Why Are People so Hot for War with Putin?

Why are some people so hot for war with Russia? I don't just mean the neo cons and the semi-retired cold warriors still half expecting the squadrons of T54s to come rolling across Lüneburg Heath.

I mean the kind of people who up until last week probably couldn't have found the Ukraine on a map, let alone pinpointed Kiev, or even heard of Simferopol.

What has suddenly possessed them to decide that the integrity of an independent Ukraine is of such paramount importance that the leaders of the free west should be prepared to hazard all to prevent the wicked Putin sending any more of his troops into thingummyjig and sealing off the airport of wotsisname?

They're never specific about how far they want us to go, these armchair warriors.

Should it merely involve the conscription of every man between 18 and 30 and the immediate doubling of our defence budget? Or are we to go on a proper, Germany-in-late-'44 Götterdämmerung footing and ready the granddads with their pitchforks and prepare the schoolkids to man the anti-aircraft batteries?

And, if the shit really does kick off, does that mean I get to fly a Harrier Jump Jet.

Because if I do, I must tell you, it will fulfil a longstanding childhood fantasy of mine. Growing up in the Eighties, when General Sir John Hackett had that enormous, bestselling success with his what-if future history The Third World War, a major conflagration with the Soviet Union - possibly ending with the destruction of the whole world - was something all of us British schoolkids half feared and half found rather exciting.

When we did military training at school - aka "corps" - the imaginary enemies we'd be mowing down with our, ahem, WWII issue Lee Enfields - or observing from our school's rubber band launched RAF glider - were Russians.

And when we got all schoolboyishly excited about this new aircraft called the MRCA (Multi-Role Combat Aircraft), later to be renamed the Tornado, it wasn't some theoretical piece of pointless kit like all the jazzy new fighter aircraft are now.

It actually mattered to us that the plane represented some kind of important technological leap because if it didn't, how on earth were we to fend off all the Soviet Foxbats and stop our mothers and sisters being raped by the advancing red peril?

American schoolchildren of the era, we know, felt just the same way. The tagline of 1984's Red Dawn was: "In our time no foreign army has ever occupied American soil. Until now."

Fast forward to the present and does anyone, anywhere in Western Europe or North America, seriously imagine that Putin's Russia poses a threat even remotely comparable to the one once offered by the Soviet Union in the bad days of the Cold War?

Unfortunately that isn't a rhetorical question.

On Breitbart Radio last night, the admirable Frank Gaffney - a former defence adviser to the man who did more than anyone to bring about the end of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan - was ramping up the rhetoric about global conflagration.

And we know that on both sides of the Atlantic, hawkish politicians are using Ukraine as a stick with which to beat their non-interventionist opponents.

In the US President Obama has been castigated - not unreasonably, it must be said - for making empty threats. (If you're going to make threats, be prepared to carry them through - or don't make them in the first place).

In Britain, we've had the rather nauseating spectacle of senior Cameroons using Ukraine as a way of getting back at the Labour opposition for having rejected their utterly stupid plan to intervene in Syria.

Our sabre-rattling over Syria - a war we could never hope to understand, let alone improve with intervention - was pointless.

Our bluster that something ought to be done over the Ukraine is even more so. It is a quarrel in a far-away country between people who, thanks to the internet and modern news reporting, we now know quite a bit.

And everything we have gleaned about them ought to tell us this: Sorry. Not our problem.


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