Might is right
Updated: May 4, 2022
UPDATE: Here is a video of an American political scientist saying the exact same thing I said, albeit in a more educated and academic way. I could not do better:
In 1896, a book penned by a Ragnar Redbeard, who is thought to be Arthur Desmond, was published with this title and it's basically a thesis that says morality does not exist. It negates the idea of Rights, the golden rule, ethics, law, altruism, and generally promotes the idea that the "survival of the fittest" is the only rule that governs us all as living things on this planet. Let me start by saying that it is in fact the survival of the fittest that negates him. Altruism and bonding as a community is what guaranteed our species to flourish and what indeed, made us fittest. It made us better hunters and better resource acquirers. But the selfish and competitive aspect of our nature has not been completely wiped out and the idea that the acquisition of power guarantees one's survival is still pervasive in human nature.
Being in my forties and a Karate student, one can automatically deduce that I have watched (and still do) the Karate Kid franchise, including the latest Cobra Kai series. One of the most practical quotes from Mr Miyagi was "best defence - not be there". I mean if someone were to be in a fight with a man the size of Dwayne Johnson, with a 23 inch bicep, one would want to be nowhere near wherever his fists will be aiming at. If you are driving in a roundabout where you know you have the right of way and suddenly a construction truck enters the roundabout cutting you off and forcing you to stop, there is no argument between a smart car and a fully loaded truck. The smart car stops. It’s the famous “an ant can’t quarrel with a boot” analogy.
If someone is that much stronger, you simply move out of the way and let them through.
This is where having bigger guns than the others comes into action. But unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, we are not using these guns to survive within the rest of the biosphere. The other animals, poor things, cannot even begin to compare with the might given to us by technology. Having reached and possibly permanently secured our place at the top of the food chain with our technological prowess, we can now only compete with ourselves.
Sometimes I get the impression some people think that the "arms race" was a cold war phenomenon. Well firstly, I do not believe the cold war, if there ever was one, is over. It created a setback for the once-called Soviet Union, but if anyone thinks there isn't an East versus West imperialist dynamic still, in both economic and military ambitions, is naive at best. Furthermore we are still in grave danger of nuclear holocaust. In the past we have seen some propagandist posturing because there was a bit of a drive to pander to the "environmentalist hippies" in regulating and disarming nuclear weapons. But we still have enough atomic weaponry to wipe out our own planet many times over. Just because the "no nukes" movement has gone silent, it does not make us any less in danger of nuclear holocaust. To quote Chomsky: "There are two problems for our species' survival - nuclear war and environmental catastrophe - and we're hurtling towards them. Knowingly.”
With regards to the above, these same Imperialist powers facing each other, East versus West, are doing nothing substantial to address the other possible catastrophe that could wipe us out as a species in the near future; that of environmental catastrophe; mainly climate change. Why is that? simply because the businesses of polluting forms of energy are closely tied to the technologies of what President Eisenhower called the Military-Industrial complex; they guarantee having the bigger guns than the rest. Speaking of US Presidents and the Military-Industrial Complex, the USA spends more on the military than all the top 20 spenders combined. America can strengthen its dollar and pose itself as a safe and investible asset, because it has to be perceived as the mightiest and with biggest guns of them all.
Money and the acquisition of wealth is the fuel for this power. Greed and selfishness will consume us because we are never content with what we have and we always want more - we always want to enlarge and expand our economy to meet with the inflations that are voluntarily caused by the world's banks, that control all the money. In the past, money reflected a specific amount of natural resources that were traded. Nowadays money is just a number created out of thin air - and it's basically a global Ponzi scheme leading to a phenomenon of “world debt”. ”To whom do we owe these trillions to exactly?”, the anecdote goes, “Jupiter?”. It’s a scheme that keeps everything precisely as is - we have made ourselves slaves of an inescapable monetary system, which nobody sees a way out of. I hate to be the musical theatre nerd at this point (I don’t actually but given the context….) but I can hear Liza Minelli sing ‘Money makes the world go round.’
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is very much about all the above, the most obvious being the money aspect. Gazprom provides to some EU countries over 80% of their gas supply and even more so with the new pipeline that Germany is yet to certify. The principal pipeline is passing through Ukraine and Putin obviously wants to keep the gas flowing. This is the reason why he immediately annexed crimea after a Kremlin-sympathizing government in Kiev was ousted with rebellion. Putin’s fears is that if Ukraine joined NATO, in order to have the bigger guns at the Russian border, the pipeline would be sabotaged and Europe will have no choice but to exclusively get gas from the southern pipeline exclusively, which is controlled by the US dollar. Follow the money, and there’s your motivation.
There are cultural and historical issues between Russia and Ukraine, even though they are practically born of the same culture and share strong linguistic roots. The western part of Ukraine was highly influenced by Stepan Bandera’s far right ideology, so much so that in WW2 many Ukrainians fought on the Axis side betraying the Soviet Union, and even went further to man the guard at Nazi death camps like Sobibor and Treblinka Without scruple. Ukranian nationalism is of great worry to Russians, hence why Putin called the Kiev government Nazis and Bandera sympathizers, for those who didn’t know the baggage. The ultra-Ukrainian nationalists obviously have had issues with the Russians living in the Donbas region. In fact, the rhetoric there is different. Putin is seen as their Saviour but little of this rhetoric is making it to mainstream western media. Regular harassment and shelling of the Donbas region has been happening for the past 8 years. When people say the issue is complicated, it means it’s complicated.
Does it justify an invasion? No is the short, simple answer. But with a media censoring what’s happening in Ukraine with an ultra nationalist government pandering to NATO and fueling NATO imperialist ambitions against Russia, what was Putin to do? In a world where we want to believe morality exists, but the law of “might is right” is enforced, what was Putin to do? What’s happening in Ukraine is morally unjustifiable. But we know that morality doesn’t come into it.
My assumption is that the Ukrainian harassment of the Donbas Russians was a provocation for Putin to do exactly what he did. But Kiev counted on forcing NATO to act, and it obviously failed to do so. Putin knew he had to act - as a strategist and martial artist he performed a full counter attack - in a real possibility of NATO involvement, strike faster and first. The West has and should not have a taste for war against Russia. Let’s face it; a truck circling the roundabout, having the right of way, is still not a pretty sight to see it crashing into another truck cutting it off. That war could end us all. So we must watch what Russian forces are going to do to Ukraine and punish Putin with harsh language and a fine… like when a truck cuts you off in a roundabout and you just swear at them.
How are we ever going to get rid of this East versus West gridlock? I’m a pessimist here and I believe we won’t. The monetary economy, energy provision and the military-industrial complex are too intertwined and will never be stopped without revolution or cataclysm. We are all slaves to the system from top to bottom. It will take a cataclysmic event to destroy that very system - in which we will have to suffer greatly as a species - and then maybe rebuild in another way.
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, imagined this would happen in his world and I would tend to agree. After a cataclysmic World War, only a few million humans are left, scavenging resources. Science turns a nuclear missile into a first warp engined starship. This is where first contact with an alien race happens and humanity rebuilds a new culture, one in which Captain Jean Luc Picard explains:
We need to further evolve as a species, beyond the need of having a bigger gun and the need for power. But that will mean, it will be a new species and we will cease to exist.
The world will keep going around without us anyway, because forces of nature make the world go round, not money and we will be on our way out, whether we like it or not.