World View: Knife-Wielding Mob of Probable Xinjiang Terrorists Kill 28 in Southern China

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Tensions escalate between Ukraine and Russia
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade into the Valley of Death
  • Knife-wielding mob of probable Xinjiang terrorists kill 28 in southern China
  • Pakistan's Taliban announce one-month cease-fire

Tensions escalate between Ukraine and Russia

Russian troops in Crimea on Saturday (AP)
Russian troops in Crimea on Saturday (AP)

On Friday, Russia said that the massing of Russian troops on Ukraine's border had nothing to do with the unrest in Ukraine. But on Saturday, Russia's president demanded and got approval from Russia's parliament for those troops to invade Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

In response, Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov announced that he put the country's armed forces on the highest alert status, because of the threat of "potential aggression" by the Russians.

Now analysts are trying to figure out what the Russians are going to do next. Few believe that Russia will try to take control of the entire country militarily, since since after they won they'd have to deal with a nasty, continuing insurgency by ethnic Ukrainians. Some suggested that Russia might take Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Others suggested that Russia might try to force the interim government in Kiev to accept a unity government where Russia's interests would be protected.

So far, the Kiev government has refused to fall into Russia's trap. Russia is apparently trying by any means possible to provoke violence against ethnic Russians in Ukraine, so that he can order a full-scale invasion of Ukraine "to protect Russian interests." AP

The Charge of the Light Brigade into the Valley of Death

Few Americans know anything about World War I except the name, and even fewer have ever heard of the Crimean War. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, these wars in America's non-crisis eras, which is why they're so poorly remembered. Those two wars were generational crisis wars for Russia and Turkey, where they're VERY well remembered.

Britain fought in both of them. In The Great War (WW I), the soldiers fought bravely, but there was a strong anti-war movement. Wilfred Owen, a 24-year-old soldier, wrote "What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?" in "Anthem for a Doomed Youth." The British Generals botched the war so badly that veterans described the entire war as "Lions led by Donkeys." (See "Politicians commemorate Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916" from 2006.)

The Crimea peninsula has been the site of one extremely bloody war after another for centuries. It's right on the fault line between Russia and the Orthodox Christian civilization versus Turkey and the Muslim civilization, as well as on the fault line between various ethnic groups. Here, and in the Balkans and the Caucasus, many wars were fought to the death, and the 1850s Crimean War was one of them.

Britain also fought in the Crimean war, on the side of the Turkish Ottomans, with one battle well-remembered today, the one described by Alfred Lord Tennyson in his 1855 poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade." (When I first read this poem, in school, I thought a "light brigade" was a brigade of soldiers carrying lanterns. Actually, it's a lightly armed brigade on horses, with little more than sabers to fight with.) The Light Brigade was ordered by a British General to charge their Cossack and Russian opponents, and take away their guns and cannons. But "someone had blundered," and the Russians used their guns and cannons to massacre the British soldiers:

    THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE

    Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    "Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns!" he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    "Forward, the Light Brigade!"
    Was there a man dismay'd?
    Not tho' the soldier knew
    Someone had blunder'd:

    Their's not to make reply,
    Their's not to reason why,
    Their's but to do and die:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley'd and thunder'd;

    Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.

    Flash'd all their sabres bare,
    Flash'd as they turn'd in air
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wonder'd:
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right thro' the line they broke;

    Cossack and Russian
    Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
    Shatter'd and sunder'd.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volley'd and thunder'd;

    Storm'd at with shot and shell,
    While horse and hero fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro' the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of Hell,

    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.
    When can their glory fade ?
    O the wild charge they made!

    All the world wonder'd.
    Honor the charge they made!
    Honor the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred!

The "Valley of Death" still exists -- it's in Balaclava, right next door to Sevastopol in Crimea, where Russian soldiers are once again massing, preparing for what may be just another chapter in a never-ending series of Crimean Wars.

By the way, modern nursing began during the Crimean War, when British nurse Florence Nightingale led a team of nurses to treat wounded soldiers in Turkey. Spark Notes and BBC

Knife-wielding mob of probable Xinjiang terrorists kill 28 in southern China

At least 29 people were killed and 130 wounded late Saturday when a mob of terrorists used long knives to attack passengers in a crowded train station in Kunming in southern China. Chinese authorities said that "evidence at the crime scene showed that the Kunming Railway Station terrorist attack was carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces."

Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs live northwestern China in Xinjiang province, which has been a source of activist violence and separatist demands. China has responded with violent crackdowns, and attempted to flood the province with Han Chinese transplants, in a failing attempt to pacify the Uighurs by diluting their population. On October 29 of last year, Uighur terrorists conducted a deadly car crash in Beijing's central Tiananmen Square, killing 5 people and injuring dozens. Saturday's attack was apparently timed to cast a shadow over the opening on Wednesday of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress. Xinhua

Pakistan's Taliban announce one-month cease-fire

A Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban - TTP) spokesman says that the TTP will observe a one-month cease-fire, in order to allow the "peace talks" with the government to resume. According to the spokesman, the senior TTP leadership have instructed all of its splinter groups to abide by the ceasefire.

The offer comes just four days after Pakistan announced that it was reversing previous "peace talk" policies. Since then it's been pounding suspected Taliban handouts, and the army is massing for a "full-fledged clearing operation" on Taliban terrorists. ( "28-Feb-14 World View -- Pakistan reverses itself, plans large-scale military attack on Taliban")

The TTP cease-fire is a standard tactic used by terrorist groups to gain time to rearm. Now the government has to decide whether to go ahead with its military plans, or to fall for the tactic. VOA


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