Pity, despair, horror at what man will unleash – all this and more tumbles from the heart. War is not a game and the victims are innumerable. Yet it is not our war.
History will judge, they say, but how we cannot know. Those weeping for their lost children will not wait for history and that is something about war: it is always immediate. Let history judge whom it will, capricious thing as it is; but we must look now and say this is still not our war, and making it ours, out of adventure or virtue-signalling with other men’s children’s lives, would make it very, very much worse. I know how history would judge a politician who claimed he had done a moral thing while standing in front of the irradiated ashes of London.
It can end, and will. I understand the characters, have met their ambassadors and read their words and been immersed in their shared culture: were I sent in to bat, I have no doubt that I would forge a settlement bringing five hundred years of unshakeable peace and the gateway to prosperity, and that I would be cursed by both sides for it even as they roll in gold.
It may be that history books will adjudge this war as an anomalous war of aggressive conquest, or another in a series of wars waged by European nations since the end of the Cold War, or as a war of reunification, which are always seen in a kindly light. That does not help a widow flooding her street with tears today.
There is no more that it is safe to say. Maybe our grandchildren will read books saying “the West stayed on the sidelines, and thank goodness for it”. That is for their age though. For us it is day to day, and there is no more it is safe to say.
- The Russian Enigma
- Человек и час
- Putin it like that, no
- The Wrong Side of History
- Putin: we’re coming for you
- A Future for Freedom
- Roger Scruton – in memory of greatness
- By Mark Galeotti:
- Putin: Russia’s Choice by Chris Hutchins
- A History of Russian Literature by Andrew Kahn, Mark Lipovetsky, Irina Reyfman, Stephanie Sandler