middle ground

The papers call for warfare!
“Free Crimea!” come the cries!
The papers print that Putin’s wicked sins
Reach to the skies!
Yet what the papers print (in bold font),
Putin just denies;
Are Russians really rascals and
Are western leaders wise?
I read the internet, so all I know is
Our side always lies.

DB 2014

 

I am not very superstitious. But I was almost made a believer back on Friday, April 13th. I really feared that we could spark some kind of nuclear war by bombing Syria. Turns out we did not. Maybe we were profoundly lucky that day. I briefly considered becoming triskaidekaphilic. But, why bother? There will be a next time, and maybe another next time, but, sooner or later, our luck will run out. Anyone who plays too much Russian roulette would tell you this, if they could.

American and France and British armed forces launched about 100 missiles into Syria. Turns out not much damage was done. Turns out nobody was killed. Was that on purpose by us, or was that a strong defense by them? At some level, these exchanges are learning opportunities. Each side gets to see what the other side can and will do. The lessons of this instance will be used to extrapolate what the other side might do next time. Each side hopes to spot a weakness. Each sides hopes they hid their own real shortcomings. It’s feint and counter-feint. For both sides there’s a lot of uncertainty, and the lessons learned are subject to many interpretations. From each side, there are a lot of individuals watching, all of them nervous.

So things could go really wrong really quick.

Now, most Canadians are pretty confident that our side is morally right. We are right in a sense so fundamental that it is beyond any need for justification. And our morally reprehensible adversaries, those twisted evil denizens of Moscow and Damascus, or lurking in dark recesses in Tehran and Beijing and Pyongyang: they are depraved madmen, depraved beyond any concept of redemption.

If you do feel that way, and see no trace of irony or hyperbole in the paragraph above, don’t worry: I do not intend to try to dissuade you with this post.

No. I want to tell you a story. This story is for both the true believers and the few who question the official narrative. It is, I think, a plausible story. It starts off with the next time.

Next time, in the name of freedom, we bomb somewhere, but something goes a bit wrong. Maybe some Russian soldiers get killed. Or maybe some Russian soldiers get scared or confused, or are just evil, and they shoot back and some good Americans get killed. Then what happens?

Our side will demand justice, and their side will just have to back down like the venal cowards they are. But they don’t back down, because they are crazy. And instead, they take it up a notch. But we do not back down to bullies, and we do not negotiate with terrorists. We are in the right. We try to dissuade them from further escalation with some show of righteous force. But, again, they are too foolish, too prideful, too afraid to loose face. They do not back down. And soon armies are marching in foreign lands. And once one side’s army gets some significant advantage, battlefield nukes get used. It’s a big step! And we, or they, retaliate, righteously or treacherously, accordingly. It’s pretty rough on the people who live near the battlefields. But soon enough they are all gone, and what comes next?

nuclear bomb

Well, somewhere along in this story, there is a fateful moment of truth. At a decision-maker level, one side will realize they are really winning, while the management on the other side will glumly concede to themselves that they are really loosing.

The winning side would like the war to now stop. They want to take charge of what’s still left and celebrate their greatness. You might think the loosing side wants the war to stop too, because they are loosing all the good stuff they had. But probably not; there’s no up side to surrendering. That will just lead to enslavement for the people and death for the leaders. The have to try one more gambit. They need some leverage, some position from which to negotiate something for themselves.

They have to nuke one of their rivals’ big cities.

It’s a horrible decision, but it makes good sense. Through this terrible act, the loosing side can  bring at least something to the table. They are the ones with nothing to loose. And, truly, it does make good sense, and that is why the winning-side leaders will know these are the thoughts passing through the minds of the loosing-side leaders. So, even winning has it’s problems. How to prevent your beaten adversary from taking that last desperate step? How, think the winning-side leaders, can the bad guys be persuaded, how can they be scared, into not doing that terrible deed? One idea springs to the winning side’s mind.

They have to nuke one of their rivals’ big cities.

Yeah, I know. Irony, eh? Well, catch this next bit. Let’s say Russia is loosing. Or, let’s say Russia is winning. Their leaders are desperate and terrified, or they are confident but cautious. In either scenario, what city will they think to bomb? Should they wipe out a US city? Probably not; winning or loosing, Americans would go wild for vengeance. Any US leader who cautioned restraint after that would be swept away. Maybe a European city? Too distant from the US mind. The loss of London or Paris wouldn’t have the required impact on Americans. It might not dissuade a winning America from pushing for ultimate victory, and it might not dissuade a loosing America from striking at Russia to eke out a negotiated peace.

A target that would shock Americans, but would not demand retaliation; the smoldering ruins nearby for Americans to see; the dazed and sick refugees lined up, begging at the border; the attack and the aftermath deeply shocking for Americans, a convincing but painless demonstration…

The most obvious candidates are Toronto or Vancouver, though any large Canadian city might do.

Would it work or not? Who can say? If it does work, Canadians will have been sacrificed to save the world from nuclear annihilation. That’s an impressive claim to fame. And, if it doesn’t work, well, we will just be the first ones to go. But, for the Russians in this story, winning or loosing, there is no down side to trying something like this. Canadians couldn’t hate them more than we do now.

Now, let me return for a minute to my favourite hobby horse. If we Canadians had Athenian democracy, I think we would not necessarily have a foreign policy independent of the US; we would still be standing shoulder to knee with the Americans. But, there would be some Canadians talking to Russians. We would have ‘newspapers’ reporting honestly about events and ideas in Russia. Until the war actually started, it would be ok for Canadians to voice a minority pro-Russian or an anti-war position. It would be part of our Canadian democratic culture. And the Russians would be aware of those few Canadians voices. And, for what it’s worth, they would know they’d have something, maybe something intangible, but still something, to loose by bombing us.

Well, we don’t practice Athenian democracy in Canada, so, off my hobby horse now and on to the point of this post. Which is: we might all die.

There is, of course, a natural inclination to doubt that. After all, my life is important. My state, my country, my tribe, they are important to humanity. Human’s are made in God’s image, we are the apex of Evolution on our precious planet.

Get Real! Nature tells that to all Her kids.

Stop pretending we will get out of this. We might. We might not. It’s too close to call, and you, whatever your opinion on Putin or Assad or Trump or Hillary or Minister Freeland, you should consider making a serious effort to survive. Canada is not an Athenian democracy. We do not have an honest news medium providing information with which you can make sensible decisions for your own safety. If a time comes to flee, you won’t learn it from Canadian news services.

I know that the mainstream news has often warned you against it, but you should wade into the internet and browse some ‘Fake News’. That’s the only way you will (maybe) know when it’s safe to stay in your home, or if it’s time to head for the hills. Here are some sites that I have found consistently provide real information about foreign dangers. Consistently they get out information that only days or weeks or months later is conceded in the Canadian mainstream news.

https://www.antiwar.com/

http://thesaker.is/

http://www.moonofalabama.org/

The authors at these sites do not all agree with each other all the time. But, from my experience, these sites are the most consistently correct predictors, and provide the best analysis of current events. I was able to discern that the attacks of April 13th were not going to be the trigger for a wider war by just after midnight that same evening.

If that fateful time does come, you may get hints at these sites that could save your life.


The image at the top is a crop of a Dymaxion map called Heatmap Land Deep Sea , by Jan Ulrich Kossmann of Germany. This was a runner up in the 2013 Dymaxion Challenge. Lights represent access to major urban centers.

I see the Saker used the analogy of Russian roulette in his article on April 20th. I wrote that part of this post above in preview mode a few days before that, and really I did come up with it independently. But it is so appropriate a metaphor. Great minds think alike? Can I use that excuse?

I really didn’t like writing this post. I felt I needed to put something out there after the scare I had on April 13th. I will go back to the dull useful safe topic of ‘accountability’ for the next post.

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2 Comments

  1. I am ready to hope that we can choose life. Probably because I work in the arts, and our business is connecting people, exploring our various glories. When we do that, we see so much of ourselves, and so much of wonder, in each other, that we may choose to find better ways together.
    None of this is to say that what you write isn’t valid; but so is arts work, and so is sport, as a means to play out by a more sane and beautiful proxy, all the troubles between us….

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