21 February 2023

No 'peace in our time'.

So, its now a war of words between, in the blue corner, Joe Biden and, in the red corner, Vladimir Putin. A year ago, Putin must have expected to drive straight into Kyiv and hoist the flag of the Russian Republic yet, here we are, a year later with Putin nowhere near driving into Kyiv and what looks like a stalemate on the battlefield.
The battle for Ukraine looks more and more like a proxy war between the west, represented by Ukraine, and the Russian Republic, represented by the Republic's armed forces. Its unclear just how much support the Russian forces are receiving from other nations, certainly drones from Iran and other armaments from North Korea but, at present, China seems to be on the fence. So given the huge disparity in size between Ukraine and Russia, its pretty clear that the arms going into Ukraine from Europe and America, are holding the Russian at bay, if not pushing them back.

The question is, how long can this effort be sustained, either by Ukraine (and their supporters) or Russia and it may come down to who has the most to loose. Comparing the two sides, Ukraine has nothing to loose and everything to gain. Putin, on the other hand, has everything to loose. He cannot back down because it would be a catastrophic loss of face and he would probably be six feet under withing minutes. So, we probably face a war of attrition to see who gives up first and it makes me wonder about the purpose of war, in the modern age.

Many years ago, Edwin Starr posed the question, 'War, what is it good for?' and answered his own question thus, 'Absolutely nuthin', but it still seems like a popular activity. What I don't understand is the unbelievable cost of warfare where the strategy would seem to be to lay waste to the country which you fight against. The images from Syria showing the country after Assad's war (supported by Putin) which left towns and cities in ruins. Where was the point in that? And the same is happening in Ukraine. If Putin were to be successful, what would he inherit? A country with little infrastructure and a huge well of hatred for its attackers/invaders.

Other commentators have observed that Crimea was the problem. Putin started with Crimea and, had Europe and America supported Ukraine in 2014, Putin might not have tried again. No guarntees of course but it would certainly have been less likely. Neville Chamberlain's 'peace in our time' is an example that we might do well to pay attention to.