Today It Is Ukraine. Yesterday It Was Elsewhere. Tomorrow? This Never Rests.

Where do we begin? How do we explain?

24th February 2022. Another Date To Remember….So many events, actions and commentaries since the day Putin and his court decided to take the next step in their endeavours to bring The Ukraine back under Kremlin control. The avalanche into the medias has been such that I literally had to check the start date. It was as if Time measured in days had ceased to be a relevant method of recording, all that counted was The Narrative, every daily action is affected by The Narrative, even Sunrise and Sunset are but part of the backdrop. So many folk are asking ‘How could this happen?’ Understandable.

Under the lens of the seemingly disturbing and dispassionate study of International Relations’ Realism theories what is happening in the Ukraine is predictable, almost inexorable. However this is not the arena to be bandying terms such as ‘Anarchic World System’, ‘Biopolarity’ or ‘Interests’. Their uses are better suited to academic discussions of less vivid times and not against the scenes of raw death and suffering.

As with most events, cases and mindsets in Europe and East of the Dnieper into Russia to focus on How We Got Here is a long road. In terms of Ukraine one which requires a journeying back centuries. To Kievan Rus of the 9th Century (No Vlad you got that wrong about it not being a nation), its disintegration in the 11th to 12th centuries and the subsequent seven centuries of empires, nations and tribes fighting for territory until by the 19th Century it became part of the Russian Empire. There is a pause. Then with the intense industrial wars of the 20th Century the whole complexity of nations, peoples and beliefs starts again. For nothing is simple in Europe / Russia; arguably a portion of land which in terms of area and populations has been a place of more conflicts than any other part of the world. Heritages, folk memories, ethnicities ,injustices often correct, and always very selective run deep. No coincidence the arms industries and sciences settled then proliferated here. Blame America of the World’s ills? Blame its parents.

None of this excuses Putin and his court. They had enough recent lessons to know this would not be a swift walk in. Finland 1939. Ukraine Nationalist Insurrection 1944 to…1955?. Afghanistan 1979 to 1989; a toxic baton taken over by the West in 2001 to 2021. Chechnya (a running sore, still)Β  The USA / UK’s hubristic invasions of Iraq 2003 to 2011. To name the more prominent ones. And those were ones with military costs (aside from the minor fracas over the 1980 Olympics). Another big power, deluded by its apparent military might falls into another quagmire, an old, old story they never bother to read. They don’t get to walk away from this one though. This is happening in The First World.

And suddenly Western Europe is flexing financial, political, social, cultural and commercial muscles. China is concerned and arguably the USA is running to catch up. Where did that surge of anger and resolve come from? Two decades of teeth grinding frustration at the rise of suspect money? Two decades of seeing Russia is quite as capable of dishing out even more than The USA can in terms of military ‘solutions’. Maybe all those decades of The Cold War and what could happen if it turned warm and those echoes of two world wars came crashing back? Take your pick; mix and match? Though this is harder to fight against Putin. You can blow up a tank, it’s not so easy to destroy a series of expulsions from an international community; you can try to threaten to invade everybody, but you can’t be everywhere at once.

Not that this is of much comfort for those huddled in a cold basement somewhere in Ukraine, short of food, water and maybe important medicines; children crying, walls and floors shaking; the sounds of war getting nearer. Not much help when you have been on the road for days and are in a situation where you are grateful for the least of shelters and supplies which only go from day to day, uncertain of where you family are, not knowing what will be left to return to. War was ever like this. There will never be a clean, swift, surgical war. They tear, they grind, they are careless as they thrash around once the first plan and initial ideas burn up in the consuming destruction and counter destruction. What is happening in Ukraine is bad, it is unthinkable!… No. Think again. You know war did not stop with 1945, but was not just limited to those which made the nightly news. To a villager in some far away third world location to destruction visited by local security forces, militia or self-styled resistance groups, the horror and the suffering are the same. If you are distressed by one, then you should be equally distressed by them all. Selective outrage just does not cut it for the innocent. Ukraine is on TV, it is an example written in burning letters twenty stories high, laced with the choking tang that comes with the conflagration, the fuel of which you are advised not look to deeply at; your imagination will suit.

You should feel anguish. You should donate aid as best you can. You should shout against this invasion. You should also give some of your wrath to those who try and justify naked aggression or worse divert attention because it suits their own blinkered views. There are folk out there on all sides of the political divides who by default have blood on their hands because they could, but did not react or claimed reaction was wrong. A crime just as bad, in the dead or weeping eyes of the innocent. You see nothing is simple, we are fortunate this very visible one in Ukraine seems so. There are some in small shadowed corners of the world where the lines are blurred and twisted.

So we watch and we wait. But we don’t get to switch channels or turn to the sports entertainment or fashion pages so easily. This is First World ‘Business’. It demands and sucks in the attention of all. But remember, if we in the rest of the First World do get out, without a Covid-like spread, there will be a First World nation to repair, while across this Globe, the same miseries and sufferings will continue.

53 thoughts on “Today It Is Ukraine. Yesterday It Was Elsewhere. Tomorrow? This Never Rests.

  1. A powerful, thought-provoking post, Roger. There is always more than what meets the eye and history plays a significant role here. If only humans would ever learn from the lessons of history … but we don’t. Methinks we never will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jill.
      As I said to Audrey it was a post which would not let me rest.
      You read histories, you read military subjects, and then…
      ‘My God. It’s happening again, and again, all across the world,’
      We will not walk back from this one, like it was yesterday’s news.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can certainly understand the “post that would not let you rest”. Yes, it is happening again … seems like maybe it never really stopped, just sat down and took a short (relative to history) breather. No, I don’t think anyone will be able to walk away from this one … the images are seared into our minds … our hearts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 24th February 2022, another day when the ways we were used to changed.
        I always knew ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ by Francis Fukuyama was hopelessly naΓ―ve and drenched in ill-founded optimism.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not only block the evolution, but in some cases it seems that they are reversing it. I wonder if there’s ever been a case of ‘reverse evolution’ or ‘devolution’?

        Like

      • Funny you should mention that….
        This is a bit of an aside….
        During a student protest a local police chief said ‘What we have here is devolution,’
        Inspired by this comment a 1970s New Wave band themselves Devo… remember them?
        Those were days when we could laugh about it.
        These days there is certainly something wrong with the genetics.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So, I’m not the first to coin that phrase, although I think the police chief was a bit overstating things! No, I don’t remember Devo, the band, but then I was never a fan of New Wave, and in the 70s I was busy raising kids, so it makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Me too.
        I worked next to a guy five years younger then me, who would appraise me at every opportunity of the latest band…hence
        And a sample of the weirdness which now seems oddly prophetic…..

        Jocko Homo
        Devo
        They tell us that
        We lost our tails
        Evolving up
        From little snails
        I say it’s all
        Just wind in sails
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo
        Are we not men?
        D-E-V-O
        We’re pinheads now
        We are not whole
        We’re pinheads all
        Jocko Homo
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo
        Are we not men?
        D-E-V-O
        Are we not pins?
        We are Devo
        Monkey men all
        In business suits
        Teachers and critics
        All dance the poot
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        D-E-V-O
        Are we not pins?
        We are Devo
        Are we not men?
        D-E-V-O
        All together now, God made man!
        But he used the monkey to do it
        Apes in the plan
        We’re all here to prove it
        I can walk like an ape, talk like an ape, I can do what monkey do
        God made man
        But a monkey supplied the glue
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        Are we not men?
        We are Devo!
        We must repeat
        D-E-V-O
        We must repeat
        D-E-V-O
        We must repeat
        D-E-V-O
        We must repeat
        D-E-V-O
        We must repeat
        D-E-V-O
        We must repeat
        D-E-V-O
        We must repeat
        D-E-V-O
        We must repeat
        Okay, let’s go!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose Russian geographical history justifies war in Putin’s mind but it is irrelevant as this is 2022 and Ukraine does not care to be crushed and ruled by the iron foot of autocratic Putin and the corrupt mess that is Russian style government. Russia and China are determined to destroy Europe and America and will not cease until they no longer exist. The idea of using diplomacy with those determined to crush you is quite foolish. Agreements with them are just footholds from which they will launch their next aggression. Russia could have an empire in the sense of an elevated standard of living and wealth if it acted like part of the family of the community of nations. But they will insist on tanks and nukes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I find myself with a most peculiar mindset. Being but two years old than Putin, thus sharing the Cold War heritage and mindful of the brooding suspicions which can build up in ‘The Kremlin’ it is possible to comprehend the mindset which he embraced.
      Czar Nicholas I in the 1850s had similar obsessions which were directed to the Ottoman Empire and ended up with a war involving France and Britain in the Crimea (also mess…that one resulting in Russia’s humiliation).
      The surprise to all I think is the rather efficient and wide reaching response by ‘The West’ of Political, Economic, Social, Community and Financial Weaponry, with Europe doing most of the running and the USA having at times to catch up. Some indications even the enigmatic quietly confident China is walking warily.
      Meanwhile, we wait and we hope we can make it out; though things will not be the same.
      Thank you for your comments.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hate to disagree with you , sir Roger, but I do not see response of the West as effifient, though it may be “long”-ranging. The people of Ukraine need help right now to kick this agressor out their country. Their infrastructure is being destroyed, when do they even get to try to repair it? Only AFTER they get their country back, if they get that chance. No, Ukraine needs help right now! I hate war, but I hate slaughter even more!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand your reactions rawgod. Having just heard an item on the BBC World Service describing an event of the 24th February in which a car with a grandmother, a mother, her one month old baby and a six year old girl being riddled with bullets and all killed then a cold fury descended.
        A fury fuelled by pragmatism (remember when you said I was one, mostly right). We in Europe have lived with War for centuries and we know how swift it can spread, like a match dropped on dry paper on a hot summer’s day.
        Russia will have eventually deployed at least 200,000 troops, their training and discipline is harsh and brutal. Young, confused frightened conscripts will do all they are told. Officers mindful of careers and fearful of their own backs will do as they are told. Putin, brooding and isolated with his court of chancers and extremists will like gamblers at the table keep raising the stakes because in their frenetic frustrated mindset cannot ‘fold’.
        They could be kicked out.
        By a NATO intervention, a drive to save Ukraine. But it takes time to mobilise an efficient effective attack, which will give enough signals to Putin and he will lash out, inflicting death and damage along all the borders of Western Russia, check a map and see how many nations that involves.
        Then The Ukraine becomes any even greater battlefield as War stalks in all directions. At this stage Russia would use battlefield nuclear weapons, these being part of their doctrine, then what cost for the surviving civilians.
        Having been a witness to a decade of supine, gesture politics and slight finger wagging by the West, I can assure you this response is efficient and massive. Russia is being shut down out of the World, being forced into its own corner, its infrastructure will find things very difficult. Of course it will mobilise the propaganda machine to delude its people. But they are not fighting on Mother Russia’s home soil (that is a sacred cause to Russians), and the response is an unknown.
        It is hard to stand by and watch slaughter, I agree.
        It is worse to watch a whole Continent burn.
        We in Europe know. We’ve seen it. Often

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      • I don’t want to see it, ever. But nor can I stand by during this slaughter and say nothing. Putin is a pig, no offence meant to pigs. If he is not stopped NOW, it will be worse than any of us can imagine. There could be no Ukrainians in the Ukraine very shortly. This could be the start of the end of the world as we know it, as bad as it already is. Maybe I should just sit back and watch it happen. The world is better off without humans anyways.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A very understandable reaction rawgod. Maybe if those who sent folk off had to see it face up, the not so clean deaths, those screaming their way there and all the rest, there would be less of it. Maybe.
        Putin and his court (as equally guilty) do need to be stopped, the logistics are not possible for the world to haul him out of The Kremlin, but, just maybe…just maybe The Russian People might have the final say.

        I’ve said often Humanity has a flaw and unless Humanity evolves passed that we will end up another extinct dead-end. It is the damage we could do to the rest of the world in our passing which is a topic to consider…..

        Like

      • I’ve been aware of that for years. I don ‘t see humans or other primates as better than bacteria or bugs. We are all living beings, and that makes us sll equal. But humans are truly the only living beings that can totally destroy all life on this planet. We have to evolve (Childhood’s End) or commit self-genocide with prejudice, meaning leaving all the other beings to carry on after us. We have a responsibility to life to either person up or get out of the way.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Our friend Roger is the ultimate historian and today he provides us with a thought-provoking post about the current war Russia has started against Ukraine … really, against the rest of the world. Thank you, Roger, for this timely post and your valuable insights!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This: ‘If you are distressed by one, then you should be equally distressed by them all.’ Yes, and what a sad indictment of us all that we don’t. We pride ourselves on empathy, but our empathy only seems to extend to those who look like us, and share our values, our culture. The human race has more in common with demons than with angels. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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