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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 5-Jun-06
Ex-CIA chief James Woolsey says Gaza pullout was "Worst result possible"

Web Log - June, 2006

Ex-CIA chief James Woolsey says Gaza pullout was "Worst result possible"

Five bystanders, including a pregnant woman, were killed by Palestinian gunmen Sunday in a shootout in Gaza between the two rival militias.

The two armies loyal to Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah groups, respectively, were deployed in mid-May as the two rival governments compete for power. Tension and violence between the two groups appear to be increasing, especially in Gaza, and there are worldwide fears of a Palestinian civil war.

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), considered by the west to be pretty much the only "good guy" in the increasingly chaotic Palestinian situation, has been scoring some significant political victories recently:

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So Abbas has scored a few points against Hamas, but it's clear that there are now two separate, competing governments attempting to rule the Palestinians. As I've repeatedly described, using concepts of Chaos Theory, that the Mideast is headed for a major regional war, and individual political events are "attracted" to war. This is what's been happening since Yasser Arafat died.

Things have continued downhill and have gotten so bad that former CIA director James Woolsey has expressed surprise that things are going so badly:

"The approach Israel is preparing to take in the West Bank was tried in Gaza and has failed utterly. The Israeli withdrawal of last year has produced the worst set of results imaginable: a heavy presence by al Qaeda, Hezbollah and even some Iranian Revolutionary Guard units; street fighting between Hamas and Fatah, and now Hamas assassination attempts against Fatah's intelligence chief and Jordan's ambassador; rocket and mortar attacks against nearby towns inside Israel; and a perceived vindication for Hamas, which took credit for the withdrawal. This latter almost certainly contributed substantially to Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections."

Well, he's right about all the things that have gone wrong. In fact, he extends this list of problems back to the peace treaty Israel signed with the Palestinians in 1993:

"Three major Israeli efforts at accommodation in the last 13 years have not worked. Oslo and the 1993 handshake in the Rose Garden between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat produced only Arafat's rejection in 2000 of Ehud Barak's extremely generous settlement offer and the beginning of the second intifada. The Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 has enhanced Hezbollah's prestige and control there; and the withdrawal from Gaza has unleashed madness. These three accommodations have been based on the premise that only Israeli concessions can displace Palestinian despair. But it seems increasingly clear that the Palestinian cause is fueled by hatred and contempt."

It's interesting to see how these politicians think. This is a guy who used to run the CIA, and yet he has no concept of how generational forces could be causing the problems he's listed.

The Gaza Strip is the most densely population place in the world and as I've been pointing out for a long time, and many times since the first time, the median age in the Gaza strip is 15.6, and only slightly higher in the West Bank. That figure comes from the CIA World Factbook, so you'd think that Woolsey might be aware of it and think of its consequences.

So, instead of making a facile statement like "it seems increasingly clear that the Palestinian cause is fueled by hatred and contempt," he might try to draw some reasonable conclusions from the fact that -- demographically -- the Palestinians are being run by children. That's what a median age of 15.6 means. Even if the leaders of Hamas are senior, sophisticated politicians, they're dealing with huge mobs of their constituents, and if these constituents are children, then Hamas has to cater to children.

This is what keeps bothering me about these people -- these politicians, these analysts, these journalists, these pundits. It never even occurs to them to ask the obvious questions -- like what happens when children are running things. And this is a former CIA chief, so you'd think that at least think about some of this stuff.

So, what are Woolsey's conclusions:

"A two-state solution can become a reality when the Palestinians are held to the same standards as Israelis -- to the requirement that Jewish settlers in a West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state would be treated with the same decency that Israel treats its Arab citizens. Until then, three failures in 13 years should permit us to evaluate the wisdom of further concessions."

This is the last paragraph of his essay, and it's total nonsense. It's like saying that a two-state solution can become a reality when pigs fly.

This kind of thing explains a number of mistakes that the CIA and the administration have made in recent years. The "neo-conservative" strategy of assuming that the Iraqi invasion would lead to a string of democracies in the Mideast has been crazy from the beginning, but not for the ideological reasons that its opponents have given. It's been crazy because the Mideast nations have been in the wrong generational places.

That's why I've been hoping that someone from DoD or the State Dept. or the CIA would pick up on some of this stuff. It could mean a great deal as the nation enters a time of great peril.

Anyway, there is one thing, at least, that I like about what's going on. I LOVE the idea of a referendum, because a referendum tells us a lot about what the people are thinking, and what generational changes are occurring, especially if we can get exit poll data breaking down the vote by age group. (5-Jun-06) Permanent Link
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