Watching the pot come to a boil

“Watching the pot come to a boil”

15-Dec-10 News — Ideological axis: S. Korea + Japan vs N. Korea + China
Moscow is braced for new ultra-nationalist race riots

Ideological axis: S. Korea + Japan vs N. Korea + China

A clear-cut division, an ideological axis, is forming among the the countries of northeast Asia, because North Korea is complicating relations between the U.S. and China, according to an editorial in South Korea’s JoongAng Daily.

South Korea, the U.S. and Japan are on one side, while China backing North Korea are on the other.

A lynchpin of the new arrangement is the sudden decision by Japan to substantially strengthen its armed forces. That decision was spurred by a several events in the past year — the North Korean attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan last spring, the North Korean artillery shelling of the South Korean Yeonpyeong Island, and China’s overreaction to Japan’s arresting of a Chinese fishing boat captain in the summer. In addition, China became extremely aggressive in 2010, claiming sovereignty over a huge swaths of international waters in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

Japan’s era of postwar pacifism is coming to an end, according to an analysis in the Guardian. In the next few days, Japan will announce a new National Defense Program involving sophisticated new weaponry, mobile rapid-response units and closer security alliances with friendly countries.

It will include a “dynamic defence capability” specifically tasked with deterring Chinese incursions around Japan’s disputed southern islands. Defensive alliances will be with the US, Australia, India and even South Korea, stressing military integration and interoperability.

These moves are engendering a great deal of anxiety in the South Koreans. Japan colonized Korea for the first half of the last century, and Japan’s military used Korean “comfort women” during World War II. After the war, Japan became a purely defensive country, depending on America’s military umbrella for its protection.

But now, as the survivors of WW II have disappeared and memories are fading, the U.S. is encouraging Japan to take more responsibility for its own defense, and Japan is becoming more militaristic again.

Although Japan and South Korea are closely aligned against the dual threats posed by China and North Korea, Japan’s colonization of Korea still stirs passion, according to an analysis in the LA Times. One South Korean military analyst is quoted as saying, “Many Koreans still recall the brutality of Japanese colonization, so it’s still not possible to talk of better military ties with Tokyo. We will not accept any military involvement with Japan, no matter what the outside threat.”

And yet, military involvement between Japan and South Korea is one of the new proposals. In particular, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan raised hackles when he said, “We need to carefully proceed in consultations with South Korea about whether they would let in aircraft from Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.” The idea of Japanese aircraft over South Korean airspace is anathema to the South Koreans.

While Japan’s government appears to be increasingly assertive in dealing with external threats, South Korea’s government gives the appearance of being increasingly chaotic.

Just at the time that South Korea needs a coherent military strategy to deal with the threat from the North, the Army Chief of Staff was forced to resign on Tuesday, because of charges of corruption in a real estate deal, according to Arirang.

The South Koreans simply have not come to terms with the two North Korean military attacks this year. The look weak because they didn’t respond, but if they respond they’ll start a major war. Amid the chaos and anxiety in South Korea is the understanding that if North Korea stages another military attack, then they may have no choice but full-scale war.

Additional links

Moscow is braced for new ultra-nationalist race riots on Wednesday. RFERL

A poll shows that 69% of Palestinians support signing a peace treaty with Israel, and that Hamas is losing support in favor of Fatah. Palestine News Network

Revelations by Wikileaks show that Middle Eastern states, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, do not crack down on terrorist activities in their own countries, for fear that it would lead to reprisal attacks and greater domestic instability, and that they have financial links that fund terrorist activities in India. This supports the expectation, that I’ve described in the past, that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China will be allied with Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim states, while America will be allied with Japan, South Korea, India and Iran. Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies (IPCS)

The Stuxnet computer worm is still crippling Iran’s nuclear program. It appears increasingly likely that Iran was the target of the virus, and it’s apparently been very successful. Stuxnet is so out of control that it may take another year for the Iranians to eliminate it. Fox News

China is taking advantage of Europe’s debt problems to greatly expand its influence on Europe, with large-scale investments and purchases of government bonds issued by highly-indebted states. Spiegel

The Obama administration has concluded that North Korea’s nuclear technology is significantly more advanced than Iran’s. NY Times

Germany and France appear to be backing down from their previous opposition to a Europe-wide “fiscal union.” The proposal will be debated at an EU summity on Thursday and Friday. EurActive

In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, the death toll from drug-related violence for 2010 has just surpassed 3000. Associated Press

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Dec-10 News — Ideological axis: S. Korea + Japan vs N. Korea + China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Dec-2010) Permanent Link

14-Dec-10 News — Medvedev warns that nationalist pogroms are destabilizing Russia
Russia expresses ‘deep concern’ over North Korea’s nuclear development

Medvedev warns that nationalist pogroms are destabilizing Russia

Russian riot police were forced to shut down a section of central Moscow on Monday evening, to head off a threatened new racial riot.

The move was made because of a tip-off that ethnic Russian football (soccer) fans were planning to face off with migrants, mainly from the Muslim North Caucasus region, according to Ria Novosti.

Early last week, football fan Yegor Svirido was shot dead in a fight between football fans and migrants. A 26 year old man, Aslan Cherkessov, 26, from the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, was accused of the murder and arrested.

A massive race riot broke out on Saturday during a memorial rally for Svirido, involving 5000-7000 ethnic Russians. 30 people were injured. According to the VOA account:


“On Monday, Russians looked in shock at the images of last weekend’s violence in downtown Moscow: hundreds of young men raising their right arms in stiff-armed Nazi salutes against the red brick walls of the Kremlin; young men in black hoods attacking riot police with chunks of ice, burning flares, glass bottles and steel rods; five young men from Caucasus, blood streaming down their faces, cowering behind policemen who rescued them from nationalist attackers.”

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that the perpetrators would be punished, and that “everything is under control,” according to Reuters. Medvedev said the following:


“Actions aimed at inciting racial, ethnic or religious hatred and enmity are particularly dangerous: They threaten the state’s stability. The latest events in Moscow — the pogroms, the attacks on people — must be prosecuted as crimes and those responsible, punished.”

In his Twitter feed, he added, “In Moscow and Russia, everything is under control. We will deal with everyone who stirred up trouble. Have no doubt!”

Actually, analysts have plenty of doubt, as xenophobia and violence by ethnic Russias against people of “non-Slavic appearance” from Central Asia and the Caucasus has been increasing.

Historically, the Caucasus region is one of the most violent on earth, because of the interethnic wars, and because it’s one of the major regions (along with the Crimea and the Balkans) where fault line wars have been fought between the Muslim civilization and the Orthodox Christian civilization. The great forces that have lead to these wars over the centuries appear to be rising again.

Some fantasy economic analysis

Here’s something I heard from an analyst on Bloomberg tv on Monday morning:


“This is the time of year everyone’s brushing up their forecasts, what they expect for next year.And WOW, are people waxing optimistic! I mean, you have everyone talking about what a great year 2011 is going to be.

In fact Goldman Sachs said it’s going to be a superb backdrop for equities. You have the average forecast up 11% for 2011. If we were to hit that, that would be three years in a row of gains. That hasn’t happened in a decade. So people are feeling very, very good about stocks these days.”

What she forgot to mention is that what happened a decade ago is the collapse of the dot-com bubble after three years of bubble growth in the stock market. These analysts are supposed to be experts, but it never occurs to them that if there was a big bubble a decade ago, then there might be a big bubble today.

I’m still amazed that throughout 2004-2007, all we heard on CNBC and read in WSJ was that there was no housing bubble. Today, everybody talks about the housing bubble in 2004-2007. These experts on CNBC have no idea what’s going on until it’s too late.

On Monday evening, on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly said the following:


“I say this: When Republicans take control of the House in January, they should put forth immediately legislation that cuts federal spending by 25% over the next three years.It’s simple. The Feds have to stop spending so much money. If the Republican party leads the way in containing Federal spending, the folks will notice, and the unemployment extension will not mean very much down the road.

Again, the country needs a 25% federal spending cut over the next three years. 8 and 1/3 each year. It’s gonna be painful but it has to be done. Of course many Democrats will oppose that, perhaps including President Obama.

That will set the stage for the election of 2012. But for now, we need this tax compromise, so pass it.”

Can anyone imagine the Congress doing anything like this? This is based on the same fantasy as the previous comment — that there’ll be a huge recovery next year, and so there’ll be plenty of money sloshing around, and no problem cutting federal spending by 25%.

Today on TV I also heard a couple of analysts talk about an impending banking crisis in Europe, and another analyst talk about China’s bubble bursting. But these are just voices in the wilderness. And anyway, so what? Those things are happening in other countries, and have nothing to do with us.

Additional links

Russia’s foreign minister has expressed “deep concern” about North Korea’s ability to enrich uranium and produce nuclear weapons. AFP.

America’s unsuccessful attempt to bribe the Israelis by promising a squadron of fighter planes in return for a 90 day extension of the West Bank settlement freeze shows how out of touch with reality all sides in the Mideast are, according to columnist Thomas Friedman. His advice is that the U.S. should pull out of the negotiations, and let the Israelis and Palestinians figure it out themselves. As I recall, that’s the conclusion that President Bush reached, but he was then criticized for not being a leader in the Mideast. NY Times

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Dec-10 News — Medvedev warns that nationalist pogroms are destabilizing Russia thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Dec-2010) Permanent Link

13-Dec-10 News — Suicide bomber in Stockholm, Sweden, fails to kill anyone but himself
Japan rebuilding military to focus on China and North Korea

Suicide bomber in Stockholm, Sweden, fails to kill anyone but himself

A suicide bomber shouted something in Arabic and blew himself up in Stockholm, Sweden, on Saturday, according to the Stockholm News.

There were two explosions, and investigations showed that an unexploded backpack was full of nails. Terrorists often pack nails with explosives in bombings in order to increase the number of casualties.

Although the suicide bombing occurred in the middle of a busy shopping street in central Stockholm, only two bystanders suffered minor injuries. The only person who was killed was the suicide bomber himself.

The news reports do not indicate whether the failure to kill other people was intentional or accidental, or whether the police even know. Under the assumption that it was intentional, this is something that we’ve seen before.

I’ve quoted this before. According to a July, 2007, study by the Jamestown Foundation entitled “The Taliban Fedayeen: The World’s Worst Suicide Bombers?”:


“An analysis of the attacks carried out in the last two years reveals a curious fact. In 43% of the bombings conducted last year and in 26 of the 57 bombings traced in this study up to June 15, the only death caused by the bombing was that of the bomber himself. Astoundingly, approximately 90 suicide bombers in this two year period succeeded in killing only themselves. This number exceeds 100 when you factor in those who succeeded in killing only one person in addition to themselves. There was one period in the spring of 2006 (February 20 to June 21) when a stunning 26 of the 36 suicide bombers in Afghanistan (72%) only killed themselves. This puts the kill average for Afghan suicide bombers far below that of suicide bombers in other theaters of action in the area (Israel, Chechnya, Iraq and the Kurdish areas of Turkey). Such unusual bomber-to-victim death statistics are, of course, heartening for both coalition troops—who have described the Afghan suicide bombers as “amateurs”—and the Afghan people—who are usually the victims of the clumsy bombings.These statistics also represent a uniquely Afghan phenomenon that warrants investigation.”

Afghanistan is in a generational Recovery era, having gone through a massive crisis civil war in the 1990s, and so there’s little desire among the survivors for further killing.

The same kind of thing has occurred in the Iraq war. Iraq is in a generational Awakening, and Iraqis have refused to become suicide bombers, forcing al-Qaeda in Iraq to import suicide bombers from Saudi Arabia and other countries in a generational Crisis era. (See the 2007 article, “Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq.”)

There are many possible reasons why the Stockholm suicide bomber failed to kill anyone but himself. He may have been incompetent, or he may have miscalculated. But it’s also possible that he grew up during the Afghan civil war of the 1990s or the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s and has no desire to inflict on other people the kind of horrific violence that he saw as a child.

Update: Late news is that the suicide bomber has been identified as Taimur Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, a 29 year old who was born in Baghdad, and left Iraq in 1992, according to the Telegraph. He grew up traumatized and surrounded by bloody violence in the Iran/Iraq war, and it’s quite possible that, at the last minute, he simply didn’t want to inflict that trauma on other people, even the infidels.

Additional links

Since World War II, Japan has avoided rebuilding its military, and instead has depended on the United States military to provide an umbrella of protection. However, Japan’s military is about to release a new set of guidelines that will increase Japan’s military capabilities, with particularly emphasis on threats posed by North Korea and China. Washington Post

After last week’s collapse of the Obama administrations Mideast peace plan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is ordering Israelis and Palestinians to stop “demonizing” each other and to make “real progress” on their disagreements in the next few months. Bloomberg

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev called for tough action against the thousands of football (soccer) fan rioters who clashed with police in Moscow on Saturday. The riots were triggered by the death of an ethnic Russian in a fight with men from ethnic minorities from the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Members of the North Caucasus’s numerous ethnic minorities are afraid of further reprisals from ethnic Russians. Ria Novosti

Ethnic riots continued in Moscow on Sunday. Associated Press

Bankers and brokers hoping to make millions of dollars from carbon dioxide derivative securities had their hopes dashed on Saturday when then the climate change conference in Cancun ended without mandating the use of the “global carbon market.” Reuters

Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived numerous sex and money scandals, including alleged liaisons with girls under 20 years old. But part of his ruling coalition has turned against him, and he’s facing a vote of no confidence on Tuesday. Reuters

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Dec-10 News — Suicide bomber in Stockholm, Sweden, fails to kill anyone but himself thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Dec-2010) Permanent Link

12-Dec-10 News — Climate talks end with standing ovations
Bolivia nationalizes pension funds, lowers retirement age to 58

Climate talks end with standing ovations

The Reuters report on Saturday’s close of the climate talks in Cancun is “Climate Talks End With Modest Deal and Standing Ovation.”

Actually, the “modest deal” was pretty much totally meaningless. The main element of the deal was the establishment of a $100 billion “Green Climate Fund,” and everyone is supposed to donate money to this fund. I’ve reported on others of these funds, including disaster funds and funds for Africa, and they’re all pretty much a joke. The $100 billion figure gets the headline, and then the fund is forgotten the next day.

But no matter. “Cancún has done its job,” said UN climate chief Christiana Figueres. “The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored.”

And the delegates gave themselves a standing ovation for doing such a brilliant job.

Bolivia nationalizes pension funds, lowers retirement age to 58

Delegates from 139 nations signed the agreement, but not Bolivia. Bolivian President Evo Morales was the most theatrical of the politicians attending the Cancun conference, according to the Guardian. His entourage includes 15 colourfully dressed, bowler-hatted indigenous Aymara, an admiral in gold braid, teams of advisers and white-coated bodyguards, Mayan priests and ambassadors.

According to Morales, “It’s easy for people in an air-conditioned room to continue with the policies of destruction of Mother Earth. We need instead to put ourselves in the shoes of families in Bolivia and worldwide that lack water and food and suffer misery and hunger. People here in Cancún have no idea what it is like to be a victim of climate change.”

Whether accidentally or by plan, there was other big news from Bolivia this weekend. Morales has just signed a law nationalizing Bolivia’s pension funds, and lowers the retirement age from 65 to 58, according to the BBC.

This is the reversal of a previous change. Bolivia privatized pension funds 13 years ago after a state-run system collapsed. Whether in Cancun or Bolivia, the inmates are running the asylum.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Dec-10 News — Climate talks end with standing ovations thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Dec-2010) Permanent Link

11-Dec-10 News — Violence continues for fourth day in Haiti
Al-Qaeda changes strategy in Yemen

Violence continues for fourth day in Haiti

Violence in Haiti continued for a fourth day, fueled by extreme poverty, racial divisions, devastation from January’s earthquake, and spreading cholera.

The violence was triggered on Tuesday by the announcement of election results that eliminated Michel Martelly, a popular carnival artist, from the runoff election to be held in January, according to the Guardian.

It’s widely believed that vote-rigging was used to eliminate the popular Martelly, in favor of two other candidates who are considered to be closer to the establishment.

Haiti’s population consists of two major groups — the dark-skinned “noirs” or blacks, the descendants of slaves imported from Africa by the French colonizers in the 1700s, and the light-skinned “mulattoes,” resulting from intermixing of French and slave bloods. The mulattoes are a market-dominant minority: under 5% of the population, but controlling over 50% of the nation’s wealth. The two winning candidates are perceived to favor the mulatto élites, while Martelly is thought to favor the noirs.

With Haiti deep into a generational Crisis era, it’s quite possible that the current violence will spiral into full scale civil war. That has been prevented so far, however, by the presence of U.N. peacekeeping forces and by massive international food aid.

The spread of cholera appears to have leveled off on Friday, but experts are saying that an intensive vaccination program must be instituted to control the deadly disease, according to Reuters.

A lot of popular anger has been leveled at the U.N. peacekeeping forces for apparently introducing the cholera into Haiti for the first time in decades. A new report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, seems to confirm those accusations, according to the LA Times. According to the report, the cholera strain in Haiti is one which has previously been seen only in Asia, where it’s a particularly virulent strain that has displaced the milder forms of cholera in that region. It’s now believed likely that the cholera strain was introduced into Haiti by peacekeeping forces from Nepal or another Asian country.

Haiti is expected to dominate a meeting to be held on Monday of North American foreign ministers, according to the Toronto Star.

Of particular concern is that fact that billions of dollars in aid money has been contributed to Haiti, but people are still living in tent cities, indicating that the money is being wasted on corruption, and is not reaching the people who need it. Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the senate committee responsible for funding foreign aid, is calling for a freeze on US aid to Haiti’s government, according to AFP. Leahy also wants to deny travel visas to government officials, until a fair election outcome has been shown.

Meanwhile, with the violence increasing, the U.S. has reissued a travel warning recommending all U.S. citizens reconsider nonessential trips to Haiti, according to AP. Canada has closed its embassy until further notice.

Additional links

Al-Qaeda has failed for years in its objective to drive the United States forces out of the Middle East, but now al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), headquartered in Yemen, is trying the reverse. In the new strategy, AQAP will “harness America’s manic need to act” by continuously provoking America to meddle into Yemen’s domestic affairs. They expect that this will alienate Yemen’s government from its people, thus setting the stage for a domestic al-Qaeda coup. International Relations and Security Network (ISN)

New poll shows that Afghanistan public opinion is turning sharply against US forces. Global Post

On Thursday, Pakistani newspapers carried stories about Wikileaks revelations that American officials were accusing India of genocide in Kashmir and of supporting Islamist terrorists. However, an investigation shows that the Pakistani newspapers were duped, as the leaked cables were faked. Guardian

France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel joined forces on Friday to oppose the “euro bond” proposal that we reported on yesterday. However, both leaders said that they were committed to “do everything to guarantee financial stability in the euro zone.” NY Times

China’s policy of “neutrality” in the armed confrontations between North and South Korea has resulted in damage to China’s strategic interests: both Koreas have put their armed forces under top-level alert, the US 7th Fleet has been mobilized just outside of China’s territorial waters, Japan’s government is on alert, and everyone perceives China as favoring North Korea. However, China is afraid of confronting North Korea, for fear of destabilizing the country. S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

Taiwan has begun mass production of a long-range cruise missile that could reach mainland Chinese cities. WSJ (Access)

China’s inflation surged to a 20 month high of 5.1% in Novemeber, thanks to massive amounts of stimulus money pushing up food prices. Associated Press

China plans to shift its monetary policy stance from relatively loose to ‘prudent’ next year. China Securities Journal

This week’s debates between the administration and congress over taxes makes is clear that the US deficit is going to continue to skyrocket, no matter which side “wins,” increasing the likelihood that the US will default at some point. This is causing a selloff of US Treasury bonds, causing yields (interest rates) to rise. This will make it even harder to get credit, and more expensive to get a home mortgage. WSJ (Access)

Pretty women are far less likely than plain women to get a job interview, according to a study. The reason, according to the study, is jealousy, since most most candidate screeners are women. Executive Health

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Dec-10 News — Violence continues for fourth day in Haiti thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Dec-2010) Permanent Link

10-Dec-10 News — Personal conflicts poison Europe as euro-crisis grows
Israel and Turkey hashing out final details of Israel’s apology

Personal conflicts poison Europe as euro-crisis grows

As the European financial crisis continues to grow, it’s complicated by personal animosities between the politicians in two major camps.

Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the euro-group of finance ministers, is the leader of the camp who want Europe to join together into a big “fiscal union.” This would make all the eurozone countries at least partially liable for all other countries’ debts. Juncker has put forth a “euro-bond” proposal to implement this. The proposal would allow the EU to issue bonds that all countries would guarantee.

Juncker’s main opponent, both personally and politically, is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who does not want Germany to end up being forced to bail everyone else out, which is how the “fiscal union” concept is being interpreted by the German people. Merkel rejected the euro-bond proposal, and Juncker accused her of doing so without even looking at it. Merkel has proposed letting countries default, if forced to by too much debt.

This disagreement has poisoned Europe, according to an analysis in Der Spiegel (Translation). “It is a paradoxical situation – the euro currency, which is actually supposed to bind Europeans together, is increasingly splitting the continent apart.”

The result of this poisoned atmosphere is that the formerly strong German financial markets have suddenly started weakening in the last couple of weeks, as measured by bond yields, according to Reuters.

German debt has long been considered the safest in Europe, and this has been reflected in very low yields (interest rates) on German bonds. But German 10-year bonds have been selling off rapidly in the last couple of weeks, pushing yields up substantially.

European country by country comparisons

Here are some euro crisis graphics from Reuters:

Euro-crisis country comparisons (Reuters)
Euro-crisis country comparisons (Reuters)

The top graph shows the annual debt and the gross debt for each country. Luxembourg looks pretty good, while Greece and Ireland look particularly bad.

The bottom graph is interesting from the point of view of the current Washington debate over taxes. Ireland has been successful in attracting industry because of their very low corporate tax rate — 12.5% — and they’ve fighting like mad against demands to raise it in return for a bailout. The USA, on the other hand, has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Not great for a country that’s supposed to have so attractive to entrepreneurs.

Deflationary spiral continues as home values fall

2010 has been a big year for mortgage defaults and foreclosures, and Zillow Inc. has determined that U.S. home values have fallen by a total of $1.7 trillion dollars this year, according to Bloomberg.

The housing bubble was the most visible factor in creating the huge credit bubble of the mid-2000s decade, and is now the most visible factor in removing money from the economy.

Additional links

Israel and Turkey are hashing out the final details of the exact phrasing to be used in Israel’s apology for its raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla last spring, resulting in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens. Israel is likely to offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to the families of the victims. Haaretz

In three weeks there will be the two-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip. Many analysts have been concerned all year that a renewal of that war could begin at any time, but an analysis by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) indicates that the Hamas military has been deterred by the result of the last war, but that Hamas has obtained advanced weapons systems in preparation for the next war. Jerusalem Post

Five myths exposed by Wikileaks. They include: the myth of Islamic solidarity, the myth of US solidarity with India, the myth of genuine Chinese friendship with India. Bahukutumbi Raman.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Dec-10 News — Personal conflicts poison Europe as euro-crisis grows thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Dec-2010) Permanent Link

9-Dec-10 News — Violence and cholera spread in Haiti
Palestinians seek an ‘end game,’ after Mideast peace process collapses

Palestinians seek an ‘end game,’ after Mideast peace process collapses

As we reported yesterday, the Mideast peace process has collapsed after the Obama administration has admitted that its entire strategy had failed. The administration had put a great deal of its prestige into a plan to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together to agree to a two-nation peace plan, and the effort is now at a dead end.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit says that the discussions should now shift to an “end game for a Palestinian settlement,” according to Haaretz. “The Americans have been informing all of us that their efforts did not succeed,” he said. “They wanted to reach a moratorium on settlement activities with Israel. That came to an end now.”

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas plans to meet with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on Thursday, and then go to an emergency meeting of the Arab League next week, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The main purpose of these meetings will be to decide whether to ask the United Nations Security Council for an international mandate to create a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders of Israel.

This option has been gathering support in recent weeks, as several Latin American states have taken steps to recognize just this solution, as we reported yesterday.

It’s hard to know how far this proposal will go. It’s been pretty obvious for months that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis want any sort of “peace process” to go forward, but simply want to avoid being blamed for any failure. But this proposal for a unilateral declaration could take on a life of its own.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, nothing has changed in the Mideast since I made my first major prediction on this subject in 2003. (See “Mideast Roadmap – Will it bring peace?”) The Arabs and the Jews will be re-fighting the bloody war that took place after the partitioning of Palestine in 1948 and the creation of the state of Israel — by United Nations mandate. Any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state on pre-1967 borders would create extremely tense stalemate that could lead quickly to war.

Violence and cholera spread in Haiti

The announcement of election results favoring the party of president Rene Preval has given the appearance of a stolen election in Haiti and triggered widespread violence on Wednesday, according to the Montreal Gazette.

For a number of years, Haiti has been one of the poorest countries on earth, with many neighborhoods strewn knee high in garbage, and the squalid stagnation got much worse after the catastrophic earthquake on January 12 of this year.

And now, cholera has spread to every part of the country, according to the LA Times. More than 91,000 people have gotten sick, and over 2,000 have been killed. In some cases, death occurred within two hours of falling ill from the disease.

In the past few years, I’ve reported on violence in Kenya, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). In each of those cases, I was able to predict that the violence would fizzle out because these countries were in generational Recovery, Awakening or Unraveling eras.

But no such prediction can be made of Haiti, which is well into a generational Crisis era. The violence in Haiti could easily spiral into full scale civil war, and frankly the only thing stopping it is the presence of U.N. peacekeeping forces, and injections of massive international aid.

Additional links

South China Sea, with blue line added to show region claimed by China as part of its sovereign territory
South China Sea, with blue line added to show region claimed by China as part of its sovereign territory

Earlier this year, a confrontation was growing with China on one side, and with the US< Vietnam and other Asian countries on the other side. (See “24-Jul-10 News — US confronts China on South China Sea claims.”) Widespread opposition by countries in the region have caused China to step back a bit. China’s position hasn’t fundamentally changed, but lately the Chinese seem to be a bit more “open-minded.” Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

North Korea has released a report defending the its artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island last month, killing four people, including two civilians. The North Koreans do not recognize the Northern Limit Line (NLL) that separates North Korean and South Korean sea waters, and claim that Yeonpyeong Island is actually North Korean territory. I guess they’re saying that therefore they can kill as many civilians on the island as they want. Reuters

A suicide bomber struck a market in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, killing more than 10 people. VOA

Pakistan is developing a close alliance with Sri Lanka, now that the Sri Lankan civil war with the Tamil Tiger rebels has ended. Pakistan has accused India of fomenting the Tamil Tiger rebellion, and now sees Sri Lanka as a counter-balance to India in Asian politics. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China all have close ties with one another, and would be expected to be allied with one another in the “Clash of Civilizations” world war. Bahukutumbi Raman.

A new Russian law on the restitution of religious property was largely written to benefit the Russian Orthodox Church, whose property was confiscated and destroyed during the Bolshevik Revolution. However, under the terms of the law, Russia’s Muslims are also going to demand return of properties confiscated from them in the past. These demands will stir anger and xenophobia among ethnic Russians. Paul Goble

About 50 European Muslim and Jewish faith leaders met in Brussels on Monday to urge better protection of religious minorities in Europe and to establish closer ties. European Jewish Press

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Dec-10 News — Violence and cholera spread in Haiti thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Dec-2010) Permanent Link

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