Friday, March 07, 2014

Baby Steps Pt. 2

While things remain tense and grim in Ukraine, Russia's lunatic military dick-swinging has somehow resulted in the most bizarre and unexpected phenomenon of all in the UK - a sudden national outbreak of reason, common sense and rationalism.

I noted this before and again, you'd be better looking to other, better-informed sources for analysis on Crimea itself, but the UK's incredible national conversion from raging nuttery to wisdom is gathering pace at an astounding rate.

I mean, where to start?  Having lived through the late '90s and the '00s, I never suspected that I'd be able to crack open a random newspaper to find universal agreement on the idea that Invading other countries and fucking with their politics for your own ends is wildly irresponsible and dangerous.

And yet here we all are, throwing up our hands together in mutual disbelief at the sheer mentalism of Moscow's mad gambit and the terrifying outcomes that it's made possible. 

Where once there was but wibble and woo about the grand wonders of unilateral whizz-bang in the name of truth and justice, we now discover that - set your faces to stunned, folks - Unilateral deployment of hard power for insane reasons is inherently destabilising and is often used to intimidate entire regions.

Not only that, but we also discover that The illegitimate use of force is not a sound basis for the pursuance of co-operative international security.  If anything, hurling armies around decreases our collective security, because it's the kind of behaviour that fills every government watching it with a desire to crack open an arms catalogue and run up a massive credit card bill on warplanes and high explosives. 

Remarkably though, it doesn't stop there - we've now spotted that Supposedly democratic events that occur under military occupation tend to be either distorted or entirely undemocratic.  Wow!

And after Mad Vlad's hilarious comedy turn in front of the Russian press earlier this week, in which he railed against fascism and oppression and all manner of gorgons and grumpkins, we appear finally to have noticed that Governments quite often tell massive lies about their supposedly humanitarian and anti-evil intentions to justify their crazy actions, as a matter of routine.

This notion will astound less attentive UK citizens, who could be forgiven for imagining that when it comes to war and mayhem, no decent politician would ever knowingly let a single falsehood slip from his or her lips.

Hell, when it was revealed that the UK government doesn't intend to throw sugar into the fuel tank of commerce by e.g. seizing Russian assets, even the wackiest free market evangelists began to whisper that Britain's ruling class cares far, far more about money than it does about justice.

But I think my favourite revelation this week was the one that followed Russia Today hack Liz Wahl chucking in the towel - an astounding, incredible epiphany that appears to have rocked the socks off many of the nation's top columnists.  Namely, Journalists should resign rather than accept being forced to repeat offensively obvious state propaganda

My Twitter feed this week has been full of hosannas for the woman and the nobility of her stance, and much of it from hacks who have plenty of experience in the tirelessly-repeating-offensively-obvious-state-propaganda business.

I'm no expert but I'd guess that up until now, many well-respected British journos have spent quite a lot of their time not-resigning in protest over the issue of repeating cretinous state propaganda...  But who can now doubt that the next UK Government bullshit extravaganza will inevitably result in mass walk-outs on an unprecedented scale?

I can barely wait.

Sadly though, the twin examples of Russian crackdowns on anti-war protests and the insistent British yelps about slapping some sense into Putin remind us that certain attitudes are carved into the bedrock of our respective nations.

In Russia as in London, the idea that we should leave other countries alone to get on with it without our own nations smashing everything up with cutting-edge military equipment at all but the most remote outer-edge of absolute necessity, remains regretably outlandish and alien.

It looks to me like we may have to wait a long while for It's almost always a stupid idea to attack or invade foreign nations to enter mainstream thinking as a reasonable proposition, and it's likely to be perceived as an extreme and unacceptable notion for most, if not all, of our lifetimes.

Nonetheless, the trend is clear, unmistakeable and entirely welcome.  Just a few baby steps in the right direction, but long may they continue.


Shuggy said...

Yes. I was going to write something along the lines of, "Crimea is not worth the bones of one British grenadier" but realised that the only people who disagree with this proposition are sad hacks who work for the Telegraph and such like so I won't bother. But if I could note here the obvious point that those who bemoan the limp-wristed, girly jeans-wearing state that the Western powers have fallen into have conspicuously failed to identify the point in history when 'we' were ever in a position to guarantee Ukrainian territorial integrity. Fact of the matter is the West paid a high price for alliance with the USSR in WWII but since the collapse of communism, the borders of the West/NATO have shifted from East Germany to the present theatre of conflict. You'd think those who you rightly say are not so secretly impressed with the tiger-slaying shirtless man 'who gets things done' might have noticed this, but apparently not.

flyingrodent said...

Well, yes. It's not like this is the first time this has happened, and so far it seems a lot less horrific than previous examples.

I'm sure I remember reading a few years back that certain folk in the west once made a big noise about standing behind Hungary before the tanks rolled in and an even bigger one once they had, but when push came to shove nobody was willing to get nuked for a free Budapest, and so que sera, sera.

I realise that there are plenty of people in the UK who seem to believe that e.g. David Cameron should strip to the waist and enter nuclear combat, toe-to-toe with the Russkie but you know, that isn't going to happen. And so, here we are.

Basically, there's nothing we blogwankers can do about it, so what else is there to do but extract whatever laughs there are to be had?

flyingrodent said...

And yes, like you say, you'd think our various idiots would notice that all of this is happening on Putin's doorsteppe rather than in e.g. West Germany, but folk like that are voluntarily programmed not to notice these things.

ejh said...

Fact of the matter is the West paid a high price for alliance with the USSR in WWII

Not sure what this "high price" is meant to be - what was it and who paid it? Unless "the West" here includes "a number of nations stationed between Russia and Western Europe", in which case carry on.

gilbert wham said...

Well, I have to say, if there was pay-per-view of a shirtless Putin kicking fuck out of a whimpering, terrified Cameron in the Octagon, I'd watch it. Geopolitics be damned, that's a beautiful image, and you know it...

levi9909 said...

Shirtless from Moscow to Washington:

Sorry, Cameron only does that stuff on the beach

Anonymous said...

There still doesn't seem to be any consensus about whether a country should be ruled by oligarchs, nor about how much looting an oligarch can indulge in before it is a bad thing.


Igor Belanov said...

Yes, one of the unfortunate after-effects of Russia's occupation is that it has diverted attention away from the mismanagement of the country by Ukraine's ruling elites.