War & peace

These are two qualities — cowardice and stupidity — that the Ukrainians, to their credit, have not been showing in their encounter with the Russian army, or at least, they are not advertising it. For it represents a departure from their old policy and habits; which were much safer, and got fewer people hurt. Courage and intelligence are naturally rejected by politicians in both East and West, and for good reason. For even when they do not get their subject killed, they are sure to relieve him of power.

My own objection to the notorious pro-war lobbyists and “Internet Influencers” in the West, is that they are too liberal. They are eager to concede any principle, to form a coalition for war. ¬†They will not be restricted to the facts, but become quite imaginative in assembling their arguments. They may even imagine themselves to be winning a war that no one could ever win, for the sake of maintaining resolve. The advocates have given war-mongering a bad name; it is almost as much of a scandal as pacifism.

War is more defensible when one is attacked, and ideally when attacked gratuitously. The Russians have a long history of giving pretexts for war — even to the Mongols — and for seizing upon pretexts themselves. Down here in the “real world” it is hard to commit an act that is totally wrong, or launch an attack that is entirely unjustified, so perhaps my criticism of the Russians is glib. Certainly, the amount of condemnation that is now heaped upon them, by the Western media and politicians, has shaken my confidence in their essential wrongness. It hasn’t quite carried me to sympathy for the Russian cause, however, and I doubt any of the ten million current internal and external Ukrainian refugees have been much won over.

I was against NATO, which I thought had served its purpose nicely by about 1991; practically, I think alliances should be more subtle in serving transient purposes. For old as it was, the Soviet, or Evil, Empire was essentially a “flash in the pan.” It could not last for even a single century.

Of course, the result of the Russian aggression is that now more countries — including Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, &c — will now beg for entry. The European Union (which I think of as the bureaucratic “black heart of Europe”) has also been promoted by Mr Putin’s scheme of desolation.

But now we are at an impasse. War may require as much cowardice and stupidity as peace. It is hard to choose between them.