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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 19-Feb-2015
19-Feb-15 World View -- China, Russia, Syria: The 'Salami Slicing Strategy'

Web Log - February, 2015

19-Feb-15 World View -- China, Russia, Syria: The 'Salami Slicing Strategy'

Anthem health insurance data breach puts millions of children at risk

This morning's key headlines from

Anthem health insurance data breach puts millions of children at risk

Millions of children are at risk of identity theft because of the Anthem data breach
Millions of children are at risk of identity theft because of the Anthem data breach

The consequences of the massive Anthem Inc data breach that we described two weeks ago are increasingly being seen as catastrophic. 80 million current and former customers had their personal information compromised, including birthdates, addresses, and social security numbers.

This is bad enough for adults, but there are millions of children included in that theft. A child's identity can be stolen as much as an adult's can, and the child's family not even be aware for several months.

Even worse, the stolen data will be valid for decades. Some hacker group can use it to steal your child's identity next year, or five or ten years from now.

Anthem is providing free identity theft protection, but only for two years.

Any current or former customer of the following health plans is potentially compromised: Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink, and DeCare. and CNBC and Anthem Inc.

Putin gloats over humiliating Russian victory over Ukraine

The battle over the city Debaltseve in Ukraine, which we described yesterday, has ended in victory for Ukraine's rebels, backed by Russian army soldiers and weapons, and a humiliating defeat for Ukraine's soldiers. The Russian attack and subsequent victory was a violation of the the ceasefire agreement that was signed last week by Russia's president Vladimir Putin.

Putin gloated about the victory, saying:

"Of course, it’s always bad to lose. Of course it’s always a hardship when you lose to yesterday’s miners or yesterday’s tractor drivers. But life is life. It’ll surely go on."

He perhaps unintentionally implied that Russian army soldiers are former miners and tractor drivers. At any rate, it now appears clear that he never intended to honor the ceasefire which, after all, is no surprise.

The capture of Debaltseve is an important strategic victory for the Russians, in that it lies at several crossroads in east Ukraine, with a rail line that links Debaltseve to Russia, and consolidates the Russian invasion and capture of the entire region. According to analysts, the fall of Debaltseve is both a military disaster and political disaster Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko. He faced massive domestic criticism for agreeing to the Minsk "peace agreement" in the first place, for making painful compromises that ceded gains on the ground to the Russians, and now the agreement turns out to be a sham after all, with the Russians gaining consolidated control of a large part of eastern Ukraine.

Few people believe that the Russian invasion is finished. BBC and Deutsche Welle and Fox News

China, Russia, Syria: The 'Salami Slicing Strategy'

As I've been describing for a couple of years, China has been using a "salami-slicing" technique of using military force to annex one portion after another of regions of the South China Sea historically belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. China supports its military force by making unsupported historical claims, and then refusing to defend them in the appropriate United Nations tribunal, since they know they'll lose.

The salami-slicing technique is designed to take advantage of the inherent weakness of democracies during generational Crisis eras. The technique would not have worked as well, or at all, prior to 2000, since the Silent generation survivors of World War II were still in charge, and would not have been fooled or tolerated specious claims like those that China is making about the South China Sea. Indeed, all presidents since WW II have been guided by the Truman Doctrine of 1947, which made America policeman of the world. The doctrine is highly controversial today, but its justification is that it's better to have a small military action to stop an ongoing crime than to let it slide and end up having an enormous conflict like World War II. In other words, the Truman Doctrine could be said to be the antidote to the salami-slicing strategy.

Every president since WW II has followed the Truman Doctrine, up to and including George Bush. Barack Obama is the first president to completely repudiate the Truman Doctrine, even in the face of blatant salami-slicing. And he's not alone, of course, as the entire West is succumbing.

So we have China annexing one region after another in the South China Sea, using as an excuse specious historical claims that the West is unwilling to challenge. Russia invaded and annexed first Crimea and now east Ukraine, using the specious excuse that there are ethnic Russians living there. There are over a million Americans living in Mexico, so under the Russian reasoning, America could invade and annex the entire state of Nuevo León.

Probably the most visible and consequential repudiation of the Truman Doctrine was President Obama's flip-flop on the question of Sarin gas and other chemical weapons used by the regime of Syria's genocidal president Bashar al-Assad against his own people. To this day, he's killed countless innocent women and children with barrel bombs loaded with explosives, metals, and chlorine gas.

Now we have news on Thursday from Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. envoy to Syria, that al-Assad has agreed to a "freeze" in dropping barrel bombs on the city of Aleppo. The "freeze" will take place some time in the future, to be announced. Like China's specious historical claims, like Russia's ethnic Russian excuse, al-Assad waves a sham peace plan in front of the United Nations and everyone starts tittering about a "ray of hope." This is another version of the salami-slicing strategy, and it's possible in a generational Crisis era.

There is a flaw in the salami-slicing strategy. Once a government starts using it, they think they can use it over and over to get away with anything. It's pretty clear that Russia, China and Syria all believe that they can commit crimes with impunity.

But the flaw is that at some point it stops working. That's what happened in 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland. Hitler was certain that he could take one more salami slice with impunity. But the British population by that time had changed, and become sufficiently nationalistic to refuse to be made fools of again.

I've been describing for years how one nation after another is becoming increasingly nationalistic and xenophobic in a generational Crisis era. So you have two conflicting trends: the criminal nation becomes increasingly brazen in using the salami-slicing strategy, and the other nations become increasingly nationalistic and less tolerant. At some point, these two trends collide, and there's a new world war -- a war that might have been avoided if a policy like the Truman Doctrine had been continued -- or was even still possible. International Living and AP

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Feb-15 World View -- China, Russia, Syria: The 'Salami Slicing Strategy' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Feb-2015) Permanent Link
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