The current events in Iraq have been looked at through almost every conceivable lens; economic, political, human tragedy, humour, spiritual, to name a few. Perhaps a lens that’s been overlooked is that of a generational perspective.
In the April 7, 2004 edition of Newsweek, Jefferey E Garten, quotes Dominique Moisi (a French commentator) as saying, “there used to be widespread public resistance to what America did, but that today there is an objection to what America is.” This speaks to a growing worldview that is no longer prepared to overlook the sin of the US, but is now demanding that the sinner be held accountable. From a generational point of view there is a very real consequence to this sort of shift.
Generational Theory is built around the accepted fact that our values are largely in place by the time we reach 10 years old. (Silent Generation values were formed while growing up during The Depression and WWII; The Baby Boomers values were formed while growing up during Vietnam and a man being placed on the moon and returned home; Generation X have had technological revolution and a growing breakdown of society; The Millennial Generation’s values are currently being informed)
So given all of this, the question we should be paying attention to is, how are our 5-10 year olds processing what they’re hearing all around them, in light of the happenings since 11 September 2001?
I’m not sure what and who they’re listening to in the USA, but there is certainly a growing anti-American tolerance in my part of the world (South Africa). People’s skepticism of the American Government and its allies is growing all the time. Hollywood’s conspiracy theories have us doubting almost every word that comes out of the mouth of the US government.
Graeme Codrington, internationally renowned Generational Theory expert at, has the following to say,
‚America is largely a modernist society, based on industrial era mentalities. In fact, America is the very pinnacle of the possible achievements in the Modernist worldview. But America currently seems unable to escape its own worldview. It is walking away from many important multi-lateral, global treaties; it refuses to recognise authorities other than its own, and is trapped by its own protectionism. The rest of the world is moving in different ways, based on the relationship economy model, fuelled by a shifting worldview (often called post-modernism). And America’s Boomers don’t seem to realise it. This new fractal, networked, interconnected world is going to leave America behind. Not now, not next year, but within the lifetime of the current world leaders, America will lose its position as uni-power, as the power shift of history pulls the rug out from under them. And its today’s young people who will be the vanguards of this process.‛
So while George Bush is avoiding the micro-management of this war, and hoping that during the 5-10 years after the war ends, that the Iraqi people and the rest of the world will see that this war was for the greater good, what will our children have internalised about the USA and it’s allies, and what will be the effect of that in 20 -30 years time?
Perhaps China is not the Sleeping Giant that US should be worrying about?

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