26-Dec-16 World View — Greece calls its European lenders ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ from A Christmas Carol

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Greece evokes Dickens’ Christmas Carol, calling its lenders ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’
  • European lenders relent and unblock the frozen bailout loan

Greece evokes Dickens’ Christmas Carol, calling its lenders ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’

Ebenezer Scrooge meets Jacob Marley's ghost -- by John Leech, from the 1843 edition of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  Greece used this picture to accuse European officials of being Scrooges. (Gutenberg)
Ebenezer Scrooge meets Jacob Marley’s ghost — by John Leech, from the 1843 edition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Greece used this picture to accuse European officials of being Scrooges. (Gutenberg)

Greece’s finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos has sent a Christmas card to journalists, apparently mocking Greece’s bailout lenders, and accusing them of being as stingy and hard-hearted as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1843 book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Greece’s Christmas card displays the picture shown above of Ebenezer Scrooge meeting the ghost of his dead partner Jacob Marley. The picture was an illustration by John Leech in the original 1843 edition. The picture in Tsakalotos’s card was accompanied by the following caption:

“Perhaps in all of our Christmas tales there is a terrifying character like Ebenezer who receives the season’s spirit in an immense solitude, and closed like an oyster. And maybe our Christmas tale is no exception.

But, dear friends and colleagues, our wishes go beyond all the Ebenezers of this world. We don’t give up on our wishes.”

Greece is undoubtedly alluding to the decision by Greece’s creditors to cancel a planned bailout loan, after Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras announced new social spending — a one-time pre-Christmas bonus to poor pensioners, and a reduction in taxes for Greece’s Aegean Sea islands whose tourist industry had suffered because of the refugee crisis. Greece needs the bailout loan to meet its debts and avoid bankruptcy.

Charles Dickens describes Ebenezer Scrooge as follows:

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?” No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”

But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call “nuts” to Scrooge.”

So that’s what Alexis Tsipras and other Greek ministers think of Greece’s creditors. Tsipras may particularly be thinking of Germany’s cranky finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who would undoubtedly be quite effective playing the part of Scrooge in a new production of A Christmas Carol.

In 1843, an elderly man like Scrooge would have been of the same generational archetype of today’s Silent Generation, the generation that grew up during World War II.

Scrooge would have grown up during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Many people in Scrooge’s generation had died in wars or in poverty. Dickens talks about prisons, Union workhouses, the Treadmill and the Poor Law. London’s Panic of 1825 had been financially devastating.

In Dickens’ story, the three ghosts that visit him convince him to forget all that, and start being generous with his time and money. Tsipras is hoping the Schäuble and Europe’s other finance ministers turn out the same way. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843 edition (Gutenberg) and Kathimerini and Deutsche Welle and AFP

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European lenders relent and unblock the frozen bailout loan

There’s no word about whether Greece’s Christmas card played any part in the European officials’ Christmas eve change of heart, but Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Saturday that negotiations would restart for the debt bailout loan to be unfrozen in January.

The softening the Eurogroup’s hearts came about not because of visits by three ghosts, but because Greece’s finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos had sent a letter saying that the pension bonus was a one-time thing, and reaffirming the government’s commit to financial reforms. According to Eurogroup officials and Dijsselbloem:

“We have received a letter by the Greek authorities in response to the concerns raised by the institutions as well as the Euro Working Group on the recently legislated fiscal measures.

We have been reassured by the accompanying assessment of the institutions indicating that their initial significant concerns, both on process and on substance, are alleviated by this letter as regards MoU commitments, especially regarding pension. …

I’m happy to conclude that we have cleared the way … to go ahead with the decision-making procedures for the short-term debt measures, which will be conducted in January.”

As Scrooge said to Bob Cratchit:

“A merry Christmas, Bob! A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you, for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!”

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless Us, Every One!” Reuters and Reuters

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, John Leech, Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Greece, Euclid Tsakalotos, Alexis Tsipras, Wolfgang Schäuble, Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

25-Dec-16 World View — Tunisia fears more terrorism after Berlin attack by Tunisian national

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Bartella Iraq celebrates Christmas after liberation from ISIS
  • Tunisia arrests three people over the Berlin terror attack
  • Hundreds of Tunisians rally against jihadism at Bardo Museum in Tunis

Bartella Iraq celebrates Christmas after liberation from ISIS

Christmas eve mass held in Bartella on Saturday (Agora Magazine)
Christmas eve mass held in Bartella on Saturday (Agora Magazine)

Christians from around the region are flocking to Bartella, Iraq, to join in the celebration of Christmas, the first since Bartella was liberated.

Bartella, just 24 km from Mosul, used to be home to thousands of Assyrian Christians. They were forced to flee in August 2014, when the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) overran Mosul and neighboring villages. Bartella was liberated from ISIS two months ago, on October 20, by the Iraqi army operation to recapture Mosul. Rudaw (Iraq, Kurdistan) and Agora Magazine (Italy)

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Tunisia arrests three people over the Berlin terror attack

After Anis Amri, the 24 year old perpetrator of Monday’s terror attack in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring dozens by ramming a large, hijacked truck into a crowd at a Christmas market, was shot to death in Milan Italy by police on Friday, there have been hundreds of investigators all over Europe trying to determine whether Amri had help from other jihadists.

Amri himself was a Tunisian national who sought asylum in several European country, including Germany, but was refused. He had a criminal record in Italy and Tunisia, and spent four years in an Italian prison before traveling to Germany.

Tunisian authorities have arrested three people on suspicion of being part of a “terrorist cell… connected to the terrorist Anis Amri.” Two of the three were arrested in the capital city Tunis.

The third arrest was Amri’s own 18-year-old nephew, Fedi, his sister’s son, arrested in Amri’s home town of Oueslatia. During initial questioning, Fedi said that he had been in contact with uncle Anis through the mobile app Telegram, which provides for encrypted communications that can’t be traced. He also said that uncle Anis had sent him money to come to Germany, and asked him to pledge allegiance to ISIS. Sky News and AP

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Hundreds of Tunisians rally against jihadism at Bardo Museum in Tunis

Hundreds of people rallied at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia’s capital city, on Saturday, protesting the lack of government action to prevent jihadists who fought overseas from returning to the country without facing punishment.

The news that Anis Amri, a Tunisian, was the perpetrator of last week’s terror act in Berlin has embarrassed and infuriated the Tunisian people.

Tunisians are proud that their country launched the “Arab Spring” that began in 2011, and the resulting transition of power was largely peaceful. The Arab Spring uprisings were triggered on December 17, 2010, when a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia, in protest of the police confiscation of his vegetable cart. After days of clashes between protesters and the police, long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country to exile in Saudi Arabia.

However, that peaceful transition has come at a price. Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has faced repeated jihadist attacks, killing more than 100 soldiers and policemen, as well as about 20 civilians and 59 foreign tourists, according to official figures.

In March of last year, two terrorist gunmen infiltrated security at the well-known Bardo Museum in Tunis, right next door to the parliament building. They took and killed 22 hostages, with 50 people injured. Almost all of the casualties were foreign tourists.

Tunisians were still in shock from that attack, when another attack occurred in June. A gunman disguised as a tourist opened fire at a Tunisian hotel in Sousse on Friday, killing 37 people.

Perhaps the most significant fact about Tunisia is that it’s been the number one source of foreign fighters who have gone to Syria to join ISIS. Some 5,500 Tunisian citizens have left the country and are now fighting in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and to a lesser extent Mali, far more than the citizens of any other country.

It’s believed that about 800 of these jihadists have returned to Tunisia in the last year. It’s always been feared that Tunisian nationals returning would form terror cells in Tunisia and conduct more terror attacks, like the ones that have occurred frequently since 2011, but the actions of a Tunisian national in the Berlin attack has heightened those fears and created new anxieties. In fact, with ISIS losing territory in Syria, Iraq and Libya, it’s feared that these jihadists are going to be flooding back into the country.

The purpose of Saturday’s rally was to demand that further action be taken. In particular, they demanded that the government to bring home all Tunisian nationals living abroad who have links to extremist organizations, so they could face trial in their home country. Deutsche Welle and ITV

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Bartella, Iraq, Mosul, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Germany, Berlin, Anis Amri, Fedi, Tunisia, Milan, Italy, Oueslatia, Tunis, Bardo Museum, Mohamed Bouazizi, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Sousse, Syria, Iraq, Libya
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

24-Dec-16 World View — South Sudan increasingly parallels Syria in genocidal violence

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • UN Security Council fails to impose arms embargo on South Sudan
  • Leaders of South Sudan and Syria following parallel paths to genocide

UN Security Council fails to impose arms embargo on South Sudan

UN peacekeeping forces in South Sudan (AP)
UN peacekeeping forces in South Sudan (AP)

Humanitarian organizations are expressing outrage as the United Nations Security Council failed on Friday to pass a US-sponsored resolution to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and placed a travel ban and asset freeze on three senior South Sudanese leaders.

According to the UNSC rules, for the resolution to pass it would have required 9 of the 15 members to vote in favor, and none of the 5 permanent members (US, UK, Russia, China, France) to veto it. As it turned out, those who opposed the measure needed only to abstain, since there were not 9 votes available to pass it. Japan, Russia, China, Angola, Malaysia, Venezuela, Egypt and Senegal all abstained.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest nation, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011. The region’s last generational crisis war was an ethnic war mainly between two tribes, the Nuer and the Dinka. That war climaxed with the “Bor Massacre,” which began on November 15, 1991. The Nuer army marched toward the provincial capital Bor and massacred the people of the Dinka tribe. Over the next three months, 2,000 civilians were killed, thousands more wounded, and at least 100,000 people fled the area. Famine followed the massacre, as looters burnt villages and raided cattle, resulting in the deaths of 25,000 more from starvation.

A new conflict began on December 15, 2013, led by the president Salva Kiir, of the Dinka tribe, fighting against forces led by vice president Riek Machar, of the Nuer tribe. Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement in August 2015, but that did little good.

Human Rights Watch is expressing outrage that the UNSC resolution failed to pass. According to HRW, both sides have been importing weapons and using them to fight the other side. HRW says that African Union and UN investigators have documented war crimes, including killings and rape of civilians, and forced recruitment of children by the warring parties in South Sudan. In the last few months there has been an increase in incitement to violence, hate speech by senior leaders, and targeting of civilians, sometimes based on ethnicity.

United Nations officials had been calling for the arms embargo and also an injection of peacekeeping forces, saying that South Sudan is getting closer and closer to a “Rwanda-like genocide.” However, they’ve been saying that for months, and no Rwanda-like genocide has occurred, largely because South Sudan is in a generational Awakening era. not in a Crisis era, which would be required for a Rwanda-like genocide to occur.

Earlier this year, the Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing 4,000 troops from African nations to join 12,000 U.N. peacekeeping forces there. However, South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir rejected the peacekeeping troops to enter the country, saying that he would fight them as if they were an invading army. Those peacekeepers who did serve in South Sudan were withdrawn in the summer, after they were accused of failing to protect civilians from rape and sexual violence.

As an aside, you may wonder why decades of international aid to Africa has failed to have any effect whatsoever on poverty. The situation in South Sudan provides a good illustration of what happens. Usually the international aid goes into foreign bank accounts of leaders, but otherwise it’s spent on weapons to kill, rape and torture people opposing the leaders. Reuters and Human Rights Watch and NPR (11-Nov)

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Leaders of South Sudan and Syria following parallel paths to genocide

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Syria and South Sudan are in very similar generational eras, with leaders who are behaving in similar ways.

South Sudan’s last generational crisis war was an ethnic civil war between the Dinka versus the Nuer tribes, climaxing with the Bor Massacre in November, 1991, as described above. The Bor Massacre stands as a defining moment in the history of South Sudan. It was so shocking that it largely ended the war.

Syria’s last generational crisis war was a religious/ethnic civil war between the Shia Alawites versus the Sunnis. That war climaxed in February 1982 with the destruction of the town of Hama. There had been a massive uprising of the 400,000 mostly Sunni citizens of Hama against Syria’s Shia/Alawite president Hafez al-Assad, the current president’s father. He turned the town to rubble and killed or displaced hundreds of thousands. Hama stands as a defining moment in the Middle East. It was so shocking that it largely ended the war.

So both Syria and South Sudan today are in generational Awakening eras, as the first generation of children growing up after the previous crisis civil war come of age. These children did not personally experience the wars, but they listened to stories of how the other side committed massacres and rapes while their fathers were heroes who endured despite those atrocities. The children never hear about how their fathers also committed atrocities and rapes.

Another parallel between Syria and South Sudan is that the wars depend on outside intervention, almost to the point of being a proxy war. In South Sudan, Kiir is receiving military aid from Uganda, while Machar is receiving military aid from (northern) Sudan. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is receiving military aid from Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, while different opposition groups are receiving military aid from Turkey and from Salafist groups in Saudi Arabia.

From a theoretical point of view, when a country goes through a civil war that’s also a generational crisis war, then as the first post-war generation grows up, the leaders become increasingly oppressive and violent towards peaceful opponents (usually a different religious or ethnic group), and use as an excuse the claim that they might start another civil war (which is almost impossible during a generational Awakening era). This is a generational pattern that’s followed over and over, in country after country, throughout history.

What we’re seeing in both Syria and South Sudan is a familiar pattern that I’ve described many times in countries like Burundi, Thailand, and Zimbabwe, starting 5-15 years after the climax of a generational ethnic crisis war. The leadership in the country, which represents one ethnic tribe or group, decides that in order to prevent a new civil war, it’s necessary to impose “security” by having the security forces commit atrocities against the other ethnic group.

There’s a wide spectrum of violence of this type. 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, but so far the violence hasn’t been too serious.

In South Sudan, possibly the biggest driver of the war is not ethnic differences but oil. South Sudan has a wealth of oil, and all the warring parties would like to control as much of that oil as they can. A particularly interesting example of this is China, which is heavily invested in South Sudan and is supporting Salva Kiir. Chinese officials scream bloody murder when anyone complains about their massacring of Tibetans, saying that no one has the right to interfere in their internal affairs, but China has no hesitation to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs when their own interests are a stake.

Another parallel between Syria and South Sudan is that as genocide by the countries’ leaders continues right under the noses of everyone in the world, the United Nations is powerless to do anything about it because the two nations that fully support massacres, rapes, genocides and other atrocities are Russia and China, and they have veto power in the UN Security Council.

In Syria and South Sudan, in contrast to Thailand, the violence is reaching the highest levels, approaching full-scale genocide. What makes this difference from a crisis civil war is that in the latter case, the violence is “organic”, in that it comes from the people and cannot be stopped. In the case of Awakening era genocide, the violence could be stopped simply if the leader stopped massacring the opposition tribes, or if outside countries would stop supporting the genocidal acts. NPR and Sudan Tribune and Al Jazeera

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, South Sudan, Dinka, Nuer, Bor Massacre, Salva Kiir, Riek Machar, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Russia, China
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

23-Dec-16 World View — Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin both call for nuclear weapons increase

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin both call for nuclear weapons increase
  • Germany criticized for too few CCTV cameras, and Britain for too many

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin both call for nuclear weapons increase

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin pointing, earlier this year
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin pointing, earlier this year

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday tweeted that the United States should increase its nuclear missile arsenal:

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

Several hours earlier, Russia’s present Vladimir Putin had made a similar call for Russia:

“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.

We must carefully monitor any changes in the balance of power and in the political-military situation in the world, especially along Russian borders, and quickly adapt plans for neutralizing threats to our country.”

US State Dept. John Kirby responded to a question of Trump’s tweet:

QUESTION: “During the campaign there was a lot of discussion, especially from the Clinton side, about how Mr. Trump didn’t have the temperament to handle the nuclear weapons arsenal, that he was unpredictable and impulsive. Is this – does this kind of tweet, especially coming a few hours after Mr. Putin said something similar without any kind of policy statement or thinking to back it up – does that reinforce concerns that he might not be a steady hand?”

KIRBY: “Not for me to say, Barbara. I can’t speak for what – the president-elect’s nuclear views or his policy going forward. That’s for his and his team to speak to. What I can speak to is the approach that this Administration has taken to trying to get us on a path to a world without nuclear weapons.”

This is a particularly laughable and moronic statement.

As long-time readers are aware, Generational Dynamics predicts that the US and Russia will be allies in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war. Russia will be allied with India and the United States, while China will be allied with Pakistan and China and the Sunni states. Iran will also be allied with India and Russia, as Shia Muslims and Hindus have been allied against Sunni Muslims at least as far back as the Battle of Karbala.

As I’ve been describing for many years, China is engaging in a massive military buildup, developing multiple new nuclear weapons systems with the purpose of destroying American cities, military bases, and aircraft carriers. According to a Pentagon report issued in May of this year, China has been on a weapons binge, with quality improving even faster than quantity. Although the US military was confident in the past that it could successfully defend against a Chinese attack, the report suggested that China’s military is at a tipping point, where it could overwhelm American defense forces.

Russia’s officials must also be getting alarmed by the massive buildup in weapons by its historic enemy, China. Thus, Thursday’s statements by Putin and Trump should be viewed not as presenting a danger of nuclear war between Russia and the US, but as a sign that the both the US and Russia are moving to protect themselves from the inevitable preemptive nuclear missile attack by China. AFP and AP and State Dept. and NBC News

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Germany criticized for too few CCTV cameras, and Britain for too many

German police have announced that the perpetrator of Monday’s truck-ramming attack on a market in Berlin was Anis Amri, 24, a Tunisian asylum seeker who arrived in Germany last year. Amri has a criminal record in Italy and Tunisia, spent four years in an Italian prison. It took many hours for the police to figure out what happened, allowing Amri to be able to escape. There is now a major manhunt across Europe for Amri.

Many analysts are astonished that Berlin police have been unable to produce any CCTV (closed-circuit TV) footage that recorded the event, and that the police have to depend on asking the public for any available mobile phone footage.

Privacy laws are very strict in Germany, and Germans are particularly sensitive of state surveillance by any means, because of their collective memories of state surveillance by the Stasi secret policy in Communist East Germany and by the Gestapo in the Nazi era. So Berlin in particular is almost barren of CCTV cameras. According to the Berlin police union chief, “We would know a lot more about the perpetrator by now if we had been allowed to install video cameras.” If cameras had captured the event, then Amri might have been identified much more quickly, before he had a chance to escape.

There’s a particular irony to this situation, in that the EU just gave Britain one more reason for Brexit. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday struck down a UK’s surveillance laws on the grounds that they violate the EU’s privacy laws. The ruling did not specifically apply to CCTV, but it said that e-mail and internet records from the general public had to be destroyed within a year.

Undoubtedly, all of these privacy laws will be debated again, to balance privacy against public safety. However, it’s worth noting that technology is improving rapidly to the point where it will be possible for the police to identify each person in CCTV footage, and use that information to track every person’s movements on a daily basis. Daily Mail (London) and Telegraph (London) and International Business Times

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Donald Trump, Russia, Vladimir Putin, China, CCTV, Germany, Berlin, Anis Amri, Britain, European Court of Justice, ECJ
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

22-Dec-16 World View — Italy announces bank bailout that will ‘bail in’ ordinary depositors

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Italy announces bank bailout that will ‘bail in’ ordinary depositors
  • European officials refuse to unblock the next bailout loan to Greece

Italy announces bank bailout that will ‘bail in’ ordinary depositors

The Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), established 1472, the world's oldest operating bank
The Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), established 1472, the world’s oldest operating bank

Italy’s parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a €20 billion bailout package for the country’s banks, particularly the famous Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), founded in 1472, and the world’s oldest operating bank, which is close to collapse because it has $55.2 billion of bad loans on its book.

MPS has been trying various desperate measures to bail itself out by borrowing money from international investors, including the Qatar Investment Authority, but those attempts have failed. MPS said on Wednesday that it would run out of money within four months. Last week, MPS said that it had enough money to last 11 months.

It’s not clear how much of the €20 billion bailout that MPS will get, since the money is intended as a bailout fund for all of Italy’s banks. Italy’s banks hold a total of about $383 billion in non-performing loans, which is about one-third of the total for the entire eurozone. So the bailout amount is nowhere near enough to save Italy’s banking system.

The new law authorizing a bailout would seem like a good idea, but it actually has the potential to be politically disastrous. This has to do with new rules that the European Central Bank (ECB) introduced in the last year, saying that if a country’s government bailed out a bank, then the investors (e.g., holders of the banks stocks and bonds) would have to be “bailed in” — meaning that they would “take a haircut” and lose a percentage of their investments.

Usually, anyone who invested in the stocks and bonds issued by a bank would have to be considered a “sophisticated investor.” But Italy’s banks are unique in that thousands of ordinary people, including many elderly savers, who wanted to deposit their money in savings accounts instead were sold bank bonds by the bank’s staff. The result is that a “bail-in” of supposedly sophisticated investors will actually cause tens of thousands of people to lose their life savings.

It’s thought the bailout of MPS will occur next week, before the end of 2016, and then we should have an idea of how many depositors are going to lost money. Some Italian politicians are claiming that they’ll find a way to protect ordinary people’s savings accounts, but whether that’s even possible under ECB rules remains to be seen. Deutsche Welle and Guardian (London) and International Business Times

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European officials refuse to unblock the next bailout loan to Greece

On December 5, Greece’s creditors reached an agreement to a new bailout loan. However, once the agreement was reached, Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras suddenly announced new social spending — a one-time pre-Christmas bonus to poor pensioners, and a reduction in taxes for Greece’s Aegean Sea islands whose tourist industry had suffered because of the refugee crisis.

This caused European officials to block the new bailout loan, and on Wednesday the Euro Working Group (EWB) announced that it had not been able to reach agreement to unblock the bailout. The countries that wanted to block further aid included Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland and Germany. Greek Reporter and Kathimerini

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Italy, Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena, MPS, Qatar Investment Authority, European Central Bank, ECB, Greece, Alexis Tsipris, Euro Working Group, EWB
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21-Dec-16 World View — Russia, Turkey scramble to mend relations by blaming US for assassination

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Man who shot Russia’s ambassador in Turkey was in security forces
  • Turkey and Russia blame Fethullah Gulen and the US for the assassination
  • Both Turkey and Russia stand to gain by blaming US for assassination

Man who shot Russia’s ambassador in Turkey was in security forces

Foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow to discuss a Syria peace plan.  The U.S. was not invited
Foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey meet in Moscow to discuss a Syria peace plan. The U.S. was not invited

Turkey’s police have arrested six relatives of Mevlut Mert Altintas, the 22 year old who shot Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, in Ankara on Monday.

Little information about Altintas has been released. He was born in western Turkey on the Aegean Sea, and has been working as a policeman for 2-1/2 years.

He used his police badge on Monday to gain access to the art exhibit where Karlov would be speaking, and to avoid having to go through a security X-ray device. He took his place and stood behind Karlov as part of Karlov’s security detail. After Karlov had been speaking for a few minutes, Altintas pulled a gun from his coat pocket and shot Karlov dead. Anadolu (Ankara) and Reuters and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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Turkey and Russia blame Fethullah Gulen and the US for the assassination

I’ve always considered it somewhat fanciful that Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the aborted July 15 coup attempt on a 76-year-old political enemy living in the Pocono Mountains in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, as if Fethullah Gulen had directed the coup himself from his easy chair.

Erdogan has repeatedly asked the Obama administration to extradite Gulen back to Turkey, charging him as being the leader of what Turkey calls the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO). Last month, Erdogan said:

“I was disillusioned, because I would expect this? I served both as a prime minister and president in this country and whenever the U.S. requested extradition of those kinds of terrorists I handed them over. Obama also should have done it and handed that man to us.”

The Justice Department has said that they would be happen to extradite Gulen to Turkey, provided that Turkey provides evidence satisfactory to an American court of law that Gulen was really involved in the coup. The administration says that it has not received such evidence.

There are other problems with automatically blaming Gulen.

Gulen 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 Gulen 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.

This sudden change in Erdogan’s view of Gulen has caused confusion, and raised suspicion that the issues are more political than otherwise. And so there’s a great deal of skepticism when Turkey is not able to provide any credible proof of Gulen’s involvement in the July 15 coup.

However, the continued presence of Gulen in the United States provides a convenient target for Erdogan’s blame and mockery. Whenever there’s a domestic problem, Erdogan can just blame it on Gulen and the United States. Both Erdogan and Russia are increasingly blaming Monday’s assassination of Russia’s ambassador on the US.

Ilnur Cevik is an advisor to Erdogan. He says that the US and Germany are responsible for lots of things:

“Growing relations and intensive cooperation in all areas between Turkey and Russia has created anger in the West, especially in the United States and Germany. The latest example has been the joint efforts of the two countries to save the civilian people of Aleppo. It was inevitable that the West would try to sabotage these relations. It is sad that they used a policeman affiliated to Fethullah Gulen’s terrorist organization to assassinate the ambassador. This organization was also behind the downing of the Russian fighter that hurt our relations.”

So, the US and Germany are responsible not only for the assassination of the Russia’s ambassador, but also for the July 15 coup and, even more incredibly, for Turkey’s shootdown of the Russian warplane in November of last year!! But it’s very convenient for both countries, rather than have to deal with the consequences to their own relationships.

This is laughable, and it reminds me of a completely different story in the news these days. The demented loony-left-wing socialist president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, has been so thoroughly destroying his country’s economy that the inflation rate is 67% per month, and is continuing to accelerate. But he gets away with it by blaming it all on a foreign conspiracy, led by the United States. It seems that there is no leader’s policy so loony or so destructive that he can’t get away with it by blaming the United States. World Bulletin (Turkey) and Sputnik News (Moscow) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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Both Turkey and Russia stand to gain by blaming US for assassination

The Turkish people have for years had to look on as Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah combine to massacre, bomb and slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians, including many women and children, who are ethnic Turkmens and other ethnic groups close to Turkey, and to drive millions more from their homes.

So why would Turkey be willing to bend over backwards to mend relations with Russia?

There’s no doubt that the past year has been hell for Turkey. There have been six or eight major terrorist attacks in cities across the country, perpetrated by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There was the July 15 aborted coup attempt. The country’s resources have been strained by some three million refugees pouring into the country to escape the war in Syria. There was the chaotic break with Russia after a Russian warplane was shot down.

After the shootdown of Russia’s warplane last year, Russia imposed harsh sanctions on Turkey that were devastating to Turkey’s economy. Politically, Erdogan became increasingly isolated, having had very public splits with Syria, Russia, Israel and Egypt. So, Erdogan began healing some of those splits — with Russia and Israel, though not with Egypt. And Erdogan became resigned that Bashar al-Assad is here to stay.

Russia has a completely different set of motivations. Russia is on the verge of scoring a major political victory.

On Monday, leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey met for a summit in Moscow to discuss a peace agreement for Syria. Turkey has dropped its demand that Bashar al-Assad step down. The United States has become so irrelevant to the Mideast that it was not invited, and besides, both Turkey and Russia are blaming the United States for the assassination and other problems.

For Russia, this is an opportunity to show the world that Russia is back, it’s in charge of the Mideast, while the US has been pushed out. This is the kind of political victory that Vladimir Putin is working for.

So this is a critical time for both Turkey and Russia. The assassination of Russia’s ambassador in Ankara has the potentially to really explode the relationship between the two countries. How was an off-duty security guard so easily able to get into the exhibition? Why was the ambassador so poorly protected? After the shooting, why the did the police shoot Altintas dead, rather than just wounding him, which would have allowed Russian investigators to question him? Who else was involved in the assassination plot?

By rushing to blame the United States, the two countries do not have to deal with a lot of very difficult questions. In particular, Russia can continue with its plan to declare itself the world leader in the Mideast.

Generational Dynamics predicts that this friendship between Turkey and Russia won’t last, and that Russia and Turkey will be on opposite sides of the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war. Russians and Turks have hated each other for centuries, and have fought many bloody wars, and it won’t be long before they’re fighting one more. Telegraph (London) and Tass (Moscow) and Sputnik News (Moscow)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Russia, Andrey Karlov, Mevlüt Mert Altintas, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Fethullah Gulen, Fetullah Terror Organization, FETO, Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

20-Dec-16 World View — Terror in Berlin and Ankara as Russia’s ambassador to Turkey shot dead

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russia’s ambassador to Turkey shot dead in Ankara
  • Large truck kills 12 driving into a crowded Berlin market

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey shot dead in Ankara

Andrey Karlov giving his speech in an Ankara art museum, just before being shot.  In the left rear is the assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altintas. (Hurriyet)
Andrey Karlov giving his speech in an Ankara art museum, just before being shot. In the left rear is the assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altintas. (Hurriyet)

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot dead in Turkey’s capital city Ankara on Monday around 7:30 pm, as he was giving a speech during the opening of an art exhibition. Karlov has been a diplomat for 40 years, and has been ambassador to Turkey since 2013.

The killer was Mevlüt Mert Altintas, said to be a 22 year old off-duty policeman who had joined Turkey’s police force two years ago.

After shooting Karlov, Altintas waved his gun around and should “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great), and then in Turkish, “Don’t forget about Aleppo. Don’t forget about Syria. As long as they aren’t safe, you won’t be safe either.”

Further information about Altintas has not been released, but it’s believed that he’s not from groups that have conducted terror attacks in Turkey in the last year, such as Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). There have been widespread protests in Turkey against Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad for his bloody slaughter of civilians in Aleppo, and it’s believed that he’s a particularly demented anti-Assad protester who believes that he can attain a political objective by killing an ambassador.

In November of last year, Turkey’s F-16s were involved in the shooting down of a Russian warplane that had allegedly crossed the border from Syria into Turkey. Relations between the two leaders, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, extremely vitriolic, and they imposed economic sanctions on each other, harming both their economies.

The relations began to improve, even to signing an agreement in October to jointly build a natural gas pipeline. However, this was thought to be an agreement out of pragmatism, rather than a real warming of relations, as the two countries are still bitterly divided over the Syrian civil war.

Some observers have speculated that Altintas’s political goal in killing the Russian ambassador was to renew the hostility between Putin and Erdogan. However, Putin issued a statement saying that he does not blame Erdogan or Turkey for this terrorist act.

Putin announced that Russia is sending a team of investigators to Ankara to investigate the shooting. Unless the investigation reveals gross negligence by Turkish officials in not preventing the shooting, it’s expected that pragmatism will continue in the relationship between Turkey and Russia. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Sputnik News (Moscow) and Bloomberg

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Large truck kills 12 driving into a crowded Berlin market

Aftermath of truck massacre in Berlin (DW)
Aftermath of truck massacre in Berlin (DW)

At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured after a large truck rammed into crowds at a market in Berlin, Germany. The driver has been arrested, and a passenger in the truck died in the crash, although he may have been killed. Authorities are reluctant at this time to say whether it was an “accident” or an “attack,” although signs point to it being an attack.

The truck had Polish license plates and was carrying steel beams from Poland to a site in Italy. The dead passenger in the truck has been identified as a Polish national. The driver is said to be an asylum seeker from Pakistan or Afghanistan, who had arrived in Germany in February.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, ISIS has previously called on its followers to carry out “lone wolf” terror strikes in Europe, and driving a truck into a crowd is one type of attack that ISIS has suggested. In July, an attack of that type occurred in Nice, France, when a delivery truck driver drove his truck into a crowd. That attack occurred on Bastille Day, July 14. Deutsche Welle

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Russia, Andrey Karlov, Mevlüt Mert Altintas, Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, Berlin, Germany
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

19-Dec-16 World View — Chinese bombers circling Taiwan raise talk of war during Trump’s first term

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China says it will back down over US military drone seizure in South China Sea
  • Chinese bombers circling Taiwan raise talk of war during Trump’s first term

China says it will back down over US military drone seizure in South China Sea

A drone similar to the one that was seized
A drone similar to the one that was seized

China’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it will return to the United States an American military drone it seized in international waters in the South China Sea, near the Philippines. However, China has not yet returned the drone, and says only that it will return the drone “in an appropriate manner” at an unnamed time.

The Pentagon says that on Thursday, a Chinese naval ship approached the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey vessel with a mostly civilian crew, which was trying to retrieve an American military drone that had been collecting unclassified data for oceanic research. A Chinese warship, a “submarine rescue vessel,” that had been following the Bowditch, send out a small boat and outran the Bowditch to capture the drone.

According to the US Defense Department, China intentionally captured a “sovereign immune vessel,” which is an act of war. The Chinese rushed to provide a laughable excuse, saying that the drone was captured “in order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels.”

The drone was captured in waters near the Philippines, far from China. China has declared its intention to annex the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory, even though its claims have been shown to be a hoax, and even though a judgment by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague has made it clear that China was violating international law.

Chinese state media made it clear that the seizure was intentional. It quotes Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert:

“This is not the first time that we seized a US underwater drone in the South China Sea, but the one we seized on Thursday is new and more advanced than before and might carry valuable information just gathered in the South China Sea.”

According to one theory, China seized the US military drone to send a threatening message to US president-elect Donald Trump, after he accepted a phone call from Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen on December 2. Trump has also indicated that he is also reviewing America’s support for the “one China” policy, which says that Taiwan is a province of China.

China was forced to back down and promise to return the drone because not doing so could force a military response by the US. However, until China fulfills its promise and actually returns the drone, a military response remains a possibility. Washington Post and Xinhua and Global Times (Beijing) and Daily Beast

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Chinese bombers circling Taiwan raise talk of war during Trump’s first term

Anxieties about war have been raised in Taiwan after Chinese bombers twice circled around Taiwan’s periphery, though without entering the countries air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Some people have speculated that this is one more act from Beijing, like the seizure of the US drone, to send a message in response to Donald Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s president. However, that would seem an unlikely explanation, since the two actions by the Chinese bomber occurred on November 25 and December 10, with the first action occurring prior to the phone call.

However, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense on Sunday appealed for calm, as further concerns were raised this weekend when China’s air published a photo on social media showing a bomber flying above clouds with two mountain peaks in the distance, apparently depicting the November 25 flight. Chinese military commentators said that the peaks are of a mountain in Taiwan.

China’s state media quoted a Chinese military analyst saying that military action could occur in Donald Trump’s first term:

“Military conflicts would occur between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan by 2020. It is quite possible that the mainland will take the island in one stroke.”

However, another Chinese analyst is quoted as saying that China’s leadership might not favor reunification by force, which would hurt both sides’ interests. China Post (Taipei) and Global Times (Beijing)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, South China Sea, USNS Bowditch, United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration, PCA, Philippines, Li Jie, Donald Trump, Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

18-Dec-16 World View — Syria and Russia see ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ after Aleppo victory

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Syria’s Bashar al-Assad calls Aleppo’s ‘liberation’ a historic event
  • Syria and Russia suffer a big military setback in Palmyra
  • Syria’s civil war shows similarities to America’s Vietnam war

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad calls Aleppo’s ‘liberation’ a historic event

Russia holds a concert on 5-May to celebrate the recapture of Palmyra from ISIS.  Note that Vladimir Putin is on the wide-screen tv on the left side of the stage (AFP)
Russia holds a concert on 5-May to celebrate the recapture of Palmyra from ISIS. Note that Vladimir Putin is on the wide-screen tv on the left side of the stage (AFP)

A year ago, al-Assad himself said that his army was close to being defeated. Since then, three more armies — from Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah — have rushed to his aid, and al-Assad is claiming a “history in the making” victory:

“[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.”

An analyst, Alexander Khrolenko, quoted by Russian state media agrees. He says that the city’s liberation has had a ripple effect across the country. The victory has weakened radical groups located in the province of Idlib:

“Until recently, the militants controlled key oil fields and communications channels with Turkey in the Euphrates valley. Aleppo’s liberation has undermined the economic base of terrorist groups and the supply routes to Raqqa, the capital of Daesh’s caliphate. Now the Syrian Arab Army could focus on two regions, Idlib and Raqqa.”

In the title of this article I referred to “the light at the end of the tunnel,” because that phrase was used by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in making claims about victory in the Vietnam War that sound very similar to those of al-Assad and Khrolenko. Al Masdar News (Damascus) and International Business Times and Sputnik News (Moscow)

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Syria and Russia suffer a big military setback in Palmyra

If it takes four armies to capture one city, Aleppo, in a period of many months, it’s delusional to believe that the rest of the country is going to fall quickly.

Al-Assad and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin received a taste of what they’re in for this week when the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) recaptured the city of Palmyra from Syrian and Russian forces last weekend. Not only that, but ISIS entered the big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base outside the town, carrying off substantial quantities of Russian armaments including assault rifles, ground-to-ground missiles, anti-tank missiles, and anti-air rockets.

Russia’s troops, backed by massive airstrikes, had captured Palmyra in March of this year. Putin had declared the recapture a major victory in the war and a major turning point (which is what he’s saying now about Aleppo).

Putin even held a triumphal, widely televised concert in Palmyra’s Roman ruins on May 5, with the orchestra conducted by the internationally distinguished maestro Valery Gergiev. So ISIS’s success in Palmyra is a major fiasco for Russia and a major humiliation.

According to reports, the way it happened is that Palmyra was originally recaptured from ISIS by Russia’s special forces (Spetsnaz). Afterwards, the special forces were withdrawn from Palmyra and sent to Aleppo, where they are involved in the war there. According to Igor Konashenkov of the Russian defence ministry, ISIS immediately sent about 5,000 jihadists from Raqqa to Palmyra to achieve its victory.

Undoubtedly, once Aleppo is captured, Syria and Russia will turn back to Palmyra and recapture it again from ISIS. But will that leave Aleppo vulnerable? And if it took four armies to capture Aleppo, while losing Palmyra, how can they hope to recapture the entire regions of Syria that are under control of the Free Syrian army, al-Nusra, and ISIS, and keep captured areas under control?

When American forces scored victories in the Vietnam war, presidents Johnson and Nixon talked about the “light at the end of tunnel,” but the North Vietnamese forces did not stop fighting, which is what al-Assad and Putin expect ISIS to do after the capture of Aleppo. Guardian (London) and Debka

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Syria’s civil war shows similarities to America’s Vietnam war

In 1953, French forces under the command of Gen. Henri Navarre were fighting Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces in Vietnam. Navarre said, “Now we can see [success in Vietnam] clearly, like light at the end of a tunnel.” The French forces were decisively defeated at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954.

In June 1966 President Lyndon Johnson said “I urge you to remember that Americans often grow impatient when they cannot see light at the end of the tunnel – when policies do not overnight usher in a new order. But politics is not magic. And when some of our fellow citizens despair of the tedium and time necessary to bring change – as, for example, in Vietnam today – they are forgetting our own history.”

The phrase “light at the end of the tunnel” was repeated frequently in the 1960s in reference to the Vietnam war, both by government officials and by antiwar activists mocking government officials. The Tet Offensive in 1968 turned public opinion negative towards the war, though it did not end until several years later.

This week, Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are talking about a “history in the making” victory. It’s not exactly the same phrase as “light at the end of the tunnel,” but it has the same flavor.

Let’s make three comparisons between America in the 1960s and Syria today:

  • America was in a generational Awakening era. America’s previous generational crisis war was World War II, which had ended explosively with the firebombing of Dresden and the nuking of Japan. These acts were so shocking that they ended the war shortly after.
  • America tried to repeat its WW II by bombing strategic targets in North Vietnam, but with little success. The rules of war are different in generational Awakening eras than they are in Crisis eras. Survivors with memories of the last crisis war are not so easily shocked.
  • In fact, America was hampered by its own lack of will to fight, something that almost all historians agree with today. Whereas America could use a nuclear weapon to end WW II, domestic and international political pressure forced America to use bombs carefully and sparingly, to prevent civilian casualties, and to take various humanitarian breaks, especially at Christmas.

Now let’s look at what’s happening in Syria today:

  • Syria is in a generational Awakening era. Syria’s previous generational crisis war was the Syrian civil war that climaxed in February 1982 with the destruction, by Bashar’s father Hafez al-Assad, of the town of Hama. There had been a massive uprising of the 400,000 mostly Sunni citizens of Hama against Syria’s president Hafez al-Assad. He turned the town to rubble and killing or displacing hundreds of thousands. Hama stands as a defining moment in the Middle East. It is regarded as perhaps the single deadliest act by any Arab government against its own people in the modern Middle East. It was a shocking act that ended the war.
  • Al-Assad is trying to repeat his father’s 1982 success by repeating in Aleppo the same acts that his father committed in Hama. But the rules of war are different in generational Awakening eras than they are in Crisis eras. Nobody is shocked by what al-Assad is doing, only sickened and disgusted.
  • In fact, Syria and Russia are hampered by enormous international pressure to protect civilians and provide humanitarian aid. Just as America could have won the Vietnam war by dropping a nuclear bomb on Hanoi, al-Assad and Putin could probably win the war in Syria by dropping nuclear weapons on Aleppo, Idlib and Raqqa, but they’re being held back by international pressure to prevent civilian casualties and to provide humanitarian aid.

Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were all delusional about the war in Vietnam. Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin are even more delusional about the war in Syria. The Syrian civil war will be an even worse disaster than the Vietnam war. History.com and Global Security

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Palmyra, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Alexander Khrolenko, Igor Konashenkov, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Vietnam, Gen. Henri Navarre, Ho Chi Minh, Dien Bien Phu, Tet Offensive, Hama, Idlib, Raqqa
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The views in this World View article are those of the author, John Xenakis, based on Generational Dynamics analyses of historic and current events, and do not necessarily represent the views of Algora Publishing.

17-Dec-16 World View — Former UN leader Ban Ki-moon may run for president of South Korea

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Russia and Japan fail to agree on ending World War II
  • Former UN leader Ban Ki-moon may run for president of South Korea

Russia and Japan fail to agree on ending World War II

Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin at their meeting on Friday (AP)
Shinzo Abe and Vladimir Putin at their meeting on Friday (AP)

Russia and Japan are technically still at war, having never signed a peace treaty ending their conflict in World War II. Japan has demanded the return of their Northern Territories, consisting of four islands that the Soviet Union forces seized at the end of the war. Russia calls them the Kuril Islands.

So when Russia’s president Vladimir Putin came to Tokyo for the last two days to visit with Japan’s president Shinzo Abe, a lot of people were hoping they’d reach an agreement on the disputed islands, and that they’d sign an agreement ending World War II.

Unfortunately, no such agreement and no peace treaty were forthcoming. Press reports seem to imply that Abe had hoped to develop a personal relationship with Putin and perhaps charm him into reaching an agreement on the islands. As it turned out, even that goal might not have been reached, as the two leaders met only briefly. Afterwards, Putin said, “It would be naive to think we can solve this problem in an hour, but there is no doubt that we need to look for a solution.” Abe said, “We need to work toward a breakthrough so that we don’t disappoint the next generation.”

Instead, they signed economic deals whose net effect will be Japanese investments in projects in Russia. Russia and Japan will each put $500 million into a new fund that will make investments in Russia’s energy, urban planning and medical services. There were reports of agreements on joint Russian-Japanese economic activities on the islands, including fisheries, tourism, culture and medicine, but no talk of sovereignty.

Still, while Russian analysts are saying that Russia got the better of Japan in the summit, they hope that the joint economic activities will lead to an eventual peace treaty.

Russia achieved something else significant. Japan has supported the US-led economic sanctions on Russia for invading and annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, and Friday’s economic agreements seem to

One might well ask oneself why Japan seems so eager to suck up to Russia without seeming to get much in return. China has been increasingly hostile to Japan, while Russia and China appear to be getting along, even militarily, so perhaps Abe felt that a friendship with Russia would protect Japan from China in the future.

Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, the US, Japan, India, Iran and Russia will be allied again China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries. Japan Times and Russia Today and Tass (Moscow)

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Former UN leader Ban Ki-moon may run for president of South Korea

South Korea has been embroiled for months in an explosive corruption scandal that has led the parliament to vote to impeach president Park Geun-hye, and has had massive anti-Park protests every week. Park’s fate will depend on a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which is expected early next year.

It’s expected that there will be large crowds of protesters in Seoul on Saturday, calling for Park to resign from office without waiting for the Constitutional Court. It’s feared that they’ll clash with another large group of protesters, this group supporting Park.

Ban Ki-moon is stepping down after being United Nations Secretary-General for ten years, and was asked whether he will run for president of South Korea:

“I’ll go back to (South) Korea, then I’ll try to meet as many people as possible, which may include political leaders, leaders of civil society and my friends, and I will really consider seriously how best and what I should and could do for my country.

I can understand and share the anxiety of people about the future of their country. And this is one of the biggest challenges the Korean people are encountering.

I also understand the aspiration of people for a new type of inclusive leadership that can help them overcome the challenges ahead.”

He sounds to me like a politician running for president. AP and Special Broadcasting Service (Australia) and JoongAng Ilbo (Seoul)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Japan, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, Northern Territories, Kuril Islands, China, South Korea, Park Geun-hye, Ban Ki-moon
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