Oh what a lovely war!

Dr Strangelove or 'How I learned to love the Bomb'


I am a First Gulf War veteran and one of my sons, when very young, asked me which ‘team’ I had been on as if that was a choice for a British soldier. I was recently asked by one of my not so young grandsons which ‘team’ I supported in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Years of online gaming combined with a crumbling state educational system have led young boys to consider that war really is just a game. My son subsequently joined the British Army as a boy soldier through the wonderful Army Foundation College and served for six years so I think his delusions were soon crushed. My grandson received a lecture from me on the nature of war.

But, as I look around me in Britain while part of Europe descends into chaos, I cannot help getting the impression that people here do see this war as a kind of game, and when I catch a painful glimpse of the war reporting on our mainstream media, I see why. It is terrible, over-dramatic and one-sided. Houses in my city are displaying the Ukrainian flag as if we were approaching the final of the world cup and we all ‘supported’ Ukraine. The media are clearly pushing a pro-Ukraine view of the war which is whipping the British public into an anti-Russian frenzy. Thus, we cancel music by Tchaikovsky and a school decides to stop teaching Russian children at weekends. However, every cloud has a silver lining for Russian people living in Russia as Ikea closed its stores and ITN pulled I’m a Celebrity from Russian TV. But joking aside, we seem to have taken leave of our senses here with the view that Russia and therefore Russians represent all things bad and, concomitantly, Ukraine and therefore Ukrainians represent all things good.

As exhorted in an excellent article by Alice Salles in Mises Wire recently, I refuse to take sides in this conflict. To the serried ranks of the virtue-signalling Twitterati this seems to make me a swivel-eyed Putin-loving Russophile. This is far from the case. I have long considered Putin to be a bad ‘un. Something he has proved in an act of military madness and nuclear sabre rattling towards NATO. Nevertheless, he made his intentions clear for years in speeches and abundantly clear by massing troops at the Ukrainian border in recent months. Seemingly we paid little attention until it was probably too late. He must be taken seriously because he is dangerous. I find it harder to take seriously his opposite number in Ukraine, former comedian/actor turned President Zelensky who seems to add another signature to his death warrant daily by appearing on television and taunting the Russians. Moreover, he is being goaded on by us through the provision of the wherewithal to kill the advancing Russian troops.

Peter Hitchens, who lived for many years in Moscow and is also familiar with Ukraine had been predicting trouble between Russia and Ukraine for many years. He also explains that, while many people still seem to think that Russia is synonymous with the former USSR, it is not. It has a small economy and an ill-equipped army, as evidenced by the broken down materiel on the road to Ukrainian capital Kiev. He also points to the fact that there are some very unsavoury elements within Ukraine who are, essentially, Nazis. A recent article by and interview with former war reporter, Aris Roussinos in UnHerd, demonstrates that, in our efforts to arm the Ukrainian forces there is evidence that we are handing arms directly to some of these groups. They may well use these pro tem to defend their country. But never previously having been so armed with state of the art weapons, who knows how willing they will be to lay them down at the end of the conflict, whichever side wins with who knows what consequences? Latent fascism is not far below the surface in other countries formerly ruled by Russia. I do not have extensive experience in the former USSR but I well recall on a visit to Lithuania being proudly shown the balcony on the main square of Klaipeda where Adolf Hitler had addressed the people. When I asked why they still liked Hitler, the answer was because, like him, they hated the Russians.

I hope this war ends soon, with Russia preferably back where it started, with minimal loss of life and repatriation of all the displaced Ukrainians. It might also help if Putin assisted the process by either shuffling off his mortal coil or retiring to his dacha. We are not detached from the situation in Ukraine. As Baron Moore of Etchingham said recently, anyone who thinks we are detached from it only need to take a look at their next energy bill. If our involvement at the strategic and economic level, if not at the direct military level, is absolutely necessary then let’s leave that to our politicians. But some day we will have to repair relations with Russia and, for us British citizens, those Russians in our midst. Take down your Ukrainian flags and stop making facile assumptions in the allocation of blame. After all, in the unlikely event that the Russians invade, I doubt many of you will have the courage to fly the Ukrainian flag then.

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10 Comments on Oh what a lovely war!

  1. An excellent and well-timed article. Unusually I found myself agreeing with virtually everything… except the habitual use of ‘we’ when referring to the British government and its policies. I find it better to disassociate myself from all governments (not least because no one I’ve ever voted for has ever been elected). All national politicians in all countries definitely fall into the ‘they’ category.

  2. Silly generalisations (about Lithuania too) and pro-Russian propaganda in the face of clear international crime of aggression againts Ukraine and war crimes by russian army against Ukraine’s citizens. Would be the same as if seeing a man assaulted by another with no any legaly justifiable cause would say “I don’t take sides” and wouldn’t help for self-defense. Going against the mainstream is not always the right way. Ukraine defends it’s right to existence. What would you expect from a conservative author is to defend right of existence of any other nation.

  3. ‘ I refuse to take sides in this conflict. ’

    You failed.

    ‘… anyone who thinks we are detached from it only need to take a look at their next energy bill. ‘

    How insidious the propaganda. My next energy bill will be the direct result of UK – not Russian – Government policy in pursuit of the fantasy that we don’t need fossil fuels, and current Government policy of further economic self-harm, voluntary not forced on them by Russia. This latter is the equivalent of the Royal Navy sinking ships bringing supplies to the UK to save the Kriegsmarine the bother and to punish Hitler.

    Similarly our social and economic woes as well the 6 million on the NHS waiting list are because of CoVid. No they are not! They are because of Government.

    I am heartily sick of Government deflecting the blame from its own sins and people like this author playing the part of useful idiot repeating the lies.

  4. Surely the evil here lies not only with Putin but also with the promotion of Zelenskis stupid David/Goliath “strategy” by the mass media. I’d advise folk think very carefully before taking in a Ukrainian; unless of course they want them to still be living with you in10 years time. After all, Zelenskis failure to give-in after a weeks plucky resistance means there will only be rubble for them to return to.

    • I distinctly remember USA et al supporting Saddam Hussein – their golden boy – during the Iraq – Iran war because he was doing what the West approved. He quickly fell from favour when no longer useful.

      So Zelenskis should watch his back.

      Don’t people have short memories?

  5. ‘I refuse to take sides in this conflict’ And yet you acknowledge that Russia under Putin is carrying out a brutal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

    Sorry, but I think you are letting your dislike of the ‘twitterati’ virtue signallers blind you to the reality of this issue. To ‘refuse to take a side’ in the face of actual evil is an act of moral failure on your part.

    • No doubt you can justify the murder of tens of thousands in the Russian speaking Donbas region by the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Asov battalion over recent years.

      Where was your virtuous outrage then?

    • When will you be leading the invasion of China and North Korea?

      Oh, and what about the murder of tens of thousands of citizens in Western Countries during the last two years, and the long term extermination plan code named Net Zero Carbon?

      Perhaps we should recognise our own sins and put our own house in order before doing it for others.

    • Was it moral when NATO bombed or invaded Bosnia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia? Did you wave the Iraqi flag in solidarity with those people?

      1.5B in arm sales to Ukraine is hardly moral, especially since the bombings in Donbass have been ongoing for a number of years. That 1.5B wasn’t for “peaceful purposes”. Remember, that we were told Iraq had WMD’s, and that was the pretext for invasion. Bad pretext to begin with, but to make matters worse there were no WMD’s. We were lied to by our propaganda outlets. Are we being lied to now? Probably! It’s very unlikely that RU woke up one day and decided to bomb their own ethnic groups in Donbass. Talk of a “false flag” doesn’t make much sense, and there is no evidence to support those claims. The people in Donbass also tell us the aggressor is Kiev. I’m sure if they were being bombed by RU, they would say so! They just want the bombings to stop.

      Please also keep in mind that Zelensky is the same guy who arrested his political opponent, so let’s not pretend that there is much difference between this corrupt Comedian, and the corrupt Putin. Waving Ukranian flags is not supporting democracy. You are supporting a comedian thug who is probably behind the Donbass bombings, although he probably is using nazi para militia and not the real militia.

      unless we actually provide evidence of a false flag, I’m inclined to not to believe our media. False flag against their own people makes NO SENSE!

      And what are we to make of these biolabs? US denies it, then admits to it? Why in Ukraine? Why so many? What are they researching?