The Cost of War & Peace

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This Blog was written by my sister, Jen, who is a 747 captain for an international freight airline.

“What we do in life echoes in eternity.” – The Gladiator

The Gladiator

I was once party to a discussion about Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) at college. Why would countries and their defensive (or offensive) forces build vast troves of nuclear weapons that could annihilate all humanity? What was the purpose? The presenter’s view was that the only sane choice with these weapons was their wholesale destruction, before they could be used to destroy the entire planet.

Does good or evil matter to leaders who put their feet on a road to greater power, conquest, and control? We could return in history to the time of World War II, or we could stand in 2022 and contemplate the potential for evil and destruction that man wages against other men. It does not matter your politics (but it might your religion); good and evil should still be recognizable.

It is an admirable goal to desire peace. But what is required to obtain it and maintain it? There is no free lunch, no easy way. If two children want the same toy, one must give if the other takes. The pie is a pie and there are a set number of slices. This isn’t the world of intellectual property and IT where nothing can be made into something. Here we are talking about people, families, towns, cities, and the ground they stand upon. They are real, each irreplaceable in their own uniqueness.

If one wants peace, one must be willing to stand up for the toy or the slice of pie, or the people and the ground on which they stand. Do you build a Maginot Line which generated the Siegfried Line in response? Neither stopped what was coming. How do you deter a bully? You build something that threatens annihilation of the bully, or you eradicate the bully. Eradication is often only temporary, as bully replacement doesn’t usually go spectacularly well either.

Whether or not this escalates into WW3, there will be much written about this period in our history. The strength and weakness of leaders, the narcissistic focus of humanity, the failure to understand implications and consequences of action and inaction.

The concept of equal force creating a balance has been taught in physics since it was codified by Sir Issac Newton in the 17th century. It was always there in the history books. Genghis Khan went until he was stopped by Alauddin. Alexander the Great was arguably only stopped by his death. Who will oppose Putin? Who will oppose evil?

What is the role of the United States? You will note that I did not name Biden here. It is intentional. We elect our leaders to represent us. Are they doing that? Are we demanding it? I see all kinds of posts on social media decrying what is happening in Ukraine. Verbal support for those defending their families and their homes, their livelihoods, their communities…and their country.

When a Russian leader puts his nuclear weapon arsenal on high alert (many of which were Ukrainian nuclear weapons until the US demanded that they turn them over to Russia in the 1990s) because other nations impose sanctions on his aggression, what is a reasoned response? Here we are again looking at an unchecked bully. There is no Maginot Line that is buildable with the threat of ICBMs. Once upon a time there was a move to build a Star Wars defensive system. That was shot down because of cost…and because of hostility to the idea by other world powers, namely the Russians. For what good is a terrible weapon if it cannot reach its intended target?

For those that want peace, perhaps a little John Wick watching is advised:

“Si vis pacem, para bellum.” There are those that will always seek power.

Going back to Newton and before, it is proven in science that nature abhors a vacuum. We had better figure out a suitable response or the Ukraine will be the Sudetenland all over. I am one who turns away from conflict by choice. So, clearly, is Biden. We may soon no longer have a choice. The Ukraine people have already found this out. Otherwise, we may not like the results.

To quote a Marvel movie:

“You were made to be ruled. It is the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. In the end, you will always kneel”

Loki in The Avengers

Put down your phone. Cogitate. Pray. Talk with others. History is upon us.

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