There is a telling passage in The Life of Samuel Johnson: “No Sir, it was not the wine that made your head ache, but the sense that I put in it.”
I’m sorry, what! Will meaning give you a headache?”
“Yes sir, (with a smile) if not used to it,” wrote James Boswell.
When it comes to the war in Ukraine, we’re not used to hearing much about “sense”.
It may be in its third month, but there is very little enlightenment or clear insight to be found in the discourse surrounding it.
So all credit goes to UN Secretary-General António Guterres for challenging his insanity on a visit to Kyiv.
When asked to comment on atrocities, he replied, “The worst crime is war itself.” It was exactly the kind of reality check the world needs now, before we become desensitized to the never-ending killing.
There is a fear that the longer the madness drags on, we may grow deaf and deaf to the screams and torment of Ukraine.
It is well known that more than 10 weeks after invading its neighbors, Russia is about to step up its large-scale offensive in the east. Moscow has also issued its strictest warning yet against arms sales to the besieged country.
President Joe Biden then pledged further aid of 33 billion dollars (31.4 billion euros). The US is not attacking Russia, he said; but help Ukraine to defend itself.
As the rhetoric escalates and becomes more ominous, it is important that we remember that bodies are being piled up in mass graves.
People are dying by the thousands. Millions more could be drawn into the conflict.
Autocrats survive by suppressing reason and exposing facts.
Fear is the medium they rely on to project “the reality” that people need to accept.
Russian state broadcaster RT – using one of the Kremlin’s most high-profile media chiefs – has announced that President Putin is more likely to pursue full-scale nuclear war than concede defeat to Ukraine.
Russian State TV’s senior editor, Margarita Simonyan, made the remarks.
She also said the likelihood of him unleashing a nuclear strike is “more likely” than failure.
His willingness to jettison a half-century taboo with the threat of going nuclear tells us he’s losing.
Which in turn tells us he’s desperate too.
At the moment, the Kremlin is lashing out in all directions, accusing NATO of waging a proxy war.
But there are no Ukrainian troops in Russia. But power will only create more power.
Which brings us directly to Mr Guterres’ remarks.
“War is an absurdity in the 21st century. War is evil. War is by no means acceptable in the 21st century,” he said.
He’s right on all counts, but being right in a doomsday scenario will be of scant consolation.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/uns-antonio-guterres-delivers-a-reality-check-on-the-evil-of-war-in-ukraine-41598192.html The UN’s António Guterres provides a reality check on the evil of the war in Ukraine