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Broken Clocks

On two kinds of thinkers: broken clocks and people with actual reasoned arguments. The example of critics of the West too blind to criticise Putin.

WAR 2022.03.05

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Every war is an abomination.

Over the last two, three decades, the world experienced something unique. It had only one superpower: the United States of America. This is changing with the rise of China, but my life was marked by the Pax Americana.

This Pax saw many US interventions and wars. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and so on. Many breached international laws and norms.

The USA placed itself outside and above the international community. It refused to be bound by treaties and insisted on exceptions for itself.

Usually, these breaches brought short-term gains or helped one or another US political faction’s struggle for power. But, in the long-term, they undermined the United Nations and made threadbare the tapestry of international treaties and organisations founded to promote peace and cooperation.

At the same time, the 24-hour news cycle, then the internet, short-circuited almost any form of thoughtful, reasoned international political reporting. The web giants’ advertising stranglehold killed traditional newspapers, but it also excellent individual writers easily accessible. It was a relief to find that I was not the only one aghast at US behaviour.

Now, in his invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s imperial president Putin has clumsily deployed every single US excuse and justification. This was ever the fear. Eat away at the foundations of international law, and one day the edifice will fall on your head. Now it is here, on all our heads, brought down by the terrible fool king in Moscow.

The invasion, the lies, the mad claims, the devastation, the mass slaughter of innocents. It is clear to anyone with an ounce of morality and reason that this war is Putin’s war. Putin’s disgrace.

From a realpolitik perspective, Russian worries about NATO drawing ever closer were reasonable. Over the decades, Western media and politicians were childish, hostile, mendacious, and nasty towards Eastern Europe in general and Russia specifically.

But the moment Putin launched his criminal invasion, reality was forever changed.

This was not bending the rules of civilised international relations. This was throwing them out. Spitting on all the hard-fought traditions we have established to protect us from the four horsemen.

Putin’s Russia is like a man abused as a child. Seventy years of communism and thirty years of kleptocracy leave some traumas.

However, when a grown man crashes a car into a family with premeditated murder on his mind, we don’t excuse him because he was traumatised years ago. We judge.

We judge the man a murderer.

And yet, looking at all those writers critical of the Western regimes, one thing struck me: some of them were broken clocks.

Some, the better part, condemned Putin and his aggression.

Some, the broken clocks, kept beating the same bell. Completely unable to shift from their monomaniacal condemnation of the West for everything under the sun, including, apparently, forcing poor traumatised mister Putin to invade Ukraine.

I can only assume these broken clockes are either: a) fools, b) useful idiots, or c) malevolent tools.

It is fascinating how only the turning of Earth, the rising of Sun, the setting of Moon, let us tell which clocks are broken and which are not.


Consider supporting the victims of Russia’s war of aggression. Caritas is one option.

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