The Drums of War are beating in Europe. Yesterday, my neighbour told me that from his perspective, we are already actively engaged in war with Russia. My Prime Minister announced with a smile on her face that an Iron Curtain has fallen over Europe. Several men I know have declared that they are ready to fight.
What we are seeing in the West right now is the cutting of all ties with Russia – economic, cultural, political. Yesterday I received an email from online freelancer service Upwork, that they are blocking all of their clients and freelancers in Russia and Belarus. The response of the Danish Government was even swifter – just a few days after the invasion, a friend who works for the state handing out funds for academic research was told to go through all applications and reject any which had any kind of collaboration with Russia. Reports keep on ticking in of all things Russian being cancelled – film viewings, ballet, opera, whatever. This is the religious purification of the evil infection of the Russian.
All of this has one purpose – that is the removal of any shared cultural value, any common foundation for understanding, anything that could remind us of our shared humanity with Russia and Russians. This is the way to ease the vilification and demonisation of the Other. To make ready the mobilisation for War. A cynical but believable take would note that this came along, just as the Corona story broke down and with serious cracks starting to show in the Western power elite’s narrative. There is nothing like a good old Russian villain to unite the masses in hate. A convenient scapegoat, to be sacrificed on our altar of hypocricy.
Please note, none of what I am saying means that we need to justify or support the Russian invasion of Ukraine. War is wrong and the invasion of another country cannot be justified. But any conflict always has two sides, and that fact seems to be vanishing in public discourse at the moment.
The easy path right now, is to join in the chorus of voices baying for Russian blood and punishing the Russian people. Our priestly overlords checking hate speech at Facebook are conveniently ignoring anything directed towards Russians. Corporate giants Pepsi, CocaCola, McDonalds, Shell and Exxon Mobile have all shut down operations in Russia, leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. Any nuance from saying that Putin is pure evil incarnate is smeared or attacked. The Danish Prime minister announced yesterday that it was completely fine for Danes to go to Ukraine to kill Russians (while fighting against Islamic State remains punishable). Even Nazi activists heading to Ukraine to fight are suddenly being portrayed as heroes by liberal media. And politicians are lining up to think up more ways of punishing Putin and the Russian people.
What takes manly courage and strength at the moment, is to step back and see the big picture, to be a voice of reason, and to call for calm. We can be against the invasion of Ukraine and be aware of how hate and rash action can inflame the situation even more. We are dealing with a nuclear armed superpower. The situation requires wisdom, introspection, a deep understanding of history and skillful diplomacy. No matter how bad we think things are right now, without these things, it can get far, far worse.
So are we able to stop up for just a moment, and to consider things from a Russian perspective? Can we categorically reject the Russian concern that the West is aggressively exporting a delusional and parasitic ideology of Woke? Were the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq really more justified than Ukraine? Aren’t there plenty of examples where Western meddling in regime change in other countries has gone horribly wrong? Can the ideals of secular liberal democracy be used as a front to usher in a materialist empire of zombie consumerism? And are we so sure that NATO’s expansionist policies have no connection to the opening of new markets to Western capitalism?
Whatever your answer to these questions, one thing we can be sure of: War serves the power elites of the East and the West. The people who suffer are everyone else – Normal people. Families, homes, local communities, associations, civil society. The reason why we are so vulnerable to a state of war at the moment, is because of the atomisation of our society through the destruction of communities between the individual and the state. We have a generation of young men who are lonely, isolated and lacking direction and purpose. With little to live for, the opportunity to play the hero in a war against the invasion of evil can suddenly seem very attractive for many.
So hereby a call, to re-orientate our attention back to what is really important – those around us, our families, our loved ones, our local communities. If we strengthen our connection to these things, then we have the best possible defense against being pulled into joining into the beating of the drums of war. And if war does come to us, and make no mistake – that may happen – then we will be as prepared as we possibly can be, to stand strong, to fight well, and, if we are called to it, to even die for what we believe in.