to collapse as Maduro orders jailing of factory owners")

Puerto Rico faces $70 billion in total debt, a 45 percent poverty rate and a shrinking population, as a result of years of massive spending on social programs. ( "27-Apr-16 World View -- Puerto Rico headed for new financial default on May 1") Puerto Rico was saved from default on Friday, July 1, as President Obama signed a Puerto Rico rescue bill into law on Thursday.

Let's not forget Cuba and North Korea, two more potentially wealthy countries that have been destroyed by their successful politicians. Washington Post

After Trump's exit, Miss Teen USA dumps its swimsuit competition


The sexist, outdated swimsuit competition will be eliminated by a thoroughly modern, feminist update
The sexist, outdated swimsuit competition will be eliminated by a thoroughly modern, feminist update

Now that Donald Trump has severed his relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, it has announced that it's dropping the swimsuit competition from Miss Teen USA.

According to a Miss Universe statement: "In a society that increasingly prioritizes feminism and equality, watching women parade across a stage in bikinis can feel outdated."

However, some critics complained that the contest was becoming "Sharia compliant." The Daily Good (Iceland) and Irish Times

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Jul-16 World View -- Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Puerto Rico - three amigos in Marxist economic destruction thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Jul-2016) Permanent Link
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