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The Drums of War and Scottish Silence

Updated: Feb 7

It's not surprising that here in Scotland we are all heavily focussed on the stinking and entrenched clusterbourach that is Westminster. At the same time there is a risk of European war. History tells us that macho blustering and mobilisation from both sides in a developing conflict can easily begin an unstoppable slither into catastrophic bloodletting. When that happens it will be the vulnerable who will bear the brunt and the damage will go on for generations. Further, the threat of a conflict going nuclear cannot be lightly dismissed given the dominant view within the US military that a nuclear war can be won.

Though there are honourable exceptions we can hardly hear a distinctive Scottish voice in this crisis. Sadly, our Westminster representatives echo the caricature of the stand-off as Russia-Bad-End -Of-Story, without giving any account of how we got to this pass, including the broken promise, at the time of German unification, that NATO would not expand eastward. There is also scarce mention of a possible diplomatic route for a solution with, as Noam Chomsky has said, Austrian-style neutrality for Ukraine, which means no military alliances or foreign military bases (along with a demilitarised, federal solution internally, along the lines of the Minsk II agreement). It is not enough for Scottish leaders to point out how Westminster is tangled in with Russian oligarchs. We need to hear voices for peace. I recall how slow we were as a people to waken up to the impending Iraq war amid the endless and rarely challenged Saddam-Bad-End-Of-Story.

We humans are seriously disabled by our inability to see the big picture, to really grasp that on this wee planet we are wholly interconnected. Getting the pandemic under some level of management cannot be done on a piecemeal national borders basis – its a whole world problem demanding whole world solutions. Responding to the climate crisis – ditto. At one level we understand this and yet the old disastrous attitude of national self-interest persists, the delusion that we can insulate and isolate ourselves from the dangers in a gated community. We co-operate or we perish.

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