I went to bed reminded of living as a child of the bomb, not expecting to reach adulthood because of the permanent threat of nuclear war and obliteration. No point working for the school exams or planning a future, because there would not be one. And now there are news stories looking breathlessly at nuclear escalation as an exciting prospect.
- BBC: Ukraine invasion: Would Putin press the nuclear button? Warning Putin would likely initiate a thermonuclear disaster if we do not give him what he wants.
- BBC: Newspaper headlines: Putin issues nuclear threat as backlash grows All the papers saying it is going nuclear, except one talking about evacuation and another about being brave for mother (because we’re all going to die).
- BBC: Ukraine invasion: Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert With lots of ambiguous Be afraid! No, really it’s probably fine! messages.
This is why we should have got rid of nuclear weapons by now. We are still living in fear of total destruction which is supposedly there to protect us.
- BBC: Ukraine conflict: Putin’s war prompts dramatic German U-turn On Sunday (yesterday) Germany announced an additional £84bn per year for the German armed forces. Germany would be sending weapons direct to Ukraine.
So the post WW2 constitutional attitude of Germany being a peaceful nation in Europe is over. It feels like we’ve gone back 90 or more years in European peaceful negotiation and concepts. Once again a militarised Germany in the centre of Europe, throwing its weight about. And providing the arms for a war in another country: great way to get back into the game, Germany, by supporting a proxy war. Start out at a low level, why don’t you?
And Germany has committed to providing 2% to NATO, so NATO’s budget goes up as a result of Russia’s actions. Well done NATO for coming out the winner in this. The most powerful state in the world with a national flag, national anthem, guaranteed budget paid by taxpayers elsewhere and with no democratically elected leaders. Amazing.
Lots of countries are promising to send weapons of various sorts. Russia is on the outskirts of Kiev. By the time they have been found, ready to be boxed up, it will all be over. But the contracts and orders with the arms manufacturers will still go ahead. It is just throwing money at the arms industry that will have no effect. What are they going to do with them when they are ready for shipment in a couple of months – send them to the Russians occupying Ukraine? “Oh, these are items in the stores!”. They have to be gathered up, boxed up, transport arranged, receipt arranged, training booked, maintenance arranged, documentation provided … it won’t happen.
- Guardian: EU to ban Russian state-backed channels RT and Sputnik The EU will ban the Russian state-backed channels in an unprecedented move against the Kremlin media machine.
And the censorship has begun. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan I found it very interesting watching the mainstream news and listening to the BBC World Service, Voice of America and Radio Moscow and comparing the different versions of events. By tracking what each was saying about the front moving back and forth in my school atlas, and keeping track of the losses and gains reported on each side, I was able to work out which was utter bobbins and which seemed reasonably accurate, albeit with some spin. The Voice of America was utter bonkers fiction; the others were generally aligned. Fake news and lies in the media are not a new thing. Censorship in the West is.
What an unpleasant weekend. How quickly politicians will re-instate a Cold War and military escalation when given the opportunity, rather than trying to sort their problems out.
Welcome to living with fear.