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Opinions of Saturday, 19 February 2022

Columnist: Abokobi Thomas Paine

The Russia-Ukraine Crisis: A purblind rant from Abokobi

Russian-Ukraine crisis Russian-Ukraine crisis

In the spirit of a nascent weekend throwing up scabrous debris from wounds domestic and anxieties foreign, and in nostalgic salute to a time when it still mattered to believe that butterflies rustling ayahuasca leaves in Montevideo could actually precipitate the eruption of volcanoes in Krakatoa, and are therefore worth the attentions of even we the Abokobites, I pause to worry about the international news.

Worry and worry as if my African worries could cure a White world on the verge of cross-racial suicide. Universal suicide. Again.

My subject? The recent and yet not so small matter of a potential conflict between the Russian Federation and the erstwhile sisterly Republic of Ukraine; a conflict which has the makings of a conflagration that may just reset the world we have taken for granted over the past few decades.

The Scene and the Reasons

Most of what we know of the darkening clouds forming over the Caucasus come from the Western press, and most of what they say comes down to this little: There is a monstrous, power-grabbing, anti-democratic and yet paradoxically demagogic man called Vladimir Putin who has, against all logic and against all good taste, held onto power for more than two decades in Russia.

This same Putin, not being content with treading roughshod on poor Russians for so long, has now decided to extend his roguish ways to poor, peace-loving and yet helpless Ukrainians.

Of course, such an affront to the international order cannot be tolerated while the good old Cowboys of the USA are still in the saddle of global power.

So they mobilize other good-hearted nations like France, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Poland, Lithuania, Finland, and of course, Italy. You make Europe safe for democracy, and then you make the world safe for democracy, no?

So, to listen to Joseph Biden, Boris Johnson, and others within the Western corridors of power tell it, this is a simple case of an overreaching monster who needs to be put in his place. You know, the little bogeyman who wants to don the mantle of the Eastern phoenix and revive fantasies about a supposed Russian empire, fantasies that died a generation ago when Francis Fukuyama calmly assured us that history itself had come to a beautiful little end and we all could home and celebrate the onset of Pax Americana in perpetuity, Hegel and Marx and all the historical materialists be damned…

The Russians, as stodgy and groggy and incomprehensible as they have ever been since Sylvester Stallone interviewed Man Drago all those years ago, have not worried so much about explaining themselves.

To the pitiable extent that they have been able to put reasons out, they have mumbled of Russian national interest and security.

They insist that you cannot station NATO missiles including nuclear warheads in Lviv and Kiev, transform Finland and Poland into fuelling stations for American bombers and somehow expect a non-NATO member, hostile power like Russia not to feel threatened. The Russians fancy themselves as a regional power if not a global one, and with nightmares about the lows of three decades ago, are iron-clad in their determination not to be humiliated again.

Possible Outcomes?
Lev Tolstoy in the aptly titled novel War and Peace suggests that wars are won and lost not necessarily through Lao Tzu’s vaunted stratagems but through Divine Providence. Point well taken, but not even Tolstoy tells us whether dangerous saber-rattling is also part of this supposed Divine formula.

Perhaps my people would have caveated that Tolstoyan metaphysics with a reference to the proverb about play-knives and the grown infants who get cut by them.

Let’s cut to the chase. The confrontation over Ukraine threatens to become the first shot towards a direct confrontation between America (and her European/NATO allies) and Russia.

Given the rhetoric from both sides, one can only hold out the faint hope that what we are hearing from the various capitals is second-rate agitprop or political posturing. If not, fellow earthlings, we’ve got a sweet little firefight on our hands, like they say in the American Westerns. And the smoke is gonna reach a bit far.

Once upon a time, we knew a confrontation between the then Soviet Union and America would have catastrophic consequences for the entire world. That’s why smart guys at the time coined the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction just to capture how MAD it all would be.

The real weapons of mass destruction are still there, and Ukraine may be that dangerous trigger that sleds us all down the urns.

We may save ourselves. Or roaches may yet write our epitaphs. And the choice, sadly, is not for people of my beloved Abokobi to make.