A number of idealist ideas about the world will need revising along with a number of rule books, strategic plans and reports. So much of what we thought we knew will need revising in the light of the largest full scale war in Europe since the Second World War.
One of the most significant issues highlighted has been Europe’s dependency on fuel from Russia and the possibility of fuel shortages and massive price rises should the West decide to cut off the fuel links with Russia.
Would the west have to reinstate major fuel exploration and production including coal and North Sea oil? How would this sit with those campaigning on climate change? There is a price to pay for this war and the repercussions of what we see being played out on our TV screens on a daily basis will be far reaching, politically, economically and socially.
The scale of pollution as the result of the war can be seen on a daily basis as plumes of black smoke rise from fuel depots. The constant bombing of the cities across Ukraine will also be having an impact on the natural habitat. The threat of a nuclear disaster is also high.
There is already a pervasive tone of ‘nothing else matters’ with responses to ordinary daily news and problems people face in their daily lives, which is seen as ‘whinging’ with the addendum ‘quit moaning you could be in Ukraine’. Whether you use a log fuelled fire or whether you drive an electric car in order to offset your carbon footprint seems irrelevant when it is forecast that millions of people will be displaced and without a home or country to claim citizenship. The neighbouring countries of Ukraine have opened the borders and allowed people in without the bureaucratic red tape while here in the UK those rules and regulations have yet to be revised in order to comply with and foster a humanitarian gesture to women and children who have fled their homes leaving most of their possessions behind. Half a million children are now refugees.
This is 2022. A world leader who not so long ago was sitting with the other world leaders discussing climate change and the global economy. The speculation is that Vladimir Putin has been planning this war for more than six months. It took a chess player to tell the world that the West should have made its move long before it came to Vladimir Putin raising his hand to unleash hell on the innocent.
The West has responded with sanctions. Businesses withdraw their presence in Russia. Still the Ukrainian president calls for more action. The U.S. President Joe Biden dithers on whether the U.S. should cut off the fuel for cash link with Putin. He is taking stock of the situation. Is he working out the financial implications, the costs, the hardships for Americans at the gas station or in their homes and at the shopping malls?
Ordinary people donate items, send cash donations and governments promise millions of pounds. What happens to that money is unclear. It seems to make more sense to use those vast sums to start providing modular buildings, whole towns and villages to house those refugees who are fleeing. There may be some coordination but as we have seen following so many disasters, often the goods and cash somehow get diverted and hijacked by unscrupulous sources.
The book on humanitarian aid is being rewritten too. How to operate and how not to operate as a nation in response to a humanitarian disaster.
There are a lot of people right now reading out the rules, the policies, the directorates and the reports at meetings attended by high powered individuals representing numerous countries but it is short shrift for the Ukrainians who must be asking themselves why us? Where is the help? Why has no one been able to stop this hell on Earth?
One journalist posed the question as to whether Vladimir Putin would reap destruction on cities, which contain such special and historic buildings, places of worship and cultural treasures specific to Russia. That question has been answered with an emphatic ‘YES’ as his army shells anything in its path in a bid to capture this land of devastation to be populated again by who? Russians? Ukrainians? The same Russians and Ukrainians who hid or fled under the relentless bombing.
If the geographical landscape changes and Russia implements a new iron curtain who will rebuild? Would things go back to some kind of normal? It is hard to imagine that ever happening. There is already a host of people gathering evidence to hold the perpetrators of war crimes to account. How could such a man share the world stage again with the leaders of those countries who witnessed his inhumane ‘special military mission’ against a population made up of people like you or I. People of all races and religions.
Thankfully journalism has been changing for many years and now we are seeing the full power of the citizen armed with a camera or phone. All the posts showing death, destruction, cruelty and carnage will be gathered we are told. There will be no hiding place for the perpetrators as and when they can be apprehended. Of course if the chief orchestrator happens to be the World’s most powerful man behaving as a dictator, surrounded by the might of the Russian forces then we may have to wait a very long time to see justice delivered. This is a example of how world politics just does not work. The power given to an individual with a cult of personality leaving him untouchable, unanswerable, unaccountable and dangerous while the mass majority of citizens hold an opposite view. A prime example of a perverse and corrupt system exposed in the 21st century for all its festering bile and evil. Dealing in misery and death and holding anyone who dares oppose the doctrine to ransom with an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Change has to come and not through the barrel of a gun.
In 1989 Nicolae Ceaucescu another despot dictator was executed along with his wife. It followed a bloody revolution where he ordered his forces to fire on Romanian civilians. There came a pivotal moment when the army turned and joined the revolutionaries.
There are some comparisons which could be made between Ceaucescu and Putin. What Ceacescu deliberately inflicted on his people is being inadvertently inflicted on Putin’s people as a result of sanctions. Ceaucescu limited free speech and opinions that did not favour the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) were forbidden. Ceaușescu created a cult of personality and had a number of megalomaniac projects, such as the construction of the grandiose House of the Republic. Could the same fate suffered by one Eastern European despot await the diminutive figure of Vladimir Putin? Wil the people turn?
Pic. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons