Cyreenik Says

August 2016 issues

Time of Nutcases swirls through The Philippines and Blunder is the result

The frustrations that are being felt in the US during the 2016 election campaign are not isolated. They are being felt world wide. In the case of The Philippines they have resulted in the election of an extremely "tough on crime" president, Rodrigo Duterte, and he has been able to be true to his word on this topic.

This 23 Aug 16 BBC News article, Philippines war on drugs: '1,900 killed' amid crackdown, describes how violent this campaign is getting.

From the article, "The head of the Philippines police has said more than 1,900 people have been killed during a crackdown on illegal drugs in the past seven weeks.

Ronald dela Rosa was speaking at a senate hearing into the sharp rise in deaths since Rodrigo Duterte became president.

He said police operations had killed about 750 people, but the other deaths were still being investigated.

Mr Duterte won the presidency with his hard-line policy to eradicate drugs.

He has previously urged citizens to shoot and kill drug dealers who resisted arrest, and reiterated that the killings of drug suspects were lawful if the police acted in self-defence."

This is an example of frustration leading to a Time of Nutcases leading to a Blunder. It is a scary example. It shows that frustration can produce Blunders that are as expensive and not-problem-solving as those Panic can produce.

How will a big war be conducted in the year 2020?

The Trump and Brexit surprises of 2016 are indications that we are still in an era of acrimony, and now people around the world are getting deeply frustrated with it. That frustration is leading to supporting protectionism in its many incarnations -- the converse of supporting globalism in its many incarnations. (The pattern in history this closely resembles is the world in 1937, late in the Great Depression era.)

This is also a symptom that the many societies of the world lack a Big Vision -- an idea that is both urgent and unifying in its nature. When acrimony is in place, people argue and get nothing done. When a Big Vision is in place, people argue, and at the same time they cooperate and gets lots of projects completed to support the Big Vision. The result is vision moves along and the community gets more prosperous in many ways besides just supporting the Big Vision. Big Vision times are good times.

Peaceful forms of Big Visions include building pyramids in Ancient Egypt, the Space Race in the 1960's, and hosting the ever more spectacular Olympic Games that have taken place over the last fifty years. The problem is: these peaceful forms of Big Vision are tricky to invoke -- there have been many more failures than successes. (The failures don't make history, but an example would be the many attempts to reinvigorate the city centers of Midwest America, what I call the Midwest Disease. And many of the Olympics have been called failures because the cost was huge and the lasting return was small.) Which brings us to the quickest, surest and easiest way to invoke a Big Vision: start a popular war -- it is instinctively easy for the people of a community to get behind the "win the war" Big Vision.

Which brings us to the spooky problem of the year 2020: How do you conduct a big war in the modern era? We know how to conduct small one-sided wars and proxy wars -- we are currently doing a lot of those in the Middle East and Africa. But if two collections of nations with big and prosperous economies which can support well-equipped armies decide to create a Big Vision by facing off in full-fledged conflict, how will that be conducted?

This is something we don't know how to do yet. A common military truism is, "We are well prepared to fight the last war. Fighting the next one is going to take a lot of learning." This means there is a lot of learning in store for all of us in this world if two major nations decide to let "winning the war" become their Big Vision for 2020.

Turkey is experiencing July 15th -- its version of Arab Spring

The purges and changes in how Turkey is governing itself continue, and are big. This "July 15th Event" is becoming Turkey's version of Arab Spring, and even more. On August 8th there was a rally of over a million Turks in Istanbul celebrating the July 15th event and the changes it would be bringing.

These changes are going deep domestically and they will be affecting diplomacy and economy as well. There have already been impacts on the Syrian Civil War because part of the score settling has been directed at Incirlik, the large American air base that conducts air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

The good news is that the Syrian conflict may cool down because the outside interests that have been keeping this war hot are finally going to have other interests to pay attention to. As these other interests come to be seen as more important support for Syria fighting will dry up and a sullen peace or near-peace will follow. If this Syrian cooling down does happen as I foresee, it will be a silver lining in the dark cloud of revolution that Turkey will be going through over the next year or so. There are still many blunders to be played out in Turkey.

This 29 Jul 16 Xinhua article, Spotlight: Turkey says 18,044 detained so far in post-coup crackdowns, describes the magnitude of what is happening.

From the article, "ANKARA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Interior Minister Efkar Ala on Friday told media that 18,044 people have been detained after a failed coup attempt.

"The number of those detained by the moment is 18,044 with 9,677 of the detainees facing prison, and 49,211 passports have been canceled," Efkar Ala told press.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the comments by U.S. general Joseph Votel after the coup attempt, saying they showed that he was "on the side of the plotters," local media NTV reported Friday."

This 2 Aug 16 Economist article, Tensions in Turkey are spilling over to Germany Most German Turks support Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gives an example of how far the blunders may spread, all the way to Germany.

From the article, "But since the coup attempt, things have got much worse. Mr Erdogan’s German supporters have become more vocal. At the demonstration on July 31st Mr Erdogan was meant to speak via a video link, but a regional court blocked his appearance at the last minute, enraging the crowd. Several Gulen supporters in Germany have reported receiving sent death threats. The Turkish government is demanding the extradition of many of them. Winfried Kretschmann, the premier of Baden-Württemberg in the south-west, says the Turkish government has asked his state to close schools considered to have ties to Hizmet, requests that Mr Kretschmann considers outrageous."

This 8 Aug 16 Xinhua article, Turkey stages largest-ever rally to show unity against coup bid, shows that the response to the coup remains a big deal in Turkey a month after in happened. Lots of dramatic changes are still coming in Turkey's internal and external relations.

From the article, "Some 3.5 million to five million Turks poured into the Yenikapi Square in Istanbul waving Turkish flags, joining President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and leaders of the country's main political parties."

This 17 Aug 16 Economist article, Turks are convinced that the West was behind the attempted coup Europe and America’s response to the putsch has fuelled anti-Western sentiment, describes that this social revolution is still up in the air in terms of how it will evolve, and it is proving to be big and bringing about deep changes. In all this uncertainty one of the more visible trends is popular belief that Western governments were supporting the coup attempt.

From the article, "THE aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey on July 15th has been fertile ground for conspiracy theories. Pro-government newspapers have alleged that CIA agents directed the coup from an island in the Sea of Marmara; that a retired American general wired billions of dollars to rogue Turkish soldiers; and that the United States directed Turkish forces to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. An Islamist daily recently called Germany an enemy state, and pictured its chancellor, Angela Merkel, in a Nazi uniform."

This revolution is going to affect lots of things going on around Turkey. I see it affecting the Syrian Civil War; relations with the West, Russia and Iran; civil relations within Turkey. Lots of surprises are still in store.

One distinct possibility is yet another blood-letting war in the region. (think of the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 that was the blood-letter for the Iranian Revolution of 1979) If it happens this will follow lots of social violence within Turkey itself. If it follows historical patterns for blood-letters, there will be about two years of social violence within Turkey and the blood-letter will kick in two years after that. Where it takes place and with whom it is fought will be a surprise. It is not likely to reheat Syria, that's been going on for too long. It will take place somewhere else. Watch for the amount of revolution-related violence within Turkey over the next two years. The smaller the internal violence is, the less likely the blood-letter is.

This 24 Aug 16 WSJ article, In University Purge, Turkey’s Erdogan Hits Secularists and Boosts Conservatives Crackdown, which has snagged associates of imam Fethullah Gulen and others, is designed to remake country’s higher education in president’s image by Joe Parkinson and Emre Peker, is a lengthy human interest-oriented description of how the score settling has been proceeding over the last month.

From the article, "Overnight, educators became a suspected class. The Education Ministry dismissed more than 27,000 staff and Turkey’s Council of Higher Education forced all 1,577 university deans to resign, saying only those with no ties to coup plotters would be reinstated. The university watchdog also ordered each university to list faculty suspected of links to Mr. Gulen and has suspended 4,225 academics. The 15 Gulen-linked universities have been sealed like crime scenes."

This 10 Sep 16 Economist article, A conspiracy so immense Turkey’s post-coup crackdown has become a witch-hunt, is a good description of two things: o how Gulenism evolved in Turkey over the past two decades, and o how the post-coup purges are evolving. And yes, it's becoming a witch hunt.

From the article, "Increasingly the crackdown resembles a witch-hunt, far bigger than Senator Joe McCarthy’s purge of suspected communists in America in the 1950s. Its latest casualties include a pop singer arrested for publishing columns in a Gulenist newspaper and a dancer sacked by the national ballet for allegedly selling his home through a Gulenist bank (which he denies). The authorities have shut thousands of schools, businesses and foundations. According to one minister, the state has seized more than $4 billion-worth of Gulenist assets."



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