Archives for posts with tag: World War

People are dying in Ukraine.

And what takes place there has consequences all over the planet.

The first two world wars had been fought by soldiers from almost every corner of the Earth.
Almost all countries have declared war on each other, even though not all of them have participated in military operations.
The third world war – the Cold One, had been fought ‘virtually’. And was the first to divide the world into three.
The ‘liberal-democratic’ camp, the ‘popular democracy’ camp and the non-aligned camp. As always, World War III had been lost by the least flexible among the combatants. By the more dictatorially run camp. By the camp, which, precisely because of the authoritarian manner in which its decisions were adopted, had failed to mobilize all the resources it had, potentially, at its disposal.

I’ll make a parenthesis.
Any act of aggression is an idiocy.
Regardless of the short-term, medium-term and long-term outcome, the aggressor has more to lose than the victim. This does not need to be demonstrated. The most perfunctory glance at history is eloquent enough.
Here I’m concerned about war as an ‘ongoing phenomenon’, I am not trying to integrate it into the narrative. Any war, any act of aggression, is initiated under certain conditions determined by the history spent until then and will be, at some point, integrated into the history written afterwards. And the way it will be integrated into history will determine the conditions under which the next war will be initiated. Or not…

Let’s go back to the present moment.
This, the fourth one, is the first mixed world war. The first ‘lukewarm’ war.
The consequences are felt around the globe, almost all states take part in it – also divided into three camps, while the act of ‘actual’ aggression is somewhat limited.
The reactions to this act of aggression – the way in which those who have to bear its consequences relate to the conflict, constitute the beginning of the way in which this episode of physical aggression will be integrated into history.
The liberal-democratic camp is helping the victim as much as it can – this could be the subject of a very long discussion.
The authoritarian-populist camp helps the aggressor. As far as it can, lest it shows its true colours…
The self declared ‘non-aligned’ camp claims it is one of the victims and urges negotiations.

Here’s the place where I need to make another parenthesis.
The aggressor is ‘Putin’. A collective character that has at its center the current Kremlin ‘gate-keeper’.
The fact that the collective character known as ‘Putin’ is currently leading Russia’s destinies is a matter of history. It has to do with Russia and the Russian people indeed, but placing all the responsibility for the atrocities which are taking place in Ukraine on Russia’s shoulders would be a mistake. A mis-diagnosis which would lead to a ‘counterproductive’ treatment.
Many of the analysts and commentators who write on this subject are ‘mesmerized’ by the ‘master of disaster’. By Putin. Some ‘highlight’ his actions and others want to distract us from what Putin is doing by trying to argue that Putin was forced to do what he had done because the ‘others’ had acted as they had done. As if the mistakes already committed could provide any justification for future atrocities…

Back to the subject.
The main idea which emerges from the ‘messages’ we are bombarded with – regardless of the motivations attributed to Putin, is that any surrender to the aggressor’s claims will be eventually ‘underwritten’ by all those involved.
For the simple reason that Putin will interpret the smallest crumble ceded by the victim of the aggression as a personal victory. Victory that will be attempted again, sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, all the other Putins in this world, all those animated by authoritarian whims, will feel encouraged by any shred of victory which Putin will have enjoyed.

‘Are we stupid?!? He pulled it through, didn’t he?
We should try it too!’

Well, so far, so simple.
Putin is not the first dictator to be scrutinized by psychologists. Or by political scientists.
‘Nothing new under the sun’ and no original contribution.
Almost everything Putin had ever ‘accomplished’ has already been analyzed and can be explained away with the help of quotes pulled from more or less famous authors. Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Marx, Ivan Ilyin.
Unfortunately – or fortunately? – Putin is ‘transparent’.
He becomes more than ‘obvious’ after the briefest analysis. And, in fact, dictators – all dictators, are very ‘simple’. Single minded individuals effectively enslaved by a single thought. Concentrated exclusively on how to obtain and preserve absolute power. Everything else about them is bullshit. Make belief and propaganda.

Personally, I’m interested in something else than ‘what drives Putin to…’
Putin does what he does because he has the opportunity. Because he ‘enjoys’ a set of circumstances in which he can act his ‘fantasies’. And Putin got into this situation because those around him – those who could have done something about ‘this thing’, did not understand at the time what was going on before their eyes.
I can understand that! ‘Temporary blindness’ is not an ‘exceptional’ thing. But still. From a certain point onward – after ‘the milk spilled over’ and after reality had slapped you over your face, to continue with your head buried in sand… to remain ‘temporary blind’ only because you ‘enjoy’ your current position and/or your current paycheck… without realizing that you are being led to the abyss…

‘Putin’ doesn’t take prisoners.
Even if you considered yourself his ally, or his faithful servant, and no matter how many promises he has made to you, when he no longer needs you…. you’re toast!
When he no longer needs you, you become a cost. And in their world, in the world of dictators, costs must be cut! No other arguments will ever be considered.
Aside from the fact that you have a good chance of getting sacked as Putin becomes more and more powerful/callous, associating yourself with this kind of people is dangerous by definition. No matter how strong they seem to be at any given point, all ‘things Putin’ end up badly. The more powerful the Putin becomes, and the higher they get, the worse they fall. They along with those who ‘waited’ on him!….

Does anyone know a dictator who ended up on the throne?
Lenin?Stalin? Khrushchev? Brezhnev? Andropov?
Is this what we want?!?

The conclusion drawn by some observers, “In the end the outcome has only two valences: Putin loses or Putin wins” is valid only for the short term. Very short! In the long run, Putin loses. In the longer run Putin has always lost.
And it was us who had to endure! The ‘excesses’ committed while the dictator was at the helm and the ‘vagaries’ of the ‘transition period’ which followed. The point being that the more we endure ‘it’ – for the sake of momentary comfort or out of fear for what might happen, the more we will have to pull. In the near future!

As for the five dictators enumerated above, yes, four of them did die on their throne. Khrushchev had been deposed and lived for a while under ‘close supervising’. But after each of them had ‘transitioned’, their ‘close associates’ had been thoroughly ‘epurated’.

What happened to Russia during their ‘tenure’?

Whence my question.
Do we really want to take part, any part, in anything even remotely similar?

Part II ended on the Western side of the Mediterranean sea, right before WWII.
Which, by the way, was a consequence of the WWI victors making a terrible mistake.

For the III-rd part we have to cross to the Eastern side of the aforementioned sea and to fast forward to the aftermath of WWIII. The Cold One, if you haven’t figured that out by yourselves.

I’m going to make a small detour now and bring back a subject that I’ve already mentioned.
The changing nature of war itself.
Up to the start of WWI we had war as a conflict between ethnic/imperial chieftains while from then on really important wars had been started by ethnic/imperial chieftains and won by the attacked democracies. The key word here being ‘won’.
Which is not exactly true.
Those wars had not as much been won by the victors as lost by the aggressors. All that the democracies had to do was to (actively) resist long enough for the aggressors to rot from within and crumble under their own weight.
Actually all three WWs had been lost from the first moment. Simply because the aggressors had been inflexible ‘imperiums’ – social systems where the decision making mechanisms were controlled from the top in a more or less absolute manner.

Let’s go back to Syria.
What we had here was a population who had lost patience with being mistreated by a dictator and which, somewhat encouraged by what was going on globally, had tried to ‘buck the rider’. To carve a better future for themselves.

Just as in Spain, almost a hundred years ago, things had become way more complicated than they should have been.
Opportunists of all persuasions and from almost all over the world have jumped in to the occasion. And all those who could have dragged their asses instead of doing something useful for the longer term did exactly that. Dragged their asses and done nothing.

The parallel is staggering. Unfortunately things are becoming far worse and far more complicated.

In Spain, the world had perceived the whole movement as being predominantly of a communist nature. Which, eventually, made it so. Perception wise, in this case.
In Syria, the world perceived the whole movement as being predominantly of an islamist nature. Which, eventually, made it so. Simply because only the islamists of the world became involved, while all the rest did next to nothing. On the really ‘progressive’ side, that is.

In Spain, the only ‘outside’ power which had intervened decisively was the loser of the previous WW. More precisely, the decisive intervention was carried on by the  dictatorship established over the population which had felt mistreated after WWI.
In Syria, the ‘outside’ power which intervenes decisively, helping the ‘regressives’, is the loser of the previous WW. More precisely, the most effective outside intervention is carried on by the authoritarian regime established over the population which had felt mistreated after the Cold War. In Syria’s case we also have a second intervention on the side of the ‘regressives’, carried on by yet another authoritarian regime established over yet another population which feels mistreated by some of the most powerful governments on this Planet.

Then we have the popular sentiment in the rest of the World.
In Spain, people from some 50 nations had volunteered to fight on the Republican side. Very few of them entertained any communist convictions and most of them had a place of their own where to return after the war was over. And when they did return, they were welcome to do so.
Syria has also seen her ‘fair share’ of volunteers. But there’s a marked difference here. While those who went to fight on the Republican side in Spain were animated by some romantic ideals, most of the aliens who came to fight in Syria were driven by a sort of desperate ennui and an acutely perceived lack of any perspective in their countries of origin.
While those who went to Spain did it to help the Spaniards fulfill their dream, those who went to Syria were hoping to carve a piece of land where to build theirs.
While those who went to Spain were welcomed back by their families and neighbors, those coming back from Syria are shunned by their relatives and investigated by the authorities of the states they are returning to.

And the most complicated aspect of the whole thing is ‘separatism’.

To be continued.

%d bloggers like this: