Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An old fart asks: Is Israel’s ‘shock and awe’ so much more morally reprehensible than that of George Dubya and Tony Blair? Discuss and digress. And beware anti-semitism: it hasn’t died, you know

It strikes me as sadly ironic that as Western Europe commemorates the several million of soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in World War I – ‘The Great War’ is was and still is called, though I can’t for the life of me think why – things are shaping up rather badly for a sequel. And things are shaping up rahter badly for a sequel even as we still here the echoes of all the fine speeches about ‘lessons being learnt’ and ‘this must never happen again’.

I am still dubious about whether increasing age makes you more pessimistic or whether you just happen to notice more. Certainly, when I was my son’s age, 15, in 1965 things did not, at times, look good, but I was not aware, as he most certainly isn’t, of impending doom, disasater and catastrophe. To put it another way: is it the case that there there isn’t more doom, disaster and catastrophe about now than there was then, but that it just seems that way to me. Frustratingly, the world will not know until we are able to look back more objectively on these years in 70 years - frustratingly because I will most certainly no longer be around to benefit from those more objective judgments from the historians of the future.

Take Ukraine (and I must resist the almost automatic tendency to call it The Ukraine as I gather Ukrainians get rather upset if you do as it simply means ‘the Borderlands). I read today somewhere that Russia is massing ever more troops on the border with Ukraine. Now why would they be doing that? I think there is no doubt that the West’s spineless reaction to Putin’s adventurism have certainly encouraged him. For if he felt he was risking real war, why would he bother.

We assume he is, whatever else he is, a rational man who knows he is risking a great deal, so we must also assume that he reasons he can get away with whatever he is planning. Certainly, there has been no kind of co-ordinated response from the West: the EU is about as useless as a chocolate teapot in that now push might come to shove, each member state is most certainly first looking to their individual national interests and stuff the previously lauded ideals of ‘the project’. Germany is heavily dependent upon Russian oil and will think more than twice before agreeing to sanction any action which could see the country plunged into an energy crisis. Oh, and it is also further in the front line than many other EU states.

I heard today (though I have no way of verifying the claim) that Russia has quietly been cosying up to Greece and Cyprus by being financially generous. If it came to an EU vote on any matter intended to disadvantage Russia, one must ask just who loyally those to nations would toe the EU line. Most certainly it is on. Another question which has been nagging me is what exactly happened to all those ‘extreme-right’ types who came to prominence in Ukraine during the interregnum of Yanukoych’s departure and Peroshenko’s arrival. Have they all handed in whatever weapons they had and returned home to take up origami? I rather doubt it. Yet there has been little reported of their activities these past few months. And I remember at the time (and mentioned as much in this blog) that I was extremely sceptical about their bona fides. They must be up to something, but what?

So could there be some kind of conflict in Eastern Europe between Russia and Nato? Who knows? But it seems to me rather obvious that Putin is once again relying on Western pusillanimity and the usual ‘hard-hitting’ ban on the importation of caviar and Russian dolls to show the Russian bear that the West is not to be toyed with.

Then there is the ongoing fuck-up in the Middle East where all dreams of an ‘Arab spring’ are comprehensively being shown up for the pie in the sky they always were. Egypt once more has a military dictator with whom we will be obliged to do business despite the unsavoury nature of his regime; Libya is descending into chaos; the cutthroats who call themselves Isis who are trying to establish an Islamic caliphate in parts of Syria and northern Iraq are going from strength to strength; and, as usual, the knive ares out for Israel, the one country with (in my view) the backbone to stand up for itself in the face of murderous action by Hamas.

Yes, I know that at least 1,200 innocents have died because of Israel’s resolute action, to which I respond: why are the critics not equally castigating Hamas for the cowardly way it used those people as human shields? And, despite the intermittent protest over the invasion of Iraq by those to worthless saps George Dubya and Tony

Shock and awe: Gaza or Baghdad? You decide

Blair, I don’t seem to remember much hand-wringing over the many, many more civilian deaths caused by the heroic Allied ‘shock and awe’ bombing of Baghdad or the subsequent murderous internecine bombings which resulted and are still resulting in many, many deaths.

As far as I know, more than 200,000 non-combatant men, women and children have been killed in Iraq since 2003, but all we got from the various Western government departments set up to ‘express regret’ were expressions of regret and the observation that ‘these things happen in war’.

So here’s a question: isn’t Israel entitled to give the same explanation? Apparently not. And as far as I am concerned the once crucial fact which distinguishes Bush’s and Blair’s actions from those of Israel recently is that Blair and Bush aren’t

 Jewish, but the Israelis are. Anyone who thinks anti-semitism is a thing of the past also passionately believes in the tooth fairy. I do so loathe hypocrisy. But are things worse now when my son is 15 than they were when I was 15. No, not really. They always were bloody shitty.

But never mind, our very own British Coco the Clown, also known as Boris Johnson, today revealed that he will be seeking a seat at the coming 2015 general election to get back into Britain’s parliament. So that’s all right then. There always is a silver lining as long as you look hard enough.

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