Perspective and Other Mythical Constructs.

The Brink

The Brink
Photo by Lasse Møller / Unsplash

Russia is invading Ukraine, slowly but surely. The free world has seen it coming for some time now, but that doesn't seem to slow its inexorable, inevitable progress. There are false flag operations and ginned up pretexts that we all knew were coming but that seem to be on track to accomplish exactly what the Kremlin hopes to achieve with them.

I'm not as up on the finer nuances of geopolitical action as I once was, so I feel like I am missing some of the details but I am profoundly in touch with the creeping dread and existential despair that these developments are creating. I let my keen interest international affairs run out along with my subscription to The Economist, a situation that would no doubt make all professors who trained me in my r major shake their heads in dismay. I don't know all the ins and outs of this conflicts beyond the broad strokes: fear of NATO encroachment in the odd chance that Ukraine becomes a member at some point in the future, returning to a little of that pre-fall imperial grandstanding Russia enjoyed in the heyday of the Soviet Union, and (probably not incorrect) idea that the West as a whole and the U.S. in particular are too scattered, distracted, and ineffectual to be anything but a token impediment.

There are commentators who could go much deeper, but to be honest I don't really care. Perhaps it's the specter of the bad old days lurking deep in my soul. As a child of the 80s, I grew up in the era of the evil empire and the cold war; with its ever-present threat of turning hot (and I mean hot as in nuclear) at the drop of a hat. I don't have any particular ideological opposition to Russia these days, but I generally hew to the notion that invasions are wrong. This is true regardless of how many bullshit pretexts they manufacture for their war. As someone who was a young man during the run up to the invasion of Iraq, I know a thing o two about bullshit pretexts for war.

I do not want a war. That is, I do not want my country to be involved in a war. I am not a pacifist, but the cost of war is always higher than what we get out of it unless you are a defense contractor or profiteer. Then, I suppose it is very profitable. But for the men and women who fight and die, for the loss of life, capital, and materiel that inevitably come with any large scale conflict the story is very different.

Mostly, I feel powerless. I don't know how my country will react to such a naked provocation. The air hangs heavy with risk and dark portent. I'm sitting at my computer watching markets crash and the media pushing out every detailed entry in the developing story. I can't look away and there's a sick feeling in my gut on this February night. I should be thinking of spring, but it feels like it's going to be a long winter.

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Jamie Larson