On the war in Ukraine

Power play in Ukraine War

I have no dog in this fight, for the moment, except for the fact that 2 of my friends are stuck in Kyiv. I hope they remain safe. The above article puts most of the responsibility for the war on NATO, EU expansion and US foreign policy. Since I am not a student of Int’l politics or foreign policy, I let those more knowledgeable to comment and share their views.

As for me, I hope the war ends soon with no much further loss of life.

How will war end?

We are back again to this question now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, and for the time being, Abiy’s war in Ethiopia is momentarily forgotten, how will war end?

I accept to be called naive with respect to war but I must ask, what is it about soldiers that makes them religiously obedient? What is it about rapine others who have done them no harm propels them to action? Is the promise of a medal should they die on battle so tempting that all commonsense goes out of their ears?

Now, someone will remind me, as often as they have, that I sleep peacefully at night because of the soldiers. Well, I pay them as a start. Secondly it’s unlikely that my neighbours would want to attack me at the scale possible only with an organised state or non state actor. Which, I think, makes their point a moot one.

I have two friends in Kyiv and for the moment they are safe. And I hope it remains that way for long.

Now is an opportune moment to ask if there’s a just war? I am tempted to say that the Ukrainians have every right to defend themselves against an aggressive neighbour who threatens their existence as a sovereign state, in fact to use whatever is in their power to do so whilst every avenue is sought to bring hostilities to an end.

To peace.

The world is a funny place

Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel Peace Prize winner is at the front lines directing War effort against his fellow countrymen in a war that looks like it will not end soon.

Another Nobel Peace Prize president dropped more bombs than I can count on unsuspecting Somalis, Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis and I don’t know where else where drones could find targets and collateral to justify the costs of buying those things in the first place.

Maybe I should get a Peace Prize too. I don’t know for what though.

Or maybe I am missing something?

who died and made you king

Yes, I know there is a song and even the meeting of the sentence but i just think it is an appropriate heading for what is to come next. Yesterday i was reading this post where I think the suggestions made were way reasonable. That America should focus on peaceful means and all until our resident defender of western values showed up to inform us that is idle talk, dreams of 12 year olds, so to speak. The military industrial complex and the emperor must all be appeased and pursuing peaceful coexistence through trade and cultural exchange and limiting the military to national defence and maybe international peacekeeping missions with other nations.

Maybe I am missing something since I live so far removed from the military or its workings that maybe it is important to have military outposts in every other country, occasionally have your spy agency overthrow democratically elected presidents and have drone assassinations miles away from home where children caught in the crossfire are collateral damage (what were they doing there, playing? Don’t know there are drones overhead?).

Tell me what you all think? William Astore or Tildeb?

On human intelligence or lack of it

I cant recall who it was that said he is displeased by anyone who doubts that we are intelligent or who compares our intelligence to that of other animals. Though I like what Plutarch wrote

For I do not believe there is such difference between beast and beast, in point of reason and understanding and memory, as between man and man.

Plutarch

but the most relevant to this post is

The man from Mars who saw how men suffered in the last war and how frantically they are preparing for the next war, which they know will be worse, would come to the conclusion that he was looking at the denizens of a lunatic asylum.

Norman Thomas, 1935

I just finished reading AC Grayling’s An enquiry on war where he reviews many topics around war such as what causes war, justifications for it, future of war and such. My contention and I think Grayling would agree is that as long as our nation states continue to build arsenal in preparation for war, we cannot claim to be intelligent. In a world where there is starvation, homelessness, disease, poverty, it is insanity to keep spending trillions of dollars on armaments. It is madness. Blind folly.

Maybe some day war will end and until that day, we must remember that man is only capable of being intelligent but may not be intelligent, yet.

Ethiopia is at war

With itself and the Nobel Peace prize winner prime minister is dropping bombs the way Obama released drones to wherever he thought there were terrorists lurking. Any bystander death was collateral damage for the greater good.

Some country in the old soviet Union is at war too.

Everywhere there is war or rumours of a war. Can’t we choose our struggles wisely. Maybe deal with the pandemic before we start killing one another for territory.

I saw in the news there is a vaccine that is 90% effective. While I am no doctor, I am a little clever. All the known Coronaviruses that attack us mutates so fast you will need a vaccine every year. And while we have been told how effective, we don’t as yet know what would be the side effects of this vaccine. I hope they don’t try it on Africans first. The history of botched vaccination on the continent reads like a horror story.

Have a peaceful day, won’t you!

Random things

In Nigeria presently is in crisis. It is a good time to say black lives matter or should we say African lives matter. The irony of it all was to hear Raila urge the Nigerian government to stop police brutality. Kenyan police seems to have learnt only how to brutalise citizens.

In his book, for us the living, Heinlein makes a point that has been made here and elsewhere that to reduce war, there has to be a vote. He argues that those who vote yes must be in the first draft. This must include those billionaires who fund wars. And we can’t allow them to buy poor people to fight on their behalf. He then says those who are undecided should be in the second draft and finally those who vote no in the last draft, if the war lasts that long. I am almost sure fewer wars will be fought.

Is this narrative of perpetual progress that’s been sold to us sustainable? I like a new phone. A new computer. A new car and all but in some way this all has a cost to the environment and available resources. Question is how long will keep this on? I am no enemy of progress but I wonder if all progress is good or even desirable.

I used to wonder if automation will take away jobs or make our lives easier. But it does look like we continue to toil away- seemingly after the biblical dictum that they who don’t work shall not eat- at sometimes boring jobs that we don’t like just to make a living. Does the future hold better prospects for our working people?

Have a thoughtful weekend everyone.

Who becomes a police officer or a soldier?

I am most definitely biased against soldiers and I have a general dislike for police officers. Just to be clear I have cop friends but I think their training (especially here in Kenya) makes them inhuman.

1. They join because they are broke

2. They join because they want adventure

3. They are out of options( have no better job prospects)

4. Are children of higher ups somewhere and have been enlisted because of who they know

5. A false belief that soldiers are heroes

6. Come from a family of soldiers

Did I leave something out?