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


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 9-Oct-2014
9-Oct-14 World View -- Kurdish riots continue as Turkey deals with the Kobani conundrum

Web Log - October, 2014

9-Oct-14 World View -- Kurdish riots continue as Turkey deals with the Kobani conundrum

Why do so many Chinese expect war?

This morning's key headlines from

Kurdish riots continue as Turkey deals with the Kobani conundrum

Turkish army tanks have been lined up on the Syrian border across from Kobani for a week (Hurriyet)
Turkish army tanks have been lined up on the Syrian border across from Kobani for a week (Hurriyet)

Kurds in cities across Turkey continue to express fury that Turkey is not intervening to save the Kurds living in Kobani, Syria, on the border with Turkey, from the approaching forces of the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL). It's possible that hundreds of thousands of Kurds are about to be slaughtered by ISIS, but Turkey's military has a row of tanks along the border, watching the increasingly intense battles and explosions as if they were in a movie theatre. Turkey won't even permit Kurds on the Turkish side of the border to cross over into Kobani to join the fight against ISIS.

Turkey is playing a very hard line. The U.S. and Nato really want Turkey to save Kobani, and are pouring on the pressure. But Turkey will not do so unless an objective of the war is that America's warplanes also start striking targets belonging to Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. and Nato do not want to get into a war with al-Assad, and say that ISIS is the most important threat.

With regard to ISIS versus the Kurds, Turkey's conundrum is that it wants both sides to lose. There a millions of innocent Kurds in Kobani, but it's also the home of fighters from the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with whom the Turks fought a 30 year civil war. A few days ago, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "What ISIS is to us, the PKK is the same," a remark that infuriated the Kurds still further. In fact, many Kurds say that Turkey is on the side of ISIS and is funding and supporting it, because Turkey wants the Kurds exterminated.

The fall of Kobani appears to be close. American air strikes are slowing ISIS down, but they will not prevent an ISIS victory. An ISIS victory would mean many things to the Kurds -- hundreds of thousands more deaths, hundreds of thousands more refugees pouring into Turkey, and the loss of a city that many Kurds consider to be their capital. It will seen as a major American failure of the airstrike strategy. And it may trigger a revival of the civil war between the Turks and Kurds in Turkey. Today's Zaman (Istanbul) and AP and Guardian (London)

Why do so many Chinese expect war?

I like to read and sometimes refer to the articles by the Lowy Institute for International Policy because it's in Australia, where they have a much more focused understanding of the issues in southeast Asia. They've done several articles on the threat from China, and the question of Australia's role in a possible war between the U.S. and China.

According to one article, referring to a Beijing professor of classical music:

"His students don't seem like fenqing ('angry youth'). They are in a musical conservatory, after all, not a military academy. Many have overseas connections. But they are also ambitious, emotional, fiercely nationalist and for them war – any war – would be a gratifying affirmation of their country's ascendance. Like the 2008 Olympic Games but with real explosions, not fireworks. These kids lap up PLA propaganda films like Silent Contest even as they dream of Juilliard. My professor friend worries they just haven't thought things through, that their various aspirations are totally misaligned."

This emotional, fierce nationalism in China is something I've been writing about for years. Fierce nationalism is most common in countries in generational Crisis eras, and so we see increased nationalism in America and in European countries. The survivors of World War II were all too aware of the dangers of fierce nationalism, and the many roles it played, including the rise of the Nazis, in bringing about the worst of the war. So now those survivors are gone, and fierce nationalism is the cool thing today, especially in China.

According to Lowy, they want wealth, power and respect for their country. It's relevant to Thucydides' explanation of the epochal Peloponnesian War: "It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this inspired in Sparta that made war inevitable." Historical analysis indicates that there's a 75% chance of war as China replaces America in the global pecking order.

Lowy finds the "strange revival of nationalism" to be a paradox of our age. War worship should totally contradict materialist aspirations, yet the two often go together. Perhaps some new citizens want the goodies of Western life without the full package of liberal rights and responsibilities.

As I've been saying for ten years, Generational Dynamics predicts that the Clash of Civilizations war is coming with 100% certainty, with the two sides led by China and America. Lowy says, with understatement, "Such a conflict would be protracted. All agree it would be a long, costly war of exhaustion for all concerned." Actually, it would be a full-scale generational crisis war. Every nuclear weapon and missile will be used before it's over. Once the missiles run out, there will be huge armies fighting all over the world, fighting not only each other, but also famine, Ebola, Swine Flu, and Bird Flu. As much as half the world's population could be wiped out, leaving the other half to rebuild the world again. Lowy Institute and Lowy Institute (Feb 2014)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Oct-14 World View -- Kurdish riots continue as Turkey deals with the Kobani conundrum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Oct-2014) Permanent Link
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