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The nightmare of war that is with us forever

A critical precondition for peace is that people must desire it fiercely enough to argue, fight and even die for it. This is what we all may be doing soon enough if China uses force to conquer Taiwan and the United States intervenes

Image - Spiros Karkavela (Art of Future Warfare)
Art by Spiros Karkavela (Art of Future Warfare)


ADELAIDE - One of the unfathomable mysteries of human nature is the instinct to pursue violence and war.

History is, in many respects, just one long and dismal story of seemingly endless warfare.

The motivations for this have ranged from the lust to acquire more power, lands and property, through to the desire to impose a particular religion or ideology upon others.

A necessary part of this process is the demonisation of the opponent, much as Hitler characterised the Slavic and Jewish peoples as sub-human.

It is thus deeply ironic that some Russian apologists for Putin's war in Ukraine have described Ukrainians in very much the same terms.

The war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine are inspired by this type of pernicious rhetoric.

The same type of thinking motivates Papua New Guinean 'warriors' to victimise and murder innocent women for a death they cannot explain except in terms of their own irrational superstitions.

So much for the influence of the Christian faith in Papua New Guinea (or anywhere else for that matter).

I very much doubt that peace will be coming to Enga Province any time soon.

A critical precondition for peace is that people must desire it fiercely enough to argue, fight and even die for it.

This is what Ukrainians are doing now and, very probably, what we all may be doing soon enough if, as is widely believed, China means to use force to conquer Taiwan and then the United States intervenes.

While supposedly intelligent creatures, we humans all too often fall victim to our very worst impulses.

This is even while we know that the end result is unlikely to be good, or may even be disastrous, for us.

Cling onto your dreams, Daniel Kumbon, while you may, but history strongly suggests that it is your nightmares that are more likely to be fulfilled.



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Lindsay F Bond

Among motivations mentioned by Chris is 'imposition upon others', and in the context of the 'special military operation' by Russian forces, the motivation may well be how nationhood can be maintained among the folk of the vast region of the Eurasian Steppe.

There have been regimes that impose military discipline such that punishment could be anything from flogging to death.

Unsurprisingly, folk of persuasion other than extreme are likely to adopt moral limits to maintain 'selfhood', a term I propose for the act of disguising internal desire while evidencing outwardly a national expectation.

These thoughts were prompted by reading of one officer of Russia's special military, Dmitry Mishov, stating, "I am an officer, not an accomplice in a crime".

arthur williams

Chris that's a glowing bit of rhetoric: 'A critical precondition for peace is that people must desire it fiercely enough to argue, fight and even die for it.'

Yet worldwide it only seems to apply to the proletariat but not to most of the leaders of wars and revolutions. Instead they MUST remain behind the front lines as did Earl Haig or Hitler as they believed they were too valuable and knowledgeable to die fighting for their country. Even the current world hero Zelensky gets out of bed to daily don his army fatigues just like the bygone Ho Chin Minh, Castro, Stalin or Mao who too had their PR appealing uniforms.

War mongering Biden managed to get 5 medical deferments from military service yet while a student at Archmere Academy Biden played baseball and was a standout halfback and wide receiver on the high school football team. Nowadays he is happy to be able to support the Ukrainians with billions of munitions including his latest extra $3billion so-called aid which he means aid for the USA defence contractors.

I recall one suggestion for leaders to adopt before taking a nation to the horrors of war was for Hitler a one time painter to have a joust to the death with Stalin at one time a trainee priest. The winner's nation would then rule the losers. It would save time and would save many thousands possibly millions of lives; with no need for massive fortunes to be spent on rebuilding destroyed infrastructure There would be no need for trillions of dollars defence industries instead like former German Chancellor Merkel's priority policy was to spend on economic development for the good of all citizens rather than military might..

The Swiss made it their policy of being neutral since 1815 and of course have benefited immensely form that idea. They even founded the Red Cross in mid 19th century that continues to provide humanitarian aid for victims of violent world-wide confrontations. In its now over 200 years of neutrality it has produced an excellent happy enormously rich nation. In WW1 it was happy to continue to reap the rewards of being neutral when all around it idiot nations tried there best to wipe each other out of existence. In WW2 it repeated the Janus-like stance and once again played both sides for rich pickings too. Is there a positive for humanity of following the Swiss model or must we send our young men and women to battles to obtain peace.

The advent of more and more digital warfare perhaps will end the old fashioned methods of fighting and Biden or Putin's successors can sit in their offices while their chair-borne warriors watch computer screens and finger their keyboards allowing drones to terminate hundreds or thousands; hopefully enemies, in some distant land. While allied or enemy citizens going about their normal daily lives until a silent nuclear missile very quickly ends their dream-time existence.

If anything has come out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine it seems to me the idea of putting all your men in one basket called a tank is paseé. I suggest the use of aircraft carriers, submarines too are not only financially wasteful but also weapons from a bygone era.

I sought a quote about fighting and found this from someone who had many reasons to do so:
“Continuously, we have to fight to defeat the primitive tendency towards the glorification of arms, the adulation of force, born of the illusion that injustice can be perpetuated by the capacity to kill, or that disputes are necessarily best resolved by resort to violent means. — Nelson Mandela at 'I Was Born To Fight'

and for a good read there is The Guardian's Scott Atkinson essay of 2017/09/12 'Why men fight – and what it says about masculinity'

Like any man even at 83 I know I would fight to defend myself from an attacker - So no I am not a 100% pacifist but surely after our modern Hundred Years War surely there has to be a better way than war.

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