The Insanity of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Russia and the USA

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

This war reveals that those responsible for human destiny have not learned the basic lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic

the book of Apocalypse which narrates the final clashes of our history, between the forces of death and those of life, paints us a fiery horse that symbolizes war: “the rider was given to banish peace from the earth so that men would behead each other others” (6,4). The war between Russia and Ukraine and the Russian president's order to keep nuclear weapons on high alert, call to mind the action of the horse of fire, the slaying of humanity, that is to say, a human Armageddon.

The very severe sanctions imposed by NATO and the US on the Russian Federation could lead to the collapse of its entire economy. Faced with this national disaster, the possibility cannot be excluded that the Russian leader does not accept defeat as if Napoleon (1812) or Hitler (1942) had taken over the country, which they failed to do. It would then carry out the threats and launch a nuclear strike. Only Russia's arsenal can destroy life on the planet several times humanly. And a retaliation can damage the entire biosphere without which our life could not persist.

Behind this Russia/Ukraine confrontation are hidden powerful forces in dispute for world hegemony: Russia, allied with China and the USA. The latter's strategy is more or less known, guided by two key ideas: "one world and one empire" (the USA), guaranteed by the full-spectrum dominance: domination in all fields with 800 military bases distributed around the world, but also with economic, ideological and cultural domination. Such complete domination would found the USA's pretension of its “exceptionality”, of being “the indispensable and necessary nation”, the “anchor of global security” or the “sole power”(lonely power) really worldwide.

In this imperial will, NATO, behind which the US stands, has expanded to the limits of Russia. The only thing missing was the insertion of Ukraine to close the siege. Missiles placed on the Ukrainian border would reach Moscow within minutes. This explains Russia's demand to maintain Ukraine's neutrality, otherwise it would be invaded. This is what happened with the perversities that every war produces. No war is justifiable because it murders human lives and goes against the meaning of things that are the tendency to allow existence.

China, in turn, disputes world hegemony not through military means, even in alliance with Russia, but through economic means with its great projects such as the Silk Road. In this field, it is surpassing the USA and would reach world hegemony even with a certain ethical ideal, that of creating “a community of common destiny shared by all humanity, with societies sufficiently supplied”.

But I don't want to prolong this warlike perspective, truly insane to the point of being suicidal. But this clash of powers reveals the unawareness of the actors on screen about the real risks that weigh on the planet, which, even without nuclear weapons, could endanger human life. Let it be said that all arsenals of weapons of mass destruction have proved to be completely useless and ridiculous in the face of a tiny virus like Covid-19.

This war reveals that those responsible for human destiny have not learned the basic lesson of Covid-19. It has not respected sovereignties and national limits. It hit the entire planet. The epidemic calls for the establishment of global governance in the face of a global problem. The challenge goes beyond national borders, it is to build the Common House.

They didn't realize that the big problem is global warming. We are already inside it, because the fatal events of floods of entire regions, typhoons and shortages of fresh water are visible. We only have 9 years to avoid a no-return situation. If by 2030 we reach 1,5 degrees Celsius of heat, we will be unable to control it and we are heading towards a collapse of the Earth-system and life-systems.

We have touched the Earth's sustainability limits. The Earth Overshoot data (Earth Overshoot) point out that on September 22, 2020, the non-renewable resources necessary for life ran out. The consumerism that persists, demands from the Earth what it can no longer give. In response, it sends us lethal viruses, increases warming, destabilizes climates and decimates thousands of living beings.

Overpopulation associated with a harmful social inequality with the vast majority of humanity living in poverty and misery, when 1% of it controls 90% of wealth and essential goods and services, can lead to conflicts with countless victims and the devastation of entire ecosystems .

These are the problems, among others, that should concern heads of state, CEOs of large corporations and citizens, as they directly jeopardize the future of all humanity. Faced with this global risk, a war for zones of influence and obsolete sovereignty is ridiculous.

What gives us hope are those anonymous “Noés” who thrive everywhere, from below, building their savior arks through a production that respects the limits of nature, through agroecology, solidary communities, participatory socio-ecological democracies , working from their own territories.

They have the strength of the seed of the new and with a new mind (the Earth as Gaia) and with a new heart (a bond of affection and care for nature) they guarantee a new future with the awareness of a universal responsibility and an interdependence global. Their war is against hunger and the production of death and their struggle is for justice for all, the promotion of life and the defense of the weakest and most destitute. This is what it should be. And what should be, intrinsically has an invincible force.

*Leonardo Boff he is an eco-theologian and philosopher. Author, among other books by Inhabiting the Earth: what is the path to universal fraternity? (Vozes).

 

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