Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Team Good - noticeably absent

The volatile situation in Ukraine is a very thorny beast.  The narrative I see in most western media is that the rebellious protesters are all in the right, that the people being installed in Ukraine are all amazing, and that the Russians are bad bad people for interfering in Ukraine.  Things are a lot more complicated than that though, particularly when it comes to Russia and the US staring each other down.  Statements by John Kerry about how countries should absolutely never invade others on false pretenses nearly made me fall out of my chair laughing - how long did he have to practice that line to say it with a straight face?

The sad thing about all this is that there isn't anyone I would characterize as being on team good.  The US is just taking an opportunity to cast Russia as Big Bad Evil in ways that are laughably hypocritical.  Russia is interfering in another nation's affairs because they don't like the way most of the people in that nation are leaning politically.  The UN sits there, helpless and useless, since both countries have the ability to render it nothing more than a bag of hot air.  Even if we just talk about Ukraine itself we seen the democratically elected leader being ousted and new leadership being installed in ways that aren't particularly comforting, especially considering how problematic the views of the new people are.

We so often want to cast one side of a conflict as Team Good and the other side as Team Evil.  Everything is so much simpler that way because we can ignore inconvenient details and enthusiastically cheer for someone.  The world is a much friendlier place when we know that some people are irretrievably dastardly and some are paragons of virtue; that way we don't have to think too hard about the shadows and grey areas.  Ukraine right now is a perfect example of one of my mantras:  It is complicated.  Simpler answers and easy paths to a better world are hard to see from here.

There are some certainties, like the fact that most of the international response is shaped not by law or the best interests of humanity but rather by a lust for power and money.  The big kids on the block want to have a showdown to see who is willing to blink first with world economic stability (if things go catastrophically, war) at stake and we just have to sit around and see how stupid they will be.  The answer is not that one nation in particular is bad or good, nor is there anyone I can unreservedly champion.  It is a giant mess and I sure am glad I am far away from it.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Sky.
    But what of Canada, the big country sandwiched between the US and Russia? Is now not a good time to renew our old reputation as being a vital peacekeeping and peace promoting nation when international disputes and conflicts arise? I saw a photo of a protester in Kiev with a POGG placard. Peace, Order and Good Government - the hallmark of the Canadian constitution. The US has a long history of pushing its capitalism on others, and Russia has a long history of imperialism. But not Canada - at least not anywhere close to the same degree (despite what our mining companies are doing in Latin America). Should Canada quietly sit on the side, or is it time to again revive our reputation as active promoters of POGG?