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

 |  HOME  |  WEB LOG  |  COUNTRY STUDIES  |  COMMENT  |  FORUM  | 
 |  DOWNLOADS  |  FOURTH TURNING ARCHIVE  |  ABOUT  | 

Web Log - March, 2018

Summary

31-Mar-18 World View -- Russia's Far East, Siberia and Vladivostok under threat from China

Russians increasingly fear losing Lake Baikal to China - and to garbage

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia's Far East under growing threat from Chinese settlers and tourists


Russia's Lake Baikal in Siberia.  Like regions in the South China Sea, India and Central Asia, the Chinese are claiming that it's their sovereign territory
Russia's Lake Baikal in Siberia. Like regions in the South China Sea, India and Central Asia, the Chinese are claiming that it's their sovereign territory

In 2012, Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a warning that a huge influx of immigrants from China into Siberia and Far East threatened Russia's control of the region and its rich resources. He said that it was "important not to allow negative manifestations ... including the formation of enclaves made up of foreign citizens."

Medvedev even went so far as to invite the victims of Japan's 2011 earthquake to migrate there, at least partially over concern about Chinese migrants. Medvedev discussed offering supplies of food and medical equipment to the Japanese, and added, "In general we must now think about the use, if necessary, of some of the employment potential of our [Japanese] neighbors, especially in sparsely populated areas of Siberia and the Far East."

Medvedev was right to be concerned. Russia's Far East suffered rapid depopulation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. During the 1990s, there was enormous poverty and no support from the chaotic Moscow government. As a result, population fell by as much as 50% in the region, as millions migrated east, mostly to the European part of Russia. According to Medvedev, "More than eight million foreign citizens came to Russia in the first six months of 2012 alone."

And the flow has continued since then. In just one city, Khabarovsk, about 20 miles from the Chinese border, more than 300 Chinese companies have business operations, investing in almost every major sector of the city’s economy such as trade, construction, lumber and natural resources exploration, hiring thousands of Chinese migrant workers.

It's estimated that 1.5 million Chinese illegal migrant workers arrived in the region between June 2016 and June 2017, most of them doing manual labor. Russia's Far East is home to only seven million Russians (or just 1.3 per square kilometer), while there are ten times as many people living across the border in the northeastern region of China. Obviously, there's no way for Russian authorities to halt the flow of migrant workers from China. Jamestown and South China Morning Post (8-Jul-2017) and ABC News (14-Jul-2015)

Russians increasingly fear losing Lake Baikal to China - and to garbage

The deepest lake in the world is Russia's Lake Baikal in Siberia. Its surface area is the size of Belgium. It draws tourists from all over the world, but particularly from China.

Russians are worried that Lake Baikal is drowning in garbage -- mostly from the Chinese migrants and tourists. According to Ivan Loginov, head of the public organization New Energy, the problem of garbage around Lake Baikal is a huge problem:

"Literally next to any village or place of congestion people form huge mountains of garbage. And the saddest thing is that neither the volunteers nor the municipalities have enough strength to fight garbage. Vicious circle. People come and litter, but they do not have enough understanding that this garbage needs to be cleaned. And if they even collect it for themselves, they leave it on the bank, where it gradually accumulates.

The municipalities do not have enough money to fight garbage. Moreover, the question arises: where should we take this garbage? In Buryatia garbage is not processed, roughly speaking, it is buried underground. And the situation is very deplorable. ... And garbage remains on the shores of Lake Baikal."

The rising mountains of garbage are just one of the reasons that local Russians are appalled by Chinese tourists. Chinese guides tell Chinese tourists that Baikal is China’s northern sea, that their ancestors used to live there, and that the territory only belongs to Russia for the time being. These guides also reportedly encourage Chinese visitors to buy property and businesses in order to make money over the next decade. Many are doing so.

Chinese involvement in the region has inspired outrage among Russians for several reasons. First is the massive influx of tourists who often behave badly, use only Chinese facilities and so bring little money to Russian firms, and are hated by the local population. Second, Chinese citizens have been buying up land on Lake Baikal that Russians are not allowed to purchase as well as acquiring various Russian companies. All this has been leading to an influx of Chinese permanent residents. And third, the entirely illegal Chinese logging operations in the region are being protected by Russian criminal groups and Russian officials allied with them.

Chinese tourists, businesses and migrants are taking control of the region around Lake Baikal. This is not a trivial matter, and will lead to war when the time is ripe. Hong Kong Economic Journal (20-Sep-2017) and NY Times (24-Jul-2016) and Eurasian Business Briefing and Regnum (Russia) and (translation)

Popular pressure grows in China to 'reclaim' Vladivostok (Haishenwai) from Russia

The Chinese are increasingly claiming "indisputable sovereignty" over many countries' regions, including India, several Central Asian states, and of course the South China Sea, where the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has ruled that all of China's activities are illegal.

International law means little to the Chinese, who say that their own laws supersede international law, and give them the right to invade and annex any region they choose, and back it up with their massive and growing military, threatening to kill anyone who disagrees with them.

Media reports indicate that Chinese people are asking this question, especially in social media:

"If China was able to take back Hong Kong from the British on the grounds that the territory was ceded to Britain under an unequal treaty concluded in the 1840s, then why didn’t it reclaim Vladivostok as well, which was also ceded to Russia under another unequal treaty signed in the 1860s?"

Vladivostok is the home of Russia's Pacific Fleet. It's the farthest point east in Russia, and it's connected to Moscow by the Trans-Siberian Railway that runs to and from Moscow in a week-long trip.

Although the Chinese are now claiming Vladivostok as a historically Chinese city, that's provably not true, as it was a city controlled by Manchuria, not China. The Chinese call the city by its Manchurian name, Haishenwai. After China was defeated by the British Opium wars of the 1840s-50s, China was forced to cede Hong Kong to the British, and Vladivostok to the Russians. China annexed Manchuria after World War II, but Vladivostok remained in Russian (Soviet) hands.

Russia's president Vladimir Putin takes a great deal of pride in Vladivostok and the Pacific Fleet. There is no possibility at all that Vladivostok will be ceded to the Chinese without a full-scale war, despite the demands of the Chinese social media.

As long-time readers have known for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that the world is headed for a new Clash of Civilizations world war, with the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran.

I'm frequently asked how it's possible that Russia will be a US ally, rather than a Chinese ally. The current alliance between Russia and China is a "marriage of convenience" between the countries, because they are both repeating Hitler's actions of annexing other countries' regions, and then they support each other in the United Nations.

As we reported last year, China has placed nuclear missiles near the Amur River, which separates China from Russia's Far East. The nominal purpose of these Chinese missiles is to attack the US, but these and other missile systems can also conveniently target Moscow and other Russian targets.

Historically, the Russian and Chinese people hate each other. In the 1200s, the Mongols under Genghis Khan conquered and dominated China, in a generational crisis war that climaxed in 1206, forming the Mongol Empire, the largest empire in history. In the next generational crisis war, Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, conquered all of China, and created the Yuan Dynasty in 1271.

From there, the Mongol Empire attacked and conquered almost all the Russian principalities, and made them bitter vassals of the Mongol Empire, in a relationship called the "Mongol Yoke." This hated period, two centuries long, has defined the relationship between the Russian and Chinese people forever. The Mongol Yoke was only thrown off in September 8, 1380, in the seminal Battle of Kulikovo, a generational crisis war where the Russians decisively defeated the Mongols, and the Russian nation was born.

The Mongol Yoke still defines Russian-Chinese attitudes today. Even as recently as the 1960s, China and the Soviet Union almost went to war in the border region with Siberia and the Far East.

There's a certain ironic truth that comes through when you read Russian history. The Russian people and the Chinese people hate each other, but the Russian people like the American people, and they love the European people, despite the rhetoric of politicians. In the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, when Russia is forced to choose between China and the West, they will choose the West. Russia Beyond the Headlines and Way To Russia

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Mar-18 World View -- Russia's Far East, Siberia and Vladivostok under threat from China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

30-Mar-18 World View -- Ethiopia chooses an Oromo leader, as Kenya has farcical confrontation with the courts

Ethiopia chooses Oromo leader, Abiy Ahmed, hoping to reduce violence

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Ethiopia chooses Oromo leader, Abiy Ahmed, hoping to reduce violence


Ethiopian protesters facing the military
Ethiopian protesters facing the military

Ethiopia has been without a prime minister since February 15, when prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned, saying, "I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy."

Since late 2015, there have been massive anti-government protests in Ethiopia's Oromia region, which later spread to the neighboring Amhara region, leaving hundreds dead and resulting in tens of thousands of arrests. A state of emergency was imposed in October 2016, allowing mass detentions, and imposing numerous restrictions on people’s movement and communication. The state of emergency ended in August 2017, but massive protests began again, with millions of protesters by February, leading to Hailemariam's resignation.

The situation has worsened considerably since Hailemariam's resignation. Almost 10,000 Ethiopians, mostly ethnic Oromos, have fled across the border into Kenya, after Ethiopian government soldiers began shooting civilians indiscriminately, even in their homes and shops.

In the hopes of ending the chaos and bloodshed, Ethiopia's ruling government coalition chose an Oromo, Abiy Ahmed, 42, to be a leader of the coalition. He is now expected to be voted in by parliament as the country’s next prime minister.

Abiy is being described as a "polyglot," because he's a speaker of three Ethiopian languages and English He holds a doctorate from Addis Ababa University in traditional conflict resolution and has represented his Oromiya hometown of Agaro in parliament since 2010. He is a retired lieutenant-colonel who previously served as director of the nation’s Information Network Security Agency, which says it provides technical intelligence to support the government.

The obvious hope is that by selecting an Oromo as leader, Abiy will be able to "reason with" the Oromo people and end the massive protests.

An analogy can be drawn with the situation in Myanmar (Burma). The Burmese army, under the leadership of Buddhist Monk Ashin Wirathu using Buddhism, began conducting massacres, rapes and torture against ethnic Rohingyas. When Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi effectively became the country's leader, it was welcomed by the entire international community with the hope that the Burmese army would then allow the Rohingyas to live in peace. Instead, the violence has only gotten worse, to the point of ethnic cleansing and genocide, with some 800,000 Rohingyas forced to flee the violence by crossing the border into Bangladesh. You can argue whether Suu Kyi approves of the ethnic cleansing, or whether she disapproves but is forced to approve by the Burmese army. Either way, Suu Kyi has effective turned into a new Hitler, who is providing cover for the continued ethnic cleansing and genocide.

We may be seeing the first signs of a similar situation in Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed is just one person, while the existing government, dominated by ethnic Tigrayans, holds all 547 seats in parliament. Abiy is going to be lone voice in the wilderness, compared to the traditional opposition.

There may be a brief pause, but we can expect the protests and violence to start again and continue. What will Abiy do then? Will he be another Aung San Suu Kyi and provide cover for continued Tigrayan violence against Oromos and Amharas? Or will he resign, just as Hailemariam Desalegn, and denounce the violence?

It really doesn't make much difference. Either way, we can expect the violence to continue, and we can expect millions more Oromos and Amharas to flee across the border into Kenya, further destabilizing the region. Africa News and Al Jazeera and Reuters and The Nation (Kenya, 14-Mar) and Bloomberg

Related Articles

Kenya's government vs the judiciary -- tensions mount over farcical deportation spectacle

While Ethiopian Oromos are seeking fleeing violence into Kenya, there's also chaos in Kenya's capital city Nairobi, where a farcical deportation spectacle highlighted an increasing conflict between the government of Uhuru Kenyatta and the judiciary.

Uhuru Kenyatta and his major opposition are from two ethnic tribes that have been at war in the past -- respectively the Kikuyu tribe and the Luo tribe. The enmity between the two tribes has affected the political sphere, and from there it's spread into a conflict between the government and the judiciary.

The first major split occurred last year, when Kenya's Supreme Court shocked pretty much everybody and sided with Odinga in claiming that the August 8 presidential election was "invalid, null and void," forcing a new election. Kenyatta was furious, as he began calling the judges "crooks," saying that there was problem with the court, and promising to "fix it" after he was reelected.

Kenyatta did win the election, but has been cracking down on Odinga's supporters, and arresting many of them. One of those supporters is political activist Miguna Miguna. In February, the court ordered the government to release him from jail, and the government ignored the court order.

Now there's been a farcical new chapter in this drama. Earlier this week, a court held several top Kenyan government officials in contempt for refusing to release Miguna Miguna from custody. Instead of releasing him, the government thugs allegedly drugged him and bundled him onto a plane to Dubai. He wrote in social media:

"I was dragged, assaulted, drugged and forcefully flown to Dubai. I woke up in Dubai and the despots are here insisting that I must travel on to London. ...

I woke up in Dubai. I’m sick. I need medical treatment. A Mr Njihia is threatening me. I need urgent help here. I want to take a flight only to Nairobi. Nowhere else!"

Video of security guards manhandling Miguna as they tried to force him onto a plane the same day went viral, while a number of journalists covering the story were allegedly assaulted.

The chief justice, David Maraga, criticized the government, saying: "Disobeying court orders is inimical to the rule of law." The interior minister, inspector general of police and head of immigration have been convicted of contempt of court. Standard Media (Kenya) and BBC and Standard Media

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Mar-18 World View -- Ethiopia chooses an Oromo leader, as Kenya has farcical confrontation with the courts thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

29-Mar-18 World View -- Russia-China strategy to use the UN to control Western foreign policy has stopped working

China 'prepares for war' with massive naval/air force drills in South China Sea

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia-China strategy to use the UN to control Western foreign policy has stopped working


Early March: Vladimir Putin smirks when a BBC reporter asks him whether Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal
Early March: Vladimir Putin smirks when a BBC reporter asks him whether Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal

In 2011, massive protests and gun battles in Tunisia spread to Libya, and by February, the bloodbath in Libya spread from Benghazi and Tobruk in the east to Tripoli in the west. This caused a massive refugee crisis in Libya, with hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring into Egypt and neighboring countries, and across the Mediterranean into Europe. That led the Arab League to demand that the West implement a no-fly zone, and approval by the UN Security Council. The no-fly zone eventually led to the war in Libya, and the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

As I wrote in 2011, Russia adopted a specific policy of using the UN Security Council as a tool to control the foreign policy of the United States, Europe and NATO, while leaving itself free to pursue any policy it wanted. ( "22-Apr-11 News -- Russia seeks to cripple Nato through Libya United Nations politics")

The way it works is that Russia demands that any military action taken by the United States or Nato must be approved by the UN Security Council, giving the Russians an effective veto of the US and Nato foreign policy. On the other hand, Russia can invade Ukraine, invade Crimea, annex Crimea, support war crimes by Syria's Bashar al-Assad, all without getting any UN approval. So Russia has complete military freedom, while the West is constrained by Russia's UNSC veto. It's really a remarkable plan, and it's been incredibly successful, completely crippling the UN, and turning it into a body that provides cover for international criminals, rather than stopping them.

China has adopted a variation of the same strategy. China has built artificial islands in the South China Sea, annexing other countries' regions or blocking access by other countries to their centuries-old fishing grounds, and has turned those artificial islands into massive military bases. The United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague eviscerated all of China's claims in the South China Sea, in July, 2013, and ruled that all of China's activities are unambiguously violations of international law.

China's reaction is to say that international law doesn't apply to them. China has also been using its military to bully other nations into supporting them. It's as if the KKK lynched 10 black men and then bullied cops and judges into supporting them.

So Russia and China have made it clear that international law doesn't apply to them, and they can do anything they want, and they'll kill anyone who tries to stop them.

Two recent international events, both major and remarkable, have made it clear that this strategy is no longer working.

The first is the North Korea situation, where the Donald Trump administration had made military threats that are actually credible. A lot of people have said publicly that they think that Trump is crazy, but that's a negotiating strategy that's worked to his advantage, since both China and North Korea think he's crazy enough to carry through with his threat. And it's clear that any military action taken by the Trump administration will not be subject to a Russian or Chinese veto in the UN Security Council.

The West reacts to Russia's poisoning of double-agent Skripal

The second remarkable international event is the Western reaction to the March 4 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, using a Russia-developed nerve agent Novichok. At this writing, both of the poison victims are in hospital, and are not expected to survive.

From the beginning, there was little doubt that Russia was responsible, and that they were sure they would get away with it, because of Russia's veto power in the UN Security Council. As I reported in my article, Russia's president Vladimir Putin smirked and gave a sarcastic answer when a BBC reporter asked about it.

This was followed by a massive disinformation campaign by Russia by Russian trolls, calling the accusations a "circus show," a "fairy tale," and a "plot to victimize Russia." On the BBC a couple of days ago, I heard a Russian official claim that this was the latest in 200 years of Western attacks on Russia.

Britain's foreign secretary Boris Johnson gave a furious response to this:

"There is something in the kind of smug, sarcastic response that we’ve heard that indicates their fundamental guilt. They want to simultaneously deny it, yet at the same time to glory in it.

There is very little doubt in people’s minds that this is a signature act by the Russia state – deliberately using novichok, a nerve agent developed by Russia to punish a Russian defector as they would see it, and in the run up to Vladimir Putin’s election.

This was a former Russian agent living in this country who had been singled out already by the Russian state as an object for revenge and retaliation, and Vladimir Putin has been on the TV only recently saying that such people deserve to be poisoned, to choke on their own 30 pieces of silver. This is a way of showing look at what happens to people who stand up to our regime."

An investigation of the evidence by scientists from Britain and several other European countries led to the conclusion that Russia, and probably Putin himself, were responsible for the poisoning.

That much isn't remarkable at all. Putin has had other former agents poisoned in the past, and has violated international law many times, and there were the same kinds of investigations, and the same kinds of disinformation campaigns by Russian trolls. And there was always the same smirk, because Putin knew that he would get away with it.

What is remarkable this time is that Western nations were united in backing Britain's prime minister Theresa May in taking action against Russia. Over 20 countries, including the US, Canada, and several European Union countries, have expelled Russian diplomats.

Expelling diplomats is not going to do much damage to Putin. The shocking thing is that all of these Western nations were unified in condemning Russia, something that hasn't happened in the past. This was meant to send a signal to Russia, and to China as well, the days of using the United Nations to have veto power over Western foreign policy are coming to an end. Guardian (London, 15-March) and Reuters (18-March)

China reacts furiously to Western expulsion of Russian diplomats

The expulsion of the diplomats by so many countries was a big surprise to both Russia and China. China's state-controlled Global Times responded with a furious editorial:

"The fact that major Western powers can gang up and "sentence" a foreign country without following the same procedures other countries abide by and according to the basic tenets of international law is chilling. During the Cold War, not one Western nation would have dared to make such a provocation and yet today it is carried out with unrestrained ease. Such actions are nothing more than a form of Western bullying that threatens global peace and justice."

It's laughable to read about the Chinese appealing to international law. Keep in mind that what the Chinese are whining about is expelling some diplomats. Contrast that to China's actions in the South China Sea, which are violations of international law thousands of times more serious than just expelling diplomats.

However, the article is right to say, "During the Cold War, not one Western nation would have dared to make such a provocation and yet today it is carried out with unrestrained ease." That was during a generational Unraveling era, when everybody's behavior is far more compromising. Today, the world is deep into a generational Crisis era, and as I've written many dozens of times in recent years, populations are becoming increasingly nationalistic, belligerent and xenophobic.

"Over the past few years the international standard has been falsified and manipulated in ways never seen before. The fundamental reason behind reducing global standards is rooted in post-Cold War power disparities. The US, along with their allies, jammed their ambitions into the international standards so their actions, which were supposed to follow a set of standardized procedures and protocol, were really nothing more than profit-seizing opportunities designed only for themselves. These same Western nations activated in full-force public opinion-shaping platforms and media agencies to defend and justify such privileges."

This is a typical Chinese anti-American rant. I don't know what "full-force public opinion-shaping platforms and media agencies" this is referring to, but in the West we have news sources expressing all points of view, while in China if you express a view not approved by the Chinese Communist Party, then you can get yourself abducted, thrown into a pit, tortured and killed.

"As of late, more foreign countries have been victimized by Western rhetoric and nonsensical diplomatic measures. In the end, the leaders of these nations are forced to wear a hat featuring slogans and words that read "oppressing their own people," "authoritarian," or "ethnic cleansing," regardless of their innocence."

Who are these Chinese talking about? Maybe they're talking about the officials in Myanmar (Burma) who are performing genocide and ethnic cleansing on the Rohingyas.

"It is beyond outrageous how the US and Europe have treated Russia. Their actions represent a frivolity and recklessness that has grown to characterize Western hegemony that only knows how to contaminate international relations. Right now is the perfect time for non-Western nations to strengthen unity and collaborative efforts among one another. These nations need to establish a level of independence outside the reach of Western influence while breaking the chains of monopolization declarations, predetermined adjudications, and come to value their own judgement abilities.

It's already understood that to achieve such international collective efforts is easier said than done as they require foundational support before anything can happen. Until a new line of allies emerges, multi-national associations like BRICS, or even the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, need to provide value to those non-Western nations and actively create alliances with them.

What Russia is experiencing right could serve as a reflection of how other non-Western nations can expect to be treated in the not-to-distant future. Expelling Russian diplomats simultaneously is hardly enough to deter Russia. Overall, it's an intimidation tactic that has become emblematic of Western nations, and furthermore, such measures are not supported by international law and therefore unjustified. More importantly, the international community should have the tools and means to counterbalance such actions."

This gets to the heart of the matter. The Chinese are proposing to create another international organization, perhaps a competitor to the United Nations, where they would be in control. This idea is completely delusional, since even if such an organization existed, it would run into the same kinds of conflicts that occur in the UN Security Council.

Russia and China in particular were almost in full-scale war with each other in the 1960s. Today they have a marriage of convenience because they're both annexing other countries' regions, doing what Hitler did prior to WW II, and using each other to justify their actions. Russia and China are basically two criminal countries, applying the rule of "honor among thieves."

But the real message here is that China and Russia wish to formalize their rejection of international law, which has formed the basis of peace since the end of World War II.

As I've written many times, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Global Times

Related Articles

China 'prepares for war' with massive naval/air force drills in South China Sea

China has begun conducting massive maritime combat drills, including dozens of vessels mobilized in the South China Sea as part of what the military said would be bigger, more frequent exercises in the tense region.

It appears increasingly that China is preparing its population for war. This is an essential first step before actually launching a war.

Satellite photos show an aircraft carrier and dozens of Chinese naval vessels in a large show of force. The Air Force said on its social media account that the exercises were "rehearsals for future wars and are the most direct preparation for combat." Global Times and Telegraph (London) and Newsweek and Stars and Stripes and Reuters

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Mar-18 World View -- Russia-China strategy to use the UN to control Western foreign policy has stopped working thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

28-Mar-18 World View -- Tense Turkey-EU summit in Bulgaria once again ends in failure

Other unresolved issues from the EU-Turkey summit meeting

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Tense Turkey-EU summit in Bulgaria once again ends in failure


After a tense meeting that accomplished nothing, the EU and Turkish leaders posed for a silly photo opportunity where they pretend to be friends.  From left to right: Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, European Council President Donald Tusk, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and European Commission President Jean-Claude Jüncker
After a tense meeting that accomplished nothing, the EU and Turkish leaders posed for a silly photo opportunity where they pretend to be friends. From left to right: Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, European Council President Donald Tusk, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and European Commission President Jean-Claude Jüncker

Tensions between the European Union and Turkey have been tense in the last year, including EU referring to Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "dictator," and Erdogan comparing the Dutch and German governments to the Nazis.

So there was a summit meeting on Monday in Varna, Bulgaria, attended by Erdogan, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Jüncker, as well as Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The purpose of the meeting was to mend relations between Turkey and the EU.

There was a lot of angry rhetoric, and there were whole lists of issues on both sides that were left unresolved. However, neither side wanted to risk a total breakdown on relations, so they agreed to continue the EU-Turkey refugee deal, at least in part:

Erdogan has repeatedly expressed fury in particular that the visa-free travel has not been permitted. RTE (Ireland) and EU Observer and Reuters and Kathimerini (Athens)

Other unresolved issues from the EU-Turkey summit meeting

At the conclusion of Monday's summit meeting, European Council president Donald Tusk said:

"If you are asking me if we achieved some solutions or compromises, my answer is no. What I can say that is that I raised all our concerns, as you know it was a long list."

EU accession continues to be a major point of hostility -- the process of allowing Turkey to become a member of the European Union. There have been talks since 2005, but there has been enormous hostility on both sides historically rooted from the time when Turkey's Ottoman Empire and European nations were at war. The talks were frozen completely following the failed coup in July, 2016.

The most recent major new disagreement occurred two weeks ago, when Turkey sent warships to block gas and oil exploration in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.

Cyprus has been bitterly divided since a 1974 war, with Greek Orthodox Christian Greeks governing the south, and Muslim Turks governing the north. The two sides are partitioned by a "no-man's land," a strip that stretches 112 miles across the entire island. Today, it's only the Greek government of Cyprus that is recognized by the EU, and is a member of the EU.

Turkey has condemned actions by the Greek Cyprus government to drill for oil and gas without an agreement that Turkey should receive a share of the revenue.

In February, Turkish warships blocked an Italian company that was scheduled to drill in Cyprus's territorial waters. Turkey said it would prevent any further drilling off Cyprus without the direct involvement of the Turkish Cypriots.

EU leaders made clear that the EU was in solidarity with Cyprus, and that it was necessary for Turkey to improve its relations with both Greece and Cyprus.

Another recent disagreement is related to the war in Syria, and to Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, whose purpose is to take control of Syria's northern border city of Afrin. The message from the EU has been mixed. Afrin was controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which is linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The PKK has conducted numerous violent terrorist acts on Turkish soil, and is recognized as a terrorist group by the United States and the EU. So the mixed message from the EU in recent days was "you have a right to protect your border, but don't go too far in killing or displacing civilians." EU officials are giving the Afrin operation as another reason for a delay in further accession talks.

However, with regard to the military operation in Afrin, Erdogan said he expects the EU’s support in dealing with terrorists. Erdogan said:

"It would be a grave mistake for Europe, which claims to be a global force, to push Turkey out of its expansion policy.

Our operations against terrorism not only contribute to the security of ourselves and the Syrians but also to the security of Europe.

We now expect strong support [from Europe] on sensitive issues such as the fight against terrorism instead of rambling and unjust criticism.

I hope that we together have taken the first step of restoring confidence between the EU and us [Turkey] today, but it is not enough to say that we took this step; it has to be taken in concrete terms.

We hope that we have left a difficult period in Turkey-EU relations behind."

Other issues raised by the European Union include concerns about the rule of law in Turkey, the mass jailing of journalists, and the jailing of two Greek soldiers who accidentally crossed the border from Greece into Turkey.

With regard to the Greek soldiers, European Commission president Jean-Claude Jüncker said that they should be released from jail before the Greek Orthodox Easter on April 8. (The Catholic Easter this year is on April 1.) To Vima (Athens) and AP (22-Mar) and Cyprus Mail and EU Observer and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Mar-18 World View -- Tense Turkey-EU summit in Bulgaria once again ends in failure thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

27-Mar-18 World View -- Al-Houthi missile attack on Saudi cities sharply escalates the Yemen war

Yemen's Iran-backed al-Houthi rebels launch barrage of missile attacks on Saudi cities

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Yemen's Iran-backed al-Houthi rebels launch barrage of missile attacks on Saudi cities


Light show over Saudi capital city Riyadh, as American-supplied Patriot missiles intercept ballistic missiles launched by al-Houthis in Yemen (CNN)
Light show over Saudi capital city Riyadh, as American-supplied Patriot missiles intercept ballistic missiles launched by al-Houthis in Yemen (CNN)

The Yemen war sharply escalated on Monday when the rebel al-Houthis launched a barrage of seven ballistic missiles from Yemen across the Saudi Arabia border. Three of them targeted the capital city Riyadh, while the other four targeted other nearby cities. In all cases, civilian neighborhoods were targeted.

The Saudis targeted the incoming missiles with defensive American-supplied Patriot missiles. At least one and possibly two of the Patriot missiles failed to achieve its objective of destroying the incoming missile. One incoming missile hit a residential area, and another exploded in mid-air shortly after launch. An Egyptian woman was killed, though it's not clear whether she was killed by an incoming missile or by falling debris from a missile destroyed in flight.

Saudi officials are claiming that the missiles must have been supplied by Iran, since they were too sophisticated to have been developed by the al-Houthis themselves. The missile attack is infuriating the Saudis, who are becoming increasingly belligerent and nationalistic, and the attack raises the possibility that the Saudis might retaliate militarily directly against Iran.

Yemen is considered to be the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today. Out of a population of 27.6 million, about 50,000 people have died of starvation, and 8.4 million more are on the verge of starvation. Disease is rampant, where over one million people have contracted cholera. The Saudis have largely blocked the ports, preventing humanitarian food and water from being delivered, leaving the people on their own.

Saudi Arabia has been under increasing international pressure to end the Yemen war and end the humanitarian disaster. Both Britain and the US have been supplying weapons to the Saudis, and politicians in both countries have been demanding that the supply of weapons be stopped.

The Saudis point out that they're acting on behalf of the UN-recognized government of Yemen, and that they're fighting rebels who have overthrown the legitimate government. They also point out that an Iran-backed Houthi government on the Saudi southern border would present an existential threat. Gulf News (Dubai) and Saudi Gazette and CNN and The National (Abu Dhabi)

Al-Houthi missile attack on Saudi cities sharply escalates the Yemen war

It's not clear why the al-Houthis launched this attack. Perhaps they believe that by targeting civilian neighborhoods in Saudi Arabia, they can build both international and Saudi domestic opposition to the war, and force the Saudis to withdraw and hand a victory to the al-Houthis.

That might have been true in the 1990s during a generational Unraveling era, when the Silent Generation, the last survivors of World War II, were in charge, and there was a great aversion to war. But today, we're in a generational Crisis era, with younger generations in charge, and nationalism and xenophobia are surging around the world.

So if the al-Houthis were hoping that this attack would convince the Saudis to back down, there's no chance of that. Instead, increased nationalism will cause the Saudis to take even more drastic steps to win the war, while critics who want Britain and the US to stop supplying weapons will be muted. I would expect the Saudis to sharply escalate their actions in the next few weeks, possibly even taking some action directly targeting Iran. Gulf News (Dubai) and The National (Abu Dhabi) and Business Insider and Foreign Policy

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Mar-18 World View -- Al-Houthi missile attack on Saudi cities sharply escalates the Yemen war thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

26-Mar-18 World View -- Spain's arrests of Catalonia secessionist leaders revive memories of Franco's brutal atrocities

Violent clashes with police in Spain's Catalonia follow arrest of Puigdemont in Germany

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Violent clashes with police in Spain's Catalonia follow arrest of Puigdemont in Germany


Catalonia protesters clash with police in Barcelona on Sunday (AP)
Catalonia protesters clash with police in Barcelona on Sunday (AP)

At least 50 people were injured on Sunday when tens of thousands of supporters of Carles Puigdemont, the former leader of Spain's Catalonia region, clashed with Spanish policy in Barcelona, Catalonia's capital city, after Puigdemont was arrested in Germany, based on a European arrest warrant issued by a Spanish court.

The story of Puigdemont's arrest is a kind of spy thriller.

Puigdemont led a failed attempt at Catalonian independence in September of last year, after which a Spanish court issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of treason and sedition. He fled to Belgium, where authorities refused an extradition request, on condition that Puigdemont not leave Belgium. Spain retracted the arrest warrant earlier this year, leaving Puigdemont free to travel again.

He traveled to Finland to give some lectures, but on Friday Spain's government issued new arrest warrants for Puigdemont and for other leaders who had supported the attempt at secession.

The new arrest warrant caught Puigdemont by surprise. When Puigdemont got word of the new arrest warrant on Friday, he immediately tried to flee Finland by car, hoping to reach the safety of Belgium undetected. He crossed the border into Sweden, and traveled south into Denmark. From there he crossed the border into Germany, and was recognized and arrested in Germany when he stopped at a filling station.

If Germany extradites Puigdemont back to Spain, and he is convicted of the crimes he's charged with, then the punishment will be 25-30 years in prison. However, Puigdemont's lawyers will try to convince Germany's courts that they can't extradite because the arrest is political. This is similar to the reasoning that Belgium's court used when it refused to extradite him. Under EU rules, a court in one EU member state can only extradite a person sought by another member state if they are confident the suspect will face equivalent fair legal procedures and trial. The battles in Germany's courts are expected to continue for weeks. For the time being, Puigdemont is in a German jail.

Puigdemont's arrest has infuriated the half of Catalonia's public that support him. The other half of Catalonia's public is against independence, and many of them believe that Puigdemont should be charged and jailed. Irish Times and BBC and AP and CNN

Spain's arrests of Catalonia secessionist leaders revive memories of Franco's brutal atrocities

As I described last year in "23-Sep-17 World View -- The 1930s Spanish Civil War fault lines explode again over Catalonia independence referendum", memories of Generalísimo Francisco Franco's fascist nationalism and his brutal atrocities targeting Catalonians in the extremely bloody Spanish Civil War (1936-39) are now being revived.

Puigdemont's arrest by the Germans is being compared on social media to the arrest by the German Gestapo of Lluís Companys, the president of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War.

After Franco's victory in the Battle of the Ebro on July 25, 1938, at the climax of the Spanish Civil War, Franco began an offensive against Catalonia, forcing the government of Catalonia to exile itself in France. They were safe in France until France capitulated to the Nazis in June 1940. Companys was arrested by the German Gestapo in Brittany on August 13th 1940 and handed over to the Francoist authorities on August 29th. Companys was held in solitary confinement, tortured and eventually executed by firing squad on October 14, 1940.

There are few people alive today who have personal memories of the Spanish Civil War and of the capture and execution of Companys. However, Francisco Franco did not die until 1975, and there are many people alive today, including Puigdemont himself, who have personal memories of Franco and of his severe repression of the Catalan region.

That's why many Catalonians today are comparing the German arrest of Puigdemont to the 1940 Gestapo arrest of another Catalan leader, Lluís Companys. If the German courts decide to extradite Puigdemont and turn him over to Spain's government, then the circle of history will be complete. AFP and TeleSur TV and Barcelonas.com

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Mar-18 World View -- Spain's arrests of Catalonia secessionist leaders revive memories of Franco's brutal atrocities thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

25-Mar-18 World View -- The Pivotal Generation (Generation Z) marches for gun control, tilting at windmills

Defining the generations -- Silent, Boomer, Generation-X, Millennial, Pivotal

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Florida school shooting causes millions of high school students to rally for gun control


High-school students and their families in Washington on Saturday for the 'March for our Lives' (ZeroHedge)
High-school students and their families in Washington on Saturday for the 'March for our Lives' (ZeroHedge)

Saturday's "March for our Lives" rallies were national and international. The current generation of high-school students held a spectacular coming-out part on Saturday, as millions students and their families flooded into Washington, and cities around the world. For many of the kids, this must have been the most exciting and thrilling day of their young lives.

So the first thing to understand is that these kids are not Millennials. People born since 1999 are in a new generation, the next generation after Millennials, called the Pivotal Generation (because they're pivoting away from the Millennials), or often called "Generation Z" (a name they hate).

The recent school shooting in Florida has triggered a rather spectacular entrance by the Pivotals into national politics, and they're driving politics in several new directions that differ from the Millennials.

Democrats completely co-opted Saturdays "March for our Lives" rallies by completely excluding any high school student from speaking who took any position contrary to the positions of the Democratic party leadership. Thus all the political messages were pro-gun control, anti-Republican, anti-National Rifle Association (NRA), and opposed to any solutions proposed by other parties, such as gun violence restraining orders, arming school resource officers, and updating instant criminal background checks.

However, the kids in the Pivotal Generation do not by any means hold positions matching those in the Democratic Party. As for getting gun control enacted, they're tilting at windmills. Within a few months, the Pivotals will be on to a new and even more exciting issue, and this issue will be forgotten. NBC News and March for Our Lives web site and Zero Hedge

The rise of the Pivotal Generation (Generation Z)

The attitudes of the Pivotals are not anti-NRA at their core. The Pivotals are pro-security, especially school security. The rallies were called "March for our Lives," not "March to kill the NRA." Since there's really no solution to the school security problem, they allowed their rally to be co-opted by the anti-NRA stance because it's the only thing they understand. However, the pro-security policy is much more right wing than left wing.

Research on the Pivotals during the last year or two has revealed three major themes in their political beliefs:

In generational theory, a "regeneracy event" is an event that regenerates civic unity and unifies the country behind the country's leader for the first time since the end of the preceding generational crisis war (WW II in this case). A regeneracy event today might be, for example, a North Korean nuclear weapon ballistic missile attack on Los Angeles. With their demand for total security and willingness to work for success, the Pivotals in case of war would combine into a powerful patriotic force willing to do whatever is necessary to fight for the nation. They will truly be the next "Greatest Generation."

Whatever events unfold in the future, the Pivotal Generation is pivoting away from Millennials and other generations, and is adopting a unique set of attitudes and behaviors that will end up being a surprise to everyone, including both political parties. Barkley US and Barkley US (PDF) and Reno Gazette and Inc

Defining the generations -- Silent, Boomer, Generation-X, Millennial, Pivotal

According to the US government Census Bureau:

"The term “baby boomer” refers to individuals born in the United States between mid-1946 and mid-1964 (Hogan, Perez, and Bell, 2008). Distinctions between the baby boom cohort and birth cohorts from preceding and subsequent years become apparent when fertility measures are framed within a historical context. The baby boom in the United States was marked by a substantial rise in birth rates post-World War II. Two features of the baby boom differentiate this increase from those previously experienced: the size of the birth cohort and the length of time for which these higher levels of fertility were sustained."

In other words, many couples held off having children during the Great Depression and World War II, but as soon as the war ended they started having children as quickly as possible.

The birth year range 1946-1964 for Boomers makes sense for demographic purposes, which is the business that the Census Bureau is in. But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it's not particularly useful. The useful question is NOT "When is the first year that babies were born after World War II?" The useful question is: "When is the first year that babies were born when they were never personally aware of and traumatized by the horrific events of World War II?"

Generally speaking, you have to be about four years old to be aware of what's going on in the world, and so for generational theory, the earliest birth year for the Boomers is not 1946, but is 1942. Anyone born earlier (the Silent Generation) would likely have been traumatized by World War II, and anyone born later would likely not have even been aware of World War II. That's why I don't use the phrase "born after WW II" to describe the Boomers. Instead, I use the phrase "growing up after WW II."

The Silent Generation is the one preceding the Boomers. They got that name in an interesting way. They were originally called the "Depression Babies," obviously because they were born just before or during the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, during the 1950s, Time Magazine began calling them the "Silent Generation," and the name stuck.

The reason that Time called them the Silent Generation is because they never complained about anything. They had grown up during the Depression, they had seen their fathers, brothers and uncles die gruesomely during the war, and by the 1950s they were happy to have families, jobs, and a home with a white picket fence. They did their jobs, and worked patriotically to help rebuild the world after World War II.

The period after a crisis war like World War II is called a "Recovery Era," since it's everybody's job to help the nation and the world recover from the war.

The Census Bureau says that the last birth year for Boomers was 1964. Once again, that's useful for demographers, but for Generational Theory, we identify the end of the Recovery Era and the beginning of the "Awakening Era" as the beginning of social activism by Boomers, as they come of age. For us, the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is the beginning of the Awakening Era, as the first major activist event by the Boomers. As in the case of the Boomers, we subtract four years, and set 1959 as the last birth year for the Boomers and the first birth year for Generation-X.

The children in Generation-X grew up in a world that seemed like total chaos to them. There was rioting in the streets, males were burning their draft cards, girls were burning their bras, there was streaking, there was the Summer of Love in 1967, the riots at the Democratic convention in 1968, the killing of students at Kent State University, and a vast generation gap over the Vietnam war and race and environment issues.

Whereas the Boomers were pampered as children in the Baby Boom following WW II, the Gen-Xers were left mostly on their own, and were definitely not pampered. Whereas the Boomers had a stable childhood with families and parents with jobs, the Gen-Xers were surrounded by social unrest and instability. In particular, feminist organizations were telling mothers to dump their husbands, and not let the kids see their fathers, in order to get as much money as possible. So many Gen-Xers grew up with no fathers, with a chaotic personal life, and a great deal of bitterness towards the Boomer generation, whom they blamed for their misfortunes. Without fathers and with no moral compass, they had a high delinquency rate, and are one of the most jailed generation in American history.

As I've described many times in the last 15 years, Generation-X got their revenge against their fathers by bringing about the financial crisis. In the 1990s. Gen-Xers got degrees in "Financial Engineering," and used their skills in the 2000s to knowingly create trillions of dollars' worth of fraudulent subprime mortgage backed securities, which they could sell to the parents' generation to get revenge. The result was that millions of people when bankrupt and loss their homes.

The Awakening Era began in 1963 and ended in 1983. That was followed by the "Unraveling Era," where all the rules and institutions that had been implement in the 1950s to prevent another Great Depression and another World War were dismantled. This resulted in the "tech bubble" of the late 1990s and the huge "credit bubble" of the mid 2000s decade.

The Unraveling Era was a period of opulent wealth in the hands of many people -- mainly because they went deeply into debt, and spent the money on cars, vacations, and other items of conspicuous consumption.

The Unraveling Era begin in 1983 and ended in 2003, 58 years after the end of World War II. 2003 was the beginning of the new "Crisis Era." The birth years for the next generation, the Millennial Generation, was thus 1979 to 1999. Millennials grew during this period of opulence provided by astronomical debt, many Millennials developed the attitude that money and success could just be given to them.

The financial crisis brought this period of opulence to an abrupt end. The Pivotal Generation, which grew up during this period, pivoted away from the Millennials and adopted that attitude that it's necessary to work had for money and success.

Incidentally, the name "Pivotal Generation" is only temporary. Just as the "Depression Babies" became the "Silent Generation," the Pivotal Generation will be given a new name by society at some point in the future, after they've actually accomplished something, rather than just giving press conferences in Washington. US Census Bureau (PDF) and Pew Research

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Mar-18 World View -- The Pivotal Generation (Generation Z) marches for gun control, tilting at windmills thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

24-Mar-18 World View -- Report that Russia is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan contains delusional aspects

US warship sails near China's illegal artificial island in the South China Sea

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Report that Russia is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan contains delusional aspects


US Army General and commander of US forces in Afghanistan John Nicholson (AFP)
US Army General and commander of US forces in Afghanistan John Nicholson (AFP)

During the 1980s, the Soviet Union became embroiled in its own version of the Vietnam War -- an asymmetric fight against guerrilla forces in Afghanistan that the Soviets couldn't win. Since the Soviets were American enemies in those days, US forces aided the side opposing the Soviets. The people we supported were the ethnic Pashtuns who later became the Taliban, and their allies, a group of Saudi Wahhabi jihadists, including Osama bin Laden, who later became al-Qaeda.

For two or three years, there have been consistent reports that the Russians have been supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan with money and weapons. The reasons stated for the support are that the Russians don't want the Americans to have a permanent foothold in Afghanistan and, by the way, they want to get revenge for helping their opponents in the 1980s.

Now General John Nicholson, head of the US forces in Afghanistan, says that the reports are true. According to Nicholson:

"We’ve had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy. We’ve had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders and said, ‘This was given by the Russians to the Taliban’.

We see a narrative that’s being used that grossly exaggerates the number of Islamic State group fighters here. This narrative then is used as a justification for the Russians to legitimize the actions of Taliban and provide some degree of support to the Taliban."

Nicholson says that by supplying weapons and money to the Taliban, the Russians are interfering with the attempts to bring peace to Afghanistan through negotiations and peace talks with the Taliban.

This whole story raises far more questions than it answers. Apparently the weapons at issue are 1980s vintage, so it's possible that they made their way into Taliban hands by another path.

The background story has several delusional elements. The Russians today are blaming the whole 1980s Afghanistan fiasco on the United States. According to the Russians, they were tricked into entering the 1980s Afghanistan war by president Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski, who died last year, apparently believed the same thing.

This is completely delusional on the part of both the Russians and Brzezinski. There's no way that the Soviets committed hundreds of thousands of troops to a ten-year war in Afghanistan on the basis of a trick. However, the delusion has been convenient for both parties. The Russians absolve themselves of the blame for the war by blaming it on the Americans, and Brzezinski can continue to pat himself on the back.

And it's true that the US supplied some weapons to the Pashtuns, just as the Russians had supplied weapons to the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam war. But supplying some weapons would not have made a difference in the outcome of either war.

Another part of the delusion is that the Russians and the Taliban could be allied in any meaningful way. Russia is allied with Iran, which is allied with the Shia groups that the Taliban keeps trying to kill. Furthermore, by supplying weapons to jihadists in Afghanistan, those jihadist could travel to Russia and use the weapons there.

The biggest delusion -- on the part of the American administration -- is that a peace agreement can be reached.

I've described in detail the reasons why a peace agreement is impossible many times (see "23-Aug-17 World View -- Trump promises victory in Afghanistan by redefining 'victory'"), but the one-sentence summary of the reasoning is this: Young Pashtuns are coming of age, and looking for vengeance against the Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks that they fought in the bloody civil war of 1991-96.

However, as I've written in the past, the Nato alliance and the US administration appear to have a larger purpose in mind. As war with China and Pakistan approaches, president Trump wants to keep American troops active in Afghanistan, and to continue to maintain several American military bases in Afghanistan, including two air bases in Bagram and Kandahar International Airport. These bases will be valuable in any future war with China. Under these circumstances, having troops in Afghanistan is what matters, whether the Taliban are defeated or not. CBS News and BBC and Russia Today (29-May-2017)

Related Articles

US warship sails near China's illegal artificial island in the South China Sea

The US Navy on Friday conducted a new "freedom of navigation" operation in the South China Sea.

The warship USS Mustin traveled within 12 nautical miles of China's illegal artificial island and military base near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, and carried out maneuvering operations.

According to Nicole Schwegman, a spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet:

"We conduct routine and regular freedom of navigation operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future."

As usual, the Chinese were furious and began emitting nonsense. According to China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying:

"On March 23, USS Mustin entered the neighboring waters of relevant islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao without the permission of the Chinese government. The Chinese navy has identified and verified the US warship and warned it to leave in accordance with the law. The relevant act of the US side has violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon China's sovereignty, undermined peace, security and order of the relevant waters and put in jeopardy the facilities and personnel on the Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation.

China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters."

The problem we have with both China and Russia these days is that they lie so often that we have to assume that everything they say is completely worthless.

This statement claims "indisputable sovereignty." Is Hua Chunying a complete idiot? Or does she think that the rest of us are so stupid that we'll believe any nonsense that comes out of her mouth. The claim of "indisputable sovereignty" is a lie on its face because much of the world disputes it. The South China Sea are international waters, as declared by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, which eviscerated all of China's claims in the South China Sea, in July, 2013. It's China, not the United States, that's violating international law on a continuing basis. Reuters and China's Foreign Ministry

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Mar-18 World View -- Report that Russia is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan contains delusional aspects thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

23-Mar-18 World View -- Turkey's government takes control of last remaining independent news source

South Africans furious at Australia for condemning white farmer land confiscation

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's government takes control of last remaining independent news source


Dogan Holding television stations, Kanal D and CNN Turk (AFP)
Dogan Holding television stations, Kanal D and CNN Turk (AFP)

Turkey is joining the ranks of China, Russia, Iran, Cambodia, Egypt, Burundi, Cameroon and others in criminalizing the reporting of news that criticizes the government, and jailing reporters who do so.

On Thursday, Turkey's government began the acquisition the last major independent media company, Dogan Holding, which owns well known publications including Hurriyet and CNN Turk.

Aydin Dogan, the 81 year old billionaire who founded Dogan Holding in 1979, announced the sale of all the media assets to Demirören Group, a media group with a close relationship with Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Dogan has had a difficult relationship with with Erdogan's AK Party since the party came to party in 2002. The holding face a record $2.5 billion in tax fines in 2009, which Dogan claimed were politically motivated. The fines forced Dogan to sell some assets to Demirören in 2011.

Ever since Turkey faced a botched coup attempt in June 2016, Erdogan has used the coup attempt to become increasingly dictatorial and authoritarian at every opportunity. Dozens of journalists have been jailed on phony charges since the coup attempt, but Erdogan started his purge well before the coup attempt, as shown by the actions against Dogan since 2003.

In particular, four months before the coup, Turkey and the world were shocked when Erdogan shut down Zaman, the country's major opposition newspaper, the largest newspaper in the country, and jailed some of its reporters.

There's almost no independent press remaining in Turkey. Cumhuriyet, a mainstream opposition newspaper much smaller than Dogan, has had a dozen of its employees imprisoned on phony charges, although many have been released after a year in prison for lack of evidence. France 24 and Bloomberg and Guardian (London) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Related Articles

South Africans furious at Australia for condemning white farmer land confiscation

Officials in South Africa's government are expressing fury at the so-called "racist" statements by Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. South Africa recently announced a policy where the government will confiscate land from white-owned farms with no compensation whatsoever and turn it over to black farmers. Dutton was reacting to that policy, as well as to threats of violence targeting white farmers.

Dutton has announced that Australia should speed up the visas for white farmers who, he claimed, are being "persecuted" by the confiscation policy. "These people deserve special attention," Sutton said. "From what I've seen they do need help from a civilized country like ours."

Supporters of Dutton's policy are calling the land confiscation policy "reverse racism." According to one, "The situation has become so bleak, [that] being a farmer in South Africa is now the world's most dangerous job."

South Africa's International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu demanded that Dutton withdraw his comments: "The impression created is that white farmers in South Africa are living under horrific conditions and there is a possibility of death. And all these barbaric things are being put across about us."

Gareth Newham, an analyst with the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, said young black men faced a greater risk of being murdered in South Africa than white farmers:

"In fact, young black males living in poor urban areas like Khayelitsha and Lange face a far greater risk of being murdered. The murder rate there is between 200 and 300 murders per 100,000 people."

As I've described many times, a policy similar to the proposed land confiscation policy was adopted in 1999 by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe had been an extremely wealthy country, the breadbasket of southern Africa, exporting a great deal of food to other countries. Mugabe threw the white farmers off the farms, and gave the farms to blacks who were his political cronies, but didn't know how to farm. Thanks to Mugabe, Zimbabwe turned from one of the wealthiest countries to one of the poorest countries in the world, with mass starvation, a worthless currency, and a massive million percent inflation rate. EyeWitnessNews (South Africa) and South African Government and In Depth News

Related Stories

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Mar-18 World View -- Turkey's government takes control of last remaining independent news source thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

22-Mar-18 World View -- How China would lose a war with the United States

ISIS-linked terrorists in Afghanistan kill 32 in bombing of Shia Shrine in Kabul

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Massive earth fissure suddenly opens up in mid-Kenya, signaling an eventual split in all of Africa


A portion of the fissure where a gap was opened in a highway (Mwakilishi)
A portion of the fissure where a gap was opened in a highway (Mwakilishi)

A massive crack in the earth suddenly opened up two weeks ago, apparently triggered by large rainstorms that caused dangerous flooding. The fissure is already several miles long and is growing.

The fissure opened up a gap in major road, but engineers from the China Communications Construction Company immediately began major repairs of the road, building a bridge across the fissure.

There have been no reports of casualties, but one family reported that their house split in two while they were eating dinner, forcing them to flee.

Geologists say that Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and half of Ethiopia could separate from the African continent to form a new continent dubbed the Somali Plate in the next 50 million years. Kenya Broadcasting and The Nation (Kenya) and Mwakilishi (Kenya)

Related Articles

How China would lose a war with the United States

For over ten years I've been writing, based on a Generational Dynamics analysis, that the China and the United States would be opposed to each other in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war.

As I've indicated many times in the past, China is expected to repeat the situation in World War II, when it faced an external enemy (Japan) and also had a major internal rebellion, Mao Zedong's Communist Revolution.

Although in the grand scheme of things, there's never a guarantee that the US will survive such a war, in the past few years it's seemed increasingly likely that the US will not only survive, but will actually win this war. This is because China's belligerent actions have turned much of the world against China, and China would be facing multiple enemies besides the US.

An analysis by the Indian think tank SAAG has outlined China's strategic vulnerabilities:

I would add one more item to this list: I've been comparing the path that China is following to the path that Nazi Germany followed -- Xi Jinping's "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" is the same as Hitler's "National Socialism," Xi's blaming Britain and the Opium Wars for humiliating China is the same as Hitler's blaming the Jews and World War I for humiliating Germany. Xi and Hitler both became total dictators after winning elections.

Another big similarity is that the Chinese believe that they're superior not only to Americans but to any other group on earth, and that they can defeat any of them quickly in a war. China isn't using the phrase "Master Race" that Hitler used, but reading news stories from China conveys the same feeling. So the item that I would add to the list is vast overconfidence.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." In 1860, America's southern states started the Civil War, even though they had no chance against the North, which was three times the size. In 1941, Japan started the Pacific war, even though they had no chance against the US, which was five times the size. Overconfidence leads absolute dictators to make catastrophically bad decisions.

Assuming that the analysis is correct that China would be likely to lose such a war, that doesn't mean that the war won't occur, or that the war won't be disastrous for the entire world, as well as China, or that billions of people won't die from nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, ground war, famine and disease. China's actions are going to lead to a world war, and historians will look back on the Chinese as being worse than the Nazis. South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG - India)

Related Articles:

ISIS-linked terrorists in Afghanistan kill 32 in bombing of Shia Shrine in Kabul

A suicide bomber killed at least 32 people on Wednesday by exploding near a historic Shia shrine in Kabul, where worshippers had gathered to mark Ashura, the holiest day in the Shia calendar. The so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) claimed credit.

The target was Shia ethnic Hazaras, which have been the target of almost a dozen terror attacks in the last two years. The Taliban, who are mostly ethnic Sunni Pashtuns, fought against Hazaras in the extremely bloody Afghan civil war of the early 1990s, climaxing in 1996. Many of these attacks are revenge attacks from that war.

ISIS claimed credit for the attack on the web site of its Amaq public relations agency. With the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, tens of thousands of ISIS fighters have been returning to their home countries. The perpetrators of Wednesday's attack may have been an existing Taliban group that pledged allegiance to ISIS, or they may have been veteran terrorists returning from ISIS.

As I've written many times, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is absolutely no possibility whatsoever that the Afghan will be resolved peacefully. The younger generations that grew up after the Afghan civil war are now coming of age, and are anxious to exact revenge for atrocities that occurred during the war. As more of these youngsters grow older, the violence will only increase and occur more frequently. Tolo News (Afghanistan) and Washington Post

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Mar-18 World View -- How China would lose a war with the United States thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

21-Mar-18 World View -- Xi Jinping invokes the 1840s Opium Wars to justify military action for China's 'rejuvenation'

Xi Jinping stokes China's nationalism with harsh threats to Taiwan and Hong Kong

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Xi Jinping invokes the 1840s Opium Wars to justify military action for China's 'rejuvenation'


Framed portraits of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping hang above a TV screen showing President Xi Jinping. (Reuters)
Framed portraits of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping hang above a TV screen showing President Xi Jinping. (Reuters)

Analysts are saying that China has entered a new era with the recent meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), with president Xi Jinping becoming a dictator and the most powerful leader in China's history, possibly even more powerful than Mao Zedong.

The most significant visible change is that the constitutional limit to two terms as president has been removed, essentially making Xi Jinping a dictator for life. Furthermore, the constitution was changed to incorporate "Xi's thoughts." Less visible, but related, is that Xi has been able to purge the government of most of his opposition, by accusing them of corruption. Xi is now in charge of all organs and branches of government, and cannot be challenged. Many people are excited by this development, because they say that Xi has done so much to make China more powerful, and now can continue to do so.

However, many other people are pointing out. Absolute dictators are not infallible gods. Hitler was an absolute dictator, but the Holocaust was a disaster for Germany as well as the world. Mao Zedong was an absolute dictator, but Mao's Great Leap Forward resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of peasants from starvation and executions, which was a disaster for China. The problem is that absolute dictators are no different than you and me in the ability to make bad decisions, but when you and I make a bad decision then someone stops us, but no one stops an absolute dictator. Just as Mao could launch the disastrous Great Leap Forward without being questioned, Xi could launch a disastrous war without being questioned.

A good example of how delusional Xi is can be shown from this claim in his final speech to the NPC:

"China is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants, noting that all power in the country belongs to the people."

This doesn't even make sense. China is a "dictatorship," but there is nothing "democratic" about it. All of China's elections are predetermined, and peasants and workers are permitted to vote only for the chosen candidate.

Xi talks about the "rejuvenation" of China through "Socialism with Chinese characteristics." He calls this a "New Long March," alluding the Mao Zedong's Long March that began in 1934 and marked the beginning of the extremely bloody 16-year Chinese civil war. According to Xi:

"China has continuously striven for its dream of realizing great national rejuvenation for over 170 years.

History has proved and will continue to prove that only socialism can save China. Only by sticking to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics can we achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. ...

Turning the grand blueprint for China into reality is new Long March. We need to uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China's goal is to build a socialist, modern country by the middle of the 21st century."

The reference to "170 years" is very interesting, because it reveals the core resentment and bitterness towards the West that guide Xi's thinking. Xi and many Chinese blame China's poverty and backwardness on the Opium Wars with Britain in the 1840s, 170 years ago. According to this view, China would already be a great nation, if it hadn't been forced into submission by Britain at that time.

Once again, this is totally delusional on the part of Xi and other Chinese. Since the 1840s, China has had two extremely destructive generational crisis wars -- the Taiping Rebellion and Mao's Communist Revolution -- both of them civil wars, both of them enormously destructive to China, and neither of them the fault of Britain or anybody but the Chinese themselves. But the delusion of blaming everything on a war that occurred 170 years ago is extremely dangerous, because it can be used to justify such things as annexing other countries' regions in the South China Sea.

Xi added the following:

"Since ancient times, the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has become the greatest dream of the Chinese nation. The Chinese people are indomitable, and will persevere. They have the courage for bloody fights against their enemies, and they are determined to restore their former glory. Today the Chinese people are more confident and more capable, and closer than ever before of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."

This is extremely ominous, since Xi is justifying in advance any pre-emptive military attacks that he may decide to make. And being an absolute dictator means that the decision will be entirely his. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and China Daily and South China Morning Post and BBC and National Interest

Xi Jinping stokes China's nationalism with harsh threats to Taiwan and Hong Kong

According to a new "ethnic identity poll" by Hong Kong University, 68% of the respondents identified themselves as "Hongkongers," while only 31% identified themselves as "Chinese," down 7 points from just six months ago. Among young people aged 18-29, only 0.3% consider themselves "Chinese."

In the past, we've described polls that show that support in Taiwan for independence from China is growing each year, as younger generations grow older.

Xi Jinping addressed this problem in his speech:

"We will continue to implement 'One Country, Two Systems' principle, Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong, Macao people governing Macao, and high degree of autonomy in the special administrative regions.

We should continue to stick to one-China principle, 1992 Consensus and advance the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relations and expand the economic and cultural exchanges between the two sides.

Safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity, completely uniting China are Chinese people's common goal and the country's fundamental interests.

Every inch of the Chinese territory absolutely cannot be separated from China.

All acts and tricks to separate the country are doomed to fail and will be condemned by the people and punished by history."

Of course, these remarks are directed at the United States, especially after president Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act last week, which allows high-level visits between American and Taiwanese government officials.

But Xi's remarks are really directed at Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao. Their purpose is to stoke nationalism in the Chinese people in order to prepare them for preemptive military action.

In 2005, China passed the Anti-Secession Law, which orders the army to invade Taiwan if any Taiwanese official makes any move toward independence, whether by word or by deed. Since then, Taiwan has made many moves toward independence, and Xi is signaling that he's losing patience. He's aware that time is not on his side, as younger generations in Taiwan are increasingly pro-independence.

As I described last year in "24-Oct-17 World View -- Xi Jinping's 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics' is identical to Hitler's National Socialism", Xi is following the same path to total war that the Nazis followed, with the same inevitable disastrous results.

Xi's claim of China's humiliation in the Opium Wars to justify any Chinese action is similar to Hitler's claim of Germany's humiliation in World War I to justify any Nazi action.

Xi's use of the Opium Wars to blame Britain for all of China's troubles is the same as Hitler's blaming the Jews in World War I for all of Nazi Germany's troubles.

China has been preparing for war with the U.S. in every possible way. They've built large, illegal military bases in the South China Sea, and repeatedly lied about them. They've developed numerous nuclear-tipped ballistic and hypersonic missile systems designed to successfully strike and destroy American aircraft carriers, American cities, and American bases. They've demonstrated a capability to destroy American communications and GPS satellites. They have thousands of missiles ready to launch against Taiwan, and they have large military deployments in western Tibet ready to invade India.

Xi's speech advances China's war preparations by providing justifications for future military action, and by stoking nationalism to prepare the Chinese people for war. This war could begin next week, next month, next year, or whenever China wants. As China's dictator, Xi Jinping will decide when this war will begin, and when he decides, there will be no one to stop him. Hong Kong Economic Journal (28-Dec) and Hong Kong University (27-Dec) and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and BBC and South China Morning Post

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Mar-18 World View -- Xi Jinping invokes the 1840s Opium Wars to justify military action for China's 'rejuvenation' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

20-Mar-18 World View -- Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board overwhelmed by migrants crossing border from US

Turkey achieves victory in Afrin, Syria, but Kurds threaten guerilla war

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board overwhelmed by migrants crossing border from US


August 2017: Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre greets a busload of Haitian asylum seekers from the United States as it arrives (AFP)
August 2017: Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre greets a busload of Haitian asylum seekers from the United States as it arrives (AFP)

Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has become so overwhelmed by refugees making asylum claims that it's giving up on following regulations dictating requiring refugee hearings to be held within a certain time. Regulations drawn up in 2012 required the IRB to hold hearings with 30-60 days, depending on the country of origin.

But the system began breaking down in January 2017, when US president Donald Trump began cracking down on illegal immigration, and also announced that legal immigrants having a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) would have that status expire. In addition, the status of the "dreamers," those who were brought to the country as children years ago by their parents, was in doubt.

The US crackdown has created a growing backlog in Canada, as refugees in American have been crossing the border into Canada and applying for asylum. Many refugees and illegal immigrants living in the United States were encouraged to cross the border into Canada when Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau tweeted a welcome and invitation to the refugees on January 28, 2017, shortly after Trump announced his travel ban:

"To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada"

Since January 2017, the backlog has been growing at a rate of about 2,100 cases per month. the largest increase so far occurred in September 2017, with a backlog increase of 6,200 cases.

More than 20,000 people, including thousands from Haiti and Nigeria, and hundreds from Turkey, Syria and Eritrea, have crossed the border into Canada illegally over the past year in search of asylum, many fleeing in fear that Trump would deport them to their home countries.

Canada's IRB has given up trying to follow the 2012 regulations, and is simply hearing claims in the order in which they are received. The board will make exceptions for priority claims, such as unaccompanied minors or other vulnerable persons. The backlog has now reached about 43,000 cases with the IRB saying the waiting time for a hearing is almost 2 years.

As the weather becomes warmer, it's expected that there will be a large new wave of migrants entering Canada. The Canadian government has dispatched lawmakers to diaspora communities in the United States to persuade people not to come. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has discussed the situation with the Trump administration, but it has been careful not to publicly blame the U.S. president's policies for triggering the migration wave.

According to figures published by the Immigration Board, the most asylum requests in 2017 were from migrants from Haiti, with over 8,000 requests, and from Nigeria, with over 5,500 requests. Other countries of origin where the numbers of requests exceeded 1,000 include: China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, and Venezuela. Reuters and Radio Canada International (21-Feb) and Montreal Gazette (26-Nov-2017) and National Post (20-Feb) and Immigration Refugee Board

Related Articles

Turkey achieves victory in Afrin, Syria, but Kurds threaten guerilla war

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in Afrin, Syria, on Monday, after seizing the center of Afrin city. The objective of Operation Olive Branch, launched on January 20, was to seize control of Afrin from the Kurdish militias, People's Protection Units (YPG), who Erdogan says are branches of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The YPG withdrew on Sunday, rather than risk fighting a conventional war with Turkish-backed forces, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

However, the YPG claim that the fight for Afrin is far from over. The Kurdish militias are threatening a guerilla insurgency, with hit-and-run attacks on Turkey's troops in Afrin. Such an insurgency could prompt Turkey to respond with harsh attacks on the civilians in Afrin.

As things stand, about 200,000 residents of Afrin fled the city in recent days, as Turkey's offensive escalated. Theoretically, they will be allowed to return to their homes now, but there have been reports of looting by Turkish troops. Furthermore, the residents fear that Turkey will move some of the millions of Syrian refugees who have been living in Turkey for years back into Afrin, so that the Kurds will not have a home to come back to.

Erdogan seems emboldened by the capture of Afrin, and is threatening to move eastward and attack the YPG in other cities, including Kobani and Manbij. However, the YPG forces in Manbij are backed by US forces, and if Erdogan carries through on his threat, then Turkish forces will be fighting American forces. France 24 and Rudaw (Kurdistan)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Mar-18 World View -- Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board overwhelmed by migrants crossing border from US thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

19-Mar-18 World View -- Burundi's Hutu 'eternal supreme guide' Nkurunziza to remain in power eternally

Finland is the happiest country in the world, Burundi the unhappiest

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Burundi's Hutu 'eternal supreme guide' Nkurunziza to remain in power eternally


Burundi's Hutu president Pierre Nkurunziza has declared himself the 'eternal supreme guide' (AFP)
Burundi's Hutu president Pierre Nkurunziza has declared himself the 'eternal supreme guide' (AFP)

I keep telling the same story in country after country, particularly African countries, but other countries as well. A leader stays in office for years and decades, and takes steps to stay in office for additional years and decades, and backs the step up by slaughtering, torturing, raping and jailing even peaceful protesters in the opposition.

Burundi's president Pierre Nkurunziza, who calls himself the "eternal supreme guide" of Burundi, on Sunday signed a decree setting May 17 as a date for a national referendum to change the constitution to permit him to stay in office until at least 2034.

There's little doubt that Nkurunziza will win approval on the referendum vote, because he will use violence and jailings of the opposition, and probably vote-rigging as well.

Nkurunziza should have stepped down as leader in 2015, since the constitution limits any leader to two terms. When Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a third term, his police force used bullets, tear gas and water cannons to control the protests.

Most people are familiar with the Rwanda genocide of 1994, the massive genocide where ethnic Hutus killed close to a million ethnic Tutsis. As I described in 2015 in the "Generational history of Hutu and Tutsi tribes", that war also extended to the same tribes in neighboring Burundi and Uganda. When the war ended, the Tutsis took power in Rwanda and Uganda, and the Hutus took power in Burundi.

In all three countries, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, the respective leaders have ignored their constitutions and used violence to stay in power. Africa News and Reuters

Related Articles

Reports of Trump-Kim meeting in Finland unconfirmed so far

There have been numerous speculative reports in the media in the last two days that the much-discussed meeting between president Donald Trump and North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un will take place in Helsinki, Finland.

This speculation is occurring because a meeting has been scheduled this week in Helsinki for three teams of diplomats, respectively from the three countries North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

Apparently, this meeting was set up during a visit by North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho to Sweden last week. That visit resulted in speculation that the Trump-Kim meeting would occur in Sweden, but now the speculation has moved to Finland. However, many analysts believe that Kim Jong-un will not be willing to travel that far, and that the meeting, if it occurs, will actually occur just south of the DMZ in South Korea.

Some interesting news came out of a CBS News interview with South Korea's foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha, recorded on Saturday and broadcast on Sunday.

As we have suggested a couple of times in the past, Kim Jong-un's silence about the possible meeting has been caused by being surprised at Trump's quick acceptance of the invitation. Kang was asked whether she has heard anything from North Korea about the meeting:

"Well, nothing publicly. But there is a channel of communication now established. So I'm sure there are back and forth messages. But, I think the North Korean leader would also need some time given the readiness with which President Trump has accepted the invitation to talks. I think we were all quite surprised by-- by the-- the readiness of that decision. I think it was an extremely courageous decision on the part of President Trump. We believe the North Korean leader is now taking stock. We give them the benefit of the doubt, and the time that he would need to come out with some public messaging."

I interpret this response to mean that she doesn't have a clue whether Kim plans to go through with the meeting with Trump.

Another issue has to do with preconditions for the meeting. When Trump first accepted, there were no preconditions. However, the next day, Trump's spokeswoman said that some preconditions would have to be met, namely some "concrete and verifiable actions" in the direction of denuclearization.

So Kang was asked "What conditions do the North Koreans have to meet before this conversation happens?", and she responded:

"Well, in effect they already have. We have asked the North to indicate in clear terms the commitment to denuclearization, and he has in fact conveyed that commitment. ...

He's given his word. But the significance of his word is-- is quite -- quite weighty in the sense that this is the first time that the words came directly from the North Korean supreme leader himself, and that has never been done before."

So let me get this straight. Kim Jong-un has not confirmed that there will be a meeting, but he has "given his word" that he will meet the preconditions of his "commitment to denuclearization." And, of course, giving his word is quite different from "concrete and verifiable actions."

Obviously this is all fatuous political nonsense, mixed in with a lot of desperate wishful thinking on the part of the South Koreans.

Perhaps the coming three-way meeting in Helsinki will change things, but right now the most likely scenario is that Kim is simply using the meeting invitation as a ploy to gain time to complete his development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can carry the nuclear weapons to Los Angeles and other US targets. Yonhap News (Seoul) and Reuters and CBS News

Related Articles:

Finland is the happiest country in the world, Burundi the unhappiest

A new United Nations report called the "World Happiness Report" ties together the above two stories. It finds that, out of 156 countries, the happiest country in the world is Finland, while the unhappiest country in the world is Burundi.

The top ten happiest countries are: Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia.

The ten unhappiest countries are: Malawi, Haiti, Liberia, Syria, Rwanda, Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Burundi. AFP and World Happiness Report

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Mar-18 World View -- Burundi's Hutu 'eternal supreme guide' Nkurunziza to remain in power eternally thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

18-Mar-18 World View -- Human rights protests of Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) overshadow Australia ASEAN summit meeting

Cambodia's Hun Sen threatens violence at protesters at ASEAN meeting

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Malaysia's Najib Razak condemns Myanmar's (Burma's) genocide of Rohingyas at ASEAN summit


Demonstrators protesting Myanmar (Burma) genocide of Rohingyas at ASEAN summit on Saturday (AP)
Demonstrators protesting Myanmar (Burma) genocide of Rohingyas at ASEAN summit on Saturday (AP)

It used to be a rule of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that member states are forbidden from interfering in each other's internal affairs, which means that no member nation is permitted to criticize the internal policies of another member nation. That rule was in place to prevent the group from fracturing, and from discussing happy subjects like trade.

But the extreme genocidal violence and ethnic cleansing of ethnic Rohingyas by the government of Myanmar (Burma) has caused Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak to denounce Burma's leader Aung San Suu Kyi personally, in a speech at the ASEAN summit, while she was sitting on the stage nearby. Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize years ago, back before she turned into a modern day Hitler.

Razak justified his open criticism of Suu Kyi by saying that the situation was a threat to the entire region's security. In particular, he said that it was encouraging jihadists groups in the region, such as those in the southern Philippine city of Marawi last year, of becoming affiliated with the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). According to Razak:

"Because of the suffering of Rohingya people and that of displacement around the region, the situation in Rakhine state and Myanmar can no longer be considered to be a purely domestic matter.

In addition, the problem should not be looked at through the humanitarian prism only because it has the potential of developing into a serious security threat to the region.

Rakhine with thousands of despairing... people who see no hope in the future will be a fertile ground for radicalization and recruitment by (ISIS) and affiliated groups.

We must be vigilant and increase our collaboration, because the collapse of (ISIS) territories in Iraq and Syria has forced it to go underground and re-emerge elsewhere, especially in crisis zones where it can grow and operate.

We must draw lessons from Marawi and be extremely concerned that at least 10 militant groups in the Mindanao region (of the Philippines) have declared their affiliation to (ISIS)."

ASEAN has ten members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Australia is not a member, but is hosting the ASEAN summit meeting.

Razak has criticized Suu Kyi in speeches in Malaysia. In 2016 he said to thousands of Malaysians at a rally in Kuala Lumpur:

"The world cannot sit by and watch genocide taking place. The world cannot just say 'look, it is not our problem'. It is our problem."

Razak is under pressure from the hardline Malaysian Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir, who have in the past demanded that Malaysia's army conduct a jihad against Burma. AFP and Australian Broadcasting

Related Articles

Cambodia's Hun Sen threatens violence at protesters at ASEAN meeting

The ASEAN summit meeting in Sydney, Australian, was met with large groups protesting human rights violations by Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi and Cambodia's Hun Sen.

Before Saturday, it was not even certain that Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen would show up, since he was apparently furious at learning that there would be large protests of Cambodian-Australians in Sydney. On February 21, he warned protesters not to burn effigies of him, saying:

"I will follow you all the way to your doorstep and beat you right there ... I can use violence against you."

This threat triggered a mass burning by protesters of effigies bearing Hun Sen's face. Two weeks later, Hun Sen described the protesters as "crazy and stupid," and said that they had "fallen into his trap": "In fact, speaking truly and clarifying for you, you are being tricked by Hun Sen. Do not play with Hun Sen, you are still very weak."

Hun Sen has been in power for 33 years, since 1985, following the massive Buddhist "Killing Fields" genocide in Cambodia in 1975-79. Led by Pol Pot, this was one of the top mass genocides of the 20th century. The genocide killed something like 1.7 to well over 2 million people, out of a population of 8 million. So around 20% of Cambodia's population were killed, making it possibly the worst genocide, on a percentage basis, of the 20th century.

Hun Sen has remained in power since then, but started becoming a lot more authoritarian after the opposition political party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) almost won the 2013 election, and has become increasingly popular since then.

Fearing that he might be defeated in the 2018 elections, Hun Sen has been targeting CNRP leaders, arresting dozens of them on phony charges. The Hun Sen-controlled Supreme Court last year declared the CNRP to be an illegal political party. In addition, Hun Sen has been brutally suppressing protests, banning all protests and jailing protesters. He's shut print and radio media sources, and jailed reporters.

One of the lead protesters in Sydney was Bou Rachana, the wife of murdered Cambodian politician Kem Ley, who was killed in Hun Sen's crackdown.

Cambodia's parliament has recently amended the constitution to tighten restrictions on voting rights and freedom of association, and a provision that insulting Hun Sen can result in being jailed for five - years.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Hun Sen is following exactly the same pattern that many other countries have followed following a generational crisis civil war between different tribes or ethnic groups. After the war ends, the leader of the country, usually from the winning tribe or ethnic group, refuses to give up power, and becomes increasingly violent and authoritarian, using as an excuse that peaceful protests or negative news articles can turn into a new civil war. This excuse provides justification for mass slaughter, rape, torture, mass jailings, mutilations, and so forth. I've described this behavior in Bashar al-Assad in Syria, who has gone to the extent of using Sarin gas and barrel bombs packed with explosives and metal and laced with chlorine gas onto civilian neighborhoods and markets in order to kill as many women and children as possible Other leaders that I've described exhibiting this type of behavior include Paul Biya in Cameroon, Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and Joseph Kabila in DRC.

This weekend's ASEAN summit is on economics and counter-terrorism, but the protests are causing those issues to be overshadowed by human rights. According Human Rights Watch:

"Shutting one’s eyes and hoping that closer trade and security ties will somehow magically transform abusive governments into rights-respecting ones doesn’t work.

The ASEAN summit shouldn’t just be an opportunity to dance with dictators, but a chance to publicly press them over horrific human rights abuses."

ASEAN is already divided between countries like Vietnam and Indonesia that oppose China's illegal creation of a massive military fortress in the South China Sea, versus countries like Cambodia and Laos that support China. Myanmar's ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas, and Cambodia's authoritarian slaughter, rape and torture of political opponents are issues that are further splitting ASEAN, leading some to wonder whether it even makes sense for ASEAN to continue to exist. Quartz (15-Mar) and Phnom Penh Post (5-Mar) and Deutsche Welle (27-Nov-2017) and Australian Broadcasting

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Mar-18 World View -- Human rights protests of Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) overshadow Australia ASEAN summit meeting thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

17-Mar-18 World View -- Ireland border issue continues to confound Brexit negotiations

Despite warnings from China, Trump signs the Taiwan Travel Act

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Ireland border issue continues to confound Brexit negotiations


Ireland's prime minister Leo Varadkar (L) visits US-Canada border to see if the same thing would work for the Ireland - Northern Ireland border.  He tweeted, 'Just visited the Canada-US border. It's high tech and highly efficient, but make no mistake - it's a hard border.'
Ireland's prime minister Leo Varadkar (L) visits US-Canada border to see if the same thing would work for the Ireland - Northern Ireland border. He tweeted, 'Just visited the Canada-US border. It's high tech and highly efficient, but make no mistake - it's a hard border.'

The British Parliament's Northern Ireland Affairs Committee issued a report on Friday that came about as close to saying "the Brexit Ireland border problem has no solution" as possible, while following the unwritten political rules of never saying anything so definitive.

The Brexit Ireland border problem is the problem of the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland (Southern Ireland), which will remain in the EU after Brexit. If the UK is not part of the EU, then there would have be border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, a concept that almost everyone rejects, because any border controls are feared likely to result in a renewal of "The Troubles," the decades of violence between the indigenous ethnic Irish Gaelics (Catholic, Republican) and the descendants of the English and Scottish invaders (Protestant, Unionist).

The border across Ireland first appeared in 1921 as a result of the British-Irish treaty that partitioned the island and ended the Irish War of Independence. It ran across farms and villages and, following the outbreak of hostilities in the North in 1969, was reinforced with British Army watchtowers and bomb-proof and mortar-proof inspection facilities.

All of that infrastructure was removed as a result of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that saw the Provisional IRA disarm in exchange for a new power-sharing accord that was supposed to break down some of the barriers between south and north, including the physical barrier at the border.

So everyone says they want no return to the physical barriers. Instead, they want to maintain a "frictionless border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland, meaning that cars and trucks can continue to freely cross the border in either direction, just as they can today.

But that would mean that a Spanish company that wants to ship goods to England without paying British tariffs could simply trans-ship them through Northern Ireland -- that is, ship them to Ireland, send them across the "frictionless border" to Northern Ireland, and then ship them across the Irish Sea to England. Similarly, an English firm could ship goods to Spain by trans-shipping in the opposite direction, and avoid paying EU tariffs.

The main conclusions of Friday's report from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee are as follows:

At one point, Theresa May said, "There are many examples of different arrangements for customs around the rest of the world, and indeed we are looking at those, including, for example, the border between the United States and Canada." However, an opponent pointed out that "There are guns and armed customs guards" on the US-Canada border.

In fact, Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, did pay a visit to the US-Canada border, and tweeted:

"Just visited the Canada-US border. It's high tech and highly efficient, but make no mistake - it's a hard border."

The logic of the situation is as follows:

Theresa May has also put forth a suggestion that a "high tech" way will be found to keep the Irish border frictionless. I've never seen an explanation about how that's supposed to work -- supposedly some kind of magic device at the border would scan each car and truck crossing the border and figure out whether it contains anything that needs to be taxed.

Friday's report rejected the high-tech solution:

"The UK government has repeatedly underlined that the free movement of people across the border will not be affected and that no physical infrastructure will be put in place. However, the committee was unable to identify any border solution currently in operation across the globe that would enable physical infrastructure to be avoided when rules and tariffs diverge."

EU diplomats last week warned May last week that the high-tech solution is unrealistic, and that she must back down.

The UK and the EU will begin three days of the next round of the delusional Brexit negotiations on Saturday. It's not expected that a solution to the Ireland border problem will be found. BBC and UK Parliament and Canadian Broadcasting (22-Aug-2017) and Guardian (London)

Related Articles

Despite warnings from China, Trump signs the Taiwan Travel Act

President Donald Trump on Friday evening ET signed the Taiwan Travel Act, which had passed both houses of Congress unanimously, and was sent to the President on February 28. A veto would likely have been overridden by Congress and, according to the Constitution, the Act would have become law automatically on Saturday if Trump had done nothing. Trump decided to sign it, apparently as a signal to China that he was specifically ignoring their warnings.

The Chinese embassy issued a statement:

"[The Act] severely violates the one-China principle, the political foundation of the China-U.S. relationship.

China is strongly dissatisfied with that and firmly opposes it. [The United States should] stop pursuing any official ties with Taiwan or improving its current relations with Taiwan in any substantive way."

China has threatened Taiwan with a military invasion if it makes any move, by word or deed, towards independence. Arguably, it has already done that many times.

The United States has not had official diplomatic relations with Taiwan since 1979, choosing instead to have diplomatic relations with China. China refuses to have formal relations with any country that has relations with Taiwan.

The Taiwan Travel Act makes it legal for officials from the executive branch of the US government to visit Taiwan, or to invite Taiwan's leaders to visit Washington for official diplomatic meetings, if they choose to do so.

An official statement from Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed the government's sincerest thanks for the goodwill and friendship that the United States has shown to Taiwan over the years. Taiwan News and Reuters and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Mar-18 World View -- Ireland border issue continues to confound Brexit negotiations thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

16-Mar-18 World View -- Concerns grow of humanitarian disaster in Afrin, Syria, as Turkey's forces enter

Silence from North Korea puts Kim-Trump summit in doubt

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Concerns grow of humanitarian disaster in Afrin, Syria, as Turkey's forces enter


Syrians flee from airstrikes and shelling of village near Afrin (Reuters)
Syrians flee from airstrikes and shelling of village near Afrin (Reuters)

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, "We have got a little closer to Afrin. I hope that Afrin will, God willing, have completely fallen by the evening."

Erdogan was alluding to Operation Olive Branch, the military operation that began on January 20 with the objective of taking control of the northeastern Syria city of Afrin from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Originally, Erdogan promised that the operation would be completed by the end of January.

The YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been conducting a violent insurgency in Turkey for three decades, and has performed multiple major terrorist attacks in major Turkish cities in the last three years. The PKK is considered a terrorist group by the US and the EU.

The operation wasn't completed by Wednesday evening as Erdogan hoped, but on Thursday Turkey's presidential spokesman said:

"Over 70 percent of Syria’s Afrin region has been secured during Operation Olive Branch.

The circle has been completely tightened around the terrorists. We predict that the center of Afrin will be completely cleared of terrorists within a short period of time. They wanted to make Afrin a new Qandil. This [desire] has been eliminated through Operation Olive Branch."

The phrase "new Qandil" refers to the Qandil mountains in Iraq where the PKK has its headquarters.

In order to complete the mission, Turkish forces have been bombarding the city with airstrikes and artillery shelling, to the extent that many people are beginning to compare the Turkish assault on Afrin to the ferocity of the attack on Eastern Ghouta by the army of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, backed up by Russian warplanes. However, al-Assad has been regularly dropping barrel bombs packed with explosives and metal and laced with chlorine gas onto civilian neighborhoods and markets in order to kill as many women and children as possible. Erdogan so far has not been taking similar steps in Afrin.

Still, the bombs and artillery have taken their toll, to the point where there is a fear of a full-scale humanitarian crisis. There are 350,000 people living in central Afrin, and in just the last 24 hours, some 30,000 civilians were forced to flee from their homes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The water supply has been cut off, and a siege has prevented food and medicines from entering the city, except for just one UN humanitarian aid convoy in early March.

YPG leaders claim that the Turkish forces are nowhere close to winning in Afrin, and it remains to be seen whether the Turkish forces will become more and more like the Syrian army forces in Eastern Ghouta. Middle East Eye and Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Al Arabiya and Asharq Al Awsat (London) and Middle East Eye

Related Articles:

Silence from North Korea puts Kim-Trump summit in doubt

There has been total silence from North Korean on the planned summit meeting between Donald Trump and North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un. There have been no articles or commentary in the North Korean press. There is no word that North Korea is making any preparations for a summit, even though the initial invitation from Kim, sent through the South Koreans, was that Kim "wanted to meet urgently" with Trump.

There has been no sign that the North Koreans want to go ahead with the summit, whether urgently or not. When I first wrote about the planned summit, one of the things I speculated about was that Kim had extended the invitation expecting it to be rejected, or at least expecting any acceptance to be burdened down with a bundle of preconditions that would never be met. That meant that the invitation was not real, but was a negotiating ploy intended to humiliate Trump. But then Kim must have been surprised when Trump accepted the invitation immediately, without preconditions, although some preconditions were added later.

The first possible sign that some preparation is being made occurred on Thursday, when North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho paid a surprise visit to Sweden. However, the purpose of the meeting has not been announced, except to discuss the security situation on the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile, North Korea is continuing to stall, in order to give itself breathing space to complete development of its nuclear weapon and long-range ballistic missile program. There's no doubt that development work continued during the Olympics games, and that it's continuing to this day.

Instead of meeting "very urgently," perhaps Kim just wants to stall further, and delay the meeting as long as possible, until his weapons program is a fait accompli. LA Times and CNN

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Mar-18 World View -- Concerns grow of humanitarian disaster in Afrin, Syria, as Turkey's forces enter thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

15-Mar-18 World View -- Thousands of Ethiopian Oromos flee into Kenya, threatening regional stability

Fears grow that Ethiopia's ethnic clashes will destabilize the region

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Thousands of Ethiopian Oromos flee into Kenya, threatening regional stability


Deserted streets in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Ababa, as businesses closed after strike called by Oromo activists (AFP)
Deserted streets in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Ababa, as businesses closed after strike called by Oromo activists (AFP)

Over 8,000 Ethiopians, mostly ethnic Oromos, have fled Ethiopia since Saturday and are pouring into an emergency refugee camp being set up in Kenya. The camp is in the town of Moyale, the capital of Marsabit County in Kenya, and is on a plot partially owned by the governor of Marsabit.

Moyale is a border town split into two parts, with one side in Ethiopia and one side in Kenya. The Oromos fled from Moyale in Ethiopia, when Ethiopian soldiers on Saturday shot nine civilians. According to Ethiopian state media, the soldiers shot the civilians by mistake in a botched raid, after mistaking them for members of a banned activist group, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

But several residents of Ethiopia's Moyale said that it wasn't a mistake at all, but was intentional on the part of the soldiers, and specifically targeted at random at a crowd of residents:

"It was then a military vehicle came along. The military jumped out of the car and started shooting aimlessly, killing indiscriminately. Some of them were killed in their homes. Some of them were killed while they were having their lunch. Some others were killed while they were selling in their shops."

Massive anti-government protests began in Ethiopia's Oromia region late in 2015, and spread to the neighboring Amhara region, leaving hundreds dead and resulting in tens of thousands of arrests. A state of emergency was imposed in October 2016, allowing mass detentions, and imposing numerous restrictions on people’s movement and communication.

The first state of emergency ended only a few months ago, in August 2017. Anti-government protests began again, and by February there were millions of protesters. This led to the shock resignation of the prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn on February 15. In his letter of resignation, he wrote, "I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy."

Not surprisingly, Hailemariam's resignation didn't end the protests, but instead led to more activism. The result was that the government's Council of Ministers declared a new state of emergency that "would be instrumental in thwarting ethnic-based conflicts in the country and safeguarding the constitutional order." The Nation (Kenya) and AFP (14-Mar) and Reuters and AFP

Fears grow that Ethiopia's ethnic clashes will destabilize the region

As I've previously described in a detailed generational analysis of Ethiopia's protests, Ethiopia's last generational crisis war occurred in 1991, when the Marxist Derg dictatorship was overthrown. Since 1991, the government has been largely controlled by the ethnic Tigrayans, who are a market and government dominant minority, comprising only 6% of the population. Although the Tigrayans comprise only a tiny fraction of the population, the Tigrayan governing coalition has been able to increasingly marginalized the two largest ethnic groups, the Oromo ethnic group (34% of Ethiopia's population), and among the Amhara ethnic group (27%).

The kind of violence that occurred last weekend is typical of what happens in the generational Awakening era following a generational crisis war that's also a tribal or ethnic war. In these cases, when the war ends, the two warring groups reside in the same country, and sometimes even in the same villages and towns. As a result, memories of the massacres, rapes, mutilations and torture that occurred during the war are constantly refreshed by seeing members of the other tribe on the streets and in the shops.

That certainly seems to be exactly what's happening here. The government is supposedly investigating what happened on Saturday, and has promised that the guilty parties will be punished, but the most likely explanation is that the soldiers were ethnic Tigrayans who retain bitter memories of how the Oromos killed their wives or sons, and are getting revenge. No investigation will prevent that from happening again.

The anti-government protests are far from over, and they pose the largest challenge to Ethiopia’s ruling coalition since it took power in 1991.

In the last two years, more than 900,000 people have been forced from their homes. The Oromo Liberation Front is an activist youth movement of a kind that is typical in generational Awakening eras (such as America in the 1960s). Widespread protest strikes have closed down shops and businesses.

On Monday, a week-long "fuel blockade" protest action began, blocking roads and preventing fuel tankers from leaving the capital city Addis Ababa and supplying fuel to other towns.

The government is already without a prime minister, since the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn on February 15. The massive protests and protest actions are threatening the government, and the brutal state of emergency is apparently having no effect in bringing the protests under control. With thousands of Ethiopians crossing the border into Kenya, a country with its own governmental crisis and ethnic problems, it's feared that the unrest in Ethiopia could spread to other countries in the Horn of Africa. Guardian (London) and France 24 and Africa News and Bloomberg (6-Mar) and Africa News (28-Feb)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Mar-18 World View -- Thousands of Ethiopian Oromos flee into Kenya, threatening regional stability thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

14-Mar-18 World View -- Trump blocks Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm over national security

Government urges not doing business with China's Huawei and ZTE

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Trump blocks Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm over national security


 FBI Director Christopher Wray (L) and CIA Director Mike Pompeo (2nd L) testify to a Senate Intelligence Committee on Feb 13, advising Americans not to buy products from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE (AFP)
FBI Director Christopher Wray (L) and CIA Director Mike Pompeo (2nd L) testify to a Senate Intelligence Committee on Feb 13, advising Americans not to buy products from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE (AFP)

The Trump administration has issued a presidential order blocking the $117 billion proposed takeover of US-based chip maker Qualcomm Inc. by Singapore-based chip maker Broadcom Ltd. Excerpts of the order are as follows:

"There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom Limited, a limited company organized under the laws of Singapore (Broadcom) ..., through exercising control of Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), a Delaware corporation, might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States. ...

On the basis of the findings set forth in section 1 of this order, ... I hereby order that:

(a) The proposed takeover of Qualcomm by the Purchaser is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited.

(b) All 15 individuals listed as potential candidates on the Form of Blue Proxy Card filed by Broadcom and Broadcom Corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 20, 2018 (together, the Candidates), are hereby disqualified from standing for election as directors of Qualcomm. Qualcomm is prohibited from accepting the nomination of or votes for any of the Candidates."

Broadcom said in a statement it was reviewing the order and that it "strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns."

Supporters of the proposed merger point to the fact that Broadcom was a US-based company until its headquarters moved to Singapore in 2016 because of a merger, and that it was in the process of moving its headquarters back to the U.S., partly to allay national security concerns associated with this kind of merger.

A reason that administration officials are giving for blocking the merger is that Broadcom would curtail investment in the aggressive research and development program that Qualcomm has been pursuing, particularly in 5G technology, the new technology that will substantially speed up data transfers to and from smartphones. If Qualcomm is slowed down from technology development, it would give an advantage to Qualcomm's major competitor, China-based Huawei [pronounced WAH way] Technologies Co., , the world's largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer. So, based on this logic, the administration determined that the merger would pose a national security risk.

However, as convenient and simplistic as that explanation is, there are obviously much bigger issues. There has been growing resistance in both the White House and in Congress to allowing Chinese investments in the US and imposing tariffs on a broad range of its imports to punish Beijing for its alleged theft of intellectual property.

Theft of intellectual property is the real heart of the matter. Whether based in Singapore of the US, Broadcom has ties to several Chinese firms, most notably Huawei, the world's largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer.

China uses every opportunity it can to force any company wanting to do business in China to make all its intellectual property available to a government-controlled company, and hence to any other Chinese company. It's feared that if Broadcom acquires Qualcomm, then China will find a way to force the merged company to turn over all its intellectual property to the Chinese government.

President Donald Trump has been extremely critical of China's trade practices well before becoming president. In the last year, Trump has killed almost a dozen attempted takeovers by foreign countries, and in all but one of the cases, the foreign country was China. In August of last year, Trump ordered an official investigation of China's practices:

U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally initiated an investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The investigation will seek to determine whether acts, policies, and practices of the Government of China related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce."

This investigation is still ongoing. If the investigation finds against China, then the US could impose a number of penalties, probably triggering retaliation.

Computer chips, such as those produced by Broadcom, Qualcomm and Huawei, are used not only in desktop computers and smartphones, but also in all kinds of military devices. White House and Bloomberg and US Trade Representative (14-Aug-2017) and AP and Variety

Government urges not doing business with China's Huawei and ZTE

Amazon and Best Buy are now offering a new Android smartphone, the Huawei Mate SE, with a large 5.93-inch screen and a big battery, for just $229. However, six intelligence agencies, including the CIA, FBI and NSA, are all advising Americans not to do business with Chinese firms Huawei Technologies Co. or ZTE Corp.

In February, FBI directory Christopher Wray testified:

"We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks.

That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage."

A Huawei spokesman responded in a statement:

"Huawei is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei's business in the U.S. market. Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities."

Well, he's not denying that Huawei could maliciously modify and steal information, and conduct undetected espionage. So I'll take that as a "yes," the Chinese are doing exactly that. And 170 other governments are stupid enough to allow it.

I wrote about this subject back in 2012, when the House Intelligence Committee warned against doing business with Huawei and ZTE, and were warning about a "Cyberwar Pearl Harbor attack" from China. At that time, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned that chips manufactured by Huawei or ZTE could be controlled remotely by the Chinese, and develop tools that could "cause panic and destruction and even the loss of life." For example, working remotely, China could "derail passenger trains or even more dangerous, derail trains loaded with lethal chemicals."

I've spent a part of my career developing chip-level operating system software for embedded systems, so I know exactly how to do what Panetta is suggesting. Furthermore, I can tell you that not only is it doable, it's not even particularly difficult for someone with the right skills.

Huawei could develop a chipset that works exactly as described in the public specifications. The chipset could be subjected to thousands of tests, and they would all work perfectly.

But what Huawei could do is install a "backdoor" into the chipset. When the chip receives, say, a secret 1024-bit code, then it will execute commands sent to it by Chinese engineers. Thus, the Chinese are then in control of any devices with Huawei or ZTE chips.

As I said, this is not only doable, it's easy to do. The "backdoor" could not be detected until an attack had been launched, and then it would be too late.

And since it CAN be done, I'm absolutely certain that it HAS been done.

Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former Red Army engineer. China has been preparing for war with the U.S. in every possible way. They've built large, illegal military bases in the South China Sea, and repeatedly lied about them. They've developed numerous nuclear-tipped ballistic and hypersonic missile systems designed to successfully strike and destroy American aircraft carriers, American cities, and American bases. They've demonstrated a capability to destroy American communications and GPS satellites. They have thousands of missiles ready to launch against Taiwan, and they have large military deployments in western Tibet ready to invade India.

China has been preparing in every possible way for years for a successful pre-emptive military strike against the United States, and there is absolutely no doubt that they would also prepare by installing "backdoors" in all the chips and switches and other electronic devices that they sell.

Basically, any electronic device linked to a Chinese firm is under suspicion, because it's almost certain that the Chinese are preparing to use backdoors and other tools to take control of them remotely in time of war. The Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm does not have an obvious relation to this threat, but an opening might occur in the future as Broadcom and Huawei continue to do business.

The Trump administration is using every tool it can to prevent anything that might in the future give Chinese engineers the chance to control American electronic devices. Killing attempted Chinese acquisitions of American products is one way of doing that. CNBC and Forbes and Reuters (16-Jan) and CNBC (13-Feb)

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Mar-18 World View -- Trump blocks Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm over national security thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

13-Mar-18 World View -- Britain threatens Russia with retaliation over nerve gas poisoning of Skripal

Skripal was attacked with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Britain threatens Russia with retaliation over nerve gas poisoning of Skripal


Vladimir Putin smirks when a BBC reporter asks him whether Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal
Vladimir Putin smirks when a BBC reporter asks him whether Russia poisoned Sergei Skripal

On Sunday, March 4, a policeman in Salisbury, England, found 66 year old Sergei Skripal and his 33 year old daughter Yulia unconscious on a bench. They were both hospitalized, and are still in critical condition. The policeman who found them has also been hospitalized, and is in serious condition.

Skripal was a Russian former double agent who had been released from Russian jail to the West in a prisoner exchange. He had lived a quiet life in Salisbury, though not under an assumed name. With all three people -- Skripal, his daughter, and the policeman -- all hospitalized, it was suspected that Russia had attacked them, and a full investigation was ordered.

Russia has a history of attacking disloyal former agents on foreign soil. In 2007, two Russian assassins put polonium into Alexander Litvinenko’s tea, resulting in a long, painful death.

On Monday, Britain's prime minister Theresa May announced that the investigation was ongoing, but based on the information available so far, it was "highly likely" that Skripal had been poisoned by Russians, using a deadly nerve agent called Novichok that was developed in Russia.

The following are excerpts from May's speech:

"But as a nation that believes in justice and the rule of law, it is essential that we proceed in the right way – led not by speculation but by the evidence.

That is why we have given the police the space and time to carry out their investigation properly. ...

That investigation continues and we must allow the police to continue with their work. ...

It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia.

This is part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’.

Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down; our knowledge that Russia has previously produced this agent and would still be capable of doing so; Russia’s record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that Russia views some defectors as legitimate targets for assassinations; the Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Mr Speaker, there are therefore only two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury on the 4 of March.

Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country.

Or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others."

It's believed that this concept of "only two plausible explanations" was a carefully crafted phrase to allow Britain to demand that the Russians select from these two choices, either of which implies Russian guilt.

Britain has demanded that the Russian embassy respond by Tuesday evening, and explain which of the two possibilities it is, and how Novichok could have been deployed in Salisbury.

May said that when Litvinenko was killed, Britain expelled Russian diplomats and took other steps.

It's particularly shocking to the British public that the investigation found traces of the nerve agent Novichok in the pizza restaurant where Skripal and his daughter had been eating, indicating that assassins had put the general public in danger.

The British people appear to be furious at the Russians for conducting chemical warfare on British soil, and it's certain that there will be retaliation. Measures being discussed include expelling more diplomats, freezing more assets of Russian oligarchs, and applying more sanctions. Another recommendation is to ban the station Russia Today from being broadcast in Britain. Russia Today used to be a decent news station, but has turned into just a fairly worthless propaganda arm for the Kremlin.

However this unfolds, relations between Britain and Russia is going to become increasingly hostile. Mirror (London) and Guardian (London) and Reuters

Russia reacts with massive disinformation campaign

At this point we have to provide a brief list of all the lies that Russian officials have told in recent years.

Russia lied about invading east Ukraine when it had Russian troops in east Ukraine. Russia lied about invading Crimea, and Putin said Russia had no intention of annexing Crimea, but then annexed Crimea a few days later and gave medals to the military officers who had invaded Crimea. Later, in a televised interview, Putin bragged that he had ordered the invasion and annexation of Crimea weeks before it occurred, and then lied about it. Russia lied about shooting down the MH17 passenger plane with a Russian Buk missile, even though the Russian commander in Ukraine initially bragged about shooting it down in a tweet.

For Syria, Russia lied about Syria's president al-Bashar Assad's use of Sarin gas on his own people, Russia lied about the purpose of its military intervention into Syria as being to attack the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

Even worse, Russia hired hundreds of paid internet trolls to attack and harass people like me who write about what Russia is actually doing, and to post thousands of disinformation comments online.

In the case of shooting down the MH17 passenger plane, Russian media and trolls went into full-on troll mode, making one ridiculous claim after another: Russian commander Strelkov's tweet had never occurred; the US had shot down MH17 to embarrass Russia; the airplane was struck by a meteor; no living people were aboard the plane as it flew on autopilot from Amsterdam, where it had been pre-loaded with "rotting corpses."

The point is that everything the Russians say has zero value. It's of no more use than any pieces of total garbage.

So with all that in mind, we're about to see another massive disinformation campaign by Russian trolls. There are reports that this campaign has already begun. Here's what we're hearing already, led by Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova:

The picture at the beginning of this article is of Vladimir Putin was visiting Russia's National Grain Center, responding to a question from a BBC reporter about whether Russia was responsible for poisoning Skripal. He responded with a mocking answer:

"We're dealing with agriculture here you see, to create conditions for people's lives. And you talk to me about some tragedies. First, get to the bottom of it there, and then we'll discuss this."

Putin was able to respond with a smirk because he knows that Russia will get away with the attack on Skripal. Canadian Broadcasting

Skripal was attacked with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia

The military-grade nerve agent Novichok has been identified as what was used to poison Skripal, his daughter, and the policeman who found them. As far as is known, nobody knows how to make Novichok except the Russians.

Novichok means "newcomer" in Russian. Novichok agents were developed in the 1980s as a new weapon in the waning days of the Cold War. Novichok chemicals were designed to evade equipment carried by NATO troops. NPR

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Mar-18 World View -- Britain threatens Russia with retaliation over nerve gas poisoning of Skripal thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

12-Mar-18 World View -- Socialists and feminists to act as 'human shields' protecting Kurds from Turkey in Afrin Syria

US cuts back operations in Incirlik as Turkey-NATO relations sour

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Socialists and feminists to act as 'human shields' protecting Kurds from Turkey in Afrin


Turkish and FSA fighters near Afrin, Syria (Agencia Efe)
Turkish and FSA fighters near Afrin, Syria (Agencia Efe)

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20, expecting to take control of Afrin from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) within a few days. The operation was executed by Arab militias in the Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by Turkish armed forces. The operation has taken much longer than expected, leading to speculation that Turkey's army has been made substantially weaker because of all the firings of army officers following the botched coup attempt in June 2016.

However, in the last few days, Turkish forces and the FSA have made extremely rapid progress. They've captured a number of towns and villages on the outskirts of Afrin, and have surrounded Afrin itself, in preparation to enter the Afrin city center shortly.

Turkish officials say that the reason that the operation has taken so long is that they are trying to minimize civilian casualties. They contrast themselves to the Syrian army of Bashar al-Assad which is attacking Eastern Ghouta and freely targeting civilians with barrel bombs, chlorine gas and Sarin gas.

However, Socialist and feminist groups are calling on members to act has human shields to prevent Turkish forces from entering Afrin. According to a joint statement by the Initiative for the Unity and Solidarity of Peoples (SYPG) and the Free Socialist Women (JAS):

"We are now on the 51st day of our great resistance against the attack of the colonialist and fascist Turkish state on our canton Afrin. As SYPG and JAS, we will launch a new group of human shields against the invasion of the Cizirê region and the Firat (Euphrates) region.

Against the invasion of the Turkish state, all of our oppressed peoples and progressive revolutionary forces should become millions and go out on the streets, giving strength to our Afrin resistance. Colonialism, fascism will be defeated - our resistance from Afrin will prevail. We bow to our fallen in respect and wish all our resistance fighters success."

Kurdish groups within Turkey itself are also encouraging their members to go to Afrin in Syria and become human shields.

However, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkish led forces are just four to five kilometers from Afrin, and that the objective was not to "occupy" Afrin but to "liberate" it from the YPG occupiers: "In the Afrin region, the owners of the lands have started to come back." Daily Sabah (Ankara) and ANF (Kurdish) and Al Jazeera

US cuts back operations in Incirlik as Turkey-NATO relations sour

Turkey's president on Sunday denounced NATO for failing to back Turkey's fight against the YPG:

"Hey NATO, with what has been going on in Syria, when are you going to come and be alongside us?

We are constantly harassed by terror groups on our borders. Unfortunately, until now, there has not been a positive word or voice. Is this friendship? Is this NATO unity? Are we not a NATO member?"

The YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been conducting a violent insurgency in Turkey for three decades, and has performed multiple major terrorist attacks in major Turkish cities in the last three years. The PKK is considered a terrorist group by the US and the EU.

So from the point of view of Turkey, the fact that the US has been arming the YPG to fight the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Raqqa, and has continued to support the YPG even though Raqqa has been recaptured from ISIS, is considered a major betrayal. In fact, the US has reneged on a promise to Turkey to stop supplying the YPG with heavy weapons.

The head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, said after Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch:

"No NATO member country has been exposed to as many terror attacks as Turkey. Turkey has the right to deal with its own security concerns. Yet, it should do it in a moderate way."

However, NATO has provided no actual support.

Turkish public opinion has become increasingly outraged by NATO's lack of support, and by the US arming the YPG, which is linked to the PKK terrorist group. According to one survey of Turkish public opinion, 64.3% of Turks think that the US poses a threat to Turkey, up from 39.2% in 2016.

According to a Turkish official:

"Turkey's Syrian border is also NATO's southern border. Within these borders there have been so many assaults from the other side by the YPG and PKK. While not showing any reaction to those attacks, NATO members' stance against Turkey, which is protecting its borders and fights against terrorist groups, is not in line with the law of alliance."

This has led in Turkey to discussions that Turkey should shut down Incirlik Airbase, which has been used by the US since 1954. Incirlik has about 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to the 39th Air Base Wing of the U.S. Air Force. In addition, there are calls to shut down Kürecik Base, which is home to a NATO radar system that was designed to intercept rocket attacks.

It's now being reported that the U.S. military has sharply reduced combat operations at Turkey’s Incirlik air base and is considering permanent cutbacks there.

In January, the US moved A-10 ground jets from Incirlik base, leaving only refueling aircraft. The number of military members living at the base have also been reduced. At the time, the Pentagon explained the move on the basis of its decision to step up operations in Afghanistan. According to U.S. officials, the U.S. remains committed to Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and that there are no immediate plans for a further reduction of forces and aircraft. Daily Sabah (Ankara, 24-Feb) and Hurriyet (Ankara, 13-Feb) and Daily Sabah (15-Feb) and Ahval News and Bipartisan Policy

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Mar-18 World View -- Socialists and feminists to act as 'human shields' protecting Kurds from Turkey in Afrin thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

11-Mar-18 World View -- General warns of US security danger if China acquires Djibouti seaport

China continues influence through 'debt trap' policies

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

General warns of US security danger if China acquires Djibouti seaport


Djibouti is strategically located at the mouth of the Red Sea, with access to the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean
Djibouti is strategically located at the mouth of the Red Sea, with access to the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean

The government of Djibouti made a shock announcement in February that it was canceling its contract with Dubai's DP World, and was seizing control of Djibouti's strategic port at the entrance to the Red Sea, the Doraleh Container Terminal.

DP World and the Republic of Djibouti had signed a 30-year agreement in 2006 for DP World to operate the terminal, which augments the capacity of the International Autonomous Port of Djibouti. But last month, Djibouti announced "The Republic of Djibouti has decided to proceed with the unilateral termination with immediate effect of the concession contract awarded to DP World, ... [to serve] the higher interests of the nation, in particular those relating to the sovereignty of the state and the economic independence of the country."

DP World called the move an illegal seizure of the terminal and said it had begun arbitration proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration, but even if DP World wins the case, they will receive monetary compensation, but they will still lose control of the port.

On Tuesday of last week, Djibouti signed a deal with Singapore-based Pacific International Lines (PIL), a company that works with China Merchants Port Holdings. Although this does not give China control of the port, it's a step in that direction.

General Thomas Waldhauser, the top US general for Africa, said that "If the Chinese took over that port, then the consequences could be significant," and added, "There are some indications of (China) looking for additional facilities, specifically on the eastern coast ... So Djibouti happens to be the first — there will be more."

Djibouti is home to the only permanent US military installation in Africa. But last year, China opened its first overseas naval base there too, provided loans to the country, and built a railway connecting the seaport to the Ethiopian capital to improve regional trade.

One of the concerns is that if Djibouti illegally seized the port from DP World in order to give it to China, then they could just as easily terminate the lease for the US military base, and award that to China as well. According to Waldhauser, "If they did [give the port to China], down the way that restricts access, that restricts the navy’s ability to get in there and offload supplies."

The larger concern is that the US has been falling behind China in influence in Africa. The US gives millions of dollars in aid, but China has eclipsed the US in Africa in many ways: providing loans, financing much-needed infrastructure, competing for resources like oil and minerals, increasing its trade share, and spreading its ideological influence. Maritime Executive (22-Feb) and Reuters and Quartz and Reuters

China continues influence through 'debt trap' policies

The US has provided millions of dollars in aid for counter-terrorism efforts in countries like Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad, and Nigeria, to fight terrorist groups like al-Shabaab or Boko Haram.

China's policies are quite different. China does not provide aid. It provides high interest rate loans to the country to build infrastructure, then provides Chinese workers which the country has to hire to build the infrastructure. The country that receives this kind of "aid" then must pay the salaries of all the Chinese workers, and must also repay the loan, including the high interest. China then extract's the country's resources, and no local jobs are created, and almost no benefit goes to the country.

If the country is unable to make those payments, then China takes possession of the seaport or other infrastructure, in lieu of payment, and also establishes a community of Chinese workers in the country -- a community which will be there forever.

We've already described what happened with Sri Lanka, when China invested $1.2 billion in Sri Lanka's Hambantota seaport in 2009. The plan was that revenue generated by the seaport would be used to repay the Chinese, and the surplus would bring wealth and happiness to all Sri Lankans. It didn't turn out that way, and the project turned out to be a "debt trap." Sri Lanka couldn't repay the loan, and now China has taken control the seaport and the surrounding area. It's been a disaster for Sri Lanka.

In a speech last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson contrasted US policies with China's policies:

"The United States pursues, develops sustainable growth that bolsters institutions, strengthens rule of law, and builds the capacity of African countries to stand on their own two feet. We partner with African countries by incentivizing good governance to meet long term security and development goals.

This stands in stark contrast to China’s approach, which encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth. Chinese investment does have the potential to address Africa’s infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt and few, if any, jobs in most countries. When coupled with the political and fiscal pressure, this endangers Africa’s natural resources and its long-term economic political stability."

Countries that have already substantially increased their debt-to-GDP ratio because of China's debt trap policies include Djibouti, Montenegro, Pakistan, Mongolia, Maldives, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. US State Dept and Quartz and CNN and US Embassy in Nigeria

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Mar-18 World View -- General warns of US security danger if China acquires Djibouti seaport thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

10-Mar-18 World View -- The Donald Trump - Kim Jong-un meeting hinges on a decision that Kim has already made

Kenya's bitter rivals, Kenyatta and Odinga, become 'brothers' as Tillerson arrives

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Kenya's bitter rivals, Kenyatta and Odinga, become 'brothers' as Tillerson arrives


Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and Raila Odinga shake hands, smile, and call each other 'my brother.'  Odinga particularly seems to me to be gritting his teeth, as if he doesn't want to be there. (Standard Media)
Uhuru Kenyatta (L) and Raila Odinga shake hands, smile, and call each other 'my brother.' Odinga particularly seems to me to be gritting his teeth, as if he doesn't want to be there. (Standard Media)

In a show of high theatre on Friday, Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta, a leader of the dominant Kikuyu tribe, met with the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who is also a leader of the Luo tribe. They surprised everyone by shaking hands at a press conference, and calling each other "my brother."

Gone was the acrimony of last year's election, which had to be rerun because Odinga accused Kenyatta of rigging the election, with violence that led to dozens of deaths. Gone was the vitriol and post-election violence of 2008, when Odinga lost to another Kikuyu, and the two tribes had weeks of bloody violence resulting in thousands of deaths.

At Friday's love-fest, Odinga said:

"The time has come for us to confront and resolve our differences. As we fight ostensibly to save ourselves from each other, the reality is, we need to save our children from ourselves."
Kenyatta said:

"We had extensive discussions on matters Kenya and we had an agreement that the country is bigger than any of us. We have a responsibility as leaders to discuss our differences and what ails our country so that we get solutions.

Elections come and go, but Kenya remains. Our future as a country cannot be dictated by elections.

Together we want to build a united, harmonious nation where nobody feels left behind. We want to formulate a new beginning and have a country where we can differ in political alignments but united in matters Kenya.

We have moved from year to year, election to election, never pausing to deal with the challenges that our diversity was always going to pose to our efforts to create a prosperous and united nation. Consequently, the ties that bind us are today under the severest stress."

Kenyatta and Odinga have previously said that they would never talk to each other and shake hands, and they both refused to do so at a funeral earlier this year. So what changed on Friday?

Late Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began a three-day visit to Kenya. Tillerson has been very critical of last year's election in Kenya, and has been calling for a reconciliation between the two leaders.

Kenya is one of the biggest recipients of economic aid from the US. Last year, the country received $1.1 billion in economic aid, and aid for other programs such as HIV and Aids management, energy and agriculture. The US has also provided hundreds of millions more, related to the fight against terrorism. Barack Obama, whose father was from the Luo tribe, had also worked hard to promote reconciliation in Kenya when he was president.

Tillerson seemed very pleased to see Kenyatta and Odinga shake hands:

"This is a very positive step in our view, and while we know addressing Kenya's ethnic and political divisions will take some time and effort, today both of these men showed great leadership in coming together. All the credit goes to the two leaders."

Kenya's last generational crisis war was the Mau-Mau rebellion that climaxed in 1956. At that time, Kenya was a British colony, and the Mau-Mau rebellion was largely a fight against the colonists, with Luos and the Kikuyus fighting on the same side. History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes, and so now the Luos and Kikuyus are enemies of each other. The 2008 violence was not a full-scale war, and it fizzled quickly. But today, nine years later, a new generational crisis war is overdue, and with the British colonists long gone, it's feared that there will be a new full-scale crisis war between the Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Luo tribes. Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya) and The Star (Kenya) and Standard Media (Kenya) and The Star (Kenya)

Related Articles

The Donald Trump - Kim Jong-un meeting hinges on a decision that Kim has already made


North Korea's Army of Beauties (Korea Herald)
North Korea's Army of Beauties (Korea Herald)

There are many questions being discussed in the mainstream media about the meeting between president Donald Trump and North Korea's president Kim Jong-un. What are the time and place? Who has the advantage? Did Kim agree because of Trump's military threats? Did Kim agree because of the sanctions? Or is the whole thing just a publicity stunt?

Reports are that Trump immediately accepted the invitation to meet without preconditions. I thought that this was a good negotiating ploy, since it's quite possible that Kim expected Trump to demand major preconditions first, such as the release of Americans being held captive in North Korea, and some steps taken towards denuclearization. I thought that Trump's instant acceptance without preconditions would have been a surprise to Kim, who would then be faced with backing out of the meeting, or facing a meeting where he'd be lectured to by Donald Trump.

However, by Friday Trump backed off, and specified that some preconditions would have to be met, namely some "concrete and verifiable actions" in the direction of denuclearization. Apparently, Trump was responding to widespread criticism that he'd given Kim something (agreeing to a meeting), while getting nothing in return. I don't agree with that analysis, but it's widely believed.

There's actually one and only one relevant question, and it has to do with a decision that has undoubtedly already been made by Kim: Has Kim's government already decided to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development?

There are two possibilities:

Now, I'm one of those people who believe that there isn't a snowflake's chance in hell that Kim is ready to give up nuclear and missile development.

But there is one scenario where I can imagine that it might happen, and it's something that I discussed during the Olympics in "12-Feb-18 World View -- What was Kim Yo-jong thinking as she returned to North Korea from the Olympics?"

The North sent a huge delegation of hundreds of people to Seoul for the Olympics game. They included all the athletes, Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong, and the North's "Army of Beauties" cheerleading squad.

During their visit, the girls in this "Army of Beauties" were carefully monitored, but they would still have had some opportunity to compare life in the South versus life in the North. Upon returning home, they would have told their boyfriends, husbands and fathers how much better life is in the South, and asked "Why don't we do what the South is doing?" After that, hundreds or thousands of people in North Korea's capital Pyongyang might have been asking themselves the same question.

I realize that this whole scenario sounds fantastical, but it's happened before, and I personally remember it well. As I described in the article referenced above, this is exactly what happened when Russia's Boris Yeltsin visited the United States in 1989. He visited a supermarket, and was so affected by what he saw that he gave up communism. Here's how he explained it in his autobiography:

When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people. That such a potentially super-rich country as ours has been brought to a state of such poverty! It is terrible to think of it."

So very strange things sometimes happen. This scenario is so far-fetched that I would consider it completely impossible, except for the fact that I've seen it happen before.

At any rate, Kim's government will already know whether it's decided to give up its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development, so it already knows the likely outcome of the meeting with Trump. We probably won't know for some time to come. Washington Post and Korea Herald (11-Jan)

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Mar-18 World View -- The Donald Trump - Kim Jong-un meeting hinges on a decision that Kim has already made thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

9-Mar-18 World View -- Portions of Indian-governed Kashmir shut down after deadly clashes

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) becomes leading jihadist group in Kashmir

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Portions of Indian-governed Kashmir shut down after deadly clashes


Complete shutdown of portions of Shopian district in Kashmir (PakToday)
Complete shutdown of portions of Shopian district in Kashmir (PakToday)

Portions of Indian-government Kashmir were completely shut down for a fourth day on Thursday, because of the first major deadly clashes of the year, as winter ends and spring approaches. The forced shutdown affected roads, shops, businesses, schools and colleges in the Shopian district of Indian-governed Kashmir.

Six people were killed -- two militants and four civilians -- in a shootout that took place at 8 pm Sunday in the Shopian district. According to the army statement, the army responded to firing from the militants by firing back, and said that three of the four dead civilians were "overground workers" (OGWs), a term commonly used in Kashmir for non-combatants who provide logistical support for militant groups.

The killings sparked thousands of people to arrive in Shopian to protest, resulting in stone-throwing clashes with the police, although there were no more deaths. The protesters were particularly infuriated by the "overground workers" characterization of the civilians, who they claim were innocent bystanders.

Most violent clashes in Kashmir occur during the hot summer months. Kashmir has been relatively quiet for the last few months, as protests have been minimized by the bitter winter code. Even so, according to an estimate, 45 people including 15 security personnel, 19 militants and 10 civilians have lost their lives since January. With an estimated 200 or more active militants in Kashmir, it's expected that the will be a new surge of violence as summer again approaches. Kashmir Reader and Scroll (India) and Kashmir Observer and Ary News TV (Pakistan)

Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) becomes leading jihadist group in Kashmir

As we've written in the past, there are three major Pakistan-sponsored jihadist groups operating in Kashmir, and recent events indicate that the relative importance of the three is shifting.

The oldest is Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based terrorist group that was formed in the 1990s by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to fight India in the disputed regions of Kashmir and Jammu. LeT was the perpetrator of the horrific "26/11" three-day attack on Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people and wounding hundreds more. ( "After Mumbai's '26/11' nightmare finally ends, India - Pakistan relations face crisis" from 2008)

According to a report by Indian police, LeT is reducing its operations in Kashmir, because its leader, Hafiz Saeed, is coming under international scrutiny. Hafiz Saeed masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attack. Pakistan held him in house arrest for several years, but refused to bring him to trial. Then in November of last year, Pakistan freed him with no trial and all charges dropped. As he left the court a free man, he was greeted by chanting crowds and rose petals.

The result, according to the police report, is "increased and repeated international scrutiny of LeT and its chief, [and the] recent development of Pakistan declaring Hafiz Saeed a terrorist under global pressure."

The second Kashmir jihadist group is the indigenous Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM), a Kashmir-based terrorist group that has been leading the anti-Indian stone-throwing riots of the past two years, triggered by the July 8 2016 death of HM leader Burhan Wani in a gunfight with the Indian army. However, HM has been less effective recently because it's essentially been decapitated, with two of its leaders killed.

The third jihadist group is Pakistan-sponsored Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). JeM had little of no presence in Kashmir in 2016, but it's been the main perpetrator of terrorist attacks lately, with four terrorist attacks in the last eight months. JeM has been successful in recruiting young Kashmiris and using them for suicide missions, making JeM the current leader in Pakistan-sponsored Kashmir carnage. Indian Express and India.com and LiveMint (India, 9-Oct-2017)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Mar-18 World View -- Portions of Indian-governed Kashmir shut down after deadly clashes thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

8-Mar-18 World View -- US-backed Kurds stop fighting ISIS in order to fight Turkey in Afrin

Mahmoud Abbas may step down as Palestinian Authority president

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

US-backed Kurds stop fighting ISIS in order to fight Turkey in Afrin


Turkish-backed FSA forces are fighting Kurds in Afrin, who will be helped by Kurdish forces in Manbij traveling to Afrin (AFP)
Turkish-backed FSA forces are fighting Kurds in Afrin, who will be helped by Kurdish forces in Manbij traveling to Afrin (AFP)

The war in Syria escalated again on Tuesday when militias in the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighting ISIS in eastern Syria announced that most of their fighters would abandon the first against ISIS, and would travel to Afrin to oppose Turkish-supported forces seeking to eject the YPG forces there.

The YPG forces in eastern Syria said that 1,700 fighters would stop fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in eastern Syria, and would move to Afrin to fight the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA). The FSA is trying to take control of Afrin from the YPG.

The so-called "Operation Olive Branch" was launched by Turkey on January 20, and was supposed to take control of Afrin within a few days. After that, the original plan was that the FSA would then move east, and similarly take control of Manbij from the YPG. It was never clear how that would work, since there are about 2,000 US special forces in Manbij.

At any rate, Turkey is still bogged down in Afrin, although Turkish officials say that victory is close. There are a couple of reasons that analysts have been giving to explain the problems that Turkey is facing. First, it's said that the YPG forces are battle-hardened from having fought ISIS. And second, it's said that Turkey's army has been decimated by the massive firings of army leaders following the botched coup by the army in June 2016.

Whatever the reason, the fact that 1,700 YPG fighters from the Euphrates River Valley are coming to Afrin to fight the Turkish forces can only add to Turkey's problems. Turkey is blaming the United States, and is demanding that the US block the YPG forces from going to Afrin, but it's far from clear that the US has the ability to stop them. CNN and AFP and Al-Monitor and Reuters

Reports of Free Syrian Army atrocities on Kurds in Afrin

Reports are mounting that the Turkish-backed Arab militias in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are committing atrocities in Afrin, taking revenge against the YPG Kurds for the latter's atrocities against innocent Arabs during last year's YPG fight against ISIS.

Kurdish forces are said to have razed a number of Arab-majority villages in eastern Syria during the clashes with ISIS. One Arab is quoted as saying, "They killed dozens of members of our extended family, bulldozed our homes and joked that they would plant potatoes there."

Now that Kurdish forces from the east are traveling to fight Arab militias in Afrin who are looking for revenge, there will probably be plenty of atrocities on both sides.

As I've written many times, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, pitting Sunnis versus Shias, Jews versus Arabs, and various ethnic groups against each other. Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the "axis" of China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be pitted against the "allies," the US, India, Russia and Iran. Gulf News and Guardian (London)

Related Articles

Mahmoud Abbas may step down as Palestinian Authority president

There have been sporadic stories for years that Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas was in declining health and would soon step down. Recently, those reports seem to have become more serious, and there's a succession battle brewing among the Palestinians.

Mahmoud Abbas, 82, was born in 1935, and lived through World War II and the bloody wars between Jews and Arabs that followed the 1948 partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. Having lived though that horrific war, Abbas has been a major force in maintaining a semblance of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

However, Abbas has been seen as increasingly irrelevant by young Palestinians, who see that nothing has changed during the over 20 years since the Palestinians and Israelis signed the Oslo peace accords, Many young Palestinians, as well as many young Israelis, have no fear of an all-out war with each other.

Abbas himself has become increasingly belligerent in recent weeks, after the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. There have been stories of a new peace plan being drawn up by the Donald Trump administration, but in view of the irrelevance of Abbas, even if he agreed to it the vast majority of Palestinians probably would not.

If Abbas is replaced as PA president, the successor would almost certainly be much younger, and would probably have the same attitudes as the young Palestinians who have no fear of all-out war with Israel. Al-Monitor

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Mar-18 World View -- US-backed Kurds stop fighting ISIS in order to fight Turkey in Afrin thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

7-Mar-18 World View -- Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after Buddhist-Muslim violence

North Korea says it will denuclearize if the regime is 'secure'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after Buddhist-Muslim violence


Sri Lanka government troops enforce curfew in Kandy district on Tuesday (Reuters)
Sri Lanka government troops enforce curfew in Kandy district on Tuesday (Reuters)

Sri Lanka's government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, after violent clashes between ethnic Sinhalese and ethnic Tamils began to spread, eight years after the end of an extremely violence civil war between the two ethnic groups.

The sequence of events is as follows:

There has been growing tension and violence between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalizing Buddhist archaeological sites. The Buddhists have also accused the Muslims of refusing to use condoms, so they can have more babies.

It also appears that Buddhist hardliners in Sri Lanka are being influenced by the genocide by Myanmar (Burma) against Rohingya Muslims. That genocide is being led by Buddhist monks, particularly Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk who turned "969" from a Buddhist sign of peace and happiness into a sign of bloody genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka are mimicking the genocidal incitement in Burma by using racist hate speech to target Sri Lanka Tamils -- most of whom are Hindu. India Today and The Island (Sri Lanka) and UPI

Growing violence by Sri Lankan Buddhist hardliners against Tamils

It's only been eight years since the end of the civil war, but we're seeing the very early stages of something that I've described as occurring sooner or later in every country following the end of a generational crisis civil war between two ethnic groups.

Among generational crisis wars, an external war is fundamentally different than an internal civil war between two ethnic groups. In an external war, one country's army invades another country. When the war ends, the invading army leaves, and the two countries continue relations through the United Nations or international or bilateral treaties.

But when an internal civil war between two ethnic or tribal groups occurs and then ends, then the people who killed, tortured, mutilated and raped each other still have to live with each other, often in the same villages, sometimes on the same street. And so the extreme trauma and bitterness of war continues, even though the war has ended. That's clearly what we're seeing in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, as the young babies and children who weren't really aware of the war grow older, they become aware of how much they hate each other, and the violence only grows.

I've written articles about what happens to such countries as the decades pass and new generations grow up during generational Awakening and Unraveling eras. The leaders of the winning side refuse to step down, and start using violence and atrocities against civilians to stay in power. These include Paul Biya in Cameroon, Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Joseph Kabila in DRC, or, outside of Africa, Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Hun Sen in Cambodia.

This has already started in Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected president in 2005, but lost the election in 2015. He tried to get the army to overturn the election results, but didn't succeed in that. But we can certainly expect to see more of that in the future.

It's too early for that to be happening in Sri Lanka, because the civil war ended only eight years ago. But it's pretty clear that Sri Lanka is on that path. The current violence will fizzle quickly, but as the young post-war generation grows up, the violence between Tamils and Sinhalese will grow, and the Sinhalese government will begin using violence and atrocities to control the Tamils in the name of national security. Indian Express

Related Articles

North Korea says it will denuclearize if the regime is 'secure'

The media are all agog about the sensational statement that came out on Tuesday, as a South Korean delegation returned from its meeting with North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un on Monday. According to South Korea's chief delegator Chung Eui-yong:

"North Korea made clear its willingness to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and the fact there is no reason for it to have a nuclear program if military threats against the North are resolved and its regime is secure."

So North Korean officials have thought about nothing else but nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for decades, but now they're willing to give them up for some promise of security? I don't think so.

There's nothing that the US could do to guarantee that would cause the North to say: "OK, now I agree that the military threats are resolved, and the regime is secure." The North Koreans could make demands -- withdraw all troops from South Korea, withdraw all ships from the region, close all military bases around the world, etc., etc., but there would always be new demands. So the whole promise is a scam.

So let's see where this goes next. Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Mar-18 World View -- Sri Lanka declares state of emergency after Buddhist-Muslim violence thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

6-Mar-18 World View -- The Ghouta 'ceasefire' turns into a Syrian army scam to steal humanitarian aid

Syria says close to defeating Jaysh al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

The Ghouta 'ceasefire' turns into a Syrian army scam to steal humanitarian aid


Trucks from humanitarian convoy in Eastern Ghouta on Monday (Reuters)
Trucks from humanitarian convoy in Eastern Ghouta on Monday (Reuters)

Syria permitted a humanitarian aid convoy to enter Eastern Ghouta for the first time on Monday, but the Syrian army confiscated 70% of the humanitarian supplies as it entered the region, suggesting that the entire humanitarian aid program is a scam to use Western money to provide supplies to the Syrian army.

It was only in the last two weeks that Russia announced that it would permit a "ceasefire" in Eastern Ghouta for five hours a day, from 9 am to 2 pm. This ceasefire would permit civilians to leave, and humanitarian aid to be brought in.

So here are the results so far:

The humanitarian aid convoy contained 46 trucks. The convoy reached its destination in Douma, in the north of Eastern Ghouta, amid continuing bombing by Syrian and Russian warplanes. The trucks were said to contain food for just 27,500 people, out of the 400,000 people under siege in Eastern Ghouta.

However, not all the food could be unloaded because the convoy had to leave abruptly, because of incessant bombing by Syrian and Russian warplanes. So Syria prevented even that extremely limited amount of humanitarian aid from being delivered.

There's really nothing surprising about what's going on. During Syria's siege of Aleppo in 2016, there were similar ceasefires that weren't ceasefires, and people who tried to leave were permitted to leave, but then were killed as they were leaving. There was humanitarian aid, but Syria's army confiscated most of it before it could reach its destination, and on some occasions the humanitarian aid convoy was targeted by Syrian and Russian warplanes. Arab News and Reuters and BBC and AFP

Syria says close to defeating Jaysh al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta

Although Syria's president Bashar al-Assad considers pretty much all the 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta to be terrorists, his army is particularly targeting an anti-Assad militia called "Jaysh al-Islam," or "Army of Islam."

After al-Assad began targeting peaceful protesters in 2011, and particularly after he massacred thousands of innocent women and children in a Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia in August 2011, anti-Assad militias began to form. These militias were generally very small, but in 2013, Jaysh al-Islam was formed through a merger of about fifty Damascus-based opposition groups. In addition to opposing al-Assad, it was equally opposed to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), and was responsible for expelling ISIS from the Damascus area.

Today, Jaysh al-Islam has about 10,000 fighters in Eastern Ghouta, and is the major group opposing the Syrian army in Eastern Ghouta. Eastern Ghouta has been under the control of Jaysh al-Islam and other anti-Assad militias since 2012.

The Syrian government now says that its army have reclaimed a third of Eastern Ghouta in the last few days. Furthermore, the army "has been rapidly advancing through the East Ghouta region of Damascus recently, capturing several areas that were under the control of Jaysh Al-Islam," according to Syrian media.

The current objective of the Syrian army is to split Eastern Ghouta into two pieces, so that it's divided horizontally. Syrian media says that the army has taken control of several villages and farms "eliminating large numbers of terrorists and destroying their bases, tunnels, trenches, and ordinance." If it's successful in splitting the region, then the Jaysh al-Islam in the north will be cut off from supplies, giving the Syrian army control of the northern half. Al Masdar News (Damascus) and Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) and Mehr News (Iran) and Stanford - Jaysh al-Islam and Deutsche Welle

Related Articles:

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Mar-18 World View -- The Ghouta 'ceasefire' turns into a Syrian army scam to steal humanitarian aid thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

5-Mar-18 World View -- India and Vietnam sign security agreements for the South China Sea

India's relationship with Southeast Asian nations overshadowed by China

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

India and Vietnam sign security agreements for the South China Sea


Vietnam's Tran Dai Quang visits Narendra Modi in New Delhi
Vietnam's Tran Dai Quang visits Narendra Modi in New Delhi

During a state visit by Vietnam's president Tran Dai Quang to New Delhi on Saturday, Quang and India's president Narendra Modi reached agreements to increase trade and investment between the two countries, and to cooperate in development projects in the defense sector and to boost ties in oil and gas exploration.

Possibly the most significant agreement was a statement which, while not specifically naming China, strongly objected to China's actions in the South China Sea. According to the joint statement issued after the Quang-Modi meeting:

"27. The two sides re-affirmed their determination and efforts to further cooperate in maintaining peace, stability and development in the Indo-Pacific region as well as in the world at large. They also reiterated the importance of, and the need for complete compliance with international law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), including the implementation of international legal obligations in good faith, the maintenance of freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea, full respect for diplomatic and legal processes, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to the threat or use of force, and in accordance with international law. In this regard, both sides support the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and look forward to an early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea."

In the past, China has used military force to prevent Vietnamese fishing boats from fishing in their own territorial waters.

A possible future flash point is India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) exploration activities in Vietnam's territorial waters in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese President said, "We highly value projects, including the cooperation in joint oil and gas exploration in the continental shelf of Vietnam."

The two leaders also signed pacts to provide for cooperation in areas of nuclear energy, trade and agriculture. Times of India and Vietnam News and Business Today (India)

India's relationship with Southeast Asian nations overshadowed by China

In the 1990s, India adopted a "Look East" policy, committing the country to actively engage the countries of Southeast Asia in terms of trade, security, and agriculture. Nothing much came out of that policy, and in November 2014, India's prime minister Narendra Modi announced that the "Look East" policy would be replaced by an "Act East" policy.

Still, not much has happened as a result of the Act East policy, but a highly symbolic event occurred in January, when India held a Republic Day celebration on January 25, and invited the leaders of all ten countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and they all agreed to come. According to a euphoric India media blog:

"It is unprecedented, to say the least. It is a coup of sorts: the presence of all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders as chief guests for India’s Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. This puts much speculation to rest as to whether all 10 heads of governments would be present on the occasion or not.

Notwithstanding some of these countries maintaining close ties with China, all the Asean leaders have decided to be present for today’s India-Asean Commemorative Summit as well as Republic Day tomorrow. This would send out a clear message that Delhi’s Act East policy complements Asean’s Act West one. India’s focus is now on upping the game to be a player in Southeast Asia to balance power dynamics."

However, the euphoria was ridiculed by media commentary in other countries, comparing India's influence with that of China. From Singapore:

"Amidst palpable euphoria at India hosting the heads of all 10 Asean countries as guests of honor at its Republic Day ceremonial parade, preceded a day earlier by an Asean-India summit celebrating the silver anniversary of their relationship, India needs to shed its abiding image of bureaucratic inertia, of being tardy and slovenly in turning its initiatives into action. ...

China comes across as a Plutus or a Croesus, enticing India's ring of neighbors. India is perceived more like a poor Lazarus. That India has no deep pockets is understandable; what is inexcusable is its bureaucratic sloth and smugness.

While India remains a laggard, in sharp contrast China sprints ahead. India is seen as chugging along, metaphorically, with a bullock-cart mentality; China has zipped ahead like a Formula One racing car."

China's media was even more contemptuous:

"Repeated reports by some Indian media that New Delhi has launched a diplomatic offensive against Beijing are baffling to the Chinese public. India and ASEAN have the right to hold the summit, which exerts no negative effect upon China. However, some Indians are tenacious in exaggerating the meeting's implications to China.

In fact an examination of the China-Southeast Asia relationship suggests that the situation is not like that the Indian media depicts. ASEAN's trade volume with China is more than six times that of India, and China's investment in the region is 10 times that of India.

Some members of the Indian elite enjoy engaging in geopolitical bluster. But they cannot truly gauge the reality of India's comprehensive strength and diplomatic experience. They are beginners playing at geopolitics.

Honestly speaking, Chinese people are not occupied by India. New Delhi is not Beijing's major trading partner, and, despite border disputes, is not an imminent security threat to us Chinese."

It actually is somewhat surprising that all ten ASEAN country leaders were willing to attend India's Republic Day celebrations. Cambodia and Laos are very close partners with China, and one can imagine that they asked China's permission before attending. Other ASEAN countries have varying relations with China and India, but in most cases China is a more important trading partner.

Vietnam seems to be the ASEAN country forging the closest links to India, not only economically, but confronting China in the South China Sea. The Diplomat and Times of India (24-Jan) and Straits Times (Singapore, 26-Jan) and Global Times (China) and East-West Center (13-Feb)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Mar-18 World View -- India and Vietnam sign security agreements for the South China Sea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

4-Mar-18 World View -- China pushes to invest heavily in Iraq's energy infrastructure

African Cédric Bakambu joins China's Sinobo Guoan Football (Soccer) Club

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Burkina Faso terror attack targets France's anti-terror Operation Barkhane


Burkina Faso soldiers patrol the army's headquarters in Ouagadougou (AFP)
Burkina Faso soldiers patrol the army's headquarters in Ouagadougou (AFP)

Eight soldiers died and 12 were seriously wounded on Friday by a major terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, on the army headquarters and the French embassy. Eight attackers were also killed. Burkina Faso is a landlocked nation in West Africa, and one of the poorest countries in the world.

The al-Qaeda linked Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslim (JNIM, Group for Support of Islam and Muslims) claimed responsibility for the attack. JNIM was formed in 2017 by a merger of four Mali-based al-Qaeda linked groups, including Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Murabitoon, and Katibat Macina (Macina Liberation Front). These groups were responsible for a surge of hundreds of al-Qaeda linked attacks in Africa's Sahel (the strip of Africa just below the Sahara desert, separating the Arab north from Black Africa to the south), including Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Burkinabe president Roch Kabore urged the public to be calm on Saturday: "In these difficult moments, I would like to reaffirm to Africa and the entire world my unshakeable faith in the capacity of the Burkinabe people to preserve their dignity and ferociously oppose their enemies."

Although there were no French casualties, it's thought that the attack was meant to target France's Operation Barkhane, which ws launched in August 2014, and has been effective in targeting al-Qaeda linked terror groups throughout the region.

Several extremist groups have also vowed to step up attacks on the France-led "G5 Sahel" counter-terrorism force, led by France and containing 5,000 troops from five Sahel nations -- Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania.

However, not surprisingly, many people believe that the level of terrorism is increasing in the region, despite the deployment of these counter-terrorism forces. Radio France International and Deutsche Welle and Reuters and AP

Related Articles

China pushes to invest heavily in Iraq's energy infrastructure

China has been pushing to invest billions of dollars in Iraq's energy infrastructure, especially Iraq's oil fields.

Iraq is strategically important to China's government, military, and the "One Belt, One Road" grand strategy that supposedly will link everything in Europe and Asia to China by 2050. Any relationship in the Middle East is important to China also because of China's enormous thirst for imported oil.

China is the world's biggest importer of oil. Any shortage of oil in China could trigger a hard recession in China and lead to unrest. Iraq represents a major opportunity to increase the flow of oil imports.

In January, it emerged that China intended to construct an oil refinery on the port of Fao on the Arabian Gulf with two Chinese companies, Power China and Nerco Chinese. The refinery would have a capacity to produce 300,000 barrels per day. Iraq has also just awarded a control China-based Zhenhua Oil to further develop Iraq's East Baghdad oilfield. Chinese state-owned enterprises are now the biggest oil investors in Iraq, especially the modernization and development of Iraq’s oil infrastructure.

Iraq's oil refining capacity was curtailed when the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) overran much of northern Iraq in 2014. Iraq has been recovering, and is now OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, after Saudi Arabia.

Ironically, both Iraq and Saudi Arabia are restricted in the amount of oil that they can sell to China. The reason is that the OPEC countries have agreed to production limits in order to keep the price of oil from falling. Arab News and Reuters and Xinhua

Related Articles

African Cédric Bakambu joins China's Sinobo Guoan Football Club


Televised introduction of Cédric Bakambu to Beijing's Sinobo Guoan Football (Soccer) Club (Al-Jazeera)
Televised introduction of Cédric Bakambu to Beijing's Sinobo Guoan Football (Soccer) Club (Al-Jazeera)

China's Sinobo Guoan Football (Soccer) Club has paid a reported amount of $91 million to sign Cédric Bakambu, making Bakambu the most expensive soccer player in African history. He was born in France, but switched his allegiance to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015.

The reason that I'm including this story is because of the startling screen shot above, which was from Bakambu's televised introduction on Chinese television. The screen shot shows eight people on the team, with Bakambu in the middle in the fourth position. I don't know who all these people are, but the people in positions #5 and #8 appear to be European.

The others are all Chinese, and they're all doing everything possible to avoid looking at the camera. The person in position #3 is holding up two fingers to his eye which might mean that he's scratching an itch around his eye, or it might mean that he's using his fingers to express disdain in some way to the television audience.

This video was broadcast on al-Jazeera, and as I watched it I found it really startling. China is known to have some extreme racism issues with Africans, and this screen shot seems to put them on display. BBC Sport

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Mar-18 World View -- China pushes to invest heavily in Iraq's energy infrastructure thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

3-Mar-18 World View -- Turkey suffers military setback in 'Operation Olive Branch' in Afrin Syria

Turkey doubles down on Afrin-Manbij operation, despite US opposition

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey suffers military setback in 'Operation Olive Branch' in Afrin Syria


Turkish special forces being deployed to Afrin, Syria, last month (RT)
Turkish special forces being deployed to Afrin, Syria, last month (RT)

Turkey's forces suffered heavy losses on Thursday during its "Operation Olive Branch" in Afrin, with the military announcing that eight soldiers were killed and 13 more wounded, making this the deadliest day for Turkey since the Afrin operation began on January 20. Turkey's defense minister announced that, since the operation began, a total of 41 Turkish soldiers had been killed.

Turkey considers the YPG Kurds to be terrorists, because they're linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The PKK has perpetrated large terrorist attacks in Turkey in the last two years, and has conducted an on-and-off separatist insurgency against Turkey's government for thirty years. The US and the EU also consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization, though not the entire YPG.

The Kurds have set as a goal the creation of an independent state of Rojava along Syria's northern border with Turkey. Turkey considers that objective to be an existential threat.

Turkey launched the Afrin operation to thwart a YPG objective to establish the state of Rojava. Turkish troops are backed by an estimated 22,000 "moderate rebels" in the Free Syrian Army (FSA), while the YPG is estimated to have about 8,000 to 10,000 fighters in Afrin. According to Turkey's defense minister, 116 fighters from the FSA have been killed since the operation began. Turkey also claims that 2,295 "YPG - PKK - ISIS terrorists" have also been killed.

According to reports, the Turkish forces that were killed on Thursday were special forces units that had been recently deployed to Afrin. They had been chosen because of their previous urban warfare experience in fighting the PKK. The YPG fighters ambushed the Turkish forces by hiding out in tunnels, and then emerged from the tunnels for the ambush.

Despite the deaths of Turkish forces, the operation in Afrin appears to have unified the Turkish citizens, at least the citizens who aren't Kurds. Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is fully supporting the operation:

"We trust our army, we have no doubt that they will succeed in their mission to fight terror. ...

We cover the coffins of our martyrs with a Turkish flag. My citizens, let’s hang the Turkish flag on our homes, offices and working places until our martyrs rest in peace."

However, Kiliçdaroglu has previously said that he does not want Turkish troops to enter Afrin's city center:

"I do not approve of an offensive into the center of Afrin because it shouldn’t be about capturing a city. Why did we enter the Afrin district [in the first place]? To eliminate terror organizations on our border."

On Friday, a number of CHP lawmakers went onto their social media accounts, and changed their pictures to an image of the Turkish flag. France 24 and Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Turkey doubles down on Afrin-Manbij operation, despite US opposition

The fact that the operation to take control of Afrin is taking several months instead of several days has the advantage that it has postponed a possible major confrontation for several months, and possibly forever.

Once the Turkish army has taken control of Afrin, the plan is to move farther east and perform the same operation in the town of Manbij. The problem is that there are also US troops around Manbij. The YPG has been the main fighting force to defeat the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), backed up by weapons, airstrikes and training by US forces.

Turkey does not distinguish between the YPG, the PKK and ISIS, considering all of them to be terrorists. According to Turkey's deputy prime minister Hakan Cavusoglu, the PKK-YPG terror group have committed many war crimes:

"The recruitment of children, which is one of the six grave violations identified by the UN resolutions, is just one of the crimes against humanity committed by PKK/YPG.

PKK/YPG has a bloody record of using land mines and toxic gas, using civilians as human shields, and targeting hospitals, refugee camps and civilian residential areas."

In mid-February, American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at a time when Turkey was saying that the US-Turkey relationship was at a "critical point." Erdogan is particularly infuriated by the weapons and support that the US gives to the so-called "YPG-PKK terrorists." Turkey's foreign minister said, "Ties with the U.S. are at a very critical point. We will either fix these relations or they will break completely."

At the time, Tillerson said:

"We are keenly aware of the legitimate security concerns of Turkey, our coalition partner and NATO ally. We will continue to be completely transparent with Turkey about our efforts in Syria to defeat ISIS, and we stand by our NATO ally in its counterterrorism efforts."

Turkey took that statement to mean that the US and Turkey are allies, and that the US and the YPG are NOT allies.

On Thursday, an unnamed US official reinforced Tillerson's comment:

"We are very careful not to use that word [alliance] for the YPG. We are not using the YPG as an ally of the U.S. Our ally is Turkey and that is something that the Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson emphasized in his remarks in Ankara. We have a long-term, enduring, historic alliance and partnership with Turkey and that is not going to change.

The U.S. has made it clear from the beginning that our military cooperation with the YPG was a temporary, tactical arrangement aimed entirely at combating [ISIS]. We have made it clear that once ISIS was defeated we would have no plans for an enduring military relationship with the YPG and certainly no plans for an enduring political relationship with the Democratic Union Party [PYD]. That has not changed."

On Friday, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim indicated that Turkey is doubling down on the fight with YPG, and that the fight would go beyond Afrin:

"This operation based on international law and our legitimate rights will continue to the end. [Giving] any day or date [when it will end] is out of the question here.

[The operation will end after] the complete wiping out and neutralization of terror organizations. Wherever there is terrorism, they will be our target."

Right now, Turkey's forces appear to be bogged down in Afrin, and this could mean that Turkey's plans to move on to Manbij will never be realized.

The US military says: "We remain committed to fulfilling our promises regarding the YPG presence in Manbij. It is a city with a lot of people and somebody has to provide security there but our intention is that will not be the YPG."

That leaves open the question of who will provide security for Manbij. If it's not the US, and it's not the YPG, and it's not the Turks, then perhaps it's a local Arab militia, or perhaps it's Bashar al-Assad's army. This remains to be seen. Anadolu and Washington Examiner and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Mar-18 World View -- Turkey suffers military setback in 'Operation Olive Branch' in Afrin Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

2-Mar-18 World View -- Bangladesh formally protests Burma's (Myanmar's) troop buildup near border

April monsoon rains will have disastrous impact on Rohingya camps in Bangladesh

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Bangladesh formally protests Burma's (Myanmar's) troop buildup near border


Rohingya refugees' tents are likely to be washed away in the flooding and landslides from the April monsoons (Guardian)
Rohingya refugees' tents are likely to be washed away in the flooding and landslides from the April monsoons (Guardian)

Bangladesh summoned Burma's (Myanmar’s) ambassador on Thursday as hundreds of Burmese armed soldiers and police came to a border fence near Burma's border with Bangladesh, and appeared to be moving heavy weapons, including mortars and machine guns, to the area.

The Burmese troops have been surrounding a strip of land dubbed "no man's land," because it is beyond Myanmar's border fence but on Myanmar's side of a creek that marks the international border. There are about 5,300 Rohingya Muslims living in a makeshift camp in the no man's land area.

Since 2011, Burma's mostly Buddhist security forces have been committing mass atrocities on mostly Muslim ethnic Rohingyas living in Rakhine State, what the United Nations says is "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing," and which some Western governments are calling genocide. The atrocities by Buddhist security forces include gang rape, violent torture, execution-style killings and the razing of entire villages, in a scorched earth campaign. The atrocities by Buddhist security forces worsened considerably last August when Rohingya activists killed several Burmese security forces in attacks against 30 Burmese police outputs. Many Rohingyas were forced to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. Today, there are about 700,000 Rohingyas living in refugee camps in Bangladesh, and about 5,300 have stayed in the small no man's land camp on the Burma side.

Myanmar's unexplained military buildup near the Bangladesh border is raising new tensions between the two countries. After Burmese forces have repeatedly conducted mass slaughter and scorched earth operations against Rohingya civilians, it's feared that Burma is about to do it again. Burmese forces have already been using loudspeakers ordering the Rohingyas to get out, and according to some reports have been throwing stones.

After the Bangladesh protest on Thursday, the Burmese forces near the camp withdrew their heavy weapons, but the troops remained, and they began firing live bullets into the air.

Last year, under heavy international pressure, Burma agreed to accept the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees that had fled to Bangladesh. The agreement was farcical in that it's never going to happen. It's like the ceasefire that Russia and Syria agreed to as the exterminate civilians in East Ghouta. These agreements are only used as political cover to continue exterminations, genocide, and ethnic cleansing.

It's not known what the Burmese troops are planning, but no one would be surprised if they're planning a massive new attack on the civilians in the camp, including women and children. BD News (Bangladesh) and Daily Star (Bangladesh) and AP and AFP

April monsoon rains will have disastrous impact on Rohingya camps in Bangladesh

Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border from Burma into Bangladesh in just the last six months. Refugee camps were created for them by stripping the land of trees and other vegetation, to make room for shelters, mostly made from tarpaulin and bamboo.

Many of these shelters were built on slopes and hillsides. When monsoon rains arrive in April, these slopes will turn to mud, and many of these shelters will collapse and be washed away. It's believed that about 100,000 people will be displaced at the time.

Aid agencies are preparing in advance by setting up emergency medical centers to prepare for spread of diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, and mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, malaria, and others. Light machinery will be installed and work crews established at ten strategic points across the district to clear major drains and waterways after landslides and mud cause road closures and blockages.

The Rohingya situation has been mostly out of the news for the last few weeks, but it could escalate to a major new crisis very quickly if Burmese troops commit new atrocities on Rohingyas while the monsoon rains displace hundreds of thousands of them.

Some people claim that Buddhism is a "religion of peace," despite the massive Buddhist on Buddhist genocide in the Killing Fields of Cambodia in 1975-79. For the last six years, it's been clear that the Buddhists in Burma have been taking lessons from their brethren in Cambodia, and are repeating the Cambodia genocide on the Muslim Rohingyas in Burma. Some people claim that Buddhists are better than Muslims, but from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is no difference at all between Buddhists and Muslims except that they us different religious justifications when they exterminate, torture and commit atrocities on innocent civilians that they don't like. That's the way the world works. UN Migration Agency and Reuters and Guardian (London)

Related Articles

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Mar-18 World View -- Bangladesh formally protests Burma's (Myanmar's) troop buildup near border thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

1-Mar-18 World View -- Moving sharply left, South Africa calls for potentially disastrous land reform

Julius Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) movement

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Moving sharply left, South Africa calls for potentially disastrous land reform


South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa after addressing parliament on Tuesday (Daily Maverick)
South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa after addressing parliament on Tuesday (Daily Maverick)

In a major shift in public opinion in support of the radical far left Economic Freedom Fighters and its leader Julius Malema, South Africa's parliament has passed overwhelmingly a motion for a constitutional amendment that would allow the government to expropriate land from white-owned farms with no compensation whatsoever.

A year ago, a similar motion was rejected, with 261 against and 33 in favor. But on Tuesday, the vote was carried with 241 votes in favor, and 83 against. Expropriation of private land without compensation is forbidden by Section 25 of South Africa's constitution, but the overwhelming acceptance of the motion far exceeds the 2/3 majority required to amend the constitution. This change within one year represents a radical shift in public opinion.

The successful campaign to pass the motion was led by left-wing radical Julius Malema, who was expelled from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party in 2012, with the expectation that he would die a quick political death. Instead, he's successfully led a racially divisive campaign that's become so popular that the ANC was forced to endorse the land reform proposal, giving it an overwhelming victory.

Leading the debate in the parliament, Malena said that "it was time for justice" on the land issue:

"We must ensure that we restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land."

According to South Africa's new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who recently replaced the corrupt Jacob Zuma, taking farmland away from white farmers is necessary because of "land hunger" among blacks:

"Land dispossession is a defining feature of colonialism and apartheid in SA. Land hunger among black South Africans is genuine and pressing. The time has arrived that we act decisively to resolve this matter. We must repair the damage inflicted upon our people.

The time has arrived that we act decisively to resolve this matter. We must repair the damage inflicted upon our people.

By providing more land to more producers for cultivation and by providing the necessary support, we are laying the foundation for what I would call an agricultural revolution. We are determined to work with traditional leaders to significantly expand agriculture not only to ensure food security, but also to create jobs on a significant scale and increase the value of our exports."

This is a typically meaningless political speech, full of hot air. The promise of an "agricultural revolution" is laughable.

Ramaphosa also promised that the land expropriation would only be used when the amount of food produced would be increased. This is also laughable.

What will happen is what always happens in Socialist societies. Thousands of hard-working white farmers and their families will be thrown into the streets, and their farms will be turned over to party cronies who know nothing about farming. This happened in Zimbabwe, and similar things happen in all Socialist countries. This will be a disaster for South Africa's economy, and for all of Africa.

I've written many times what happened in Zimbabwe. It's hard to believe, but Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of southern Africa, growing much more food than the country needed and exporting the rest. Then in 1999 Robert Mugabe instituted a "land reform" plan just like the one that South Africa is about to implement. Within ten years, Zimbabwe was an economic disaster, with mass starvation, a worthless currency, and massive million percent inflation.

We've seen the same thing happen in Venezuela, as Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro destroyed the economy to the extent that food and medicines and even toilet paper are unavailable.

Bashar al-Assad is destroying Syria by different means -- with barrel bombs, Sarin gas, and attacks with other chemical weapons, including chlorine, ammonia and phosphorous.

We now know that North Korea has been supplying components to Syria to manufacture poison gas, and it uses the money to develop nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying the nuclear weapons to the United States, or elsewhere in the world.

And all this is going on with the support and encourage of China, Russia and Iran.

This is the club of countries where the leaders are destroying their countries through economic destruction or weapons destruction. It's not surprising that South Africa is now joining that club. Daily Maverick (South Africa) and Business Live (South Africa) and Citizen (South Africa) and News 24 (South Africa)

Julius Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) movement

Julius Malema was expelled the ruling ANC in 2012 because he offended large sections of society, and has been accused of racism, sexism and corruption. He was twice convicted of hate speech in 2010 and 2011, for inciting violence against whites.

However, he has thousands of supporters, mainly poor black South Africans who resent the history of apartheid. In 2013 he formed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which describes itself as follows on its web site:

"1. The ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS is a radical and militant economic emancipation movement that brings together revolutionary, fearless, radical, and militant activists, workers’ movements, nongovernmental organizations, community-based organizations and lobby groups under the umbrella of pursuing the struggle for economic emancipation.

2. The EFF is a radical, leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggles. ...

5. The EFF is a South African movement with a progressive internationalist outlook, which seeks to engage with global progressive movements. We believe that the best contribution we can make in the international struggle against global imperialism is to rid our country of imperialist domination. For the South African struggle, the EFF pillars for economic emancipation are the following:

a. Expropriation of South Africa’s land without compensation for equal redistribution in use.

b. Nationalization of mines, banks, and other strategic sectors of the economy, without compensation."

We've seen this script before. Socialism has a 100% failure rate, and South Africa is headed in the same direction, starting with the nationalization of farms, and continuing with the nationalization of mines, banks, and other businesses -- all without compensation.

There are a couple of things that are becoming clear.

First, you'd have to be crazy to invest in South Africa, because any business could be subject to nationalization without compensation at any time.

Second, you'd have to be crazy to give foreign aid to South Africa, since any money would just be wasted on corruption.

A country that goes down the path of nationalizing farms without compensation, with nationalization of other businesses to follow, is a country that cannot be helped. Economic Freedom Fighters online and BBC (30-Sep-2014) and South Africa History

Related Stories

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Mar-18 World View -- Moving sharply left, South Africa calls for potentially disastrous land reform thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Mar-2018) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2018
Web Log Summary - 2017
Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2018
Web Log - November, 2018
Web Log - October, 2018
Web Log - September, 2018
Web Log - August, 2018
Web Log - July, 2018
Web Log - June, 2018
Web Log - May, 2018
Web Log - April, 2018
Web Log - March, 2018
Web Log - February, 2018
Web Log - January, 2018
Web Log - December, 2017
Web Log - November, 2017
Web Log - October, 2017
Web Log - September, 2017
Web Log - August, 2017
Web Log - July, 2017
Web Log - June, 2017
Web Log - May, 2017
Web Log - April, 2017
Web Log - March, 2017
Web Log - February, 2017
Web Log - January, 2017
Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004


Copyright © 2002-2018 by John J. Xenakis.