#TBT

#TBT The Lesson

This is me, returning from my night of triumph at the annual awards night of Northwood Boys Club. So many certificates, cups and shields, huh? To be honest the two cups were for winning the clubs snooker tournament. The big one has my name etched on it. The little one was to keep. I must have been about 12 or 13 years old. I did pretty well with a cue. Be it snooker or pool.

The school I went to back then was a small prep in north west London. It almost backed onto a massive NATO headquarters, at the time called HMS Warrior. You’d hear them testing the sirens every so often, and we had a teacher explain why. Or, to the point, explain the Cold War. He reassured us that we had nothing to worry about. “If there’s a nuclear war, that base will have bombs rained down on it. We’ll all be instantly vaporised. Best thing, really.” Or words to that effect.

About the same time that photo was taken, a movie came out, called Threads. You might think it’s prophetic. I’d say it’s more a reflection of how little has changed over the last few decades. There are new YouTube versions of World War 3 for our entertainment these days. But still, I didn’t overly worry myself about the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. The very idea made no sense to me whatsoever. As a kid, even I knew that this was utterly stupid. And I had faith in the grown ups to let me and other kids get on with stupid stuff, while they got on with the sensible stuff.

Alas, the lesson I’ve learned since then is this: in the adult world stupid is closer to being the rule than it is the exception. And more than 30 years on we’re still on the brink of nuclear devastation, for pretty much the same reasons. I think there’s a perfectly workable solution to this madness. Every nuclear power should be allowed to have a man with a nuclear device stand next to the leaders of every other nuclear power. Mutually Assured Destruction of Culpable Asshole Politicians. MADCAP, for short. Make it more a suicide pact kind of a deal.

But anyway. I shan’t start to really panic until I see the stock price of tea companies shooting through the roof as the British government buys up the entire global supply. Or the launch of a new US company called Trump Bunkers, boasting special nuclear proof panels – probably made from painted polystyrene. At that point I shall stock up on tins of beans, coffee and cornflakes. And a catapult in case anyone comes for my beans. I’d buy a gun rather than a catapult, but they aren’t on sale here. Perhaps we do need a Second Amendment here after all. Then I shall build a den in the New Forest and live off what Mother Nature provides. After the bombs have dropped that will probably be five legged rabbits and glow in the dark trout.

By the way, I appreciate MADCAP isn’t a plausible solution. A better real life solution would be to let Russia have Syria, but with conditions. They have to take responsibility for Iraq and Iran too. Then we in Europe find a new non Russian supplier for our gas and oil. Isolate them economically. Then we let nature take its course. Russia can get on with building all those expensive new bases, paid for through an increasingly non existent budget. They can flex their military muscles until their supply of financial steroids runs dry. This is pretty much what ended the original Cold War.

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13 thoughts on “#TBT The Lesson

  1. norm says:

    “Then we in Europe find a new non Russian supplier for our gas and oil”.

    There is plenty of gas in Europe, the North European plain is loseley with shale gas. The key policy change would be to give the land owner above the deposits 20-30% of the take. That not on my watch stuff would come to an end and the Russians could pound sand. Carrots are good, sticks are bad, no matter what Nico Machiavelli said.

    The shale gas here in Ohio is interesting, it has to be refined, it has hydrocarbons like propane and ethylene in double digit percentages-good stuff but it needs a bit of special handling. You can’t just haul it away in a truck .

    As to the eggs: I’m pretty sure the US military has already got a plan, should Trump start pounding on his little red button, it involves a straight jacket.

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    • There is plenty of gas in Europe, the North European plain is loseley with shale gas. The key policy change would be to give the land owner above the deposits 20-30% of the take. That not on my watch stuff would come to an end and the Russians could pound sand. Carrots are good, sticks are bad, no matter what Nico Machiavelli said.

      This would be preferable to increasing our energy dependence in the Middle East…

      As to the eggs: I’m pretty sure the US military has already got a plan, should Trump start pounding on his little red button, it involves a straight jacket.

      I would genuinely hope that there’s a small group at the top of the military, both in the US and Russia, who have a plan to stave off a nuclear holocaust. I’m more hopeful of such a group existing in the US. Even if there is an irony of the history books recording an American military coup, with the negative connoitations that comes with it.

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  2. MADCAP! Now there’s a policy I could get behind. And yes, the world is completely and utterly insane.

    Thanks for a small dose of sanity in a mad, mad, mad world.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we hardly think Syria is worth dying for, much less destroying the planet over.

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    • Where we hardly think Syria is worth dying for, much less destroying the planet over.

      My big issue with attacking Syria is simply this: What’s the point?

      We need to take out their chemical weapons stocks! That has been tried several times and clearly isn’t working. We need to deter them from using chemical weapons! I refer the honorable gentleman to my earlier reply. Punitive measures are required! What? You’re going to bomb their rubble into smaller bits of rubble? We need to take out their air force and deny them the ability to deliver chemical weapons. Despite berating Obama for tipping off the Syrians a few years ago, Trump has now done the same. Times ten. And the Syrian air force is currently hiding in Russian hangars. So…

      So there is no point. None at all. Let the Russians have Syria. They can have full responsibility. Perhaps they’d like to take all the refugees off our hands too. At the end of the day, we watch, we assess. And we apply economic and diplomatic consequences to Russia for the wrongs that happen in Syria.

      One ‘funny’ thing did occur to me though. Another sign of impending nuclear armageddon will be Mexico performing a total about face and building The Wall. Twice as high as Trump wanted. Completely impenetrable. And finished off in record time, just as millions of radioactive US refugees try to head south…

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      • Assad isn’t the one using chemical weapons. It serves no purpose for his regime. Right? It brings in the USA with bombs and other threats. A few months ago the Pentagon admitted they didn’t really know who did the last chemical attack. Nor the one before that. And I highly highly doubt this one was done by Assad either.

        He may be evil, but he’s surely not stupid. He’s winning the war, got Russian backing, and the only thing that can derail his total victory is using chemical weapons. So why would he do that? Answer: he almost certainly didn’t.

        Meanwhile the so-called “moderate rebels” have every reason in the world to create a false-flag chemical attack. Right? They’re surrounded, about to be annihilated, and totally desperate. The only thing that could possibly save them is a US strike. So they use chemical weapons and make it look like Assad did it.

        The above explanation fits the facts FAR better than what the misledia is feeding us. And it’s apparently happened in the past.

        So color me EXTREMELY skeptical about the current media narrative.

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        • Assad isn’t the one using chemical weapons. It serves no purpose for his regime. Right?….He may be evil, but he’s surely not stupid. He’s winning the war, got Russian backing, and the only thing that can derail his total victory is using chemical weapons. So why would he do that? Answer: he almost certainly didn’t.

          He’s been winning the war for years, he’s had Russian backing for years. And this has been a reason to argue ‘he didn’t do it’ for years. And certainly on one or two occasions, this assumption has been wrong. Frankly, Assad using chemical weapons wouldn’t be the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen.

          Indeed, from what I know about the last stages of bitterly fought wars, the final furlong is often the most bitterly fought, and atrocities seem to be just as likely as any other part of the conflict. Perhaps more so. Rooting out the most hard core remnants of ‘the enemy’ can be tough. The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka is probably a decent example.

          Meanwhile the so-called “moderate rebels” have every reason in the world to create a false-flag chemical attack. Right? They’re surrounded, about to be annihilated, and totally desperate. The only thing that could possibly save them is a US strike. So they use chemical weapons and make it look like Assad did it.

          They do, and I agree. And there are other plausible theories. But I don’t think this is as clear cut as the Salisbury incident for example. I remain in the ‘I don’t know but am dubious’ camp.

          None of this really matters now, though. We could debate whether it ever really mattered, but I don’t think there’s enough disagreement to make it much of a debate.

          So we go forward. Happily, for now, without WW3 breaking out. Does Trump have a taste for this now? He does, after all, know more about war than the generals. Thanks to all the movies he’s watched. Does Putin retaliate via cyber attacks? Or will he be more cautious himself? Will May be PM for long enough for her to matter? How long before France surrenders?!

          There’s another argument against war, of course. I checked with my bank today. It turns out that once the mortgage and bills are paid, and I’ve set a little aside for the Vietnam holiday, my account has insufficient funds to engage in further foreign military adventures. Shucks..

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        • Hola Gary! Again, I don’t know what happened in Syria, but I’m not convinced that Western intelligence services know much more either. You could be right, or I could be right, or Trump could be right. But again, the action, especially given the Russian involvement, seems hasty. You know the US DOD a few months ago admitted they didn’t really know if last year’s chemical attack was done by Assad or the rebels. And I’m sure we’ll eventually learn the same about this week.

          As for the tax angle, yeah. I’ve long held that it’d be a great idea if, in the USA, taxes were immediately raised in the event of any military conflict. I think that would focus the minds of Americans more than anything else on whether such an action/war was worth it or not. Sadly, the debt markets have allowed people to not care and to remain unconcerned. Anyway, it looks (so far) as if WWWIII hasn’t been started. But I still think governments need to be WAY more circumspect than they are. Saludos!

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        • Again, I don’t know what happened in Syria, but I’m not convinced that Western intelligence services know much more either.

          Agreed. The only version of events I so far find to be totally unbelievable is the Russian account. Their detachment from reality, and that they say what they say with a straight face, is concerning. I half expect them to at some stage soon employ Comical Ali of Gulf War 2 fame. Just to provide that professional touch.

          As for the tax angle, yeah. I’ve long held that it’d be a great idea if, in the USA, taxes were immediately raised in the event of any military conflict.

          Here here! Although, to be fair, there was very little support amongst the British public for this attack. Very little indeed. The most recent poll put it at 22%. I don’t think she’d have won a Parliamentary vote either. But May had a little bit of a problem. Having spent a month rustling up support (successfully) against Russia for a chemical attack in Salisbury, how* to then tell all her allies to bugger off when it came to Syria? Rock and a hard place…

          Anyway, it looks (so far) as if WWWIII hasn’t been started.

          So glad I didn’t max out all my credit cards on 20,000 tins of baked beans after all…

          But I still think governments need to be WAY more circumspect than they are.

          You’re not kidding. None of the concerned governments can call this one a win. Hopefully they learned something. But I have my doubts.

          *The ‘how’ would have been to hold and then lose that parliamentary vote. But that would have been fraught with its own problems.

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        • I’ve read more than one account that suggests that these gov’ts are operating with such speed so as to do what they know their citizens don’t want them to do before they can organize against it. As you’ll recall David Cameron asked Parliament about the last Syrian chemical attack, and they said “no.” I think that’s why May ran so fast. She wanted to be able to do something even if her people didn’t want it.

          These are the psychopaths we have leading us. I’m still afraid, even if WWIII has been postponed for now.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. You are turning into kind of a version of Steven King with your mini-horror stories. Only you could start out with a tale of youth and small prizes into doom and gloom. Nice job Gary. No sarcasm intended when I say nice job!
    Rich

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