World View: Morsi Cancels Decree, not Sharia Referendum

This morning's key headlines from

  • Egypt's Mohamed Morsi cancels his decree, but not the referendum
  • Will President Obama follow Morsi's example?
  • North Korea says it may delay its long-range rocket launch
  • Panic spreads as Mayan apocalypse date December 21 approaches

Egypt's Mohamed Morsi cancels his decree, but not the referendum

Mohamed Morsi addressing the nation on Thursday
Mohamed Morsi addressing the nation on Thursday

Seeking to end the turmoil of the last few days on the streets of Cairo, late on Saturday, Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi revoked the controversial constitution decree of last month, giving himself dictatorial powers. This was one of the two demands of the opposition protesters. The other demand, which Morsi refused to meet, was that the referendum on the ratification of the new draft constitution, embodying Sharia law, be postponed past its currently scheduled December 15 date. It will take a couple of days to see whether opposition accepts this compromise, or rejects it as insufficient and returns to the streets.

In the past few days, I've referred to the similar between President Obama and President Morsi -- both of them "hope and change" candidates who won on the basis of personality, and who then refused to compromise in any way. Since Morsi has softened his own stubbornness towards his opposition, perhaps this is a signal that Obama will do the same.

Will President Obama follow Morsi's example?

However, as similar as the two presidents are, there is one big difference between them from the point of view of generational theory. Morsi was born in 1951 and is clearly in Egypt's Boomer generation. Obama was born in 1961, and is clearly in Generation-X.

However, this requires some additional explanation. As many people know, the standard definition of Gen-X starts them in birth year 1963 or 1964. But from the point of view of generational theory, what matters is when a child is old enough to know what's going on, and is able to adopt generational attitudes and behaviors, usually around five years old. So in generational theory, the Boomers start from birth year 1942, and the Gen-Xers start from birth year 1959. So President Obama is definitely a Gen-Xer, as far as generational theory is concerned.

But there's more to the story. Generation-X is in the "Nomad archetype" in generational theory, so-called because generations in this archetype feel disaffected and alienated from society. The previous Nomad generation was called the Lost Generation, the soldiers who fought in World War I, and then were "rewarded" with joblessness and homelessness. The second generation following a crisis war is the one most beset by crime, alcohol and other social problems.

An important sub-class of the Nomads are the "early Nomads," born around 15 years after the end of the preceding generational crisis war, the leading edge of the second generation after the crisis war. What I've discovered about "early Nomads" is that they're the greatest heroes and greatest villains in history. (Conspiracy theorists should note that I first wrote about this in 2005, long before I knew anything about Barack Obama.)

For example, in one of the most brutal terrorist crimes of the last decade, hundreds of children were brutally murdered in a school in Beslan, North Osettia, in Russia, in 2004. The mastermind was Shamil Basayev, a Chechen terrorist who was an early Nomad. Other monsters who were early Nomads (based on the generational timelines of their respective countries) were Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq), Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Leon Trotsky.

But there were also many heroes who were "early Nomads," including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Charles de Gaulle. So early Nomads seem to occupy a special place in history, whether for good or for ill.

So this brings us back to President Obama, who is an early Nomad. Will he be a hero, a villain, or neither? That remains to be seen, and may depend more on the course of events than anything else.

But the immediate question is whether Gen-Xer Obama is going to soften his stubborn refusal to compromise in the way the Boomer Morsi did.

The signs aren't good. As we reported two days ago, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, representing president Barack Obama, quite openly said that the president would rather send the country off the "fiscal cliff" than compromise on taxes. This statement has been supported by a number of Democrats who apparently are looking forward to sending the country off the "fiscal cliff," because they believe that the Republicans will be blamed for it.

This is the epitome of Gen-Xer nihilism, destructiveness and self-destructiveness.

It's worth noting that there are several definitions of Nihilism, falling into two categories that we might describe, using the terminology of bipolar disease, as the "depressive" category and the "manic" category. The "depressive" category of Nihilism was the original philosophical view that life was meaningless and empty, along with the denial of real existence. There are variations of this that question whether life exists or, perversely, whether anything BESIDES life exists.

But the definition of Nihilism that we're most interested in is the "manic" category.

It began in Russia in the 1860s as a "Nihilist Movement," reacting to Russia's humiliating loss in the Crimean War in the 1850s. According to this movement, existing social and political institutions must be destroyed in order to clear the way for a new state of society.

Although the original movement ended, Nihilism in this form permeated the Russian Revolution. Stalin and Trotsky destroyed every Russian institution possible to bring about Communism as a form of government, and led Russia into more than a decade of bloody civil war. Adolf Hitler was so destructive that he's sometimes referred to as a nihilist.

So, we don't know what kind of "early Nomad" president Obama will finally turn out to be, but for now, it appears that he wants to send America off the "fiscal cliff" in order to save America -- the epitome of Gen-X nihilism. It will be a very pleasant surprise if he compromises after all. Al-Ahram (Cairo)

North Korea says it may delay its long-range rocket launch

North Korea had planned to launch a long-range rocket between December 10-22, but they're now saying that they may delay the launch. According to the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA):

"Our scientists and technicians are now seriously examining the issue of readjusting the launching time of the satellite for some reasons."

but the report didn't state what those reasons are. The attempt last April to launch such a rocket ended in a humiliating failure, where the rocket exploded shortly after launch, and the North Koreans presumably don't want to risk something similar happening again. In the meantime, the Japanese military has been ordered to shoot down the missile if its flight path is at all threatening to Japanese territory. Yonhap (Seoul) and VOA

Panic spreads as Mayan apocalypse date December 21 approaches

December 21 is the day predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar for the apocalypse that will end the world, and panic is spreading among believers. Panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, and there's been an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev commented on the Mayan prediction:

"I don't believe in the end of the world. At least, not this year."

Telegraph (London)

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