Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Rising Drum of War

There are moments – increasingly more and more as the days wear on – where I feel as if we are in July 1914, sometime between the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the actual outbreak of war in August 2014.

You missed the assassination, you say? There has not been a single (or signal) event like that, just a series of increasingly aggressive confrontations of words and finger pointing between ourselves and (it seems) a lot of different people: the Russians, the Syrians, the Chinese, now (apparently) the Yemenis.

I cannot remember – at least in recent memory – the number of times I have heard of repeated discontinuations of the ability to communicate (broken diplomatic relations) or accusations of a grey war on both sides: “You bombed this; no, you broke into this; no, you shot this at that.”

Boom, boom, boom go the drum beats. Softly, but with ever increasing intensity.

Good heavens, the Cold War was an amusement park compared to this, at least the latter half that I remember. We confronted each other, we called each names, we mocked the other side – but not since the Cuban Missile Crisis did we engage in such brinksmanship. The memories were too fresh, the acknowledgment of potential tragedy too near.

But that generation is gone – at least from our shores and leadership – and we are left with people who seem to view the whole thing as a sort of video game, something without consequences where one can just hit the “reset” button and start over.

Never in all my recent years – since the collapse of the Soviet Union – can I remember such repeated and continued attempts to threaten and bluster and push the envelope.

Boom, boom, boom.

You will remember what happened in July 1914 of course: everyone claimed that they did actually desire war but that once mobilization plans were put into place, they simply could not be stopped. War became a fait accompli, mostly because of the fact that everyone was reacting to someone else and no country was willing to be the first to take a step back.

War and suffering have become unreal to us, a video game that we play and put away, a thing we watch online and perhaps are shocked by but then go back to security and placidity of our First World lives. We have had too many incidents with no personal consequences – oh, we may know veterans or a family that has lost someone, but we view almost with impunity the ability of our country to dabble in military conflicts with no impact to us.

My fear? Someday, in the not too distant future, we will look back at this time and wonder why someone - perhaps ourselves – did not have the courage to call out “Stop”.


Boom, boom, boom.

11 comments:

PeteForester1 said...

Someone I talked to recently said (concerning the possibility of Trump being elected president) "You don't know what it was like to have small children (my age), and hearing that nuclear war was almost imminent. I told this person "Consider yourself lucky! Your generation only had ONE enemy to keep track of! Nuclear war ALMOST happened in the early 60's. 9?11 DID happen. Subsequent terrorist acts, both in the U.S. and abroad, HAVE happened. The next terrorist act is BOUND to happen. Electing Hillary is going to do WHAT to stop this?"

Crickets... Nothing but crickets...

longtime wife said...

My son told me today that the Russians are having many of their diplomats and fringe personnel returning to Russia. I wonder why....

LindaG said...

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. And with all the changing of history, or the lack of teaching it, how can we do anything but repeat it?

And it won't go well, because we don't raise boys to be men any more. Or how I see it, anyway.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Pete, I am worried (frankly) because I see the current administration stoking the flames as quickly as possible. It is almost as if they are trying to make something happen.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Yes, Putin put out the recall for personnel as well as students studying abroad. Makes me wonder what he knows but we do not - even if it is as innocuous as having potential "hostages" in the event of tensions, it is not a good feeling for sure.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I have been dwelling a great deal lately on the fall of the Roman Republic. I suspect we are about to see history made before our ways, but not in the way people want or would think.

And no, it will not go well - and not just because we do not raise masculine men. We have raised an entire generation, both male and female, with the idea that they can protest and raise their fist without concern because their fellow citizens will not respond in kind. I fear that when the Jackboot of Orwell's future comes to pass, they will find their energy and initiative completely destroyed and be lost - but without the will to resist, as with populations in World War II.

LindaG said...

I definitely agree with that. And they want it to happen here.

LindaG said...

Peter, I remember those days. I remember the drills. Going under your desk, or out into the hallway and covering our heads. Worked for either bomb drills or tornado drills.

I remember the cold war and thinking I'd never have kids to live through that. Then I joined the Air Force, met my hubby, and Regan became President.

Now I find myself wondering if having kids was the right thing to do because America is definitely heading to hell in a hand basket. Everything accomplished by Kennedy, Reverend Dr. King, and Regan has been completely undone, and then some.

LindaG said...

Agreed. Sadly. I have said in other places before, we do not have what it took, to be The Greatest Generation.

I blame the last 8 years, more than any. Not saying it didn't start before then, but the last 8 years has definitely seen the destruction of the order of law. Much as you discussed in your other post.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Linda, all we can do is make the best decisions we can given the information we had at the time. I am not sure that what we see coming is necessarily a reason not to do things like have children - although I read an article recently that women in Venezuela are getting sterilized for that very reason. If it truly takes hold, there will be an entire generation of Venezuelans that will not exist. I do not know how promising that is either.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Let us say that things have been accelerated. I believe them to have accelerated not only at a cost but an rate which is not sustainable. We are soon about to meet the after the cliff we accelerated over long ago.