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The Imminent Failure Of Large Nation-States?

15 August 2009  |  4910 views  |  1

I occasionally make predictions. It is sometimes unpopular. While some foresaw the credit crunch, few foresaw the ancillary effects. I did.

I see something much darker, or brighter depending on your perspective.

I see the failure of some large nations. They are in imminent danger of collapsing into anarchy. The fall of Russia is incomparable with what we are about to witness, as will it's second fall be.

These great states will attempt to cling to power through further extra-judicial killings, censoring media, plunging communications into the dark ages and even turning their soldiers on their own populations.

It is probably already too late for them to save themselves.

The path to darkness will not save them or their leaders.

It's no Nostradamic riddle from the past, it's obvious everywhere you look. Journalists don't want to write about it, governments don't talk about it, especially the governments who know exactly who I'm talking about.

The genie is out of the bottle and there is no route back to the past. There are some governments deluding themselves that they can remain in control while continuing to abuse, cheat and mistreat their citizens. There is a growing groundswell we'll soon see come to sweep away the remnants of the past.

If you are wondering where to look, try China, India, Iran, or Israel just for starters.

China is in crisis. The leaders aren't even aware of the extent.

India is verging on anarchy with the government compounding it by their actions (and inactions).

Iran is obviously on it's last legs.

The young in Israel will begin asking - 'Where's the good life - in the promised land?' They will depose the hardliners, or refuse to fight their fights anymore. The time is fast approaching.

The old guard can try by any means to hang on to power but all efforts will fail, except efforts to improve democracy, the rule of law and provide a more equitable society.

Republicans reading this will see it in their own failings and no amount of delusion that democracy will take a back seat to a corrupt, money backed republic will change the future.

Many western governments have lessons to learn in the near future.

The times they are a changing, and it doesn't take Bob Dylan being dragged off to his hotel by police just for walking the streets, to see that things are rotten in your very neighbourhood too.

There is a wind coming and it means change. Big changes.

It's not my idea, just my observation. We live in interesting times and it's not all bad news, although it may be for some.

I'll certainly be factoring this into my investment decisions.

 

p.s. I have been asked via other channels if I seriously believe there is the risk.

In the case of China, for example. The society bears remarkable resemblance to the one of old, with walled cities protecting the various emperors, who are in league with criminal gangs used for (extrajudicial) 'enforcement'. There are many small dragons awakening. China is not cohesive, in a cultural or ethnic sense. History does not provide many examples of such a mix lasting beyond an outside threat. ie. while the threat from outside is there, many groups may be brought together and subjugated through their fear of the external threat. I find the only perceived external threat is amongst the ignorant or over-propagandized.

I have yet to meet an educated successful Chinese person who does not wish to live in or at least enjopy the trappings of modern western culture. They tend to remain in China, and keep their ties bound there only until they can get their families out and/or their money. Once out they appear very keen to return, albeit temporarily - to exploit the situation in their homeland in order to better their position in their adopted land.

As for the citizenry - they have tasted the fruits of western civilisation and for a short while been able to imagine a middle class existence. Unfortunately for them, the US etc, could not afford to fund it. They have seen the dream evaporate in a crisis and their lot return to as it was before (while factories close and their employers vanish with the 'profits' and the workers dreams). From the government's perspective 'better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all', does not apply to their citizens tasting middle class life. Workers return to the country with tales of wonder and excess, and having been cast aside at the first sign of trouble.

Towns wake up to find the now closed factory has left a legacy - the extinguishment of their family line and destruction of their landholding through contamination and pollution. These things cannot be hidden for long. They rot the country from within.The glow fades. The hunger grows, they have tasted the fruits.

Muslims. Islam is not a problem of itself. The only reason we see people of the Muslim faith at the forefront of the action is because they are better educated, have a more cohesive social structure and are going to be the first to mobilise and make a noise when they are left out of the general 'progress'.

It has nothing to do with religion, it is all about social structure - it's just the religion which gives them the structure. There are other ethinc groups in a similar position. The Buddhists in Tibet are not alone. Ethnic diversity in China is great. There is little ethnic equality. I challenge the Chinese government to show otherwise before the government is increasingly challenged by those groups.

It is the individual who does not believe they are being fairly treated which is at the heart of it. Destroying organisations or social structures and isolating individuals has the entirely wrong effect, an individual without ties and roots is a far more dangerous proposition.

I am merely an observer.

Let's be honest about India. Many of the same things apply. Who has travelled outside a city? Can a single finextra reader tell me that when they go home to visit their relatives in a distant province - that there is the rule of law - or anything approaching what we hold up to be the western legal system? (in itself seriously flawed).

India is in danger of becoming a land of walled cities. What will happen when the peasants revolt? They already have in many areas, places which are outside the effective control of the central government. Some may be emboldened by the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, but they were on an island with nowhere to go and facing a formidable army. This is not the case for the Indian mainland. Muslims will play a role here, for exactly the same reasons as those in China and elsewhere, but there are also many other ethnic and class issues colliding in 21st century India.

I would envisage that their catastrophe will be triggered by something as simple as suppression of the communications networks in response to a smaller issue on a local scale. China will also probably fall for that trap too.

As for Israel. The Israeli's I know don't want to do it hard. The numbers who come to my country to avoid fighting is astonishing. Since the end of apartheid in South Africa it seems like Australia is the second promised land, only the one with a good life.

Where is the good life in the promised land? Is it a mortgage and the life of my first son fighting my Arab neighbours? Is it about real estate development?

The young will soon tire of fighting old men's battles. Either that or someone will apply a 'final solution'.

Shoot not the messenger.

Assymetric warfare is real. Israel for all its readiness against an Arab attack with their studious and exact knowledge of all enemy military forces 24/7 (despite the sabbath) is left defenceless against modern day weapons. Take a lesson - if criminals can put students through university to learn how to make drugs...your enemies have plenty of drugs, so what would they be making? I know there are some of your leaders whose response would be to destroy all universities - you know who they are and as I write this you can see how foolish they look.

Young people - Arabs and Israelis - consider why you fight an old man's war. You are the ones dying. Put all your leaders on the field of Jericho and let 'em duke it out, while you get on making it the promised land, rather than a cemetary.

Iran doesn't even need a discussion. Islam has little to do with it only  the degree of religious fanaticism playing a part.

The Revolutionary Guards overthrew the Shah because of the misdeeds of the Shah's security services - extrajudicial killings, torture in the mix with economic inequality fueled by corruption.

Iran's rulers now use the same tools on their population, present a sham democracy and are increasingly polarised. The old guard have sufficient force to hang on a little longer but their days are numbered. The sun is setting on the revolution that wasn't.

I'll not debate the Bin Ladenist vision of return to a 14th century Islamic world, as it is only in the thinking of a minority, however Muslims will probably lead the fight, because they are more cohesive and organised and now have a ready infrastructure to generate assymetric force.

Why do you think Obama is so mad at those idiot hawks who took their eye off the ball with Afganistan and plunged into Iraq on a wing a a prayer without a clue? - committing what was one of the most inexcusable tactical errors in military history - invade without a plan or a brain in command.

It looks like a fait accompli to me. I can't see governments easily overcoming these obstacles and I fear their approach will be either Plan A - fail outright, or Plan B fail outright. They have no concept of Plan C because they do not rule by consensus nor do they distribute the wealth according to census or work. Large nations usually hang on rather longer than they should by exploiting religious or ethnic divisions - i.e. send the guys from Guangzhou or Harbin to 'pacify' the Uighur, they're totally foreign to each-other anyway. Perhaps not so foreign, the Jiliners have at least one thing in common with the Xinjiagers that they don't have in common with the Han. This strategy will backfire eventually.

I could be wrong, but history shows I rarely am about such things.

No doubt I'll receive much 'attention' from some of those mentioned, as I have before when I have dared to speak and mention Israel or China particularly.Those governments have difficult tasks which will not be alleviated by committing further errors - I could stop writing tomorrow and your fate would be no different

Use your energy solving the problem. There is a solution if you look for it. One will evolve whether you are part of it - or not.

 

Addendum:

India is about to mount a massive military operation in an attempt to head off Maoist guerilla forces from encircling major Indian urban centres.

The ‘October Offensive,’ will be carried out with help from civilian and military agencies such as the Anti- Maoist Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) force, the Indian air force, the Indian Space Research Organization, paramilitary forces such as the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force.

Sounds like civil war to me.

Comments: (6)

Steve Liles
Steve Liles - Sheffield Computer Systems PL - Sydney | 16 August, 2009, 23:45

Don't you just love the way Dean bats off the front foot!  Very entertaining and topical as always - but mate, look out for any white powder in the mail - or perhaps something a little more radioactive??

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 17 August, 2009, 04:10

Plan A -  'shoot the messenger'. Fail.

Plan B - 'shoot everyone'. Fail.

Plan C - ?

They can do it the easy way or the hard way. The final outcome will be the same.

Better to do it the easy way and enjoy the rewards.

Perhaps a few minutes study of fluid dynamic would enlighten leaders as to the risks.

With populations the 'fluid' viscosity has forever changed with advances in communications technology.

When governments attempt to suppress communications (ie. internet and mobile) - effectively an outright admission of evil intentions - it will always have a negative result.

Fluid dynamics enabled me to predict Krakatoa would wake up this year. Global warming of a couple of degrees has some subtle and far-reaching effects on the earth's fragile crust, although the consequences on a human scale are far from subtle.

Humanity shares some parallels.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 18 October, 2009, 02:16

Israel isn't even worth a read, clearly using phosphorus against unarmed children is the end of days for israel - the rot from within. Do they forget the Nazi's or remember too well?

It seems there are some in agreement..

Russia

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/opinion/17aron.html?ref=opinion

India

http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?lng=en&id=108445

Pakistan

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/world/asia/16pstan.html?scp=2&sq=pakistan&st=cse

 

China ... as if showing off your arsenal isn't a sign of insecurity.

http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?lng=en&id=106552

 

 

 

 

 

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 14 November, 2009, 07:38

Mr Medvedev has been saying the right things. The writing is on the wall.

Are we yet to see the golden age of Russia? I hope so.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 05 January, 2011, 00:39

Greece, Ireland,......Wikileaks, anonymous, Tunisia, Gaza, Israel, USA who'd a thought?

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 01 October, 2011, 21:18

I guess you can figure out just about where I ceased being an observer ;)

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