Folks are in a frenzy speculating that as Ukraine goes, so goes the rest (of us). That indeed, we will have a third world war.
Alas, I contend from watching the news feeds that we are already fully engaged in that ‘war’ and it looks and feels like a series of chess moves across the global board; with alliances forming, breaking, strengthening, etc.
I’m no historian, but haven’t we been here before?
A cursory look back over conflicts recorded since the beginning of established documentation of such eventsincluding cave drawings-what is happening in Ukraine parallels other power and territory grabs that have been playing out, well forever.
What is new? Data-driven analytics. Illustrated military strategies on the nightly news. Instantly broadcast speeches from world leaders- over the internet, and lots of pundits, to name a few.
Not since the televised Vietnam war in the 70’s have I felt so connected to the theater of war: Graphic. In living color. On an incessant 24/7 loop.
I understand how “the media” partner with the military, with support of their governments, as well as friendly with people they’re covering, to bring the news, albeit through ﬁlters.
(There is no such thing as 100 percent unbiased coverage. You can’t get paid for that, and everyone needs to eat.)
Bias strongly favors one narrative, or another, depending on your ‘home team.’ In our case, the western point of view prevails; hawks and doves are both flying, but return to the same cages for feeding on a narrative of pro-western style democracy (broadly deﬁned).
Just this week, I was introduced, on a podcast, to another point of view; that of Gerald Horne, professor of History and African American Studies, University of Houston, author of thirty books, where he gave his studied opinion about the conflict.
Prof. Horne warned that so much of what we are learning about Ukraine and Russia is from historians he describes as “parachuting” into only the last 20 to 40 years of the timeline of relationship between those warring nations. Their ‘history’ predates World War I!
I have read Horne’s explanation of the conflict in his essay, ‘From Conflict to Catastrophe: What is to be done in Eastern Europe’ published March 3, 2022 in Black Agenda Report, news and commentary from the left.
Horne describes how Russia’s territorial grabs and support of nations in the south, Africa and Latin America, are informed by Russia’s history of anti-colonial and anti-imperialism. (Read his huge volume of publications).
Hence, according to Horne, what we are seeing from the reluctance of many African/Latin countries to condemn Russian’s invasion of Ukraine is that they embrace Russia’s anti-colonialism and supportive activities in Africa and in other developing nations in the southern belt (Latin America, Cuba), and not so much that they are pro-Russian.
Gospel? I don’t know, but it is a theory and interpretation of history worthy of further consideration.
It’s been amazing to watch how “….the enemy of my enemy is my ‘friend’”…. global alliances are reshaping themselves on the nightly news.
So, what does any of this have to do with being Black in America, and how should we react to the current events? Once again, the question from the 70’s is worth asking: Which side will you be on (while) the revolution is being televised? We have seen the European racist behavior against Black and Brown student refugees trying to leave Ukraine.
Horne warns us about which trench you are going to jump into, and he advises us to be careful about which fox hole you might ﬁnd yourself in once this “Third World War” gets fully underway.
And it has already become thatmaybe not the total conflagration that some warn against, that is, a nuclear holocaust, which some others invite because of its foretold as the “end days” but still a global conflict indeed.
I’m not afraid. I have no control over mad men, but I am preparing to live in a new order.
That new order?
The midterm elections will set the stage for what the 2024 administration of the USA government looks like, and for me, that is more anxiety ridden than a war theater across the globe. A continuation of the current policies helps me sleep better at night than what a more authoritarian regime means for my day-to-day sense of safety and security.
I know the lesser of the evils, and that evil (a liberal, capitalist, expansionist, world policing nation) continues to offer me opportunities for open discussion and rigorous debate, incremental adjustments in my political positions, a few powerful and seismic shifts in policies and practices through a democratic process, rather than a more narrowly deﬁned system of authoritarian-leaning governance.
Which side are you on? Indeed. Toniwg1@gmail.com