Revolutionary Fervor to Spread Beyond Arab States; Europe Next
Feb 2, 2011
When the Tunisian government toppled, the mass media and their stable of experts who were blindsided by these events quickly stepped in to proclaim the obvious: that citizens of other Arab nations would be emboldened to challenge autocratic and corrupt governments.
Now Egypt is in the throes of insurrection, and Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen are already targeted for revolutionary change. The richer and more tightly controlled Kingdoms of the Middle East will not be immune to challenges from their citizenry to break the chains of royal rule.
But, as I had forecast in the Trends Journal, it is not solely the Middle East that is destined to experience episodes of violent upheaval. What is transpiring in the Arab world will spread throughout many European states. While the call to arms will be spoken in different tongues, the underlying causes will be the same.
In December 2010 (before Tunisia made the headlines) we issued a Trend Alert® titled, “Off With Their Heads!” in which we predicted a “long war between the people and the ruling classes.” We noted that, “Anyone questioning the intensity of the people’s seething anger is either out of touch or in denial.”
It wasn’t Arab anger that led us to that forecast it was the student and worker revolts spilling into the streets of Europe. The imposition of draconian austerity measures higher taxes, tuition hikes, lost benefits, curtailed services, public sector job cuts had young and old raging against a rigged system that paved the way for the privileged and punished the proles.
Though millions marched through the streets of Athens, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, London and Madrid, when the protests ended, the governments were barely shaken, let alone toppled. Unlike the autocratic Arab regimes, where the tight grip of repression could only be broken by violence, in the “democratic” West the illusion of representation and placating government promises mitigated the violence.
Both the press and politicians assumed the protests would run their course, people would accept their fate, and, like it or not, suffer the consequences. The protests, however, have not run their course. The economic toll of austerity and unemployment continues to ravage the lower and middle classes. As we wrote in the Winter 2011 Trends Journal, “It will only be a matter of time before a series of final straw events breaks the public’s back, setting off uncontrollable uprisings, coups (bloodless and/or military), riots and revolts throughout the financially battered world.”
Trend Forecast: The unintended consequences of the regime changes in North Africa and the Middle East, and the uprisings we forecast that will roil Europe will be as fully dramatic as their intended consequences: the overthrow of governments. The calls by Presidents, Prime Ministers, cabinet officials and foreign policy experts for “orderly transition of power” are nothing more than diplomatic doublespeak and pure windbaggery. There is no such thing as a clean and simple revolution.
As we will see in Egypt, military coups will be disguised as regime changes. Already the public is being conditioned to view the Egyptian military as beloved liberators. But in fact they are simply another arm of the autocratic government, no more familiar with democratic ideals than the dictator they replace … who had himself been drawn from the ranks of the military.
The world leaders and world media are not recognizing the Egyptian uprising for what it is: a prelude to a series of civil wars that will lead to regional wars, that will lead to the first “Great War” of the 21st century. (See “The History of The Future: Trends 2012: The Great War,” Trends Journal, Spring 2010)