It’s hard for me and I suspect most people to think about more than the situation in Ukraine.
It is such a mess, so unnecessary and pointless.
If you have read any of my blogs, you will know that international affairs are not within my area of expertise, apologies for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in what I now write.
When I look at Ukraine and the West’s response to the invasion I think immediately of Syria and the ineffectual way in which we, the West allowed the destruction of that country.
The similarities are writ large across the actions of the aggressor, specifically one gawky guy, supported in that instance by Russia and China as he oversaw the devastation of his country and the creation of the biggest refugee crisis in modern times.
The West offered sanctions and strong words.
They offered the opposition weapons as they were over-run and killed.
Russia, or, more accurately, Putin and those who enable his position of power will almost certainly take the same tack as Assad.
Threats, sanctions, reprisals and the leaders still receive their freshly pressed trousers and croissants and quail’s eggs for breakfast, they will enjoy everything that the rich in every country enjoy.
In Pyongyang, the rich have their Cheetos and Dom Perignon whilst the population barter for rice and milk.
And Putin has not achieved his position alone. The sanctions I hear are targeting him and his foreign minister. Shouldn’t we be targeting the entire Russian oligarchy?
As the super-yachts sail into Portsmouth, with drunken oil barons partying on the profits of the people, shouldn’t they be impounded, locked up or at least locked-out?
Putin has threatened the world with nuclear war. No, he didn’t say those words, although suggesting reprisals the likes of which we have never seen is the same thing.
Could he, would he?
What is it that drives these people to behave the way they do?
My daughter was watching Channel 4 news with me the other night; there was a short of Tony Blair shaking hands with Putin – it must have been in the 90’s.
‘How old is he?’ She gasped.
Blair has moved-on, his healthy complexion soaking-up the after-effects of premiership.
What keeps some of these men going and going? Bullying, dominating in their tyranny?
Is Putin a ‘great man’ as the theory goes? One whose actions and destiny shape the lives of millions of others?
I guess if he is great, Trump is great and, great is not so great.
That human tendency to self-interest is at its extreme in these individuals.
We are all the same.
(human, all too human)
We could impose meaningful sanctions on Russia – that would hurt the poor, as always, and without hurting the rich, what will change?
Sure, the poor might see beyond the propaganda they are fed, the news behind the news to see that the shortages of basic commodities are not because of Biden or Zelenskyy, but secondary to the actions of Putin, and move to take him out.
That is crazy, impossible.
It is only if those already in power see they must push Putin out, and are happy to jeopardise their positions, their wealth and dachas might they act. And the self-interest of their potential failure which would see their end and that of their families.
A difficult love-hate triangle.
I can’t see myself being brave enough to take a pot-shot at Putin, knowing that if I miss, it is me that is shot.
These folk have an uncanny habit of dodging the bullet.
And what do I know of any of this?
All I see are flashes of light, the light of missiles and rockets flying across the Ukrainian night.
What do I know at all?
If you have read this and realise I have told you nothing new, offered nothing that is not on the news, apologies.
It feels ironic, in that a fortnight ago, I attended a session with Chis Lubbe Nelson Mandela’s former bodyguard, now working for the NHS.
He talked of Ubuntu.
I am, because we are.
The idea, the ideal is great.
How do we move beyond this into action?
How do we, the billions walking round the streets of our neighbourhoods bring our focus to undo the badness that is out there, how do we join together and make a change that is more than words, more than staring at a TV screen?