LETTER | The Insanity That is The RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR

Crimes against humanity when all we want is peace. - Google pic

While trying very hard not to question quite how we got here, I have some very basic questions about how this tragic Russia-Ukraine war is unfolding.

Firstly, given the lessons of history, and the commitment to prevent anything like the tragedy and atrocities of previous wars ever happening again through the forum of the UN, how is it that invading an independent sovereign country that does not have the capability (let alone the wish) to threaten its much more powerful neighbour, can ever be considered right and just? 

Recently, Russia appeared to promise humanitarian corridors for the safe evacuation of civilians (‘non-combatants’) out of the cities which it is now committed to flattening.  However, it appears that hostilities continue which makes these corridors anything but safe.  Also, it appears that the safe corridors did not go to as yet unoccupied Ukraine, but only to Belarus and Russia. 

WHAT?  How can that be? 

Given that many civilians are taking up arms against the occupying forces, there is surely a risk that, at a whim, their status as refugees might be changed to that of Prisoners Of War (POWs) and as such they may disappear into the waste of Siberia never to be seen or heard of again.  Or they may be used as bargaining chips, or even as human shields.  So their choice is actually ‘stay here and be shelled into submission, or go into ‘captivity’ where you know we will show you no mercy (this does not equal safe refuge). What about these insane attacks on nuclear plants?  Why would any sane commanders take this step and risk causing global contamination, starting with Europe?  That might have political potential which may well suit the Russian leadership, but the human cost? Or is that the plan – to make Europe uninhabitable without using a single atomic weapon?

In this latter context, at least we can clearly see the dangers of developing energy policies based on nuclear power…..can’t we?

Has Russia Ever Engaged Within The UN?

Russia has never (in my view, and I am 70years old) engaged within the UN in the spirit of the UN’s mandate.  This is evidenced by its frequent use of its veto in the Security Council, and not being a signatory to so many treaties on the use of inhumane weapons such as cluster bombs and thermobaric weapons which it is now using as a matter of course to subdue centres of population.  Now, we have even seen the indiscriminate destruction of hospitals, and more than 2 million refugees so far making it the largest and most rapid displacement of refugees since WW2.  These are crimes against humanity and I pray that those responsible will not be spared the justice these crimes deserve.

Yet, the Russian people appear to be unaware of the reality of this war with President Putin’s stranglehold on social media and free press reporting.  Russians are told the state-controlled media (and sadly believe) that this is ‘military operation intended to liberate oppressed Russian speaking people in eastern Ukraine’.  They do not see the destruction, nor the casualties piling up in the streets of Ukrainian cities, very reminiscent of Nazi atrocities in WW2. 

But surely this is a conflict to free Russian speakers (but not all Ukrainians) in eastern Ukraine from the Neo-Nazi oppression driven by a Jewish President.

Where will this insanity, this barbarism end?  Will we (especially the Russian people at this time) ever learn that this scale of violence, destruction and inhumane behaviour towards our fellow humans can only bring about our collective downfall?  It is a disgrace to all of us, on both sides of the conflict.

Russia’s Stranglehold

I said at the beginning that I did not wish to go into why and how we got here, but there are important lessons that our leaders everywhere need to learn.  Most importantly is our total over-dependence on fossil fuels for our energy.  In answer to the current crisis, and to reduce the stranglehold Russia has over current supply sources, it is being said in many quarters that we need to seek to produce more oil and gas (O+G) from other sources!

WRONG!  Clearly, this is going to be tough for a while, but the Climate Crisis is looming ever closer now.  So, this might be considered a unique, even ‘god-given’ opportunity for us all to get real.  Instead of boosting alternative O+G production, we absolutely should be looking to boost alternatives to O+G and ratchet down our demand.  There is absolutely no point in lamenting the increased prices at the pumps – let’s try using less and save money that way AS WELL AS addressing the Climate Crisis by reinvesting in cleaner energy!

Seriously, why not?

Lastly, I have long thought that Politics is a dirty business – any challengers?  Sadly, most politicians seem only to operate on the basis of securing power, influence and self-interest.  A word we rarely see today is ‘Integrity’ – which basically means doing the right thing, even when it hurts!  Perhaps we do not respect enough those few who still have it; perhaps because they are not popularly supported by ‘funders’ who are also without this attribute; perhaps because we expect too much from our politicians and punish the slightest indiscretion.  While most of us have a moral compass, we are all capable of making mistakes, right?  But, there are limits.

So, who has this ‘integrity’ thing?  Certainly not the Russian leadership, not Malaysia, not the UK, and the USA Republican party for that matter, nor many of those in the UN who did not condemn this appalling and unnecessary war.  After all, doing the right thing is not popular, is it?

The US and NATO allies may have unwittingly created this situation in no small measure, but no-one died as a result of that chain of events.  At least, not until now.

As far as this war goes, maybe we can start by condemning it, by applying our own sanctions by buying ‘home-made and home-grown’, and by acknowledging how fortunate we are not to be directly involved.  But be in no doubt, escalation will affect all of us – just like the Climate Crisis. – New Malaysia Herald


Dominic has been resident in Malaysia now for three years. From an early age, he has had a passion for nature. He recently trained as a Climate Reality Leader (part of US VP Al Gore’s campaign) raising awareness of the seriousness of the Climate Emergency and what we have to do to address it. He is committed to bringing a common sense perspective to issues that he believes need to be shared and debated. He occasionally writes for the New Malaysia Herald under his own Wake Up! column.

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