Cyreenik Says

October 2017 issues

With ISIS being ousted, what comes next for the Middle East?

This 21 Oct 17 Economist article, Syria’s Kurds led the advance on Raqqa, but now may fracture, talks about ISIS losing its last big city in the Syria-Iraq region. The end of an era has finally come, now, what comes next?

The proxy war in the Syria-Iraq region has been going on for many years now. It is likely that the numerous outside parties supporting the many sides inside this conflict are all now getting tired of supporting this never-ending violence -- they have all been spending lots of money over these years without much to show for it. Result: the violence is likely to cool down a lot.

But since the violence has not produced winners, only ISIS as a loser, the region is going to stay muddled in terms of who owns what and who is ruling what. In some ways this is a "Korean War" ending -- that one was a slow wind down as the contestants finally moved on with their lives and slowly found other things to argue and cooperate about.

This slow wind down as contestants get more interested in other activities is what I envision coming for this Syria-Iraq region over the next few years. It is going to stay muddled and messy, but with less large-scale shooting and violence mixed in.

Also note again that the aftermath in Europe of the ISIS caliphate experience is going to be like the aftermath of the 1930's Spanish Civil War experience, except that that aftermath got interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. In both cases there are a lot of disappointed returnees who are going to have to decide "What's next?" for them in their lives and get on with making that happen. The ISIS returnees won't be forgetting their caliphate experience, but they will now be moving on. An example: expect to see the equivalent of a For Whom the Bell Tolls written by a Hemingway equivalent who has come back.

The Las Vegas Shooting: Is it Panic and Blunder Time?

October's Big Scary Surprise comes the first day of the month: A shooter in Las Vegas has caused more than 50 deaths and 500 casualties at a country music concert at the south end of The Strip.

This event is deeply scary and deeply surprising. This means there has been lots of panic surrounding it, and there has been and will be lots of blunders enacted before the panic subsides. These blunders are missteps taken at the scene while the shooting was happening, and they will be in policies and laws enacted as politicians and policy makers try to grapple with the public calling for them to "do something" in the aftermath.

Here are some questions I have that I don't see being addressed: (note that this is just the first day after the disaster)

o How did this guy manage to haul all these rifles and ammo into his room without the hotel staff noticing and getting suspicious? This stuff is bulky and heavy.

o How did he arrange to get a room overlooking the concert? Did he arrange this ahead of time, or was he counting on being lucky?

o How much of this carnage is bullet damage and how much is stampede damage?

The surprising and scary event has happened. Now we get to watch Las Vegas and the world react to it in very emotional ways.

Yes, it's Blunder Time, folks.

Update: As of a week later there has been lots of talk, and urban legend spawning, but not too many blunder-style policy actions being taken or serious calls for new laws. This is good news.

Why so few blunders? My explanation is that while this is a surprising and scary event, the novelty element is low -- America has experienced a string of mass killings over the last decade and lessons have been learned from those. What is happening this time is the much calmer process of reevaluating lessons already learned.



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