Saturday 18 June 2022

Time For Thought To Replace Emotion

Ukrainian flags, once everywhere, have now mostly disappeared from the buildings of Oxford University. They have been replaced by the increasingly complicated stripey banners of sexual liberation and gender politics. As I cycle through the city, I sometimes wonder if I am, in fact, living in the Republic of Transgendria.

Is this because the students are bored with Ukraine, or because they have grasped that their radical sexual politics would not get a big welcome in some parts of that far-from-liberal country? Have they discovered that Ukraine is, in fact, corrupt and badly governed, and guilty of atrocities against its own citizens? I do not know.

But I think it is certainly time for thought to replace emotion, as Britain wonders what to do about this crisis. We have absolutely no material interest in a long, draining, bloody American-Russian war (such as this is) fought on the territory of Ukraine and using Ukrainians as pawns. On the contrary, as a country and a people we would benefit greatly from a negotiated peace, as would the Ukrainians.

Pope Francis, who has also been very rude about Russia’s Orthodox Church leaders, has now twice stated that there was some provocation of Russia in this conflict. This view is even held by the severely anti-Putin American neoconservative Robert Kagan. So I think any intelligent person should now feel free to accept this possibility.

Likewise, all those rightly outraged by the storming of the US’s Capitol building in January 2021 need to take a look at the much more successful mob attack on Ukraine’s seat of government, by an armed mob, in February 2014. There is wrong on both sides. It is time to stop the killing and destruction, instead of treating the war as a desirable and admirable thing.

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