The lukewarm war, threatening to become hot

One can’t stop wondering about the deep irrationality and inconsistency that the human species is capable of. I had a friend once who was very emotional and loved his children beyond everything. If they had died, he probably would have lost all reason for living himself. At the same time, he was a raving right-wing apologist, warmongering fiercely against our standard enemies. Never did he connect the two discrepancies and realize that his sons could be among those killed in the war he acted as to facilitate.

And this man is just one among millions deceived in the same way. We are all prone to swallow even the most stupid propaganda and conjure up hatred against “enemies” who for some reason are considered suitable. Today the number one of these enemies is Russia. And that’s nothing new.

Through the centuries Russia has endured constant pressure from western powers, and numerous attempts by them to conquer the vast Eurasian land. Not that Russia ever has posed a significant threat westwards; it obviously must be conquered just because it exists (like mountaineers say about the next mountain top).

In the beginning of the 18th century Sweden’s king Charles XII was one who tried but was stopped already in Ukraine by Петр Великий. Charles ruined his country through endless wars, which he carried through mainly because that kind of life pleased him. The positive side of his catastrophic adventures was that Sweden became forever cured from all dreams of being a permanent great power in Europe. (Instead we eventually turned into a role model in peaceful achievements.)

We know the other attempts to conquer Russia in wars of aggression: France under Napoleon, Germany in WWI and Western powers in the civil war following the revolution. When Germany again in WWII steamrolled its war machine eastwards it was at least with a declared motive, stated in Generalplan Ost. According to the plan, more than half the population in occupied East were to be exterminated or deported, the remaining to be used as slave labor in the service of the Nazi empire. Executing the plan started without delay, and 14 million civilians were murdered by SS and their accomplices before the killers were stopped.

Lack of aggression, comparatively speaking, on the part of Russia against other countries can hardly be attributed to moral superiority, rather to military weakness. Occasionally they have tried, for instance when they occupied Manchuria in 1900, where they were punched in the nose by the Japanese.

During the first Cold War (which we now experience over again) the Soviet Union was pictured by us as the main aggressive power, threatening the whole world. And yes, they performed some horrible atrocities in eastern Europe such as in East Germany 1953 (55 killed), in Hungary 1956 (3 000 killed) and in Czechoslovakia 1968 (72 killed). We have these crimes in vivid memory, frequently reminded by our propaganda outlets.

The Soviets engaged in one major military operation during the post-war period – the war in Afghanistan. It may have been as close to R2P one can get, since the objective was to help the Afghan government, probably the best government that country has ever had. Nevertheless, the Russians simply proved that war mostly lead to disaster. US was provoked to create the Mujahidin to fight the Russians, the government was overthrown and ultimately the Taliban arrived at the scene. In the end the Soviet system collapsed.

For being the giant threat to the world one must say that Soviet Union was rather modest compared to the western world, led by USA. In almost perpetual wars – one more illegal and immoral than the other – millions and millions of people have been killed, mostly innocent civilians. That is something we more rarely are reminded of.

(To be continued…)

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