Sunday, March 20, 2022

Oh what a lovely war! Taking Sides In The Ukraine Conflict

 by Roger Watson, The Salisbury Review, March 2022

Dr Strangelove or 'How I learned to love the Bomb'


I am a First Gulf War veteran and one of my sons, when very young, asked me which ‘team’ I had been on as if that was a choice for a British soldier. I was recently asked by one of my not so young grandsons which ‘team’ I supported in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Years of online gaming combined with a crumbling state educational system have led young boys to consider that war really is just a game. My son subsequently joined the British Army as a boy soldier through the wonderful Army Foundation College and served for six years so I think his delusions were soon crushed. My grandson received a lecture from me on the nature of war.

But, as I look around me in Britain while part of Europe descends into chaos, I cannot help getting the impression that people here do see this war as a kind of game, and when I catch a painful glimpse of the war reporting on our mainstream media, I see why. It is terrible, over-dramatic and one-sided. Houses in my city are displaying the Ukrainian flag as if we were approaching the final of the world cup and we all ‘supported’ Ukraine. The media are clearly pushing a pro-Ukraine view of the war which is whipping the British public into an anti-Russian frenzy. Thus, we cancel music by Tchaikovsky and a school decides to stop teaching Russian children at weekends. However, every cloud has a silver lining for Russian people living in Russia as Ikea closed its stores and ITN pulled I’m a Celebrity from Russian TV. But joking aside, we seem to have taken leave of our senses here with the view that Russia and therefore Russians represent all things bad and, concomitantly, Ukraine and therefore Ukrainians represent all things good.

As exhorted in an excellent article by Alice Salles in Mises Wire recently, I refuse to take sides in this conflict. To the serried ranks of the virtue-signalling Twitterati this seems to make me a swivel-eyed Putin-loving Russophile. This is far from the case. I have long considered Putin to be a bad ‘un. Something he has proved in an act of military madness and nuclear sabre rattling towards NATO. Nevertheless, he made his intentions clear for years in speeches and abundantly clear by massing troops at the Ukrainian border in recent months. Seemingly we paid little attention until it was probably too late. He must be taken seriously because he is dangerous. I find it harder to take seriously his opposite number in Ukraine, former comedian/actor turned President Zelensky who seems to add another signature to his death warrant daily by appearing on television and taunting the Russians. Moreover, he is being goaded on by us through the provision of the wherewithal to kill the advancing Russian troops. ... Continue reading >>>


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