The End of the World is not a Game.
Today, The Guardian published an article about heightened intelligence service activity, with the headline reading ‘UK closer to large-scale conflict than in many years, intelligence official says’. Headlines like this are unhelpful and irresponsible to say the least, and actual contents of the article tell a different story. You can read it here if you like – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2024/feb/08/uk-closer-to-large-scale-conflict-than-in-many-years-intelligence-official-says?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR0GLLaKGVDubt2aGAjWTsmQUuvOBDUVXRGuAyFb6hkZnu79-EkV2v_ZGEw
The crux of the article is that the intelligence services are busier than they have been in ‘at least 10 years’, a situation exacerbated by the high government turnover of the last 5 years. This measure of time puts them on par with or slightly above how busy they were around the war in Donbas, or maybe the Iraq war, or at most, the end of the 1st Cold War (we are, of course, in the 2nd now). So, not representative of a collision course for a large scale all out war, as the headline infers.
That’s not to downplay any of these godawful, wretched conflicts, and it’s not to downplay the horrifying situation Humanity currently finds itself in. However, to suggest that current intelligence activity is indicative of an inevitable ‘large scale conflict’ – we all know The Guardian means WW3 – is disingenuous, and plays right into the hands of these braindead generals currently lobbying for more money for the apocalypse or for the ridiculous notion of a ‘citizen army’ in its stead.
The inference here is that we’re on course for all out war with Russia or China, which we aren’t because we cannot be. That’s WW3, and that’s the end of everything. Russia, China etc know that, just as they did in the 1st Cold War, and we know that too.
I know the news cycle is designed to hook you in with anger and fear, and it gets me every time, but this in particular represents the creeping normalisation of idea of a third world war, which is and should alway remain unthinkable. The Guardian headline is the latest in a string of incidents demonstrating this attempt at normalisation which, when you think about them, are absolutely terrifying displays of glibness from people who hold power on this.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the discourse from public figures around an all out war with Russia, particularly Grant Shapps’ ‘postwar world to prewar world’ rhetoric. Few things have ever made me angrier or more disgusted. How dare a snivelling, venal, incompetent coward like that suggest such a thing, all pumped up and ready to go, waving his rah-rah flag, so vacuous, so inconceivably shallow that he has no concept of what the consequences of that war actually are.
Shapps isn’t alone in openly contemplating this and I think it’s rancid and foul beyond comprehension. How dare he and his ilk suggest this, having flushed my generation down the toilet? How dare they suggest this, having degraded our collective quality of life and presided over levels of poverty unprecedented in modern times in an economy this rich? How dare they, as a spectacle of political theatre, suggest that myself, and potentially my children, walk into the meat grinder of the end of the world? No. Nothing is worth the apocalypse. Nothing. It must be avoided, it can only be avoided, and it will be avoided, because even mad, evil bastards like Putin, Xi and Trump know what that means, regardless of what the likes of Shapps or General Patrick Sanders or Boris Pistorius think, or say they think. It means the end of everything. No past, present or future after the bomb.
Of course, Shapps got what he wanted out of this, having recently reported that applications to join the armed forces are at their highest in years. Yes, well done, Grant. Good job. Obviously it goes without saying that the Army requires replenishment and rebuilding in the same way all public services do, having been decimated by 14 years of Tory destruction. Grant Shapps is as responsible for that decay as anyone. As they always do he takes the responsibility off his shoulders and places it on ours along with a hefty dose of fear and paranoia, in an attempt to begin to normalise the idea of literal world-ending violence. We have to resist this normalisation at every turn, because this kind of talk is objectively at the far end of extreme. Always remember that these bastards don’t give a shit about you. These people drink our blood.
To so casually and with such facile cruelty use the threat of an existential and in turn futile war as a recruitment driver for the armed forces, or as a tool to lobby for extra defence spending is callous, vulgar and irresponsible in the extreme. It’s also not a reflection of the reality of the situation. The language around future conflicts in politics and the media needs to be tempered and reigned in right now. Yes, our intellence services and our government need to operate in a heightened state of vigilance in a violent and changed world. But an all out war is not an option. Not event close, in any circumstance. Ultimately all of these psychopathic warlords at the top of the world know this. The third world war isn’t a political pawn, it’s the most serious thing imaginable, and it cannot happen. Waving it about like a pistol to bait your adversaries and frighten your populace is not only dishonest but beyond the extreme, and we should never allow these bloodthirsty charlatans to use our children’s futures as a bargaining chip. Never.