I suppose everyone’s eyes are on the Ukraine this weekend, and Referendum enthusiasts in particular. It looks pretty obvious to me that if we in Scotland really want to get a yes-vote in ours, we should be making a few phone-calls to the Russians. By God, that’s the way to get it done, that’s what I call a referendum, and two fingers to anyone that tries to stop us. We don’t seem to have heard a lot recently from that Barroso guy either. Could the line of that old Edgar Broughton song be applicable: wait till the Russians get hold of you….
It’s interesting though, the sense of deja vu over in Eastern Europe – well, not exactly deja vu – even I’m not quite old enough to remember the 1930’s, and though I don’t have a great deal of good to say about Proud Empires, it does seem like good common sense, when they’re in decline, or are otherwise having a rough time, to treat them with a bit of sensitivity. Maybe you couldn’t expect that of the thuggish ruling elites in western Europe after 1918, but you would have thought that by the 1990’s there’d have been some element of Learning from History, and I remember thinking at the time that the West was going to have cause to regret its snotty-nosed attitudes towards Russia when it was down on its knees after the fall of communism. So now, on the one hand, the chickens hatched from our shortsightedness are coming home to roost and we don’t like it much; and on the other we don’t want to do too much about it anyway because London’s economy is raking in the loot from Russia’s corruption, as evinced by its current lunatic housing market. I doubt if the people of London, any more than the people of Britain in general, are getting much benefit from this either, but then that’s how corruption works isn’t it. Mrs Thatcher & pals used to say that was all all right because of the trickle-down effect.
Maybe we’re actually being given a second chance, focussed on Russia’s patent moves to re-expand. A second chance of what? Well, to try out a bit of appeasement, of course. I know no-one’s suggesting that this whole Ukraine business will really-and-truly end in another European war – no-one ever does suggest such things, but of course we all know that war’s awfully good for failing economies – but there is an element in western thinking of By Jingo we should give those damned Russkies something to think about, rather than, say, looking at the situation from the other-way-round, whereby the West has been steadily chipping away at Russian power and influence wherever it could in the last couple of decades – thus for example the invention of a “nation” called Ukraine – and getting the Russians more and more alarmed. Anyway, appeasement: I notice this has become a recent thought-atavism, viz. if we appease tyrants, by George world stability is going to be completely undermined; or something of the sort – and of course there are those odd – quite paltry, highly exceptional – cases where we bolster up the odd tyrant for the sake of world stability. I don’t know what a strategy of Appeasement towards Germany in the nineteen-thirties would have achieved – perhaps avoided a war (and apart from boosting the economy I’m not quite sure what a war achieves – it doesn’t even seem to manage so well in its one, theoretically, potential benefit of reducing the human population); perhaps avoiding a war would have actually worked to reduce the extremities of suffering inflicted on the Jewish people – and who knows? a brutalised new Israel wouldn’t have been able to emotionally blackmail the West into supporting its untenable claims in the Middle East and we might not still be wondering what to do about that festering sore in the eastern Mediterranean. What else? Possibly the new generation of German youth might even have grown out of the jackboot-style, and the one following that have grown their hair long and taken to smoking dope. But, hey, we did the decent thing, didn’t we: we fought (and won, yes!) a Just War and – well, it wasn’t a war to end wars, certainly – quite the opposite in fact, but no wars at all would be really, really bad for the economy, and at least we confined most of the ensuing warfare to people with dark skins.
What I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, as it looks as though we’re not actually going to have much of a winter and I start rushing around trying to re-plant little trees in all the odd corners of Coldhome where they could, one day, be of most benefit both to us and our non-human neighbours – what I’ve been thinking is that there do seem to be hopeful signs of a paradigm shift in our evaluation of how the “natural” world really ticks. Distasteful as almost everything about Globalisation is, I think it may well be teaching us important lessons about interdependency, which is something that wasn’t really addressed in Darwinism, for the simple reason that Darwinism was built on the once-current paradigm of capitalism with its roots in imperial expansionism. The whole paradigm of empire/capitalism has been around for so long that we’ve nearly fallen into thinking of it as something inevitable in human society. Naturally, it isn’t. But while new science is steadily unpicking many of the dreary structures of Darwinism, I suppose there’s going to be a good chance that there will be a few dinosaurs left behind to trouble us. The question then is, is Russia going to be a ravening Tyrannosaur, a cuddly Diplodocus or – somewhere between the two – just a grumpy Triceratops?