I hate people saying “I hope we do nuke ourselves off the map, we’re horrible.” Just because you’re unhappy with life here doesn’t mean all the innocents around the world are, doesn’t mean the animals are, the bugs, the trees. Keep your omnicidal ideations to yourself.
It’s been seven hours and fifteen days, give or take, since I penned Ukraine Take 2. Setting out why I don’t buy the notion, popular in some left circles, of the war as one between two equally repulsive empires, that post appeared pretty much on time – two days after Ukraine Take 1 had dismissed widely held but factually absurd readings of it as ‘Putin’s war’.
I’d intended to post Ukraine Take 3 after another two days but was winging it, unsure whose I’d be homing in on. I’d toyed with a detailed piece by John Helmer at Naked Capitalism but 1 and 2 had focused on meta-narratives, so using John for 3 might be a category confusion. Dithering, I let grass grow under my feet.
Caitlin Johnstone’s post today reminds me that back in April I’d attended a social event. Its host, though approving of my Ukraine writings, had asked that I hold my tongue on the matter. Other guests dear to both of us held views in tune with those I decried in Ukraine Take 1, and my host did not want a milestone birthday marred by heated words.
Happy to comply – one benefit of blogging being that I feel less driven to torture people face to face with my opinions – I vowed not to smudge the air with them.
“I know you won’t”, my host replied. “But they might.”
And a few did, but not the ones my host had feared. Those who used the U-word were at pains to voice appreciation of my posts on the matter. For which I thanked them but added that I was on scout’s honour to refrain from saying more …
… beyond what I said to two longstanding friends, along these broad lines:
I have strong views on who’s in the wrong over Ukraine. Others here hold different views. But whoever we blame, we baby-boomers were born into the nuclear age and have lived seven decades under its shadow. We’ve become blasé in spite of Cuba ’62, and other stuff we only learned about later. Humans are more psychological than logical animals, and the leap from “it didn’t happen” to “ergo it won’t happen” is a small one.
They agreed. Bear this in mind while reading Caitlin, in the third of my three Ukraine “takes”.
Critics of the US empire have spent months compiling mountains of evidence showing that the empire knowingly provoked the war in Ukraine. Supporters of the US empire have spent months posting dog memes and accusing strangers of being paid by Putin. It’s clear who’s in the right.
So does everyone else in the world get a vote on whether their lives should be risked in an offensive to control who governs Crimea? Or will the Biden administration just be making that call on behalf of all living creatures?
It’s crazy how the fate of everyone alive and everyone who could potentially be born in the future is riding on the way two governments choose to navigate a conflict in Ukraine, just because those two governments have most of the world’s nuclear weapons. It’s like two people in a bar getting into a brawl that kills everyone in their city. Nobody else in the world gets a vote on decisions being made that could kill everyone alive and end humanity forever; just a few people within those two governments and their militaries.
The US empire is telling Moscow “I’m the craziest motherfucker around, I’ll keep ramping up the brinkmanship looking you right in the eye and daring you to use nukes,” while telling the rest of the world “I am the voice of sanity that you should all look to for leadership.”
One of the empire’s faces is the virtuous upholder of freedom and democracy, while the other face puts on an intimidating show of viciousness like a prisoner biting off someone’s cheek in the prison yard. At least one of those faces is necessarily lying.
Literally the only reason mainstream westerners are fine with the US empire’s nuclear brinkmanship with Russia is because most don’t understand it, and those who do understand it don’t think very hard about it. They avoid contemplating what nuclear war is and what it would mean.
Whenever I touch on this subject I get a bunch of replies like “Yeehaw! That’s right bitch, we’re standing up to Putin!” They’re not approaching the subject with anything like the gravity they would if they understood what’s happening and had seriously thought about what could be. They don’t understand how horrifyingly dangerous it is that the empire is considering backing a Crimea offensive, and they haven’t sincerely contemplated what it would be like for every living creature to die horribly and for no one else to ever be born again for all of time.
Whatever position you have on this whole conflict, you should be approaching the possibility of nuclear annihilation with the most profound solemnity imaginable, because it is without exaggeration the single worst thing that could possibly happen. Take it seriously, or be silent.
If a nuclear war between Russia and NATO erupts, the answer to the question “Was it worth it?” will be a decisive “No.” Not just for people like me, but for everyone, no matter how sympathetic they are to the western power structure and no matter how much they hate Russia. If their answer isn’t “no” immediately, it will be their answer in a matter of hours. If people don’t immediately understand the horror that’s been unleashed upon our world and how nothing could possibly have been worth it, they will understand it in short order.
The term Mutually Assured Destruction was first coined by Hudson Institute’s Donald Brennan in 1962, but he used it ironically, spelling out the acronym “MAD” in order to argue that it’s insane to hold weapons that can cause armageddon. These games of nuclear chicken are insane.
The argument for nukes is that the threat of their use wards off the large-scale conventional wars we saw in WWI and WWII, but that only works if the fear of their use deters conventional attacks. The US empire is getting more and more brazen with its proxy warfare against Russia.
It used to be undisputed conventional wisdom that hot warfare against Russia must be avoided at all costs because they’re a nuclear superpower. Now the idea of backing full-scale offensives to carve off pieces of the Russian Federation is gaining widespread mainstream traction. This disintegrates the uneasy stability that MAD is theoretically supposed to create, because MAD assumes the other side won’t be crazy enough to launch conventional offensives against a nuclear superpower due to fear of rapidly spiraling escalation into full-scale nuclear war.
If you’ve got two people pointing pistols at each other, an exchange of gunfire might be avoided for fear of retaliation. But if one of the gunmen breaks the standoff by walking toward the other holding a knife in his other hand, odds are the other guy pulls the trigger.
I hate it when I get people saying “I hope we do nuke ourselves off the map, we’re horrible.” It’s not okay for a few idiots to be playing games with every life on this planet. Just because you’re unhappy with life here doesn’t mean all the innocents around the world are, doesn’t mean the animals are, the bugs, the trees. Your disaffected feelings are not a valid reason not to fight this thing tooth and claw. Keep your omnicidal ideations to yourself.
Westerners frame the idea of nations like Russia and China “attacking their neighbors” as though that’s somehow less moral than the US attacking nations on the other side of the planet who cannot possibly pose any threat to US national security. At least Russia can make an argument that its invasion of Ukraine was in its national security interests due to US/NATO militarization there, and China could make similar arguments if it ever attacks Taiwan. US wars are done solely to defend US planetary domination, not the US.
Liberals are all about examining privilege except when it comes to western privilege. Then they’re more than happy to blow up everything and everyone for their belief in their inherent ideological superiority and their right to rule over every single country on earth.
Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp are no longer designating the neo-Nazi Azov Regiment as a “dangerous organization.” To be clear, nothing has actually changed about the Azov Regiment. It’s still the same people with the same ideology. All that changed is the Official Narrative.
For years, up until just last year, the mass media had no problem acknowledging that Ukraine has a Nazi problem and calling Azov neo-Nazis what they are. All that changed is we moved into an information ecosystem of aggressive war propaganda.
No amount of PR rebranding will magically transform Azov neo-Nazis into wholesome moderates. You can change Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC, but it’s still the same stuff in the bucket.
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