It's how the devil likes it

Joan Miró, Golden Heaven, 1967.

By LORENZO Stained Glass*

What we've seen so far in the conflict in Europe shows that tempers haven't let up on either side..

We have already gone back a few days, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to try to trace some intelligibility in the facts and versions of what happened. Much has been said about a new order, a multipolar world, with the inclusion, in effect, of the Russian-Chinese alliance as a second pole. Thus, we reestablish what already existed, with the delimitation of spheres of influence of militarily more powerful countries and not, as to where we should move forward, in a world in which the self-determination of countries and peoples was in fact respected.

The UN's omission in the conflict demonstrates what we have just said. In this new old world, since there is a return, Brazil and the entire global south, as already mentioned, will be able to benefit, allowing, one imagines, to “choose” its sphere of influence, which would be changeable according to its interests . Of course, our “Russians” are Americans. One of them is even running for president this year.

Being able to weave the cold considerations above is allowed us, probably, due to the also retreat, which founds a position that aims at the rational, of the situation of geopolitical-military conflict that devastated the old Europe, where it was thought that wars were things of the past. As far as I've seen, reason, or even common sense, seems absent from the debate.

A cursory glance at the European press over the last few weeks is enough to convince us of this. Looking at the French press, particularly the Le Monde and the Libération, the reproduction of the Anglo-Saxon narrative that “Ukraine is free to choose to be a member of NATO” is inferred; “NATO is for peace”; “Putin is a mad dictator who wants to re-establish the Soviet empire”; “war is something that is no longer done” and other platitudes.

One of the questions asked in an interview, in the edition of Libération On the 26th of February, the newspaper asks the seasoned former French diplomat, Michel Duclos, how to explain that this war was badly anticipated by western countries and by Europeans in particular. The answer given by Duclos includes the statement that the European leaders did not want to believe it…..Amazement! Like this? Didn't you notice?

The newspaper of May 68 (hello!) reverberates the average public opinion regarding the events, which unbelievably also seems to be the – probably convenient – ​​position of the European leading sectors. The words that try to include some understanding of the Russian position in the debate are, more often than not, timid, furtive and ironic. The whole intricate history of the Russia/Ukraine ties; the fact that the Ukrainian government was implemented with American support and by neo-Nazi contingents – the largest in Europe; the abandonment of the Minsk agreements – backed by the UN – by the Ukrainian government; NATO's boundless expansion… are scorned. It is worth a kind of “freedom” for Ukraine to do whatever it wants, which ended up granting the same “freedom” to Putin.

We might think that Putin's reality would make Europeans – since the war is in beautiful Europe and not in the liberated war theaters of the global south – seek a conciliatory position. However, for now, this is not what you see: Germany, France and others are rushing to arm Ukraine; the US, which seems to be in shock at the beginning, sends money – little – to Ukraine and promotes the announced and terrible economic sanctions.

Ukrainian resistance has been strong so far, which with the gasoline thrown in by the Europeans promises to make the war longer than Russia would like, which – as Westerners are perhaps calculating – could weaken Putin and – who knows? – harm you internally as well.

An eventual escalation of the conflict is, for obvious reasons, quite dangerous and finds shelter in the very civil resistance to the Russians. There is nothing like an external enemy to unify a country: even opponents of the Zelensky government and critics of NATO are volunteering to fight the invader (see the article “A Letter to the Western Left from Kiev”, by Taras Bilous, published in GGN newspaper).

What we've seen so far shows that tempers haven't let up on either side. We wonder what still needs to happen... It seems to us that a kind of mist has descended on the old continent that obscures the risk we all run, as if manifesting a desire for annihilation that is being shared. After all, we survived a pandemic and returning to life can seem too arduous.

*Lorenzo stained glass Professor of Linguistics at the Faculty of Letters at UFMG.


See this link for all articles