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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 6-Sep-06
Aftermath of Lebanese war: The winners and losers

Web Log - September, 2006

Aftermath of Lebanese war: The winners and losers

Everyone seemed to follow his generational archetype, as if hypnotized to do so.

Generational Dynamics provides a methodology for studying the actions and behaviors of large masses of people in different societies and nations, based on the flow of generations. I've been developing this methodology since shortly after 9/11, and almost everything I've done has been posted on this web site, so that if I get hit by a truck, other people who are interested will be able to continue from where I left off.

At the beginning of the Lebanese war, I did a detailed generational analysis of the war, making some predictions about the likely behavor of the belligerents.

Now that two months have passed, it's time to do a follow-up assessment. What's remarkable is how closely each of the participants followed its expected generational archetype behavior.


Israel is entering a "generational crisis" period, 57 years after the end of the genocidal war between Arabs and Jews in 1948-49, following the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel.

This was an "existential" war for Israel, and it was fought with a great deal of passion. At first Israel was planning to use air power alone; then they started calling up reservists, turning it into a ground war. The size of the ground war kept increasing, as Israel had to change course and bring up more reservists. After the U.N. passed the ceasefire resolution, Israel increased the ground war still further to gain as much ground as possible before the ceasefire took effect.

As the war progressed, the Israeli people became increasing anxious and panicky. Mass panic is an integral part of a generational crisis era, and the Israeli people are showing it more and more.

The Israeli people's panic is becoming even greater because of Iran. There's Iran's Blow of Zolfaqar military games continuing to the end of September. There are Iran's repeated testing of new missile and other weapons technology. There's Iran's blantant refusal to stop developing nuclear technology. And there's Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly on the record as wanting to "wipe Israel off the map." All of these actions by Iran are adding to the level of anxiety and concern in the Israeli people.

The seriousness of situation is demonstrated by a poll that shows that, during the war, the Israeli public trusted the speeches of Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah than the announcements of any Israeli government spokesmen.

"We reached a really crazy situation, a psychological situation which seems inconceivable," says Dr. Uri Lebel of the Ben Gurion Institute, Beer Sheva University, the author of the poll.

He added: "Instead of the Israeli public watching our national spokesman who tells it what is happening every day, who will minimize the chaos and who will be seen as believable, something unprecedented happened: The public perceived the enemy leader against whom we fought as having those characteristics, and waited impatiently for his speeches."

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Israel is exhibiting the highly emotional states that accompany a crisis era war. When the war started, popular enthusiasm was extremely high, and Olmert's poll numbers were through the roof.

After problems arose, the mood changed, and the kind of change was described by Carl von Clausewitz, in his 1832 book On War, which tells how the Prussian people reacted when their army was defeated by Napoleon in 1806:

"The effect of defeat outside the army -- on the people and on the government -- is a sudden collapse of the wildest expectations, and total destruction of self-confidence. The destruction of these feelings creates a vacuum, and that vacuum gets filled by a fear that grows corrosively, leading to total paralysis. It's a blow to the whole nervous system of the losing side, as if caused by an electric charge. This effect may appear to a greater or lesser degree, but it's never completely missing. Then, instead of rushing to repair the misfortune with a spirit of determination, everyone fears that his efforts will be futile; or he does nothing, leaving everything to Fate."

The concept of "leaving everything to Fate" doesn't only mean doing nothing, as von Clausewitz suggests. In fact, Israel appears to be reaching a kind of "tipping point" that will cause it to launch into a preemptive war against Hizbollah or Iran or both. For example, the Kadima government of Ehud Olmert has become so unpopular that it may feel pressured into such a war just to survive as a government. Then Israel will really be leaving everything to fate.


As predicted, the Lebanese people (except for Hizbollah) stayed out of the war.

Lebanon is in a "generational awakening" era, since just one generation has passed since the genocidal Lebanon/Syrian war of the 1980s. Furthermore, the Lebanese feel heavily burdened by the fact that, in that war, one group of Lebanese committed mass genocide against another group, with the result that today, the Lebanese emphasize unity and feel they must support one another.

The Lebanese played their generational role to the hilt. They supported Hizbollah, because it's made up of Lebanese.

When a country enters a generational crisis period (like Israel, as described above), the attitude of the people focus on survival of the country and the people's way of life, while individual rights are pushed to the background. When a country is in a generational awakening period (like America in the 1960s and 1970s), the goals shift, and individual rights become more important.

That's exactly what happened to the Lebanese. The Lebanese pretty much hate the Israelis, but you didn't see any Lebanese go to war against Israel. With huge amounts of Lebanese infrastructure destroyed by Israeli bombs, the Lebanese openly played a victim role, emphasizing how individual Lebanese had suffered. If this had been a generational crisis period for Lebanon, you would have seen furious Lebanese flock to join Hizbollah and wage war against the Israelis. But this didn't happen.

Just like Israel, Lebanon followed the behavior of its generational archetype. However, that behavior is quite different for Israel and Lebanon.


An underlying principle of Generational Dynamics is that one should look at behaviors and attitudes of large masses of people, and that politicians should be ignored, except insofar as their decisions reflect the attitudes of large masses of people.

Sometimes there's a conflict: The politicians want one thing, and the people want something else. The most common way that this happens is that the politicians attempt to implement an unpopular policy.

That's what happened when Hizbollah was induced to wage war with Israel. The politician is Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who has been leading Hizbollah into war with Israel. The people, in this case, are the members of Hizbollah. Like the rest of the Lebanese, they have no desire for a war with Israel. They were ordered to war by Nasrallah, and they were paid large sums of Iranian money to prosecute the war.

I described Hizbollah's actions as "war from the comfort of home." The war was pursued with very little energy by Hizbollah for the reason just described.

There's perhaps nothing so remarkable as Nasrallah's apology to the Lebanese people, following the end of the war. The reason is that many Lebanese supported Nasrallah, but also criticized him severely for the massive infrastructure damage that the war brought to Lebanon.

"Hot" vs "Cool" war style

It's worthwhile emphasizing the difference in war styles pursued by the two sides, because this is something that mainstream historians, with no recognition of generational effects, simply don't understand at all.

The two belligerents fought the Lebanese war using two completely different styles.

Israel fought in a typical crisis era "hot" war style, furiously bombing infrastructure, calling up new reserves every day, confronting Hizbollah terrorists on their own soil, and now feeling very anxious about the U.N. peace deal.

If Hizbollah had fought in a "hot" style, they would have crossed the border into Israel and killed Israelis in their own homes.

Instead, Hizbollah fought the war in a "cool," methodical non-crisis war style. They launched missiles from their home soil, retreating to their homes or to bunkers as needed. They methodically goaded Israeli into supplanting their air-only war with a ground war, requiring thousands of Israeli soldiers to fight on Lebanese soil. The goaded the Israelis into destroying Lebanese infrastructure, and killing Lebanese civilians, including women and children.

The Arabs

As expected, Arab leaders were highly critical of Nasrallah for taking actions that started the war.

The reason is the Hizbollah is a Shiite organization, funded by Iran, a Shiite country. The Arabs are Sunni Muslim, so they were face with choosing between Israel and the Shiites. As a practical matter they did nothing, and were criticized for indirectly supporting Israel.

The Palestinians

As I've said repeatedly, the key to this war was the Palestinians. If the Palestinians had joined the war against Israel, then it would have spiraled out of control into a major war since the Palestinians are entering a generational crisis era. But the Palestinians held back, much to the disappointment of Iran and Hizbollah, and so the war settled down.


Syria's population is 75% Sunni, with only a small Shiite population. This portends some kind of split within Syria itself, torn between its alliance with Shiite Iran and the Sunni Palestinians. There's no way to predict how this split will be resolved.

The future

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the Mideast region is headed for a major genocidal war. This war will have two components: Palestinians versus Israelis and Sunnis versus Shiites. It's impossible to predict exactly how these two components will interplay with one another, but it's certain that both components will be present.

An important part of Generational Dynamics is the methodology for making predictions. For over three years I've made dozens of predictions on this web site (and all of them can still be found, linked either from the home page or the archive page).

The Lebanese war provided a means for doing an analysis that will lead to new kinds of predictions -- the style that a country will use for conduction a war.

On this web site, I've now been tracking the timelines of dozens of countries, and I don't mind saying that even I continue to be amazed by how country after country seems to follow its generational archetype as if hypnotized to do so. This has been proven again in the recent Lebanese war. (6-Sep-06) Permanent Link
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