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23-Sep-17 World View -- The 1930s Spanish Civil War fault lines explode again over Catalonia independence referendum

Spain's government mounts massive crackdown to prevent Catalonia independence referendum

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Spain's government mounts massive crackdown to prevent Catalonia independence referendum


In Barcelona on Thursday, a protesters holds up a banner reading 'I just want to vote' (Getty)
In Barcelona on Thursday, a protesters holds up a banner reading 'I just want to vote' (Getty)

The government of Spain is facing its biggest political crisis in decades, since the wealthy region of Catalonia is demanding independence from Spain, and is planning to hold an independence referendum next week on October 1.

Catalonia's parliament passed a measure in September officially announcing its plan to hold a referendum on October 1. The parliament said that if the referendum passed, then it would declare independence from Spain within 48 hours.

Tens of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets in Barcelona, protesting the Spanish government and expressing support for the planned vote on Catalan independence.

The Madrid government, backed up by Spain's Constitutional Court, has declared the referendum to be illegal. Spain's King Felipe and Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy have both publicly called on Catalans not to vote. Earlier this week Madrid began a major crackdown on Catalonia institutions to prevent the referendum from taking place

On Tuesday, Madrid took to court 700 Catalan mayors for allowing preparations to go ahead.

On Wednesday, the Guardia Civil, Spain's national police, stormed ministries and buildings in Barcelona belonging to Catalonia's regional government, including the economy department, foreign affairs department, and social affairs department.

Fourteen high-ranking Catalan officials were arrested, infuriating the public.

This was after the police went from building to building, raiding printers, newspaper offices and private delivery companies, searching for election materials, confiscating vote record forms, ballot boxes, and almost ten million ballot papers, as well as and campaign leaflets.

It's quite possible that this crackdown will prevent the referendum from being held, although Catalonia official Oriol Junqueras said that there will be a vote, possibly using ordinary sheets of paper as ballot papers.

However, it almost doesn't matter any more whether the referendum is held or not. Madrid's crackdown, which many criticize as an enormous overreaction, has infuriated the Catalans, and is leading to continuing anti-Madrid street protests. More than 40,000 people have gathered in Barcelona to protest over the arrests and the intervention of the Spanish government in the Catalan independence vote. Reuters and New Europe and El Periodico (Barcelona) (Trans) and Express (London)

The 1930s Spanish Civil War fault lines explode again over Catalonia independence referendum

The Madrid government has flooded Catalonia with almost ten thousand police officers, has stormed Catalonia's government buildings, has confiscated thousands of ballot papers, and arrested Catalonia government officials. To those with long memories, this looks a lot like the beginnings of policies that led to the Spanish Civil War.

In the 1930s, during Spain's Second Republic, the government had granted Catalonia a fair amount of autonomy, though there were occasional bloody street fights between Anarchists and Communists. However, that autonomy changed with the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), which was one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century, and a prelude to the much larger World War II.

Generalísimo Francisco Franco's fascist nationalism, aided by Italy and Germany, led to massive atrocities in Catalonia, with entire villages completely flattened by Benito Mussolini’s Italian air-force and the German Luftwaffe. Franco imprisoned, tortured and executed tens of thousands of Catalan people. At the same time, there were extremely bloody wars between the Anarchists and Communists. The war climaxed with the Battle of Ebro (July to November 1938), in which 15,000 pro-Republic Catalans died, resulting in victory for Franco.

Franco marginalized the Catalans after the war ended, but during the generational Awakening era of the 1950s, Catalan groups were forming underground resistance and opposing Franco. Franco's death on November 23rd 1975 signaled the full beginning of the generational Unraveling era, with calls for renewal of democracy and self-rule in all regions of the country. In 1977, more than one million Catalans marched through the streets of Barcelona and asking for freedom, amnesty and self-rule. But only limited self-rule was allowed.

Today, Spain is well into a new generational Crisis era, and as the survivors of the last crisis war die off, the fault lines that led to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 are reemerging. Catalonia's demand for an independence referendum, and Madrid's overreaction and crackdown on Catalonia last week resulted in little or no violence, but they represent a growing renewal of the tensions that separated Catalonia from Madrid in the 1930s. Guardian (London) and Catalonia Votes and This Is Spain

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Sep-17 World View -- The 1930s Spanish Civil War fault lines explode again over Catalonia independence referendum thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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22-Sep-17 World View -- Trump's North Korea sanctions stop short of military blockade

North Korea threatens a 'Pacific Ocean nuclear test'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Trump imposes unilateral financial sanctions on North Korea


Kim Jong-un in a Japanese news broadcast being broadcast on an outdoor video screen in Tokyo. (AP)
Kim Jong-un in a Japanese news broadcast being broadcast on an outdoor video screen in Tokyo. (AP)

President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an executive order imposing a new round of sanctions on North Korea. The new sanctions were approved by the UN Security Council on Monday of last week, and attempt to leverage the power of the US financial system. On the same day, the European Union reached agreement to ban EU investment in North Korea.

To my knowledge, no one seriously believes that these new sanctions will have any major effect on North Korea, any more than previous sanctions have, or that they will motivate the North Koreans to end its nuclear missile development program.

President Trump's sanctions can apply to persons in any country outside of North Korea. The executive order calls for sanctions on persons involved in:

Sanctions may be imposed on any foreign financial institution in any country, if the institution conducts or facilitates trade with North Korea. The White House says that "Foreign financial institutions must choose between doing business with the United States or facilitating trade with North Korea or its designated supporters." Reuters and White House and Reuters

Sanctions fall far short of military blockade first proposed

According to the White House:

"The [Executive Order] directly targets North Korea’s shipping and trade networks and issues a 180-day ban on vessels and aircraft that have visited North Korea from visiting the United States. This ban also targets vessels that have engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited North Korea within 180 days. North Korea is dependent on its shipping networks to facilitate international trade."

Ships and aircraft that have visited or traded with North Korea will be banned from entering the United States for 180 days.

However, this is far short of the kinds of sanctions that Trump had wanted to impose. According to the draft resolution that the US submitted to the Security Council two weeks ago, any U.N. member state would be authorized to inspect North Korean ships suspected of carrying banned cargo and to use "all necessary measures to carry out such inspections."

The banned cargo would include any "crude oil, condensates, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids," as well as textiles. The draft resolution called for an end to the hiring of North Korean nationals, which provide North Korea with hard currency.

This would be an effective trade blockade on North Korea. Although any nation would be authorized to carry out the forced inspections, as a practical matter it's expected that only the US would actually do so. If a North Korean ship resisted the inspection, then there might be an exchange of fire that might escalate into war, putting Seoul, South Korea, into great risk.

It was those fears of escalation that caused Russia and China to threaten to veto the resolution. In order to overcome the objections, the US agreed to water down the resolution to the point where it will have no effect at all on the North Korean regime.

Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was asked whether there were any military options the United States could take with North Korea that would not put Seoul at grave risk. Mattis said: “Yes there are. But I will not go into details.”

Guardian (London, 11-Sep) and Bloomberg (13-Sep) and Reuters (18-Sep) and Washington Examiner

North Korea threatens a 'Pacific Ocean nuclear test'

In a statement a couple of days ago, North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un threatened the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the United States.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho was asked on Thursday what that meant, and he said,

"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific. We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un."

This action, if taken, would be just as much an escalation towards war that the proposed military blockade of North Korea would be. The hydrogen explosion would threaten shipping and planes flying overhead, and would release a great deal of radiation and cause environmental damage.

So the United States and West have two possible paths forward -- a "peaceful" diplomatic approach (sanctions), amounting to appeasement, and a confrontational approach (blockade). The appeasement could trigger war from the North Korean side, while the blockade could trigger war from the American side.

Either action leads to the same outcome. For almost 15 years, I've been writing Generational Dynamics analyses that predict that the world is headed for World War III, pitting the US, the West, India, Russia and Iran versus China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries.

The World War could be predicted, but the timing and the exact scenario leading to that war could not be predicted. But now we seem to be rushing toward war over North Korea, and neither Russia nor China seem willing to take steps to prevent it.

As an additional note, there is a report that Steve Bannon had a secret meeting with a senior Chinese Communist Party official in Beijing last week. Bannon is an expert on world history, and is also an expert on Generational Dynamics. He was recently ousted from the White House as Donald Trump's chief strategy, but according to reports, he still has the president's ear. Bannon fully understands that the world is headed for a world war. Perhaps he hopes that by meeting with the Chinese, he can find a way to prevent it, although Generational Dynamics says that it can't be prevented. Yonhap (South Korea) and Sky News (Australia) and Washington Examiner

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Sep-17 World View -- Trump's North Korea sanctions stop short of military blockade thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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21-Sep-17 World View -- With Trump's sanctions in place, Venezuela expected to go bankrupt soon

Maduro tells Venezuelans to breed and eat rabbits

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

With Trump's sanctions in place, Venezuela expected to go bankrupt soon


 A member of the national guard fires his shotgun during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, in July (Getty)
A member of the national guard fires his shotgun during clashes in Caracas, Venezuela, in July (Getty)

An economic analyst is advising Venezuela's government on ways to move Venezuela's assets out of reach of American and other international courts, if Venezuela defaults on its national bond payments, effective declaring national bankruptcy.

Venezuela has met all its debt repayment obligations so far, but some analysts are predicting that Venezuela will default on bond payments before the end of 2017. Venezuela has an estimated $63 billion of bond obligations.

The probability of default has increased substantially since August 25, when US president Donald Trump imposed sanctions that prevent further borrowing, either by the Venezuelan government itself, or by the nationalized state oil and natural gas company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA). With both the government and PDVSA severely restricted in borrowing more money to make payments on existing debts, it's believed that there will be a default. On August 31, the Fitch Ratings service downgraded Venezuela's bonds from CCC down to CC, to reflect the increased chance of default after the new sanctions were imposed. Reuters (26-Aug) and Latin America Herald Tribune (31-Aug)

Analyst advises Venezuela on keeping its assets safe from creditors

A lengthy analysis by Mark Walker of Millstein & Co, co-authored by Richard Cooper at Cleary Gottlieb provides a roadmap for Venezuela to keep state out assets out of the reach of creditors. In particular, it describes methods for keeping the assets of PDVSA, the nationalized state oil company, away from its own creditors and the government's creditors.

According to the analysis:

"As the humanitarian, economic, financial and political crisis intensifies in Venezuela, so too does the complexity of the tasks the country must accomplish to reverse the 18 years of mismanagement and policy distortion that marked the presidencies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. The difficulty of reforming the economy in the aftermath of these failed policies is compounded both by the need to carry out this reform in what is likely to be a wrenching change in the political landscape and by the fact that there are stakeholders in Venezuela with a strong interest in maintaining the status quo. That said, Venezuela has no other choice but reform and political change. The current government has openly opposed the reforms necessary to stabilize the Venezuelan economy and create the conditions for sustained growth. It has lost legitimacy and credibility internationally as well as domestically. The President and many of its senior representatives are isolated from discourse by sanctions imposed by the United States, and the acquisition and trading of new debt is now prohibited by the same U.S. sanctions, with other countries likely to follow. Accordingly, we start from the premise that the only Venezuelan government that will be able to carry out a restructuring of Venezuela’s liabilities is a government—which could be a caretaker or transitional government—that demonstrates a credible commitment to the necessary reforms and can undertake binding obligations in a restructuring whose validity under applicable laws is not subject to challenge."

It's good that Walker and Cooper get these assumptions out of the way, because in my opinion the assumptions are unrealistic. In my opinion, Venezuela's Socialist president Nicolás Maduro Moros will never "demonstrate a credible commitment to the necessary reforms." This is the psychopathy we see today in governments around the world -- Syria's president using Sarin gas and barrel bombs on innocent women and children, the governments of Eritrea and Burundi using arrest, rape, murder and torture at will of anyone who expresses opposition to the government, or Burma's government using genocide and ethnic cleansing to eliminate a million Rohingyas.

In my opinion, Maduro's government is headed in the same direction as the governments of Syria, Eritrea, Burundi or Burma, and not in the direction of "a credible commitment to the necessary reforms."

Walker and Cooper agree with that, but make an even more unlikely assumption -- that Maduro will step down and give control to "a caretaker or transitional government -- that demonstrates a credible commitment to the necessary reforms."

So having said that, let's look at the actual proposal:

"Accordingly, we see as the first step and priority in any restructuring process the implementation of measures to protect the country’s assets, particularly those vulnerable to seizure, such as the proceeds from the sale of oil, while it simultaneously commences discussions with the IMF, bilateral lenders such as China and Russia and market participants -- a process that will take several months at the least. Once the nation’s assets are secure, Venezuela will be able to enter into good faith negotiations with the official sector and its creditors, use its scarce foreign exchange in the best interests of the country and stop immediately the pursuit of dangerously uneconomic transactions whose sole purpose is to avoid a bond default. ...

Knowing that a default is both inevitable and necessary, Venezuela must have as its highest priority the objective of protecting PDVSA’s cash generating assets located outside Venezuela."

Maduro in "good faith negotiations"? I don't think so.

Anyway, Walker and Cooper suggest several methods from Venezuela and PDVSA to effectively declare bankruptcy. They recommend that Venezuela modify its existing Venezuelan Public Sector Revitalization Law so that it will be recognized by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as "a collective judicial or administrative proceeding in a foreign country," where "collective" means "one that considers the rights and obligations of all creditors" in allocating PDVSA's assets. This would mean, for example, that the law could not could not favor Maduro's friends -- Russia and China, who are owed $37.2 billion -- over American and other Western creditors. This would require an independent entity outside of Maduro's control allocating PDVSA's assets among creditors and, once again, in my opinion Maduro would rather eat mud than agree to anything like that.

As a last resort, Walker and Cooper advise that if all else fails, then Venezuela should try to get the bankruptcy processed by a UK court, taking advantage of English law which may be more lenient.

Finally, the Walker and Cooper paper returns to the assumption of a transitional government:

"Our premise, however, is that the current regime cannot today restructure its debt and that the Venezuelan Public Sector Revitalization Law will be enacted by a government that is attempting to overcome a humanitarian and economic crisis of historic proportions created by prior administrations. Far from imposing sanctions, we assume that at such time U.S. policy will be to promote a restoration of Venezuela’s economy and the revival of its democratic"

So, the idea is that Maduro will agree to hand power over to an independent transitional government, and the U.S. courts will be extra-lenient, in order " to overcome a humanitarian and economic crisis of historic proportions created by prior administrations. Far from imposing sanctions."

Well, stranger things have happened. And even if Maduro doesn't voluntarily step down, maybe Venezuela's army will finally force him to step down, for the good of the country.

What the Walker and Cooper proposals really show is that Venezuela is at a fork in the road. If Maduro steps down and lets someone else govern, then some of the proposals discussed here could be implemented.

It's tempting to say that never happens, but in fact Communist and Socialist governments did end peacefully in Cuba, East Germany and Russia, and returned to at least a semi-capitalist free economy.

The other alternative is that Maduro refused to step down, and the streets are flowing with blood. Reuters and SSRN papers

Maduro tells Venezuelans to breed and eat rabbits


Yum! Dinner!
Yum! Dinner!

Venezuela's Socialist president Nicolás Maduro Moros has inflicted enormous pain and humiliation of the country's people, with empty store shelves and shortages of everything from toilet paper to medicines to vegetables, jailing owners of closed factories, jailing bakers who make croissants or brownies instead of bread, accusing Twitter of attacking his government, one of the highest murder rates in the world, and an inflation rate of 33% per MONTH, forcing many people to forage for food in garbage cans.

Now Maduro is announcing a "rabbit plan" to help out starving Venezuelans. He announced on state television, "For animal protein, which is such an important issue, a 'rabbit plan' has been approved because rabbits also breed like rabbits."

However, the rabbit plan faced an early setback. Freddy Bernal, the head of Maduro's food program, distributed baby rabbits to families in 15 communities, as a pilot project.

However, instead of eating the rabbits, people kept them as pets. According to Maduro, "When he came back, to his surprise he found people had put little bows on their rabbits and were keeping them as pets, it was an early setback to Plan Rabbit."

Bernal is telling Venezuelans to get over their love of rabbits. People need to understand "that the rabbit is not a pet, but two and a half kilos of meat with high protein and no cholesterol put on the table of Venezuelans." BBC and Daily Mail (London) and VOA

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Sep-17 World View -- With Trump's sanctions in place, Venezuela expected to go bankrupt soon thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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20-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's government in chaos as it faces a new election delay

Russia's 'telephone terror' forces evacuation of over 200,000 people

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia's 'telephone terror' forces evacuation of over 200,000 people


Moscow police block the entrance to Louis Vuitton after bomb scare (Reuters)
Moscow police block the entrance to Louis Vuitton after bomb scare (Reuters)

Dozens of Russian cities have been the target of hundreds of bomb scares, starting on Sunday, September 10. Police cleared two dozen buildings in the city of Omsk, including cinemas, schools, malls and City Hall. In Ryazan later that day, eleven malls and several cinemas and restaurants were evacuated.

On Monday, there were 42 bomb scares in four cities. On Tuesday, 45,000 people were evacuated from 205 buildings in 22 cities across Russia. The bomb scares have continued every day. It's estimated that over 200,000 people have been evacuated in cities across Russia so far, costing the authorities about $5.2 million. And the end is nowhere in sight.

The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the bomb threats "telephone terrorism." The hoaxes are being perpetrated by unknown individuals calling in bomb threats from internet phone systems. Since the internet is everywhere, the bomb threats could originate from anywhere in the world.

One report from an unnamed source says that the internet phone calls were tracked to an IP address in Ukraine. However, other sources in the Russia's Interior Ministry say that the hackers may be based in Brussels.

Other theories are that the hoax phone calls are from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), presumably by Russian citizens from Chechnya or Dagestan who went to Syria to fight Bashar al-Assad.

Russian authorities say that they're doing all they can to find the perpetrators, but for the time being, the authorities are stumped. Window on Eurasia and Moscow Times and Tass (Moscow) and Moscow Times

Kenya's government in chaos as it faces a new election delay

When Kenya's Supreme Court declared that the August 8 election was "invalid, null and void" because of electoral committee irregularities, it gave the government 60 days to hold a new election.

A new election was scheduled for October 17, but Safran Identity and Security, the French IT consultants that provide electronic election management system, says that it will not have its systems ready by then, and is requesting that the election be postponed at least until October 26.

The key players are unable to agree on the details of how to run the new election, and these disagreements raise doubts that any credible election can be held.

The incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, who was reelected in the election declared invalid, has called the four Supreme Court judges who voted to nullify the election "crooks," implying that they were paid off by the opposition. Kenyatta's supporters have been protesting in fron the Supreme Court building, claiming that they stole the election from Kenyatta.

The opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, blames the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which oversaw the first election. Odinga is demanding that its members resign, claiming that the rigged the first election in favor of Kenyatta, and that he was proven right when the Supreme Court nullified the election.

Because of numerous threats of violence, Supreme Court judge David Maraga issued a statement on Tuesday:

"1. You will recall that four weeks ago, the Judicial Service Commission addressed Kenyans through a press conference at this very place over the increasing incidence of attacks by various groups of people who were given to making threats and demands intended to interfere with the work of the Judiciary.

2. Since the Supreme Court delivered the judgement on the 2017 Presidential Election Petition on September 1, 2017, these attacks have become even more aggressive, culminating in lengthy uninterrupted demonstrations right outside the Supreme Court Building yesterday and today.

3. Whereas we recognise and respect the rights of citizens to picket as provided in the Constitution, these demonstrations have bordered on violence and are clear, intended to intimidate the Judiciary and

4. Further, in a particularly unfortunate incident yesterday in Kirinyaga County, Hon. Martha Karua was blocked by demonstrators from accessing the Kerugoya Law Courts for the hearing of her own petition. This amounts to intimidation of petitioners and should never be allowed to happen."

The Supreme Court has said that on Wednesday (today), the Supreme Court would provide details of the reasoning behind its ruling nullifying the August 8 election. Standard Media (Kenya) and Bloomberg and Chronicle (Zimbabwe) and Twitter - David Maraga

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's government in chaos as it faces a new election delay thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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19-Sep-17 World View -- Turkey removing evolution from textbooks, adding more on jihad

Stanislav Petrov, 'The man who saved the world,' dies at age 77

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Next, Turkey will teach that the sun orbits around the earth


High school students in Istanbul protest the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkish high schools.  This protest occurred prior to the July 15, 2016, coup (BBC)
High school students in Istanbul protest the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkish high schools. This protest occurred prior to the July 15, 2016, coup (BBC)

Secularists in Turkey are outraged that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is to be removed from high school textbooks and curricula on biology, and replaced with claims that forms of life are unchanged. Supposedly, mechanisms like adaptation, mutation and natural and artificial selection will still be taught, but students apparently will not be permitted to conclude that these mechanisms cause life forms to evolve.

At the same time, there will be more classes on Sunni Islam religion, and the new textbooks have increased emphasis of the importance of jihad or holy war, saying that it means "love of homeland."

The new curriculum will also have much less information about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk declared that Turkey would be a secular state, with freedom of worship for people of all religions, including Jews and Christians.

The reason being given for all of these changes is that they're necessary for the protection of Turkey, following the aborted coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that he wants to create a "pious generation," and these changes are necessary.

However, as usual for Erdogan, that's a lie. For years, starting long before the coup attempt, Erdogan has been aggregating power to himself, and has been changing Turkey's character from a secular state to a conservative Islamist state.

In June of last year, a month before the coup attempt, there were a wave of protests in hundreds of schools across Turkey over restrictions on student freedom on overtly religious grounds. Students protested restrictions on holding concerts at school, on not allowing girls' hockey teams, and on secular literature or poetry societies. They feared that ordinary high schools would turning in strict religious schools, where girls and boys are segregated, with increased emphasis on teaching Sunni Islamic religion and religious practices.

Since the coup, Erdogan has ordered the firing or jailing of well over 100,000 people in all professions, from waitresses to judges. This purge has included the firing of more than 33,000 of the nation's teachers, about 4%. In addition, nearly 5,600 academics have been dismissed and some 880 schools closed for alleged links to terror groups. AP and Hurriyet (Ankara) and BBC (21-June-2016)

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Stanislav Petrov, 'The man who saved the world,' dies at age 77

It's been revealed that Stanislav Petrov died on May 9 at age 77, though his death only became widely known this month.

Petrov is credited as being "The man who saved the world," because of events that transpired on September 26, 1983.

Petrov was on duty at a Russian nuclear early warning center, when a siren sounded, and he received a computer readout saying that the United States had launched a missile. The big, back-lit red screen had the word "launch" on it. According to Petrov in 2013:

"A minute later the siren went off again. The second missile was launched. Then the third, and the fourth, and the fifth. Computers changed their alerts from 'launch' to 'missile strike'."

Petrov was frozen in place. He believed that if he passed the aler up the military chain, then the Soviet Army would immediately launch a retaliatory missile strike. Instead, he debated with himself what to do, and ended up doing nothing:

"Twenty-three minutes later I realized that nothing had happened. If there had been a real strike, then I would already know about it. It was such a relief."

Petrov violated military protocol, but he was not reprimanded for doing so. Instead, he received an official reprimand not correctly updating his log book.

It's possible, as many people believe, that Petrov's hesitancy saved the world from a nuclear war, but I actually doubt that conclusion. Russia was in a generational Unraveling era, where the entire Soviet bureaucracy, just like Petrov, would have been extremely hesitant to take the word of a computer that a war had begun. I think that it's most likely that the military leadership would have taken a few minutes to verify the attack before launching a counterattack, and war would have been averted anyway. But that's just my guess. We'll never know for sure. Russia Today and BBC (26-Sep-2013)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Sep-17 World View -- Turkey removing evolution from textbooks, adding more on jihad thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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18-Sep-17 World View -- Hamas announces it will reconcile with the Fatah and Palestinian Authority

Egypt forces Hamas to capitulate to Fatah and reconcile

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hamas announces it will reconcile with the Fatah and Palestinian Authority


Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Hamas members (L) (Reuters)
Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Hamas members (L) (Reuters)

We've heard this several times before: Hamas and and Fatah (Palestinian Authority), the two Palestinian groups, have agreed to reconcile and form a "unity government." The new government will contain ministers and MPs from both Hamas and Fatah, and will govern both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The Palestinians took control of the Gaza Strip in 2005, after Israel voluntarily withdrew in a move to promote a new step in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. However, the terror group Hamas took control of Gaza and used it as a launchpad for attacks on Israel. In 2007, Fatah attempted to use force to take control of Gaza, with the plan to form a "unity government" between Hamas and Fatah. But the entire Mideast was shocked when Hamas overpowered and defeated the much more powerful Fatah forces. This brief war was punctuated by many atrocities and a great deal of vitriol, resulting in what seems a permanent split between Hamas and Fatah.

Israel and Hamas had brief wars early in 2009, and again in 2014, and these wars triggered renewed calls for a unity government between Hamas and Fatah. A particularly forceful attempt in 2014 raised hopes, but ended quickly.

So Hamas's statement on Sunday morning saying that it was ready to reconcile with Fatah, form a unity government, and hold general elections came as a surprise.

However, there's little reason to believe that reconciliation will last any longer this time than it has in the past, since neither Hamas nor Fatah have kept their promises in the past. Times of Israel and Palestinian News Network and Arab News (Saudi Arabia) and Al-Jazeera (Qatar)

Egypt forces Hamas to capitulate to Fatah and reconcile

The reconciliation announcement was brought about through the determination of Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who called Fatah and Hamas delegations to meet in Cairo last week for reconcilation talks. According to reports, the Hamas delegation refused to be in the same room as the Fatah delegation.

Hamas had refused to reconcile with Fatah in the past, but was forced to do so now for several reasons:

All of this has lead to a financial crisis for Hamas. So with a financial gun to its head, Hamas was forced by Egypt to announce a capitulation, and an agreement to reconcile with Hamas.

How long this magnanimous feeling of reconciliation will last is anyone's guess, but even if it succeeds, there may be unitended consequences. Since the US, Europe and Israel list Hamas as a terror organization, the West may be restricted from negotiating with or providing aid to a unity government. Going further, if there are elections, it's quite possible that Hamas would win the elections giving it governing control of both Gaza and the West Bank. Asharq Al-Awsat (London) and Al-Ahram (Cairo) and The National (UAE)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Sep-17 World View -- Hamas announces it will reconcile with the Fatah and Palestinian Authority thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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17-Sep-17 World View -- Global food price increases affecting world political stability

UN identifies three causes of increase in world hunger

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Global food price increases affecting world political stability


FAO Global Food Price Index, 1961-present
FAO Global Food Price Index, 1961-present

Hunger is a major source of geopolitical instability, whether on a regional or a global level. If a man is unable to feed his family, then he may feel he has no choice but to join an army or militia that will give him money that he can send to his family. And if the army or militia is fighting someone whom the leaders or the politicians blame as being the cause of high food prices and hunger, so much the better if he gets to kill those people.

Food prices surged throughout the 2000s decade, and then began to fall as the global financial crisis forced to buy less expensive foods, such as cereals and sugar instead of meat. However, food prices began to spike again in 2016, raising concern among UN officials. Food prices fell slightly in August, but they're still significantly higher than in August of last year.

Regional food shortages are even worse. The situation is unprecedented in recent times, with four countries simultaneously facing a food crisis.

South Sudan was officially declared to be in a state of famine in February 2017, the first such declaration in six years. Some 100,000 people in South Sudan are facing famine, while 4.9 million people are classified as facing a food crisis.

In Yemen, 17 million people, or two-thirds of the population, are estimated to be food insecure, with the risk of a famine declaration very high.

In northern Nigeria, 8.1 million people are facing acute food insecurity conditions, and in Somalia, an estimated 2.9 million people have been severely food insecure from six months ago.

Other countries are in near-crisis condition: Afghanistan, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar and Syria.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, food shortages and increasing food prices are major factors in leading to the next generational crisis war, or world war. After World War II, officials sought to end hunger forever through the Rockefeller Foundation's "Green Revolution," which brought modern agricultural techniques and technology to countries around the world. These technologies included new hybrid and genetically modified seed varieties and the use of pesticides.

Today, however, the advantages of the Green Revolution have been dissipated. Pesticides and fertilizers have been overused, and have been damaging the land and environment. Genetically modified seeds and foods have generated political controversy, and have plateaued in effectiveness.

And finally there's the unavoidable problem that population keeps increasing. More people means there are more mouths to feed, and more people mean that farmland is used up by urban sprawl, so there's less food production for more people.

If men cannot feed their families, then they will go to war rather than starve. The "good thing" about this is that a generational crisis war kills a lot of people, making more farmland available, and leaving fewer people to be fed. That's the way the world works. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Food Price Index and United Nations and Guardian

UN identifies three causes of increase in world hunger

Some 815 million people were hungry in 2016, about 11% of the world population, an increase of 38 million from 2015. Of these, 489 million hungry people live in countries affected by war.

In an interview with the BBC, Kostas Stamoulis of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that they've identified three reasons for the sharp increase in the number of undernourished people from 2015 to 2016 (my transcription):

In his last point, Stamoulis is certainly referring to, among others, Venezuela, which wasted billions of dollars building a "Socialist Paradise" when oil prices were high, with the result that happens 100% of the time: A "Socialist Catastrophe," where people starve and, in the case of Venezuela, can't even afford toilet paper. United Nations and World Food Program

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Sep-17 World View -- Global food price increases affecting world political stability thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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16-Sep-17 World View -- What you should do about the huge Equifax data breach

Equifax and the rise of Generation-X

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

The huge Equifax data breach puts makes many people vulnerable to identity theft


Equifax headquarters
Equifax headquarters

Here's something that I wrote in my Feb 26 2013 World View article:

"Apparently, Equifax's networks and databases have been hacked

I use different e-mail addresses for almost everything. That way, I know whether a company is using my e-mail address for spam.

In 2005, I registered with the Equifax web site to do some research for a brief period. Starting about a month ago, I've been receiving several spam messages a day to that e-mail address.

Therefore, I conclude that Equifax's networks and data bases have been hacked, and e-mail addresses have been stolen at the very least. Whether Equifax's credit card databases have also been hacked is something I have no way of knowing."

I still receive spam messages to that e-mail address. The latest one was from someone named Natasha who is writing to "foreigners as they are fascinated by the beauty and simplicity of Slavic women," and by the "simplicity and the intense aura of emotions which we have." Tempting, huh?

Apparently, Equifax didn't take network security seriously, even after they'd already been hacked. This doesn't surprise me in the least. When I was working for Ability Networks, their servers were hacked by a combined Phishing/Ransomware attack. No data was stolen, but I warned my employer that they should at least encrypt the social security numbers in their main data base. My warnings were ignored because spending money on security doesn't generate sales.

So here it is over four years later, and Equifax's data bases have been the target of possibly the worst data breach in history. Some 143 million people had their personal information stolen, including social security numbers names, driver's license numbers, dates of birth, and so on. Most of the people are Americans, but some are from Canada, Britain and Europe, and possibly other countries as well.

Somebody who had all that information about you could take out a big loan in your name, commit fraud in your name, or steal your entire identity.

Somebody now has a copy of all that Equifax information in their own database. They can start selling it to other people, or they could use it for other purposes. Since social security numbers can't change, this can happen for years to come. Economist and Fox Business

Steps you should consider taking to protect yourself

I got a phone call today from a perky-sounding girl who said that I qualify for a big discount on the vacation of my dreams, and all she needs is a little information. This is a typical scam for collecting information, sometimes to augment additional information available to the hacker, to get a complete picture to be used for fraud or identity threat. Do not, under any circumstances, give any information to anyone under such circumstances, even the name of your pet cat.

A variation is a "Spear Phishing" attack. You receive an e-mail message from someone you know, perhaps your boss or a friend or coworker or your bank or your broker. The message contains personal information, proving that the message is legitimate. It asks to click on a link, which ends up infecting your computer with malware, allowing the hacker to steal your banking information. The e-mail information was carefully crafted to fool you, perhaps combining information from several sources, such as the Equifax hack, plus your Facebook page, plus a scam phone call. If you receive an e-mail message that asks you to download something, even if it's from someone you know, then contact the supposed sender, and ask him why the hell he's so stupid that he's sending you something so dangerous and inappropriate.

For the protection of your computer, you should make sure that you have anti-virus and anti-malware software installed, and that it's up to date.

For protection from identity theft, you might consider getting a "credit lock" or "credit freeze." This is a service offered by each of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, for about $10 per year each. Equifax is waiving its fee for one year, but you'll still have to pay the others. This service prevents someone from getting your credit report without your permission, blocking them from taking out a loan in your name. It's a pain in the neck to administer, but you may consider it worth the trouble.

The following are links to articles that provide additional information on the above and other steps to protect yourself: Federal Trade Commission and CBS News and NPR and CNBC and Engadget

Equifax and the rise of Generation-X

As I wrote above, Equifax obviously didn't really care much about network security. In my experience, Gen-Xers ignore warnings about things like security if the warnings come from a Boomer, of whom many Gen-Xers are often contemptuous.

Having been in the computer industry my entire life, I've seen several disasters for exactly that reason. At Computer Sciences Corp., a Gen-Xer sabotaged someone's code. At a couple of places, including Fidelity and CACI, managers fired people who warned that the project was headed for failure, and then the project failed anyway. Every disaster of this type that I've personally seen has always involved a dysfunctional action by a Gen-Xers to sabotage a Boomer. I've written about this on my web site dozens of times over the years, and it apparently stems from their anger at their parents' divorce in the 1980s.

The most amazing example is what happened on the afternoon of October 1, 2013, when President Obama stood up at a press conference to launch Obamacare. When a reporter asked why so few people could log on, he answered that millions of people were enrolling for insurance, so the web sites were slow. As it turned out, only six people across the country were able to enroll on that day.

How is it possible that Obama and the entire White House were so completely blindsided by the disaster that was already unfolding that they didn't even know what was going on hours after the launch had begun? How many people had to lie? How many people had to commit fraud? How many people had to be silenced or fired? How many layers of management were lied to, to prevent Obama from knowing the size of the disaster, hours after the disaster was already in progress?

I wrote about this at length in "Healthcare.gov -- The greatest software development disaster in history". As I described, the reason that Obama was completely blindsided on Oct 1, 2013, is because the thousands of people on the healthcare.gov project all lied, every one of them. Obama got what he deserved, and the rest of the country got screwed.

This is the world we live in now, where black is white and white is black, whether you're in the mortgage industry, the computer industry, the newspaper industry, or any other industry, and anyone who talks about what's really going on is subjected to being silenced, one way or another.

Here's something that a web site reader recently wrote to me:

"I have spent my entire adult life in mortgage lending and the amount of corruption is stunning. I have in the past tried to report issues. What I got was referred to agency after agency to ending in frustration. There was even one time that after getting my personal info the guy started asking me if I had some kind of grudge. I said no but asked how that would matter anyway if the information was correct. He then started just burrowing into me, didn't ask a thing about the subject I called about.

It's like there is this secret club with wholesalers and government workers. Like nothing I had seen before. Scared me; thought I was going to be targeted."

These things were almost unthinkable prior in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Silent and Boomer generations were in charge. They only became possible with the rise of Generation-X.

So now getting back to the situation at Equifax, it's even a lot worse than described above.

Equifax learned about the hack on July 29, but didn't inform the public for several weeks. Two days later, on August 1, three Equifax executives sold $1.8 million worth of shares, allegedly to avoid losing money from the stock price falling when the breach was made public. Equifax claims that they were going to sell the shares anyway, and didn't know about the breach.

Equifax itself is in serious trouble for incompetence in protecting consumers' personal data. The attackers breached Equifax's server in April because of a vulnerability in the "Apache Struts" web application software. The Apache Software Foundation had released a patch for the vulnerability in March, but Equifax didn't bother to install the patch, which would have taken minutes.

So Equifax is in trouble for multiple reasons: They didn't install the patch; when the breach was discovered, they didn't notify anyone for weeks; and executives sold their shares, possibly violating insider trading laws. And we won't even both to list the ways in which Equifax botched the announcement of the breach. Based on my experience and years in the computer industry, these are the actions of a bunch of dumb, incompetent kids who think they know everything and really know nothing. They're getting what they deserve. Law.com and Wired and Engadget

Related: Obamacare: 500M lines of code, $500M, only 60% completed (01-Dec-2013)

Release of DOJ memo reveals massive criminal fraud by JP Morgan in financial crisis

I've been writing for years that it was mathematically provable that the banks had committed massive fraud in knowingly selling defective subprime mortgage backed synthetic securities, causing the financial crisis. These fraudulent synthetic securities were created by Gen-Xers who earned Master's degrees in "financial engineering" in the 1990s, and applied their skills to defraud their fathers' generation in the 2000s. It's provable that the fraudulent securities were created by Gen-Xers, since their Boomer bosses had no clue how to do it. But it's also provable that their Boomer bosses knew what was going on, because the financial engineers were taking B-rated securities, slicing and dicing them, and magically converting them into AAA-rated securities, which was mathematically impossible. I wrote about all this in my 2010 article, "Financial Crisis Inquiry hearings provide 'smoking gun' evidence of widespread criminal fraud".

I've repeatedly accused the Obama administration of purposely covering up this criminal activity, and instead allowing JP Morgan, Citibank, and other banks to contribute billions of dollars to Obama's campaigns and pet projects, effectively becoming co-conspirators in the massive criminal fraud that caused the financial crisis.

A 2013 memo from the Obama Justice Department, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, was just released, and it proves that these accusations were all true:

"By this action, the United States seeks to recover civil penalties [against JPMorgan Chase] for a fraudulent and deceptive scheme to package and sell residential mortgage-backed securities [that the bank] knew contained a material amount of materially defective loans. ...

JPMorgan knowingly securitized and sold billions of dollars of mortgage loans that were originated in material violation of underwriting guidelines and law."

Other revelations in the 92 page memo include:

The 2010 article that I wrote was about Citibank, and it proved mathematically that Citibank must have committed exactly this kind of criminal fraud. The memo about JP Morgan shows that the Obama Justice Department was fully aware of this criminal fraud, and was committed to using the Justice Department to cover up the criminal fraud in return for billions of dollars in payments and contributions.

This week there's a lot of stuff coming out about the Obama administration, such as Susan Rice's illegal unmasking of political opponents, confirmation that the Lois Lerner's IRS illegally targeted political opponents. I'm a pretty cynical person. I look upon this as happening because the Obama administration had a Generation-X culture, with little regard for the law or common sense. Let's hope that the Boomer culture of the Trump administration does better. Vanity Fair

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Sep-17 World View -- What you should do about the huge Equifax data breach thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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15-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's (Myanmar's) ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas leading to humanitarian catastrophe

Rohingya genocide forces India to choose between Burma and Bangladesh

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Burma's (Myanmar's) ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas leading to humanitarian catastrophe


Aung San Suu Kyi giving her ironic Nobel Peace Prize lecture in 2012, wherein she called for international protection of refugees
Aung San Suu Kyi giving her ironic Nobel Peace Prize lecture in 2012, wherein she called for international protection of refugees

Genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingyas in northern Rakhine state by Burma's Buddhist army continues.

According to the United nations, 389,000 Rohingyas have fled into Bangladesh since August 25, 10,000 in just the last 24 hours. 60% of those arriving are children. Dozens are being killed or losing limbs by tripping land mines placed by Burma's army on the border with Bangladesh.

Within Bangladesh, there's a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Bangladesh officials are restricting NGOs from delivering food, water and other humanitarian aid to the hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, because that would only encourage them to stay. Bangladesh officials are insisting that Burma must take back all the Rohingyas that have fled across the border. Burmese officials are refusing, or saying that they'll only take back the ones who have papers proving Burmese citizenship -- which none of them have.

Starting in 2011, Buddhists have been attacking Muslims in villages across Burma, particularly the 1.1 million ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State. Mobs of Buddhists have attacked Muslims, conducting atrocities including torture and rape, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to flee from the attacks. Buddhist civilians have joined the Burmese army in burning down entire Rohingya villages to the ground. On August 25, Rohingya activists retaliated with carried out coordinated attacks against 30 Burma police outposts. This triggered massive violence by Buddhist civilians and the Buddhist army.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that the attacks by Burmese security forces on Rohingyas are "completely unacceptable." He told reporters:

"The humanitarian situation it is catastrophic. When we met last week there was 125,000 Rohingya refugees who had fled into Bangladesh. That number has now tripled to nearly 380,000. Many are staying in makeshift settlements or with those communities who are generously sharing what they have. But women and children are arriving hungry and malnourished.

[Question: Is this ethnic cleansing?]

A third of the [Rohingya] population had to flee the country - can you find a better word to describe it?"

BBC and AP

At press conference, Boris Johnson and Rex Tillerson make delusional statements

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the word "catastrophic" certainly does apply to this situation, not just because of the humanitarian aspects, but because of the explosive nature of this event for entire region.

Long-time readers are aware that I keep pointing out that it's a core principle of Generational Dynamics that, even in a dictatorship, major decisions are made by masses of people, by generations of people. The attitudes of politicians are irrelevant, except insofar as they represent the attitudes of the people. So, for example, the Holocaust and World War II would have occurred with or without Adolf Hitler. It was the masses of German people who brought about the Holocaust, not Adolf Hitler.

So it's true that Burmese officials, including Aung San Suu Kyi, are to be condemned for supporting and conducting genocide and ethnic cleansing targeting the Rohingyas. But it's the masses of Buddhist Burman people who are bringing about the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas, as we described last week, as acts of revenge for what happened in World War II. At that time, the Buddhists were on the side of the Imperial Japanese, fighting the British colonists and the Rohingyas. There were massive atrocities committed on all sides, and those atrocities by the Buddhist Burmans, by the Muslim Rohingyas, and by the Christian British, are now being paid back. As that article describes, the murderous Buddhist hatred for the Rohingyas is deep and entrenched, and cannot be changed by some vote in the UN Security Council.

So that's why statements by Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a press conference in London on Thursday are naïve to the point of being delusional.

Boris Johnson said (my transcription):

"To answer directly your point about Daw Suu state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi - let's be clear. She led Burma after a period of decades of repression by a military junta. And I yield to no one in my admiration of what she stood for, and the way she fought for democracy. I think many people around the world share that admiration. But I think it's now vital for her to use that moral capital and that authority to make the point about the suffering of the people of Rakhine.

And I think - nobody wants to see a return to military rule in Burma. Nobody wants to see a return of the generals. But it's also vital that the civilian government and that is Daw Suu - for whom as I say I have a great deal of administration - but it is vital for her now to make clear that this is an abomination, and that those people will be allowed back, to Burma - and that preparation is being made, and that the abuse of their human rights and the killings hundreds, perhaps even thousands, the killings will stop."

For an example of very deep historical irony, read Aung San Suu Kyi' "Nobel Peace Prize Lecture" when she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012: Nobel Prize Foundation

Boris Johnson obviously has great affection for Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he calls by a familiar name Daw Suu, but if Daw Suu were suddenly to express any sympathy for the Rohingyas, and for the atrocities, rapes and murders that her government is perpetrating on the Rohingyas, she would probably raped or murdered herself. As Leo Tolstoy says, describing Napoleon's invasion of Russia, where "millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other": "Had Napoleon then forbidden [his soldiers] to fight the Russians, they would have killed him and have proceeded to fight the Russians because it was inevitable."

So now let's turn to Rex Tillerson's statement:

"With respect to the horrors that we are witnessing, occurring in Burma, I think it is a defining moment in many ways for this new emerging democracy - although it is a power sharing arrangement - we all clearly understand that - and so we appreciate the difficult and complex situation Aung San Suu Kyi finds herself in, and I think it is important that the global community speak out in support of what we all know is the expectation is towards the treatment of people, regardless of their ethnicity, and that this violence must STOP, this persecution must STOP, it's been characterized by many as ethnic cleansing - that must STOP. And we need to support Aung San Suu Kyi and her leadership, but also be very clear and unequivocal to the military power sharing in that government that this is unacceptable, and this is going to many ways define the direction that Burma will take. They need our strong support, we should give them our strong support."

This statement is just a delusional as Boris Johnson's statement. The violence will not stop, the persecution will not stop, and the ethnic cleansing will not stop. Even if some agreement could be reached for a ceasefire, it would be only a temporary ceasefire.

Except for North Korea, the situation with the Rohingyas is probably the most dangerous in the world right now, the most likely to trigger a major war.

It's expected that hundreds of thousands more Rohingyas will flee Burma for Bangladesh, where they're not wanted. This is going to bring about a great deal more Rohingya activism, and terrorist attacks in Burma. At some point, Bangladesh may feel it necessary to take military action to force the Rohingyas back to Burma, the only alternative being to set up huge new refugee camps. Jihadists from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia are taking notice of the atrocities that the Buddhists in Burma are perpetrating on the Muslim Rohingyas, and it's almost certain that there will be backlash from al-Qaeda. Telegraph (London) and AFP and Reuters

Related: Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas witnessed by BBC reporter (09-Sep-2017)

Rohingya genocide forces India to choose between Burma and Bangladesh

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi initially took a position completely on the side of Burma, with the foreign ministry saying that India stands firmly with Myanmar in its "fight against terrorism."

This came on the heels of an announcement by the home office that India would deport its entire Rohingya population, thought to number about 40,000.

According to an Indian analysis, there are several reasons why Modi sided so heavily with Burma, and against Bangladesh and the Rohingyas:

It's significant that Myanmar has announced categorically that its territory will not be allowed to be used for militant activities against India.

However, Narendra Modi has had to slightly modify his policy, by acknowledging the seriousness of the situation caused by the flow or refugees. The reasons are:

India is walking a tightrope between Myanmar and Bangladesh, but has not yet been able to condemn Myanmar’s excessive use of force in the Rakhine state. Live Mint (India) and Swarajya (India) and BBC (5-Sep)

North Korea fires another ballistic missile over Japan


Map showing that the new missile test is considerably more powerful than the previous one on August 29, and that Guam is now within reach (Korea Times)
Map showing that the new missile test is considerably more powerful than the previous one on August 29, and that Guam is now within reach (Korea Times)

As I'm writing this on Thursday evening ET, North Korea has launched another ballistic missile.

Several leaders and analysts have come out with strong hard-hitting statements like, "This is completely unacceptable," and "No one's going to tolerate this sort of thing."

The United Nations Security Council will have another emergency meeting on Friday. Korea Times

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's (Myanmar's) ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas leading to humanitarian catastrophe thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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14-Sep-17 World View -- Kidnapping and sham trial of Lee Ming-che brings China-Taiwan relations to another low

China kidnaps and tortures Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che for sham confession

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China kidnaps and tortures Taiwanese activist Lee Ming-che for sham confession


Taiwanese editorial cartoon depicting commonly held attitude toward China's trial of Lee Ming-che (News Lens)
Taiwanese editorial cartoon depicting commonly held attitude toward China's trial of Lee Ming-che (News Lens)

Lee Ming-che, a community college teacher in Taiwan who has posted criticisms of the mainland Communist Party of China (CCP), was kidnapped by Chinese authorities on March 19 in Macau, as he was traveling to China to visit a friend. There was no word of his fate until March 28, when Chinese authorities confirmed that he had been jailed on charges of "pursuing activities harmful to national security." Lee is the first Taiwanese to be accused based on a new law that specifies harsh punishment for CCP critics.

Lee was not permitted visits by his family, and he had no lawyer except one appointed by the CCP. Only when his trial began, on Monday, September 11, were his wife and mother permitted to see him in the courtroom.

On Monday, the CCP released videos of Lee confessing to his alleged crimes, referring to comments written in an instant messaging group:

"I spread some attacks, theories that maliciously attacked and defamed China’s government, the Chinese Communist Party and China’s current political system, and I incited the subversion of state power."
There are few people who doubt that Lee's "confession" was coerced, probably by means of torture.

Lee’s wife Lee Ching-yu said to the Taiwanese media, "Please forgive Lee Ming-che if you see him doing or saying something disturbing in court under duress. That is just the Chinese government skillfully extracting a 'guilty confession.'" Taipei Times (28-Mar) and Reuters and News Lens (Taiwan)

Kidnapping and sham trial of Lee Ming-che brings China-Taiwan relations to another low

The Chinese kidnapped, jailed, tortured, coerced a confession from and tried in court someone who was effectively a nobody, and nothing that he said could possibly have done any harm to the Chinese government. So the question arises why China would spend millions of dollars to do this with no apparent purpose.

According to Taiwanese Judicial Reform Foundation executive director Kao Jung-chih, the timing of the trial was deliberately set for Monday to stop Lee’s wife, Lee Ching-yu, from traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 10 and reporting on her husband’s case at a meeting of the UN working group on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances, since the court trial disqualified Lee Ming-che as a victim of enforced disappearance, which international law treats as a crime against humanity.

Many analysts believe that China is using the Lee case to send a warning that a crackdown on Taiwan is coming. According to one analyst:

"Beijing has been in the mode of demonstrating that China is not happy with Taiwan and can cause Taiwan pain in a variety of ways. In that sense, Beijing welcomes a deterioration of relations with Taiwan."

Taiwan's premier William Lai begged China to return Lee to Taiwan: "Lee works at a non-profit organization as a human rights advocate. There is no way he could subvert the Chinese government. I felt sorry for Lee being forced to confess at a trial in a manner nobody could accept." Sentinel (Taiwan) and VOA and Taipei Times and News Lens (Taiwan)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Sep-17 World View -- Kidnapping and sham trial of Lee Ming-che brings China-Taiwan relations to another low thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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13-Sep-17 World View -- Qatar and Saudi Arabia have vitriolic exchange at Arab League meeting

Donald Trump promises to solve the Gulf crisis 'fairly easily'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Donald Trump promises to solve the Gulf crisis 'fairly easily'


Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif (L) meets with Qatar's ambassador in Tehran on Monday.  Close relations between Iran and Qatar are at the center of the Gulf crisis (Tehran Times)
Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif (L) meets with Qatar's ambassador in Tehran on Monday. Close relations between Iran and Qatar are at the center of the Gulf crisis (Tehran Times)

On September 7, at a press conference at the White House with the emir of Kuwait, president Donald Trump promised to end the Gulf crisis that began on June 5 when four Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt -- imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar. The reasons given were Qatar's support for Iran, Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the four countries consider to be a terrorist group, and Qatar's aggressive use of al-Jazeera, especially the Arabic channel, to broadcast incitement to overthrow their governments.

Kuwait had been attempting to mediate the crisis, and at the press conference, he indicated that he would welcome help from the United States. Trump said:

PRESIDENT TRUMP: "While I do appreciate and respect the mediation, I would be willing to be the mediator. I was telling the Emir before that if I can help between UAE and Saudi Arabia, where I have a very great relationship -- I spoke with the King yesterday, King Salman, who is a friend of mine, and we spoke on unrelated subjects, but we had a long conversation. If I can help mediate between Qatar and, in particular, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, I would be willing to do so. And I think you’d have a deal worked out very quickly.

I think it’s something that's going to get solved fairly easily. Kuwait has been really the leader of getting it solved, and we appreciate that very much. But I do believe that we’ll solve it. If we don't solve it, I will be a mediator right here in the White House. We’ll come together. Very quickly, I think, we’ll have something solved."

So Trump phoned the leaders of both Qatar and Saudi Arabia and asked these two leaders to speak to each other and resolve the issues. Early on Saturday, Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a phone conversation. It was their first conversation since the crisis began, Unfortunately, no issues were resolved. Instead, they got into a public spat about who initiated the call, and who wanted it more than the other.

On Tuesday (yesterday), Trump called the leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stressing the need to end terrorism. Tuesday’s call is Trump's third to bin Zayed since the crisis began in June. Trump has also called Saudi King Salman five times, and the emir of Qatar two times. White House (7-Sep) and The National (UAE) and Bloomberg (9-Sep)

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Qatar and Saudi Arabia have vitriolic exchange at Tuesday's Arab League meeting

If any proof was needed that the Gulf crisis will not be solved "fairly easily," and in fact will not solved for a long time to come, it was provided at the Arab League meeting held in Cairo on Tuesday.

Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi immediately threw down the gauntlet by referring to Iran as an "honorable country," and saying that ties had warmed since the blockade began.

The increasingly belligerent relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the increasingly friendly relationship between Qatar and Iran, have become perhaps the biggest difference at the core of the acrimonious Saudi-Qatar relationship.

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia became explosive early in 2016 when Saudi Arabia executed 47 alleged terrorists -- 46 Sunnis and one Shia, Mohammad Baqir Nimr al-Nimr. Iran and Shias were infuriated because the execution implied that Shia terrorism is equivalent to Sunni terrorism. Iranian mobs firebombed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and attacked the consulate in Meshaad. Saudi Arabia and Iran broke diplomatic relations as a result. Other Saudi allies followed suit, including Qatar.

However, Qatar restored diplomatic relations with Iran last month. This is a move that was made since the June 5 blockade began, and shows that the crisis is today less likely to be resolved than it was just a few weeks ago.

So at the Arab League meeting, when Qatar's al-Muraikhi said that Iran was an "honorable country," he was really rubbing Saudi Arabia's nose in the disagreement.

In response, Ahmed al-Kattan, Saudi Arabia's envoy to the Arab League, said:

"Congratulations to Iran and soon, God willing, you will regret it.

If the brethren in Qatar think they may have a benefit in their rapprochement with Iran, I'd like to say that they have this evaluation wrong in every way. The Qataris will be held responsible for such a decision. ...

The coming days will prove them wrong because we know that the Qatari people will never accept the Iranians to play a role in Qatar."

That sounds like a threat to me.

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said:

"[The Gulf crisis continues] due to Qatar's unwillingness for peace.

Their direction needs to change and we will continue our policies until Qatar changes its policies of aggression against the four boycotting countries, as long as Doha [Qatar] supports and funds terrorism and intervenes in the Middle East countries' internal affairs."

So Qatar's al-Muraikhi said that the crisis started when UAE-backed hackers hacked the Qatar News Agency, posting fake news. He added:

"Then we saw this vicious media campaign against Qatar, waged by rabid dogs backed by some regimes. [UAE minister] Anwar [Gargash] forgot to mention that the four blockading countries tried a military action against my country in 1996."

Reuters and Al Jazeera (Qatar) and Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

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  • Egypt calls Qatar an 'enemy state' (30-Jun-2016)
  • Gulf Arab states have major split over Egypt and Iran (06-Mar-2014)
  • (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Sep-17 World View -- Qatar and Saudi Arabia have vitriolic exchange at Arab League meeting thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    12-Sep-17 World View -- Pakistan alarmed as highly educated students become terrorists

    Pakistan says that there is 'no terrorist wing at Karachi University'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Students at Pakistan's prestigious Karachi University implicated in terrorism


    University of Karachi, Pakistan
    University of Karachi, Pakistan

    Karachi police investigators and intelligence officials last week conducted a raid on Ansar-ul-Sharia Pakistan (the supporters of Islamic law in Pakistan, or ASP), capturing or killing almost all of the members of the terror group.

    Acting on a tip, police did a house-to-house search for members of the group, and in the ensuing gunfight, four ASP members were killed and several others injured. One cop was also killed, and another injured, with the rest taken into custody. However, the ASP group's mastermind Abdul Kareem Sarosh Siddiqui was injured in the gunfight, but escaped.

    Siddiqui had studied Applied Physics at the University of Karachi, where his father is a professor. A Siddiqui associate, Abu Saleh, was captured by police yesterday. A search of his home resulted in one laptop, two mobile phones, and a hard disk.

    The group was made up of 10 to 12 highly educated people who had studied at at well-known universities, including University of Karachi, the Nadirshaw Eduljee Dinshaw University of Engineering and Technology (NEDUET), and the Dawood University of Engineering and Technology (DUET), all in Karachi, and three of the most prestigious universities in the country.

    ASP may have been formed as early as 2015, and obtained training from al-Qaeda groups in Afghanistan and Syria. The group only became active earlier this year, when they gunned down a policeman in February, and then claimed responsibility for killing a retired colonel in April. As ASP conducted additional targeted killings, they became more confident, and they began killing once per month, and later almost on a weekly basis.

    As in the case of a TV crime drama where the FBI agents profile the perps, police knew that the ASP militants were getting careless, and that soon they would make a mistake that would allow them to be captured. On September 2, they attempted an assassination of a politician Khwaja Izharul Hassan, because he is a "pro-American MQM leader," referring to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) political party. Hassan was unhurt by the assassination attempt, but it led to the tip that allowed the ASP militants to be captured. South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP - India) and Dawn (Karachi) and The News (Pakistan)

    Pakistan says that there is 'no terrorist wing at Karachi University'

    Arrests of highly educated terrorists are proving an embarrassment to Karachi universities and is raising alarm bells, raising the question whether students are receiving terrorist training at these universities.

    At meetings of university officials last week, there were suggestions that students should be vetted and cleared by police with "character certificates" before being permitted to attend university, and that student's personal registration data should be turned over to intelligence agencies for investigation. Reportedly, some teachers said that police verification wouldn’t be fruitful given the low credibility of police department.

    Karachi University (KU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan expressed pride in the students and faculty of the university, adding that the issues being faced by the varsity were blown out of proportion. He denied that there was any connection between the University and terrorists:

    "We do not want to irritate students and their parents. ... Provision of security is the job of law enforcers. There is no terrorist wing in [Karachi University]. We are standing by the side of law enforcement agencies but no decisions have been taken regarding handing over students’ data to intelligence agencies and demanding character certificates."

    Another professor said that it was obvious that the university education of ASP terrorists was irrelevant:

    "The primary reason is that the network in question – triggering scrutiny of university students – was being run via religious institutions and activities in Gulzar-e-Hijri area. Although Sarosh [Sidiqqi] and other members were university students, which most of the urban youth are, they hardly attended the universities. So, it is more than evident that university culture or formal education is not responsible for their deeds. The only institutions that need scrutiny are the religious ones."

    Dawn (6-Sep) and Saama TV (Pakistan) and The Nation (Pakistan) and Xinhua

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    11-Sep-17 World View -- The colorful Mikhail Saakashvili 'invades' Ukraine from Poland and threatens revolution

    Saakashvili to 'march on Kiev' and challenge Poroshenko government

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    The colorful Mikhail Saakashvili 'invades' Ukraine from Poland and threatens revolution


     Mikhail Saakashvili (L) is joined by Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R) and other supporters on Sunday after entering Ukraine from Poland (AFP)
    Mikhail Saakashvili (L) is joined by Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (R) and other supporters on Sunday after entering Ukraine from Poland (AFP)

    Mikhail Saakashvili, the man who is stateless, no longer the citizen of any country, "invaded" Ukraine from Poland on Sunday, despite attempts by Ukraine's government to keep him out. Saakashvili is variously described as colorful, ambitious, arrogant, divisive, headstrong, and an egomaniac, has had his citizenship revoked in two countries, Georgia and Ukraine, mainly because he's constantly pissing people off.

    Saakashvili, who has been based in Poland's capital city Warsaw, had vowed to return to Ukraine on Sunday, and challenge the government or president Petro Poroshenko:

    "I'll go through to the end, until victory. But it won't be my own victory, but that of the people over oligarchy."

    Poroshenko has declared Saakashvili to be persona non grata in Ukraine, and said that Saakashvili would be prevented from entering.

    So on Sunday morning Saakashvili took a train to Ukraine. But when it reached the Polish town of Przemysl, the woman in charge of the train said that she had been ordered by authorities to stop the train there until Saakashvili got off. Saakashvili told journalists on the train that authorities were effectively holding hundreds of passengers hostage. He said: "Can you imagine what kind of idiots we’re dealing with?"

    After several hours of delay, Saakashvili got off the train, and got onto a bus that took him to the border of Ukraine, intending to walk across. Polish border guards allowed him pass. But a line of Ukrainian border guards stood arm-in-arm to block Saakashvili from crossing the Ukrainian checkpoint.

    All of these shenanigans were being covered live in the news, and thousands of Saakashvili supporters had gathered at the border crossing. In early evening, Saakashvili and his supporters broke through the line of border guards, and entered Ukraine.

    The Ukrainian border service said in a Facebook post that the crowd broke through a checkpoint and that fighting broke out when guards tried to block Saakashvili's supporters. Deutsche Welle and AP and VOA and Reuters

    Saakashvili to 'march on Kiev' and challenge Poroshenko government

    Mikhail Saakashvili has had an extremely colorful career.

    In 2003, at age 36, Saakashvili became president of the Republic of Georgia, in the "Rose Revolution," massive public demonstrations that brought down the pro-Russian president Eduard Shevardnadze, and brought Saakashvili to power.

    Saakashvili remained in power until 2013, but in the midst of that period, he and Georgia suffered a major humiliating loss, when Russian troops under Vladimir Putin invaded Georgia in 2008, and captured two Georgian provinces, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are still under Russia's control.

    Saakashvili was praised for fighting corruption, he adopted authoritarian policies that he said were necessary to continue fighting corruption, but which became increasingly unpopular.

    Finally, Saakashvili was removed from the presidency in 2013. In May 2015, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko made him a Ukrainian citizen, which resulted in the loss of his Georgian citizenship.

    Saakashvili and Poroshenko had a lot in common. Saakashvili came to power in the Rose Revolution of 2003. Poroshenko came to power in 2014 in a popular revolution similar to Ukraine's Orange Revolution of 2004. Just as Saakashvili had replaced the pro-Russian president Eduard Shevardnadze, Poroshenko replaced the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych.

    One more thing they had in common: Russian troops under Vladimir Putin in 2014 invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimea province, just as they had invaded and annexed Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia provinces in 2008. So Saakashvili and Poroshenko became friends.

    So in May 2015, Poroshenko appointed Saakashvili governor of the southern Ukrainian port city Odessa, with the direction to end corruption and crime in the city. That didn't work out too well. Saakashvili and Poroshenko started out as friends, but Saakashvili's fight against corruption brought him into conflict with Poroshenko, whom he accused of blocking the efforts to stop corruption. The two then became enemies, and in November 2016, Saakashvili resigned from his job in Odessa.

    In November, Saakashvili announced the creation of a new political party, the Movement of the New Forces, to oppose Poroshenko. In July of this year, Poroshenko revoked Saakashvili's Ukrainian citizenship, leaving him stateless, a man without a country. However, Saakashvili claims that the revocation is illegal, since under international law it's illegal to revoke someone's citizenship if it would leave him stateless.

    So on Sunday, Saakashvili returned to Ukraine, to lead his new political party to the presidency of Ukraine. He will have many hurdles to overcome, not the least of which is Poroshenko's threat to extradite Saakashvili back to Georgia, where he's wanted on criminal charges over alleged misappropriation of property and abuse of power.

    Saakashvili has some powerful allies. When Saakashvili pushed through the border guards into Ukraine on Sunday, there were several Ukrainian politicians there to greet him. One was Yulia Tymoshenko, who also had been a ally of Poroshenko, and then turned against him. On Sunday, she said, "We've come to defend Mikhail, but we're also here to defend Ukraine," saying that she wanted Poroshenko to be ousted, just as Yanukovych had been ousted. BBC and AP and Deutsche Welle (11-Nov-2016)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Sep-17 World View -- The colorful Mikhail Saakashvili 'invades' Ukraine from Poland and threatens revolution thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    10-Sep-17 World View -- China demands that Indonesia end plans to rename its own territorial waters

    Indonesia blocks China's repeated attempts to annex Indonesia's Natuna Islands

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China demands that Indonesia end plans to rename its own territorial waters


    Senoa Island, in Indonesia's Natuna island chain
    Senoa Island, in Indonesia's Natuna island chain

    China is demanding that Indonesia rescind its decision to rename its own territorial waters in its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    In July, Indonesia announced that it's renaming the portion of the South China Sea belonging to Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as the "North Natuna Sea." Indonesia is making the name change official by registering the name name through the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the United Nations.

    This has freaked the Chinese out to the point of throwing a temper tantrum:

    "The China-Indonesian relationship is developing in a healthy and stable way, and the South China Sea dispute is progressing well. Indonesia’s unilateral name-changing actions are not conducive to maintaining this excellent situation.

    [Changing] an internationally-accepted name had resulted in the complication and expansion of the dispute [and undermines] the peace and stability of the region."

    As usual with China, this is total farce. China is undermining peace and stability in the region by building artificial islands and turning them into huge military bases, bristling with missiles, radar and aircraft, in clear violation of international law, as determined by a 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, which declared China's activities in the South China Sea to be illegal.

    According to one international relations analyst:

    "In fact, the territorial waters of China is only to the boundaries of its territorial sea recognized by international law. On the other hand, Indonesia also has its own territorial sea territory, and therefore has the right to give a name to the territorial sea of Indonesia."

    China's military belligerence has caused India, Vietnam and Japan to form an alliance opposing China in the South China Sea. Because of China's illegal activities, tensions have escalated substantially in the South China Sea, threatening the "peace and stability" of the region. But that's because of China's belligerent military actions, not because Indonesia is renaming its own territorial waters. Channel News Asia (2-Sep) and The Diplomat and Asia Times and Netral News (Indonesia)

    Indonesia blocks China's repeated attempts to annex Indonesia's Natuna Islands

    The region that Indonesia is renaming is in its territorial waters around the Natuna Islands, a region rich in fish and oil fields. The region is also strategically important, being located at the southern tip of the Malacca Strait that connects the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean.

    Indonesia is very, very far from China. There is no possibility whatsoever that the region in question every belonged to China. But, just like Adolf Hitler in 1939, China's president Xi Jinping sees something that he wants that belongs to someone else, and plans to use China's vast, powerful military to steal it.

    There have already been several incidents, with Chinese fishing vessels illegally fishing in Indonesia's territorial waters.

    In March of last year, an Indonesian patrol vessel had captured a Chinese fishing boat and was towing back to a port where it could be destroyed, after the 8-member crew had been arrested and were being held in custody. The patrol vessel was deep into Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), when two large Chinese warships showed and forced the Indonesians to release the fishing boat.

    This incident caused a great deal of outrage among Indonesians, including calls for a more confrontational relationship with China. However, Indonesia's president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has chosen to continue a steady course, trying to maintain good relations with both China and the United States. To this end, Indonesia has maintained what one analyst calls a "delicate equilibrium" with respect to the South China Sea issue, engaging China diplomatically, while also pursuing a range of security, legal and economic measures designed to protect its own interests.

    It's undoubtedly Joko's diplomatic engagement that caused China, in its recent threatening note, to say that the "China-Indonesian relationship is developing in a healthy and stable way." China considers a relationship healthy and stable only if the other party is doing what China is demanding.

    Unfortunately, however, China continues to pull stunts like the most recent one, demanding that Indonesia rescind its decision to rename its own territorial waters, with the usual implied threat that Indonesia had better comply, or there will be eventually military retribution. The Diplomat (24-Mar-2016)

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    9-Sep-17 World View -- Burma's ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas witnessed by BBC reporter

    Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi under fire for allowing Rohingya ethnic cleansing

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi under fire for allowing Rohingya ethnic cleansing


    Since this photo was taken, Desmond Tutu has condemned Aung San Suu Kyi over the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma (AP)
    Since this photo was taken, Desmond Tutu has condemned Aung San Suu Kyi over the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma (AP)

    Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Burma (Myanmar), and other Burmese government officials have been saying that the Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State have been burning down their own villages and killing each other, presumably to embarrass the government. This claim by Aung San Suu Kyi is typical of the kind of garbage we hear from other international criminals and war criminals, such as Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Russia's Vladimir Putin, and China's Xi Jinping.

    Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and lately other Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Desmond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, have been demanding that Suu Kyi either stop lying or resign from the government. The Nobel Prize committee has announced that it's not their policy to take back a Nobel Prize, once it's been awarded.

    Desmond Tutu wrote a letter to Suu Kyi, saying:

    "As we witness the unfolding horror we pray for you to be courageous and resilient again. We pray for you to speak out for justice, human rights and the unity of your people. We pray for you to intervene in the escalating crisis and guide your people back towards the path of righteousness again."

    And "unfolding horror" is an apt description. Starting in 2011, Buddhists have been attacking Muslims in villages across Burma, particularly the 1.1 million ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State. Mobs of Buddhists have attacked Muslims, conducting atrocities including torture and rape, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to flee from the attacks. Buddhist civilians have joined the Burmese army in burning down entire Rohingya villages to the ground.

    In the last year, Rohingya activists have formed a separatist group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Last month, ARSA carried out coordinated attacks against 30 Burma police outposts.

    This has triggered a new tsunami of violence by Buddhist civilians and Burma's army against the Rohingyas. In the last two weeks, 270,000 refugees have been forced to flee across the Naf River into Bangladesh, joining the 400,000 refugees already there. They're living there in terrible conditions, may sleeping out in the open in the pouring rain, with shortages of food. BBC and Guardian (London)

    BBC reporter Jonathan Head returns from Burma's government-controlled visit

    Foreign officials, including reporters and humanitarian organizations, have been requesting for years to visit Rakhine state, in order to determine what's really happening and whether the government is lying. Burma's government has strictly forbidden such visits, which is all but a guarantee that Burma's government is lying.

    Jonathan Head is the South East Asia Correspondent for BBC News, and he was granted permission to visit Rakhine state under the control of Burmese army minders, who would control what he saw and who he spoke to. He gave a lengthy interview on the BBC World News. Interview does describe exactly what's going on in Rakhine state, but only portions of what Head says are in BBC printed news stories.

    Head's interview contains a great deal of valuable information not available anywhere else. It's an absolutely fascinating as a piece of modern history and generational history, so I transcribed it and am posting most of it here.

    The Burmese minders' attempts to control what Head saw and here were a total farce. The minders were caught in obvious lies, including fabricating a photo with a Hindu actor and Hindu women wearing tea towels, pretending to be Muslims burning down the Muslim villages. Things like this prove the massive stupidity of Aung San Suu Kyi and other Burmese leaders.

    Head was first asked what he saw on the trip:

    "A lot more than we were supposed to.

    It was a government controlled trip, and I think the idea was to show us aspects of the conflict in northern Rakhine State that would reflect better on the government. And so initially we were shown displaced people who talked about how the Muslims had burned them out of house and home, and we were shown various photographs supposedly showing Muslims setting fire to their own homes, although those photographs have turned out to be fakes. A man who's a Hindu in a display center has admitted acting, and a few women put tea towels on their heads.

    It wasn't a very convincing show. We found there was so much fear. We were surrounded by officials and armed police the whole time, that it was impossible for people to speak freely, and even then quietly on a few occasions when we could meet Muslims, they all expressed their deep fear of the government. The government was willing for us to be able to see destroyed villages. And I have to say I was staggered by the extent of it. You cover large distances, and there are whole areas that have been emptied out, where villages have been burned, but even where villages haven't been burned, they're empty.

    One village we saw, dogs had killed a goat, because they were starving, they hadn't been fed. Rice had been left untended. Boats abandoned. Really extraordinary scene of depopulation.

    We were told by the remaining police and soldiers, who are the only people you'd meet there, that this is Muslims and Muslim militants destroying their own villages."

    Head then described how his minders lost control of him when he ran across a rice field to a burning village that they didn't want him to see:

    "Well, on the way back from one of those visits, we happened to see some smoke going up through the trees, and you could see it was fresh, the smoke and flames were just going up.

    We managed to get the vans to stop, and before our minders could stop us, we dashed off through the rice field, they kind of lost control of us. And as we arrived in this village, you could see houses just beginning to go up, and there were young men, Rakhine Buddhists, and they identified themselves as such, very muscular, carrying swords and machetes, hanging around. There was nobody else there.

    As we arrived, they departed, they didn't want to talk, although one of them did admit to a colleague that they had set fire to the buildings, and he said he'd been helped by the police.

    And as we walked further into the village, we just watched house after house going up in flames. We saw a madrassa go up in flames. Pages of Muslim textbooks had been torn out and left all over the park. There were women's clothes, personal possessions everywhere. We've seen people walking out with trolleys full of looted stuff.

    There was no sign at all of the inhabitants. It's a Muslim village. We simply don't know where the people who lived ther had gone."

    Head was asked, Was this ethnic cleansing?

    Absolutely. You can't mistake it really. And when you actually go and talk to Rakhine Buddhists, the hatred you get from them is a horrible echo of other communal conflicts that we've seen and experienced.

    I spoke to one man, and he was foaming up inside about the Muslims. They're very fearful of them too. And of course, the new factor we have now, is that after decades of marginalization and discrimination, Rohingya men have now armed themselves. They're not very well armed, but they've certainly armed themselves and large numbers even with just knives and machetes have joined the armed insurgents.

    And they did launch very well coordinated attacks, although the authorities tell us they knew the attacks were coming or prepared, and it seems that most of the casualties in these attacks were on the militant side. But it's made the Rakhine Buddhists even more angry and nervous towards them, and they said simply they can never live here again. They made no bones about it.

    They want them out. They will do anything to get them out. They LOATHE them. They say that "We HATE them. We absolutely HATE them."

    And so it's no surprise they're joining in this destruction of villages. Once the Muslims have been chased out the destruction of villages is meant to make sure that they never come back."

    Head was asked, Where does that hatred come from?

    "There's a lot of history involved.

    Rakhine itself has a sense of identity as an original Buddhist kingdom, which was then basically forcibly joined to Burma under British rule, but has always been cut off from the main economic heartland of Burma by a range of mountains and it's very impoverished. The Rakhine Buddhists themselves had to put up with a great amount of Bengal migration into Rakhine State, under British rule, to serve the new market for labor, for rice fields, and that tension became particularly bitter during the Second World war when there was an active front line, and the Muslims by and large supported the British forces, and the Rakhine Buddhists supported the Japanese.

    And every time the line shifted, there were massacres, mutual massacres of each community, and it was around that time Muslims became the majority in the very northern part of Rakhine state, which is where all this trouble is happening now, and where in effect we're seeing a rebalancing of the population going on, where Rakhine Buddhists after 70 years are redressing the balance, and pushing Muslims out.

    And that hatred, it is mutual, but the Rakhine Buddhists enjoy a great deal of sympathy from other Burmese Buddhists, and even from the government. The local authorities make absolutely no bones about the fact that they dislike Rohingyas, that they don't think belong there, that they're illegal immigrants. It's an absurd claim, as Bangladeshi officials said to me, in 70 years of history, the government of Myanmar has never once asked the Bangladesh to take back or repatriate anybody that could have come illegally into Myanmar.

    But inside Myanmar, particularly in Rakhine state, there's a deep-seated belief that the Rohingyas are illegal, they shouldn't be there, and they should be wiped out."

    BBC and BBC

    Generational explanation for Burma's genocide and ethnic cleansing

    Burma's genocide and ethnic cleansing follows a generational pattern that's probably been repeated a million times throughout history. Jonathan Head's interview provides a good deal of information about what happened.

    In 1942, Japan invaded Burma to oppose the British. Burma sided with the Japanese, while the British actually pulled out, leaving behind a population of Muslims who had been performing services in the rice fields.

    There was an extremely bloody generational crisis war between the Burmese Buddhists and Muslims, with huge atrocities on both sides. After the war ended, new generations of children on both sides grow up with no personal memory of the war. What they hear from their parents is stories about the bravery of their hero parents, and about the atrocities committed by the other side. Parents always forget to mention the atrocities that their side committed.

    So the children learn to hate the other ethnic group. This is what always happens. As new generations grow up, there are riots, demonstrations, and sporadic violence, but the traumatized survivors of the war make sure that nothing like that happens again.

    Today, all those traumatized survivors of the 1942 massacres and atrocities are all gone, but the hatred remains, as described by Jonathan Head. The younger generations are not traumatized, and have no personal memory of the massacres and atrocities 70 years ago, and have no fear of repeating those massacres and atrocities.

    We see the same kinds of hatreds turn into violence in other situations, whether Jews versus Arabs in the Mideast, Sunnis versus Shias in the Mideast, Christians versus Muslims in Central African Republic, Tamils versus Buddhists in Sri Lanka, and so forth. This is how the world works.

    The future of Burma and the Rohingyas

    The Burma Rohingya situation is an absolute disaster. We know that World War III is coming soon, but we don't know how it will be triggered -- whether in the South China Sea, North Korea, the Mideast, or elsewhere. But the rapidly escalating violence in Burma puts that situation near the top of the list.

    As I understand the figures, there are (were) 1.1 million Rohingyas living in Rakhine State, and now almost half of them have fled into Bangladesh, where they're living in disgusting refugee camps or just in open fields. Now presumably the Burmese plan drive the rest of the Rohingyas out, and burn their villages down as well, so that they can't return.

    Then presumably the Burmese plan repopulate the area with Buddhists. So you're going to have a million Muslims just across the Naf River from a million Buddhists, living in the Muslims' old places. Is there anyone who seriously believes that's a stable situation?

    This has now caught the attention of Muslims in other countries. Muslims in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are talking about a "jihad" targeting the Buddhists in Burma.

    Furthermore, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), declared as early as 2014 that Burma is a place that's ripe for infiltration of ISIS militants. RSIS (Singapore) and Rohingya.org (2006)

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    8-Sep-17 World View -- Israeli warplanes strike Syrian weapons site, as UN confirms al-Assad's Sarin use

    UN report confirms al-Assad's massive Sarin gas attack on April 4

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    UN report confirms al-Assad's massive Sarin gas attack on April 4


     A Syrian man collects samples from the site of the Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April. (AFP)
    A Syrian man collects samples from the site of the Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April. (AFP)

    A UN report confirms Syria's air force conducted a massive Sarin gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikoun in Hama province on April 4, killing at least 83 civilians. The report, by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, says that the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad conducted over 20 chemical weapons attack in the past four years.

    Readers may recall that on April 6 of this year, American ships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea launched dozens of cruise missile attacks at the Shayrat Airbase in Syria. This airbase was chosen because it was the airbase from which the April 4 Sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun took place. The Syrian regime claimed at the time that the Sarin gas attack never took place, but the new UN report now confirms that it did, and that the Syrian regime was responsible:

    "The commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Syrian forces attacked Khan Sheikhoun with a sarin bomb at approximately 6.45 a.m. on 4 April, constituting the war crimes of using chemical weapons and indiscriminate attacks in a civilian inhabited area."

    The Syrian regime is still claiming that the attack never took place, despite the 83 civilian deaths. According to pro-regime political commentator Marwa Osman, an MIT professor looked at photos and said that "the attack could not have happened":

    "I think this is just the last case, or the last scenario in the hands of the West, especially the US-UK and its EU friends who were against the Syrian government, the Syrian army from the beginning of the crisis. But if you want to talk about the report, the actual information that was given by the report. If you go back to April 2017, just after Khan Sheikhoun, we had a professor, an actual expert on chemical attacks, an MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] professor called Theodore Postol, who actually managed to look at the video and photos that were sent. And just by looking at those photos he literally said this attack could not have happened. And he presented evidence, given the fact that the people were not dressed well for any sarin poisoning, especially after the attack. He presented evidence concerning the people who were there without any gloves, without even any shoes on their feet."

    Osman says that the only reason for the UN report was to undermine the regime's military successes in Deir az-Zour.

    The UN report also documents chemical weapons attacks by the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra front, as well as other militant groups. The report documents 25 incidents of chemical weapons use in Syria between March 2013 and March 2017, of which 20 were perpetrated by Syrian regime forces and used primarily against civilians. United Nations and Canadian TV and Russia Today

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    Israeli warplanes strike Syrian chemical weapons site in Masyaf

    The Syrian regime says that Israeli warplanes fired rockets from Lebanon's airspace and hit a military facility, the Al-Tala’i Scientific Studies and Research Center, near Masyaf in Hama province.

    Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, said that the strike was "not routine," and that:

    "[The target was a] Syrian military-scientific center for the development and manufacture of, among other things, precision missiles. ...The factory that was targeted in Masyaf produces the chemical weapons and barrel bombs that have killed thousands of Syrian civilians."

    Syria's army said that the Israeli rockets targeted "military positions" and killed two army personnel, causing "material damage" to the site. The army statement said that the attack was in support of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh):

    ""This aggression comes in a desperate attempt to raise the collapsed morale of the ISIS terrorists after the sweeping victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism on several fronts, and it affirms the direct support provided by the Israeli entity to the ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” the Army Command said in a statement.

    The Command warned against the dangerous repercussions of such hostile acts on the security and stability of the region, reiterating determination to eliminate terrorism and uproot it from all the Syrian territories whatever the type of support provided to these terrorist groups is."

    Israel is becoming increasingly concerned that Iran's puppet Hezbollah militia, based in Lebanon, is planning a new attack on Israel after being freed from the heavy commitment to fight side-by-side with the al-Assad regime in Syria. According to Israeli sources, it was believed that Hezbollah had planned to take control of the targeted facility, with the manufactured weapons, including chemical weapons, to be used against Israel.

    Israel has been particularly concerned that weapons from Syria, including chemical weapons, could be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon for use against Israel. Former Israel Air Force chief Amir Eshel recently said that Israel carried out at least 100 strikes over the past five years against the transfer of advanced arms, including chemical weapons, from the al-Assad regime to Hezbollah. SANA (Damascus) and BBC and Jerusalem Post and Long War Journal

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Sep-17 World View -- Israeli warplanes strike Syrian weapons site, as UN confirms al-Assad's Sarin use thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    7-Sep-17 World View -- UN: Burundi's Hutu government attacks on Tutsis are crimes against humanity

    Violence by the Imbonerakure, Burundi government's 'visionary' youth wing

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    UN: Burundi's Hutu government attacks on Tutsis are crimes against humanity


    Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania.  Over 400,000 people have fled to other countries to escape the Burundi government violence (MSF)
    Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania. Over 400,000 people have fled to other countries to escape the Burundi government violence (MSF)

    A final report issued on Monday by a special UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has found massive human rights violations by the government of president Pierre Nkurunziza, and ethnic Hutu, to the level of crimes against humanity.

    The report was based on interviews with more than 500 people among the over 500,000 who had fled the country from the violence. The violations included torture, rape, beatings, arbitrary jailings and summary executions. The investigators were not permitted to enter the country for the investigation.

    A year ago, there was an initial United Nations report on Burundi, documenting torture, sexual violence, arbitrary jailings, targeted assassinations and summary executions. The targets of this massive violence were mostly political opponents.

    Nkurunziza's reaction to that report was to ban the United Nations from Burundi, and to withdraw Burundi's membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC). However, a withdrawal doesn't take effect for a year, and the year is not up until October. For that reason, the UN is strongly recommending that the ICC take up an investigation immediately, before the withdrawal takes effect. Reuters and United Nations and Deutsche Welle

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    Violence by the Imbonerakure, Nkurunziza's 'visionary' youth wing

    The violence began in June, 2015, after Nkurunziza announced that he was going to run for a third term as president, in violation of the country's constitution. There were peaceful protests, which Nkurunziza countered by killing anyone who protested. Tens of thousands fled to neighboring countries to escape the violence.

    Today, there are almost 500,000 registered refugees in neighboring countries, including 237,000 in Tanzania, 86,000 in Rwanda, 35,000 in Uganda, and 37,000 in Democratic Republic of Congo. Three-quarters of the refugees are Tutsis.

    In the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which also took place in Burundi, the ethnic Hutus slaughtered close to a million Tutsis in a three-month period. Today's targets of Nkurunziza's violence are not necessarily Tutsis, but are anyone who is politically opposed to Nkurunziza. However, the vast majority of the targets are the Tutsis, since most of Nkurunziza's political opposition comes from Tutsis.

    The UN found that the crimes that violate international law were committed by members of the National Intelligence Services, Burundi's national police and the army.

    A major participant in the violence are the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of Nkurunziza's political party. The word Imbonerakure means "visionaries," and for these kids, being "visionary" means raping women and beating people with iron bars. Reports in 2015 indicated that Nkurunziza's police would select targets in the opposition, and would give kids in the Imbonerakure police uniforms, along with instructions to go to the homes of the targets, kill the men with iron bars, rape the women, and then kill the women and children.

    Burundi is in a generational Awakening era, following the 1994 genocide. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we've seen this time after time, in Syria, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Burundi, Thailand, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Eritrea, and other countries, where leaders in generational Awakening and Unraveling eras use arbitrary jailings, violence and atrocities to keep the opposition ethnic group out of power. Over a period of years, the violence worsens until it turns into a full-scale generational crisis civil war when the next generational crisis era arrives.

    It's worth recalling what happened during America's last generational Awakening era in the 1960s-70s. There was plenty of street violence by young people in Los Angeles, Detroit and Chicago, during the "long hot summers." There was also targeted violence by left-wing and anarchist groups such as the Weather Underground. There was similar violence in Europe and other countries during the "Revolution of 1968." UN OHCHR (18-Apr) and "Stand Now and NPR (7-July-2015)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Sep-17 World View -- UN: Burundi's Hutu government attacks on Tutsis are crimes against humanity thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    6-Sep-17 World View -- North Korea and Russia continue to incite a new Korean War

    North Korea threatens the United States with 'gift packages'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Putin says that North Korea would rather 'eat grass' than end its nuclear program


    South Korean tanks take part in exercises in Paju, near the border with North Korea, on Monday. Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday, 'I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.'  (AP)
    South Korean tanks take part in exercises in Paju, near the border with North Korea, on Monday. Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday, 'I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.' (AP)

    Russia's president Vladimir Putin commented on the North Korea situation, and the statements by American's UN ambassador Nikki Haley, saying that North Korea is "begging for war," and that the strongest possible sanctions must be used as quickly as possible.

    Putin said that additional sanctions would be "useless," and could lead to a "planetary catastrophe."

    He said that North Korea had learned the lessons of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, both of which, according to Putin, occurred only because the leaders had given up their weapons of mass destruction. The lesson, according to Putin, is that North Korea needs a nuclear arsenal to protect itself from an American invasion:

    "Ramping up military hysteria in such conditions is senseless; it’s a dead end. It could lead to a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life. There is no other way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue, save that of peaceful dialogue. ...

    We all remember what happened with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. His children were killed, I think his grandson was shot, the whole country was destroyed and Saddam Hussein was hanged. ... We all know how this happened and people in North Korea remember well what happened in Iraq.

    As I told my colleagues yesterday, they will eat grass but will not stop their (nuclear) program as long as they do not feel safe. What can restore their security? The restoration of international law."

    I have to laugh when this war criminal Vladimir Putin appeals to international law. He invaded and annexed Crimea, and he supplies weapons to Bashar al-Assad, who uses them to kill innocent women in children in hospitals and schools, and who kills his own people with Sarin gas. Supplying weapons to a war criminal makes Putin a war criminal as well.

    The Libya analogy is nonsense. At the time of the 2011 intervention, a major refugee crisis had already begun in Tunisia and Libya, with hundreds of thousands of people pouring into neighboring countries, and thousands crossing the Mediterranean to Italy. Muammar Gaddafi declared war on the protesters and was threatening genocide, especially in Benghazi. It was this refugee crisis that caused Libyans to demand a no-fly zone, and for the Arab League to do the same, after which the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone, which turned into the 2011 military intervention. ( "5-Mar-16 World View -- A look back at Libya in 2011 as the West debates another military intervention") The invasion of Libya had nothing to do with genocide and millions of refugees, and had nothing to do with giving up WMDs.

    The Iraq analogy is even more ridiculous. Apparently Putin is a total idiot, or he thinks all of us are, because the lesson from the Iraq war is exactly the opposite of what he's claiming. The justification given for the Iraq invasion was that Saddam Hussein was developing WMDs, and would use them to kill perhaps millions of people.

    So Kim Jong-un is doing exactly what Saddam Hussein did, and if there's an invasion of North Korea, it will be for exactly the same reason as the invasion of Iraq. So if Kim Jong-un wants to learn a lesson from Iraq, it should be to stop doing what he's doing, which is the opposite of what Putin apparently believes. By inciting a new Korean War, Kim is inviting an invasion. That's how stupid Putin is.

    So this brings us to what Putin is recommending: He's not recommending sanctions. He's not recommending a military solution. He's saying that the North Koreans would rather "eat grass" than end their nuclear development.

    So what's the bottom line? Putin wants North Korea to develop its nuclear arsenal, aimed at the United States, and not Russia. Putin would like to see the US military tied down to defending against NK's nuclear arsenal, or even have a repeat of the 1950s Korean War. Putin may even believe that that's the route to restoring a new Soviet empire. As I said, the guy's an idiot. Russia Today

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    North Korea threatens the United States with 'gift packages'

    On Tuesday, North Korea's UN ambassador, Han Tae Song, said:

    "I am proud of saying that just two days ago on the third of September, DPRK [North Korea] successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test for intercontinental ballistic rocket under its plan for building a strategic nuclear force.

    The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a ‘gift package’ addressed to none other than the U.S.

    The U.S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK."

    So Han says that North Korea is developing a nuclear arsenal to use against the United States for defense. Defense from what? An American invasion? North Korea already has an arsenal of conventional weapons lining the border with South Korea that could be used to destroy Seoul, and that would deter an American invasion if any were even contemplated.

    Han's statement is a clear incitement to war or, as Nikki Haley put it, North Korea is "begging for war." As I described yesterday, this has been going on for a long time. In 2010, the North conducted two acts of war targeting South Korea -- in May, North Korea torpedoed and sank the warship Cheonan, killing dozens of South Korean crew members, and in November, North Korea killed South Korean civilians by shelling Yeonpyeong Island. In both cases, the South Koreans chose not to respond, but it's pretty clear that they might have.

    North Korea's ambassador Han Tae Song could have made a more conciliatory statement, but his threat of "gift packages" cannot have any possible outcome except to increase the probability of war.

    As I wrote yesterday in my Generational Dynamics analysis, North Korea is not afraid of war, and is encouraging war, apparently believing that they'll win because of support from China. Furthermore, in this generational Crisis era, the people in both the US and China believe that they'll win any war quickly. That's a recipe for "a global, planetary catastrophe and a huge loss of human life," as Putin has suggested, though his solution of "dialog" won't prevent it.

    It's hard to see how Donald Trump has any choice. If North Korea is permitted to build a nuclear arsenal, and the US just sits there and does nothing to stop it, then it will be an enormous humiliation to Trump and to the United States, and will soon lead to war anyway. The die seems already to be cast. Reuters

    Related: America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war' (05-Sep-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Sep-17 World View -- North Korea and Russia continue to incite a new Korean War thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    5-Sep-17 World View -- America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war'

    Trump approves more powerful weapons sales to South Korea

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war'


    Nikki Haley speaking at UN Security Council on Monday
    Nikki Haley speaking at UN Security Council on Monday

    During an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Monday, called as a response to North Korea's weekend hydrogen bomb test, US ambassador Nikki Haley said that North Korea is "begging for war" and that the US does not have unlimited patience.

    Here are some excerpts from her statement (my transcription):

    "To the members of the Security Council, I must say enough is enough. We have taken an incremental approach, and despite the best of intentions, it has not worked. Members of this council will no doubt urge negotiations, and a return to talks.

    But as I've just outlined, we have participated in numerous direct and multilateral talks with the North Korean regime, and time after time they have not worked. The time for half measures in the Security Council is over. The time has come to exhaust all of our diplomatic means, before it's too late. We must now adopt the strongest possible measures. Kim Jong-un's actions cannot be seen as defensive. He wants to be acknowledged as a nuclear power. But being a nuclear is not about using those terrible weapons to threaten others. Nuclear powers understand their responsibility. Kim Jong-un shows no such understanding.

    His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war. War is never something the United States wants; we don't want it now, but our country's patience is not unlimited; we will defend our allies and our territory."

    Haley said that negotiations and diplomatic measures have failed repeatedly for decades. Therefore, if diplomatic measures are to be tried again, then all of the most powerful diplomatic measures must be used now, and quickly, as a last resort:

    "The time has come to exhaust all diplomatic means, to end this crisis. And that means quickly, enacting the strongest possible measures here in the UN Security Council.

    Only the strong sanctions will enable us to resolve this problem thru diplomacy. We've kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left.

    This crisis goes well beyond the UN. The United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country that is giving aid to the reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions.

    And what we do on North Korea will have a real impact on what other outlaw nations who seek nuclear weapons choose to conduct themselves in the future.

    The stakes could not be higher. The urgency is now. 24 years of half-measures and failed talks is enough."

    Haley is proposing a maximal round of extremely harsh economic sanctions on North Korea, as a last-ditch attempt to stop North Korea by diplomatic means.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the phrase "begging for war" is an interesting one, because it describes a widespread attitude that can prevail during a generational Crisis era, but not elsewhere on the generational timeline.

    For America and other countries during the 1960s-90s (generational Awakening and Unraveling eras), for most people war was to be avoided. That's because the survivors of World War II were still in power, and they recall the horrors, the atrocities, the rapes, the famines, the genocides, and so forth, and they will do anything to keep it from happening again.

    Today, those WW II survivors are gone, and people in most countries are increasingly nationalistic and xenophobic. They think that they can easily win any war -- that's certainly the attitude of people in the US, China and North Korea.

    So leaders in the 1990s do anything to avoid war, because they have personal memories of the horrors of WW II, leaders today have never experience any such horrors, and with their nationalism and xenophobia, they consider war acceptable or even desirable. North Korean leaders have been taking this one step further, seeming trying to actually provoke war. Hence, "begging for war."

    It's well to remember that North Korea has been "begging for war" for years. In 2010, the North conducted two acts of war targeting South Korea -- in May, North Korea torpedoed and sank the warship Cheonan, killing dozens of South Korean crew members, and in November, North Korea killed South Korean civilians by shelling Yeonpyeong Island. In both cases, the South Koreans chose not to respond, but it's pretty clear that they might have.

    The concept of "begging for war" can take other forms as well. My father, who was a Greek immigrant, told me when I was a kid that in the 1930s the violence by labor unions and communist groups was so great that he thought that America might not survive. I wish I had asked him for more details, but unfortunately I didn't. But we can see the same thing today in America, with the 2006 movie "Death of a President" inciting the assassination of George Bush, labor union boss James Hoffa during the Obama administration repeatedly inciting violence against the Tea Party and other Obama opponents, organizations like Black Lives Matter inciting violence against policemen, and organizations like Antifa violently beating and assaulting anyone they disagree with -- all with the encouragement of Democratic party leaders who have no memory of WW II and its horrors. These kinds of things occur during generational Crisis eras, and are a form of the "begging for war" concept.

    The phrase "begging for war" is extremely startling when coming from a diplomat, because it's a concept that can be understood only through generational theory. For that reason, I'm tempted to think that it had its roots in the days when Steve Bannon was in the White House, as Bannon is an expert on both world/military history and Generational Dynamics. VOA

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    China's UN ambassador Liu Jieyi responds to Haley

    Haley's call for a maximal round of extremely harsh economic sanctions on North Korea would fall most heavily on China, as 90% of North Korea's trade is with China. China is scrambling in every way possible to shift all the responsibility back to the United States.

    A couple of days ago the BBC interviewed a Moscow analyst in Russia's government. He said that really Russia and China don't care if North Korea builds a nuclear ballistic missile, since it will be aimed at the U.S. rather than at either of them. Good to know.

    So China's UN ambassador Liu Jieyi followed Haley at the UN Security Council, and responded to Haley's calls for harsh economic sanctions. His statement was almost meaningless babble, but it did put all the responsibility on the United States:

    "The situation on the peninsula is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a vicious circle. The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula. The parties concerned must strengthen their sense of urgency, take due responsibility, play their due roles, take practical measures, make joint efforts together to ease the situation, restart the dialog and talks, and prevent further deterioration of the situation on the peninsula.

    The proposal by China and Russia of a two-track approach, which promotes the denuclearization of the peninsula, and the establishment of a peace mechanism in parallel the suspension initiative which calls for the DPRK to suspend its nuclear missile activities and for the United States and the Republic of Korea to suspend their large scale military exercises and the step by step conception from Russia are the basis on which both countries currently propose a roadmap to resolve the peninsula issue."

    However, this meaningless babble did contain the "freeze for freeze" proposal that Russia and China are advocating. Under this proposal, the United States and South Korea would end their annual joint military exercises. The whole idea is a big joke, since North Korea would simply continue nuclear weapon and missile development in underground bunkers, and then as soon as Donald Trump said something they didn't like, they'd say that they have to resume testing again.

    Nikki Haley did respond to Liu's statement by calling it "insulting":

    "The idea that some have suggested the so-called "freeze for freeze" is insulting. When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon, and an ICBM is pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. no one would do that, and we certainly won't."

    It's very hard to see where all this is going to go, except to war.

    North Korea is not going to stop developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles under any circumstances, despite sanctions or proposals for negotiations. It's a done deal.

    China is playing the extremely dangerous game "Let's You and Him Fight." It's quite possible that Chinese leaders believe that if there's a new Korean war, then China will be the victor. That's typical of the stupid fantasies that people believe during a generational Crisis era.

    The Trump administration, as far as I can tell, has clearly committed itself to stopping North Korea from developing a nuclear ICBM, using military means to do so, even if it results in a war that will involve South Korea. This was already clear from yesterday's article, and it was reinforced very forcefully on Monday by Nikki Haley. Eric Berne - Let's You and Him Fight

    Trump approves more powerful weapons sales to South Korea

    Not surprisingly, North Korea's weapons tests are provoking Japan and South Korea to consider developing their own nuclear weapons, as defensive measures.

    South Korea is conducting a massive live-fire drill simulating a possible attack on North Korea. The purpose is symbolic -- to expose North Korea's vulnerability.

    South Korea's new president Moon Jae-in suspended deployment of the American-supplied Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems when he took office several months ago, because he didn't want to anger China. China is alarmed by the THAAD installation, but not because of the missiles, which are purely defensive, but rather because the THAAD systems have very powerful radar capabilities that can peer deep into China.

    Since then, the North Korean crisis forced Moon to approve the deployment of a single THAAD launcher, much to the anger of China. Now, on Monday, Moon authorized the deployment of four more THAAD launchers. Presumably that won't infuriate the Chinese even more, because the additional missile launchers do not provide any additional radar capabilities.

    US president Donald Trump also took steps on Monday to help South Korea strengthen its military. Trump agreed to remove decades-old restrictions on the maximum payload of South Korea's missiles, as an effective counter-measure to the North's hydrogen bomb test. Trump also said he would approve arms sales worth "many billions of dollars" to South Korea.

    South Korea hosts 28,500 US troops to defend it, and it is banned from building its own nuclear weapons under a 1974 atomic energy deal it signed with Washington, which instead offers a "nuclear umbrella" against potential attacks. Stars and Stripes and AFP

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Sep-17 World View -- America's UN ambassador Nikki Haley says North Korea is 'begging for war' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    4-Sep-17 World View -- Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power?

    Will the United States take some military action against North Korea?

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power?


    The giggling North Korean news reader Ri Chun-Hee announces the nuclear test
    The giggling North Korean news reader Ri Chun-Hee announces the nuclear test

    North Korea claimed on Sunday to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, the country's sixth nuclear test. The detonation produced 10 times more power than the fifth nuclear test a year ago, based on earthquake monitoring measurements.

    According to Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University in South Korea:

    "That scale is to the level where anyone can say (it is) a hydrogen bomb test. North Korea has effectively established itself as a nuclear state. This is not just a game changer, it’s a game over."

    North Korea claimed in state media that they have the capability to produce as many hydrogen bombs as they want, and that they have the ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) technology to reach almost any part of mainland United States.

    However, many experts point out that North Korea has not yet proven that it can weigh down a ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon, and still have the power to reach mainland United States. But even if they don't yet have that capability, the extremely rapid development of their nuclear and ballistic missile technology indicates that they will have that capability soon. Tribune Media (India) and 38 North (S. Korea) and KCNA (N. Korea)

    World leaders express outrage and call nuclear test 'unacceptable'

    Many world leaders gave laughable expressions of outrage that we've heard dozens of times before, repeatedly over many years.

    South Korea's president Moon Jae-in said:

    "North Korea has made an absurd tactical mistake, by committing a series of provocations such as launching ICBM missiles, and conducting a nuclear test. This has heightened tensions on the peninsula and is threatening world peace. It will isolate them further."

    Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe said that the test was totally unacceptable:

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe initially said, "The North's nuclear test, if it turns out to be true, could never be tolerated." Later, his office issued a statement saying:

    "In addition, given the fact that North Korea has belligerently conducted ballistic missile launches repeatedly this year, the UN Security Council has strongly condemned these actions. Under such circumstances, this nuclear test, which North Korea conducted today despite these calls, is totally unacceptable.

    Taking into consideration that North Korea has enhanced its capabilities through its six nuclear tests, including the one today, as well as more than ten launches of ballistic missiles conducted this year, which could serve as a means to deliver weapons of mass destruction, including the two ICBM-class ballistic missile launches in July and the ballistic missile launch in August that flew over the Japanese territories, North Korea’s nuclear and missile development has entered a new level of threat - more grave and imminent - against Japan’s national security and seriously undermines the peace and security of the region as well as the international community."

    The nuclear test was conducted near China's border, and the Chinese have announced that they are test some border towns for nuclear fallout.

    Even worse, the test appears to have timed specifically to embarrass China's president Xi Jinping. Xi is hosting the opening of a major BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) conference, and North Korea's test came hours before Xi was scheduled to give his welcoming address.

    China's Foreign Ministry said:

    [North Korea] disregarded universal opposition of the international community by conducting the test. We strongly urge North Korea side to face up to the firm will of the international community on the denuclearization of the peninsula, abide by relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, stop taking wrong actions that exacerbate the situation and are not in its own interest, and return to the track of resolving the issue through dialogue."

    All of the above statements are just hot air, and totally meaningless.

    US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to augment his equally meaningless statements with a threat of sanctions:

    "I am going to draft a sanctions package to send to the president for his strong consideration that anybody that wants to do trade or business with them would be prevented from doing trade or business with us. People need to cut off North Korea economically. This is unacceptable behavior."

    Once again, this is completely laughable. North Korea has ignored sanctions for decades, and will continue to do so. Sanctions, negotiations, bilateral talks, six-party talks, have all been tried and have all failed, and they will again.

    President Donald Trump tweeted:

    "The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea."

    This is presumably targeted at China, but it's a completely empty threat. At most there might be some tiny symbolic sanctions directed at some of China's banks. If any real sanction is attempted, China will announce counter-sanctions. Either way, North Korea won't be affected. CNN and Japan's government and CNN Money

    Will the United States take some military action against North Korea?


    Pyongyang residents cheer the televised announcement (Reuters)
    Pyongyang residents cheer the televised announcement (Reuters)

    Some people are suggesting that if North Korea becomes a nuclear power, it's OK. After all, China and Russia are nuclear powers, so why not North Korea? Let them have their nuclear ICBMs that can reach any part of the US mainland, and then everything will settle down, according to these experts.

    The problem with that reasoning is that the testing would never stop. North Korea would continue developing bigger and more powerful missiles and nuclear weapons, launching one nuclear ballistic missile after another, presumably resulting in a nuclear explosion in the Pacific Ocean. North Korea's child dictator is obviously having too much fun to want to "settle down" after one nuclear weapon is successful.

    President Trump has said, "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen." This is being viewed by many observers as having defined a "red line," similar to Obama's "red line" threat over Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons. Trump followed through on Obama's threat after Obama didn't, and now everyone is watching to see whether Trump will back down the way Obama did.

    A month ago, Senator Lindsey Graham said that he had spoken with Donald Trump, and said that it is inevitable that war is coming with North Korea:

    "I’m saying it’s inevitable unless North Korea changes because you’re making our president pick between regional stability and homeland security.

    If there’s going to be a war to stop him [Kim], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And he [Trump] has told me that to my face."

    On Saturday, hours before the nuclear test took place, Graham said the following in a BBC interview:

    "I am 100% certain that if Kim Jong-un continues to develop missile technology that can hit America, if diplomacy fails to stop him, there will be an attack by the United States against his weapons systems. I'm assuming the worst. I'm assuming that if we drop one bomb, he fires at South Korea, and maybe Japan. Let me tell you have the war ends. It ends with his utter destruction. Thousands of people could be killed or maimed. There's a lot at stake here. And let me ask you - why would the world, given his track record, the North Korean leader, allow him to get a hydrogen bomb with a missile to deliver it anywhere in the world? Why would we do that?"

    On Sunday, Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Donald Trump, Mike Pence and top national security advisers, and promised "a massive military response" to any threat from North Korea against the United States or its allies, including Japan or Guam.

    As regular readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that we're headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war, pitting China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries versus India, Russia, Iran and the West. It's impossible to predict the scenario that will lead to this world war, but right now it looks like the most likely scenarios involved North Korea. BBC and CNN and RFE/RL

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Sep-17 World View -- Will we have to accept a world in which North Korea is a nuclear power? thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    3-Sep-17 World View -- Floods in South Asia kill 1,400 people in four countries

    Burmese Buddhist attacks on Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar becoming full-scale genocide

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Floods in South Asia kill 1,400 people in four countries


    A flooded street in Karachi on Friday (EPA)
    A flooded street in Karachi on Friday (EPA)

    Some 45 million people in a region stretching from Nepal and Bangladesh through India to Pakistan are dealing with "catastrophic" floods from two months of continuous torrential rain in the worst monsoon season in years.

    Worldwide media have been heavily covering the floods in Texas from hurricane Harvey, but the floods in South Asia have been far more disastrous.

    Wide-scale flooding stretching across the Himalayan foothills has caused landslides and washed away tens of thousands of homes and vast swathes of farmland. At least 1,400 people have been killed. Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed, and many people are facing starvation. In Bangladesh, 1,300 cases of water-borne diseases have been reported. In Mumbai, a multi-story residential building collapse claimed 33 lives, left 15 injured and dozens more buried in the rubble. In Karachi, at least 23 people have died, mostly due to electrocution. New Daily (Australia) and Reuters

    Related: Pakistan appeals for international help with floods (08-Aug-2010)

    Kenya's president Kenyatta lashes out as Supreme Court judges as 'crooks'

    As we described yesterday, Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta was initially restrained on Friday, after Kenya's Supreme Court declared that his presidential election victory was "invalid, null and void" because of electoral committee irregularities. Kenyatta said that he respected the court's decision, and called for peace. But that didn't last long, as he began calling the judges "crooks," saying that there was problem with the court, and promising to "fix it" after he was reelected.

    Isaac Okero, the president of the Law Society of Kenya, on Saturday condemned Kenyatta's remarks:

    "Ominously declaring that they (judges) should wait for him (President Kenyatta) after he is successful in the coming fresh election is unfortunate and wholly inappropriate remark from the Head of State who under the constitution is a symbol of national unity, enjoys immunity from criminal and civil proceedings and must promote and enhance the unity of the nation."

    It's not clear what Kenyatta meant when he said that he would "fix" the problem with the court once he's elected, but if I were one of the judges, I would be looking for a way to get out of the country quickly. The Nation (Kenya)

    Related: Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election (02-Sep-2017)

    Burmese Buddhist attacks on Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar becoming full-scale genocide

    Attacks by Burmese Buddhists, led by Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, since 2011 as we've been reporting, are now clearly crossing the line into full-scale genocide.

    Buddhists have been slaughtering Rohingyas, raping women and burning down villages in a policy to exterminate them. Bangladesh, which already hosts 400,000 Rohingya refugees, earlier refused to allow any more to enter, but they've reversed that policy. In the last few days, 60,000 more Rohingyas have crossed the Naf River into Bangladesh to flee the Buddhist violence, and more are crossing every day. However, even that path is dangerous, as Burma's army on foot and in helicopters are shooting dead any Rohingyas they seen fleeing to Bangladesh, leaving numerous dead bodies in the river.

    When the Rohingyas do reach the Bangladesh side, they can turn around and see their villages being burnt to the ground, and other Rohingyas being shot to death.

    This is rapidly turning into a full-scale genocide, similar to last century's Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, Stalin's Holodomor in Ukraine, and Pol Pot's Killing Fields in Cambodia. The only difference between these is the methods used to implement the "holocaust." BBC

    Related: Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically (28-Aug-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Sep-17 World View -- Floods in South Asia kill 1,400 people in four countries thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    2-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election

    John Kerry and other election observers come under harsh criticism

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election


    Supporters of Raila Odinga celebrate the court ruling (CNN)
    Supporters of Raila Odinga celebrate the court ruling (CNN)

    Kenya's Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the August 8 re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta was invalid, and that a new election must be held within 60 days. The court found that Kenyatta "was not validly elected," rendering the result "invalid, null and void." The ruling was a victory for opposition leader Raila Odinga, who had brought the case, claiming that the election had been rigged.

    The ruling was a complete shock to everyone, including both Kenyatta supporters and opposition, but no one had expected the court to rule against Kenyatta. Corruption is so pervasive in African countries, including Kenya, that normally judges will rule in whatever way the president pays them to rule, and everyone expected Kenya's Supreme Court judges to do the same in this case, irrespective of the evidence.

    In fact, the ruling is being called "historic," because it's the first time that a legal challenge to a presidential election has ever been successful in the entire history of Africa. Odinga said:

    "It’s a very historic day for the people of Kenya and by extension the people of Africa. For the first time in history of African democratization a ruling has been made by a court nullifying irregular elections for the president."

    Kenyatta said:

    "I personally disagree with the ruling that has been made today but I respect it. Millions of Kenyans made their choice but six people [the judges] have decided that they will go against the will of the people."

    Supporters of Odinga were ebullient, and celebrated in the streets for hours. Odinga himself added:

    “It is now clear that the entire edifice of the (election board) is rotten. Clear evidence shows that the commission was taken over by criminals ... they must face criminal prosecution. ... We are ready but cannot repeat the election with this commission."

    It's thought that the reasons for the court's ruling included the following:

    The court will provide detailed reasoning for its decision within 21 days.

    The court ruled that a new election must be held within 60 days. However, an election is enormously expensive, and Kenya is deeply in debt. Furthermore, after the last election fiasco, it will be hard to convince people that the next election will be fair. Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya) and Reuters

    Related Articles

    John Kerry and other election observers come under harsh criticism

    After the August 8 election, and Uhuru Kenyatta had been declared a provisional winner, his opponent Raila Odinga began claiming that the election had been rigged.

    At that point, John Kerry, who had been former president Barack Obama's Secretary of State, and who had led the Jimmy Carter Center's election observer mission in Kenya, said:

    "Kenya has made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy and the character of that democracy. Don’t let anybody besmirch that."

    Well, now that Kenya's Supreme Court has besmirched it, Kerry and other election day observers are coming under attack in Kenya. They're being accused of blindly endorsing the election to produce the outcome desired by the government, and of completely ignoring the concerns raised by the opposition.

    Muthoni Wanyeki, who served as Amnesty International’s East Africa Regional Director, supports these accusations against "the election observer industry," and goes further:

    "I feel a real anger about the way they treat us. I’ve had diplomats say to my face that, speaking in the light of history, this election was an improvement [from past elections]. I’m sorry we do not live in history, we live in the here and now and we have a right to free and fair elections. Their attitude in condescending, neocolonial and by saying that things are improving, they’re treating us like small children. Hopefully this ruling is like egg on their face."

    John Kerry on Friday said then that while there were "little aberrations here and there," the election was not rigged. France 24 and CNN and Foreign Policy

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Sep-17 World View -- Kenya's Supreme Court issues 'historic' ruling, overturning presidential election thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    1-Sep-17 World View -- As other Asian nations back down, India and Vietnam become allies confronting China

    Vietnam protests China's military drills near the Gulf of Tonkin in South China Sea

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Vietnam protests China's military drills near the Gulf of Tonkin in South China Sea


    India's Narendra Modi with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi (Reuters)
    India's Narendra Modi with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi (Reuters)

    Vietnam on Thursday protested China's military drills in waters off the month of Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

    In reply to reporters’ queries about the move of China, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said that all activities of foreign countries in the waters belonging to Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction should comply with Vietnam’s legal regulations and international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    It's doubtful that China will honor any international law. China repeatedly violates other countries' sovereign territories and threatens to use its massive military to kill anyone who doesn't do as they demand.

    In July, Vietnam again protested China's military drills violating Vietnam's sovereignty, and as usual they were ignored.

    In June, China demanded that Spanish company Repsol, under contract with Vietnam, stop drilling for oil and gas in a block that clearly belongs to Vietnam under international law. Vietnam refused. A month later, China threatened to use military force against Vietnamese targets, and Vietnam was forced to step back. Even worse, Vietnam may now be forced to pay Repsol hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

    Despite this setback, what's becoming clear is that little Vietnam is becoming the only country around the South China Sea willing to stand up at all to gargantuan China.

    The Philippines used to stand up to China, but under president Rodrigo R. Duterte, the country has simply given up, with the attitude that China is going to win anyway, so why fight? Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, which previously had expressed some opposition to China's belligerence, have also given up.

    China even gloated about this three weeks ago in a China Daily editorial, following the meeting of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). According to the article:

    "It seems, however, that Vietnam almost put a spanner in the works by attempting to push its own agenda during the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers.

    According to media reports, Hanoi struck a less harmonious note by hypocritically trying to insert tough language criticizing China's island building in the South China Sea, something Vietnam did first, resulting in a delay to the issuing of their joint statement on Saturday.

    But with none of the other ASEAN members being like-minded, Vietnam's proposed phrases were not included in the communiqué released on Sunday."

    China's island building in the South China Sea is a clear violation of international law, as decided in July 2016, when a Tribunal at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague eviscerated all of China's claims to the South China Sea. ( "13-Jul-16 World View -- Philippines humiliates China in harsh Hague Tribunal ruling over South China Sea")

    China is an international criminal that has repeatedly lied about its claims in the South China Sea. And yet, they won a victory in ASEAN removing any mention of China's criminal activities from the final statement. Even the Philippines, which won the Tribunal ruling last year in July, has almost completely given in to China.

    It seems that only Vietnam, among the South China Sea nations, is still willing to stand up to China. Vietnam Plus and Reuters and Vietnam Plus (23-Aug) and CNN (14-Aug) and China Daily (7-Aug)

    India and Vietnam become allies in confronting China

    Of course, Vietnam is not completely alone in confronting China. Japan is very confrontational with China, and has discussed allying with Vietnam against China.

    The United States conducts Freedom of Navigation operations in the South China Sea, sailing intelligence-gathering ships near China's illegal man-made islands, infuriating Chinese officials. The US is also confronting China in Central Asia. As we reported in last week's analysis of Donald Trump's speech on Afghanistan, the US is confronting Pakistan in Afghanistan, and is also maintaining its two air bases, in Bagram and Kandahar International Airport, as forward bases in any future war with China. India and the US recently signed a logistical support agreement.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, what's most interesting is that the US, India and Vietnam, along with Japan, appear to be forming a military alliance to encircle and confront China. India has good reason to ally with Vietnam in confronting China. They share concerns about China's control of the South China Sea, and China's access to the Indian Ocean.

    India is already providing Vietnam with a $100 million line of credit, and has sold Vietnam four offshore patrol vessels that are likely to be used against China in the South China Sea. India is helping Vietnam to build capacity for repair and maintenance of its defense platforms, and the armed forces of the two states have started cooperation in areas like information technology and the English-language training of Vietnamese Army personnel. India has also accepted Vietnam's invitation to drill for oil in the same region that Repsol abandoned.

    The most intriguing issue has to do with the possible sale by India of sophisticated BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile systems to Vietnam. Such a sale would dramatically change the power balance in the South China Sea. Vietnam has been asking India since 2011 to purchase the BrahMos systems, but India has refused, fearing to anger China.

    In 2016, India's prime minister Narendra Modi made it clear that it was no longer as hesitant. The Modi government last year directed BrahMos Aerospace, which produces the missiles, to expedite this sale to Vietnam. Two weeks ago, the government of Vietnam appeared to confirm that it had acquired the missiles from India. However, sources at India's Defense Ministry denied selling the missiles to Vietnam. After that, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry gave an ambiguous statement that neither confirmed nor denied the sale.

    What we now know that we didn't know then is that India and China were having back-channel negotiations to back down from the standoff on Bhutan's Doklam Plateau. In public, Chinese media were making vitriolic and offensive threats and accusations at India, saying that China's military would wipe out India's military unless India withdrew, and also saying that no negotiations were possible unless India unilaterally withdraw. That all turned out to be China's usual hot air, because the negotiations were already in progress, and resulted in a mutual pullback.

    So India's denial of the BrahMos sale to Vietnam came at a time when those negotiations were going on, and we still don't yet know whether India denied the sale because they had completed the same but didn't want to upset the negotiations, or because they really hadn't sold the missiles. Asia Times and The Diplomat (22-Aug) and New Delhi TV (23-Aug)

    Related Articles

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Sep-17 World View -- As other Asian nations back down, India and Vietnam become allies confronting China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Sep-2017) Permanent Link
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    31-Aug-17 World View -- Cameroon's army to force English-speaking children to attend school

    Violence grows as Cameroon cracks down on Anglophone activists

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Anti-government tensions grow in Cameroon's English-speaking regions


    During protests earlier this year, Anglophone protesters used catapults against police in Bamenda, Cameroon (RFI)
    During protests earlier this year, Anglophone protesters used catapults against police in Bamenda, Cameroon (RFI)

    Tensions are growing in the Southern Cameroons provinces of Cameroon, the Anglophone (English-speaking) regions of the country. At least half a dozen schools have been burned down.

    The perpetrators are believed to be members of Ambazonia, the armed wing of the Liberation Movement of Southern Cameroons, a secessionist movement. Ambazonia is the name that the secessionists give to the Southern Cameroons region.

    The Anglophone minority is about 20% of the country's 23 million inhabitants. Starting late last year, there were protests by teachers and lawyers of discrimination by the majority Francophone (French-speaking) government. Anglophone lawyers protested that the legal and court systems are biased toward Francophones, with many laws passed without even being translated into English.

    Anglophone teachers went on strike last year, protesting that all courses in the schools had to be taught in French, and that any use of English was forbidden. Protests by Anglophone lawyers and teachers were dispersed by Cameroon security forces firing tear gas and live bullets.

    Recently, police discovered a cache of weapons and a bomb-making factory, resulting in the arrest of seven people. VOA and Bareta News

    Violence grows as Cameroon cracks down on Anglophone activists

    This year, Anglophone activists began using violence against the security police. The recent burning down of schools was presumably in support of the teachers' strike, which is still ongoing after almost a year.

    So-called "Ghost town" protests have brought Cameroon’s Anglophone regions to a standstill since the beginning of the year.

    The Cameroon government has tried a variety of nearly desperate measures to end the strike.

    In January, the government shut down all internet access in the Southern Cameroons, in order to end the protests. It never made any sense to me why the politicians thought that this would end the protests, but politicians are rarely the sharpest knives in the drawer.

    Anyway, people couldn't do only banking or purchases, and businesses in the region had to shut down. The internet shutdown was a disaster for Cameroon's economy, which lost around $3.1 million. In April, the government was forced to restore internet access.

    In February, Cameroon arrested three English-speaking protesters, Felix Agbor Balla, Fontem Aforteka'a Neba and Mancho Bibixy, and accused them of acts of terrorism, complicity in acts of terrorism, insurrection, propagation of false news, calling for civil war and calling for a return to the federal system, with the possibility of facing the death penalty.. However, they didn't have any actual evidence of those crimes, and so they were held in jail without trial.

    In an act of desperation, Cameroon's president Paul Biya announced yesterday (Wednesday) that all judicial proceedings against these and other activists would be ended, though it wasn't clear if or when they would be set free.

    This week, Biya has banned people from watching a popular cable television channel, SCBC, or the Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation, claiming that it "terrorizes our people." The channel broadcasts programs about the history and culture of the Anglophone region, as well as interviews with exiled lawyers and documentaries about human rights abuses in Cameroon.

    Unfortunately for Biya, the station broadcasts from South Africa, so he has no way of shutting it down, and South African authorities have refused to shut it down for him. Cable operators in Cameroon are no long permitted to broadcast the channel, but people can still watch it over the internet (particularly now that internet access has been restored).

    People can be arrested for watching the channel, and some have already been detained for having videos and text messages on their phones relating to the Anglophone protests. Journal du Cameroun and Amnesty International and Reuters and Journal du Cameroun

    Cameroon will use police and soldiers to force children to go to school.

    The government has deployed an additional 400 police to the Anglophone regions, to join the 959 already deployed. The job will be to safeguard the start of the school term from the "persistent threat of activists."

    According to Ayuk Tabe, who is considered by some as the de facto president of the Anglophone regions, "I don't know any child in this world who'll go to school because he or she has been dragged by a policeman or army officer."

    If you get the feeling that Cameroon's government is run by idiots, I have the same feeling. Instead of sending in the army to force children to go to school, another alternative might be to hire English-speaking teachers to teach things like geography and math in English rather than French, and also to hire some English-speaking judges who could run some courts in English. Steps like that would likely help more than shutting down the internet.

    Biya's clownish actions have been extremely destructive to Cameroon and to its people and economy, but they seem to be typical of what we've come to expect of African leaders. Paul Biya came to power in 1982 and, as usual in African countries, Biya has turned into a dictator, using abusive measures against anyone who even criticizes him, anything to keep himself and his cronies in control.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, we've seen this time after time, in Syria, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Burundi, Thailand, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Eritrea, and other countries, where leaders in generational Awakening and Unraveling eras use arbitrary jailings, violence and atrocities to keep the opposition ethnic group out of power. Over a period of years, the violence worsens until it turns into a full-scale generational crisis civil war when the next generational crisis era arrives. Radio France Internationale and AFP

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Aug-17 World View -- Cameroon's army to force English-speaking children to attend school thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    30-Aug-17 World View -- Britain's Labor party makes dramatic U-turn on Brexit policy proposals

    Ireland calls Theresa May's Irish border proposal 'delusional'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Britain's Labor party makes dramatic U-turn on Brexit policy proposals


    Anti-Brexit protestors on June 25 of last year in London (Getty)
    Anti-Brexit protestors on June 25 of last year in London (Getty)

    Britain's opposition Labor party made a dramatic policy U-turn on Saturday on the terms of Brexit negotiations. The new position leaves open the possibility that that when Britain formally leaves the European on March 29, 2019, the terms of the UK-EU relationship will be essentially unchanged for years, and possibly forever. This could effectively nullify Brexit, for all practical purposes.

    Britain's Tory government, headed by prime minister Theresa May, has been struggling to define policies for the UK-EU relationship after March 2019, and has had little success so far. The intention is that there will be a "transitional period" for two years, during which further negotiations will take place on the terms of the final separation.

    There are hardliners on both the UK and EU negotiating sides that are going to make any agreement very difficult. The terms of any agreement will have to be approved by all 27 remaining EU members, by the UK government, and possibly by the UK parliament. It seems unlikely that any agreement whatsoever will be reached on anything, at least until late in 2018, when the time is so late and the situation so desperate that the parties will be forced to agree to something.

    Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary of the shadow government of Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn, published a proposal on Saturday that the UK negotiate a transitional deal with the EU that preserves the UK's continued membership in the EU single market, accepting all the terms of that membership, including free movement of people through Europe, including the UK, and accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice as having a higher priority than the UK's own courts.

    These are exactly the policies that drove the passage of the Brexit referendum -- blocking immigrants from reaching Britain, and giving Britain jurisdiction over its own laws -- so the Labor proposal effectively negates Brexit, especially if the Labor transitional deal lasts more than two years.

    According to some analysts, this proposal could run into trouble because it will be violating the terms of rules for exiting the EU described in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and therefore could be rejected by the European Court of Justice. The Germany parliament may also oppose the proposal.

    The negotiations this fall are expected to be extremely bitter and vitriolic on all sides. Guardian (London, 26-Aug) and Telegraph (London) and EuroIntelligence

    UK's Tory government struggles with Brexit policy positions

    The proposal by Labor is very simple, because it says that everything should be as before, with all the same privileges, rules and restrictions of the existing relationship.

    Theresa May has a much more difficult problem. A proposal that honors the spirit of Brexit requires that every minute law and regulation adopted by the EU and the UK over a period of decades be renegotiated. In fact, the EU and UK sides can't even agree which policies are to be negotiated first.

    The Tories are insisting that the terms of the trade relationship, or "customs union," between the UK and EU be agreed as quickly as possible, so that businesses on both sides will be able to plan for March 2019. The UK says that they can't agree on other things until they've determined what the trade relationship will be.

    The EU negotiators say the opposite. They can't agree on the trade relationship until the terms of the "divorce" have been settled. There are three questions that the EU negotiators say have to be resolved first:

    The trade issue, when negotiations finally begin, is liable to just as contentious. Theresa May would like an agreement of a "customs union" that would allow for "frictionless trade" between the UK and EU, with minimum rules and custom duties. She would also like for UK to be able to begin negotiating trade deals with other countries, such as the US and China.

    The problem with that proposal is that it makes a customs union impossible. The idea behind the EU single market is that anyone can trade with anyone else in the customs union with no tariffs, but imports from other countries could be taxed to protect European agriculture and other products. But if the UK is part of the EU single market, and the UK can also make its own deals with other countries, then other countries could then gain tariff-free trade with the entire EU simply by trans-shipping all goods through the UK. Business Insider (16-Feb) and UK government Brexit position papers

    Related Articles

    Ireland calls Theresa May's Irish border proposal 'delusional'

    Britain's government two weeks ago published its position paper on the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland (southern Ireland), which is an independent nation, but a member state of the EU. The only land border between the UK and other EU members is the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Ireland and Northern Ireland have an extremely bloody history, largely fought between the indigenous Gaelics versus the descendants of the English and Scottish invaders. (See "23-Jun-11 News -- Sectarian violence in Northern Ireland grows again")

    During the 1960s-90s, in a period known as "the Troubles," there was a great deal of violence in Northern Ireland. It was mostly resolved by the "Good Friday agreement" in 1998, and part of that agreement is that the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland must be completely open.

    If the UK leaves the EU under Brexit, then the border in Ireland would be a border between the UK and EU, subject to the usual tariffs and customs rules.

    Theresa May is proposing some kind of "invisible electronic border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland, but Ireland's EU Commissioner Phil Hogan says that this is delusional:

    "I think that there's a high level of delusion in London at the moment about what is required to be done.

    But if there is an appetite for a pragmatic and reasonable outcome to a free-trade agreement, well then membership of the customs union would make a significant contribution to this.

    I'm very concerned about the Irish question. Ireland is probably the biggest victim of this mess. [UK ministers] still don't realize that the other 27 [member states] have to agree to this transition period of two or three years or whatever they're going to be seeking."

    An Irish Government source confirmed it is prepared to use the "nuclear option" of vetoing the transition period. UK Brexit policy on Ireland and Independent (Ireland)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Aug-17 World View -- Britain's Labor party makes dramatic U-turn on Brexit policy proposals thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    29-Aug-17 World View -- China and India pull back from Doklam, while North Korea sharply escalates missile crisis

    North Korea launches ballistic missile into Japan's airspace

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China and India announce pullback agreement on Doklam Plateau


    Chinese army soldiers in military training (Reuters, 2013)
    Chinese army soldiers in military training (Reuters, 2013)

    China and India made surprising announcements on Monday that they had agreed to pull back troops to reduce tension on Bhutan's Doklam Plateau.

    For almost three months, China and India have each had 300 soldiers just 100 meters apart on the plateau, 3,000 meters above sea level. India did not increase its troop strength on the plateau itself, but brought troops into bases nearby, and raising the alert level in preparation for war.

    The border dispute involving China, India and Bhutan over the Doklam Plateau continued to escalate for a long time, as we reported. China attempted to annex the region, which belongs to Bhutan, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help, resulting in a standoff.

    China made increasingly vitriolic threats towards India, saying that there couldn't be negotiations until India unilaterally withdrew its troops, and that China's army would destroy India's army if India didn't withdraw.

    So now it turns out that there have been secret negotiations going on for weeks, despite the vitriolic threats.

    China's foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying announced China's position at a press briefing:

    "Q: We have learned that on the afternoon of August 28, the Indian border troops and equipment that illegal crossed the Sikkim sector of the China-India border have all been withdrawn to the Indian side, marking an end to the trespassing incident. Do you have more information?

    A: On June 18, the Indian border troops illegally crossed the well-delimited China-India border in the Sikkim Sector into China's Dong Lang area. China has lodged representations with the Indian side many times through diplomatic channels, made the facts and truth of this situation known to the international community, clarified China's solemn position and explicit demands, and urged India to immediately pull back its border troops to the India's side. In the meantime, the Chinese military has taken effective countermeasures to ensure the territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests of the state.

    At about 2:30 p.m. of August 28, the Indian side withdrew all its border personnel and equipment that were illegally on the Chinese territory to the Indian side. The Chinese personnel onsite have verified this situation. China will continue fulfilling its sovereign rights to safeguard territorial sovereignty in compliance with the stipulations of the border-related historical treaty."

    Hua received additional questions, pressing her to explain whether China had also pulled back. She apparently became increasingly annoyed and the questions, and finally answered:

    "A: The Indian side has withdrawn all its trespassing border personnel and equipment to the Indian side. The Chinese personnel onsite have verified this situation. China will continue fulfilling its sovereign rights to safeguard territorial sovereignty in compliance with the stipulations of the border-related historical treaty. In light of the changes on the ground, China will accordingly make necessary adjustments and deployment."

    India's Ministry of External Affairs also issued a statement:

    "In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam. During these communications, we were able to express our views and convey our concerns and interests.

    On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going."

    China's Foreign Ministry and India's Ministry of External Affairs

    Related: China and India prepare for border war at Doklam Plateau (12-Aug-2017)

    Many unanswered questions about the China-India Doklam agreement

    The two announcements leave many questions unanswered, including the following:

    Once again, we have to point out that China is a highly militarized country, with a huge army and bristling with missiles, and it's lied repeatedly and continuously about its claims and criminal activities in the South China Sea, and so there is no reason to believe any claims they make about Bhutan's territory on the Doklam Plateau.

    My personal belief, based on all the reports that I've read, is that China was completely surprised by what happened. I believe that China expected to overwhelm Bhutan's army and annex the Doklam Plateau quickly and easily. Instead, I believe that the Chinese were completely surprised by India's intervention, making a quick and easy victory impossible. New Delhi TV and India Today

    North Korea launches ballistic missile into Japan's airspace


    Map showing trajectory of North Korean missile (Yonhap)
    Map showing trajectory of North Korean missile (Yonhap)

    North Korea on Tuesday fired a long-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan, traveling more than 2,700 km with a maximum altitude of around 550 km. Technically, that's an act of war, but Japan didn't try to shoot it down, nor did the United States.

    Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe said:

    "The North Korean missile that was launched passed over our nation and landed in the Pacific Ocean. The government had been monitoring the launch from the moment it was fired.

    We have done our utmost to ensure the safety of the people. The missile that passed over our nation represents the greatest and gravest threat to our nation ever. It is also a threat to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

    This reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat."

    North Korea has been trying to develop a ballistic missile with a nuclear payload since the 1990s, and international attempts have been made to dissuade further development. However, diplomacy hasn't worked, sanctions haven't worked, threats of retaliation haven't work, and Security Council resolutions haven't worked. Government leaders in many countries -- the US, Russia, China, South Korea, and so forth -- have made delusional statements about negotiations with North Korea, but they've repeatedly failed.

    So one choice now is to accept North Korea as a full-fledged nuclear, using nuclear weapons for all sorts of international blackmail. The other choice now is a military option of some kind. One way or the other, the question should be answered within a few months. Korea Times and Australian Financial Review and Reuters and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

    Related: Japan will shoot down N. Korean missiles via 'collective self-defense' (13-Aug-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Aug-17 World View -- China and India pull back from Doklam, while North Korea sharply escalates missile crisis thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    28-Aug-17 World View -- Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically

    Rise of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militant insurgency

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically


    Bangladesh border guards at the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, to prevent Rohingyas from crossing.  There are already 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. (AFP)
    Bangladesh border guards at the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh, to prevent Rohingyas from crossing. There are already 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. (AFP)

    Violence between Burma's (Myanmar's) mostly Buddhist army and Muslim ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State has sharply escalated in the last four days, to the point where it's feared that it may have reached a dangerous turning point.

    Starting in 2011, Buddhists have been attacking Muslims in villages across Burma, particularly the 1.1 million ethnic Rohingyas in Rakhine State. Mobs of Buddhists have attacked Muslims, conducting atrocities including torture and rape, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to leave their homes to flee from the attacks. In some cases, the Buddhists have burned down entire Rohingya villages to the ground.

    The current round of violence was triggered on Friday when Rohingya insurgents carried out a series of coordinated attacks against 30 Burma police outposts and an army base. Using knives, some guns and homemade explosives they killed at least a dozen security force members.

    The army responded with a sweep of violence against Rohingyas, causing thousands of them to flee their villages and head for the Bangladesh border, where they hoped to cross and reach a refugee camp. The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh said Saturday that "thousands of unarmed civilians" from Rakhine state had gathered near its border and were "making attempts to enter Bangladesh." The Burmese army shot them as they were fleeing, including women and children, killing dozens. However, Bangladesh already has 400,000 Rohingyas in its refugee camps and its border guards are refusing to allow any more to enter, and so the Rohingyas trying to flee are hiding out along the border between the two countries. However, an estimated 2,000 Rohingyas have made the crossing since Friday.

    Yesterday, Bangladesh handed over a protest note to the Myanmar envoy in Dhaka, and called upon Myanmar country to stop any fresh flow of Rohingyas towards Bangladesh. CNN and AFP and Daily Star (Bangladesh)

    Rise of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militant insurgency

    The leader of the Buddhist atrocities is Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who says that he's just trying to protect Burma from Muslims. He calls his movement the "969" movement, where 969 is a historic Buddhist sign, referring to the nine qualities of Buddha, the six qualities of Buddha's teaching, and nine qualities of the Buddhist community. 969 is supposed to promote peace and happiness, although Wirathu's 969 movement is a vehicle promoting violence,

    After three years of Buddhist atrocities directed at Rohingyas, a radicalized group of Rohingyas formed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

    ARSA took responsibility for attacks on 8 police posts in October of last year. Those attacks sparked a wave of deadly "clearance operations" by Myanmar’s army and forced some 87,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. The UN believes that military crackdown may have amounted to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

    During the past week, the United Nations Rakhine Advisory Commission, headed by Kofi Annan, issued a final report that confirmed these conclusions.

    ARSA has also taken responsibility for the coordinated attacks on 30 police outposts and an army base that took place on Friday. Whereas the "clearance operations" by Myanmar's army last October appeared to be reasonably disciplined, the reports of the army's attacks on Rohingyas in the last three days suggest that they are extremely undisciplined and disorganized.

    There are also reports of growing violence between ARSA and the Myanmar army, including reports that ARSA militants are shooting at Rohingyas who are trying to flee to Bangladesh.

    India's government is taking a strong position in favor of Myanmar's government, and against the Rohingyas. According to external affairs ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar:

    "India is seriously concerned by reports of renewed violence and attacks by terrorists in northern Rakhine State of Myanmar. We are deeply saddened at the loss of lives among members of the Myanmar security forces.

    Such attacks deserve to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We hope that the perpetrators of these crimes will be brought to justice and we extend our strong support at this challenging moment to the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar."

    The clashes in Rakhine state are current turning into a mêlée that could become a lot more serious quickly, if not now, then when the next round of violence occurs. As the clashes between Buddhists and Muslims continue to grow in Myanmar (Burma), other neighboring countries are also going to be forced to choose sides. Straits Times and AFP and Reuters and Hindustan Times

    Related Articles

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Aug-17 World View -- Violence between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar/Burma escalates dramatically thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    27-Aug-17 World View -- As Hajj approaches, Iran and Qatar remain in dispute with Saudi Arabia

    UAE reacts furiously to Qatar's restoring diplomatic relations with Iran

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    UAE reacts furiously to Qatar's restoring diplomatic relations with Iran


    Muslims attend Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca two days ago, ahead of the Hajj (Reuters)
    Muslims attend Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca two days ago, ahead of the Hajj (Reuters)

    Many had been hoping that the split between Qatar and other Arab countries would finally come to an end, but instead the split appears to be getting worse.

    The foreign minister of United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the countries, along with Bahrain and Egypt, that followed Saudi Arabia's lead in implementing a sea, air and land blockade on Qatar, directed vitriolic comments at Qatar after the latter restored diplomatic relations with Iran, and returned its ambassador to Tehran on Friday.

    In a series of angry tweets, Anwar bin Mohammad Gargash said:

    "[Qatar’s] sovereign decision should not be shy or confused, but its arrogance and adolescent behavior makes it so. Its justification is not convincing. ...

    [Qatar's] management of the crisis is characterized by confusion and mismanagement. ... It lacks the strategic dimension and the interests of Qatar and its people. ...

    Qatar’s crisis was deepened through (Doha’s) crisis management of burning bridges, squandering of sovereignty and undermined what remained of the mediator’s chances. The wisdom we wished for is completely absent."

    On June 5, four Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt -- imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar. The reasons given were Qatar's support for Iran, Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the four countries consider to be a terrorist group, and Qatar's aggressive use of al-Jazeera to broadcast incitement to overthrow their governments.

    The four countries listed 13 specific demands that would be necessary to resolve the crisis. The demands included: sever most ties with Iran; sever all ties to the Muslim Brotherhood; shut down al-Jazeera; terminate Turkey's military presence in Qatar; pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. Since then, the demands have been reduced to six broad principles, but the sense is the same.

    In past decades, Mideast countries were usually able to remain reasonably friendly with each other, or at least were able to tolerate each other, but this all changed with the "Arab Spring" that began in 2011. Since then, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been in a proxy war in Yemen, and Iran's Shia/Alawite client Bashar al-Assad has been massacring Sunni women and children with barrel bombs and Sarin gas.

    Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran have grown increasingly hostile. Relations between the two countries became explosive early in 2016 when Saudi Arabia executed 47 alleged terrorists -- 46 Sunnis and one Shia, Mohammad Baqir Nimr al-Nimr. Iran and Shias were infuriated because the execution implied that Shia terrorism is equivalent to Sunni terrorism. Iranian mobs firebombed the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and attacked the consulate in Meshaad. Saudi Arabia and Iran broke diplomatic relations as a result. Other Saudi allies followed suit, including Qatar.

    So now, after 20 months, Qatar is restoring diplomatic relations with Iran. Saudi Arabia, of course, is not doing the same. So the vitriolic feelings of the Saudis directed at Iran are now being directed at Qatar. The end is nowhere in sight. Gulf News (Dubai) and Press Tv (Tehran) and Al Jazeera (Doha) and The National (Abu Dhabi)

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    As Hajj approaches, Iran and Qatar remain in dispute with Saudi Arabia

    The Hajj takes place each year in Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. It's Islam's holiest event, commemorating rituals that date back to the prophet Abraham, and then codified by the prophet Mohamed in the Quran. Each Muslim is required to make a pilgrimage to the Hajj at least once in his lifetime. In 2015, about two million Muslims from 180 countries around the world arrived in Saudi Arabia for their once in a lifetime Hajj pilgrimage. This year, the dates of the Hajj are August 30 to September 4.

    Of all the many bitter disagreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia is where to place the blame for the disaster that occurred in the 2015 Hajj. In 2015, one of the roads became so crowded with people that there was a stampede that killed hundreds of people who were trampled to death, including 464 Iranians. Although Saudi officials blamed "inevitable fate and destiny" for the disaster, Iranian officials blamed the disaster on the incompetence of Saudi officials, and even criminal acts by them.

    Contentious talks between Iran and Saudi failed to reach agreement over security guarantees for the 2016 Hajj, and so Iran banned its citizens from attending last year's Hajj.

    However, the countries agreed in March of this year that Iranians would be able to attend the Hajj this time. Some 90,000 Iranians, including many that have already arrived, are expected to attend the Hajj this year. They are traveling by a variety of means, including flying on an Iranian airline.

    However, only about 400 Qataris will be attending the Hajj this year, unless something changes in the next three days. The problem is that, unlike Iran's airline, Qatar's airline is forbidden by the Saudi-imposed blockade from flying into Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has offered to fly the Qatari pilgrims to Mecca at Saudi's expense, but a miffed Qatar has apparently taken the view that if Qatar can't fly them into Mecca, then Saudi Arabia can't fly them into Mecca.

    According to Qatar's foreign minister Ahmed bin Saeed al-Rumaihi:

    "It is usual and customary for pilgrims to be transported from any country by means of national air, land and sea transportation in that country.

    Pilgrims from Qatar don’t need financial assistance from the Saudi side for the Hajj. Restrictions on transportation only with Saudi airlines is unprecedented and illogical."

    As for the 400 Qatari pilgrims that will be attending, they traveled overland, and were permitted to cross the border from Qatar into Saudi Arabia. Reuters and AFP and Azer News (Azerbaijan)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Aug-17 World View -- As Hajj approaches, Iran and Qatar remain in dispute with Saudi Arabia thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    26-Aug-17 World View -- Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra flees to Dubai

    Brief generational history of Thailand

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra flees to Dubai


    Yingluck Shinawatra has fled Thailand to escape sentencing
    Yingluck Shinawatra has fled Thailand to escape sentencing

    Police in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, are searching for former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, for whom an arrest warrant was issued after she failed to show up for a sentencing hearing which might have put her in jail for decades. Her commerce minister, Boonsong Teriyapirom, did show up for sentencing, and was sentenced to 42 years in jail.

    Yingluck became prime minister in 2011, after winning an election decisively, after a campaign in which she promised to use 'femininity' to resolve disputes.

    However, she was ousted by a military coup in 2014. The ruling military junta then impeached her retroactively and froze her assets. She was then tried and convicted for improperly administering a rice subsidy program that that mostly targeted the poor indigenous Thai-Thai people in northern Thailand.

    She was to be sentenced on Friday, but she failed to show up in court, and is now believed to have fled to another country, such as Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai. Her location has not been confirmed, but unnamed sources say that she's joined her brother in Dubai.

    Her brother is former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecommunications magnate turned politician who was ousted as prime minister in 2006 and fled the country in 2008 when he was convicted for conflict of interest. Since then, he's been living in exile in Dubai and London.

    Both Yingluck and Thaksin are extremely popular. The ruling military junta is being blamed for letting her escape, but there are suspicions that they purposely let her go, rather than risk massive protests if she were sent to jail. The Nation (Thailand) and Straits Times (Singapore) and CNN

    Related Articles

    Collapse of Thailand's democracy

    Thailand adopted a constitution in 1997 that was supposed to guarantee that the country would be governed by free and fair democratic elections. Unfortunately for the country's Thai-Chinese elite minority, the winners of the last five elections have all been candidates from the Pheu Thai political party, which represents the interests of the Thai-Thai indigenous population.

    On the one side, you have the market-dominant "yellow shirt" light-skinned elites, also called "Thai-Chinese," since almost all of them are descendants of Chinese, comprising about 1/4 of the population, living mostly around the capital city Bangkok.

    On the other side, you have the "red shirt" dark-skinned lower class indigenous people, also called "Thai-Thai," comprising about 3/4 of the population, living mostly in the northern and northeastern regions of Thailand, but who come to Bangkok mostly to work in menial jobs serving the Thai-Chinese.

    Obviously, if elections are fought along ethnic lines, then the party representing the Thai-Thai is going to win every time. The yellow shirt elites have used a variety of techniques, from violent protests to army coups, to overturn these elections. The Thai-Thai hero Thaksin Shinawatra was prime minister until 2006, when an army coup forced him out of office. His sister Yingluck was forced out of office in 2014.

    Incidentally, my favorite story in this saga occurred in December 2008. ( "Thailand government collapses, ending crippling riots from class war".) A candidate representing Thai-Thai, Samak Sundaravej, had been elected prime minister. After violent protests by the yellow shirts, he was forced to step down, because a court removed him from office because he had previously had a cooking show on tv, and that was somehow considered a conflict of interest. That's how ridiculous Thailand's government has become.

    So the ruling military junta is under pressure to allow new elections, but everybody knows that the Thai-Thai candidate, possibly even another member of the Shinawatra family, will win again. So the junta is amending the constitution to make sure that only the elite Thai-Chinese win elections. Bangkok Post

    Brief generational history of Thailand

    Part of Thailand's history was made famous by Anna Leonowens, who came from London to Siam (as it was known then) to be the governess and teacher of the many children of King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 1860s. In 1895, she wrote memoirs that were turned into a film, "Anna and the King of Siam" in 1946, and into the 1952 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, "The King and I."

    If you have a few minutes, then watch the YouTube video of "The March of the Siamese Children," from the 1956 film, "The King and I." It depicts Anna's first meeting with the children.

    The play depicts a troubled king trying to lead a small country surrounded by large enemies, and willing to use invasion, torture and other atrocities.

    King Rama had fought a generational crisis war in the early 1830s when he had invaded Laos and Cambodia, but ended up losing to a Vietnamese army.

    Siam's next generational crisis war occurred in what is now southern Thailand. For centuries, Siam's kings had felt that the Muslims in southern Siam were a major threat to the security of the country, mainly because resistance and rebellion against Thai government rule were so strong among the Muslim population, and in fact the southern Muslims had revolted during the 1830s crisis war.

    By the late 1800s this threat had been felt to be critical, and in 1902 King Rama V invaded and annexed the Malay kingdom of Patani, consisting of the four provinces of Satun, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat. (Note: The kingdom is spelled "Patani," while the province is spelled "Pattani.") In 1909, an Anglo-Siamese Agreement established the present border between Thailand and Malaysia.

    During the next few decades, Siam (which became Thailand in 1939) was faced with the problem of trying to assimilate the southern Muslim population into what is essentially a Buddhist country. During the generational Awakening era that followed, the military coup of 1932 overthrew the absolute monarchy in Siam and replaced it with constitutional monarchy. This was a representative form of government that promised a high degree of political participation of the Malay-Muslims in the South. However, as World War II (an Awakening era war for Thailand) approached, the country became more Thai-nationalistic, and the country adopted a policy of forced assimilation towards the Muslims, which had little success, as resistance and rebellion have continued since then.

    The 1930s also saw a large influx of migrants from China, coming to the country to work. Over the decades, they were able to displace the indigenous people in positions of power in government, and in control of businesses. This formed an ethnic fault line between the indigenous Thai-Thai majority and the elite Thai-Chinese minority.

    The next generational crisis war was the Cambodian "killing fields" war, 1975-79, in which Pol Pot's communist Khmer Rouge government, backed by China, killed almost ten million people in a massive genocide. The Cambodian war spilled over into Thailand in the form of a communist rebellion that had begun in the 1960s. King Bhumibol (Rama IX) became an essential figure in the fight against the communists, although his role became more controversial in the savage anti-leftist coup of 1976, in which dozens of students were brutally killed by the security forces and royal-backed militias, and thousands forced to flee to seek sanctuary with the Communist Party.

    The Cambodian "killing fields" civil war took place on Thailand's doorstep, though not on Thai soil. Still, it caused a split along the Thai-Thai versus Thai-Chinese fault line that continues to the present time. Today, Thailand is in a new generational Awakening/Unraveling era, and we're seeing a repeat of what happened in the 1930s.

    During the generational Awakening era of the 1930s, the military coup of 1932 overthrew the absolute monarchy in Siam and replaced it with constitutional monarchy that gave some power to the southern Muslims, only to have it taken away a few years later.

    During the current era, the 1997 constitution guaranteed free elections for everyone, including the indigenous Thai-Thai, and now that's being taken away by a military junta.

    History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. Yale: Thailand’s Response to the Cambodian Genocide and Cornell: History and Politics of the Muslims in Thailand (PDF) and Communist Party of Thailand

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Aug-17 World View -- Thailand's former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra flees to Dubai thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    25-Aug-17 World View -- France's Emmanuel Macron accuses EU countries of 'social and fiscal dumping'

    Britain sees a big fall in net migration since Brexit vote

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    France's Emmanuel Macron accuses EU countries of 'social and fiscal dumping'


    Migrant workers in France (Getty)
    Migrant workers in France (Getty)

    In 2005, European leaders were stunned when France overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to ratify a new EU constitution.

    Those who campaigned against ratification in the French referendum used the code words "Preserving national identity" to disparage east European countries. During the campaign, the low-paid Polish plumber who steals a job away from a well-paid Frenchman became the symbol of the opponents.

    France and Poland have continued to have an uncomfortable relationship since then, and France's new president Emmanuel Macron has inflamed the relationship by accusing Poland and other countries of "social dumping." Speaking during a visit to Romania, Macron said:

    "Some political or business circles seek to use the EU's funds while at the same time developing a system of social and fiscal dumping. [Failure to reform] will lead to the dismantling of the European Union. Part of Britain's Brexit vote was down to the poor functioning of the single market on posted worker rules, and the rules we have on social rights."

    Speaking in Austria, Macron said

    "The single European market and the free movement of workers is not meant to create a race to the bottom in terms of social regulations.

    I think that Europe should protect [its citizens], and in that way, the European integration project should get a new meaning. Ultimately our citizens want to free themselves from the pressures of globalization.

    A Europe that protects is also in the position to solve the problem of posted workers. The posted workers directive, as it currently works, is a betrayal of the European spirit ... This only fuels populism in our countries."

    The reference to "posted workers" is to a law that allows a company in a low-paying EU country (Poland) to send a worker to a high-paying EU country (France) without having to meet local labor regulations, including union-negotiated salaries and benefits.

    Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said on Thursday:

    "We are not going to change our stance. We will defend our position to the very end, because it is a position that is in the interests of Polish workers."

    France 24 and Reuters and Express (London)

    Related: French reject European constitution (30-May-2005)

    Britain sees a big fall in net migration since Brexit vote

    It's good to remember every now and then that while the most inflammatory aspect of Britain's migration issue is Muslim migrants from Syria or Africa, the actual target of those who favored Brexit was the Christian migrants from Poland and other low-paying eastern European countries.

    New figures from Britain's Office of National Statistics reveal that net migration (subtracting the number that leave from the number that arrive) has fallen sharply since the Brexit, down 81,000 to 246,000 in the 12 months ending in March.

    There was a particularly sharp rise (17,000) of citizens of the so-called EU8 or A8 countries. These are countries that joined the EU during its enlargement in 2004, and include Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

    However, the Brexit vote may not fully explain the fall in net migration. Since the Brexit referendum, the value of the pound sterling currency has fallen sharply. Last June, the pound bought almost 6 Polish zlotys. Today, it buys only 4.6 zlotys. It may be that east Europeans are leaving Britain because it no longer makes economic sense.

    The food industry is expressing alarm over the outflow of EU workers. A survey of food industry businesses found that 31% were already losing EU workers, and 36% said they would become unviable if the trend continued. The survey was of businesses in the "farm-to-fork" supply chain, including the agricultural, food, drink and manufacturing sectors. BBC and BBC

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Aug-17 World View -- France's Emmanuel Macron accuses EU countries of 'social and fiscal dumping' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    24-Aug-17 World View -- Afghan and Eritrean migrants clash at site of 'Jungle' in Calais France

    Authorities fear that a new 'Jungle' is forming in Calais France

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Afghan and Eritrean migrants clash at site of 'Jungle' in Calais France


    Ten court-ordered toilets for migrants have been set up near Calais (AFP)
    Ten court-ordered toilets for migrants have been set up near Calais (AFP)

    As many as 200 migrants using sticks and iron bars as weapons were involved in mass brawls on Wednesday in France's port city of Calais. About 20 people were injured, though none seriously, and five people were arrested.

    The fighting was apparently caused by a drunk migrant during the distribution of free food by a local charity, the Auberge des Migrants.

    Last year, Calais was the home to a huge migrant camp called "The Jungle," housing about 7,000 migrants. French authorities shut the camp down in October of last year, forcing the migrants to disperse or to be housed in refugee centers in other parts of France. At those refugee centers, migrants are given a chance to apply for asylum, and are deported back to their home countries if asylum is not granted.

    This is not the first brawl since the closure of The Jungle. In early July, a brawl between African migrants from Eritrea and Ethiopia left 16 injured.

    In April, a refugee camp in Dunkirk in northern France was burnt to the ground. Many of the 1,600 migrants had been living in The Jungle, before that camp was closed. The original population of the Dunkirk camp was Iraqi and Kurdish migrants, but the new arrivals were Afghans who did not get along with the Iraqis and Kurds, leading to violence. Fighting between the different ethnic groups began in early evening and continued well into the night. During the fighting, multiple fires were set on purposing, burning the entire camp to the ground.

    When The Jungle camp was demolished last year, many of the evicted migrants burnt their tents and shanties to the ground as a way of saying goodbye. Radio France Internationale and Sky News

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    Authorities fear that a new 'Jungle' is forming in Calais France

    Migrants continue to arrive in Calais, and authorities fear that a new "Jungle" is emerging. French authorities estimate that ther are 400 migrants to be in the Calais area, although aid agencies put the number at closer to 700.

    According to figures from France's Interior Ministry, migrants have made over 30,000 illegal attempts to reach Britain from Calais so far this year. There were 17,867 attempts to break into the fortified zone around the port and Channel Tunnel, and there were 12,349 attempts to stow away on UK-bound trucks. There are reports that two new migrant welcome centers will be opened near Calais.

    As we reported several weeks ago, a court in France ordered Calais officials, within ten days, to provide drinking fountains, toilets and showers to migrants who are "exposed to inhuman and degrading conditions" in the area.

    French authorities did in fact set up portable toilets and water taps. Ten portable toilets and a bank of five taps were installed outside a refugee center run by the charity Secours Catholique a few miles from Calais.

    However, an official at the charity said that is not enough. "It's less than minimal. [The authorities'] interpretation (of the order) is worrying. We hope it's just a first step, which is clearly inadequate."

    France's new government under Emmanuel Macron has taken a tough line on Calais. France's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb saying he does not want Calais to become a "running sore." Daily Mail (London) and Express (London) and AFP (16-Aug)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Aug-17 World View -- Afghan and Eritrean migrants clash at site of 'Jungle' in Calais France thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    23-Aug-17 World View -- Trump promises victory in Afghanistan by redefining 'victory'

    An Afghanistan policy guided by generational theory

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Trump promises victory in Afghanistan by redefining 'victory'


    Trump giving speech on Monday evening (AP)
    Trump giving speech on Monday evening (AP)

    Most Americans are in denial about the fact that the US and China are headed for a major world war, but the people in the Administration are well aware of this. So any Afghanistan policy is going to be formulated with the impending world war in mind, but without saying so. This fact at least partially explains the confusion surrounding the Afghanistan policy announced by President Donald Trump on Monday evening. As I've written in the past, the Afghanistan war is a problem with no solution. But the least bad solution is one which prepares for the war with China.

    Trump said in his speech:

    "But we must also acknowledge the reality I am here to talk about tonight: that nearly 16 years after September 11th attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the American people are weary of war without victory. Nowhere is this more evident than with the war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history -- 17 years. ...

    [O]ur nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. They deserve the tools they need, and the trust they have earned, to fight and to win."

    So, Trump is proposing a plan for victory. He describes what "victory" means:

    "Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge."

    He explains further:

    "Ultimately, it is up to the people of Afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an everlasting peace. We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists."

    Is victory possible, with this redefinition of "victory"?

    Well, there will certainly be a lot of terrorists to kill. The terrorists al-Qaeda in Iraq were able to withdraw and go home. The Taliban cannot withdraw and go home, because they're already at home. Furthermore, the generation of young Pashtuns will get larger and larger, and they will gain more territory and conduct more terrorist acts in Kabul and elsewhere. So does that conform to Trump's definition of "victory"? I report, you decide.

    I believe it's also true that Trump and the generals have a larger purpose in mind than just killing terrorists in Afghanistan, and I heard one analyst provide such a purpose.

    There are 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. So remaining in Afghanistan allows us continued use of those bases, as the war with China and Pakistan approaches.

    If that's the case, then the Administration had better brace itself for a lot of continued bad news, before those bases become useful.

    As I've said many times before, the Afghanistan problem has no solution, and by that I mean not that no one has been clever enough to find a solution, but rather that no solution exists. One could argue that the plan Trump announced was a bad plan because there was no good outcome, but it's possible that it's still the best plan available, in that other plans have worse outcomes. White House and Military Bases

    An Afghanistan policy guided by generational theory

    I've always felt that the country would be much better off if foreign policy could be guided by Generational Dynamics analysis, rather than by ideology. Barack Obama's policies were purely (left-wing) ideologically driven and never made any sense at all, and led to one disaster after another. My hope was that Steve Bannon, who is an expert on Generational Dynamics, could guide the Trump administration to a foreign policy that would be analytically driven, and would be best for the country.

    With Bannon now out of the White House, the question now arises whether Donald Trump's foreign policies will be purely (right-wing) ideologically driven and still make no sense at all. The announcement of the Afghanistan plan provides a first look.

    First, it was clear that Trump based his plan on the advice of military leaders. In interviews last year, all three of Obama's former secretaries of defense confirmed that the Obama administration ignored military advice, and made military decisions based on ideology. Trump did not do that, but instead worked with the military to develop a plan. This is a good thing.

    Second, it has been widely reported that the (right-wing) ideological driven policy advocated by Rand Paul and others was to withdraw completely all forces from Afghanistan. Trump himself has recommended this in the past. As I wrote two weeks ago in my analysis of US Afghanistan policy, complete withdrawal would have potentially disastrous results, giving the Taliban total victory, collapsing the government completely, and dealing a huge blow to India. In his speech, Trump pointed out these same issues, and repudiated his previous recommendation for a completely withdrawal of all forces. This is also a good thing.

    Third, there had been rumors that Trump would announce an increase of 20,000 troops, with the intention of defeating the Taliban. As one conservative analyst put it, "Don't do what Obama did and micromanage the troops. Let them do their thing and win." That attitude is highly delusional, as I'll come back to below. At any rate, Trump did not do that. That is also a good thing.

    Trump did not announce the number of additional troops that will be sent to Afghanistan, but sources have put the number at around 4,500, in addition to the 8,400 already there. But these troops will not be there for "nation-building," according to Trump. Their purpose will be for "attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge."

    Related Articles

    Pushing on to victory - as in WW II, Iraq 1991, Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2007

    I have previous written many times, victory in the Afghan war is impossible. By that I meant victory in the sense of any of America's previous victories -- WW II, Iraq 1991, Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2007. Instead, I pointed out that victory in Afghanistan now is impossible, largely because of the relationship between the radicalized ethnic Pashtuns (Taliban) in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    However, Trump in his speech did promise victory in Afghanistan. So let's look at those four examples of victory from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, and see why they're irrelevant to Afghanistan today:

    None of these examples is in any way comparable to Afghanistan today. In particular, Afghanistan is completely different today than it was in 2001. The main thing that's changed in the 16 years since the 2001 Afghan war is that a whole new generation of Pashtuns have come of age. They are not war-weary like these parents. Furthermore, there are more of them every day. Even if, by some miracle, most of the existing Taliban fighters could be wiped out, they would be replaced quickly by other Pashtuns in the young generations. That would be true even if it weren't for Pakistan, but Pakistan makes it worse, because the ethnic Pashtun community stretches across borders into both countries.

    For similar reasons, the 2007 Iraq war is not comparable. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was a foreign force that could be ejected, but the Taliban and the Pashtuns are basically the same people, differing only in extent of radicalization.

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    Rex Tillerson denies that 'battlefield victory' is possible

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a significant clarification on Tuesday, saying that there is no way to win a "battlefield victory." It's impossible to tell whether Tillerson wanted to directly contradict Trump's statement that he was proposing "a plan for victory," or if he used the phrase "battlefield victory" to distinguish his use of the word "victory" from Trump's use.

    Since a victory in Afghanistan is impossible, but it's important to maintain bases in Afghanistan for the coming war with China, Tillerson said:

    "This entire effort is intended to put pressure on the Taliban to have them understand: you will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you. At some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way to bring this to an end.

    There’s been an erosion in trust because we have witnessed terrorist organizations being given safe haven inside of Pakistan to plan and carry out attacks against U.S. servicemen, U.S. officials, disrupting peace efforts inside of Afghanistan. Pakistan in particular can play an important role here certainly in delivering the Taliban to the negotiating table."

    The last part of this statement is completely delusional (assuming that anyone in the Administration actually believes it), though it's probably necessary to satisfy critics. There is zero probability that the Taliban would agree to a negotiated peace, or that Pakistan will help. If they agree to negotiate at all, it would be only for the same reason that North Korea and Iran negotiate -- to get financial aid or some other benefit in exchange for promising some concession, and then renege on the promise once the benefit is received.

    America redefines its relationship with Pakistan and India

    For years, American foreign policy generally gave the perception of not choosing sides between Pakistan and India, but Trump's Afghanistan speech made a significant change by giving the perception that the US is choosing India. This makes sense because it's inevitable. As I've been saying for years, the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war will pit the United States + India + Russia + Iran versus China + Pakistan + the Sunni Muslim countries.

    Trump's discussion of India and Pakistan in his speech was highly significant. He said:

    "For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral. ...

    The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.

    In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices.

    But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace.

    Another critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India -- the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States. We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development."

    In other words, Trump is threatening to punish Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists attacking American forces in Afghanistan, with two kinds of punishment:

    The heightened presence of India will be fairly alarming to Pakistan officials. It's pretty obvious that Pakistan can't control militants causing terrorist acts in Kabul, since they can't control militants causing terrorist acts in Karachi.

    But even if the Pakistanis could control the Afghan militants, it's highly doubtful that they would want to, according to an editorial written in Pakistan media in June:

    "Missing in the policy matrix is the source of tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan that makes prospects for Afghan peace bleaker. Cross-border insurgent sanctuaries are a symptom and not the cause of the growing divide. Relations between the two countries have never been cordial since 2001, but they have hit a new low with the escalation in terrorist attacks that Kabul blames on the Haqqani network allegedly operating from Pakistan’s border areas. There has been a further breakdown of relations between the two countries with the recent measures taken by Pakistan to tighten border management.

    But the main reason for the increasing trust deficit is Pakistan’s concern at the growing Indian presence in Afghanistan. That is also the reason for Pakistan using the Afghan Taliban as a hedge against this development. The heightening tension between India and Pakistan has further intensified Islamabad’s apprehensions. Despite its own problem of violent militancy, Islamabad is not willing to take tougher action against the Afghan insurgent sanctuaries.

    It is apparent, that no matter how intense the US administration’s pressure, it cannot force Pakistan to change its position."

    Well, this has turned out to be a fairly lengthy analytical article, but the conclusions are pretty clear:

    In addition, if the US cuts aid to Pakistan, which is inevitable anyway, then China will undoubtedly move to fill the gap, and has already said they will do so. Dawn (Pakistan, 21-June) and Politico and Dawn (Pakistan)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Aug-17 World View -- Trump promises victory in Afghanistan by redefining 'victory' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    22-Aug-17 World View -- Hong Kong cracks down on illegal immigrants after death of foreign worker from Philippines

    Demand for Filipina maids creates thriving black market in China

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Philippines maid Lorain Asuncion employed in Hong Kong killed in mainland city


    Lorain Asuncion, Filipina maid died after falling from seventh floor of Shenzhen high-rise
    Lorain Asuncion, Filipina maid died after falling from seventh floor of Shenzhen high-rise

    Lorain Asuncion, a 28-year-old Filipina domestic helper, died after falling from the seventh floor of a high-rise in the city of Shenzhen in China's mainland on July 24. Chinese officials classified the death as suicide related to human trafficking," but her sister has said, "We were told that she jumped. But we think the death of my sister is very suspicious,” the deceased’s kin told the news outlet. “We want to know what happened and have justice."

    Asuncion had come to Hong Kong to be employed as a domestic worker, but her employers forced her to work for a family on the mainland, which is illegal. Although Hong Kong residents are permitted to employ foreign maids, mainland residents are prohibited from doing so.

    Asuncion was contracted to work in Hong Kong only, but her employer forced her to travel repeatedly in the last year. Her sister said that when she went to Shenzhen on July 22, she was surprised that the only person living in the home was the father of the Hong Kong employer's wife. Two days later, on July 24, she fell to her death from the building in which the father lived.

    Asuncion's Hong Kong employers were arrested last week on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. Inquirer (Manila, 15-Aug) and Shanghaiist (14-Aug) and Kwentong OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers)

    Demand for Filipina maids creates thriving black market in China

    It's illegal for China's mainland residents to employ foreign maids, and yet it's estimated that there are nearly 200,000 undocumented Filipina maids in China's thriving black market. Typically, these women earn around $2,000 per month, but because they're working illegally, they're at the mercy of their employer, and can't return home.

    Filipina maids are said to be highly prized in China for several reasons:

    On the other hand, Chinese maids demand higher salaries, even though they're less well-educated than the Filipinas, and less professional. The news sources don't mention this, but presumably the shortage of women in China from decades of the one-child policy and abortions of female babies has caused a shortage of Chinese maids, and raised salaries because of the law of supply and demand.

    China is considering a plan to allow Filipina maids to work legally in five Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. Shanghaiist (31-Jul) and Global Times (19-Oct-2016) and NextShark

    Hong Kong cracks down hard on illegal foreign workers


    Cartoon showing Filipina maid in China (Global Times)
    Cartoon showing Filipina maid in China (Global Times)

    The death of Filipina maid Lorain Asuncion has led to a harsh crackdown on Filipinos and other illegal foreign workers in Hong Kong. The Asuncion case was unusual in that it was the employers who are being prosecuted. Advocates for foreign works complain that the authorities accuse the workers of being criminals in most cases, rather than the employers. That might have happened to Asuncion, except that she was killed instead.

    Last week, Hong Kong's immigration police raided two restaurants, one Chinese and one Japanese, and arrested two female and two male Vietnamese illegal workers, aged 27-45. According to the Hong Kong government's web site:

    "When intercepted, they were found working in the kitchens of the restaurants. Upon identity checking, they produced for inspection recognizance forms issued by the ImmD, which prohibit them from taking employment. ...

    The four illegal workers were charged at Shatin Magistrates' Courts yesterday with taking employment after landing in Hong Kong unlawfully and remaining in Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration or while being a person in respect of whom a removal order or deportation order was in force. The four Vietnamese illegal workers pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment. Furthermore, the two male illegal workers were also charged with using or being in possession of forged Hong Kong identity cards while a female illegal worker was also charged with using a false instrument. They were sentenced to imprisonment of 15 months for each charge respectively. All sentences are to run concurrently. ...

    [Illegal foreign workers] are liable upon conviction to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to three years' imprisonment. The Court of Appeal has issued a guideline ruling that a sentence of 15 months' imprisonment should be applied in such cases. ...

    The spokesman reiterated that it is a serious offence to employ people who are not lawfully employable. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for three years and a fine of $350,000. The High Court has laid down sentencing guidelines that the employer of an illegal worker should be given an immediate custodial sentence."

    Those four foreign workers were not the only ones arrested. In just two days last week, the immigration police in Hong Kong arrested a totally of 39 people on suspicion they were working without permits. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Hong Kong government and Asia Times

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Aug-17 World View -- Hong Kong cracks down on illegal immigrants after death of foreign worker from Philippines thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    21-Aug-17 World View -- Turkey warns of sectarian war as Iraq ejects ISIS from Tal Afar

    President Trump to announce US strategy in Afghanistan

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Done with Mosul, Iraqi forces begin operation to eject ISIS from Tal Afar


    Iraqi girls play in a Mosul schoolyard (Reuters)
    Iraqi girls play in a Mosul schoolyard (Reuters)

    Iraqi forces launched an offensive Sunday to recapture the city of Tal Afar, which fell in 2014 to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). The offensive comes a month after the forces declared that the city of Mosul had been recaptured from ISIS, leaving Tal Afar as the only remaining large stronghold for ISIS in Iraq.

    The recapture of Mosul took nine months of extremely brutal house to house fighting, as the streets were too narrow for tanks and other vehicles. Furthermore, the ISIS forces used women and children as hostages in houses where explosives were stored and ISIS militias fought off the Iraq forces.

    The Iraqi military is claiming that the recapture of Tal Afar will be much easier, because it's smaller and because the streets are much wider in most parts of the city. The Iraqi air force dropped leaflets across the city say, "The battle is imminent and the victory is coming, God willing."

    Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi announced Sunday in a televised speech to the nation that ISIS militias should surrender or die:

    "I am saying to Daesh [ISIS] that there is no choice other than to surrender or die. [To the Iraqi troops] the whole world is with you."

    However, ISIS fighters have dug trenches around the city and can use light machine guns, improvised explosive devices, and car bombs to stop the Iraqi forces, using a strategy similar to what they had adopted in Mosul.

    Some 40,000 Iraqi fighters are participating in the offensive. As in Mosul, a US-led coalition will provide support to the Iraqi forces. According to a statement issued by Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend on Sunday:

    "The coalition will continue to help the government and security forces to liberate the Iraqi people and defeat ISIS through five means: by providing equipment, training, intelligence, precision fires and combat advice. ...

    In accordance with the laws of armed conflict and in support of its partnered forces who are risking their lives every day in the fight against an evil enemy, the coalition will continue to strike valid military targets, after considering the principles of military necessity, humanity, proportionality and distinction."

    Before 2014, Tal Afar had a population of around 200,000. However, most of the people have been fleeing the city, and it's estimated that only 10,000 to 40,000 civilians remain. It's believed that there are about one or two thousand ISIS militants and their families still in the city. Iraqi News and International Business Times and Dept. of Defense

    Turkey warns of sectarian war following battle of Tal Afar

    The population of Tal Afar is mostly ethnic Turkmens, which are ethnically related to Turks, and which are part of Turkey's identity group. An estimated 60% of the Turkmens are Sunni, while the remaining Turkmens are Shia.

    So Turkey is expressing a great deal of concern that most of the fighters in the Iraqi forces are from the Iran-backed Shiite paramilitary group Hashd al-Shaabi militias. Turkey is concerned that once Hashd al-Shaabi takes control of Tal Afar, there will be ethnic cleansing of the Turkmens.

    Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on record as saying that Turkey would intervene if this kind of ethnic cleansing takes place. In October 2016 he said:

    "I conveyed this to all authorities loud and clear. Tal Afar is entirely a Turkmen town. Half the town is Shiite and the other half Sunni. We are looking at them holistically as Muslims rather than Shiite or Sunni. However, if Hashd al-Shaabi terrorizes [Tal Afar], our response would certainly be different."

    Iran's last generational crisis war was the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. This was not a war of Sunnis versus Shias. It was an ethnic war of Arabs and Turkmens versus Persians, with Sunnis and Shia involved on both sides. It was an extremely bloody war, with something like 1.5 million people killed, climaxing when Saddam Hussein began using chemical weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

    So Turkey's concerns are that now you have Iran-backed militias that will take control of Tal Afar, with its population of Turkmens, and conduct revenge attacks for the Iran/Iraq war -- which is possible and may even be likely.

    Furthermore, Iran is known to have a strategy of taking control of a swath from Baghdad to Damascus, and Iranian control of Tal Afar would be a big advance on that strategy. Anadolu (Ankara) and Sabah (Ankara) and Al Monitor (1-Dec-2016) and NY Times

    Related Articles:

  • Concerns grow over chaos in Iraq after ISIS is defeated in Mosul (22-Mar-2017)
  • Recapturing Mosul from ISIS leaves the future of Iraq in question (09-Jul-2017)
  • Turkey and Iraq in dispute over Turkish participation in Mosul operation (18-Oct-2016)
  • Iraq sending Shia militias to Mosul, directly violating promise to Turkey (28-Nov-2016)
  • President Trump to announce US strategy in Afghanistan

    President Donald Trump is planning a nationwide televised address from the Oval Office on Monday evening, with the purpose of explaining decisions that he's made regarding the US strategy in Afghanistan.

    A couple of weeks ago, I discussed the whole US strategy in Afghanistan at length, including the options recommended by Steve Bannon. Now that Bannon has left the White House, it will be interesting to see whether Bannon's recommendations are followed on Monday evening.

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Aug-17 World View -- Turkey warns of sectarian war as Iraq ejects ISIS from Tal Afar thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    20-Aug-17 World View -- Chinese vessels massing near Philippines island in South China Sea

    Official warns may be necessary to invoke US-Philippines mutual defense treaty

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Chinese vessels massing near Philippines island in South China Sea


    Philippines Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio says that the government must confront China now.  Carpio helped the Philippines win the Hague Tribunal ruling that declared illegal China's activities in the South China Sea
    Philippines Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio says that the government must confront China now. Carpio helped the Philippines win the Hague Tribunal ruling that declared illegal China's activities in the South China Sea

    A statement by Philippines Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio warns that government must act in response to an "invasion of Philippine territory by China" in the South China Sea.

    The warning was triggered when Rep. Gary Alejano said that the military reported early last week that Chinese vessels appeared to be massing north of Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island), a Philippine territory. The Philippines maintains a small population of about 100 people on Pag-asa Island in order to guarantee that it maintains its sovereignty.

    Images released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) confirm the military's information, showing nine Chinese fishing vessels and two Chinese Navy ships near Pag-asa island. According to AMTI:

    "The number and rapid coordination of naval and coast guard ships suggests that this was purposely organized in advance and was not just an ad hoc response by government vessels that happened to be in the area."

    AMTI has repeatedly used satellite images to prove that China is continuing land reclamation activities, building artificial islands, and creating large military bases. These activities are all illegal under international law, since July 2016, when a Tribunal at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague eviscerated all of China's claims to the South China Sea. Since then, China has continued its criminal activities, and has continued to annex regions of the South China Sea belonging to other countries, as Hitler did in 1939.

    In October of last year, Philippines president Rodrigo R. Duterte traveled to Beijing and announced:

    "Your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States. Both in military... not maybe social, but economics also, America has lost. I will be dependent on you. ...

    I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia.

    Americans are loud, sometimes rowdy. Their larynx is not adjusted to civility."

    And that statement was made at a time when Barack Obama was president, not Donald Trump.

    At the time of that statement, I said this new relationship wouldn't last long because the Philippine people like and trust the United States, while the dislike and distrust China. Duterte's statement has been highly controversial in the Philippines, and Duterte has been forced to backtrack in some ways.

    Ever since then, it's been official government policy that China and the Philippines are friends. That's way Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano ridiculed the concerns about Chinese vessels massing near Pag-asa Island, saying "China is not the enemy of the Philippines." ABS-CDN (Manila) and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI)

    Related Articles

    Official warns may be necessary to invoke US-Philippines mutual defense treaty

    Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio raised the stakes on Saturday by describing China's actions as a "invasion of Philippine territory." He said:

    "This means China is now virtually occupying a new geologic feature within the territorial sea of Pag-asa, a Philippine territory, in clear violation of China's supposed vow not to occupy any more islands in the Spratlys. This is worse than what happened in Scarborough Shoal. Sandy Cay is a newly-created island and could not have been owned by China even under its discredited historic nine-dashed line claim. Sandy Cay emerged within the territorial sea of a Philippine territory. If Sandy Cay becomes Chinese territory, it will reduce by a third or more Pagasa's territorial sea. It will also prevent the Philippines from extending the territorial sea of Pagasa to include Subi Reef. By any yardstick, this is seizure of Philippine territory. ...

    It is the constitutional duty of President Duterte, and DFA Secretary Cayetano, to defend and protect Philippine territory. Both have vowed to the Filipino people that they will not concede a single inch of Philippine territory to China. ...

    If both are courageous, they should send a Philippine navy ship to guard Sandy Cay, and if the Chinese navy ships attack the Philippine navy vessel, they should invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty."

    Carpio was part of the team that won the Hague Tribunal ruling last year that declared illegal China's activities in the South China Sea.

    According to Philippine media, there are now known discussions at the US Pentagon about putting the contested Scarborough Shoal under the 1951 Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty, which requires each party to defend the other in the case of an external attack on its territory. Rapplier (Manila) and Asia Times and Inquirer (Manila)

    Related Articles

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Aug-17 World View -- Chinese vessels massing near Philippines island in South China Sea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    19-Aug-17 World View -- Germany accuses Turkey's Erdogan of jailing Germans as hostages

    Erdogan tells Turks living in Germany not to vote for Angela Merkel

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Erdogan tells Turks living in Germany not to vote for Angela Merkel


    Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    The rapidly deteriorating relations between Germany and Turkey took another bizarre twist on Friday when Turkey's president called on Turks living in Germany not to vote for the Christian Democrat Party (CDU) the party headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, or for any party that supports Merkel. Speaking after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Erdogan said:

    "I call on fellow Turks in Germany not to vote for the CDU, the SPD or the Greens, which are all hostile to Turkey. Support those who are not enemies of Turkey. ...

    I think Turkish voters should teach a necessary lesson at the ballot box to those political parties who are so aggressive and disrespectful toward Turkey."

    Merkel will be running for a fourth term in the upcoming elections on September 24. Merkel rejected Erdogan's "meddling," and said:

    "German voters, including the ones with Turkish background, have a right to vote freely. We will not stand for any kind of interference."

    Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Deutsche Welle and BBC

    Germany accuses Erdogan of extortion by 'hostage diplomacy'

    Erdogan's speech was probably prompted by a statement on Thursday by Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel accusing Turkey of practicing "hostage diplomacy" by arresting foreign nationals on bogus charges and then holding them in prison while demanding the extradition of someone he claims was part of last year's July 2016 aborted coup.

    In February, Turkey arrested Deniz Yücel, a Turkish-German political correspondent working for Die Welt, accused of reporting on the activities of the Kurds in Turkey. Erdogan has accused Yücel and other foreign nationals of terrorist activities. In July, Erdogan ordered the arrest of Peter Steudtner, a German human rights activist in Turkey.

    The arrest of Steudtner caused Sigmar Gabriel told a press conference that it was no longer safe for German people and businesses to travel to Turkey.

    On Thursday Gabriel was asked by Yücel had not been released. His response:

    "Because Turkey, in my opinion, holds him as a hostage."

    In fact, Erdogan is holding a number of German and American nationals on bogus charges. In particular, North Carolina Christian pastor Andrew Brunson was imprisoned on October 7 of last year, on charges of "membership in an armed terrorist organization," with no evidence whatsoever. When President Trump met with Erdogan in May, Trump asked that the Turkish government “expeditiously” return Brunson to the United States.

    What Erdogan wants to do is force the US to extradite Felhullah Gülen back to Turkey. Gülen is a 76-year-old political enemy of Erdogan, living since 1999 in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, after splitting with Erdogan. Erdogan claims that Gülen orchestrated the coup from his easy chair at his resort in the Pocono Mountains.

    Erdogan arrested or fired over 100,000 people since the coup on vague charges. Anyone could be arrested for any reason. If someone's child went to one of Gülen's schools, then the child's parents could be arrested.

    As I've written in the past, Erdogan's claims make no sense. For one thing, Erdogan started shutting down media and arresting reporters months before the attempted coup even occurred. After the coup attempt, Erdogan moved so quickly to arrest tens of thousands of people that it was pretty clear that the arrests had been planned all along, just waiting an excuse to execute them.

    The reason that Erdogan has been arresting American, German and other nationals and holding them hostage is to use them as bargaining chips to force the extradition of Turks in other countries. Erdogan wants to force the US to extradite Gülen, even though Erdogan has been unable to provide evidence to satisfy a US court that Gülen had anything to do with the coup attempt.

    From Germany, Erdogan wants to extradite a prominent cleric, Adil Öksüz. Erdogan accuses Öksüz of being a middleman between Gülen and coup plotters. Erdogan claims that he's provided Germany with 1,500 documents, but apparently Germany's courts are also not satisfied that there's any actual evidence that Öksüz was actually doing what Erdogan accuses him of.

    Recently Erdogan explained his hostage diplomacy by saying that it's the policy of the "new Turkey," since the "old Turkey" no longer exists:

    "Here in Pennsylvania, there is a known charlatan [Gülen]. His back team [Öksüz], they are also in Germany, mainly in Germany, and they are all around. You feed these terrorists, then you get up and say 'Give us Filjan.' Do not look up, if you have a reputation, I have a judgment. First you will give it, then you will receive it from us. You are not here. There is no old Turkey anymore, this Turkey is new Turkey. You should see it as a flag race."

    There's a little lost in translation, but apparently "You feed these terrorists, then you get up and say 'Give us Filjan'" is an accusation that the US and Germany feed the terrorists, and then demand that prisoners like Brunson, Yücel, and Steudtner be freed.

    Erdogan has promised that after the September 24 elections in Germany, relations between Turkey and Germany will improve. Erdogan is assuming that Merkel will lose in the election, but even if she does, it seems unlikely that the new Chancellor will give into hostage extortion from Turkey, and so relations are expected to continue worsening.

    As I've been writing for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that the coming Clash of Civilizations world war will pit the US, India, Russia, Iran and the West against China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries, including Turkey. Worsening relations between Turkey and Germany are following that trend line. BuzzFeed and Anadolu (Ankara) (Trans) and Asheboro NC Courier-Tribune and Arab News

    Related Articles

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Aug-17 World View -- Germany accuses Turkey's Erdogan of jailing Germans as hostages thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    18-Aug-17 World View -- Barcelona attackers apparently had multiple coordinated attacks planned

    White House officials appear to differ on North Korea military option

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Barcelona attackers apparently had multiple coordinated attacks planned


    People walk down a main street on Thursday in Barcelona, where a van mounted the sidewalk and ploughed into people. (AP)
    People walk down a main street on Thursday in Barcelona, where a van mounted the sidewalk and ploughed into people. (AP)

    Thirteen people died and over 100 were injured in a terror attack on Thursday at 5:30 pm, when a van ploughed into crowds strolling down the street in Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas area, a top tourist destination.

    The driver fled on foot after the attack and has not been found. Two passengers in the van have been arrested, one who was born in Morocco, and one who was born in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in north Africa.

    Authorities believe that the Barcelona attack is linked to an explosion hours earlier in Alcanar, about 125 miles south of Barcelona. The house was apparently a bomb-making factory, filled with bottles of propane and butane. The explosion completely destroyed the house, killing one person and leaving seven more with injuries.

    Another terror attack, in Cambrils, a coastal town south of Barcelona, was thwarted by police early Friday, when four alleged attackers were killed and another was seriously injured. The fact that all in all there were three attack sites indicates that this was bigger than a lone wolf attack, and was considerably more complex.

    Motor vehicles are being increasingly used as weapons of terror, because they're easy to use, require no training, and are impossible to detect in advance by authorities. The most recent motor vehicle attack occurred on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, by neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr., who drove his car into a crowd of protesters, killing one an injuring 19 others.

    In the last three years, deadly car-ramming jihadist attacks have occurred in several European cities, including Paris, London, Stockholm, Berlin, Nice France, and Nantes France. It's feared that the number of these attacks is going to increase. AP and BBC and CBS News

    Related: Nice France terror attack provokes desperate search for solutions (16-Jul-2016)

    ISIS takes credit for the Barcelona attack

    The so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) immediately took credit for the Barcelona attack through its Amaq public relations agency:

    "The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states."

    ISIS has a policy of simply taking credit for any terrorist act, even when it had nothing to do with it, and there's no reason to believe that ISIS did anything to support or direct the Barcelona attack.

    However, ISIS has been using its online sites to encourage lone wolf attacks by individuals against the own home countries, especially the "coalition states" mentioned in the Amaq message. These are countries in the US-led coalition attacking ISIS in Syria.

    ISIS is under attack in both Iraq and Syria, and has been almost completely expelled from Mosul in Iraq, and will soon be expelled from Raqqa in Syria. As they've been losing ground, they've changed their online strategy. They used to post videos encouraging young jihadists from around the world to come to Syria and join ISIS, but that message is no longer viable. Now their online videos are almost exclusively targeted at encouraging young jihadists to attack their home countries, with a car attack advocated as one of the best terror techniques, because it's easy to do, requires no training, and is almost impossible to detect in advance by authorities. Business Insider and BBC and AP

    Related: Iraqi forces are just 'tens of meters' away from retaking Mosul from ISIS (09-Jul-2017)

    Related: Final push to expel ISIS from Raqqa, Syria, to begin in June (16-May-2017)

    White House officials appear to differ on North Korea military option

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it's been clear for some time that North Korea is not going to stop nuclear and ballistic missile development until they have a nuclear ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States mainland. North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un has repeatedly ignored sanctions and aid proposals by the West, hoping to stop the development. But Kim is thought to believe that once that point has been reached, his regime will be safe from attack, since no one would want to risk nuclear retaliation.

    Many people have suggested that the US should launch a cruise missile attack on North Korea to take out their nuclear and ballistic missile development sites. Once again, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics in this generational Crisis era, it's clear that Kim is determined to forestall this option, and has done so with hundreds of artillery batteries on the boundary with South Korea, within targeting range of the South Korean capital city Seoul.

    Full disclosure: As I've described in the past, I've worked with Steve Bannon off and on for several years in the past, both on his movie "Generation Zero" and when I was cross-posting articles on the Breitbart National Security site, and I know personally that he is an expert on military history and world history, and also has an expert understanding of Generational Dynamics and generational theory.

    So it's significant that Bannon appears to agree with the Generational Dynamics analysis of the situation. In an interview with American Prospect magazine, Bannon said:

    "There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us."

    In a recent analysis on White House policy in Korea, I quoted South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who said that war with North Korea is "inevitable," and:

    "If there’s going to be a war to stop him [Kim], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And he [Trump] has told me that to my face."

    However, both Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that the U.S. still has the option of using military force. According to Mattis:

    "I can just assure that in close collaboration with our allies there are strong military consequences if [North Korea] initiates hostilities."

    And Tillerson said:

    "Obviously, any diplomatic effort in any situation where you have this level of threat that we're confronted with, a threat of proportions that none of us like to contemplate, has to be backed by a strong military consequence if North Korea chooses wrongly."

    The statements by Mattis and Tillerson are presented by the media as contradicting Bannon's position, but that's clearly not true. Mattis and Tillerson are saying that if North Korea initiates hostilities, then they will get a strong military response. Bannon is saying that if North Korea does NOT initiate hostilities, but instead continues development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, then it's inevitable that they will develop a nuclear ballistic missile, and then we will be more or less at their mercy. Those statements are not contradictory.

    And Graham's is not contradictory either. It says that, one way or another, war with North Korea is "inevitable," and that an effort will be made to confine the war to the Korean peninsula. That's a worthwhile objective, but it's totally delusional to believe that it could succeed in a generational Crisis era. American Prospect and Washington Examiner

    Related: Rex Tillerson warns China is risking 'open conflict' with the United States (03-Aug-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Aug-17 World View -- Barcelona attackers apparently had multiple coordinated attacks planned thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    17-Aug-17 World View -- China opens a new front in its border war with India

    North Korea apparently backs down from the threat to attack Guam

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China opens a new front in its border war with India


    Pangong Lake is in the Himalayas over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) high on the Tibetan plateau. (AP)
    Pangong Lake is in the Himalayas over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) high on the Tibetan plateau. (AP)

    With the border confrontation between China's and India's armies at Bhutan's Doklam Plateau still simmering, China has apparently opened a new front in another part of their 3,500 km (2,175 mile) border.

    While Doklam Plateau is far to the east, Lake Pangong is on the western part of the China-India border, actually forming part of the border between China-occupied Tibet and the India-government portion of Kashmir.

    According to Indian sources, Chinese soldiers on Tuesday tried to enter Indian territory at two different places. India troops blocked the Chinese troops by forming a human chain of Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel. This apparently is standard fare from time to time between the two border armies.

    What was different this time was that the Chinese soldiers began throwing stones at the Indians, for which the latter retaliated. Both sides sustained minor injuries. According to an Indian army officer:

    "Chinese troops tried to enter Indian terrain on Tuesday (August 15) when our soldiers were celebrating Independence Day.

    The incident occurred along the banks of Pangong Lake, a popular tourist attraction on the Indian side of the border in Ladakh.

    [After two hours,] the situation was brought under control after a drill which saw both sides holding up banners proclaiming their rights over the disputed area before stepping back to their respective positions."

    Apparently this banner drill is the customary way for Indian and Chinese troops to step back from a confrontation. The border standoff has been going on for yet, but so far, no bullets have been fired for decades.

    However, the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC - as the India-China border is called) has been deteriorating since April, and has been escalating since the Doklam standoff began in June. China's president Xi Jinping was apparently caught by surprise when Indian troops came to Bhutan's defense at the Doklam Plateau, and now has to decide whether to start a border war or to stand down. Either approach could be a major humiliation for him at the Communist People's Congress in November.

    What was China's side of the story? By the end of the day on Wednesday, China denied knowing anything about the confrontation. Greater Kashmir and The Hindu and India West and The Quint

    Survey of Bhutan's people shows high anxiety over border confrontation

    Bhutan, caught between the two giants India and China in the standoff over Bhutan's Doklam Plateau, is the perfect potential example of the old saying, "When the elephants fight, the grass gets stomped." A recent analysis of the social media in Bhutan shows that most Bhutanese would favor a better diplomatic relationship with China. However, Bhutanese are aware that China's army invaded Tibet and simply annexed it, and most Bhutanese worry that China would do the same to Bhutan -- invade Bhutan and annex Doklam Plateau or all of Bhutan. The Diplomat

    Related: China and India prepare for border war at Doklam Plateau (12-Aug-2017)

    North Korea apparently backs down from the threat to attack Guam


    Kim Jong-un inspects the army's proposed plans for launching missiles towards Guam on Monday (KCNA)
    Kim Jong-un inspects the army's proposed plans for launching missiles towards Guam on Monday (KCNA)

    North Korea has apparently backed down from the threat to launch ballistic missiles at Guam, which contains US military bases. As he had previously promised, North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un waited for the presentation from the Korea People's Army (KPA), and received a briefing on Monday. After hearing the presentation, he announced that he would "give the Americans a little more time."

    There are two theories about why he backed down. One is that he was responding to President Donald Trump's threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea, and later adding that the military options are "locked and loaded." The second theory is that China forced North Korea to back down. However, no one doubts that Kim could change his mind again at any time. 38 North and North Korea Leadership Watch

    Related: Japan will shoot down N. Korean missiles via 'collective self-defense' (13-Aug-2017)

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Aug-17 World View -- China opens a new front in its border war with India thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    16-Aug-17 World View -- France promotes 'G5 Sahel' peacekeeping force in west Africa after jihadist attacks

    Jihadists attack multiple targets in Mali and Burkina Faso

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Jihadists attack multiple targets in Mali and Burkina Faso


    Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, built around 1300
    Djenna Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, built around 1300

    On Sunday night, gunmen opened fire on the Aziz Istanbul café in Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, killing 20 people and wounding several others. Last year, in January 2016, jihadists with AK-47s attacked a café called Cappuccino and a hotel on the same street as the Aziz Istanbul Café.

    On Monday in Mali, gunmen attacked two camps of the UN peacekeeping force in Mali, one in the northern city of Timbuktu and the other in the central city of Douentza.

    Gunmen stormed into the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) in Mali headquarters in Timbuktu on Monday and opened fire, killing seven. In a separate incident Monday, armed assailants attacked a U.N. Compound in the city of Douentza and opened fire on U.N. peacekeepers and Malian soldiers, killing one peacekeeper. In both attacks, the gunmen were shot dead.

    The United Nations Security Council responded in its most forceful manner by condemning in the strongest terms “the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack carried out in Ouagadougou,” and reaffirmed that “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security."

    After the attacks on Monday, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, head of MINUSMA, said, "I do not have enough words to condemn this cowardly and despicable act." Quartz and UPI and Med Africa Times and AFP

    France calls for international peacekeeping in G5 Sahel force

    France's military has been conducting anti-terrorism operations in northern Africa since 2013, when France intervened to prevent Mali's collapse from an assault from ethnic Tuaregs and al-Qaeda linked jihadists. In 2014, France launched Operation Barkhane to wipe out armed terrorist groups in the Sahel, a term that refers to the strip of Africa just below the Sahara desert, separating the Arab north from Black Africa to the south.

    France has 4,000 peacekeeping troops in Operation Barkhane in five countries: Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. However, the cost of maintaining this peacekeeping force is high, and so France's new president Emmanuel Macron would like to turn Operation Barkhane into an international peacekeeping force, sponsored by the United Nations.

    On June 21, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution approving the "G5 Sahel Joint Force," which would consist of 5,000 soldiers and police. The Trump administration had threatened to veto the resolution, because most of the cost would be borne by the United States, the leading financial contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. So the resolution was passed after a compromise between the US and France that dropped a provision that invoked chapter 7 of the UN charter, which authorizes the use of force and UN funding. Instead, the resolution was written so that the €423 first year budget would be funded by pledges from UN countries.

    There have been pledges by France and the European Union, but not nearly enough. However, the multiple terror attacks Burkina Faso and Mali in the last few days has resulted in renewed efforts to get funding. A donor conference will be held in Berlin in September, and a planning conference in Brussels in December. United Nations and Foreign Policy (13-June) and RFI (22-June) and Eurasia Review (1-July) and Le Monde

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Aug-17 World View -- France promotes 'G5 Sahel' peacekeeping force in west Africa after jihadist attacks thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    15-Aug-17 World View -- Pakistan celebrates its 70th birthday, wondering what Pakistan is

    Generational history of the 1947 Partition War that created Pakistan and India

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Pakistan celebrates its 70th birthday, wondering what Pakistan is


    A government building in Lahore is illuminated in the colors of Pakistan's national flag in celebration of independence (Reuters)
    A government building in Lahore is illuminated in the colors of Pakistan's national flag in celebration of independence (Reuters)

    August 14, 1947, was the day that the state of Pakistan was created, the result of splitting the Indian subcontinent into two states, India and Pakistan. The concept devised by the two founders, Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi and Muslim leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was that people of the two religions would live separately, and so at peace.

    India was to be a secular state, albeit with a Hindu majority, but what was Pakistan to be? Another secular state? What is Pakistan?

    Jinnah in 1947 must have looked at Saudi Arabia and Turkey as examples of Muslim states. Turkey was a Sunni Muslim majority secular state, while Saudi Arabia was a Sunni Muslim majority Muslim state. Apparently, Jinnah didn't like either of those examples. He didn't want Pakistan to be a secular state like Turkey, because then it would be just another India, but he also didn't want Pakistan to exclude other religions, as Saudi Arabia does.

    The result today is that Pakistan still doesn't know what kind of state it is. It's a Sunni Muslim state, but it still has a sizable Shia Muslim minority, and smaller minorities of other religious faiths, including Sufis and Ahmadis, which are Islam spinoffs, and Christians.

    The vast majority of Pakistanis are accepting of all of these religions, but there is a significant minority that support terror groups associated with Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP, Pakistan Taliban) that want to exterminate the other religions, particularly the Shias, the Sufis, and the Ahmadis, and conduct frequent terror attacks on their mosques, their schools, and their markets.

    Many Pakistanis blame Jinnah himself for these problems, for allowing the seeds of these problems to be sown in 1947, rather than finding a way to prevent them.

    However, what Jinnah didn't foresee -- what nobody foresaw, not the Britons, not Gandhi, nor Jinnah, nor anyone else -- was the Partition War that followed. Since this war was so unexpected, it's almost impossible to believe today not only that it occurred, but how incredibly bloody it was, filled with all kinds of sadistic atrocities by both Hindus and Muslims, including mass murder, mass rapes, burning down entire villages, mass slaughter, and forced migration.

    One thinks of World War II ending in 1945, but not for Pakistan and India. The Partition War of 1947-48 was at least as bloody and horrific as any battle of the world war that preceeded it, resulting in two million people killed and over ten million displaced from their homes.

    Pakistan since then has been completely haunted by the Partition War. Pakistanis want to blame India, but they know that they're to blame as well. Officially, Pakistan wants to live in peace with India, but large segments of the government, particularly the army, anticipate a new war with India, often in revenge for the Partition War. Living with such schizophrenia, no Pakistani president in 70 years has ever completed the full five-year term described by the constitution. Every president has been thwarted by assassination or a coup. Just in recent weeks, Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered president Nawaz Sharif to step down because of unproven allegations of corruption, and now Pakistan has a new acting president, Mamnoon Hussain, until elections are held next year.

    By the way, my understanding is that the name "Pakistan" is a hybrid. It was formed in the 1930s from the name of the largest region, Balochistan, by removing the "Baloch" part, and replacing it with P for Punjab, A for Afghanistan, and K for Kashmir. A later interpretation of the name says that I is for Indus, S is for Sindh, and T is for Turkestan, leaving only the "AN" as the remains of the original name, Balochistan.

    Today, Kashmir is an open sore in the India-Pakistan relationship. The worst fighting in the Partition War was in Punjab Province, which contains Kashmir, and which was split into two parts by the new Pakistan-India boundary. Dawn (Pakistan) and Al Jazeera and Pakistan Today

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    Generational history of the 1947 Partition War that created Pakistan and India


    Muslims on a train from New Delhi to Pakistan in 1947 (AP)
    Muslims on a train from New Delhi to Pakistan in 1947 (AP)

    The Partition War was the last generational crisis war for both India and Pakistan, but you can't understand it unless you go back at least as far as the previous generational crisis war, the bloody 1857 Indian Rebellion, also called India's First War of Independence from the British colonial power.

    As I described in detail last year, Hindu veneration of cows, and apparent British disrespect for cows, was a major trigger for the 1857 Rebellion. This disrespect, and the alleged defiling of Indians' bodies, led to riots and mutinies that spread across India. The war lasted over two years and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

    During the generational Awakening era that followed the 1857 Rebellion, there were renewed protests and demands for independence from Britain. Cow protection had already started again as a symbol of Hindu nationalism as early as 1882, as cow protection societies began to be formed at that time. Cow protection became more and more important as a nationalist symbol in the following decades.

    Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian peace activist, launched a "non-cooperation movement" against the British, involving civil disobedience. The Awakening era climax occurred on April 10-12, 1919, with the horrific Jalianvala Bagh Massacre (Amritsar Massacre), when British troops opened fire on 10,000 Sikhs holding a protest meeting, killing hundreds. That event, which is still remembered with shock to this day, convinced both the British and the Indians that Britain should completely give up control of India.

    As the discussion of independence evolved over the following decades, led by Gandhi and Jinnah, the principal debate was whether there should be a single Indian state, or two states living side-by-side in peace, and in the latter case, how the boundary should be drawn.

    The argument that won the day was that Muslims can't stand pigs and Hindus can't eat cows, and so they can't live together, leading to the decision to have two separate states, India and Pakistan.

    However, drawing the boundary has led to enormous problems that haven't been resolved to this day. The most difficult problems were the provinces of Punjab in the west, and Bengal in the east, both of which had heavily mixed populations, and both of which were split down the middle.

    Punjab was the epicenter of the Partition War. Millions of people left their homes, with Hindus and Sikhs moving from Pakistan Punjab to India, and Muslims moving from India Punjab to Pakistan. Today, the tensions between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir, which is part of Punjab, have not been resolved, as we've reported many times in the past year, and the region is headed for another war, essentially re-fighting the Partition War.

    However, the story is quite different for Bengal province. It too was split down the middle, but that region in the east was on a different generational timeline than Punjab, so the Partition war was a non-crisis war for Bengal. The province was split into West Bengal, which became part of India, and East Bengal, which became a completely separate part of Pakistan known as East Pakistan, while the Pakistan we know today was called West Pakistan.

    East and West Pakistan really had almost nothing in common. The population of West Pakistan was mostly ethnic Punjabis, Pashtuns, and Sindis, and Urdu was the official language. East Pakistan consisted mostly of Urdu-speaking Biharis and Bengali-speaking Bengalis, as I described in detail last year.

    So Bengal's turn for a generational crisis war came 2 1/2 decades later in 1971. The Bengal war was a bloody civil war, repeating the rapes, beheadings, mutilation and other atrocities of the 1947 Partition war in the west. Pakistan's army supported the Biharis, while India's army supported the Bengalis. In the end, the Bengalis won. East Pakistan gained independence in 1971, and called itself Bangladesh, while West Pakistan just became plain Pakistan.

    So on Monday of this week, Pakistan celebrates the 70th anniversary of its independence. On Tuesday, India celebrates the 70th anniversary of its independence. What seems to be clear is that neither country is really celebrating independence. What they're really doing is commemorating the horrors of the 1947 Partition War, and wondering how they'll get past it. In view of all that's happened in the last 70 years, it's hard to see that either country has a great deal to celebrate, especially since they're headed for a new generational crisis war in the next few years. Dawn (Pakistan) and Pakistan Today and Al Jazeera and Dawn

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Aug-17 World View -- Pakistan celebrates its 70th birthday, wondering what Pakistan is thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    14-Aug-17 World View -- Kenya fears violence as opposition refuses to accept presidential election results

    Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga promises to 'remove' the Uhuru Kenyatta government

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Kenya's election commission announces that Uhuru Kenyatta is reelected president


    President Uhuru Kenyatta giving election victory speech on Saturday
    President Uhuru Kenyatta giving election victory speech on Saturday

    Tensions continue to boil in Kenya as the opposition leader, an ethnic Luo, continues to claim that Tuesday's presidential election was rigged by the government in favor of the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, an ethnic Kikuyu.

    There is widespread fear of a repeat of the inter-tribal violence that followed the 2007 election, killing more than 1,200 people, and punctuated by numerous atrocities, when Odinga lost the presidential election to another Kikuyu, Mwai Kibaki.

    For decades, Kenya's elections have been suspected of riggings, but challenges have always been summarily rejected by Kenya's Supreme Court. This time, it had been hoped that careful preparation by the country's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) would produce an election result that was so carefully computed that no one would challenge it. The key was a sophisticated IT system managed by the IEBC. But then on July 31, the man in charge of the IT systems, Chris Msando, was found brutally murdered, with broken fingers and other evidence of torture, including strangulation.

    After the election on Tuesday, the IEBC announced preliminary results showing a 54% victory for Kenyatta, with 44% to Odinga. Odinga claimed that his people had collected election results from each of the districts in the country, and that his figures show that he had won, not Kenyatta. He said that the IEBC's IT systems had been hacked, which the IEBC denied.

    By Friday, the IEBC had received all the paper ballots from all the districts, and had counted all of them individually. The result was the same -- 54% for Kenyatta to 44% for Odinga.

    Diplomats from numerous countries are saying that Kenyatta won the election fairly, and that Odinga should now concede defeat, which he is refusing to do. 24 people have been killed in post-election violence, and further violence is feared. Reuters and The Nation (Kenya) and CNN

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    Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga promises to 'remove' the Uhuru Kenyatta government


    Opposition leader Raila Odinga with thousands of supporters in Nairobi on Sunday
    Opposition leader Raila Odinga with thousands of supporters in Nairobi on Sunday

    Despite enormous international pressure to concede defeat, the major opposition candidate Raila Odinga is refusing to do so, and continues to claim that the election was rigged, although he has provided no evidence so far.

    On Sunday, Odinga addressed a crowd of 4,000 cheering supporters in Kibera, an enormous slum in Nairobi, Kenya's capital city. With the crowd chanting "Uhuru must go," he blamed Jubilee, Kenyatta's political party, for the post-election violence that killed at least 24 people:

    "I am telling Jubilee that they have spilled innocent people's blood, they will pay for it. Because Jubilee has deployed troops with guns to kill innocent people, tomorrow (Monday) you should not leave your house, there is no work tomorrow . Then on Tuesday (August 15) I will give out the direction as to what we need to do."

    After the 2007 elections, Odinga's claims of rigging were thought to be the trigger for the massive inter-tribal violence and atrocities that followed. In the 2013 election, Odinga challenged the election results in the courts, but the court rejected his claims.

    This time, Odinga has announced that he will overturn the election results, not through the courts but through the people. It's not known what action Odinga will announce on Tuesday, but it's feared that it could trigger more violence.

    Whether violence is likely is discounted by some analysts, who point out that people remember the 2007 violence, and have no desire to repeat it.

    However, in one way violence has been increasing since 2007. Raila Odinga is a member of the marginalized Luo tribe, which is an offshoot of the Kalenjins, a nomadic herder people. Uhuru Kenyatta is from the market-dominant Kikuyu tribe, which represents farmers and large landowners. In the classic battles between herders and farmers, there have repeated instances of violence between Kalenjins and Kikuyus this year. In fact, there have been some Kalenjin politicians inciting violence against large landowners. The result could be new rounds of violence, with Odinga accused of inciting the violence. The Star (Kenya) and Reuters and Guardian (London)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Aug-17 World View -- Kenya fears violence as opposition refuses to accept presidential election results thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    13-Aug-17 World View -- Japan will shoot down N. Korean missiles via 'collective self-defense'

    Japan to deploy more advanced PAC-3 Patriot Missiles to defend U.S.

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    North Korea threatens US bases on island of Guam


    A Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile battery at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo.
    A Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile battery at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo.

    On Wednesday of last week, the start-run North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the US strategic bombers at the US military bases on the island of Guam "get on the nerves of the DPRK [North Korea]", and therefore the KPA [Korean People's Army] is making plans for a missile attack:

    "The KPA [Korean People's Army] Strategic Force is now carefully examining the operational plan for making an enveloping fire at the areas around Guam with medium-to-long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in order to contain the U.S. major military bases on Guam including the Anderson Air Force Base in which the U.S. strategic bombers, which get on the nerves of the DPRK and threaten and blackmail it through their frequent visits to the sky above south Korea, are stationed and to send a serious warning signal to the U.S.

    The plan is to be soon reported to the Supreme Command soon after going through full examination and completion and will be put into practice in a multi-concurrent and consecutive way any moment once Kim Jong Un, supreme commander of the nuclear force of the DPRK, makes a decision.

    The execution of this plan will offer an occasion for the Yankees to be the first to experience the might of the strategic weapons of the DPRK closest.

    Explicitly speaking again, the strategic weapons which the DPRK manufactured at the cost of blood and sweat, risking everything, are not a bargaining thing for getting acknowledgement from others and for bartering for anything, but they serve as substantial military means for resolutely countering the U.S. political and economic pressure and military threat as what has been observed now."

    On Thursday, KCNA "clarified" the statement:

    "As already clarified, the Strategic Force of the KPA is seriously examining the plan for an enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range strategic ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the U.S.

    On Tuesday, the KPA Strategic Force through a statement of its spokesman fully warned the U.S. against its all-round sanctions on the DPRK and moves of maximizing military threats to it. But the U.S. president at a golf links again let out a load of nonsense about "fire and fury," failing to grasp the on-going grave situation. This is extremely getting on the nerves of the infuriated Hwasong artillerymen of the KPA. ...

    The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi Prefectures of Japan. They will fly 3 356.7 km for 1 065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam.

    The KPA Strategic Force will finally complete the plan until mid August and report it to the commander-in-chief of the DPRK nuclear force and wait for his order.

    We keep closely watching the speech and behavior of the U.S."

    President Donald Trump responded by threatening to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea, and later added that the military options are "locked and loaded." Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and CBS News

    Related Articles

    Japan to deploy more advanced PAC-3 Patriot Missiles to defend U.S.

    Leaders in Guam, South Korea, and Japan expressed hope that war is not imminent, but they're all preparing for any eventuality.

    While advising people to continue their business as usual, Guam’s Office of Civil Defense began distributing a fact sheet entitled "Preparing for an Imminent Missile Threat." In case a missile is approaching, keep calm and, if you're caught outside:

    "Do not look at the flash or fireball — it can blind you. Lie flat on the ground and cover your head."

    Japan is holding missile evacuation drills for the public, and is doing a lot more: Planning to install additional Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) anti-missile systems. There is particular concern about the three prefectures that North Korea threatened: the Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi Prefectures.

    Japan is saying that since Japan is potentially threatened by the North Korean missiles, they are justified in shooting them down. This would require the government to declare a "survival-threatening situation."

    Japan currently has a two-level missile defense system.

    The Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) system mounted on Aegis-equipped destroyers can shoot down incoming ballistic missiles in outer space at a maximum altitude of about 500 kilometers. The SM-3 system is designed to shoot down missiles traveling on a parabolic path when they start descending.

    The second layer of Japan's missile defenses are the surface-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) guided missiles, which can destroy targets at altitudes between 10 and 20 kilometers if SM-3 interceptor missiles are not effective. The country’s 34 PAC-3 units attached to 17 anti-aircraft units are mostly deployed in densely populated areas like the Tokyo metropolitan and Kyushu regions as well as at major Self-Defense Forces bases. It's expected that Japan will redeploy two PAC-3 systems to the prefectures threatened by North Korea. Japan News and Japan Times and Nikkei Asian Review

    Japan's government will invoke 'collective self-defense' to defend the United States

    Article 9 of Japan's constitution, imposed on Japan by US Gen. Douglas MacArthur at the end of World War II, renounced war and the threat or use of force. Technically, Japan does not have the right to shoot down North Korean missiles.

    The pacifist Article 9 remains extremely controversial. Many conservatives see it as a humiliating imposition, while liberals view it as the basis of Japan's peace and democracy.

    Prime minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly said that the would like to amend Article 9, but he's never had the votes to do it. However, in 2015, he was able to bring about passage of a reinterpretation of the self-defense clause to include "collective self-defense." The old self-defense clause of the constitution has been interpreted to permit military action only when Japan itself is being attacked, and only on Japanese soil. The new collective defense laws reinterpret the self-defense clause to include "collective self-defense," which would permit military action anywhere in the world under some circumstances when an ally (such as the United States) is attacked. I discussed the meaning of "collective self-defense" in detail in 2014.

    Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Thursday said that it would be necessary to declare a "survival-threatening situation," which would enable Japan to exercise its right of collective self-defense, with a view to intercepting North Korean missiles on behalf of Japan's ally, the United States. According Japanese officials, certain conditions would have to be met:

    "If it is judged that North Korea indicates a clear intention to attack the United States and starts missile launch preparations, an armed attack would be considered to have occurred. ...

    However, if North Korea says it’s targeting the missiles outside [U.S.] territorial waters, it would be difficult to call it an attack against the United States and declare a survival-threatening situation."

    Sputnik News (Moscow) and AP and Reuters (31-July) and Japan Times

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    12-Aug-17 World View -- China and India prepare for border war at Doklam Plateau

    China and India on brink of war that could spread to the Indian Ocean

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    India reinforces its military in preparation for war


    Chinese soldier stands guard on the Chinese side of the border crossing between India and China. (AFP)
    Chinese soldier stands guard on the Chinese side of the border crossing between India and China. (AFP)

    India's military have raised the alert level in the region surrounding the Doklam Plateau, along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) the forms the border between India and China.

    For almost two months, China and India have each had 300 soldiers just 100 meters apart on the plateau, 3,000 meters above sea level. India is not increasing its troop strength on the plateau itself, but is bring troops into bases nearby, and is raising the alert level in preparation for war.

    The border dispute involving China, India and Bhutan over the Doklam Plateau continues to be unresolved, and in fact appears to be escalating. As we've been reporting a standoff between India's army and China's army on Doklam plateau in the tiny country of Bhutan. China is attempting to annex the region, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help, resulting in a standoff.

    No bullets have been fired yet, but as we recently reported, China appears to have set an August 19 deadline for India to withdraw its troops from the Doklam Plateau.

    Even if August 19 passes with no military action, there's another hard deadline: The Communist People's Congress in Beijing in November. If the standoff hasn't been resolved in time for that meeting, it could be a major humiliation for China's president Xi Jinping.

    In addition to setting deadlines, China has been using every possible form of psychological warfare on India to try to force them to withdraw their soldiers, and allow the Chinese military to invade and annex Doklam Plateau. Some of the techniques used by China include the following:

    India has moved its army to a state of "no war, no peace," which is an alert state where soldiers take up positions that are earmarked for them in the event of a war. Reuters and Indian Express and India Times and Financial Express and International Business Times (India)

    Bhutan makes it clear to China that its ally is India

    From the beginning of this crisis, China's media have insisted that Bhutan and China have no dispute, implying that the two countries agree that the Doklam Plateau belongs to China, not Bhutan.

    Furthermore, China's media have insisted that Bhutan did not want India's intervention, and that Indian troops had entered the region in order to gain control of Bhutan.

    Bhutan has in fact tried to avoid inflaming the situation, and has said little, hoping that India and China find a peaceful resolution.

    However, on Thursday, the government of Bhutan issued a statement made its position very clear:

    "Our position on the border issue of Doklam is very clear. Please refer to our statement which has been published on the web site of Bhutan's Foreign Ministry on June 29, 2017."

    The referenced June 29 statement is as follows:

    "Press Release June 29, 2017

    In view of the many queries raised recently in the media regarding the Bhutan – China boundary in the Doklam area the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to convey the following:

    On 16th June 2017, the Chinese Army started constructing a motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri. Boundary talks are ongoing between Bhutan and China and we have written agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that the two sides agree to maintain peace and tranquility in their border areas pending a final settlement on the boundary question, and to maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959. The agreements also state that the two sides will refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo of the boundary.

    Bhutan has conveyed to the Chinese side, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel, that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries. Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before 16 June 2017."

    Once again, we have a situation where China's claims are simply lies. As usual, we have to point out that China has lied repeatedly and continuously about its claims and criminal activities in the South China Sea, and so there is no reason to believe any claims they make about Bhutan's territory on the Doklam Plateau.

    As we've said before, China is a highly militarized international criminal state, but at some point they'll go one step to far, and bring an enormous catastrophe on themselves and the world. India Times (8-Aug) and Kashmir Monitor and Bhutan Foreign Ministry

    SCMP: China and India on brink of war that could spread to the Indian Ocean

    Among Chinese media publications, we often quote China Daily and Global Times. Both are strictly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, though Global Times is far more nationalistic.

    The Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post (SCMP) is a bit more independent than the other two. That's not to say that they would directly confront and contradict Beijing policy -- if they did, Beijing would probably have the editors abducted, thrown into a pit and tortured. But they are able to print analyses that are a bit more balanced than the pure propaganda of the other two.

    According to an SCMP analysis, both China and India are preparing for an armed conflict in the event that negotiations fail.

    The article quotes a Chinese military source:

    "The PLA [People's Liberation Army] will not seek to fight a ground war with Indian troops early on. Instead it will deploy aircraft and strategic missiles to paralyse Indian mountain divisions stationed in the Himalayas on the border with China. [Indian troops will probably hold out for] no more than a week."

    Chinese military sources believe that any conflict will be controlled, and not spill over into other disputed areas, of which there are currently three along the 2,000 km border.

    However, an Indian defense expert, says that a conflict will not be limited, and could extend into the Indian Ocean.

    China is vulnerable in the maritime area, because China is heavily reliant on imported fuel and, according to figures published by state media, more than 80 per cent of its oil imports travel via the Indian Ocean or Strait of Malacca.

    Dr Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy of the National University of Singapore says:

    "Any Chinese military adventurism will get a fitting reply from the Indian military.

    Certainly, it will be detrimental for both, but if Beijing escalates [the conflict], it will not be limited. Perhaps, it may extend to the maritime domain as well.

    If China engages in a military offensive against India, New Delhi will take all necessary measures ... [and will] respond to Chinese actions in its own way. Why only a border war? It could escalate to a full-scale India-China war."

    South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

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    11-Aug-17 World View -- UN Human Rights chief warns of 'genocide' and 'ethnic cleansing' in Central African Republic

    Six Red Cross workers and 30 civilians killed in Central African Republic massacre

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Six Red Cross workers and 30 civilians killed in Central African Republic massacre


    Displacement camp in Central African Republic for people fleeing their homes to escape violence (HRW)
    Displacement camp in Central African Republic for people fleeing their homes to escape violence (HRW)

    At least 30 civilians, including six Red Cross workers were massacred on August 7 in the town of Gambo in southeastern Central African Republic (CAR). The violence is blamed on the militias from the Muslim Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (l'Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique, UPC) which broke off from the Muslim Séléka militias in 2014.

    According to Antoine Mbao-Bogo, the president of the Central African Red Cross:

    "In principle, we shouldn't be targets. I'm actually in tears right now, and the entire Red Cross is appalled and worried.

    We don't have guns, or any kinds of weapon.. we're just trying to do our job, which is to help people. Among those killed last week, there were pregnant women killed. They'd come to the health center to give birth. And they had their throats cut. This is something that goes beyond my understanding."

    This illustrates how younger generations don't understand what's going on. The survivors of World War II saw something like this happen many times, so they wouldn't be surprised by it today, but those survivors are all gone now, and the people left behind have absolutely no clue how the world works.

    Fighting has been intense in that entire region of CAR, around the town of Bangassou, where around 2,000 Muslims have been sheltering in a Catholic church since violence in May. The Church is surrounded by mainly Christian anti-balaka militia who are threatening to kill them. Fighting in other nearby towns has led to the deaths of at least 60 people in the last two weeks.

    Many people are blaming France for the violence, because they withdrew the French peacekeeping mission Sangaris earlier this year, as we reported a few months ago. There's a UN force is known as MINUSCA, which stands for Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic.

    French general Dominique Trinquand, the former chief of the military mission to the United Nations, said:

    "The problem is that the UN troops alone are not mobile enough, meaning that when you've got an incident somewhere, they've got to intervene, but they usually are too late, after the killing of people there has happened. But Sangaris was ready to intervene with helicopters, very quickly and so it was a sort of a safeguard for the UN forces inside the country.

    The other important point is that a UN force is fine, but when you have soldiers who are not able to interact with the population then you've got a problem. A lot of the soldiers inside the UN force are not French speakers, and so they're not able to discuss with the people and to have the right information in order to react very quickly."

    French troops have been recalled back to France, for Operation Sentinelle, after France was hit by a string of terror attacks. Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Al Jazeera and ReliefWeb

    UN Human Rights chief warns of 'genocide' and 'ethnic cleansing' in Central African Republic

    Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O'Brien warned that he's seeing "the early warning signs of genocide," and that various armed groups "have the intention to ethnically cleanse" the country of their enemies. According to O'Brien:

    "It was clear to me that the growth of intercommunal violence, this pretense, perhaps it's sincere, I don't know, of using ethnic and confessional identity as a cause for killing, brutality, torture, threatening behavior, that these were the early signs, the early warning signs, of what could rapidly turn into a genocide.

    And we're all now coming together to do what we can to urge greater presence of the UN for the protection of civilians in what is becoming a very rapid, flare-up in various parts of the southeast, central southeast, the east as well as the northwest of the Central African Republic. ... We must act now, not pare down the UN's effort, and pray we don't live to regret it."

    This may be a surprise to O'Brien, but it won't be a surprise at all to long-time readers of Generational Dynamics, as CAR is in a generational crisis war that peacekeepers will have little effect on, and so will not end until there's a devastating, explosive genocidal climax. Peacekeepers may get leaders to sign a peace agreement, which has already happened several times in the CAR war, but this is a war led by the people, not the leaders or politicians.

    The CAR sectarian war began in March 2013, when François Bozizé, the Christian former president of CAR, was ousted in a coup in March 2013 by Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, who became president and served until January 2014.

    After Djotodia's coup took place in March 2013, Muslim Séléka militias began committing atrocities, particularly targeting the Christian constituencies of the deposed François Bozizé. In December 2013, French Foreign Legion peacekeeping troops arrived to disarm the Séléka militias.

    The actions of the French troops backfired. When the Muslim Séléka troops were disarmed, the Christian anti-balaka militias "rushed into the vacuum," and began committing atrocities in 2014, for revenge against the Sélékas. Since then, both Christians and Muslims have been committing atrocities, and it's become a full-scale generational crisis war. Thousands have been killed, and millions have been displaced.

    During 2014, the peacekeepers were able to bring the violence somewhat under control in Bangui, the country's capital, but CAR is a huge country, and violence continued in various regions. The violence began to slow down because the country became effectively partitioned into Muslim and Christian regions, with millions of people fleeing from their homes.

    However, the Séléka militias began an intra-Muslim "fraticidal" conflict. One faction was the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (l'Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique, UPC), consisting mainly of militia from ethnic Fulani, who are cattle herders. The other faction was the Popular Front for the Renaissance in the Central African Republic (Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique, FPRC), dominated by ethnic Gula and Runga who are farmers.

    As I've described many times in Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and even America in the 1800s, is that in country after country, there a classic and recurring battle between herders and farmers. The farmers accuse the herders of letting the cattle eat their crops, while the herders accuse the farmers of planting on land that's meant for grazing. If the farmers put up fences, then the herders knock them down.

    So at the present time you have sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians, and you have ethnic inter-Muslim clashes between farmers and herders. There are millions of people involved, and the United Nations would like a few hundred peacekeepers to bring peace to all of them. This is a typical United Nations fantasy, completely out of touch with reality and the real world. The French apparently reached this conclusion last year, when they announced the pullout of their Sangaris mission.

    As I've explained in the past, CAR's last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era, where a new crisis civil war has already started. This war will not end until there's an explosive, genocidal climax. Maybe O'Brien should learn a little history before he starts talking about the peacekeeping budget. Deutsche Welle and AFP and United Nations Humanitarian Agency and Human Rights Watch and Elizabeth Kendal blog (18-May)

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    10-Aug-17 World View -- Turkey reshuffles military in preparation to attack Kurds in northern Syria

    Turkey announces plans for military action against Kurds in northern Syria

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Turkey reshuffles top military leaders in preparation for action in Syria


    Young men stand on a Turkish army tank in Ankara on July 16, 2016, the day after the attempted coup. (Reuters)
    Young men stand on a Turkish army tank in Ankara on July 16, 2016, the day after the attempted coup. (Reuters)

    Heads rolled at the top of Turkey's military last week, as the army, air force and navy commanders were all replaced.

    The replacements came a year after the aborted military coup of July 15 of last year. Since the coup, over 100,000 people have been fired or jailed, in a variety of professions, often with no evidence.

    The military came under special scrutiny, since renegade military officers led the aborted coup. Immediately after the coup attempt, the government ordered the firing of 149 generations, - nearly half of the armed forces' entire contingent of 358 - for alleged complicity in the coup attempt.

    This hollowing of Turkey's armed force is blamed for Turkey's poor performance in Operation Euphrates Shield last year and this. That operation used Syrian rebel militias supported by Turkey's army and air force with the objective of defeating the the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) and also of pushing the Kurds back east of the Euphrates River. Turkey was only minimally successful with both objectives.

    Turkey is committed to preventing the Kurds from gaining a foothold in northern Syria, and in particular to preventing the creation of an independent Kurdish state called Rojava. The Kurdish terrorist group Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been conducting an insurgency in Turkey since the 1980s, and has perpetrated large terrorist attacks in Turkish cities during the last three years.

    Speaking at a meeting last week of Turkey's Supreme Military Council (YAS), Prime Minister Binali Yildirim highlighted that Turkey continues to fight terrorist groups with determination.

    "The fight against the PKK has been carried out very successfully especially in the last one year. The strategy for the offensive that was decided early August last year and the work in full coordination with the Turkish Armed Forces and other security units have given the expected result. Last year we decided in the beginning of August to lead the struggle and to work in full coordination with the Turkish Armed Forces and other security units. The struggle against the PKK has reached significant levels. ...

    Ongoing instability along the countries on our southern border, as well as the lack of proper governance and civil war pose the biggest threat to our fight against terrorism."

    Hurriyet (Ankara) and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and AFP (28-July-2016)

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    Turkey announces plans for military action against Kurds in northern Syria

    A week after a reshuffle of Turkey's top military commanders, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of a coming military operation in northern Syria against Kurdish fighters.

    In a speech on Saturday, Erdogan said:

    "We will not leave the separatist organization in peace in both Iraq and Syria. We know that if we do not drain the swamp, we cannot get rid of flies."

    The fight to expel ISIS from Raqqa, its Syrian stronghold, has been led by the People's Protection Units (YPG), consisting mostly of Kurdish fighters, backed by the United States. The US has been working with the YPG because the Kurds have proven themselves to be the most effective fighters in Syria against ISIS.

    Turkey is infuriated by this choice, because they consider all Kurds in Syria to be linked to the PKK. Turkey had offered its own fighters to expel ISIS from Raqqa, but after Turkey's poor performance last year, the YPG were the obvious choice.

    Turkey has been particularly infuriated because the US is supplying weapons to the YPG, and Turkey fears that these weapons will be used against Turkey, once the Raqqa operation is completed.

    These concerns became acute since YPG forces on Saturday destroyed a tank "belonging to terrorist groups under the Turkish army’s command," referring to the rebel forces that Turkey used to fight Operation Euphrates Shield. This event occurred in Afrin, a city outside of Raqqa. The YPG used an anti-tank guided missile system (ATGM) to destroy the tank. The ATGM may have been supplied by the US, but the YPG could have obtained the ATGM system from other sources as well.

    Turkey is also concerned about the presence of al-Qaeda linked forces in Idlib, near Turkey's border. These forces are the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front. Turkey is concerned about an imminent threat that can be posed by al-Nusra elements against Turkey and of a possible influx of refugees into Turkey because of attacks by the al-Nusra militias. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Navy Times and Reuters

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    9-Aug-17 World View -- China threatens India, as Trump threatens North Korea

    China sets apparent Aug 19 deadline for war with India

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China sets apparent Aug 19 deadline for India to remove soldiers from Doklam


    Chinese soldier confronts Indian soldier at border crossing (AFP)
    Chinese soldier confronts Indian soldier at border crossing (AFP)

    China's rhetoric over the border dispute with India has been become increasingly belligerent since the standoff began in June, and now appears to be setting a hard deadline for military action.

    As we've been reporting a standoff between India's army and China's army on Doklam plateau in the tiny country of Bhutan. China is attempting to annex the region, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help. The result is a standoff, though no bullets have been fired yet.

    However, statements in the media and from China's Foreign Ministry have been increasingly threatening, demanding that India withdraw its troops and permit China to invade and annex the region, or be "annihilated" by China's army. Many analysts seem to agree that China will win a military confrontation.

    In the last three days, China's state-run Global Times appears to have set a deadline of August 19, after which there will be a "small-scale military operation to expel Indian troops."

    The article on August 5 said:

    "China will not allow the military standoff between China and India in Doklam to last for too long, and there may be a small-scale military operation to expel Indian troops within two weeks, Chinese experts said after six ministries and institutions made remarks on the incident within the past 24 hours.

    From Thursday to Friday, two ministries and four institutions, including the Chinese foreign ministry, the defense ministry, the Chinese Embassy in India and the People's Daily, released statements or commentary on the military standoff between China and India in Doklam, Tibet Autonomous Region. The standoff has lasted for almost two months now, and there is still no end in sight."

    In order to prove that the threats are credible, the article emphasizes that all of China's relevant ministries and institutions are saying the same thing: That a military action within two weeks will expel Indian troops.

    The article goes on to quote Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences:

    "The series of remarks from the Chinese side within a 24-hour period sends a signal to India that there is no way China will tolerate the Indian troops' incursion into Chinese territory for too long. If India refuses to withdraw, China may conduct a small-scale military operation within two weeks."

    As usual, we have to point out that China has lied repeatedly and continuously about its claims and criminal activities in the South China Sea, and so there is no reason to believe any claims they make about Bhutan's territory on the Doklam Plateau. But China's policy is to use brute military force to invade and annex other countries' territories, and the same thing is now happening to Bhutan. It would have happened already but Indian troops have blocked China's invasion so far.

    Another article on August 7 says the following:

    "The Times of India reported on Monday that "the Indian security establishment is reasonably sure China will not risk a war or even 'a small-scale military operation' despite all its belligerent rhetoric."

    Of course China doesn't want to risk a war and hopes that peace could return and China and India can get along well. But if Indian troops continue to linger on Chinese soil, it will be quite another matter.

    India made constant provocations at the China-India border in 1962. The government of Jawaharlal Nehru at that time firmly believed China would not strike back. China had just undergone domestic turmoil and natural disasters; Beijing and Washington were engaged in hostility and China's relations with the Soviet Union had begun to chill.

    However, the Nehru government underestimated the determination of the Chinese government to safeguard China's territorial integrity even as the country was mired in both domestic and diplomatic woes.

    Fifty-five years have passed, but the Indian government is as naïve as it ever was. The lessons of the 1962 war didn't last for half a century. Usually, no government dares to offend a powerful neighbor. Now all Indian people know that their troops have trespassed on the territory of another country, although New Delhi claims that it is a disputed area between China and Bhutan. As the risk of war is rising, Indian public opinion has become clear that Indian troops cannot defeat the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

    Now the Indians place their hopes on China being unwilling to risk a war due to strategic concerns. They believe the US will likely side with India, which will exert huge psychological pressure on China. It seems that New Delhi does not comprehend the nature of the Sino-US rivalry and the meaning of strategic containment. It thinks Washington can influence the situation along the China-India border simply by issuing a pro-India statement or sending warships to the Indian Ocean."

    As I've said in the past, the people in China live in a fantasy world where their military will defeat everyone else in the world, and all that will be required is "a small-scale military operation," similar to a victory in a brief war in 1962. That war fizzled quickly because both countries were in a generational Recovery era, about 14 years after the end of their respected generational crisis wars, China's Communist Revolution and India's Partition war. In any country, there is little desire to fight another war so soon after a generational crisis war.

    But today both countries are in generational Crisis eras, and any war they fight will not be brief.

    In fact the editor at the Global Times is probably a child who is too young to remember another massive invasion by the Chinese into Vietnam in 1979. That was largely a defeat for the Chinese, though they undoubtedly thought at the beginning that it would be a victorious "small-scale military operation."

    China might also take a look at the current war in Yemen. When it began in 2014, it was supposed to be a "small-scale military operation" by Saudi Arabia to wrest control of the country's capital city Sanaa from the Houthis. Instead, that war is still going today. Global Times (Beijing, 5-Aug) and Global Times (Beijing, 7-Aug) and Reuters

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    Trump threatens North Korea with 'fire and fury'

    President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened North Korea with "fire and fury," in response to North Korean threats. A statement from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) says the following, where "DPRK" refers to North Korea and "UNSC" refers to the United Nations Security Council:

    "The DPRK is taking measures to strengthen the self-defensive nuclear deterrence in order to counter the policy of extreme hostility and nuclear threat against it from the US, the biggest nuclear weapons state of the world.

    As long as the US hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, the DPRK, no matter who may say what, will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiation table or flinch an inch from the road chosen by itself, the road of bolstering up the state nuclear force.

    Second, now that the US did forge the "sanctions resolution" by manipulating the UNSC to obliterate the DPRK's sovereignty and rights to existence and development, the DPRK will move into its resolute action of justice as it had already clarified ....

    As the gangsters of the US remain unabated in their mean and heinous provocation, the DPRK will further increase the strength of justice to thoroughly eradicate the cause of war and aggression and never back away from this fight to a finish. ...

    Third, the DPRK will make the US pay dearly for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country. ...

    The US is sadly mistaken if it considers its mainland a safe haven for being on the other side of the ocean."

    This statement was followed by reports that North Korea has developed a nuclear weapon small enough to fit into the tip of the intercontinental missiles that they have been testing.

    President Trump made the following response at a meeting where journalists were present:

    "North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

    He [Kim Jong-un] has been very threatening beyond a normal statement.

    And, as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power — the likes of which the world has never seen before."

    Last week, Trump said:

    "We will handle North Korea. We are gonna be able to handle them. It will be handled."

    North Korea responded by on Wednesday by saying that they're considering an attack on the American base in Guam.

    So there have been numerous threats from numerous sources in numerous countries around the world in the last few days, as the Clash of Civilizations world war approaches. Newsmax and Reuters

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    8-Aug-17 World View -- Dozens of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan killed in fourth Taliban victory in 3 weeks

    Trump's review of the Afghanistan war seeks solution where none exists

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Dozens of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan killed in fourth Taliban victory in 3 weeks


    Afghan security forces retake control of Jani Khel in Paktia province after ten days of heavy fighting with the Taliban (Khaama)
    Afghan security forces retake control of Jani Khel in Paktia province after ten days of heavy fighting with the Taliban (Khaama)

    Dozens of men, women and children, mostly ethnic Hazara Shia Muslims, were massacred in a two-day battle that ended on Saturday in northern Afghanistan in Sar-e-Pul. About 50 people were shot and killed, 30 houses were torched and burned to the ground, several mosques were set ablaze, and an unknown number of villagers were taken hostages. Seven Afghan troops and 12 Taliban militants were killed in the fighting.

    The extremely bloody Afghan crisis civil war, 1991-96, mostly pitted the ethnic Pashtuns, who are Sunni Muslims and later formed the Taliban, versus the Northern Alliance of Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks in northern Afghanistan. Now, twenty years later, Afghanistan is in a generational Awakening era, and a new young generation of Pashtuns is coming of age, raised on stories their parents told them about the atrocities committed by the Northern Alliance.

    These kinds of attacks are going to continue and may even become more frequent. Furthermore, this is only one of four Taliban attacks across the country in four different provinces.

    The district of Jani Khel in Paktia a known stronghold of the Haqqani Network fell to the Taliban in late July after several days of heavy fighting. It was recaptured on August 4. The districts of Taywara in Ghor in central Afghanistan, and Kohistan (or Lolash) in Faryab in the northwest fell to the Taliban on July 23 after several days of fighting.

    Afghan security forces were unable to prevent any of these losses. None of these losses is an existential threat to the government in Kabul, and in each case Afghan forces will recapture the district in time. But they provide the Taliban with an opportunity to loot the district of its equipment, vehicles, weapons and ammunition -- much of which was supplied by the US, meaning that the US is arming both sides in Afghanistan. These losses also show that the Taliban is capable of conducting operations in all regions of the country. BBC and Khaama Press (Afghanistan) and Long War Journal (25-Jul) and Tolo News (Afghanistan, 25-Jul) and Deutsche Welle

    Did ISIS team up with the Taliban in Sar-e-Pul massacre?

    According to most western media reports, the massacre of dozens of Shia Muslim Hazaras in Sar-e-Pul on Saturday is the result of a joint coordinated attack by the Taliban and the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

    As usual, this is mainly a publicity stunt. It definitely does not mean that ISIS leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who is probably cowering in a basement somewhere in Syria or Iraq, has ordered a few of his thugs to pack up their things and travel to Sar-e-Pul to massacre some women and children.

    What it really means is that two Taliban factions were involved in the slaughter, and one of the factions has pledged allegiance to ISIS, hoping to get some publicity and perhaps some volunteers out of it.

    As a matter of fact, in this case what it means is that Sher Mohammad Ghazanfar, a local Taliban command, has pledged allegiance to ISIS, according to a local government spokesman.

    Furthermore, a Taliban spokesman denied the allegations:

    "It was an independent operation by our mujahideen forces. There is no cooperation with [ISIS] on the operation."

    He also denied that civilians were killed. This is also a public relations fabrication. The Taliban have faced criticism even from Pashtuns in Afghanistan for their willingness to kill innocent women and children. So now they just kill the women and children anyway, but claim they didn't. International Business Times and Al Jazeera and CNN and PBS (17-Nov-2015)

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    Trump's review of the Afghanistan war seeks solution where none exists

    In the last couple of weeks, the media have been filled with stories about a new White House review of the war and Afghanistan, including a demand by President Donald Trump to achieve victory. The media have described this as an angry disagreement between National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon.

    According to the reports that I've seen, McMaster wants to send a new "surge" of troops into Afghanistan, presumably to win, while Bannon wants either to withdraw completely, or else to outsource the war to military contractors, such as Blackwater Worldwide or DynCorp.

    As long-time readers are aware, I've been predicting for years, based on a Generational Dynamics analysis of, among other things, the tribal relationships of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that a victory is impossible. I summarized the reasoning briefly earlier in this article with the discussion above of the Pashtuns and the Northern Alliance.

    As I've described in the past, I've worked with Steve Bannon off and on for several years in the past, both on his movie "Generation Zero" and when I was cross-posting articles on the Breitbart National Security site. So I know that Steve Bannon is an expert on military history and world history, and he also has an expert understanding of Generational Dynamics and generational theory, and he also understands the Generational Dynamics predictions in Afghanistan.

    So the strategy of withdrawing all American forces would seem to make the most sense, given that a victory is impossible. The problem with that strategy is that it will leave the way open for total victory by the Taliban, collapsing the government completely, and would also deal a huge blow to India, which has major interests in Afghanistan. Other possible consequences would be the rise of ISIS militias in Afghanistan, and a return of the Russian military to Afghanistan to fill the vacuum created by an American withdrawal. The use of military contractors might mitigate some of these consequences. This is presumably the subject of in-depth analyses being performed in the White House.

    Sending in additional troops would be a "kick the can down the road" strategy. Victory is impossible, but additional troops would not have the potentially disastrous consequences of a complete withdrawal. Instead, it would be a kind of holding action.

    At times like this, I like to point out that there is no solution to this problem. By this, I don't mean that nobody has been clever enough to figure out the solution. What I mean is that no solution exists, because no strategy can lead to victory. NewsMax and Washington Post

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Aug-17 World View -- Dozens of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan killed in fourth Taliban victory in 3 weeks thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    7-Aug-17 World View -- Israel announces that it will ban al-Jazeera in Israel

    BBC vs Al-Jazeera: Which is more biased?

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Israel announces that it will ban al-Jazeera in Israel


    Al-Jazeera's Marwan Bishara (L) comments during the news conference of Israel's communications minister Ayoub Kara
    Al-Jazeera's Marwan Bishara (L) comments during the news conference of Israel's communications minister Ayoub Kara

    Israel’s Communications Ministry announced Sunday that it will take action to ban Qatar-owned al-Jazeera from both operating and broadcasting in Israel.

    In doing so, Israel has clearly and unequivocally taken sides against Qatar and in favor of the countries that are currently enforcing a land, sea and air blockade against Qatar -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt.

    Israel's Communications Minister Ayoub Kara made the announcement in a televised news conference:

    "Freedom of expression is a basic value, and I will do everything I can to protect objective journalism and freedom of expression, which is very important to me. But the events on the Temple Mount have put me in a position where I need to think about how I can secure the safety of Israel’s citizens, and that is the most important.

    “Recently, we’ve noticed that some outlets are not being used for free expression, but for incitement against Israeli citizens. One of these outlets, the Al Jazeera network, is responsible for the loss of some of our finest sons. ...

    A media, which has been deemed to be a supporter of terror by almost all Arab countries, and we know this for certain, we will take a few steps against it, to express our fight against terrorism and radical Islam, and our empathy with the sane Arab world.

    The freedom of speech is not the freedom of incitement. Democracy has boundaries as well. When it comes down to the question what precedes what, I have no doubt, I prefer citizens and soldiers alive in Israel. ...

    Lately, almost all countries in our region determined that Al Jazeera supports terrorism, supports religious radicalization.

    And when we see that all these countries have determined as fact that Al Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that then something delusional is happening here."

    Although Israeli officials have discussed banning al-Jazeera for years, the move gained impetus after the massive sometimes violent anti-Israeli protests at the Al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount in Jerusalem last month. At that time, Israel's president Benjamin Netanyahu accused al-Jazeera of inciting violence by encouraging the protests, and wrote in a Facebook post:

    "The Al-Jazeera channel continues to incite violence around the Temple Mount. ...

    I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al-Jazeera office in Jerusalem. If this is not possible because of legal interpretation, I am going to seek to have the necessary legislation adopted to expel Al-Jazeera from Israel."

    There are two al-Jazeera channels, al-Jazeera English (AJE) and al-Jazeera Arabic (AJA). Israelis say that the media source tries to appear reasonable on AJE, but really incites violence on the AJA, since few Jews understand Arabic.

    Kara announced that he first would work to revoke the journalist credentials for all reporters affiliated with al-Jazeera. In addition, he would push to have al-Jazeera dropped from cable and satellite services in Israel, and to close its Jerusalem offices.

    The decision will not have immediate effect, since it would require a vote by Israel's cabinet, and possibly the parliament (Knesset). Some analysts are saying that Kara will have difficulty getting approval for those measures, since many ministers and MKs strongly support freedom of speech. Israel prides itself in claiming to be the only democracy in the Mideast.

    During this generational Crisis era, censorship has been increasing around the world. Online blogs and discussion sites are being closely monitored or shut down in countries like China, Iran and Russia. Egypt jailed four al-Jazeera reporters for years, and one is still in jail. Russia Today, which used to be a reasonably independent media site, now publishes only state-approved propaganda. In Turkey, the country's largest opposition media operation, Zaman Media, was shut down and some of the reports arrested -- and this was several months before the aborted coup occurred.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, nationalism and xenophobia are rapidly increasing in countries around the world, as these countries go deeper into a generational Crisis era. This trend will continue, and will only be ended by war. Israel National News and Jerusalem Post

    Al-Jazeera gives bitter, angry response to Israel's move

    In an official statement, al-Jazeera said that it had reported violence at the al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount, but had not incited it, and they denounced Israel's announcement:

    "Al Jazeera stresses that it will closely watch the developments that may result from the Israeli decision, and will take the necessary legal measures towards it. ...

    Al Jazeera will continue to cover the events of the occupied Palestinian territories professionally and accurately, according to the standards set by international agencies, such as the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom)."

    However, what was more interesting were the 30-minute rants by chief analyst Marwan Bishara that I watched on al-Jazeera English.

    Bishara's biases are well-known: He hates Israel, he hates the Palestinian Authority even more, he hates Egypt, and he loves Hamas. So anything he says must be understood in that context. But I've listened to him many times over the years, and he provides a window into the thinking of Arab governments in general, though more recently just the Qatari government.

    So it's not surprising that Bishara said that Israel performed this move on behalf of "Arab dictators," referring the four countries that have implemented the blockade against Qatar, and that he praised the 2011 "Arab Spring" that brought down Egypt' long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, and led to the election of Mohammed Morsi and a Muslim Brotherhood government allied with Hamas.

    Bishara did not mention that Qatar, which is the wealthiest country in the world in terms of per-capita income for its citizens, treats its foreign workers brutally.

    Bishara said that the move by Israel shows a "synergy" of "dictatorships" in the Arab world and "dictatorship of military occupation in Palestine":

    "It is as if closing down a network will diminish violence, when everyone knows that repression and military occupation, and aggression is the reason for violence in the region. Not reporting it."

    But by far, the most interesting of Bishara's remarks was his ten-minute vitriolic rant attacking on Israel's Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, the man who gave the televised news conference that made the announcement.

    Bishara began by pointing out that Kara is not a Jew. "He is an Arab -- an Arab Druze," said Bishara angrily and bitterly. He attacked Kara's intelligence by calling his performance at the news conference "incoherent" and "irrational."

    He said that Kara had risen in Israel's government go become a minister by betraying Arabs and the Palestinians. He repeatedly called Kara a "traitor" to Palestinians.

    It was very peculiar rant, and it makes one wonder whether Bishara would have been happier if the announcement had been made by a Jew.

    However, there's more angle to this. During his news conference, Kara said the following:

    "I am the only one [in Israel's government] who is an Arabic speaker, who understands Arabic and my native language is Arabic. You cannot fool me with Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic. I know how to identify how disturbing reporting becomes incitement instead of being free speech."

    This is perhaps the part of Kara's statement that infuriated Bishara most of all. Other Israeli officials have been "fooled" by al-Jazeera's trick of broadcasting its worst incitement on al-Jazeera Arabic (AJA), but Kara used his knowledge of Arabic to avoid being "fooled," and see through the ploy. Al-Jazeera and Middle East Eye

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    BBC vs Al-Jazeera: Which is more biased?

    I've watched both the BBC and al-Jazeera for years. The BBC is an invaluable source of information because it has correspondents in countries around the world. Al-Jazeera is an invaluable source of information because it has the best coverage of the Mideast. However, it's very hard to be worse than the BBC in terms of bias.

    During the George W. Bush administration, I was on a mailing list of the BBC reporter Gavin Esler. Esler's mailings included the news of the day, and also the "BBC News Joke of the Day." The jokes were almost always designed to make Bush look like an idiot or a fascist. Actually much of the news had the same objective.

    The worst occurred in 2007, during President Bush's "surge" in Iraq. The BBC, the NY Times and NBC News essentially became the public relations agency for al-Qaeda in Iraq by coordinating their news reports with the bombings that occurred in Baghdad. They did everything they could to support al-Qaeda and get American soldiers killed in the most appalling example of nearly traitorous behavior by the press that I've ever seen, though it's hard to call them traitors because they were the stupidest bunch of idiots imaginable. Later, these media sources were completely humiliated when the "surge" worked.

    By contrast, the BBC were lapdogs for President Barack Obama. He could start a war, get Americans killed, commit any crime, and the BBC would excuse him and blame it on the Republicans. I've always believed that if Obama had picked up a gun and shot and killed Michele, then the BBC, NY Times and NBC News would blame it on the Republicans.

    Now, with President Trump in office, it's the same as during the Bush administration or even worse. As I've reported in the past, the BBC makes up whatever facts they want. They have no morals or ethics, and they obviously believe that they have the right to make up anything they want with impunity.

    Now, as I've said before, al-Jazeera hates Israel. Al-Jazeera loves the Muslim Brotherhood, and loved Mohammed Morsi in Egypt, but now hates Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. Al-Jazeera loves Hamas.

    Al-Jazeera hates Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, and after today's rant against Ayoub Kara, I can finally see why.

    Marwan Bishara was vitriolicly critical of Kara, even more so than of the new Israeli policy. To Bishara, the great crime was not shutting down al-Jazeera. The great crime was being a traitor to the Palestinians.

    And that explains why Bishara and al-Jazeera hate the Palestinian Authority so much. Mahmoud Abbas has followed a policy of cooperating with the Israelis to maintain peace on the West Bank, saving the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis. To Bishara, that's a betrayal at the level of the biblical Judas.

    Hamas, on the other hand, wages war against Israel, and gets both Israelis and Palestinians killed, although in the 2014 Gaza war, far more Palestinians were killed than Israelis. To Bishara, that's GOOD thing, because Hamas isn't a traitor the Palestinians.

    Egypt is just as bad to Bishara because Egypt and Israel are coordinating efforts to control ISIS-linked terrorist killings in Egypt's northern Sinai, along the border with Israel. Once again, that level of cooperation is, to Bishara, a traitorous betrayal of the Palestinians.

    When looked at in this light, we can see why Saudi Arabia is demanding that Qatar end its support of terrorists. If Bishara's thinking represents the policies of Qatar's government, then the Saudis might well believe that Qatar supports terrorism.

    So is the BBC better or worse than al-Jazeera? I report, you decide.

    However, if things have gotten to the point where the Qataris believe that it's better to let Palestinians be killed than to betray them by cooperating with Israel, then things have really gotten very bad.

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Aug-17 World View -- Israel announces that it will ban al-Jazeera in Israel thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    6-Aug-17 World View -- China takes control of Sri Lanka's strategically valuable Hambantota seaport

    Threat of India-China border war at Doklam Plateau grows

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China takes control of Sri Lanka's strategically valuable Hambantota seaport


    Sri Lankan citizens watch Chinese dredging ships in Hambantota port (Reuters)
    Sri Lankan citizens watch Chinese dredging ships in Hambantota port (Reuters)

    Last week, Sri Lanka's government signed an agreement giving China a 99-year lease to use Sri Lanka's strategically valuable southern Hambantota seaport. The seaport is on the main shipping route from Asia to Europe, and oversees the Indian ocean all the way to Antarctica. In addition, China will hold a 70% stake in a joint venture to handle the commercial operations of the port.

    The deal has been extremely controversial for several reasons:

    The deal triggered violent protests earlier this year by Buddhist monks and anti-government protesters, but there were few protests when the deal was finally signed on July 29.

    The agreement is considered a very bad deal for Sri Lanka, even by those politicians who felt that Sri Lanka had no choice but to go ahead with it as part of a debt repayment scheme. In 2009, China invested $1.2 billion in the Hambantota seaport. Sri Lanka had expected to repay the debt through profits earned by the port, but the slowdown in trade throughout the entire region in the last few years has meant that Sri Lanka has been unable to repay the debt, and now China has essentially taken over the port in lieu of repayment of the debt.

    The deal has generated a great deal of anger by people who are accusing China of having purposely set a "debt trap" in 2009, knowing that Sri Lanka would be unable to repay the debt, and would be forced to give away Sri Lankan assets to China. Container Management Magazine and Asian Tribune and Colombo Gazette and LankaWeb

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    India reacts to China's One-Belt One-Road and threat of war over Doklam

    Recently, China launched a naval military base in Djibouti in eastern Africa as the endpoint to its "string of pearls," commercial deep-water ports in the Indian Ocean that China could use in time of wars. Many of these ports were built and often are operated by Chinese companies. These include deep-water ports in Sri Lanka, in Colombo and Hambantota; Pakistan, in Gwadar and Karachi; Myanmar, in Sittwe; and the Seychelles, in Port Victoria. The Gwadar port in Pakistan is expected to be upgraded to a full Chinese military base soon.

    These are all part of China's $1 trillion "One Belt One Road" (OBOR) initiative consisting of an overland Economic Belt and a Maritime Silk Road. Although these infrastructure projects are supposed to be for commercial use, Indian officials believe that China is preparing for war by surrounding India with the Hambantota port and other ports, as well as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that appears to be impinging on the India-government portion of Kashmir. And this is occurring at a time when China and India are close to a border war over the Doklam Plateau in Bhutan.

    India is attempting to match China's influence in the region by executing its own major infrastructure projects. India is involved in joint economic and technical projects with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. India is also investing heavily in Africa to compete with China there.

    India is part of the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) which links India with Iran, the Central Asian countries, and Russia. Part of NSTC is the port in Chabahar, which is on the coast of Iran near Pakistan. It's a direct competitor to China's Gwadar port in Pakistan. Using it, India will be able to bypass Pakistan in shipping goods to Iran, and from there to Afghanistan, Central Asia or Europe.

    However, India's projects are generally much smaller than China's, and are often only in the planning stages. For example, India invested $54 billion in Africa and Indo-African trade in 2016, while China invested $194 billion. Menafn (Middle East North Africa Financial Network)

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    Threat of India-China border war at Doklam Plateau grows

    We've reported several times on the growing tensions in Bhutan's Doklam Plateau, which China would like to invade and annex, but is being blocked by India forces, although no shots have yet been fired.

    As we reported yesterday, China is threatening war over Doklam, and believes they will "annihilate" India's army.

    Many analysts, including some officials in India, believe that sooner or later India will back down. However, a web site reader pointed out that it's a lot more serious than a simple border dispute over a small piece of land:

    "The Indians will definitely fight, because if they don't push back now, they will wake up and find Eastern India cut off from New Delhi. This is a red line the Indians will never allow to be crossed. And this is where it gets really dangerous. China doesn't need to steal land from Bhutan to survive, but India needs to preserve the Siliguri Corridor because India has no choice but to defend it if it wants to preserve the country. India will fight. It's the Chinese who are miscalculating."

    The Siliguri Corridor, also known as the "Chicken's Neck," is a land corridor that connects western and eastern India. If China takes control of the Doklam Plateau, they will also take control of the Chicken's Neck corridor, and India will be effectively split into two pieces.

    The Doklam Plateau conflict has turned into an existential threat for both countries, and it seems that neither China nor India will back down. There's also a hard deadline in getting the issue resolved, as there's a Chinese "People's Congress" in November, and China's president Xi Jinping will look extremely weak if there's still a standoff.

    And according to the somewhat hysterical Global Times article tht I quoted yesterday, the Chinese say that they will "annihilate" the Indian army, and it wouldn't surprise me if they actually believe that. Needless to day, the Indians don't agree. And it's worth remembering that the Saudis expected to annihilate the Houthis when they invaded Yemen in 2014.

    Finally, for those readers who enjoy a little black humor, we have a remarkable analysis appearing Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror, who has this response to people who fear war between China and India:

    "Have no such fears. With certainty, it can be said that nuclear powers will not go to war. Take heart from Wednesday’s US statement offering peace talks with North Korea. It came days after the maverick regime carried out a successful test of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

    The deterrent value of nuclear weapons is one of the key factors why the Third World War has still not happened. For nearly two months, China and India have been bogged down in a face-off in the Himalayas. But neither wants to start a major war. Nuclear powers may find themselves in warlike situations, but will not go to war, unless insane leaders take control of affairs. This is why China and the US have not gone to war over the South China Sea disputes."

    I know that regular readers of my Generational Dynamics articles will have a good laugh over this.

    However, with both India and China facing an existential crisis over the Doklam Plateau, the situation is a disaster in the making, unless someone can figure out a face-saving formula that both sides can agree to in the next month or so. India Times (3-July) and Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Aug-17 World View -- China takes control of Sri Lanka's strategically valuable Hambantota seaport thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    5-Aug-17 World View -- China further escalates the rhetoric threatening India over Doklam Plateau

    China attempts to justify its claim to the Doklam Plateau

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China further escalates the rhetoric threatening India over Doklam Plateau


    India's prime minister Narendra Modi and China's president Xi Jinping at a meeting last year (AP)
    India's prime minister Narendra Modi and China's president Xi Jinping at a meeting last year (AP)

    The border dispute involving China, India and Bhutan over the Doklam Plateau seems far from resolution. As we've been reporting a standoff between India's army and China's army on Doklam plateau in the tiny country of Bhutan. China is attempting to annex the region, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help. The result is a standoff, though no bullets have been fired yet.

    China's Foreign Ministry tells the story a little differently:

    "On June 16, the Chinese side was building a road in the Dong Lang area which is located on the Chinese side of the Sikkim Sector of the China-India boundary. This was aimed at improving the local transportation and facilitating local herdsmen's grazing of livestock and border troops' patrolling. It is normal activity of China in its own territory which is completely lawful and legitimate."

    Unfortunately, it isn't "normal activity," and it isn't China's territory. It's Bhutan's territory.

    To make its point, China's military has carried out live fire exercises in Tibet, presumably near the Doklam region. A video on China Central Television (CCTV) showed a commander sitting in a vehicle shouting “3, 2, 1, fire!” into two telephones and a missile was launched into the sky. Troops were shown loading and firing other missiles, some of which landed in fiery explosions.

    Probably more significant is that a commentary in China's official Xinhua news agency said, "China has made it clear that there is no room for negotiation and the only solution is the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from the region."

    China's state-run Global Times says that China would "annihilate" Indian forces:

    "India is publicly challenging a country that is far superior in strength. India's recklessness has shocked Chinese. Maybe its regional hegemonism in South Asia and the Western media comments have blinded New Delhi into believing that it can treat a giant to its north in the way it bullies other South Asian countries.

    Over the past month, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been on the move. We believe that the PLA has made sufficient preparation for military confrontation.

    It is a war with an obvious result. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be aware of the PLA's overwhelming firepower and logistics. Indian border troops are no rival to PLA field forces. If a war spreads, the PLA is perfectly capable of annihilating all Indian troops in the border region."

    Indian authorities have said in the past that they are prepared for a military clash with China in Doklam, and that they expect to win.

    India's Ministry of External Affairs is using far more diplomatic rhetoric than China, but has not shown and inclination to back down. A spokesman said that India is continuously coordinating with Bhutan to arrive at a "mutually-acceptable solution" to resolve the Doklam dispute. He added, "Our objective is to achieve peace and tranquility through diplomacy." However, it's hard to see how war can be avoided unless India backs down.

    China's president Xi Jinping may be under pressure to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

    The Communist Party congress is set for November. If the Doklam standoff continues until them, or if China's military withdraws, then it would make Xi look weak, and would bolster his rivals.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, xenophobia and nationalism are increasing in countries around the world, as countries go deeper into a generational Crisis era. The result is that many countries are becoming more belligerent, at least in rhetoric.

    On the Arabian Gulf, the four Arab countries Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have implemented a land, sea and air blockade against Qatar. This has gone on for weeks.

    As we reported two days ago, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that China was risking "open conflict" with the US over its policies in the South China Sea and in Korea. His remarks were consistent with other statements by President Donald Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham. They represent a significant escalation in rhetoric by the US, and a change in policy that's consistent with a Generational Dynamics analysis.

    Another example is North Korea itself, which is exhibiting increased belligerence through development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

    China's escalating rhetoric over the Doklam Plateau is consistent with these other examples, which illustrate how the worldwide increase in xenophobia and nationalism is pointing in the direction of a new war. India.com and AP and China's Foreign Ministry and Global Times (Beijing)

    China attempts to justify its claim to the Doklam Plateau

    On Wednesday, China's Foreign Ministry issued a 15-page document entitled: "The Facts and China’s Position Concerning the Indian Border Troops’ Crossing of the China-India Boundary in the Sikkim Sector into the Chinese Territory."

    It goes into detail about an agreement called the "1890 Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet" to provide proof that the Doklam Plateau really belongs to China, rather than Bhutan. However, that was a colonial-era agreement between Great Britain and China. Bhutan was not a party to that agreement.

    We always run into the same problem with China. In the South China Sea, they're building artificial islands and military bases that are in violation of international law, and they've repeatedly lied to make their claim to annexing the entire South China Sea. If they've lied repeatedly about the South China Sea, why would anyone believe anything they say about the Doklam Plateau or anything else?

    Of course it doesn't make any difference whether China is lying or not. China is a highly militarized state with a "China dream" that is preparing for many wars. China's Foreign Ministry (PDF) and India Times and International Business Times (India)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Aug-17 World View -- China further escalates the rhetoric threatening India over Doklam Plateau thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    4-Aug-17 World View -- Thousands of migrants flee to Canada, fearing deportation in the US

    Seven years after earthquake, Haiti is still devastated

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Thousands of migrants flee to Canada, fearing deportation in the US


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

    Officials in Canada are scrambling to accommodate hundreds of migrants fleeing from the United States in fear of being deported back to their home countries by the Trump administration. 500 migrants arrived on Tuesday, and another 300 people arrived on Wednesday. The average has grown to 150 people per day requesting asylum in Canada.

    Some 4,345 migrants arrived in the first six months of 2017, and another 1,000 arrived in July alone. Migrants that cross at official land border crossing are denied asylum on the spot, and are sent back to the United States, under an agreement between the two countries. The "Safe Third Country Agreement" was signed on December 5, 2002, as part of a plan to improve security between the two countries in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

    However, the agreement applies only to official land border crossings. For that reason, most migrants simply cross the border at an unmanned location. By entering Canada illegally, they bypass this agreement. They can then claim refugee status, seek asylum, and then stay while their refugee applications are being processes. Hundreds of migrants have crossed into Canada by walking along a dirt crossing into the Quebec town of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

    Canadian authorities were unprepared for the sudden surge in migrants. To accommodate them, Montreal's Olympic Stadium, built for the 1976 summer Olympics, has been transformed into a makeshift refugee center. Others are being sent to schools, which are not in session during the summer. Other accommodations will have to be found when schools open in September.

    Some 70% of the migrants are from Haiti, but others are from Sudan, Turkey and Eritrea. There are also some who are US citizens fleeing to Canada.

    Most of the asylum seekers are from Haiti, who arrived in the United States following the January 2010 earthquake. The Department of Homeland Security under President Obama granted Haiti the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) benefit following the earthquake, which permits them to stay in the country and work, and send remittances back to their families in Haiti.

    Besides Haiti, several Latin American countries have TPS status. El Salvador has had TPS status since 2001 because of a devastating earthquake. Nicaragua and Honduras have had TPS status since a hurricane that happened 18 years ago.

    The TPS for Haiti was meant to last only 18 months, but it kept getting 18-month extensions under the Obama administration. When the last TPS extension expired in May, the DHS announced a final six-month extension. In a statement from DHS:

    "The Department of Homeland Security urges Haitian TPS recipients who do not have another immigration status to use the time before Jan. 22, 2018, to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States."

    So many Haitian refugees have been taking the DHS advice and arranging their departure from the United States by traveling to Canada. They were encouraged by a welcoming tweet from Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau on January 28, 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"

    Trudeau's tweet was followed by a picture of him greeting a refugee family. The two tweets received over a million likes and half-a-million retweets. Canadian Broadcasting and Canadian TV News and AFP

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    Seven years after earthquake, Haiti is still devastated


    People dump trash and raw sewage into canals that run through Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When it rains, the canals overflow and flood poor neighborhoods. (NPR)
    People dump trash and raw sewage into canals that run through Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When it rains, the canals overflow and flood poor neighborhoods. (NPR)

    Haiti appears to be a cursed country. Before 2010 it was already almost the poorest country in the world, with many neighborhoods strewn knee high in garbage. Then, on January 12, 2010, the earthquake struck, killing 316,000 people and leaving more than 1.5 million people homeless, and 3.3 million facing food shortages.

    Then the United Nations sent in peacekeepers to aid in the cleanup. The peacekeepers didn't accomplish too much cleanup, but they did infect the water in Haiti with cholera, in a country which had previously been free of cholera. This caused hundreds of thousands of cases of cholera. It was later attributed to the peacekeepers from Nepal.

    Billions of dollars in aid have been spent in Haiti since then, apparently accomplishing little because of pervasive corruption. The Red Cross, for example, is accused of building only six homes in Haiti with nearly half a billion dollars in donated funds, and spending millions on internal expenses.

    Haitian migrants have been flooding into other countries, usually in order to work and send remittances back to their families. The Dominican Republic recently granted a one-year extension to some 230,000 Haitian migrants trying to renew or obtain residency permits. Other countries, including the Bahamas and Turks-and-Caicos have also had to cope with Haitian migrants. Huffington Post (12-Jan-2017) and Reuters and NPR and Magnetic Media TV and Bahama Journal

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Aug-17 World View -- Thousands of migrants flee to Canada, fearing deportation in the US thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    3-Aug-17 World View -- Rex Tillerson warns China is risking 'open conflict' with the United States

    Rex Tillerson promises a US 'response' to North Korea's 'unacceptable threat'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Rex Tillerson promises a US 'response' to North Korea's 'unacceptable threat'


    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

    Speaking to the State Dept. press corps on Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made it clear that the United States would not be appeasing either North Korea or China. Tillerson began by explaining the policy toward North Korea:

    "We have reaffirmed our position towards North Korea, that what we are doing, we do not seek a regime change; we do not seek the collapse of the regime; we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula; we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel. And we’re trying to convey to the North Koreans we are not your enemy, we are not your threat, but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond."

    Tillerson's statement was consistent with a remark made the previous day by President Donald Trump:

    "We will handle North Korea. We are gonna be able to handle them. It will be handled."

    UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the "time for talk is over," referring to the endless series of UN Security Council resolutions, each one expressing outrage that North Korea has ignored previous resolutions, and threatening North Korea with a new resolution in the future if the current one is violated. Some people in the mainstream media are having reading comprehension difficulties with these statements, considering them contradictory to one another. One journalist, for example, said that Trump and Tillerson "offered distinctly mixed messages on North Korea," and that Trump "preached a different message."

    And yet, the messages are perfectly clear and consistent. We do not seek regime change, but North Korea is presenting a major unacceptable threat to the US, and we have to "respond" or to "handle it."

    The reason that so many journalists, politicians, pundits and analysts are having difficulty is because they don't have the vaguest clue what's going on in the world, or how the world works, or they think that the world works the same way it did when they were children in the 1980s-90s. In those days, the world was still being run by the Silent generation, survivors of World War II, who were well aware of what can go wrong. But the world today is being run by younger generations who have no clue what can go wrong.

    The exception is Donald Trump's close adviser, Steve Bannon, who knows very well what is going on in the world. As I've described in the past, I've worked with Steve Bannon off and on for several years in the past, both on his movie "Generation Zero" and when I was cross-posting articles on the Breitbart National Security site. So I know that Steve Bannon is an expert on military history and world history, and he also has an expert understanding of Generational Dynamics and generational theory.

    So Bannon knows very well, and presumably has communicated to Trump, that a nuclear military confrontation with North Korea is coming with absolute certainty. Following the path of previous administrations would have meant showing weakness and appeasing North Korea, and then being overwhelmed by North Korea's unexpected surprise nuclear attack on South Korea and American bases, just as the US was overwhelmed by Imperial Japan's unexpected surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Instead of appeasing North Korea, the Trump administration is threatening to "respond." Presumably, there is hope that some response could somehow cripple North Korea's nuclear missile development program. To my knowledge, nobody believes that any such response is possible, and most analysts believe that any such attempt would trigger a North Korean attack on Seoul and South Korea. US State Dept. and Washington Examiner and Global Times (Beijing)

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    Rex Tillerson warns China is risking 'open conflict' with the United States

    In his speech to the State Dept. press corps, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the US has asked China to pressure North Korea to end their nuclear missile program:

    "The Chinese have been very clear with us that we share the same objective, a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. They do not see it in their interest for North Korea to have nuclear weapons, just as we do not see it in anyone’s interest. ...

    We’ve been very clear with the Chinese we certainly don’t blame the Chinese for the situation in North Korea. Only the North Koreans are to blame for this situation. But we do believe China has a special and unique relationship because of this significant economic activity to influence the North Korean regime in ways that no one else can.

    And that’s why we continue to call upon them to use that influence with North Korea to create the conditions where we can have a productive dialogue. We don’t think having a dialogue where the North Koreans come to the table assuming they’re going to maintain their nuclear weapons is productive. So that’s really what the objective that we are about is."

    The logic of this statement is a little convoluted. He wants China to influence North Korea so that they can all have a constructive dialog. But a productive dialog is not possible if North Korea assumes that they're going to maintain their nuclear weapons. Therefore, he's implying that he wants China to influence North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons development.

    After North Korea's ballistic missile statement last weekend, President Trump lashed out at China on Twitter:

    "I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!"

    Trump's tweet contained an implicit threat towards China. Tillerson went farther in his speech to the press corps and warned China that China is risking open conflict with the United States, because of disagreements over trade and over China's actions in the South China Sea:

    "The question now is that we – we believe we’re at a bit of a pivot point in that relationship because of how China has progressed now to become the second largest economy in the world, and they will continue to grow in their importance to the global economy. What should define this relationship for the next 50 years? And those are the discussions that we have with the Chinese in the broadest contours: How should we define this relationship and how do we ensure that economic prosperity to the benefit of both countries and the world can continue, and that where we have differences – because we will have differences, we do have differences – that we will deal with those differences in a way that does not lead to open conflict. And that has been the success of the past policy. It’s one that we must continue, but we recognize conditions have changed and to simply rely upon the past may not serve either one of us well.

    So these are very in-depth conversations and discussions we have with the Chinese, and we test this relationship through things like the situation in North Korea. Can we work together to address this global threat where we have a common objective? And where we have differences – in the South China Sea, and we have some trading differences that need to be addressed – can we work through those differences in a way without it leading to open conflict and find the solutions that are necessary to serve us both?"

    Tillerson's statement contains a direct warning to China by twice using the phrase "lead[ing] to open conflict."

    Previous administrations have avoided any sorts of direct threats to China, for fear of angering them. But avoiding threats has the effect of showing weakness and appeasing China, and then later being overwhelmed by an unexpected surprise attack.

    But, once again, this administration is different because Trump advisor Steve Bannon is an expert on Generational Dynamics, and is well aware of the Generational Dynamics prediction that the US and China are headed for all-out war with 100% certainty.

    Instead of appeasing North Korea and China, the Trump administration is making unspecified threats, in the hope of finding either a way to stop the war or a way to make sure that the United States survives a war.

    The Trump statement quoted above suggests that Trump plans trade sanctions against China, and the statements by Tillerson suggest that the administration plans some sort of action to neutralize North Korea's nuclear missile threat.

    I wish I could say that there's hope that these measures will have the desired effect of stopping North Korea and China, but as I've been saying for years, major decisions and trends like those developing now do not come from the countries' leaders. They come from the countries' populations, entire generations of people, and attempting to halt these trends is like trying to stop a tsunami with a teacup.

    On Tuesday morning, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who has a close relationship with Trump, made a statement about the inevitability of war in Korea that is believed to have come from Trump himself. Graham said that unless North Korea's president Kim Jong-un changes, war is coming:

    "I’m saying it’s inevitable unless North Korea changes because you’re making our president pick between regional stability and homeland security.

    If there’s going to be a war to stop him [Kim], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And he [Trump] has told me that to my face."

    These statements by Tillerson, Trump and Graham, taken together, define a policy that is completely consistent with the Generational Dynamics analysis of the situation in China and North Korea. Mainstream journalists and analysts are completely baffled by it, because they have no idea what's going on in the world, and they know nothing about Generational Dynamics or generational theory. That's why mainstream journalists talk about chaos, or a White House with no foreign policy or an incoherent foreign policy. They simply have no clue.

    But the fact is that this is the most coherent and sophisticated White House foreign policy that I've seen in the 15 years that I've been writing about Generational Dynamics. Unfortunately, it won't prevent the catastrophic Clash of Civilizations war that's approaching, any more than a policy of appeasement would do, but we can hope that it may help guarantee that the United States will survive. Guardian (London) and Daily Star (London) and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Global Times (Beijing) and Daily Beast

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Aug-17 World View -- Rex Tillerson warns China is risking 'open conflict' with the United States thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    2-Aug-17 World View -- Court orders France to provide water and sanitation to Calais migrants

    French police accused of abusive treatment towards Calais migrants

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Court orders France to provide water and sanitation to Calais migrants


    Migrants are continuing to arrive in Calais, despite the closure of the Jungle camp nine months ago. (CNN)
    Migrants are continuing to arrive in Calais, despite the closure of the Jungle camp nine months ago. (CNN)

    Under court order, France's government said that it would provide hundreds of refugees "sleeping rough" in the Calais region with drinking water, showers, and toilets.

    In October of last year, France finally closed "The Jungle," the refugee camp housing about 7,000 refugees in the French port city of Calais, hoping to sneak onto ferries and trucks crossing the English Channel, in order to apply for asylum in Britain.

    France had hoped to be done with "The Jungle," but now hundreds of new refugees have come to Calais with the same goals. One Afghan refugee said that this year it's different:

    "The difference is huge compared to the former ‘Jungle,’ police were not harassing people every day. There were houses, tents set up, there was food. We had everything there.

    There were showers, toilets, a mosque and even a place for eating. We had everything. Here, there is nothing, no toilet, no shower, nowhere to sleep. Not even a plate to eat from."

    In June, a regional court ordered Calais officials, within ten days, to provide drinking fountains, toilets and showers to migrants who are "exposed to inhuman and degrading conditions" in the area. The court said that Calais didn't have to provide shelter to migrants on a permanent basis, but said it was "unlawful to deny all aid to people who are in a state of complete deprivation." The court said that if Calais failed to comply, then the city would be fined €100 per day.

    The ruling was hailed as a victory by migrants' rights activists, but Calais chose not to comply, with the mayor reportedly saying that he's rather pay a €100 per day fine than risk having thousands of migrants come back to Calais.

    Interior minister Gérard Collomb warned that complying with the order risked developing a migrant "abscess."

    "We've seen this before, it starts with a few hundred people and ends with several thousand people who we can't manage. That's why we don't want a center here."

    So on Monday, France's highest administrative court, the e Council of State or Conseil d'État, upheld the lower court order, and ordered the state to provide running water and sanitation for the migrants, saying that its refusal so far to do so "exposed them to inhuman and degrading treatment."

    Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart said that she would ignore the order:

    "The decision by the Council of State is unfair to the people of Calais because it threatens them with the emergence of yet another Jungle.

    In the absence of a national and European policy offering a global solution on controlling immigration, Calais will not implement the injunctions."

    Instead, Interior minister Gérard Collomb announced on Monday that two shelters for Calais migrants, each with a capacity of 300, would be opened within ten days. The centers will be located in the towns of Troisvaux and Bailleul, situated about 80 kilometers from Calais. Furthermore, refugees will only be permitted to remain there for a few days, to allow their asylum applications to be processed, and then they would be required to leave and go somewhere else. Whether that will satisfy the court remains to be seen.

    But Calais's mayor, Natacha Bouchart, called Collomb's plans "an injustice to the people of Calais," and said the plans would lead to a new Jungle. Euro News and RFI and France 24 (26-June) and Express (London)

    French police accused of abusive treatment towards Calais migrants

    For months, NGOs and activists have been accusing French police of use of abusive treatment and excessive force towards migrants in Calais. Police were accused of preventing aid groups from distributing meals in Calais.

    According to regional police chief Fabien Sudry in June, the charges were unfounded:

    "In a country with the rule of law, all people can file a legal complaint and ask for an investigation from the police inspector general. No legal complaints have been filed at this stage regarding police violence on migrants."

    Now Human Rights Watch has produced a report based on interviews of 60 asylum seekers and migrants, confirming the reports of police abuse. According to the report:

    "Human Rights Watch finds that police in Calais, particularly the riot police (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité, CRS), routinely use pepper spray on child and adult migrants while they are sleeping or in other circumstances in which they pose no threat; regularly spray or confiscate sleeping bags, blankets, and clothing; and sometimes use pepper spray on migrants’ food and water. Police also disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance."

    According to HRW, authorities have turned a blind eye to these widespread reports of police abuse against asylum seekers and other migrants. According to HRW's director in France: "It is reprehensible for police to use pepper spray on children and adults who are asleep or peacefully going about their day. When police destroy or take migrants’ blankets, shoes, or food, they demean their profession as well as harm people whose rights they’ve sworn to uphold." Human Rights Watch and European Observatory of Crimes and Security and Reuters (1-June) and Daily Sabah (Ankara)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Aug-17 World View -- Court orders France to provide water and sanitation to Calais migrants thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Aug-2017) Permanent Link
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    1-Aug-17 World View -- Torture and murder of election official raise fears of violence in Kenya

    Widespread fears in Kenya of a repeat of the 2008 tribal violence

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Torture and murder of election official raise fears of violence in Kenya


    Election poster in Kenya (Reuters)
    Election poster in Kenya (Reuters)

    With the minds of the people of Kenya still filled with sharp memories of the massive bloody violence that occurred after the 2007 presidential elections, most people were shocked and disgusted to learn on Monday that the person most responsible for guaranteeing free and fair presidential elections next week on August 8 was tortured and killed on Friday.

    Chris Msando, who was in charge of IT systems for Kenya's electoral commission, went missing on Friday. On Monday, his naked body was found dumped in a forest, with his left hand and fingers broken, a swollen injury on his head, and evidence of strangulation. The body of a woman identified only as Shiru was also found, leading to some social media speculation that the murder was a personal matter triggered by an illicit affair.

    However, most Kenyans believe that Msando was murdered to affect the presidential elections next week. Those who support the incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, say that polls show that their candidate is likely to win, and therefore the opposition are the likely murderers, with the objective of making it possible to rig the election against the incumbent.

    Those who support the main opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, say that the polls show that the election will be close, and the government had Msando murdered in order to make it possible to rig the election to make sure that the incumbent wins.

    On Monday, Msando was to oversee the public testing of a new national computerized voting system, the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS). A similar electronic system that was used in the 2013 election failed spectacularly, leading to manual counting of votes which some have argued allowed for voter manipulation. The test was put on hold following the announcement that Msando's dead body was found, and it's unclear what the status of next Tuesday's presidential elections is now. BBC and Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya) and Standard Media (Kenya) and Deutsche Welle (9-July)

    Widespread fears in Kenya of a repeat of the 2008 tribal violence

    After the December 2007 president elections, there was a period of extremely bloody inter-tribal violence in Rift Valley in Kenya, that began early in 2008. The worst atrocity occurred when 30 people were lured into a church to escape violence, and a young gang locked the doors and set the church on fire, burning everyone alive. All in all, more than 1,200 people were killed in the tribal violence between the Kalenjins, whose nomadic lifestyle was typical of herders, and the Kikuyus, who were mostly farmers.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta is from the market-dominant Kikuyu tribe, while his opponent, Raila Odinga, is from the marginalized Luo tribe, which is an offshoot of the Kalenjins. Observers in Kenya are pointing out that the Kikuyus and the Kalenjins have reached some sort of agreement to prevent violence this time. However, as I described in detail in April, the violence between herders and farmers is a classic battle and standard fare in country after country, including America in the 1800s.

    In fact, the pre-election violence in Kenya has already begun. As I described in my April article, well-known Italian conservationist Kuki Gallmann, 73, was shot in the stomach by herders who invaded her Gallmann Laikipia Nature Conservancy in Laikipia county in Kenya's Rift Valley.

    Kenya's last generational crisis war was the Mau-Mau rebellion that began in 1952 and climaxed in 1956. In 2008, Kenya was still in a generational Unraveling era, which made a full-scale war very unlikely, and explains why the violence at that time fizzled fairly quickly. Today, Kenya is in a generational Crisis era, and so the possibility of full-scale war is much greater.

    As I described in April, there is a significant generational difference between 2008 and 2017. During the last year, Kalenjin politicians have been inciting violence by herders against farmers. In 2008, the senior politicians were all survivors of the Mau-Mau rebellion, and they would not have incited violence and risked full-scale war. But today, those survivors are almost all gone, and politicians are really playing with fire by inciting violence. That's the difference between a generational Unraveling era and a Crisis era.

    Kenya is headed for an all-out war, repeating the extremely bloody violence of the Mau-Mau rebellion, either now or in the months to come. The torture and murder of Chris Msando sets the stage for accusations of vote-rigging by whoever loses the election, and if one side or the other becomes convinced that the election was stolen, that could trigger new violence. The Star (Kenya) and Deutsche Welle and Human Rights Watch and Standard Media (Kenya)

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    31-Jul-17 World View -- Indian Kashmir separatists split over announcement of Zakir Musa as al-Qaeda leader

    India says that Kashmir's law and order situation is improving

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Indian Kashmir separatists split over announcement of Zakir Musa as al-Qaeda leader


    Zakir Musa (R) became leader of Hizbul Mujahideen in July of last year, after the previous leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani (L) was killed in a gunfight with Indian police. Musa was named al-Qaeda commander last week.
    Zakir Musa (R) became leader of Hizbul Mujahideen in July of last year, after the previous leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani (L) was killed in a gunfight with Indian police. Musa was named al-Qaeda commander last week.

    Al-Qaeda's public relations department has announced that one of Kashmir's most popular militant leaders Zakir Musa, 23, has been appointed the head of Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind, the al-Qaeda linked terrorist organization in India-controlled Kashmir.

    Musa, an engineering college dropout, is the son of an engineer in the Jammu and Kashmir government and his brother is a doctor in Tral, about 30 km from Srinagar, the provincial capital of Kashmir. He took over as leader of the Kashmir separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) after its previous leader, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, was killed by Indian security forces last year.

    Hizbul Mujahideen was formed in 1989, funded by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. It's been very popular in Kashmir, with thousands of anti-India protesters, and is demanding that Kashmir be separated from India and made part of Pakistan.

    However in May of this year, Musa split with HM because didn't have sufficiently grandiose plans for Musa. Musa said:

    "I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam. [The fight should] not be for the sake of Kashmir. It should be exclusively for Islam so that sharia is established here."

    The Indian media is treating this as an extremely serious development, but it strikes me as rather comical. The thousands of young stone-throwing separatists in Kashmir believe that their lives would be better if Kashmir were separated from India and attached to Pakistan, but they have absolutely no desire to have a terror attack in Paris or to see Israel pushed into the sea.

    Even more comical is another statement by Musa, declaring war on Pakistan:

    "There is no Islam [in Pakistan] at present, so we are unhappy with it. We have to do jihad with Pakistan as well."

    No wonder he flunked out of college.

    The leaders of several separatist factions in Kashmir issued a joint statement blaming Musa's alignment with al-Qaeda on "Indian secret agencies," in order to bring a bad name to HM. According to the statement:

    "Groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are non-existent in Jammu and Kashmir and there is no role for these groups within our movement which is local in nature and indigenous in character.

    By linking Kashmir movement with some global organizations, they (Indian agencies) are planning their roguish activities to influence the international community.

    The peace-loving nations of the world have also acknowledged the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and we are pursuing a peaceful movement for its resolution."

    One wonders why Musa chose to link to al-Qaeda rather than ISIS. The reason may be that ISIS is being defeated in Syria and Iraq, and ISIS is no longer the glittering, highly fashionable terror organization it once was.

    The situation is typical of the confusion that arises all to often today, when a local jihadist militant group decides to declare allegiance to al-Qaeda or to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). This declaration allows the group to claim that al-Qaeda or ISIS is now conducting terror attacks in the region, but in fact the pledge of allegiance is almost meaningless, except as a publicity stunt to impress the mainstream media, who always fall for it, hook, line and sinker. Guardian (London) and Hindustan Times and India Times and Pak Observer and India Times

    India says that Kashmir's law and order situation is improving

    Zakir Musa became leader of Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM) following the July 8 2016 death of HM leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani in a gunfight with the Indian army. Wani's death triggered large anti-Indian stone-throwing riots of the past year throughout the rest of the summer and fall, and resumed in Spring of this year. In the last year, almost ten thousand people were injured, and thousands of Kashmiris have been blinded in one or both eyes by pellet guns used by Indian security forces, and thousands of youths have been arrested.

    India's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is now saying that the law and order situation is improving, with fewer stone-pelting incidents than in the past. According to the MHA, 95 terrorists have been eliminated, although 38 security personnel had lost their lives as well, while 89 were killed in 2016. Indian Express and Indian Express

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Jul-17 World View -- Indian Kashmir separatists split over announcement of Zakir Musa as al-Qaeda leader thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    30-Jul-17 World View -- South Korea approves new THAAD deployment after North Korean missile test

    What could trigger another world war?

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    North Korea tests a ballistic missile capable of reaching US mainland


    People in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital city, cheer at the announcement of the missile launch on Saturday (AP)
    People in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital city, cheer at the announcement of the missile launch on Saturday (AP)

    The ballistic missile that North Korea launched early on Saturday morning was sent from a truck-mounted mobile launcher. The missile flew for about 45 minutes, and reached an altitude of 3,700 km. The missile landed in Japanese waters in the Sea of Japan.

    The missile was launched almost vertically, so that it would reach a high altitude, but would not travel beyond the Sea of Japan. If used in an actual attack, it would be launched closer to a 45 degree angle which could carry it possibly as far as the United States mainland, which would make it an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Some analysts are saying that missile could reach Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago. North Korean media claimed it could reach any target in the United States. Analysts doubt that this is true, but North Korea's missile capabilities are growing more rapidly than previously predicted, so the next missile development may be able to reach more targets.

    The next challenge for North Korea will be to develop a nuclear weapon small enough to fit in the nose of the ICBM. Many analysts believe that the North Koreans will have that capability within a year or two. Guardian (London) and Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo) and NY Daily News

    South Korea's president Moon approves new THAAD development

    In a sharp reversal of policy, South Korea's president Moon Jae-in ordered talks on Saturday morning to consider permitting more units in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, deployed by the United States military.

    Later reports indicate that additional THAAD units have been approved. Four additional launchers will be deployed, in addition to the two launchers that have already been deployed.

    South Korea's previous conservative president, Park Geun-hye, approved the initial deployment, scheduled for the end of 2017. However, the schedule was speeded up for two reasons -- because of North Korea's aggressive development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and because polls indicated that Park would lose the presidential election. For that reason, the first THAAD units began deployment in March.

    China reacted furiously to the deployment, even though THAAD is a purely defensive weapon, whose purpose is to knock incoming missiles out of the sky. However, THAAD comes with an extremely powerful radar system that would give the US early warning of a surprise Chinese missile attack on the US, which would reduce China's ability to launch a surprise missile attack. So China retaliated harshly against South Korea, banning South Korean goods for sale in China, banning South Korean pop stars and entertainers, and banning travel agencies from selling packaged tours to South Korea.

    At times like this I always like to respond to the commonly held belief that there won't be a war because war is bad for business. If that were true, there would never be any wars. Actually, the opposite is true: If two countries have a trading and business relationship, then trade becomes just another weapon of war, as we're seeing in this case.

    President Moon Jae-in is far more liberal than his predecessor, and when he took office in May, he put a hold on further THAAD deployment, and also announced that he would seek peace negotiations with North Korea. North Korea has completely rejected the peace negotiations, and repudiated them with even more aggressive ballistic missile development.

    So Moon has now reportedly approved another set of THAAD launchers.

    The THAAD system is deployed in southern Korea. According to analysts, it won't prevent a North Korean missile strike on South Korea's capital city, Seoul, which is only a few miles from the North Korean border, but THAAD will provide protection for southern Korea. This is important because in the case of a new Korean war, American troops would enter from the south, and so THAAD would provide protection for them. Yonhap News (Seoul) and Reuters

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    What could trigger another world war?

    One does not need Generational Dynamics to see that the world is becoming increasingly unstable, and is far less stable than it was 15 years ago. Still, some people think that world wars have been abolished, and one person recently wrote to me saying that a world war can't happen because country leaders are "rational actors"!!

    There's no way to predict the scenario that will start World War III, since there are so many possibilities, but we can look at the scenarios that started previous wars and try to learn lessons from them.

    These kinds of situations would not have triggered a war during the 1990s because that was a generational Unraveling period, when the world was still being run by the Silent generation, survivors of World War II who had the sense to make sure it wouldn't happen again. Today, in a generational Crisis era, those generations of sensible survivors are all gone, and nationalism and xenophobia are increasing rapidly in countries around the world, so that situations like those described above could easily trigger a world war.

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    War between Russia and China

    There's one more possibility that's rarely mentioned because most people have the mistaken belief that Russia and China are allies. But they're only allies in the sense of "honor among thieves," where they support each other in the invasion and annexation of other countries' territories, following Hitler's example in 1939.

    The Russians and the Chinese have hated each other at least since the 1200s. The 1206 victory of the Mongols over the Han Chinese still has enormous impact on Chinese thinking today. Han Chinese adopted much from Mongol culture, and many aspects of the two cultures merged -- culturally, not ethnically.

    After the Mongols conquered the Han Chinese, they went on to attack the Russians. The Russian culture definitely did NOT merge with the Mongol/Chinese culture, and those hatreds exist today. In fact, Russia and China did have a border war in 1969, though it didn't last long. But today, in a generational Crisis era, it could spiral into full-scale war.

    In 2014, Russia held the massive Vostok military exercises in the Far East, explaining that the military drills were necessary to prepare for war with the United States. And yet, the assets deployed during this exercise were more consistent with preparing for a defense of the Far East, a region that America would be unlikely to invade if it wanted to invade Russia at all. The only state actor that against which such a defense is needed is China. And so it appears that Russia and China claim that they're each preparing for war with the United States, but they're also preparing for war with each other.

    In early June 2017, Russian media reported that the powerful road-mobile 9K720 Iskander-M missile system was installed in Russia's Eastern Military District. This joins three other major missile installations that took place in 2013, 2015 and 2016, respectively. These installations have very limited ability to strike American or Japanese targets. Their only logical purpose is to strike China.

    So it seems evident that Russia is preparing for war with China, and that could be the trigger for World War III.

    As I've been saying for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that the world is headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war pitting the United States, the West, India, Russia and Iran versus China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. National Interest

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Jul-17 World View -- South Korea approves new THAAD deployment after North Korean missile test thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    29-Jul-17 World View -- France's Emmanuel Macron nationalizes shipyard to keep Italy out

    North Korea launches another ballistic missile

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    France's Emmanuel Macron nationalizes shipyard to keep Italy out


    Emmanuel Macron visits STX shipyard in May during election campaign (Reuters)
    Emmanuel Macron visits STX shipyard in May during election campaign (Reuters)

    France's nationalization of the STX shipyard to prevent Italy from taking ownership, when combined with sharp disagreement between the two governments over refugees and Libya, seems to indicate a rising hostility by Frances new president Emmanuel Macron towards Italy's prime minister Paolo Gentiloni.

    The South Korean company STX, who owned 66% of Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, France, has collapsed, and the assets are up for sale. The shipyard is famous for having built giant ocean liners like the Queen Mary 2, but also can build warships.

    Only one bidder came forward to buy the 66% share: Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, for $92.6 million. The deal was accepted by France's previous president François Hollande, but with a modification that gave Fincantieri only a 51% share of the shipyard.

    Macron took office in June after winning the presidential election on a pro-business platform, promising to liberalize much of the economy. However, over 7,000 jobs depend on the shipyard, and French politicians and labor unions have been complaining that if Italy has majority control, then French jobs would be the first to go, and Italian jobs would be protected. French politicians are also concerned about a shipyard site of such strategic and defense importance coming under the control of Italy’s state-owned Fincantieri.

    Some politicians even complained that Fincantieri would transfer French technology and know-how to its partner in China. France's economy minister Bruno Le Maire said "We want to have all the guarantees that this know-how will not one day go to another big global economic power, a non-European one, to be precise."

    Thus, pro-business and pro-EU Macron has now taken an anti-business and anti-EU position by demanding a further modification of the acquisition deal so that France and Italy would each have half ownership, and threatening nationalization otherwise. This demand infuriated the Italians, who don't see why a Korean company was allowed to own 66% of the shipyard, but Italy cannot even own 51%.

    So Macron has decided that France will nationalize the shipyard, with the French government taking 100% control. According to Italy's media:

    "It remains to be understood how the nationalization of STX to block Fincantieri will merge with the common framework of effort to favor greater European integration. The ministers are insisting on two points: agreements already taken with President Francois Hollande are being cancelled retroactively and it was France itself which asked Fincantieri to show interest. Rules should be respected, not changed along the way.

    Then there is the question of political dignity, which the government does not intend to to sell off to close the industrial deal at any price, which without shareholder control and control in the board could have more pitfalls than advantages, considering the high level of union conflict in the French shipyards. The à la carte protectionism of Macron, who speaks of Europe when it is necessary to protect oneself from unfaithful Chinese investments, does not convince."

    Macron claims that this nationalization is "temporary," but no one really believes that the labor unions will permit the shipyard to go private once the nationalization is completed. France 24 and Guardian (London) and Italy 24 and EU Observer

    France-Italy tensions grow over Libya and refugees

    One analysis claims that relations between France and Italy haven't been this bad since the 2006 World Cup final, when France's soccer captain Zinedine Zidane headbutted an opponent on Italy's team in the last minutes of the game.

    Most of the tension is related to the flood of refugees from Libya that are pouring into Italy. Almost 100,000 refugees have crossed the Mediterranean and reached Italy so far this year. The way it works now is that human traffickers launch rubber dinghies filled with dozens of refugees from the Libyan coast, charging each of the refugees thousands of dollars. The dinghies are flimsy, and usually have just enough fuel to leave Libyan waters. The human traffickers tell the refugees that once they're out of Libyan waters, they should call a specific phone number in Italy, and Italy will dispatch a boat to save them from the rubber dinghy.

    After saving the refugees from the rubber dinghies and collecting them, the government and NGO boats always then sail to an Italian port to deliver the refugees. Italy has been begging France and other countries to take some of the refugees and they've all taken refused, taking a kind of "screw you" attitude toward Italy.

    Furthermore, there's an Italian border town of Ventimiglia where refugees go in the hope of crossing the border into France. those from Francophone countries like Mali and Chad often seek asylum and France. Others, like those from Eritrea, try to reach Britain.

    In WW II Ventimiglia was the starting point for Jews escaping the Fascists to cross the mountains into France along the "Pass of Death." In WW II, if a Jew survived the hazardous trip along the Pass of Death and reached France, then he was safe. Today, if a refugee survives the trip along the Pass of Death, he's captured by the French border police and deported back to Italy.

    All of these things infuriate the Italians, who believe that the French and other Europeans do not respect the Italians. Bloomberg and Guardian (London, 22-July) and Al Jazeera

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    France bypasses Italy in a deal with Libya

    The latest insult occurred in the last couple of weeks, when Macron concluded a deal with Libya's two governments to set up "hot spots" in Libya where refugees can go rather than crossing the Mediterranean. Once again, Italy is furious, since they were not part of the deal. Libya was once an Italian colony, and Italian businesses and families still have many close connections in Libya. So for France to bypass Italy in Libya is just one more in a series of insults that Italy has had to deal with. VOA and AP and Human Rights Watch

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    North Korea launches another ballistic missile


    Child dictator Kim Jong-un beams with delight over Saturdays ballistic missile test
    Child dictator Kim Jong-un beams with delight over Saturdays ballistic missile test

    During the night on Saturday morning, North Korea launched a new ballistic missile test. Data from the test is still be analyzed, but initial estimates are that the missile may have a range of 10,400 km, which puts New York City in range of a path over the North Pole.

    Leaders from South Korea, Japan, and the United States made the usual statements expressing outrage and calling the test "unacceptable." US and South Korean forces immediately conducted live fire exercises in response. BBC and 38 North

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Jul-17 World View -- France's Emmanuel Macron nationalizes shipyard to keep Italy out thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    28-Jul-17 World View -- UK to send warships to South China Sea, as China's neighbors militarize

    South China Sea countries build larger navies, preparing for war with China

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    UK to send warships to South China Sea, as China's neighbors militarize


    Britain's 'colossal' new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth (Guardian)
    Britain's 'colossal' new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth (Guardian)

    Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says that the first mission of the UK's two brand new aircraft carriers will be to conduct freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, something that will infuriate the Chinese. Speaking to an Australian audience, Johnson said:

    "One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area, to vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade."

    The UK’s newest aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is the largest ship ever built for the Royal Navy. It is undergoing its maiden sea trials off the coast of Scotland and is expected to be accepted by the navy towards the end of the year. The second ship in the class, the HMS Prince of Wales, is being fitted out in the Rosyth dock and will be officially named in September.

    Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop responded to Johnson by reaffirming the close relationship between Britain and Australia:

    "In a volatile and unpredictable world it is more important than ever to nurture the friendships that we know best and that matter to us the most and with people we trust the most. ...

    We had a long discussion about the Pacific and the opportunities for deeper British engagement in our part of the world. ... We also see the United Kingdom as being a natural partner with us in the development and security of the Pacific."

    Boris Johnson's announcement comes at a particularly bad time for China's president Xi Jinping, because he's trying to strengthen his political position in the bloody back-stabbing leadership of the Chinese Communist Party ahead of the Party Congress that begins in October. Thus, Xi may feel pressured to take some kind of action or make some kind of threat in response to the UK announcement. Guardian (London) and Vice News

    South China Sea countries build larger navies, preparing for war with China

    China's has always been following a "salami-slicing strategy" of lying about its intentions while building up a vast military naval power in the South China Sea, consisting of artificial islands and military bases that were originally claimed to be "environmental research projects." The 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague completely eviscerated China's so-called 'Nine-Dash Line' claims to the South China Sea, and essentially made China an international criminal.

    Each step in the salami-slicing strategy was supposed to be small enough not to raise alarms, but in fact it has raised alarms in all of China's neighbors. The result is that the entire region is militarizing, in preparation for war with China.

    Vietnam in particular has been going on a weapons shopping spree from Russia. Vietnam recently placed a huge order for 64 T-90 Main Battle Tanks, four S-400 Triumf Surface-to-Air missiles and new fighter jets, likely MIG-35s, to replace their now-retired MiG-21s.

    At the same time, there have been recent reports that the Trump administration has changed America's South China Sea strategy to one that's more assertive than the one that the Obama administration pursued. President Obama vetoed many "freedom of navigation operations" (FONOPS) in the South China Sea, for fear of angering the Chinese. But President Trump will approve frequent FONOPS, so that they'll be pursued on a frequent basis. The result is that there have already recently been three such operations in the South China Sea, starting with one on May 24.

    Hitler tried a salami-slicing strategy in Europe in 1939, first annexing Austria and then Czechoslovakia. Those victories emboldened Hitler, who thought he could get away with anything. But then when Hitler invaded Poland, WW II began.

    China's salami-slicing step by step Anschluss of the South China Sea has been very successful so far, but these successes have emboldened China, whose leaders think they can get away with anything. China is a highly militarized international criminal state, but at some point they'll go one step to far, and bring an enormous catastrophe on themselves and the world. Deutsche Welle (Berlin) and Raddington Report and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Times of India

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Jul-17 World View -- UK to send warships to South China Sea, as China's neighbors militarize thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    27-Jul-17 World View -- Israel braces for new 'day of rage' at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday

    Palestinian leaders incite protests and violence in Jerusalem and West Bank

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Israel braces for new 'day of rage' at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday


    Muslim worshippers chant slogans outside the al-Aqsa mosque (Times of Israel)
    Muslim worshippers chant slogans outside the al-Aqsa mosque (Times of Israel)

    What's becoming increasingly clear is that the large Palestinian protests at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem have gone way beyond the issues that initially provoked the protests.

    On Tuesday, Israel's security forces met the demands of the Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount in Jerusalem by removing the metal detectors and cameras that had been installed following the deadly gun attack by three gunmen in the mosque on Friday morning, July 14, that resulted in the deaths of two Druze policemen.

    Removing the metal detectors and cameras was supposed to solve the problem, returning everything to the status quo ante. Instead, the removal seems to have energized the young protesters, declaring a major victory against "occupiers," and vowing to continue the protests.

    One Palestinian is quoted as saying:

    "Today is a joyful day, full of celebration and sorrow at the same time - sorrow for the people who lost their lives and were injured.

    We are under occupation and the al-Aqsa Mosque is a red-line to everyone in Jerusalem - actually, to everyone in Palestine, and all over the Muslim world - but much more for the people of [Jerusalem]. It's dearer than their own lives."

    To a large extent, the Palestinian leadership is increasingly seen as irrelevant to the "Oslo generation" that grew up after the 1993 Oslo accords that were supposed to bring peace to the Mideast. Instead, the Oslo accords are perceived as having accomplished nothing, and that perception is completely correct. The Oslo generation see the so-called "Mideast peace process" as nothing more than a failed series of humiliations for Palestinians, and proof that Hamas leaders and Palestinian Authority leaders are worthless.

    The desire for revenge against Palestinian leaders and Israelis is palpable, and is now being expressed by means of protests at the al-Aqsa mosque / Temple Mount. The National (UAE) and Al Jazeera (Qatar) and Times of Israel

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    Palestinian leaders incite protests and violence in Jerusalem and West Bank

    The al-Aqsa Palestinian protests are "organic," in the sense that they're coming from the people, mainly from the Oslo generation, and not because they're being directed by Palestinian leaders. Palestinian leaders are encouraging them, but it's increasingly clear that the leaders are following the people, rather than vice-versa, in the sense that this encouragement is for something that is going to happen anyway.

    The Palestinian leaders can "see the way the wind is blowing," and are hoping to increase their own credibility and popularity by encouraging the protests and inciting violence.

    Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti said:

    "We are on the threshold of a big shift. What is going on today is not random or transient. It could be the beginning of a third intifada that is different from the others. What is unique about this is that it’s not individual actions, but a popular movement capable of attracting huge numbers of people. This popular momentum could recharge the Palestinian people. It may take time but we are on the way. It will override the PA. They don't even know it exists. This will bring about a change in leadership."

    Some 2,000 members of Hamas marched in the Gaza strip on Wednesday, declaring "victory" and calling for a new "day of rage" on Friday, not only in Jerusalem but throughout the West Bank.

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Muslims to "intensify the popular struggle," and added:

    "We support you and are proud of you and of everything you have done. You are caring for and guarding the Al-Aqsa compound, and guarding your lands and your dignity and your religion and the holy sites. This is the appropriate reaction to anybody hurting our holy sites. Jerusalem is our capital and is our sovereignty, and what you did was the right thing. You stood as one man and we support you and support everything you do."

    Abbas has also called on his Tanzim militia for an escalation of the struggle and for large-scale demonstrations against Israel. The Tanzim faction has been known for violence against Israeli forces in the past.

    There's also a larger subtext going on. As we've been reporting for weeks, there has been a major split in Arab world with Saudi Arabia and Qatar leading the two factions. Turkey is allied with Qatar, while Egypt is allied with Saudi Arabia.

    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has fantasies of restoring the ancient Ottoman Empire, and perhaps sees the al-Aqsa crisis as a way of gaining influence. On Tuesday, he urged all Muslims to visit Jerusalem to protect the holy places:

    "Anyone who has the opportunity should visit Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa mosque. Come, let’s all protect Jerusalem."

    At one level, this is an incitement to protests and violence, as he's encouraging all Muslims to travel to Jerusalem.

    At another level, Erdogan's incitement is a lot more ambitious. The country Jordan is in a partnership with Israel to administer the al-Aqsa mosque. Jordan is allied with the Saudis in the Saudi-Qatar crisis. Turkey is allied with Qatar and Hamas. So Erdogan's incitement can be seen as a call for Turkey to replace Jordan as guardians of the al-Aqsa mosque. Middle East Eye and Times of Israel and Times of Israel

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Jul-17 World View -- Israel braces for new 'day of rage' at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    26-Jul-17 World View -- China escalates its military threats over its border dispute with India at Doklam Plateau

    India says that it will remain 'firm and resolute' but 'reasonable'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China escalates its military threats over its border dispute with India at Doklam Plateau


    A military post on China - India border (India Today)
    A military post on China - India border (India Today)

    The border dispute involving China, India and Bhutan over the Doklam Plateau is becoming increasingly dangerous. China is saying that it's running out of patience, and China's state-run media is escalating the military threats to India over the Doklam issue, to the point of threatening war.

    We've been reporting a standoff between India's army and China's army on Doklam plateau in the tiny country of Bhutan. China is attempting to annex the region, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. India sent in its own troops, saying that it did so when Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help. The result is a standoff, though no bullets have been fired yet.

    An editorial in China's state-run Global Times began:

    "The public's patience is running short with India's Doklam transgression. Nothing can stand in the way of China's and Chinese people's dignity. No government in the world can stand still doing nothing while its borders are being violated."

    Right away we run into a problem, because China is violating borders and international law in the South China Sea, creating illegal artificial islands and turning them into huge military bases, and constantly lying about what they're doing. China was proven to be an international criminal by the 2016 ruling of the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague. That ruling completely eviscerated China's so-called 'Nine-Dash Line' claims to the South China Sea.

    Because China has repeatedly lied about the South China Sea, it's impossible to believe anything they say about anything else. ("Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus.")

    Still, the above statement is extremely dangerous because it refers to "the public's patience," invoking nationalism and xenophobia by the Chinese people, and seeking to incite it. The editorial continues:

    "As India continues down this intransigent path, perhaps it is time that it be taught a second lesson. Their troops in Doklam could either withdraw voluntarily, be captured or may be killed when border disputes escalate, [according to] Liu Youfa, China's former consul general in Mumbai."

    This is pretty much a direct threat of war.

    The phrase "second lesson" alludes to the 1962 Sino-Indian war, a brief but bloody war between the two countries over the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas. China is viewed as having won that war.

    India's defense minister Arun Jaitley was recently asked about the 1962 war, and he responded: "If they are trying to remind us, the situation in 1962 was different and India of 2017 is different."

    The editorial also threatens a Chinese invasion of India-controlled Kashmir:

    "No matter what vassalage relationship India maintains with Bhutan, it baffles this author that India has the courage to transgress another country on its behalf. And in this case, Indian troops even entered into Doklam from the China-Sikkim border. Well, if this kind of logic holds, a third country can certainly enter into Kashmir, including India-controlled Kashmir, upon Pakistan's invitation. (This is not a far-fetched idea.)"

    On Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry issued a statement:

    "On July 24, 2017 local time, when giving an interview to the press in Bangkok on China-India standoff incident, Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that it is very clear who is right and who is wrong regarding this issue, and that even Indian senior officials have publicly said that Chinese troops have not intruded into Indian territory, which means that India admitted that it has entered into Chinese territory. The solution to this issue is simple, which is that the Indian troops back out honestly."

    This statement is weasel-worded, in that Doklam Plateau is Bhutan's territory, not India's territory. If China is so sure of its claim, perhaps it should ask the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) to decide the matter.

    So China is demanding that India withdraw its troops, and permit the Chinese army to annex Bhutan's Doklam Plateau unopposed. China says that it is running out of patience, and threatens to invade before long. Global Times (Beijing) and China's Foreign Ministry

    India says that it will remain 'firm and resolute' but 'reasonable'

    India is responding to China's threats by saying that it will remain "firm and resolute" militarily, according to Indian media, and will thwart any attempt by China to “bully” Bhutan, while being “reasonable” at the politico-diplomatic level to resolve the ongoing troop stand-off with the People’s Liberation Army in the Doklam area in Bhutanese territory.

    According to India's Army vice-chief Lt-General Sarath Chand on Tuesday"

    "On the North, we have China which has a large landmass, huge resources and a large standing Army ... Despite having the Himalayas between us, China is bound to be a threat for us in years ahead."

    Indian media says that it is reinforcing its military in the region:

    "Much like the Line of Control with Pakistan, Indian soldiers are prepared for the long haul near the tri-junction with China as well. Apart from the already present 63 and 112 Brigades (over 3,000 troops each) in east and north-east Sikkim, the Army has moved up another 2,500 soldiers from the 164 Brigade to Zuluk and Nathang Valley in the state to further reinforce its military stance, as was first reported by TOIon July 11."

    Both China and India are hardening their positions, both with words and with military reinforcements. The Chinese media are making it clear that if India does not withdraw soon, then China will invade. China believes that it will easily win, and India believes that "this time it's different." The situation is extremely dangerous, and could lead to war very quickly, either intentionally or through miscalculation. Times of India

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Jul-17 World View -- China escalates its military threats over its border dispute with India at Doklam Plateau thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    25-Jul-17 World View -- Massive Kabul bombing on Monday leaves US Afghan policy in tatters

    Massive car bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, targets Hazaras, kills 36

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Massive car bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, targets Hazaras, kills 36


    Men look at the remains of their properties at the site of the car bombing Monday in Kabul (AP)
    Men look at the remains of their properties at the site of the car bombing Monday in Kabul (AP)

    A massive early morning car bombing in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, killed at least 36, wounded dozens more, and damaged 15 shops.

    The blast occurred in a part of the city where the ethnic Hazara community live, near the house of the deputy government Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq, also a Hazara. The Hazaras are Shia Muslims, and have often been targeted by Taliban groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The same area has been the scene of several attacks, including the suicide attack that killed prominent Shia Muslim cleric Ramazan Hussainzada on June 15. Hussainzada was also a senior leader of Afghanistan’s Hazara community.

    Monday's massive attack occurred exactly one year after another massive Taliban attack on Hazaras in Kabul. At least 80 people were killed in what was considered the worst terror attack in Kabul since 2001.

    The attack on Hazaras last year on July 24 energized the "Hazara Enlightenment Movement," an activist movement demanding an end to discrimination against Hazaras by the Pashtun government. There was a big march planned for Monday to commemorate last year's attack, but Afghan president Ashraf Ghani convinced the movement leaders to cancel the march, for reasons related to security. The march was cancelled, and then several hours later Monday's massive car explosion took place.

    In the future, we can expect to hear more from the Hazara Enlightenment Movement. Tolo News (Kabul) and Reuters and Khaama Press (Kabul)

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    Brief recent generational history of Afghanistan

    There is a fantasy at large among politicians, generals, journalists and analysts in various nations around the world that the Taliban in Afghanistan can be convinced to enter peace negotiations, or that they can be defeated on the battlefield, or that they'll get tired of fighting. This is the sort of fatuous nonsense that politicians and generals tend to claim, when they're fighting the last war.

    Afghanistan's last generational crisis war was the extremely bloody civil war fought between 1991 and 1996, filled with enormous atrocities, massacres, rapes, torture, and so forth. The war was fought mainly between the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan versus the Northern Alliance of Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks in northern Afghanistan.

    The Pashtuns won that war. Radicalized Pashtuns called themselves the Taliban, and ruled Afghanistan brutally and viciously after the war. They also permitted their good pal Osama bin Laden to use Afghanistan as a home base from which to launch international terror attacks. After 9/11/2001, the US-based coalition invaded Afghanistan and backed the Northern Alliance in quickly defeating the Taliban. Thus, the Pashtun victory in the civil war was snatched away and turned into defeat for the Pashtuns and victory for the Northern Alliance.

    The reason that the Taliban lost the 2001 war so quickly was that everyone was traumatized and war-weary from the civil war in the previous decade, and had little will to fight another war. That's what always happens to the generations that survive a generational crisis war. They're traumatized by the atrocities the other side committed, but they're even more traumatized by the atrocities that they and others on their own side committed.

    Today, 16 years later, a new, younger generation is coming of age, with no personal memory of the 1990s civil war. These young Pashtuns have not been told of the atrocities that their parents committed. They've only been told of the atrocities that the other side committed -- the Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks in the Northern Alliance. They want revenge for those atrocities, so they do things like set off car bombs in crowds of Hazaras in Kabul.

    So those who are looking for a way to bring peace to Afghanistan are dreaming. There is no solution to this problem. And when I say "no solution," I don't mean that the politicians and generals simply haven't been clever enough to figure out the solution. What I mean is that no solution exists. Taliban is strongest today as it has been since 2001, and will continue to get stronger, as young post-war generations continue to grow and come of age.

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    Kabul bombing puts America's Afghanistan policy into further confusion

    Monday's bombing makes clear that America, the World's Policeman, has a stark choice in Afghanistan: walk away and let the Taliban take over completely, or try a military solution with more American troops.

    President Barack Obama, who never had a clue what was going on in the world, decided to go for a 30,000 troop surge. In December 2009, Obama gave a West Point speech where he announced the surge:

    "As cadets, you volunteered for service during this time of danger. Some of you fought in Afghanistan. Some of you will deploy there. As your Commander-in-Chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service. And that's why, after the Afghan voting was completed, I insisted on a thorough review of our strategy. Now, let me be clear: There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period. Instead, the review has allowed me to ask the hard questions, and to explore all the different options, along with my national security team, our military and civilian leadership in Afghanistan, and our key partners. And given the stakes involved, I owed the American people -- and our troops -- no less.

    This review is now complete. And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan."

    Obama was heavily criticized for announcing an 18-month end date, which he had to extend several times. Obama announced the Afghan troop surge in the hope of duplicating the success of President Bush's troop surge in Iraq in 2007. I wrote a detailed comparison of the Afghanistan versus Iraq wars in mid-2009 in "American army general warns of imminent defeat in Afghanistan war,", showing that the Iraq "surge" strategy could not work in Afghanistan. This comparison was based on a Generational Dynamics analysis, and it turned out to be completely correct. In the end, the troop surge accomplished nothing. In interviews last year, all three of Obama's former secretaries of defense confirmed that the Obama administration ignored military advice, and made military decisions based on inexperience and ideology.

    Now President Donald Trump is faced with the same decision. One difference is that his close adviser, Steve Bannon, knows very well what is going on in the world. As I've described in the past, I've worked with Steve Bannon off and on for several years in the past, both on his movie "Generation Zero" and when I was cross-posting articles on the Breitbart National Security site. So I know that Steve Bannon is an expert on military history and world history, and he also has an expert understanding of Generational Dynamics and generational theory.

    So Steve Bannon understands very well the generational analysis that concludes that there is no solution to the problem in Afghanistan, and has undoubtedly conveyed this conclusion to Trump. And this has thrown the administration's Afghan policy into confusion, with policy differences between those who are still fighting the last war and those who don't want to repeat Obama's mistakes.

    What should a politician do when you have to solve a problem for which there's no solution in existence?

    One interesting example to look at is Greece's financial crisis, when it became clear in 2009 that Greece had lied about its financials for years and was overwhelmingly and unsustainably in debt. The Greek crisis lurched from one last-minute fix to the next, with some sort of compromise often reached on Sunday night, before the Asian markets opened.

    As I wrote many times, the Greek financial crisis had no solution. By that, I didn't mean the EU politicians and economists haven't been clever enough to figure out the solution. I meant there was no solution in existence. Indeed today, Greece is still overwhelmingly and unsustainably in debt.

    So what happened? The EU politicians "kicked the can down the road." The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund loaned enough money to Greece to make all their bond payments for a few months, and then the crisis would rise again. These compromises did nothing to resolve the problem -- in fact, they usually made the problem worse by increasing Greece's debt. But "kicking the can down the road" allowed them to ignore the problem for a few months. Interestingly enough, they're still kicking the can down the road, but they've done it so often that it doesn't make news any more.

    So presumably what the Trump administration needs to do in Afghanistan is to find a way to "kick the can down the road." In fact, there are reports that the Trump administration is considering sending 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Those troops would be no more effective than the 30,000 troops that the Obama administration sent, but they would "kick the can down the road" for possibly as much as a year or two, or at least until some military disaster occurs in Afghanistan. Daily Caller and Washington Post and Politico

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    24-Jul-17 World View -- DR Congo's Joseph Kabila brings the art of power and corruption to new heights

    Global Witness report finds most DRC mining revenue is wasted in corruption

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    DR Congo's Joseph Kabila brings the art of power and corruption to new heights


    Joseph Kabila, billionaire president of Democratic Republic of Congo
    Joseph Kabila, billionaire president of Democratic Republic of Congo

    The norm in country after country in Africa is that country leaders refuse to step down when their mandates end. They demand money from Western nations for to end poverty or help with climate change or whatever, and then they put the money they receive into their own foreign bank accounts, or they use it to build mansions for themselves, or they use it buy weapons to kill their opposition. That's why, in 30-40 years of massive aid payments to African countries, most people are no better off than they were decades ago.

    Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), appears to have brought this combination of raw exercise of power and raw corruption to new heights. A new analysis by the Congo Research Group at New York University and the Pulitzer Center shows that by channeling public money to himself and his family, he's made the Kabila family into billionaires

    Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and his family own, either partially or wholly, more than 80 companies and businesses in the country and abroad. He and his children own more than 71,000 hectares (175,444) of farmland. His family owns diamond mines, a part of the country's largest mobile phone network, companies that mine mineral deposits, gold and limestone, a luxury hotel, stakes in an airline, a share of the country's banks, and a fast-food franchise.

    With tentacles reaching into so many businesses, it's not surprising that Kabila is willing to use any method -- massacres, atrocities, jailings, torture -- to stay in power. His mandate ran out on December 19 of last year, at which time he was supposed to step down. Instead, he pulled a breathtaking stunt late last year by doing everything possible to prevent new elections from taking place, and then claimed that he couldn't step down because there hadn't been any elections to select a president to replace him.

    In December there was a threat of civil war in DRC, but the Catholic Church intervened and brokered an agreement: Elections would be held in December of 2017 to choose Kabila's successor, and this time Kabila would really step down. However, the agreement was a farce: It was signed by members of Kabila's government, but it wasn't even signed by Kabila himself. Since then, it's been pretty clear that Kabila has no intention of stepping down.

    Poverty and Kabila's massive corruption are being blamed for the increase in violence in DRC, especially in the central province of Kasai, where than 3,000 people have been killed and 1.4 million displaced in escalating violence blamed on a government-sponsored militia. The UN has identified more than 80 mass graves and said it had found toddlers with limbs chopped off and pregnant women with their bellies sliced open, their unborn babies mutilated.

    Unfortunately, this is the norm in many countries in Africa, and the reason why many international agencies and businesses are no longer willing to invest in Africa, as the money just goes to waste. Furthermore, many people are concerned that Kabila's refusal to step down is resulting in violence that is destabilizing the whole region. NY University and Guardian (London) and Bloomberg

    Global Witness report finds most DRC mining revenue is wasted in corruption


    Mining operation in DRC
    Mining operation in DRC

    A different report, this time by Global Witness, has found that more than $750 million in mining revenue that was supposed to go into DRC's national treasury has instead gone into the pockets of corrupt government officials. Canadian mining companies, such as Vancouver-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and Toronto-based Banro Corp., have been some of the biggest foreign investors in DRC mines, and have given millions of dollars in payments to official agencies and state enterprises in the country. They are now learning that the money was siphoned off by politically connected insiders, with some of the funds distributed among corrupt networks linked to President Joseph Kabila’s regime.

    The Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa's biggest producer of copper and the world's largest supplier of cobalt used in batteries for electric cars. It is also rich in gold, diamonds and coltan, used in mobile phones, but its people remain among the poorest in the world.

    A key culprit in this diversion of funds is the main state-owned mining company, Gécamines, a close ally of President Joseph Kabila. It receives more than a hundred million dollars annually from private companies in Congo’s mining sector, but appears to pass on just a tiny percentage of that to the state coffers. Gécamines’ most important and lucrative business relationships are with major international mining companies, which often have Western investors and pensions tied up in their profits and risks.

    The Global Witness report, "The Regime Cash Machine," blames a toxic combination of corruption and mismanagement in DRC's revenues agencies and state mining companies. Instead of going to the regime, the money should have gone to basic services such as schools, hospitals and roads. Global Witness and Globe and Mail (Canada) and Bloomberg

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    23-Jul-17 World View -- Kuwait expels Iran's diplomats as Saudi Arabia softens Qatar demands

    Saudi-led coalition replaces its 13 demands with 6 principles

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Kuwait expels Iran's diplomats after 'Abdali terror cell' ruling


    Iran's president Hassan Rouhani and Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah at a meeting in February of this year
    Iran's president Hassan Rouhani and Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah at a meeting in February of this year

    Kuwait on Thursday expelled 15 Iranian diplomats and ordered the closure of several Iranian embassy missions. It's unclear whether Iran's ambassador, Alireza Enayati, was included in the expulsions.

    The expulsions will further complicate the growing Arab crisis, where Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt are enforcing a land, sea and air blockade of Qatar, because of Qatar's alleged close relations with Iran. Kuwait has been trying to mediate among the parties and resolve the crisis, but that will presumably be more difficult now that Kuwait has expelled Iran's diplomats.

    The expulsion stems from the discovery in August, 2015, of a large cache of weapons in a farm house in the village of al-Abdali, and the arrest of the three owners of the house. The three men were accused of being members Iran's puppet terror regime Hezbollah, and of being part of what has been nicknamed the "Abdali terror cell."

    The cache of weapons was quite large, and included a total of 19,000 kg of ammunition, 144 kg of explosives, 68 weapons, and 204 grenades. The farm house is near the border with Iraq, and Kuwait said that Hezbollah and Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) smuggled the weapons across the border from Iraq to be used in terror attacks against the Sunni Muslim government of Kuwait.

    About 20 members of the Abdali terror cell were convicted on January 12, 2016, of working for Hezbollah and the IRGC, and of smuggling explosives from Iran. However, the an appeals court reversed the conviction later in the year.

    Finally, last month, on June 18, Kuwait's supreme court, whose rulings are final, reversed the appeals court decision. The cell mastermind was sentenced to life in prison, while 20 other members of the cell, all Shia Muslims, were sentenced to between 5 and 15 years in prison.

    Kuwait's information minister said on Friday,

    "Following the supreme court ruling on the case ... the government of Kuwait has decided to take measures, in accordance with diplomatic norms and the Vienna Convention, towards its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran."

    Iran's foreign ministry reacted angrily, saying that the accusations that it was behind a terrorist cell were baseless, and threatened revenge:

    "Iran’s strong objection has been communicated to Kuwait’s chargé d’affaires. It was reiterated that Iran reserves the right to a reciprocal measure. ...

    It is regrettable that the Kuwaiti officials, are acting based on provocations raised by adventurist regional sides and are leveling accusations against Iran in the current sensitive conditions, instead of doing their best to reduce tensions."

    However, not all of the convicts are in custody. A Kuwaiti newspaper on Monday reported that in the hours just after the Kuwait's Supreme Court handed down its decision, 14 of the convicts fled to Iran. They used small speedboats to leave Qatar and reach international waters, where an Iranian vessel was waiting to pick them up. Al Jazeera (14-Aug-2015) and AFP and Ahlul Bayt (Iran) and Gulf News

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    Iran says that it's open to 'dialog' with Saudi Arabia over Qatar crisis

    Kamal Kharrazi, the head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations said on Friday that Iran was open to “dialogue” with Saudi Arabia despite escalating tensions. Kharrazi said:

    "We know they (the Saudis) have made many mistakes in Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria, but we are still for dialogue."

    A laughable statement like that shows why a resolution to the Qatar blockade crisis is still very far away.

    On June 5, four Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt -- imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar. The reasons given were Qatar's support for Iran, Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the four countries consider to be a terrorist group, and Qatar's aggressive use of al-Jazeera to broadcast incitement to overthrow their governments.

    The four countries listed 13 specific demands that would be necessary to resolve the crisis. The demands included: sever most ties with Iran; sever all ties to the Muslim Brotherhood; shut down al-Jazeera; terminate Turkey's military presence in Qatar; pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. France 24

    Saudi-led coalition replaces its 13 demands with 6 principles

    In a televised address on Friday, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani referred the four Arab countries enforcing the blockade as "perpetrators":

    "The perpetrators have undermined our sovereignty and independence by fabricating false statements to mislead international public opinion. ...

    We are open to dialogue to resolve the outstanding problems [so long as Qatar's] sovereignty is respected."

    Saudi Arabia has always said that its 13 demands were non-negotiable, but last week the Saudi-led coalition did appear to be softening its demands for resolving the crisis, when it announced that it was replacing the 13 specific demands with six broad principles. According to a Saudi analyst, "I don't see this as a softening of the quartet's position on Qatar per se, as much as a measure taken to restart the negotiation process. ... These six principles are best viewed as an effort to set the foundation for meaningful negotiation process."

    The six principles are:

    "1. Commitment to combat extremism and terrorism in all its forms and to prevent their financing or the provision of safe havens.

    2. Prohibiting all acts of incitement and all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred and violence.

    3. Full commitment to Riyadh Agreement 2013 and the supplementary agreement and its executive mechanism for 2014 within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for Arab States.

    4. Commitment to all the outcomes of the Arab-Islamic-US Summit held in Riyadh in May 2017.

    5. To refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of States and from supporting illegal entities.

    6. The responsibility of all States of international community to confront all forms of extremism and terrorism as a threat to international peace and security."

    These extremely vague principles do provide a possible basis for compromise, but it's hard to see how anything will change in the long run. Qatar is going to continue to broadcast al-Jazeera, which is going to continue to air speakers from the Muslim Brotherhood, which Qatar supports, but which the four boycotting nations consider to be terrorists -- terrorists who are on al-Jazeera advocating the overthrow of their governments. This is a core difference between Qatar and the four nations, and it won't be resolved. And if it's papered over, it will become an issue again soon. Al Jazeera (Qatar) and The National (UAE) and BBC

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    22-Jul-17 World View -- Palestinian 'day of rage' in Jerusalem results in six deaths, hundreds injured

    Power struggle over metal detectors as Mahmoud Abbas threatens to cut ties

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Palestinian 'day of rage' in Jerusalem results in six deaths, hundreds injured


    Palestinian protesters give Israeli security forces the finger during clashes in Jerusalem on Friday (Reuters)
    Palestinian protesters give Israeli security forces the finger during clashes in Jerusalem on Friday (Reuters)

    Thousands of Palestinians heeded the words of Muslim leaders and Palestinian political factions and came to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque on Friday to protest the metal detectors that Israeli security forces had placed outside the al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount compound. Three Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured in the worst Jerusalem violence in years at the al-Aqsa mosque, while three Israelis were killed in their homes by a knifing attack in the same time frame.

    Thousands of Palestinians refused to enter the al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers, which would have required going through metal detectors. Instead, they filled the streets and prayed peacefully, facing Mecca. Israel had deployed 3,000 police and soldiers in and around Jerusalem’s Old City, in order to keep the situation under control.

    But after the Friday prayers ended, many of the Palestinians confronted police, throwing stones and other objects, as police responded with stun grenades, water cannons and tear gas. Three Palestinians were shot dead in separate incidents during the clashes.

    In a separate incident, a Palestinian teenager broke into an Israeli home in a West Bank settlement as the family were eating dinner and began stabbing family members, killing a man and two of his children.

    A number of anti-Israel protests were held in capitals across the Middle East and Asia on Friday. Thousands gathered in Amman, Beirut, Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur Friday afternoon in solidarity with Palestinian worshipers in Jerusalem who have been protesting the metal detectors. BBC and Times of Israel and Reuters and Times of Israel

    Power struggle over metal detectors as Mahmoud Abbas threatens to cut ties

    The metal detectors were installed last week after a deadly gun battle inside the al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount compound on Friday morning, July 14. Three gunmen, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, killed two police officers.

    Israeli officials point out that metal detectors are used in Jewish and Muslim holy sites around the worl, including at the mosques in Mecca and Medina. However, Palestinian activists insist that they can't be used at the al-Aqsa mosque. Some have accused the Israelis of a plot to take control of the al-Aqsa mosque, and of using the metal detectors as a step in that plot. One Israeli Islamic leader, Kamal Khatib, accused the Israelis of inserting chemical substances into the al-Aqsa Mosque wall to cause corrosion, and give the Israelis an excuse to take over the mosque as its walls deteriorate.

    Israeli government officials themselves have been split on this issue, with some arguing that the metal detectors are so divisive that it would be better to remove them. However, the government made a final decision that they would not be removed.

    Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas announced late on Friday that he was freezing all contacts with Israel:

    "I, on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, announce... a freeze of all contacts with the occupation state on all levels until Israel commits to canceling all the measures against our Palestinian people in general and Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque in particular.

    [The measures were] falsely presented as a security measure to take control over Al-Aqsa mosque.

    The steps taken by Israel are leading to a religious confrontation and an evasion from a diplomatic process."

    Israeli security forces have announced that the metal detectors and other security measures are necessary for the safety of the worshippers, and will not be taken down.

    So it appears that a major power struggle is in progress, and one side or the other will have to step down.

    Abbas is very unpopular with the Palestinian people, who see him as a failed leader who has been unable to do anything to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank, despite having been in power for years. Friday's announcement was undoubtedly motivated at least partially to increase his popularity.

    However, Abbas appears to have left ambiguous the question of whether "a freeze on all contacts" means that the security agreement that the Palestinians have with Israel will also be frozen. Under this agreement, Palestinian security forces arrest Palestinians in the West Bank who are suspected of planning terror attacks on Israel. This agreement has undoubted prevented many terror attacks, but it's very unpopular with the Palestinians, who see it as a way for the Palestinian security forces to be doing Israel's dirty work.

    If the security agreement were suspended, it would mean that Israel would have to deploy thousands of its own police in cities across the West Bank, something that would be even less popular with Palestinians than the agreement itself. Abbas has threatened to end the security agreement in the past, but has never done so, probably for these reasons. Washington Post and Times of Israel and MEMRI

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    21-Jul-17 World View -- Relations between Germany and Turkey spiral into crisis

    Turkey commemorates first anniversary of attempted coup

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Relations between Germany and Turkey spiral into crisis


    Young men stand on a Turkish army tank in Ankara on July 16, 2016, the day after the attempted coup. (Reuters)
    Young men stand on a Turkish army tank in Ankara on July 16, 2016, the day after the attempted coup. (Reuters)

    The diplomatic crisis between Germany and Turkey deepened on Thursday when Germany's foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel told a press conference that it was no longer safe for German people and businesses to travel to Turkey. The announcement was triggered by Turkey's detention of a Germany human rights defender and two German journalists with no credible charges or supporting evidence.

    Gabriel broke off his summer vacation and returned to Berlin to deal with the crisis that arose out of the arrests, particularly of German human rights activist Peter Steudtner for allegedly aiding a "terror" group.

    Gabriel declared a “re-orientation” of Germany's Turkey policy, and said that the country’s actions show it's “departing from the basis of European values.":

    "[Steudtner] never wrote about Turkey, he had no contacts in the political establishment ... and never appeared as a critic. ...

    One can’t advise anyone to invest in a country when there is no legal certainty and where companies, completely respectable companies, are presented as terrorists. I therefore do not see how, as the government, we can still guarantee German company investments in Turkey if, as has happened, arbitrary expropriations for political reasons have not only been threatened but have already taken place. ...

    German citizens are no longer safe from arbitrary arrests in Turkey. We have no other choice -- because we are responsible for the protection of our citizens of our country -- but to adapt our travel and safety advisory to Turkey and let Germans know what can happen to them when they travel to Turkey.

    We can’t go on as we have before. ... We have to be clearer than before so that those in charge in Ankara understand that such a policy won’t be without consequences."

    Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said:

    "We think these are domestic political statements for the upcoming elections in Germany. Unfortunately, this has become fashionable in Germany. People are being anti-Turkey and demonstrating their paranoid animosity against our president to score political points. ... We are strongly condemning suggestions that German nationals visiting Turkey would not be secure. We think that those unfortunate statements are an investment for internal politics aimed at the approaching elections in Germany.

    How come Germany tolerates this? When we talk about them, they respond ‘We have justice and independence.’ Well, why don’t they respect Turkish justice? This is disrespectful to Turkey. They will respect our justice. ...

    There was direct interference in the Turkish judiciary and the comments used overstepped the mark. The comments again show the double standards in their approach to the law of those who prevent terrorists from being brought to justice while embracing members of terrorist groups who target our country."

    Germany's actions were triggered by Steudtner's arrest, and also because Turkish authorities had, several weeks ago, handed their German counterparts a list of 68 German companies they accused of having links to Erdogan's enemy Fethullah Gülen. Deutsche Welle and Al Monitor and Hurriyet (Ankara)

    Turkey commemorates first anniversary of attempted coup

    Life in Turkey has changed dramatically in the year that's passed since the failed coup attempt on July 15 of last year. Well over 100,000 people have lost their jobs or been arrested with no credible charges and no supporting evidence.

    Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says all of these people were involved in the coup attempt, because they had a connection to his former friend, and now enemy, Fethullah Gülen, the 76-year-old political enemy of Erdogan, living since 1999 in self-imposed exile in the Pocono Mountains in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, after splitting with Erdogan.

    Gülen is a Muslim cleric with a worldwide network of schools and businesses, run by his followers. For Erdogan, this worldwide network was for many years a good thing, a sign of a progressive Turkey, fighting extremism, and providing education and jobs. But relations between Erdogan and Gülen started to sour in 2012, and were severed completely in 2013. Since then, this huge international network has turned in Erdogan's eyes from a good thing to a bad thing, promoting terrorism instead of fighting extremism. Erdogan now claims that last year's coup was planned and executed under the direction of Gülen and the Fethullah Terror Group (FETÖ).

    Gülen's name is linked to large numbers of schools and businesses, and Erdogan is accusing anyone linked to these schools and businesses, as being linked directly to Gülen and to last year's coup. For example, anyone who has an account in the Gülen-linked Aysa Bank, who has placed children in Gülen-linked schools, who has participated in fund-raising events for Gülen linked humanitarian causes can be fired or arrested and jailed. Anyone having a phone with the encryption application BYLOCK, allegedly used by the Gülen organization, is also assumed to be guilty of participating in the coup.

    There are many reasons why Erdogan's reasons for firing and jailing over 100,000 people do not make sense:

    During the last year, Erdogan's Turkey has been arresting tens of thousands of Turkish citizens, and only occasionally a foreign national. The arrest of German national Peter Steudtner appears to have been a "last straw" for the Germans. Irish Examiner and Hurriyet (Ankara) and AFP

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    20-Jul-17 World View -- Cambodia bans all sales of sand to Singapore

    The world is running out of sand

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Cambodia bans all sales of sand to Singapore


    Cambodian villagers protest sand dredging after nine homes collapsed into the river (Khmer Times)
    Cambodian villagers protest sand dredging after nine homes collapsed into the river (Khmer Times)

    Cambodia's Ministry of Mines and Energy has banned all sales and exports of sand to other countries. For years, the principal customer of Cambodia's sand exports has been Singapore, which has used the sand to reclaim land along its coasts. Using land reclamation, Singapore has expanded its landmass by more than 20% since its independence in 1965. During the same period, Singapore's population tripled.

    The new decree, issued on July 10, bans all exports of "construction sand and mud sand" from southwestern Koh Kong province to overseas but stops short of outlawing domestic sales. Other southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, have implemented bans in the past.

    Environmental groups have been pressing the government to stop the export of sand, saying the digging and dredging has had a serious impact on coastal ecosystems and surrounding land. In one Cambodian district where sand dredging had been taking place, nearly 200 people last month held a protest against the sand dredging. They called on authorities to take action after nine homes collapsed into the river, as a result of the dredging.

    Cambodia had already suspended sand exports in November of last year, because of a corruption scandal. Singapore claims that it had imported 72.2 million tonnes of sand between 2007 and 2015, the Cambodian government officials said that only 16 million tonnes had been sent. In money terms, the UN said that Cambodia had exported $752 million in sand, but Cambodia claimed it was only $5 million worth of sand.

    Environmental activists are skeptical that the new ban will be enforced. After Cambodia suspended sand exports in November of last year, illegal exports continued despite the order. Khmer Times and Khmer Times (12-June) and Radio Free Asia (2-Nov-2016) and AFP and Radio Free Asia (5-May)

    The world is running out of sand

    In 2014, the United Nations Environment Program concluded that:

    "Sand and gravel represent the highest volume of raw material used on earth after water. Their use greatly exceeds natural renewal rates. Moreover, the amount being mined is increasing exponentially, mainly as a result of rapid economic growth in Asia. ...Negative effects on the environment are unequivocal and are occurring around the world. The problem is now so serious that the existence of river ecosystems is threatened in a number of locations."

    Sand and gravel are used for land reclamation, as in the case of Singapore, but for a lot of other things as well. They're the main constituents in concrete and asphalt that are used in building constructions, roads, and many other structures. A typical American house requires more than two hundred tons of sand, gravel, and crushed stone for the foundation, basement, garage, and driveway, as well as the section of street in front of it. A mile long highway requires 38,000 tons.

    In the last four years, China has used as much concrete as the United States in one century, according to Pascal Peduzzi, the author of the UN report quoted above. In India, sand is so scarce that markets for it are dominated by criminal "sand mafias."

    According to the UN report:

    "Five countries — China (58%), India (6.75%), the United States (2%), Brazil and Turkey — produce 70% of the world’s cement. However, cement demand by China has increased exponentially by 437.5% in 20 years, while use in the rest of the world increased by 59.8%. Each Chinese citizen is currently using 6.6 times more cement than a U.S. citizen. Demand continues to increase with new infrastructure and renewal of existing infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, houses) — all dependent on the availability of aggregates."

    UN's Peduzzi says that Lake Poyang, for example, is China's biggest freshwater lake but also its biggest source of sand, with estimates of over 230 million cubic meters of sand extracted each year. This is lowering the lake's water level, potentially damaging surrounding wetlands and affecting the flow of nearby rivers, including the Yangtze.

    According to Peduzzi, the exponentially growing demand for sand cannot continue without substantially harming the environment, and the world needs a "reporting mechanism at the global level which allows recording the amount of sand and gravels used by countries." New Yorker (29-May) and UN Environment Program (PDF, 2014) and Nikkei

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Jul-17 World View -- Cambodia bans all sales of sand to Singapore thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    19-Jul-17 World View -- Eritrean government laughably uses Christian Patriarch as show prop

    The violence of generational Awakening eras

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Eritrean government laughably uses Orthodox Christian Patriarch as show prop


    This Medhane Alem Orthodox Christian Church in Ethiopia is carved directly out of rock
    This Medhane Alem Orthodox Christian Church in Ethiopia is carved directly out of rock

    Patriarch Abune Antonios, the 90 year old former head of the Eritrean Orthodox Christian Church, was trotted out from government prisons on Sunday to attend a mass for the first time since he was arrested in 2007.

    The Eritrean government, which is possibly the most vicious and repressive government in the world, has been under international pressure from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, the French government, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and the European Parliament.

    So they let Antonios out of prison for the first time in ten years, and let him participate in the mass on Sunday. Seeing the patriarch for the first time in ten years was considered a blessing by the worshippers, but the whole show was really a farce, and probably a humiliation to Antonios. They forbade him from saying a word, and after the mass they bundled him back to prison. These morons in the Eritrean government think that if the 90-year-old Patriarch Antonios were allowed to say anything, then it would bring down their government. What idiots. Christian Post and Independent Catholic News

    Eritrea's Christian crackdown centers on Medhane Alem Orthodox Church

    In 2004, Eritrea's government decided that it disapproved of the religious beliefs of the Medhane Alem Orthodox Church, an evangelical offshoot of Eritrea's Orthodox Christian Church. They arrested three priests without charges, and sentenced them by a secret administrative procedure to five years each.

    At that time, Patriarch Abune Antonios was head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church. Antonios protested the detention of the three priests, and in general for the government's interference in church affairs. The government demanded that Antonios close the Medhane Alem church, and that he excommunicate its 3,000 members. Antonios refused.

    In January 2006, Antonios was notified that he had been dismissed from office, and on May 27, 2007, he was arrested and imprisoned in an unknown location. The Eritrean government has placed people of their own choosing in charge of the church.

    The Eritrean government has always persecuted Christians, but in recent months that persecution has become particularly vicious. Police have been going from house to house, demanding to know the occupants' religious beliefs, and arresting them if they give the wrong answer. It's believed that hundreds of Orthodox Christians have been arrested since May.

    So the worshippers were thrilled on Sunday to see Patriarch Antonios for the first time in ten years, but you really have to laugh at the Eritrean government bringing out Antonios on Sunday for mass, apparently thinking that doing so will make up for the vicious, repressive treatment of huge numbers of Orthodox Christians for no reason whatsoever.

    Eritrea has one of the poorest human rights records in the world. Anyone can be arrested and tortured at any time on the unsupported charge of criticizing someone in the government, or for attending the wrong religious institution.

    What is unique about Eritrea is the extent of military repression as practiced through a strictly-enforced conscription regimen and martial culture. Eritrea’s army is about 600,000 strong, which is one tenth of the population of about 6 million. Few countries anywhere, other than North Korea or the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge, have one tenth of their population in the army. Some people are forced to serve in the armed forces until age 50.

    Many people are forced to work at government jobs essentially as slaves. The average monthly salary is $12. If someone escapes to Europe as a migrant to earn money, the remittances that the migrant sends back to his family are heavily taxed by the state.

    That's why many of the migrants and refugees that are crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy are from Eritrea. Christian Solidarity Worldwide and UNHCR (2-Mar-2015) and PJ Media (8-July) and Missionary Network News

    The violence of generational Awakening eras

    A generational Awakening era begins about 15-20 years after the end of the previous generational crisis war, at the time when the first generation of children with no personal memory of the war come of age and begin to make themselves heard.

    In their foundational work on generational theory in the 1980s and early 1990s, William Strauss and Neil Howe glorified generational Awakening eras as times for the birth of new ideas for society and even new religions, and a renewal of society and the nation. Strauss and Howe's work was limited to Britain and America since the 1400s, and their characterization of Awakening eras seems to make sense in those cases.

    But as I've worked on Generational Dynamics for 15 years, and have extended generational theory to apply to all countries and societies at all times in history, I've found their characterization of Awakening eras to be wrong most of the time.

    In the last 10-20 years we've seen one example after another where Awakening eras are a time of violence. In Syria, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Burundi, Thailand, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Cameroon, and so forth, and now Eritrea, the group that wins the civil war takes power and then uses torture, massacres and genocide during the Awakening era to keep from giving up power, reneging on promises of free elections made during the settlement of the civil war. What makes this violence different from the crisis war is that in the crisis wars the two populations really want to kill each other, while in the Awakening eras, the war-weary populations just want peace, while government leaders perpetrate everything from repression to jailings, torture and genocidal massacres, depending on the country, to stay in power.

    As I described last year in a generational history of Ethiopia and Eritrea, mostly Christian Ethiopia and mostly Muslim Eritrea had an extremely bloody generational crisis war with heavy involvement by the Soviet Union. The war ended in May 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Today, Eritrea is in a generational Awakening era, and the government is close to a state of hysteria over the possibility that Christians might hold a prayer meeting, so they're using house to house searches, jailings and torture to combat a threat that exists only in their fantasies.

    In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is conducting a genocidal war against Sunni Muslims. In Burundi, the president Pierre Nkurunziza, a Christian Hutu, is conducting torture, sexual violence, arbitrary jailings, targeted assassinations and summary executions against his political opposition, almost all from the Christian Tutsi tribe. In Thailand, there's been sporadic violence by the army, backing the "yellow shirt" market-dominant light-skinned Thai-Chinese elite minority against the the "red shirt" dark-skinned Thai-Thai indigenous ethnics. And just today (Tuesday), South Sudan's president Salva Kiir declared a new three-month state of emergency, as he pursues tribal violence designed to keep himself in power. The situations in the other Awakening era countries listed above is similar. Reuters

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    18-Jul-17 World View -- China bans Winnie The Pooh because Xi Jinping looks like him

    Indonesia defies China and renames part of the South China Sea

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China bans Winnie The Pooh because Xi Jinping looks like him


    June 2013 graphic comparing Winnie the Pooh and Tigger to Xi Jinping and Barack Obama (Reuters)
    June 2013 graphic comparing Winnie the Pooh and Tigger to Xi Jinping and Barack Obama (Reuters)

    China has banned Winnie the Pooh from Chinese social media because he looks too much like China's president Xi Jinping. On Weibo and WeChat and other Chinese social media sites, many bloggers posted comparisons between the two, and also referred to Winnie the Pooh's self description as the "bear of very little brain" in the comparisons to Xi Jinping.

    After a 2013 California summit between Xi Jinping and Barack Obama, who was US president at the time, Chinese bloggers noticed an uncanny resemblance between a White House photo of the two presidents to a cartoon of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, and the two images side by side in the combined image shown above.

    In 2014, Chinese bloggers took notice of an extremely uncomfortable handshake between Xi Jinping and Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe, and compared it to a cartoon image of Winnie the Pooh gripping the hoof of his gloomy donkey friend Eeyore.


    2014 graphic comparing Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore to Xi Jinping and Japan's Shinzo Abe
    2014 graphic comparing Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore to Xi Jinping and Japan's Shinzo Abe

    It turns out that China and Xi Jinping are going through one humiliation after another these days, and the humiliations are particularly stinging because a big Chinese Communist Party (CCP) congress is coming up later this year. They include:

    Xi Jinping and other CCP are international criminals for invading and annexing regions in the South China Sea belonging to other countries, in violation of international law, which is what Hitler did. China is building missile systems whose only purpose is to attack American cities, military bases, and aircraft carriers. China is preparing to launch on its neighbors, as well as on America, which it believes it will win. Instead, China will cause a catastrophe to itself and the rest of the world, and history will look back on China as a worse disaster to the world than the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese combined.

    There have also been reports today that China is going to shut down all use of virtual private networks (VPNs) on the internet. VPNs were used by universities and businesses to bypass China's censors and communicate with universities and businesses outside of China. Xi Jinping is turning China into an isolated police state and jail.

    So Xi Jinping is a good Nazi, but he can't stand the thought of anyone posting a picture of Winnie the Pooh on social media. That's why Xi Jinping is such a pathetic loser. As Winnie the Pooh described himself, he's a "bear of very little brain." Shanghaiist and AFP and Reuters

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    Indonesia defies China and renames part of the South China Sea

    Indonesia has announced that it's renaming the portion of the South China Sea belonging to Indonesia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as the "North Natuna Sea."

    Indonesia says that every country has the right to name any area belonging to the country's territory. Indonesia will register the name through the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the United Nations.

    The name change is symbolic, and won't make any difference to the Chinese, who will use their vast military power to try to kill anyone who tries to prevent them from annexing other country's territory.

    In March of last year, a large Chinese coast guard warship entered Indonesian waters and rammed an Indonesian patrol vessel that was towing a Chinese fishing boat that had been illegally fishing in Indonesian waters around the Natuna Islands.

    The Natuna Islands have always been sovereign Indonesian territory. They are far away from China, but because of the rich fishing grounds, there's little doubt that China will use its military power to seize the islands from Indonesia. Antara News (Jakarta) and The Diplomat and Global Times (Beijing) and CNN

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    17-Jul-17 World View -- Tensions at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount surge again

    Concerns grow of a new round of violence

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Muslim leaders express outrage at metal detectors at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount


    Muslims pray in front of metal detectors placed outside of al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount on Sunday
    Muslims pray in front of metal detectors placed outside of al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount on Sunday

    Muslim leaders are expressing outrage at the security measures taken by Israel at the al-Aqsa Mosque / Temple Mount compound in East Jerusalem, at its reopening after a two-day closure triggered by a deadly gun battle on Friday morning.

    On Friday morning, three gunmen, killed two police officers. The gunmen were Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. The victims were two Druze policemen.

    Immediately following the incident, Israeli police closed the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering the compound during Friday prayers for the first time since 1967. (There is some confusion about this point, because Israel closed the mosque for two days in 2014, after several days of violence. Apparently, this was the first closure during Friday prayers since 1967.)

    During the closure, Israeli police swept for weapons, and installed security devices, including closed-circuit television cameras and metal detectors. Israeli officials say that the police sweep through the compound found knives, slingshots, batons, spikes and unexploded ordnance.

    When the mosque was reopened on Sunday, Ahmed Omar al-Kiswani, director of al-Aqsa mosque, told Muslim worshippers not to go through the metal detectors:

    "The closure of al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the occupation in itself and the prevention of the call for prayers are all unfair and unjust and constitute a violation to the United Nations resolutions and the international agreements.

    We hold the Israeli government responsible for the changes they have made in the al-Aqsa Mosque and taking its control away from us. We will stay outside the mosque until we get back the way it was taken from us. ...

    We won’t agree to this violation of the status quo, and we will only return to the mosque once it is restored. We will not accept security checks at Al-Aqsa. ... Don’t go through the gates."

    Muslim worshippers appear to be split. While dozens of worshippers did as al-Kiswani told them and refused to go through the metal detectors, and instead prayed outside the mosque, hundreds more did go through the metal detectors and prayed inside as usual.

    Jordan and Israel have been jointly providing security to the compound, under an agreement reached in November 2014 after days of violent confrontation between Palestinians and Israelis. However, after Friday morning's shooting, Israeli security took complete control of the compound and shut out the Jordanian guards. According to some news reports, Jordan’s King Abdullah II telephoned Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening, and demanded that the mosque be reopened.

    Now the mosque is reopened, but some Muslim leaders are saying that the metal detectors and security cameras that were installed without consultation with the Jordanians change the status quo of the mosque, and are part of an effort to completely shut out all Muslims from the compound.

    According to analyst Daoud Kuttab:

    "This is a very worrisome change. It sounds like it is going to be troublesome for the days to come. Those who killed the soldiers are not from the West Bank or Jerusalem. They came from Israel. They are Israeli citizens. Palestinians are being punished for what Israeli Palestinian citizens of Israel have done."

    It would seem to me that the security measures are for the protection of both Muslims and Jews, but we live in a world today where everyone on all sides of any issue refuses as a matter of principle to make any sense. Times of Israel and Washington Post and al-Jazeera

    Concerns grow of a new round of violence at compound

    When the al-Aqsa mosque was shut down for two days in October 2014, for the first time since 2000, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas said that the move was "tantamount to a declaration of war" by Israelis on Palestinians. Those words indicate the explosive levels of tensions that exist.


    Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem (AFP)
    Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem (AFP)

    The al-Aqsa mosque compound is known to Muslims as Al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), which the golden Dome of the Rock shrine and Al-Aqsa mosque. It's the third-holiest site in Islam after the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, both in Saudi Arabia, and it's believed to be where the Prophet Mohammed made his night journey to heaven.

    The Jews refer to the same compound as Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount, and is the holiest site in the Jewish religion, because it's believed that buried underneath the Mosque are the remains of the Temple at Jerusalem. In 66 AD, the Jews in Judea began a rebellion against their Roman colonizers. The Romans massacred tens of thousands of Jews and destroyed the city of Jerusalem including, in 70 AD, the Temple at Jerusalem.

    East Jerusalem, including the compound, was seized and annexed by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, but this annexation has never been internationally recognized, and most news media refer to it as an "occupation."

    In 2000, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon went to Temple Mount and prayed there, infuriating the Palestinians, and triggering the "second intifada," the Palestinian uprising against the Israelis that lasted until 2005. A compromise was devised that would permit Jews to visit Temple Mount as tourists, but not to pray there.

    In 2014, East Jerusalem was the epicenter of increasing clashes between Palestinians and Israelis ever since the bodies of three Israeli teenage settlers were found weeks after they were abducted on June 10 by terrorists that Israelis believe were commissioned by Hamas. They were the subject of an extensive manhunt throughout the West Bank, during which hundreds of Palestinians, mostly members of Hamas, were arrested. Israel was shocked three weeks later, when the teens were found dead in a pit in the West Bank.

    This was followed by a spiral of violence that led to the 57-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in July and August 2014. Even after the war ended, there were continuing clashes in East Jerusalem, especially around the al-Aqsa mosque. Israel shut down access to the mosque for two days in October, leading Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to call it "tantamount to a declaration of war," and Jordan to recall its ambassador to Israel.

    Sporadic violence continued throughout 2015, when knife attacks by Palestinian teenagers on Israelis were becoming fairly common. Israeli security officials were baffled about how to prevent the knife attacks because, unlike suicide bomber vests, a knife can easily and openly be carried from place to place and wielded at a moment's notice. It was feared that the number of attacks would grow. However, by the end of the year it appeared that that the teenage knife attacks had run their course, despite encouragement from Hamas that they be continued.

    Since then, there's been little international news about violence in Jerusalem, mainly because the "Israeli - Palestinian issue" has been pushed out of the news by other issues, particularly the war in Syria and, more recently, the split between Qatar and four Arab nations.

    However, this state of affairs is not to the liking of many Palestinian leaders, who want the Palestinian issue once again to be the main topic of discussion and news reporting throughout the world.

    One sign of the times is that few if any Palestinians leaders are willing to condemn the murders that took place on Friday morning, and indeed the chairman of Jordan's parliament, Atef Tarawneh, said, "May God have mercy on our martyrs who watered our pure soil." One gets the impression that Palestinian leaders would like to see more such murders take place. AFP and YNet News (Israel) and Jerusalem Post

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    16-Jul-17 World View -- EU countries refuse to help Italy deal with massive refugee crisis

    Italy's 'nuclear option' would force other countries to absorb refugees

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    EU countries refuse to help Italy deal with massive refugee crisis


    Migrants wait to disembark after being rescued at sea (AP)
    Migrants wait to disembark after being rescued at sea (AP)

    Reports are describing Italy's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni with words like "furious" and "livid" over the fact that the European Union is refusing to help Italy deal with the massive refugee crisis the country is facing.

    Almost 100,000 refugees, mostly crossing the Mediterranean from Libya, have landed on Italy's shores so far this year. In the last week of June alone, 10,000 more refugees arrived. Italy has been left entirely on its own to care for them. Instead of being helped, Italy finds itself constantly criticized for not doing enough. While 100,000 refugees have reached Italy, another 2,500 drowned while en route, and Italy is often criticized for not providing enough boats to prevent those drownings. Italy also receives criticism for not doing enough to care for the hundreds of thousands of refugees that the country is hosting.

    What really infuriates Gentiloni and other Italian officials is that lots of politicians full of moral outrage criticizing Italy for not doing enough, but they refuse to accept any refugees into their own countries. In 2015, the EU agreed that 160,000 asylum seekers should be relocated from Greece and Italy to other member states, in the name of burden-sharing. To date, only about 22,500 of the 160,000 have actually been transferred. Several central and eastern European EU members - including large countries like Hungary and Poland - have absolutely refused to take in any asylum-seekers.

    At best, EU countries pay lip service to helping Italy, and even sympathize with poor Italy's misfortune, but they refuse to take the step that would really make a difference -- distributing asylum-seekers to other countries.

    One policy that the EU has tried is that of making sure that whoever rescues migrants from the Mediterranean stays long enough to burn down or otherwise destroy the boat that the human traffickers had used to transport them out of Libya. Pro-immigrant activists say that this is a dangerous policy because human traffickers have adapted. They're simply using cheaper, less secure boats, like expendable rubber dinghies that are purchases in large quantities from China. Activists say that the result of the boat-burning policy has been to make the trip more dangerous for refugees.

    Another policy that the EU has been trying is to push the problem to Libya, by paying Libya's coastguard to prevent departures of refugee boats from Libya, by intercepting boats in Libyan waters and bring them back to Libya. Amnesty International has been strongly criticizing this policy, because the Libyan coastguard has reportedly been abusing the refugees that it captures.

    Amnesty International is demanding that the EU pull its funding of the Libyan coastguard:

    "Rather than acting to save lives and offer protection, European Ministers meeting today are shamelessly prioritizing reckless deals with Libya in a desperate bid to prevent refugees and migrants from reaching Italy.

    European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favor of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses."

    As usual with these activist organizations, there are only criticisms, never solutions, and only demands to spend an unlimited amount of money, even if doing so wouldn't make any difference.

    The summer season is just beginning, and refugee flows across the Mediterranean have not yet reached their peak. As many as 100,000 more refugees are expected by the end of the year. CNN and Deutsche Welle and Guardian (London) and Amnesty International

    Italy considers a 'code of conduct,' and possibly the 'nuclear option'

    Italy is considering two plans to relieve the refugee crisis for itself. The purpose of both of the plans under consideration is not necessarily to reduce the refugee flow, but instead to force other European countries to share the burden.

    First, Italy is considering an 11-point code of conduct for NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that rescue most the refugees from the Mediterranean.

    The way it works now is that human traffickers launch rubber dinghies filled with dozens of refugees from the Libyan coast, charging each of the refugees thousands of dollars. The dinghies are flimsy, and usually have just enough fuel to leave Libyan waters. The human traffickers tell the refugees that once they're out of Libyan waters, they should call a specific number in Italy, and a boat will be dispatched to save them from the rubber dinghy.

    Italian officials are suspicious that the NGOs that receive funding to pick up refugees are cooperating by phone with the human traffickers, and even getting kickbacks from them. The NGOs vehemently deny these charges.

    So Italy is expected in the next few days to present its 11-point code of conduct to nine NGOs that regularly deploy rescue boats to rescue refugees. The plan hasn't been officially released, but some of the rules have leaked out, and are already being criticized by pro-immigrant activists.

    Italian officials claim that the NGOs are encouraging migrants to put to sea, and that the number of migrants would be reduced if they weren't being encouraged, if NGOs followed this code of conduct.

    If any group refuses to accept the terms, they risk being barred access to Italian ports, meaning they would have to divert to other countries to disembark the refugees and migrants.

    An official with Amnesty International says that if this code of conduct is enforced, then it will interfere with operations to the extent that it will put many lives in danger:

    "Attempts to restrict NGO search and rescue operations risk endangering thousands of lives by limiting rescue boats from accessing the perilous waters near Libya."

    Human Rights Watch says that the code of conduct is the wrong approach, and more must be done for the refugees:

    "NGOs are out there in the Mediterranean rescuing people because the EU is not. Given the scale of tragedies at sea and the horrific abuses migrants and asylum seekers face in Libya, the EU should work with Italy to enhance robust search and rescue in the waters off Libya, not limit it."

    An Amnesty International official said that the code of conduct proposals were part of a "concerted smear campaign" against NGO rescue ships by right-wing groups. Reuters and Independent (London) and EU Observer (7-July) and Deutsche Welle (7-July)

    Italy's 'nuclear option' would force other countries to absorb refugees

    Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni's fury at other EU countries for abandoning Italy and refusing to accept any refugees is being translation into consideration of what is being called "the nuclear option."

    The plan would take advantage of a little-known and near-forgotten European Council Directive 55 from 2001, drafted after the Balkans conflict, to give temporary EU entry permits to "displaced people."

    If implemented, Italy would give temporary visas to 200,000 migrants that it's currently hosting. This would permit them to travel freely throughout the 26 nations of Europe's Schengen Zone.

    An analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations says that the result would be severe:

    "If migrants continue to arrive and Italy decides to give them papers to cross borders and leave Italy it would be a nuclear option. Italians have lost any hope of getting help from the EU and may say, 'If you won’t make it a common challenge, we will.'"

    The outcome would be a truly major political crisis across the EU. However, it's not known whether Gentiloni is really considering this option, or whether he's just bluffing to get concessions. The National (UAE) and The Sun (London) and Daily Mail (London)

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    15-Jul-17 World View -- Paranoid China races to censor news of death of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo

    China responds with outrage at countries praising Liu Xiaobo

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Paranoid China races to censor news of death of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo


    Iconic photo of Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia
    Iconic photo of Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia

    Chinese censors and Chinese Communist Party officials have been working overtime to protect the Chinese people from learning anything about what happened to international peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who died of liver cancer on Thursday after Chinese authorities for weeks refused to allow him to travel outside of China to receive care that might have saved his life.

    Liu Xiaobo was present at the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, where college students from all over the country had come for peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations. By coincidence, CNN was in Beijing for another reason, and the protests could be seen worldwide. I still recall those scenes live on CNN, and listening to Bernard Shaw, who was on the air almost 24 hours a day, saying that this was the most amazing thing he had seen in his life.

    On June 4, the peaceful protests came to an end. The Chinese army came in and massacred thousands of college students who had come to Beijing for peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations. Liu Xiaobo's extremely courageous act was to negotiate with the military to allow several hundred student protests to have safe passage and leave, rather than be slaughtered mercilessly. Liu was jailed for 21 months for calling for political reforms and greater freedoms for the people of China.

    Liu was repeatedly jailed after that for supporting democracy in China. In 2008, he was arrested for drafting a democracy manifesto, and was never again free.

    In 2010, Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "his long nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China." At that point, his wife Liu Xia was also jailed, and has been in jail ever since.

    Now that he's dead, the Chinese censors are working night and day to make sure that the Chinese people are kept in complete ignorance. Social media posts mourning him are banned. A simple phrase like "RIP" is banned. An image of a burning candle is banned. Online searches that reference any aspect of his life are banned.

    You really have to laugh at this. Chinese officials like president Xi Jinping and the other Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials are good at a lot of things. They're good at raising enormous armies with huge weapons systems. They're good at invading and annexing other countries' regions in violation of international law, including in the South China Sea. They're good at threatening war and conducting war for anyone who doesn't do what they're told. They're good at torturing, killing and massacring people.

    But Xi Jinping and the other CCP officials turn into whimpering fools at the thought of anyone in China commemorating the death of Liu Xiaobo. Or of posting an image of a burning candle. Or of wishing that he rest in peace. It's really amazing.

    By the way, here's a small bit of historical trivia. Liu was not the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die while in prison. German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, died in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938. CNN and Asian Age (India) and Mashable

    China responds with outrage at countries praising Liu Xiaobo

    The United States, Germany, France, the European Union and the United Nations criticized Chinese officials after he died for not allowing him to receive medical care outside the country. Germany and the United States had offered to take him in for medical care.

    Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that Liu should never have been given the Nobel Peace Prize:

    "Conferring the [Nobel Peace] prize to such a person goes against the purposes of this award. It's a blasphemy of the peace prize."

    The Chinese are calling the awarding of the peace prize "meddling" in China's national affairs. However, Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, says that argument is not valid, because human rights is an international affair, not a national affair:

    "When it comes to the argument of interference, the point of view of the Norwegian Nobel Committee is that our task is to hand out the Peace Prize. And we hand out the Peace Prize to the most deserving person of that year, who has contributed who has contributed to worldwide peace. Now the standard of human rights is not a national affair; it is an international affair. People have basic human rights, because they are people, and so this is not a valid argument in my point of view. And Nobel Peace Prize formally been handed out to other critics of their regimes in smaller countries, for instance, Aung San Suu Kyi [of Myanmar] and Lech Walesa [of Poland]. And this time in 2010 it was Liu Xiaobo and it was the first time a citizen of such a world power was handed the peace prize for human rights struggle, and the struggle for democratic reforms. It would have been cowardly of the peace prize if we were hesitant because our candidate came from a powerful nation, and if we only awarded prizes to individuals from smaller nations. And we do not look to that."

    Much to the consternation of Chinese officials, on Friday, a number of countries issued statements highly critical of the Chinese government's handling of Liu, and commemorating his death.

    In addition, many foreign leaders are demanding that Liu's wife, Liu Xia, who has been under arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, should now be freed from prison, and permitted to leave China.

    A spokesman for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel quoted her as saying: “I mourn Liu Xiaobo, the courageous fighter for civil rights and freedom of opinion. Deep condolences to his family.” Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said, “She and her brother, Liu Hui, should immediately be allowed to leave for Germany or another country of their choice if they wish to."

    France's President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Tribute to Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Prize Peace Laureate, great freedom fighter. Thoughts and support to his relatives and his wife Liu Xia.”

    Norway's Prime minister Erna Solberg said: “It is with deep grief that I received the news of Liu Xiaobo’s passing. Liu Xiaobo was for decades a central voice for human rights and China’s further development. My thoughts go now to his wife, Liu Xia, and his family and friends.”

    Canada's foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said, “I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Liu and to his many supporters around the world. In particular, my thoughts go to Mr. Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, herself a tremendous symbol of courage and poise, who remains under house arrest. We continue to call for the release of all political prisoners.”

    These statements wouldn't be all that important if it were not for the fact that China is infuriated at them to the point of hysteria. Incredibly, China's ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China was lodging official protests with these countries for interfering in China's "judicial sovereignty."

    The European Union issued a statement saying, “We appeal to the Chinese authorities to allow his wife, Ms. Liu Xia and his family to bury Liu Xiaobo at a place and in a manner of their choosing and to allow them to grieve in peace."

    Now, that's an interesting request -- allow Liu's family to bury him at a place of their choosing. This is something that the paranoid CCP officials would never allow, because they don't want Liu's grave to become a place where pilgrims can come and conduct vigils. Chinese authorities will want to dump Liu's body in as obscure a place as possible, and they may have him cremated.

    Another interesting statement came from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen: “We hope that the Chinese authorities can show confidence in engaging in political reform so that the Chinese can enjoy the God-given rights of freedom and democracy. This will be a turning point in cross-strait relations. The Chinese dream is not supposed to be about military might. It should be about taking ideas like those from Liu Xiaobo into consideration. Only through democracy, in which every Chinese person has freedom and respect, can China truly become a proud and important county.”

    One can only imagine the red hot fury of Chinese officials reading that statement from Taiwan's president. State-run media called Tsai's statement "dangerous" and "reckless," and quoted Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office:

    "Taiwan authorities ... have made reckless remarks on the mainland's political system upon Liu Xiaobo's death. ...

    Ma said that the DPP and its leader had lifted the deceptive veil of "maintaining the current situation," attacked the mainland repeatedly and aggravated cross-strait conflicts, attempting to pull cross-strait relations back to tensity and turbulence.

    "Such behavior is very dangerous," said Ma.

    Only people on the mainland have the right to judge the mainland's political, economic and social development, said Ma, adding that the DPP should focus on and reflect on the chaos they have brought to the island and the harm they have done to cross-strait relations."

    Americans have a special connection to Liu Xiaobo because he was living in America prior to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, and returned to China at that time specifically to work for democracy in China. On Friday in Washington, Senator Ted Cruz is reintroducing a bill to change the name of the street in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington to "1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza." When similar legislation was being discussed last year, Chinese officials said that the bill would have "severe consequences" if passed. AFP and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and China Daily (Beijing) and Nikkei

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Jul-17 World View -- Paranoid China races to censor news of death of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    14-Jul-17 World View -- Turkey's assault on Kurds in Afrin, Syria, may jeopardize the battle in Raqqa

    Turkey threatens the Kurds in Afrin, Syria, with Operation Euphrates Sword

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Turkey threatens the Kurds in Afrin, Syria, with Operation Euphrates Sword


    Map showing areas of control in Syria for government, ISIS, Kurds and rebels.  Afrin is north eastern Syria in the region shown in yellow in the top-left. (al-Jazeera)
    Map showing areas of control in Syria for government, ISIS, Kurds and rebels. Afrin is north eastern Syria in the region shown in yellow in the top-left. (al-Jazeera)

    Turkey has for months talked about an assault on the Kurdish-held city of Afrin in Syria's northeast, near the border with Turkey, and there are signs that the assault is imminent. (Afrin is in the northeast region shown in yellow on the above map.)

    Turkish forces and Kurdish forces north of Afrin have been exchanging cross-border fire for weeks, and early this week a convoy of six military vehicles was sent as reinforcements to a city on Turkey's border with Syria. Over the weekend, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a press conference at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Kurds in Syria have links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist group by America and countries in Europe, and which have conducted terrorist actions and low-level violence in Turkey for 30 years.

    Erdogan considers all Kurds in Syria to be terrorists. He called Afrin a "threat" to Turkey and left little doubt that the assault on Afrin is going to occur:

    "We will never remain silent or unresponsive to the backing and arming of terrorist groups, and the formation of terror islets right next to our border.

    We will not hesitate to use our legitimate right to defense against formations that threaten our country’s security. We will not allow a YPG threat. Afrin is a threat for us, we will give the necessary response.

    As long as this threat continues, we will activate our rules of engagement and will continue to give the necessary answer to those in Afrin."

    The military operation against Afrin and Kurdish enclaves and militias is called Operation Euphrates Sword, which has not yet begun, but may begin at any time. Turkey claims that the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) allies have amassed a force of 17,000 fighters for the assault.

    Last year, Turkey launched an earlier operation, Operation Euphrates Shield, whose purpose was to prevent the Kurds from taking control of Syria's entire northern border, and declaring an independent Kurdish state called Rojava. The result was that Turkish-backed rebel forces have control of the light blue area in the map above, on the border with Turkey, but separating the two regions controlled by the Kurds.

    Although Turkey prevented the Kurds from taking control of that light blue area, Turkey is still concerned that the Kurds might still link the two yellow regions by going further south. The assault on Afrin will prevent that.

    The assault on Afrin could be very difficult, long and bloody, according to some analysts. Afrin is heavily defended by Kurdish militias, and the terrain too rugged, covered with forests and olive groves, for easy movement of armored vehicles. AFP(9-July) and Reuters and Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Arab News

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    Turkey's assault on Afrin may jeopardize the battle in Raqqa

    As we've been reporting, the battle to liberate Raqqa from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) is ongoing, led by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which contains some Arabs and mostly Kurds from the People's Protection Units (YPG).

    According to some reports, some 3,000 fighters from Afrin are taking part in the operation to expel ISIS from Raqqa. If Turkey's assault on Afrin begins, those 3,000 fighters are expected to leave Raqqa and return to defend Afrin. This would put the Raqqa operation in jeopardy.

    For this reason, the US has asked Turkey to delay the assault on Afrin as long as possible, so that the attack on Raqqa can be completed. Turkey sees this from the opposite direction. Turkish officials say that the Afrin assault has to take place as quickly as possible, while the Kurdish forces are still tied up in Raqqa.

    The US is using the Kurds in Raqqa because they've proven to be the most effective fighting force against ISIS. This infuriated Turkish officials, who wanted to have their Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters lead the operation. They also strongly objected to giving US weapons to the YPG, because some will ultimately end up in the hands of PKK terrorists in Turkey.

    Because the attack on Afrin has not yet taken place, there has been a great deal of speculation, including the following from different reports:

    Much of this speculation will only be resolved if and when the military operations in Afrin and Raqqa are completed. Jerusalem Post and Kurdistan 24 and Daily Sabah (Turkey) and Sputnik News (Moscow)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Jul-17 World View -- Turkey's assault on Kurds in Afrin, Syria, may jeopardize the battle in Raqqa thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    13-Jul-17 World View -- China establishes its first foreign military base, in Djibouti

    Russia, India, Japan prepare for war with China

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China establishes its first foreign military base, in Djibouti


    Chinese soldiers stand guard at a military port in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, on Tuesday, as warships with soldiers depart for Djibouti (Reuters)
    Chinese soldiers stand guard at a military port in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, on Tuesday, as warships with soldiers depart for Djibouti (Reuters)

    Ships carrying Chinese military personnel are being sent to Djibouti to set up a "logistics support base" to "ensure China's performance of missions, such as escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid in Africa and west Asia." The base is clearly a military base, although Chinese media and officials are denying that. In fact, Western media are referring to it as China's first military base outside of China.

    On Wednesday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang denied that there was any military expansion:

    "[The] establishment of this base is mainly aimed to enable China to better perform its escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters as well as humanitarian relief and to make greater contributions to the peace and stability of Africa and beyond. In addition, I would like to reiterate that China stays committed to the path of peaceful development and follows a defensive national defense policy. This remains unchanged."

    Apparently Geng Shuang thinks that all of us in the West are so stupid that we don't remember that China told us exactly the same garbage about the South China Sea artificial islands. We were told that they were some sort of environmental project, with no military purpose whatsoever. Now those artificial islands are huge military bases bristling with missiles and aircraft, in clear violation of international law, as determined by a 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, which declared China's activities in the South China Sea to be illegal Today, it's clear that China is planning further criminal activity in the South China Sea, including launching military assaults to take full control of the entire South China Sea.

    So now Geng Shuang thinks we're going to believe the same laughable nonsense about the Djibouti military base. Even more laughable is that Chinese media are weeping and whining, complaining about media bias. The Global Times says that "Many of the Western media has described China's Djibouti facility as a military base and referred to the move as military expansionism," and quotes Xu Guangyu, a military official as saying that Western media reports on the base show their prejudice:

    "China's base in Djibouti has basic differences with military bases of other countries in scale, function and equipment. Compared with the specialized function of logistics support of the Chinese base, other military bases station more troops and fighters and conduct military training. ...

    Whether a country needs to build an overseas base should come out of its own concerns and it merely involves bilateral talks with the other nation. Why do some Western countries make carping comments about China's first overseas base, while they already have many?"

    Again, this is exactly the same kinds of things we heard from China when China was building illegal military bases in the South China Sea.

    Ironically, what makes the above whining by Xu Guangyu even more laughable is that it's contradicted by Chinese language editions of the Global Times:

    "People's Liberation Army in Djibouti base 11 was set up.... This is the People's Liberation Army overseas base zero breakthrough, and thus subject to a lot of attention.

    We note that the base of the People's Liberation Army in Djibouti was described as a "base of protection" and was not addressed as a "military base". It is worth pondering.

    First of all, it is indeed the People's Liberation Army's first overseas base, where China will garrison. It is not a commercial supply point. It is justified by foreign public opinion that the base can support the Chinese navy to go further and thus be significant."

    The Djibouti naval military base is the perfect endpoint to China's "string of pearls," commercial deep-water ports in the Indian Ocean that China could use in time of wars. Many of these ports were built and often are operated by Chinese companies. These include deep-water ports in Sri Lanka, in Colombo and Hambantota; Pakistan, in Gwadar and Karachi; Myanmar, in Sittwe; and the Seychelles, in Port Victoria. The Gwadar port in Pakistan is expected to be upgraded to a full Chinese military base soon.

    China's base in Djibouti is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. Thus, in time of war, China will be able to block traffic through the Suez Canal.

    Hosting foreign military bases is big business for Djibouti, which also hosts American, Japanese and French bases. Xinhua and CNN and China's Foreign Ministry and Global Times (Beijing) - (Trans)

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    Russia, India, Japan prepare for war with China

    Each year since 1992, the United States and India have deployed warships, submarines and aircraft as part of the joint Malabar exercises in the Bay of Bengal, adjacent to India and the Indian Ocean. Because of the increased military threat from China, the military exercises are the largest in 22 years, and will include Japan for only the second time. The week-long series of war games will involve a total of 16 ships -- including the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz, India's INS Vikramanditya, a reconditioned Russian-built aircraft carrier, and Japan's JS Izumo, a helicopter carrier with an emphasis on anti-submarine warfare -- as well as two submarines and more than 95 aircraft.

    Most readers won't find it surprising that India and Japan are preparing for war with China, but may be more surprised that Russia is also preparing for war with China.

    If China and Russia have friendly relations, it's only because of a transitory "honor among thieves" phenomenon. Both of these countries are doing what Hitler did -- invading and annexing territories belonging to other countries -- and so they support each other's criminal activities in the UN Security Council. When Hitler did it, it led to World War II. China and Russia are no different. What China and Russia are doing is one of the factors leading to World War III.

    However, the fact that Russia and China are supporting each other in criminal activities does not mean that they are going to be allies in any future war.

    Russia and China have been historic enemies for centuries, at least since the Mongols conquered the Han Chinese in 1206, merged with them culturally, and then went on to brutally attack the Russians. Those wars are not forgotten today, and Russians and Chinese have deep hatreds for each other that will not be mitigated by a brief period of mutual support in the UN Security Council. In fact, China and Russia almost had a full scale war with each other in the 1960s.

    In early June 2017, Russian media reported that the powerful road-mobile 9K720 Iskander-M missile system was installed in Russia's Eastern Military District. This joins three other major missile installations that took place in 2013, 2015 and 2016, respectively. These installations have very limited ability to strike American or Japanese targets. Their only logical purpose is to strike China. Indeed, the system’s ability to deliver a wide range of cluster munitions makes it particularly suitable for use against People’s Liberation Army (PLA) armor and infantry in the event of an armed confrontation.

    In 2014, Russia held the massive Vostok military exercises in the Far East, explaining that the military drills were necessary to prepare for war with the United States. And yet, the assets deployed during this exercise were more consistent with preparing for a defense of the Far East, a region that America would be unlikely to invade if it wanted to invade Russia at all. The only state actor that against which such a defense is needed is China. And so it appears that Russia and China claim that they're each preparing for war with the United States, but they're also preparing for war with each other. CNN and The Diplomat and Lowy Institute (Australia)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Jul-17 World View -- China establishes its first foreign military base, in Djibouti thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    12-Jul-17 World View -- China threatens military intervention in Kashmir on the side of Pakistan

    Thousands flee homes in Kashmir as Pakistan-India shelling escalates

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Thousands flee homes in Kashmir as Pakistan-India shelling escalates


    Long lines of pilgrims visiting the Amarnath shrine in 2016.  Inside the 40 m (130 ft) high cave, water drops from melting snow fall from the roof of the cave to the floor, creating a stalagmite that grows upward.
    Long lines of pilgrims visiting the Amarnath shrine in 2016. Inside the 40 m (130 ft) high cave, water drops from melting snow fall from the roof of the cave to the floor, creating a stalagmite that grows upward.

    Thousands of people have fled their homes in the Pakistan side of the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and Jammu, because of continued shelling across the LoC between India and Pakistan. About 80% of four villages along the LoC have fled.

    On the other side of the LoC, in India-controlled Kashmir, Indian security forces clashed with stone-throwing protesters on Saturday. Saturday was the one-year anniversary of the death on July 8, 2016, of Burhan Wani, 22, a 22-year-old commander in the separatist militia Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), after being shot in a gunfight with Indian security forces. Since then, dozens of civilians have been killed, thousands of Kashmiris have been blinded in one or both eyes by pellet guns used by Indian security forces, and thousands of youths have been arrested.

    On Monday, India was shocked after Kashmiri militants killed 7 Hindu pilgrims traveling by bus to Hindu's holiest shrine, the Amarnath Temple. Each year, over 200,000 people make the Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage) to the shrine, at an altitude of 3,888 meters. Terror attacks on the pilgrims have been extremely rare because both Hindus and Muslims respect the shrine.

    Security personnel are expecting more violence tomorrow (Wednesday), when Kashmiri Muslims mark "Kashmir Martyrs' Day," the anniversary of the July 13, 1931, when dozens of Muslims were killed in a confrontation with British security forces.

    Although there have been a continuing clashes between Kashmiris and Indian security forces, so far there hasn't been the explosion that some people have feared this summer, and many people are hoping that things will remain steady until winter comes and brings respite from the violence for another season.

    Indian security forces have come under harsh criticism for failing to control the violence in the past year, and also for using pellet guns that blinded hundreds of people. In February of this year, the police tried a new policy -- meeting the parents of potential militants in the hope of gaining their cooperation in convincing these young people that violence is not the right path. At that time, an estimated 80 youths were believed to have joined militant outfits.

    The plan was announced by Kashmir's Director General of Police (DGP) Shesh Paul Vaid, who said:

    "We won't like to harm our own children. We are reaching out to the parents and requesting them to convince their children for shunning the path of violence. In few cases, we have achieved success also. We want that our children should fight in debates, competitive exams and not with guns.

    I have made appeals through my district Superintendents of Police and conveyed that all missing cases need to be verified on ground and corrective steps to be taken. Our first attempt is always humanitarian so that we can bring misguided children back. We have given an assurance that a lenient view will be taken in case the youths surrender voluntarily."

    This approach appeared promising, but it has not been particularly effective. Last month, India announced Operation All-Out, a massive police operation "to deliver a lethal blow to terrorism ... with a long-term plan for a lasting peace in the trouble-torn Valley." This was never going to work, and encourages tit-for-tat violence.

    As I've written several times, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Kashmir is replaying previous generations of violence according to a fairly standard template. India's previous two generational crisis wars were India's 1857 Rebellion, which pitted Hindu nationalists against British colonists, and the 1947 Partition War, one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century, pitting Hindus versus Muslims, when the British colonists partitioned the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. Kashmir is at the heart of a re-fighting of those two wars, and there is nothing that the Indian security forces can do to prevent it. AFP and Washington Post and South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP - India) and Times of India

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    China threatens military intervention in Kashmir on the side of Pakistan

    We've been reporting a standoff between India's army and China's army on Doklam plateau in the tiny country of Bhutan. China is attempting to annex the region, and on June 16 sent Chinese troops and construction workers to begin road construction. Bhutan troops tried to prevent the Chinese troop incursion, but they were overrun. Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help. India sent in its own troops, creating a standoff, though no bullets have been fired. Neither the Chinese nor the Indians appear ready to back down.

    A Chinese official, Long Xingchun, is threatening to use the situation on the Doklam plateau as justification for China to invade Kashmir on the side of Pakistan:

    "Indian troops invaded China's Doklam area in the name of helping Bhutan, but in fact the invasion was intended to help India by making use of Bhutan. ...

    India controls Bhutan's defense and diplomacy, seriously violating Bhutan's sovereignty and national interests. Indians have migrated in large numbers to Nepal and Bhutan, interfering with Nepal's internal affairs. The first challenge for Nepal and Bhutan is to avoid becoming a state of India, like Sikkim. ...

    Even if India were requested to defend Bhutan's territory, this could only be limited to its established territory, not the disputed area. Otherwise, under India's logic, if the Pakistani government requests, a third country's army can enter the area disputed by India and Pakistan, including India-controlled Kashmir."

    At this point, we have to remind readers that China is an international criminal, annexing the territories of other countries in the South China Sea, and building illegal military bases, in violation of international law as determined by a 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, which declared China's activities in the South China Sea to be illegal. China has used extortion and military force against some Central Asian countries to annex territories. China had apparently hoped to bully Bhutan to give up its territory without a fight, and is now furious that India is defending Bhutan's territory.

    So now China is threatening India, saying that if India can send troops into Bhutan, then China can send troops into Kashmir. It's hard to see any way that this can end well. Global Times (Beijing) and New Delhi TV and South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG - India)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Jul-17 World View -- China threatens military intervention in Kashmir on the side of Pakistan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    11-Jul-17 World View -- With ceasefire, American forces become more deeply involved in Syria's civil war

    Israel OKs ceasefire, but expresses severe misgivings

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    US, Russia, Jordan agree on ceasefire deal for southwest Syria


    Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday (AP)
    Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday (AP)

    The United States and Russia have brokered a ceasefire in a "de-escalation zone" in southwest Syria. The agreement was reached in a meeting between US president Donald Trump and Russia's president Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday. This meeting was the culmination of weeks of secret negotiations held in Amman, the capital city of Jordan. The zone to which the ceasefire applies is on Syria's borders with Jordan and Israel. Jordan and Israel were consulted during the negotiations, and are included in the agreement. Syria and Iran have agreed to the deal.

    According to the Russian press, the purpose of the de-escalation zone is to help "disengage" (whatever that means) armed opposition from groups recognized as terrorists by the UN Security Council. These include the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), al-Qaeda, and al-Qaeda linked groups like Al-Nusra Front (now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham).

    According to Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, a monitoring center will be set up in Amman, Jordan, to be used to oversee the ceasefire:

    "We agreed to use a monitoring center established by Russia, the US and Jordan in Amman to coordinate all the details of functioning of these de-escalation zones."

    According to Lavrov, many of the details have not be worked out. However:

    In this zone [southeastern Syria, in southern Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda provinces] the ceasefire regime will take effect on July 9 starting 12:00 Damascus time. The US took an obligation that all the militant groups, located there, will comply with the ceasefire.

    At first, the security around this de-escalation zone will be maintained with the help of Russian military police in coordination with the Jordanians and Americans."

    At the G20 summit on Friday, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said at a news conference:

    "I think this is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria, and as a result of that we had a very lengthy discussion regarding other areas in Syria that we can continue to work together on to de-escalate the areas."

    The ceasefire took effect on Sunday at noon, Damascus time. Syrian ceasefires in the past have usually fizzled within a couple of weeks, but as of Monday evening, this ceasefire appears to be holding, with only scattered violations. Russia Today and Russia Today and Times Live (South Africa)

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    Israel OKs ceasefire, but expresses severe misgivings

    Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave qualified approval of the ceasefire agreement:

    "Israel will welcome a genuine ceasefire in Syria but this ceasefire must not enable the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria in general and in southern Syria in particular.

    [We] had deep discussions about this last week with US Secretary of State Tillerson and with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both told me that they understand Israel’s position and will take our demands into account. ...

    [These demands include the following:] Prevent the strengthening of Hezbollah via Syria, with emphasis on the acquisition of precision weapons, prevent Hezbollah – or Iranian forces – from establishing a ground presence along our border, and prevent the establishment of an Iranian military presence in Syria as a whole."

    According to some reports, Netanyahu is opposed to Russia's military police taking sole responsibility for monitoring the ceasefire along Syria's border, and is demanding that United States forces be involved. Reading between the lines of Lavrov's statement (quoted above), Russia appears to concur.

    Although Israel is committed to avoid getting involved in Syria's war, Israel has targeted Syrian weapons convoys headed for Hezbollah to be used against Israel, and has targeted Syrian launchers when mortar shells from Syria landed in the Golan Heights. Since Russia is such a close ally of Syria and Hezbollah, Israel is insisting that Russia not be the sole guarantor of the ceasefire along its border. Israel National News and Reuters and YNet News and Israel Rising

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    With ceasefire, American forces become more deeply involved in Syria's civil war

    For months, Russia and the Syrian regime have complained that America's military presence in Syria is a violation of international law, because unlike Russian forces, American forces have never been invited into Syria by the Syrian regime.

    The response is that with Syria's ISIS conducting terror attacks around the world, including the US and Europe, and with Syria flooding Europe with millions of refugees, the West is perfectly justified under international law to enter Syria and kill off ISIS, for its own protection and self-defense. There's no reason why the West should just sit and wait for ISIS to conduct the next terror attack, since obviously al-Assad is incapable of stopping ISIS, and may be promoting the terror attacks on Europe.

    These arguments may now be mooted by the ceasefire agreement. The agreement has been approved by the Syrian regime, and it specifically invites American forces into Syria. Therefore, I assume that America's military in Syria is fully supported by international law.

    However, the other side of that observation is that American forces are getting more deeply involved in the war in Syria. If the war settles down into a nice friendly peace, then that would be no problem. However, it's far more likely that the current "ceasefire" is merely serving to allow all the various forces -- the Russians, the Syrian regime, Hezbollah, the Iranian forces, the remnants of ISIS, al-Nusra, the Free Syrian Army, the Turks, the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), and probably others -- to replenish their weapons stores and reposition their forces, in preparation for the next battle after the ceasefire collapses. This is particularly true in Deir az-Zour in eastern Syria, which will be a major battleground in the months to come.

    There has been the usual mainstream media criticism of president Donald Trump for having a chaotic foreign policy, and for working closely with Russia's president Vladimir Putin, whom many Americans see as an enemy.

    For example, Richard Haas, president of the Council of Foreign Relations, was interviewed on the BBC on Monday, and was asked why this president "has been reluctant to be harsh on Russia and Putin." His response:

    "I think that's still a mystery for which we don't have an answer. Whether it has something to do with that, or as you know there's any number of forms of speculation. All I can say is after a couple of years, Mr. Trump is has staked out what you would call a consistently benign or sanguine view towards Russian behavior. I don't understand it on the merits, so like a lot of other people, I keep wondering whether there's something that lies behind it, and if so what? ...

    I do not see [the Russians] as a natural partner of the United States in most situations."

    Haas is wondering "whether there's something that lies behind it," and as regular readers are aware, there is definitely something behind it. Trump's foreign policy is not chaotic at all, but is completely consistent and principled, because his close advisor Steve Bannon deeply understands Generational Dynamics theory, and they are guided by that theory.

    As I've been writing for years, Generational Dynamics predicts that in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, America and the West will be aligned with India, Russia and Iran, while China will be aligned with Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. The Trump administration's "consistently benign and sanguine view" of Russia is guided by this analysis, and the fact that Russia will be our ally.

    That's not to say that one can be sanguine about the situation in the Mideast. Everyone is united now in their determination to defeat ISIS in Mosul, Iraq, and in Raqqa, Syria. The Iraqi military declared "Mission Accomplished!" on Monday in Mosul, and victory in Raqqa is expected within weeks. After that, the increasingly vicious Shia-Sunni split will become more exposed, and any one of the warring parties in Syria may decide to take action. Washington Post/AP and Al Monitor and LA Times

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Jul-17 World View -- With ceasefire, American forces become more deeply involved in Syria's civil war thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    10-Jul-17 World View -- Trump administration considers promoting Iran 'regime change'

    Split grows between Iran's president Rouhani and hardliners

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Split grows between Iran's president Rouhani and hardliners


    Iran's IRGC generals salute Supreme Leader Khamenei
    Iran's IRGC generals salute Supreme Leader Khamenei

    When Hassan Rouhani was reelected in Iran's presidential election on May 19, he clobbered his major opponent. Rouhani won 57% of the vote in a large turnout, a huge margin against 38% for hardline cleric Ebrahim Raissi, who was the favored candidate of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

    Rouhani's victory came from overwhelming support of young people, who came out in large numbers because of opposition to the hardline restrictions on dress, free speech, and gender relations.

    Iran is in a generational Awakening era (like America in the 1960s), when there's a "generation gap" between the generations of traumatized survivors of the previous generational crisis war (WW II for America, the 1979 Great Islamic Revolution for Iran) and those in the generations growing up after the war, with no personal appreciation of the horrors of that war.

    The people in Iran's young post-war generations are now in their 30s, they are generally pro-Western and pro-American, and they have nothing in particular against Israel. They do, however, share their parents' vitriolic hatred for Saudi Arabia. The younger generations support moderates like Rouhani, and the moderates become more powerful as their supporters in the younger generations grow older, and more reach voting age. The older generations support the hardliner geezers like Khamenei, and the hardliners become weaker as the older generations retire and die off.

    So it should be no surprise that Khamenei and the other hardliners, including Iran/s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are panicking and becoming increasingly desperate, as they see their power slipping away. Rouhani's overwhelming victory on May 19 was certain to trigger this panic, as well as desperate reprisals.

    The relationship between Rouhani and the IRGC has become increasingly tense in the last couple of weeks. Rouhani has openly challenged the IRGC's outsized role in Iran's economy, and has attempted to limit the IRGC's economic and political influence.

    The hardliners have struck back in the last few days. Khamenei has been comparing Rouhani to Bani Sadr, who was president of Iran in 1980-81, and was impeached by parliament. A prominent hardliner said, "Those who seek to weaken Iran’s security and the IRGC are enemies of the people." Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, a hardliner, views Rouhani in apocalyptic terms:

    "Today, the destruction of the Basij [domestic security force] ... and the Judiciary has intensified. Looking back at past experience, a fitna [sedition, civil strife] is ahead."

    All of this happened in the last couple of weeks. It's fairly certain that the rhetoric will become increasingly vitriolic, as the hardliner geezers become increasingly panicky, as they realize that they're losing power to the younger generations and the moderates.

    Every generational Awakening era ends with a climax that resolves the "generation gap" with a victory of either the older or the younger generations. In America, the climax was Richard Nixon's forced resignation in 1974.

    For that reason, Ejei's prediction of sedition and civil strife is interesting. Rouhani's democratic victory suggests that the Awakening era climax will end peacefully, probably with the death or resignation of Supreme Leader Khamenei. If there is violence, it will probably come from the hardliners and the IRGC, though I expect any such violence to fizzle fairly quickly. AEI Iran News (3-July) and AEI Iran News (6-July) and Al Arabiya (Riyadh) and Arab News (Riyadh)

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    Trump administration considers promoting Iran 'regime change'

    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who speaks regularly with White House officials about foreign policy, said last month:

    "The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran. I don’t see how anyone can say America can be safe as long as you have in power a theocratic despotism."

    Last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the following in answer to a question during testimony to Congress:

    Our policy towards Iran is to push back on [its regional] hegemony, contain their ability to develop, obviously, nuclear weapons, and to work towards support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government. ... Those elements are there certainly, as we know."

    These two remarks, among others, have generated suspicion and outrage among some mainstream media commentators. Some say that this is another example of president Donald Trump's "boneheaded" or "chaotic" foreign policy, while others suggest that Trump is planning a coup or invasion of Iran.

    As I've written in the past, I've worked in the past with Steve Bannon, one of Trump's closest advisors. Bannon is extremely familiar with Generational Dynamics and the work I've done, and I believe that Trump and Bannon are guided by Generational Dynamics principles and findings. In fact, I become more and more convinced of this every day, as Trump's foreign policy makes perfect sense to me from the point of view of Generational Dynamics. This is in contrast to Obama's foreign policy, when never made any sense to me at all.

    Bannon and Trump are very well aware that "regime change" is coming with 100% certainty, as an Awakening era climax. Tillerson's remarks are consistent with that view, and presumably represent the views of Trump and Bannon. Tillerson was vague about his intentions for regime change, but I interpret his remarks to mean something on the level of "meddling" to encourage an awakening climax to occur sooner.

    Cotton's remarks, on the other hand, do not make any sense at all. America is under no threat from the hardliners in Iran. As I've written many times, the hardliners use daily anti-American and anti-Western threats and rhetoric mainly for domestic consumption, without any intention of attacking anyone in the West, including Israel. If and when Iran attacks, it will be against Saudi Arabia.

    So if we assume that Tillerson's remarks are administration policy, then what can be done to speed up the Awakening era climax, and encourage regime change? In my opinion, nothing. Some major event within Iran, such as the sudden death of Khamenei, might trigger the climax. (Or, it might not, if Khamenei is replaced by another hardliner.) I don't believe that "meddling" in Iran's affairs will do much good, but it probably won't do any real harm. However, anything more substantial, such as a coup, could badly backfire. Washington Post and Politico (25-June) and Just Security (26-June) and Asia Times

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Jul-17 World View -- Trump administration considers promoting Iran 'regime change' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    9-Jul-17 World View -- Iraqi forces are just 'tens of meters' away from retaking Mosul from ISIS

    Recapturing Mosul from ISIS leaves the future of Iraq in question

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Iraqi forces are just 'tens of meters' away from retaking Mosul from ISIS


    Displaced Iraqi people flee from fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS in the Old City of Mosul on Friday (Reuters)
    Displaced Iraqi people flee from fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS in the Old City of Mosul on Friday (Reuters)

    After six months of bloody fighting, Iraqi military commanders now say that their forces are "tens of meters" away from recapturing the city of Mosul from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), which shocked the world by capturing the city in 2014 almost overnight, and took control of almost one-third of all of Iraq.

    The US military is confirming that "an announcement is imminent. I don't want to speculate if it's today or tomorrow but I think it's going to be very soon."

    However, there are still things that can go wrong. ISIS is claiming that it will "fight to the death" in the city. They're trying to do as much damage as possible by shooting civilians in the street, blowing up buildings, and laying IEDs to kill Iraqi soldiers.

    As a diversionary attack on Friday, ISIS militants attacked Imam Gharbi village, a village south of Mosul, killing several people including two journalists.

    There are still hundreds of ISIS militants remaining in Mosul, squeezed into a shrinking rectangle no more than 300 by 500 meters beside the Tigris river. It's estimated that more than 10,000 civilians remained trapped in the same region, many of whom are being used by ISIS as human shields. RFE/RL and Reuters and NRT TV (Kurdistan) and Daily Mail (London)

    Recapturing Mosul from ISIS leaves the future of Iraq in question

    ISIS is expected to be driven out of Mosul, its Iraq stronghold, within the next few days, and out of Raqqa, its Syria stronghold, within the next few weeks. However, it doesn't mean the end of ISIS's influence, nor does it mean that Iraq is going to return to "normalcy."

    Mosul itself remains a humanitarian disaster, with little food or water. From a city of two million people, thousands have been killed and almost a million have been displaced, many living in camps outside the city. It will be years before they can all return to their homes, as almost every building in the city has been damaged or completely destroyed. The United Nations predicts it will cost more than $1 billion to repair basic infrastructure in Mosul.

    After being driven out of Mosul, ISIS will be forced into mainly rural desert areas west and south of the city where tens of thousands live. From there, militants can launch terror attacks on targets across Iraq. Many of these ISIS militants will be returning to their homes, where they lived before joining ISIS.

    ISIS fighters will still be able to pursue new operations in Iraq, according to Canadian Armed Forces Brig.-Gen. D.J. Anderson:

    "We’ve got a good 10-12 months' worth of business [ahead of us]. When I consider how much damage we’ve inflicted and they’re still operational, they’re still capable of pulling off things like some of these attacks we’ve seen internationally. [We] have to conclude that we do not yet fully appreciate the scale or strength of this phenomenon."

    Finally, there are still unfinished business between the various groups fighting ISIS. The Turks, the Kurds, and the Shia fighters were excluded from much of the battle of Mosul. Shia militias were excluded because of fears that they may turn on Sunni civilians living in Mosul, as they did in other cities recaptured from ISIS. The Kurds did much of the fighting prior to the entry into Mosul, and now are talking about an independent Kurdistan. The Turks are still furious that they were excluded from the Battle of Mosul, since Turkey has a deep historic connect to Mosul and its people. All these groups were willing to stand aside as long as they had ISIS as a common enemy. Whether they'll continue to stand aside remains to be seen. Reuters and Saudi Gazette and Daily Caller and Daily Sabah (Ankara)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Jul-17 World View -- Iraqi forces are just 'tens of meters' away from retaking Mosul from ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    8-Jul-17 World View -- China and India have military confrontation over Bhutan's Doklam plateau

    Border tensions grow between China and India

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China and India have military confrontation over Bhutan's Doklam plateau


    Chinese soldier confronts Indian soldier at border crossing (AFP)
    Chinese soldier confronts Indian soldier at border crossing (AFP)

    The military standoff on the border between Chinese and Indian troops at the border between China and Bhutan is no nearer resolution than it was last month, and is becoming increasingly serious, as China hardens its position and makes vitriolic threats targeting both India and Bhutan, the tiny nation between China and India.

    Chinese troops and construction workers have been constructing a road through Tibet. On June 16, a column of Chinese troops accompanied by construction vehicles and road-building equipment began moving south into the Doklam plateau, which is territory of the nation of Bhutan. Bhutan's army attempted to block the Chinese troops from entering Bhutan's territory, but the Chinese troops overran the Bhutan troops. Bhutan invoked a treaty with India and asked for help. India sent in its own troops, leading to a standoff with hundreds of troops on each side, with the potential of bringing thousands more troops if the standoff escalates.

    According to reports, the soldiers on each side are still unarmed, and the Chinese and Indian troops reportedly clashed by “jostling”: bumping chests, without punching or kicking, in order to force the other side backwards.

    China claims the Doklam plateau is Chinese territory, and points to an 1892 treaty signed by China and colonial Britain. However, Bhutan was not party to that treaty.

    At this point we have to point out, as an aside, that China is an international criminal, annexing the territories of other countries in the South China Sea, and building illegal military bases, in violation of international law as determined by a 2016 ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, which declared China's activities in the South China Sea to be illegal. China has used extortion and military force to invade and annex regions from other Central and Southeast Asian countries, including Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. China has even arrested, beaten, kidnapped and tortured its own citizens, peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. So China's reference to an 1892 treaty should simply be viewed with reference to China's past history, and treated most likely a hoax or lie or misrepresentation by self-justifying thugs. In fact, several analyses show that China's claims are invalid.

    China is reduced to threatening both India and Bhutan with military violence. China is also trying to encourage some kind of "independence movement" in Bhutan, to sever all ties with India, and to put their faith in China.

    China is also claiming that India has no right defend Bhutan. In fact, India was asked by Bhutan to send in troops to stop the Chinese. China likes to use its vast military complex to intimidate smaller neighbors, including Philippines, Vietnam, and some Central Asian countries. They would have succeeded in invading and annexing this region of Bhutan in the same way, if India had not come to Bhutan's aid.

    Both India's prime minister Narendra Modi and China's president Xi Jinping attended the G20 summit in Hamburg, and that would have been a good place for Modi and Xi to have a meeting and try to resolve the situation diplomatically. However, China rejected the meeting because "the atmosphere is not right," presumably meaning that China wants to want for some kind of military victory. Global Times (Beijing) and India Times and Perspective (India) and Bhutan News Service (1-Jan-2013)

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    Border tensions grow between China and India

    No shots have been fired in military standoff so far, but China is demanding the India withdraw its troops unconditionally, which India is refusing to do. India and China had a major border war in this region in 1962, and China has been reminding India that India lost that war, and will lose the next one. India is preparing its own troop buildup in the region, and so this could break out into a major new border war at any time.

    The dispute goes beyond China's attempt to annex Bhutan's Doklam plateau. The plateau, also known as Donglang in Chinese, lies at the junction of India, Bhutan, and China, near the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim. Doklam is strategically important due to its adjacency to the Siliguri Corridor, the so-called “chicken’s neck” connecting India’s seven northeastern states to its mainland. China is claiming much of these region as well, which would remove the only overland route between India and its northeastern states.

    It's believed by many analysts in India that China is planning for war with India, and wants to annex these strategic regions belonging to India and Bhutan in order to gain a military advantage, in anticipation of that war. By using this kind of "salami slicing" technique, China gains control of larger and larger regions, one piece at a time. Chinese thugs have already done that in the South China Sea, where they annexed one region after another, always lying about their intentions, until now they have military control of most of it.

    From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, China is preparing for war with the U.S., India, Russia, and several of its other neighbors.

    I was watching the BBC today, and they were interviewing some pro-Beijing Hong Kong citizens about China's new aircraft carrier. These people were bubbling over with glee and enthusiasm, saying that the aircraft carrier is one more thing making China the most powerful nation in the world. The Chinese people are drunk with power, and are looking forward to war, and eagerly anticipating war, which they believe that they will win quickly against anyone in the world. In fact, they'll end up bringing devastation and destruction to most of the world, including themselves. BBC and India Times and Quartz and Australian Broadcasting and The Diplomat

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Jul-17 World View -- China and India have military confrontation over Bhutan's Doklam plateau thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    7-Jul-17 World View -- Donald Trump's speech in Warsaw Poland evokes the Clash of Civilizations

    Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Generational Dynamics

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Donald Trump's speech in Warsaw Poland evokes the Clash of Civilizations


    A large American flag-waving crowd greets Donald Trump in Warsaw Poland on Thursday
    A large American flag-waving crowd greets Donald Trump in Warsaw Poland on Thursday

    When President Donald J. Trump gave his inauguration speech on January 20, I wrote that the speech links today's America to the 1930s, because it evoked the 1930s mood of nationalism and isolationism.

    Thursday's speech in Warsaw Poland was even more strongly linked to the 1930s, suggesting that we're facing a Clash of Civilizations world war in the same way that Poland was devastated by World War II. The theme of isolationism was still present in remarks about the need to "protect our borders."

    More interesting were the themes around nationalism. Themes about American nationalism -- pride in America and loyalty to American values -- have been broadened to encompass pride in Western civilization and loyalty to the values of Western civilization -- individual freedom, security, free speech, free expression, empowering women, striving for excellence, valuing human dignity, honoring God, treasuring the rule of law, putting faith and family at the center of our lives.

    Trump gave the speech to a large, extremely enthusiastic and euphoric crowd in Warsaw, frequently chanting, "Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!"

    The comparison is to candidate Barack Obama's speech in Berlin in July 2008. There was a large, extremely enthusiastic and euphoric crowd. As I wrote at the time in "Barack Obama in Berlin calls for greater European militarism", the lines that drew the greatest and most euphoric responses were the anti-American statements, like "Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law?"

    Trump must have had the speech in mind when he delivered Thursday's speech, with its emphasis on preserving and honoring Western civilization, and particularly when he said the following:

    "This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful. Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong."

    We can be pretty certain that phrases like "the heart of Europe" and "the soul of Europe" were directed at Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump will be meeting on Friday. Merkel has openly taken on the task of proving that Trump is so awful that he is isolated in the world, and so saying that the Polish people are "the soul of Europe" is a preemptive strike.

    Remembering the horrors that Poland suffered in World War II

    Much of Trump's speech reminded that enthusiastic audience of the the horrors that Poland went through in World War II:

    "In 1920, in the Miracle of Vistula, Poland stopped the Soviet army bent on European conquest. Then, 19 years later in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That's trouble. That's tough.

    Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people. A vibrant Jewish population -- the largest in Europe -- was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland's Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.

    In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising."

    Trump then related those horrors to today's dangers to Western civilization:

    "This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we're in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life. You see what's happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.

    We are confronted by another oppressive ideology -- one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe. America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We're going to get it to stop.

    During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have. While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.

    We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.

    Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests. To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields."

    Trump mentioned Russia's "destabilizing activities" and urged it to join in the fight "in defense of civilization itself." He did NOT mention the current growing crisis with regard to the North Korea, nor did he mention the growing belligerent militarization of China in the South China Sea and the development of advanced missile systems. However, he did say the following:

    Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies."

    I interpret the phrase "forces ... from the South or the East" as acknowledging that there are other existential threats to America and Europe, especially from North Korea and China.

    Finally, he tied it all together by asking whether the West has the will to survive:

    "We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will. Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?"

    CNN and LA Times

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    Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Generational Dynamics

    Whenever I listen to a speech by Donald Trump, I'm always analyzing it from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, because I know that Generational Dynamics is heavily influencing the Trump administration.

    Regular readers are aware that I've worked in the past with Steve Bannon, a principal Trump advisor. I worked with him on his documentary movie "Generation Zero," and I worked with him for years since I started in 2010 cross-posting my articles on the Breitbart National Security site, where he was the editor in chief.

    As I've said many times in the past, Barack Obama came into office without any clue what was going on in the world, and after 8 years in office, I've seen no evidence that he's learned anything. Trump also came into office without any clue what was going on in the world, and the only relevant question is whether, unlike Obama, he's able to learn.

    It was clear when I met Steve Bannon that he was already very knowledgeable about what was going on in the world, from serving as an officer in the Navy and from attending Georgetown University.

    However, Bannon also became extremely knowledgeable about my work on Generational Dynamics. I know that Bannon is extremely knowledgeable about Generational Dynamics, and I know that Bannon is very knowledgeable about the conclusions of Generational Dynamics. And I believe (though can't prove) that he actually agrees with those conclusions -- that we're headed for a Clash of Civilizations world war, where the US, Japan, India, Russia and Iran will be pitted against China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries. And I believe that these conclusions are a big part of the motivation for Thursday's speech.

    It's pretty clear to me that Trump's inauguration speech in January and his speech Thursday in Poland were completely consistent with the point of view of Generational Dynamics. Let's look at a couple of issues.

    People my age have wondered all our lives how it was possible for Britain to be so thoroughly fooled by the Nazis and Adolf Hitler for years. It was perfectly obvious that the Nazi Germany was preparing for war with Britain, and Winston Churchill repeatedly warned about it, so how could British leaders have been so oblivious to the danger?

    Today we know the answer, as we see how oblivious the West is to the danger from North Korea and especially from China, even though it's perfectly obvious.

    For Bannon and Trump, this presents the problem that any recognition of this situation is met with mockery and ridicule by the mainstream media, just as happened to Winston Churchill. We might call this "the Neville Chamberlain effect," named after the person who declared "peace in our time" after meeting with Hitler in 1939.

    So I interpret Trump's speech on Thursday as working around these problems. By giving a speech to a wildly enthusiastic crowd in Poland, and calling the Polish people "the soul of Europe," he's attempting to get around the mockery of the mainstream media, and at the same time show that Angela Merkel's views are not unanimously held among the G-20 leaders.

    As long-time readers know, since 2003, There are some 4,000 articles on my web site containing hundreds of predictions, all of which have come true or are trending true. None has turned out to be false. There have been some cases, such as my analysis of the Mideast peace process in 2003, Lebanon in 2006, Sri Lanka in 2009, and Iran in the last ten years, when I've been right and pretty much the rest of the world has been wrong. There is no other web site, analyst, journalist, economist or politician in the world with a better predictive record than mine. A number of people have challenged this claim, and all have failed.

    Generational Dynamics is the only methodology that tells what's actually going on in the world. Donald Trump may or may not know what's going on in the world, but Steve Bannon definitely does, and Bannon is Trump's principal advisor. It's very gratifying to me personally that Generational Dynamics is guiding the policy of America at this time of greatest peril in our history.

    Trump and Bannon are trying to find a way to defeat the Generational Dynamics predictions -- by trying to goad China into blocking North Korea's nuclear development, by trying to challenge China in the South China Sea with freedom of navigation trips, and by trying to rouse the West into confronting the existential threats it faces, rather than falling into the easy Pollyannaish feelings of the Neville Chamberlain effect.

    Trump said:

    "Those heroes remind us that the West was saved with the blood of patriots; that each generation must rise up and play their part in its defense -- and that every foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization, is worth defending with your life."

    I wish that I could say that Trump and Bannon will find a way to succeed at preventing the Clash of Civilizations world war, but Generational Dynamics tells us that's mathematically impossible. We can't even be certain that the US will survive the coming world war. The best we can hope for is that we will survive, and that history will look back at the America as having once again played its part in saving civilization.

    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Jul-17 World View -- Donald Trump's speech in Warsaw Poland evokes the Clash of Civilizations thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    6-Jul-17 World View -- Russian-led Syria peace talks collapse in Astana, Kazakhstan

    Is the end of the Syrian war in sight?

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Russian-led Syria peace talks collapse in Astana, Kazakhstan


    Map: Russia's four de-escalation zones in eastern Syria (al-Jazeera)
    Map: Russia's four de-escalation zones in eastern Syria (al-Jazeera)

    Russia's plans to lead all the factions fighting in Syria to reach a negotiated peace settlement appear to have collapsed on Wednesday, when Russia, Turkey and Iran failed to agree on details of four "de-escalation zones" or "safe zones" proposed by Russia at a meeting in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

    Wednesday's meeting was based on a peace plan that was signed two months ago. (See "9-May-17 World View -- Russia, Iran and Turkey announce yet another farcical new Syria peace plan".)

    In that article, I listed the reasons why it was farcical. The principal reason is that it didn't include the actual parties to the Syrian war -- the Shia/Alawite regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad and the Sunni opposition. In fact, none of these actual participants in the war agreed to the terms of the agreement. That's why the talks on Wednesday collapsed.

    The three countries -- Russia, Iran, and Turkey -- are supposed to be the "Guarantors" of the agreement, providing whatever troops are necessary for the functioning of the checkpoints and observation posts as well as the administration of the security zones.

    News reports gave several reasons why the Astana peace talks collapsed on Wednesday:

    A new meeting of the three countries is to take place in Tehran on August 1-2, with a self-imposed deadline of the last week of August to work out all the details. Reuters and AFP and Sputnik (Moscow) and VOA

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    The four de-escalation zones

    The map of Syria above shows the four de-escalation zones on the left (western side) of the map of Syria appearing above. The four zones, taken together, are enclaves containing over 2.5 million Sunni civilians, mostly women and children, in areas controlled variously by al-Qaeda linked or moderate opposition rebels. These millions of civilians are people that al-Assad in the past has made clear that he wants to exterminate as if they were cockroaches, and so which is why neither Assad nor the the opposition rebels were willing to sign Russia's agreement.

    Here are al-Jazeera's descriptions of the four zones:

    There's little agreement among all the parties as to how the so-called "Guarantors" of de-escalation zones or safe zones are going to enforce the terms of the proposed agreement.

    Russia had announced on Tuesday that they would deploy the Russian military police carrying light weapons within two to three weeks, but that plan is now on hold after the peace talks collapsed on Wednesday.

    Because of the difficulty in getting agreement on whose military forces will be occupying each of the safe zones, Russia has asked two Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, to send some of their own soldiers as peacekeepers.

    However, Kazakhstan has already refused, saying that an essential condition for sending Kazakh peacekeepers is the existence of a UN Security Council resolution and the corresponding mandate of the UN. Al-Jazeera and Sputnik News (Moscow) and Sputnik News

    Is the end of the Syrian war in sight?

    Last year, al-Assad's military, supported by overwhelming destructive force provided by Russia and Iran, was going to destroy the city of Aleppo. That was going to end the war because it would demoralize the opposition groups and jihadists so they would lose interest in fighting, and would go home.

    At the time, Bashar al-Assad called it "history in the making":

    "[The liberation of Aleppo was] history in the making and worthy of more than the word congratulations.

    History is being written in these moments. Every Syrian citizen is taking part in the writing. It started not today, but years ago when the crisis and the war on Syria began.

    I think that after the liberation of Aleppo we’ll talk about the situation as ... before the liberation of Aleppo and after the liberation of Aleppo."

    Bashar al-Assad has proven himself to be psychopathic genocidal killer, the worst war criminal so far this century, so it's not surprising that he was totally delusional about the outcome of his slaughter of the people of Aleppo.

    I've written about any number of Syria peace plans over the years. Kofi Annan, the virulently anti-American former Secretary-General of the United Nations from Ghana, was the first UN envoy on Syria. Annan formulated a farcical six-point 'peace plan' which said absolutely nothing, but which al-Assad used as a cover to continue exterminating innocent Sunni women and children with impunity.

    After Kofi Annan was repeatedly humiliated by Bashar al-Assad, the UN appointed a new Syria peace envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, to replace Kofi Annan. Brahimi wasn't as much of an idiot as Annan was, but he still resigned in disgust in May 2014, after it became clear that al-Assad really had no desire to do anything but exterminate Sunni civilians. Now, the current UN envoy is Staffan de Mistura, who goes around all the time saying, "This will not be tolerated," but who accomplishes nothing except, again, to provide cover for Bashar al-Assad's atrocities.

    All of these peace plans have failed because the psychopathic, delusional Bashar al-Assad doesn't want the war to end. The war will never end as long as al-Assad is in power.

    The map at the beginning of this article shows how Syria is currently divided up among different militias. Russia's peace plan did not address any of this, except for four zones in the western region supposedly still controlled by al-Assad. There will be a particular dispute between Turkey and the Kurds, as the latter try to join the two yellow areas into a single Kurdish state called Rojava, and Turkey does everything possible to prevent it.

    The latest fantasy about the end of the war is that the war will end in the next few weeks, due to the defeat of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in its last two strongholds, Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq. According to this theory, the remaining opposition forces are located in small, geographically isolated enclaves, so they won't be able to coordinate their actions into a significant fighting force.

    The problem with this reasoning is that the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa and Mosul is just a simple tactical victory. It does not address the core issues that started the civil war in 2011, when al-Assad began exterminating Sunni women and children who were simply peaceful protesters.

    Furthermore, defeating ISIS does not mean the end of the fighters in ISIS. As we've been reporting recently, they can flee to Deir az-Zour in eastern Syria. Scattered Sunni rebel militias can unify for the same reason as before -- to fight against al-Assad. That's the reason that tens of thousands of jihadists from 86 countries around the world came to Syria, and ended up forming ISIS. We should expect to see new versions of al-Nusra and ISIS to be formed in the weeks to come. War on the Rocks

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  • Syria and Russia see 'the light at the end of the tunnel' after Aleppo victory (18-Dec-2016)
  • (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Jul-17 World View -- Russian-led Syria peace talks collapse in Astana, Kazakhstan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    5-Jul-17 World View -- In dramatic development, US warplanes smash fortified wall in Raqqa, Syria

    Turkey fears double-cross from US on arms for Syrian Kurds

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    In dramatic development, US warplanes smash fortified wall in Raqqa, Syria


    Undated photo showing the fortified wall surrounding Raqqa's Old City
    Undated photo showing the fortified wall surrounding Raqqa's Old City

    In a dramatic development, US coalition warplanes used "precision air strikes" to blow holes in two "small portions" of the heavily fortified wall surrounding the Raqqa's Old City in Syria, to allow Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter to enter.

    According to a US Central Command (Centcom) statement:

    "Overcoming heavy ISIS [Daesh] resistance, the Syrian Democratic Forces breached the Old City of Raqqa, July 3. Coalition forces supported the SDF advance into the most heavily fortified portion of Raqqah [Raqqa] by opening two small gaps in the Rafiqah Wall that surrounds the Old City. ...

    Conducting targeted strikes on two small portions of the wall allowed Coalition and partner forces to breach the Old City at a locations of their choosing, denied ISIS the ability to use pre-positioned mines, IED and VBIEDs, protected SDF and civilian lives, and preserved the integrity of the greatest portion of the wall. ...

    Unlike ISIS who deliberately destroyed the ruins of Palmyra and the Al-Nuri mosque and uses sites such as the Rafiqa Wall, hospitals, schools and mosques as weapons storage facilities and fighting positions, Coalition forces are making a great effort to protect civilians and preserve these sites for future generations,"

    Raqqa is the major stronghold in Syria of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), and has been in the past named by ISIS as the capital of its caliphate. The SDF have been preparing for months for this final battle to recapture Raqqa from the 2,500 to 3,000 ISIS fighters that remain in the Old City.

    The 2,500 meter wall that surrounds the Old City was constructed between 771 and 775 AD. The breaching of the wall is being called the most important development to date in the battle for Raqqa, since it allowed SDF units to enter the Old City quickly and surprise ISIS forces, without having to enter at existing cracks in the wall where ISIS has planted mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

    U.N. officials say 50,000 to 100,000 civilians remain in the city amid "dire" conditions. Estimates of how long the battle of Raqqa will take range from a few days to a few weeks. AP and Rudaw (Kurdistan) and Long War Journal

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    Turkey fears double-cross from US on arms for Syrian Kurds

    The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) leading the fighting in Raqqa are led by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), with mostly Kurdish fighters and some Arab fighters. The US considers the SDF the best fighting force in the region to defeat ISIS.

    Turkey has never hidden its opposition to using the YPG, which is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is recognized as a terrorist group by the US and European countries. The PKK have conducted a 30-year separatist insurgency in Turkey, and in recent years have conducted some horrific terrorist attacks in Turkish cities. Turkey would have preferred to use Free Syrian Army (FSA) forced backed by Turkey for the Raqqa operation, as well as the Mosul operation in Iraq.

    US forces have been supplying advanced weapons to YPG fighters for the Raqqa battle. Turkey says that the US promised that the US would take the arms back after the battle ended, so that the weapons could not be used against Turkey.

    Now Turkish officials are furious that the US is apparently reneging on its promise to retrieve the advanced weapons. Even worse, from Turkey's point of view, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has left open the possibility of the opposite occurring: That the US will continue to supply the YPG with advanced weapons and equipment, even after Raqqa has been recaptured from ISIS.

    Mattis said that some weapons would be recovered, but when asked about further arming of the YPG, he said, "Well, we’ll see. It depends what the next mission is. I mean, it’s not like the fight’s over when Raqqa’s over."

    The criticism by Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been extremely harsh, complaining that it's a violation of the Nato treaty:

    "We will be together in NATO, and you will act together with terrorist groups. What kind of business is this?

    In this case, the NATO treaty should be revised.

    Those who think that they can fool Turkey by saying that they will get those weapons back will eventually understand the vital mistake they made, but it will be too late. We will call to account the real owners of those weapons for every drop of blood they shed with those weapons."

    Turkey points out that there have been a series of US provocations against Turkey. They claim that US officials have repeatedly lied about YPG and PKK support in Syria. The US promised to withdraw the YPG/PKK from the Syrian city of Manbij after ISIS was defeated, but the US handed control of the city over to them anyway. After that, according to Turkish news reports, it became clear these promises were mere diversions.

    Turkey is becoming concerned that the YPG/PKK are controlling larger and larger regions of northern Syria, along the border with Turkey. Last year, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield, a military operation by the FSA backed by the Turkish military, to prevent the Kurds from taking control of the entire northern border of Syria, and declaring an independent Kurdish state of Rojava.

    There have been reports that Turkey is planning further military action against the Kurds in northern Syria. Reuters and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Yeni Safak (Ankara)

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    Concerns grow about Syrian conflict after defeat of ISIS

    It's expected that it will be only a matter of days or weeks before ISIS will be defeated in both of its main strongholds, Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq. What will that mean for the Syrian conflict?

    It's well to remember how the Syrian war came about. The civil war in Syria was caused by president Bashar al-Assad when he unleashed his army and air force against peaceful protesters in 2011. Things really turned around in August 2011, when al-Assad launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians. He dropped barrel bombs laden with metal, chlorine, ammonia, phosphorous and chemical weapons onto innocent Sunni women and children, he's targeted bombs on schools and hospitals, and he's used Sarin gas to kill large groups of people. He considers all Sunni Muslims to be cockroaches to be exterminated.

    Thousands of young Sunni jihadists from 86 countries around the world traveled to Syria to fight al-Assad, and they formed ISIS. At the same time, local Syrian Sunni fighters opposed to al-Assad formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front, while Kurdish fighters joined Arabs and formed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Al-Assad has driven millions of Syrians out of their homes, into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Europe. Other forces that have entered the war include Americans, Turks, Russians, Iranians, and Hezbollah.

    All of these groups have very different objectives, but they were unified by their opposition to ISIS. With the defeat of ISIS, they have no one left to fight but each other. In particular, the Syrian people against whom Bashar al-Assad has committed years of torture and atrocities will never agree to return to the way things were before 2011.

    As regular readers know, 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.

    The conflict in Syria is very far from ended. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the defeat of ISIS is not the beginning of the end, but it may be the end of the beginning. Atlantic Council and Straits Times and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Jul-17 World View -- In dramatic development, US warplanes smash fortified wall in Raqqa, Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    4-Jul-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia threatens further sanctions against Qatar if demands are not met

    North Korea launches another ballistic missile

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Saudi Arabia extends sanctions deadline for two days


    Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (L) and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Sabah walk together on an airport tarmac in Kuwait. (AP)
    Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (L) and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Sabah walk together on an airport tarmac in Kuwait. (AP)

    Sunday was the original deadline set by the four countries Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt for Qatar to meet the 13 demands that these four countries say must be met in order for the June 5 land, sea and air blockade of Qatar to be lifted. The blockade has split the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a group of Arab nations (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)) on the Arabian Gulf.

    However, at the request of Kuwait's 88-year-old emir ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah, the four countries have agreed to extend the deadline for two days, until Tuesday. Sabah has been trying to mediate an end to the crisis, as he did in another dispute in 2014 among the same parties.

    The demands listed by the Saudi-led four-nation bloc include: sever most ties with Iran; sever all ties to the Muslim Brotherhood; shut down al-Jazeera; terminate Turkey's military presence in Qatar; pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years.

    Saudi Arabia has stated that the 13 demands are non-negotiable. Qatar has said that the demands are so harsh that they "were meant to be rejected." Some reports indicate that there's been a slight softening of positions on both sides, thanks to Kuwait's mediation, but that the two sides are still very far from agreement.

    According to one analyst:

    "The thirteen demands ... are viewed [by Qatar] as crossing all sorts of lines and essentially would see the surrender of Qatari sovereignty.

    This is not something Qatar is going to adhere to, whether the deadline is today, in two days’ time or a week’s time. [The extended deadline is] a way in which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can appear to be not as inflexible as their demands make out."

    Qatar has particularly said that under no circumstances will al-Jazeera be shut down. Turkey's deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulmus ridiculed the list of demands, and said that Turkey has no intention to shut down its military base in Qatar: "Turkey’s base in Qatar is not just about Qatar’s security it is about the security of the region."

    However, Mark Wallace of the Washington-based Counter Extremism Project says that Qatar harbors terrorists and is a funder of extremist groups: "Qatar has a long history of providing support for extremism and terrorism, including but not limited to vast financial and material support to internationally designated terrorist groups and willing accommodation of internationally designated or wanted terrorist leaders and financiers." Radio France Internationale and Reuters and AP and Politico

    Saudi Arabia and UAE threaten Qatar with additional sanctions

    Qatar officials and supporters are claiming that Qatar is handling the blockade and sanctions fairly effortlessly. Qatar's only land border is with Saudi Arabia, and that has been closed by the blockade, but Qatar's stores are well-stocked with food and other consumer items that have been imported from Iran and Turkey, who have been supporting Qatar.

    Furthermore, Qatar is an extremely wealthy country, with a great deal of foreign income coming from oil and gas industries. Qataris point out that the hundreds of billions of dollars in its sovereign wealth fund would cover more than a decade of imports from Iran, Turkey and other countries, even though there have been significant prices increases on groceries and other consumer items.

    However, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt are planning to meet on Wednesday to discuss additional steps to take, including new sanctions. Saudi-based economist Hussein Shobokshi says that the new sanctions will be a "terrifying tsunami" for Qatar's economy. They potentially include the following:

    According to Shobokshi, "Any Qatari funds, direct or indirect, public or private, are not welcome in these countries."

    If the GCC counties pull their deposits out of Qatar banks, it may trigger a panic on Qatar's riyal currency. In fact, the first signs of this have already appeared: Several British banks have stopped dealing in riyal currency at all, for fear that a panic will cause the riyal to go into free fall, leaving the banks with big losses on their holdings of the currency. These banks include Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank. The Peninsula (Qatar) and Asharq Al-Awsat (London) and The Peninsula (Qatar) and The National (UAE) and Reuters

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    North Korea launches another ballistic missile

    On Tuesday morning local time, as this article is being posted, North Korea launched what appeared to be a new ballistic missile test.

    South Korea's new president Moon Jae-in had hoped to resolve the North Korea nuclear missile crisis by means of peaceful negotiations, but Moon's Pollyannaish hopes keep getting disappointed by North Korea's actions, which make it clear that North Korea is not interested in any negotiations. Many analysts believe that North Korea will be able to deliver a nuclear weapon to American mainland soil within a year or two. Yonhap (Seoul)

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Jul-17 World View -- Saudi Arabia threatens further sanctions against Qatar if demands are not met thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    3-Jul-17 World View -- China builds illegal surface-to-air missile sites in South China Sea

    Xi Jinping threatens Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters with 'Red Line'

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China builds illegal surface-to-air missile sites in South China Sea


    Fiery Cross Reef continues is the most advanced of China’s illegal bases, with new missile shelters, radar/communications facilities, and other infrastructure (AMTI)
    Fiery Cross Reef continues is the most advanced of China’s illegal bases, with new missile shelters, radar/communications facilities, and other infrastructure (AMTI)

    New satellite images show that China has added reinforced launch sites for illegal surface-to-air missiles on at least three of China's illegal artificial islands in the Spratly Islands: Fiery Cross, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef.

    While unarmed launch sites are not, by themselves, a danger to anyone, they are one step away from armed launch sites. In December, China moved SA-21 anti-aircraft missile batteries with a 250-mile range to the island province of Hainan for training. For the time being, they remain inside China, but could be moved outside China to the illegal military bases in the South China Sea, where they could be used to target any aircraft, including American unarmed surveillance flights.

    China has claimed the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory, and has built artificial islands and military bases. However, these claims and activities were declared illegal in a ruling by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague, in a case brought by the Philippines. So all of these activities by the Chinese are in violation of international law, although the Chinese don't care about international law except as it applies to the West.

    Furthermore, China promised in 2014 that the artificial islands would not be used for military purposes. That was obviously a lie, and in fact any promises that Chinese officials make can be assumed to be lies, as has been shown this week by the situation in Hong Kong.

    On Sunday, an American warship, the USS Stethem, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, which is part of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Triton Island is clearly in international waters, and the Stethem was performing a "freedom of navigation operation" (FONOP). These operations have been going on for years in order to defy China's illegal annexation of the South China Sea, and to establish that the South China Sea is international waters through which any ship may pass.

    However, China launched a protest, claiming that the Stethem violated its sovereignty.

    According to a statement from China's foreign ministry:

    "Under the pretext of ‘freedom of navigation,’ the US side once again sent a military vessel into China’s territorial waters off the Xisha [Paracel] Islands without China’s approval.

    The Chinese side strongly urges the US side to immediately stop such kind of provocative operations that violate China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security. The Chinese side will continue to take all necessary means to defend national sovereignty and security.

    China dispatched military vessels and fighter planes in response to warn off the US vessel. The Chinese side is dissatisfied with, and opposed to, the relevant behavior of the US side."

    China actually has no sovereignty to be "violated" in that region, as the United Nations Hague Tribunal has ruled, but Chinese thugs do what they want irrespective of international law.

    As regular Generational Dynamics readers know, China has been aggressively preparing for full-scale war with the United States for years. They've developed one nuclear ballistic missile system after another, and manufactured perhaps hundreds of those missiles, with no other purpose than to destroy American cities, military bases and aircraft carriers. In the South China Sea, China has been building illegal artificial islands and illegal military bases, clearly in preparation to declare war on its neighbors. Generational Dynamics predicts that, at a time of its choosing, China will launch a preemptive war against its neighbors and against the United States. Fox News and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and News.com (Australia)

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    Xi Jinping threatens Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters with 'Red Line'

    During his speech on Saturday at the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China, China's president Xi Jinping made the claim that the "One Country, Two Systems" was still in effect, meaning that Hong Kong residents still had freedom of speech free elections, press freedom, and an independent judiciary.

    The claim is laughable, as we reported two days ago. In 2014, Beijing thugs triggered the anti-Beijing "Umbrella Movement" by blocking any future free elections. In 2015, Chinese thugs kidnapped five Hong Kong booksellers who had published material critical of Beijing's leadership. And just as Xi Jinping was making his laughable claim that "One Country, Two Systems" is still in effect, the Beijing foreign minister announced that it was repudiating the agreement with Britain that had described the "One China, Two Systems" agreement.

    Hong Kong police have been harassing and jailing pro-democracy demonstrators all week, making sure that no freedom of speech will be permitted.

    At his speech on Saturday, Xi Jinping drew a "Red Line," warning anyone that any attempts to undermine sovereignty or to challenge Beijing's power would be severely punished:

    "Any attempt to endanger national sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government and the authority of the Basic Law of the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line, and is absolutely impermissible."

    So Xi Jinping is just one more thug who threatens even peaceful pro-democracy protesters with severe punishment. Xinhua and LA Times

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Jul-17 World View -- China builds illegal surface-to-air missile sites in South China Sea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    2-Jul-17 World View -- Fed Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen says 'no financial crisis in our lifetimes'

    Remembering Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairmen

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    Fed Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen says 'no financial crisis in our lifetimes'


    Fed Chairman Janet Yellen
    Fed Chairman Janet Yellen

    Janet Yellen, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, the successor to Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan, held a press conference on Tuesday of last week, during which she said that she believes that there will be no new financial crisis "in our lifetimes":

    "Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis?

    You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we're much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don't believe it will be."

    Yellen said that the reason she believes that there won't be a financial crisis "in our lifetimes" is because the Fed is much more clever and vigilant now about detecting risks, having learned lessons from the last financial crisis:

    "I think the system is much safer and much sounder. We are doing a lot more to try to look for financial stability risks that may not be immediately apparent but to look in corners of the financial system that are not subject to regulation, outside those areas in order to try to detect threats to financial stability that may be emerging.

    After the financial crisis, those who see the damage in that type of thinking have played a major role in ensuring that we have a more appropriate system of supervision and regulation, hopefully for a good long time."

    This is such a bizarre, naïve statement, that it's hard to know what to make of it. Yellen is expressing precisely the attitude that's always been prevalent prior to every financial crisis in world history. Politicians say "This time it's different," and "We've learned our lessons," and "It can't happen this time." And it doesn't happen this time, until it does.

    Actually, the lessons from the last financial crisis haven't been learned at all. The Fed and central banks around the world have been "printing" hundreds of trillions of dollars, and governments around the world have been borrowing that money and going into new debt at an exponentially increasing rate. We've recently been reporting that it's too late for Illinois and Puerto Rico, which have gone into so much debt there's literally no hope of every paying it off.

    This is true all around the world. According to a new report by the Institute of International Finance, global debt has reached $217 trillion in the first quarter of this year, and that's 327% of gross domestic product for the whole world.

    China in particular poses an enormous risk. China's total debt surpassed 304% of GDP as of May 2017, according to the IIF.

    Janet Yellen apparently believes that all this is no problem, that if a problem does arise, then the Fed or some other central bank can just print another trillion dollars in free money and use it to patch up the problem. So we have nothing to worry about.

    Reuters and CNBC and CNBC

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    Examining the stock market bubble

    I started paying attention to the Fed in 2002, after seeing a huge graph of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) from 1920 to the present in the Boston Globe. I took one look at the graph and could see that it was perfectly obvious that we were in a stock market bubble. Later, of course, I did the calculations and verified it.

    There are many reasons why I believe that mainstream economists are airheads, and one of them is the belief that you can't detect a bubble until after it occurs. In the case of the DJIA, it's rather simple. If you analyze historical values of the DJIA, you find that in the 90-year period from 1904 to 1994 it grew at an average of 4.5% per year, including inflation. So since the DJIA started growing much more rapidly than 4.5% per year, starting in 1995, the you know that it's in a growing bubble. Today, the DJIA is at 258% of its long-term trend value, as determined by the 4.5% growth rate, so we can be sure that the DJIA is in an enormous bubble. In fact, it was at 255% of the trend value when the crash began in 1929, and fell to only 24% of the trend value by 1932, after several years of crashing.

    Another thing that mainstream economists are incapable of grasping is the concept of "Reversion of the Mean." This means that the average (or mean) of a value must be the same in the future as it was in the past.

    This is easiest to explain with the S&P 500 Price Earnings ratio (p/e ratio). The historic average value of the p/e ratio is 14, but since the 1990s, it's been well above the average, and today it's around 24.

    Now, airhead economists use the erroneous phrase "Reversion TO the Mean," and they say you should be prepared for the p/e ratio to revert to its mean value of 14. This would be a significant stock market correction, but it's only a small part of the story.

    If the p/e ratio only reverts to 14, then that means for the last 20 years, the average (or mean) value was well above 14. That doesn't satisfy the requirement that the average before 1995 was 14, and so after 1995 it also has to be 14. That's why we say "Reversion OF the Mean," which says that the average value must return to 14, which means that the p/e ratio would have to fall to around 5 for 20 years, just as it was well above 14 for the last 20 years. This portends major stock market crash.

    The members of the Federal Reserve are some of the major economists of our time, each with huge staffs to do research. And yet, Janet Yellen says that the Fed has everything under control, and there won't be a financial crisis "in our lifetimes." It's just absolutely bizarre.

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    Remembering Alan Greenspan as Fed Chairman

    The bizarre statement by current Fed Chairman Janet Yellen is inciting feelings of nostalgia in me to remember the days of her predecessors. Since I started writing Generational Dynamics analyses in 2003, there have been two prior Fed chairmen, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke. Let's start with Greenspan.

    Another reason why I consider mainstream economists, or at least mainstream economics journalists and analysts, to be airheads is because of how they covered the Alan Greenspan years at the Fed. Throughout the early 2000s, they would make a "Greenspeak" or "Fed speak" joke that when Greenspan gave a speech or statement he could not be understood because he used convoluted language. So the so-called economics experts would say that they simply couldn't understand what Greenspan was saying. That whole excuse was totally ridiculous. I didn't understand what he was saying all the time either, but then I would go to the Federal Reserve web site and read the transcript of his speech. After reading it three or four times, even the convoluted language made sense. So I formed the opinion that any economics journalist or economist who said that he couldn't understand Greenspan because of convoluted language was an airhead -- and there were a lot of people like that.

    So I was carefully following Greenspan during 2003, 2004, and 2005 to see what he thought of the growing stock market and housing bubbles. All my articles are on my web site, but to summarize: Early in 2004, he said there were no bubbles. In August 2004, he said that there was a housing bubble, but that it was a good thing, because homeowners could mortgage their homes, borrowing money on their homes, and have extra money to spend. In November 2004, he had a front-page interview with the Wall Street Journal admitting that he had known since 1996 that there was a stock market bubble, but decided to ignore it, and deal with it when it began to grow. Early in 2005, he completely reversed himself, and repudiated his earlier reasoning, saying that the bubble was growing. By the end of 2005, and his tenure as Fed president, Greenspan was saying that high asset prices were becoming very dangerous, and that " history has not dealt kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums."

    My web site was pretty much the only place in the world where you could read this description of Greenspan's change of mind, as it was going on. You'd think it would be big news when Greenspan repudiated his own reasoning early in 2005, but there was not a word in the mainstream media, apparently because the airheads at the Wall Street Journal and CNBC were too dumb to understand his "convoluted language."

    The other amazing thing is that Greenspan himself is apparently too embarrassed to admit that he predicted the housing bubble. He clearly discussed it in his speeches in 2004-5, but never referred to those speeches later. Apparently he was afraid that if he admitted that he knew what was going on, then he'd be blamed for it.

    To me, Greenspan's story is one of the most amazing of the 2000s decade.

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    Remembering Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman

    Alan Greenspan was born in 1926, and lived through the Great Depression, so when he became alarmed in 2005, it must have been because he recognized all the signs of impending disaster from his childhood.

    Ben S. Bernanke was born in 1953 and grew up during the 1950s, when America had already defeated the Great Depression and defeated the Nazis, and no goal was out of reach. He was in college in the 1970s when high inflation was the major problem, so naturally inflation was his greatest concern as Fed Chairman.

    As I described in my 2005 article, "Ben S. Bernanke: The man without agony", Bernanke was a complete contrast to Greenspan. Bernanke didn't believe in bubbles. He believed that the 1930s Great Depression was CAUSED by the Fed -- which could have poured some money into the economy and prevented the Great Depression completely.

    Ben Bernanke's story is not yet completely over. In 2008, during the financial crisis, his policy was to "print" as much money as he thought necessary, and pour it into the banking system. He did that, and central banks around the world followed him and did the same.

    That's why global debt has reached $217 trillion in the first quarter of this year, and that's 327% of gross domestic product for the whole world. The current Fed chairman Janet Yellen says that the Fed has this all figured out. If some segment of the world economy starts crashing, threatening a chain reaction that will cause a catastrophic global financial crisis, Yellen and the other central bankers will just print money and stop the chain reaction. So we have nothing to worry about.

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Jul-17 World View -- Fed Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen says 'no financial crisis in our lifetimes' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    1-Jul-17 World View -- China repudiates its Hong Kong 'One Country, Two Systems' agreement with Britain

    Hong Kong handover celebration marred by thuggish treatment of dissidents

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    China repudiates its Hong Kong 'One Country, Two Systems' agreement with Britain


    China's president Xi Jinping (center) and his wife in Hong Kong on Friday, surrounded by Hong Kong officials (AP)
    China's president Xi Jinping (center) and his wife in Hong Kong on Friday, surrounded by Hong Kong officials (AP)

    No one really expected China to fully honor the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that led to the handover in 1997 of Hong Kong to China, after 152 years as a British colony.

    In the Joint Declaration, China promised to honor the principle of "One Country, Two Systems." In particular, citizens of Hong Kong were to have civil liberties and fundamental rights such as political freedom, free elections, press freedom, freedom of speech, and an independent judiciary. The people of Hong Kong had enjoyed these fundamental rights as a British colony, and China committed to preserving them for at least 50 years following the handover, until 2047.

    However, China's Foreign Ministry on Friday repudiated the 1984 agreement once and for all. According to spokesman Lu Kang:

    "Now that Hong Kong has returned to the embrace of the motherland for 20 years, the Sino-British Joint Declaration – as a historical document – no longer has any practical significance.

    It also does not have any binding power on how the Chinese central government administers Hong Kong. Britain has no sovereignty, no governing power and no supervising power over Hong Kong. I hope the relevant parties will reckon with this reality."

    Britain's Foreign Office responded:

    "The Sino-British Joint Declaration remains as valid today as it did when it was signed over thirty years ago ... It is a legally binding treaty, registered with the UN and continues to be in force. As a co-signatory, the UK government is committed to monitoring its implementation closely."

    The exchange of views followed a remark by Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson: "I want to stress that Britain’s commitment to Hong Kong – enshrined in the Joint Declaration with China – is just as strong today as it was 20 years ago."

    The US State Dept. also chastised China: "[China must uphold] Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the crucial ideal of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, as codified in the Basic Law and the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration." Hong Kong Free Press and Reuters and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and iPolitics (Canada)

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    Hong Kong handover celebration marred by thuggish treatment of dissidents

    With China's president Xi Jinping visiting Hong Kong to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Britain's handover of Hong Kong to China, Hong Kong police are taking special measures to suppress any sign of dissidence.

    On Wednesday, about 30 young protesters were arrested after staging a pro-democracy sit-in at the site of the July 1, 1997, handover. In other actions, Hong Kong police warned journalists to avoid any actions unrelated to reporting, and said that digital media outlets will be barred from covering the celebrations.

    Locking up peaceful protests could be considered one of the more benign actions of the thuggish Chinese government. In 2015, five Hong Kong book publishers mysteriously disappeared after publishing books critical of China's communist leadership. They resurfaced a year ago and described being abducted by thugs and kept for months in solitary confinement in a cramped cell in mainland China. They were tortured and required to confess to crimes they had not committed.

    Other actions could be considered even worse. Chinese nationals living in the United States and Europe who posted criticisms of China's communist party have had their families back in China abducted and jailed.

    This is the backdrop to Xi Jinping's speech on arriving in Hong Kong:

    "After nine years, I am happy to step on Hong Kong land again. In two days, it will be the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. This is a big event, a celebratory event for the country and Hong Kong.

    [I give] my warm congratulations to the great achievements over the 20 years since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region... [I give my] heartfelt blessing that Hong Kong will achieve new success.

    For 20 years, the central government has given Hong Kong its strong backing. The central government will always support Hong Kong’s development and improve livelihoods.

    We will review the extraordinary journey of Hong Kong over the past 20 years across all sectors, summarize the experience and plan for the future, to ensure ‘One Country, Two Systems’ will be stable and everlasting."

    This is a politician speaking, and I don't think that even he is so delusional that he believes that that Hong Kong's form of government will be stable and everlasting. Like Taiwan, Hong Kong is deeply divided between those who are completely loyal to the government in Beijing, and those who are not, wanting anything from Western-style fundamental rights to full independence.

    Xi and other Beijing officials are well aware that time is not on their side. Younger generation, particularly those who grew up after the horrific Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, where China's army massacred perhaps thousands of students who had gathered in Beijing to protest, are less and less loyal to Beijing and more and more supported of separation or independence. This trend is continuing in both Hong Kong and Taiwan, and Beijing officials are desperately trying to change the trend, either by self-serving speeches by Xi and others, or by bloody crackdowns by Chinese thugs.

    Although China never really supported the "One Country, Two Systems" philosophy, the worst and bloodiest violence by Hong Kong police thugs occurred in the summer of 2014, when tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens, mostly college age, staged a series of pro-democracy protests, bring central Hong Kong to a standstill.

    The police attacked the protesters with tear gas, and the protesters defended themselves with umbrellas to protect themselves from the tear gas. The sight of bright yellow umbrellas became commonplace, and the protests have become known as the "Umbrella Revolution" or "Umbrella movement."

    What sparked the Umbrella Movement was that Beijing reneged on its commitment to "one country, two systems," in particular to the commitment to free elections. For the approaching 2017 elections, the only candidates who will be permitted to be run have to be approved a "nominating committee" completely controlled by Beijing. So the effect is that the so-called "free" elections are rigged to guarantee that only candidates selected by Beijing can win the elections.

    The Umbrella Movement was considered a complete failure by its participants because nothing has changed. The demands to allow free elections in 2017 were ignored, and it's clear to everyone, especially the young people who protested, that peaceful protests will not succeed in changing anything, and that something else must be tried. Washington Post and Guardian (London, 17-June-2016) and CS Monitor (29-Mar-2016) and Hong Kong Free Press

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    (Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Jul-17 World View -- China repudiates its Hong Kong 'One Country, Two Systems' agreement with Britain thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Jul-2017) Permanent Link
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    30-Jun-17 World View -- Italy begs for help after 12,000 migrants arrive in four days

    France struggles with hundreds of migrants returning to Calais campground

    by John J. Xenakis

    This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

    France struggles with hundreds of migrants returning to Calais campground


    Migrants from Africa arrive in Italy on a rescue ship
    Migrants from Africa arrive in Italy on a rescue ship

    In October of last year, France finally demolished the refugee camp known as "The Jungle." It was populated by about 7,000 migrants, who came there hoping to reach Britain, where they could apply for asylum. When the camp was demolished, they were given the choice of either being deported back to their home countries, or of staying in some 300 temporary refugee centers across France, where they can apply for asylum.

    However, many of them left Calais on their own, and went to the Grande-Synthe refugee camp in Dunkirk, which became known as "the New Jungle." The camp had been built by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), and included hundreds of wooden huts. The camp opened in March 2016 as the first camp in France to meet international humanitarian standards, where migrant families could live in relatively dignified conditions in heated wooden cabins.

    The Dunkirk camp had a capacity of 700, and was severely overcrowded, eventually housing 1,600. Furthermore, many of the new arrivals from The Jungle, who were mostly Afghans, didn't get along with the original migrants, who were mostly Iraqi and Kurdish. There were multiple fights between groups of migrants of different nationalities, with some 600 migrants taking part in the fighting. In March of this year, the Grande-Synthe refugee camp, including all the wooden huts, burnt to the ground, leaving nothing but ashes. According to French officials, multiple fires must have been set on purpose.

    So now, three months later, it's June, the weather is great, and hundreds of migrants are flooding back into Calais. Officials are refusing to build a proposed reception center for asylum-seekers to Calais, saying that