Tom Mazanec wrote:> Is it possible to go through a Fourth Turning without a war? Has
> it ever happened? What does it look like?
With regard to the question of whether a Crisis era requires a crisis
war, I've looked at hundreds of these situations throughout history,
and I've reached some definite conclusions.
The First Turning Recovery Era (or "high") has very specific social
and behavioral characteristics that are vastly different from the
previous Crisis era. It takes enormous events to force an entire
population to change from Fourth Turning to First Turning social and
In order for a crisis to be powerful enough to bring about these
enormous social changes through the entire population, it has to have
a Regeneracy at the beginning of the crisis and a Climax at the end of
the crisis, with a Moral Deterioration in between:
- Regeneracy: The Regeneracy has to be so serious that it creates
civic unity for the first time since the end of the previous crisis.
The Regeneracy unifies the entire country behind the leader.
During the Obama administration, I used to get a furious response from
conservatives by telling them that if there were a regeneracy event
(such as a nuclear attack on America), they would be unified behind
President Obama and would do everything to support him. I remember a
couple of people saying that they would rather shoot Obama than
support him in any way.
Anyway, now I say the same kind of thing to liberals: If there were a
regeneracy, then liberals would be unified behind Trump. I'm sure
there are liberals who would say they would rather shoot and kill him
(some are saying that already), but that's how serious a crisis has to
be during a Crisis era. It has to be serious enough to cause
vitriolic political differences to be put aside in order to preserve
the nation or society and its way of life.
- Moral Deterioration: During the crisis period from Regeneracy to
Climax, typically 4-5 years, the population becomes increasingly
desperate and impatient for a victory. If you remember 9/11, then
imagine what it would be like to have a 9/11 attack every day for
years (like the bombings of London in WW II). At the beginning of
this period, the rules of war are observed and individual human lives
are still valued. By the time the climax is reached, the only thing
that matters is the survival of the country or society and its way of
life. The value of an individual human life goes to zero, and any
number of individuals are expendable. For all participants in the
war, genocide and atrocities, particularly torture and rapes, become
increasingly acceptable and excusable.
- Climax: Finally, the crisis has to end with what I call an
"explosive climax." This might be literally explosive, such as nuking
Hiroshima. But more often it's a genocidal atrocity that's so
horrific that both the perpetrators and victims spend the rest of
their lives trying to prevent it from ever happening again.
It's the crisis climax causes the transition from the Crisis Era to
the Recovery Era. There are only two things that I know of that can
meet these requirements: A massive crisis war, and a massive forced
For those who believe that it's possible to prevent a crisis war: It's
completely impossible to do so.
To explain this better, let's take a side trip from geopolitics to
global finance. An analogy in the area of finance is the "Minsky
Moment."http://www.businessinsider.com/minsky-m ... sis-2017-6
The explanation of a Minsky Moment is as follows: The authorities,
like the central bank and the regulators, do everything possible to
create an environment of economic growth and prosperity, and low
economic risk. The more successful the authorities are, and the
longer the periods of growth and prosperity are, the more money
investors borrow to make risky investments. In time, the growth in
debt and risky investments overwhelms the attempts by the authorities
to keep the economy safe. That's the "Minsky Moment." Instead of
just one bankruptcy, which the central banks can contain, there's a
massive chain reaction, where a bankruptcy of one firm triggers
bankruptcies among its bondholders, stockholders and investors,
resulting at bankruptcies at other firms. At that point, there's a
massive chain reaction of bankruptcies that the central banks can't
handle. The chain reactions can last for years as they did from
In summary, the more successful the government is in temporarily
preventing a financial crash, the bigger the crash is when it comes.
Returning to geopolitics, there's an analogy to the Minsky moment. We
have the United Nations, Nato, the International Criminal Court, and
all sorts of other things to reduce the risk of war, but the more
successful these efforts are to prevent war, the more risky things
people do. We see this with Russia in Crimea, China in the South
China Sea and with North Korea's nuclear weapons development. We're
seeing a kind of "chain reaction" in geopolitical threats. The United
Nations Security Council has already become completely worthless in
trying to contain them. The United States, as policeman of the world,
is still only marginally successful in containing them, although
Donald Trump seems to be aware of the problem and is trying to stop
the chain reaction through new techniques (such as "locked and loaded"
Nonetheless, just as the central banks can't contain the financial
chain reaction, the UN and US can't contain the geopolitical chain
reaction that's going on now.
If a country does not have a crisis war during its Fourth Turning
Crisis era, that doesn't mean that a crisis (crisis war) has been
avoided, and it doesn't mean that the country transitions into a First
Turning Recovery era anyway (since there's nothing to recover from).
It simply means that the crisis (crisis war) has been postponed, and
the country enters a distinctly different Fifth Turning, like Mexico,
Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Russia. But sooner or later, the
crisis war arrives, and cannot be prevented.
In summary, the more successful the government is in temporarily
preventing a crisis war, the bigger the crisis war is when it comes.
The following is a Generational Diagonal Flow diagram from 2004 that
describes the transitions through the four turnings:
The shading indicates that during the crisis era, all generations are
unified behind the leader, and there are no serious differences
between the generations. Starting with the Recovery (Austerity) era,
new generations come of age that are distinctly different from the
unified generations of the crisis war.