Just as the Covid crisis and the shitshow around how that was being leveraged for some pretty dubious ends comes to an end, a major war gets rolled onto the stage. It would have been nice to have a bit of a breather before the next crisis hits us but that’s life for you, isn’t it? Namely, just one f**king thing after another! At least we’ll have the bleak amusement of watching those online pundits who tried to convince us they knew all there was to know about pandemics, viruses, public health and vaccines suddenly pivot to being ‘experts’ in international relations and military strategy.

These are my initial thoughts on this crisis which, if you’ve been paying attention, has been brewing for a long time. As with a fair bit of the stuff I write, it’s me thinking out loud while trying to come to some kind of understanding of what’s a complicated and messy situation with no obvious ‘good guys’ to see when it comes to the respective regimes involved. So messy and complex in fact, that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ simply won’t cut it in any way, shape or form. If anything, this piece is as much about asking questions as it is about trying to formulate some kind of position.

If anyone thought that a westward orientated regime in the Ukraine brought about by what some see as a questionable colour revolution was going to sit easily alongside a revanchist Russian one, they’re very much mistaken. If anyone thought that NATO using the Ukraine to constantly prod a revanchist Putin wasn’t going to elicit a reaction, they’re dangerously naïve. At some point, the brown stuff was going to hit the fan and it just happens to be right now. The Russians have obviously been keeping a close eye on the West, not just on the material realities of how the armed forces are set up and equipped but also the political and social culture. They’ve concluded that as things stand at the moment, the West is weak, divided and has no real sense of purpose so now is as good as any time to make a move on the Ukraine. Whether that judgement call turns out to be a prudent one for the Russians or a total disaster, only time will tell.

Plenty has been written from a range of perspectives about the geopolitics of the situation over the years. With a bit of effort and applying some judgement, you’ll be able to find material that both fits your perspectives and challenges them. As I’m still feeling my way into this mess, I’m not in a position to suggest what you should be reading to get a grip on the geopolitics involved. At this point, I’m open to suggestions for readings that stretch across the range of opinion:)

As for what’s happening on the ground in the Ukraine, one of the first casualties of war is the truth. Sure we have the Net and the endless source of information that, in theory, it offers us. It also offers a mass of misinformation and propaganda. If one of the tactics used to deter further Western involvement in the conflict is the deployment of cyberwar, then there may well not even be much of a Net and Information Technology (IT) structure left. Mind you, given how dependent our lives are on the underlying IT structure that supports pretty much everything we do, should that be taken out, we’ll be too busy simply trying to survive to even care about what’s happening in the Ukraine!

Many thanks to The Slow Burning Fuse for this graphic:)

I make no apology for viewing the shitshow that’s unfolding / being unfolded before us with what I regard as a healthy degree of skepticism, detachment and cynicism. When you think about what’s been done to us over the last two years in the name of supposedly dealing with Covid, it would be naïve beyond belief to start taking a lot of the commentary and rhetoric about the situation at face value. The starting point has to be asking some searching questions about not just the protagonists, Russia and the Ukraine, but also about the involvement of the West as well. It would also be prudent to start questioning the motives of those jumping on the bandwagon in support of either of the protagonists. This ranges from the virtue signallers donning the blue and yellow of the Ukraine at every opportunity across to the tankies who are uncritically supporting Putin. I will however stick my neck out with this – there is some sound anarchist opinion on the conflict coming from both Russia and the Ukraine.

“No War Between Nations! No Peace Between Classes!”

Mural in Moscow by anarchist group Avtonom: https://avtonom.org/

The commentators in the mainstream media are already having a field day upping the ante. Calls for the public to realise the gravity of the situation and be prepared to make sacrifices have already been made. Given the prominence of Russia as an energy supplier, it’s pretty safe to assume that any sanctions imposed upon them will result in them throttling the supply of energy to the West. With revanchism coming before pragmatic economic and material considerations, the Russian government will be willing to take the hit. For us, that means energy prices soaring with the inevitable consequence of a rapid and steep rise in inflation, throwing many people into deep poverty. It has to be said at this point that if some difficult and controversial choices had been made, the UK would be in a better place to deal with rising energy costs. However, we are where we are and an energy crunch and rampant inflation are pretty much inevitable if this conflict drags on.

So, as a result of a messy conflict stoked by an expansionist NATO on the one hand and a revanchist Russia on the other, we’re all going to be called upon to make sacrifices of one kind or another. The worst case scenario would be direct military involvement by the UK at which point all bets would be off. What is more likely is an energy crunch, rampant inflation and if we’re subjected to a sustained cyber attack, widespread disruption to the systems and services we rely upon for our survival. While the politicians and commentators on all sides posture and pontificate, it’s us, the people who will have to suffer. So, maybe it’s time for some serious prepping and building / strengthening the networks of mutual aid and solidarity we’ll all need if the conflict widens up to a major war.

As stated at the start of this piece, these are my initial thoughts on the situation. As things develop and as I find more verifiable information and coherent analysis, I’ll be in a position to come up with a more comprehensive take on the situation. Suffice to say that regardless, I’ve no intention of picking a side in this conflict – the situation is too complex and messy for that kind of posturing. Obviously, I’ll be taking the side of the ordinary people on all sides who just want to live their lives in peace and instead, find themselves getting screwed over and used as pawns in the sick power games of the elites who presume to rule over us.

Many thanks to Dave Downes for this graphic:)