Europe’s identity is a post-Cold War sham. The Atlantic states are its westernmost extremity, and slivers of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkey are their easternmost counterparts. The Anglos, Norse, Iberians and Celts of the Ponant, are offset by Buddhist Kalmykia, Muslim Chuvashia, and Finno-Ugric Mordvins, Komis, and Karelians of Europe‘s Levant. France, Spain, and Holland, are not its heart. The physical, cultural, historic, and demographic barycenter of Europe is closer to Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine, than either of its two extremities.
Ukraine is one of those solid epicenters of Europe from which events and culture radiate in concentric circles towards the rest of the continent and beyond, yet it may come as news to students of history that although it started life as a Viking fiefdom similar to Normandy and England, and birthed wave upon demographic wave populating Europe from the Fall of Rome to the time the sons of Lvov, Odessa, and Kiev became the leading luminaries of Washington and Moscow, it never existed as an independent country, nation, or state.
It is a given that today’s Europe is neither Mongol, Islamic, or Turkic, with all that this implies for the contributions and detriments which Europeans have showered upon the world. Considering the martial talent of the Khans of the Steppes, Ukrainian men and women who fought them tooth and nail across millennia deserve credit for their significant role in shaping the identity of the Europe we know today.
Ukrainian bellicosity goes back to prehistory, and it has nourished uncompromisingly tough characters and given us the likes of the brothers Klitschko, and countless indomitable Businessmen, Criminals, Innovators, Communists, Zionists, Anarchists, Fascists and Nationalists, who both improved and blighted human history.
Between 1918 and 1945 the bloodiest fighting on the planet took place in and in the immediate vicinity of, the Ukraine, and considering that it often found itself in a permanent state of war the region merits being called the pressure-cooker of the human species. One which regularly produces genius and talent, along with the biggest downside to too much smarts – an unmanageable political destiny, a fragmented identity, and a virtually endless string of conflicts and hatreds. A certain fanaticism, stubbornness, a wanderlust and passion, reliably originate from this quagmire of beauty and terror.
Little appreciated, Ukraine’s peopling of the commanding heights of both the Soviet and American empires, involved tight ethnic networks of Uniates and Orthodox Christian, of Jews, Greeks, and even the odd Armenian. Men and women with iron chins, perceptive minds, and habits of survival parlayed into success and social prominence wherever they set foot, and where they set foot they also brought their exceptional penchant for animosity, and with the dissolution of the USSR, this penchant became the bane of the Ukraine, Europe, Russia and Russian speakers world-wide. It has even entangled America in Europe’s most futile and idiotic conflict to date. All for a country which did not exist less than twenty years ago.
The Ukraine consists of a western part dominated by the city of Lvov, founded by Poles when part of their Polish empire. Kiev is in the country’s center, the birthplace of Russia itself. The Carpathians of the south, picturesque mountains with a unique cultural heritage. The east in continuity with Odessa, Crimea, and the Caspian-Pontic steppe stretching through Russia to Europe’s easternmost frontier; birthplace of Trotsky, Jabotinsky, and one of the brightest phases of Jewish history.
As a part of Eastern Europe Ukraine goes back to antiquity. As a sovereign state it is a toddler who in the last three years has regressed from industrial, prosperous, and decent — to war-torn semi-failed — state.
The mess that is Ukraine has two causes. First, the planetary ignorance of the rate with which Europe regularly changes its borders and invents countries and people, regardless of the costs or benefits for those involved. Second, Washington and Moscow.
The general human ignorance of history, or the consumption of a tedious and tawdry variant which resembles a Victorian morality play more than work befitting the inspiration of Clio, is a significant cause of Ukraine’s present predicament. Awareness of the impermanence of custom controls in Europe should have anyone with a cerebrum questioning if such controls are worth paying for in blood every two odd generations or so.
The impact of ignorance in all its most distorted and noxious forms is alive and kicking in a Europe where every new country which sees the light of day must justify itself via a laundry-list of grievances against the states it is replacing. The weaker the newborn, the more it has to pout if it is to tether a powerful ally to its destiny and the defense of its borders. It must focus its identity on a litany of atrocities and crimes, brainwashing its international patrons and its domestic population with tales of abuse which have no imaginable endgame other than the demise and humiliation of its putative oppressors. An uncanny obsession with horrors and calamity, genocides and atrocity is all the rage, and regardless of size, nearly all European countries are of the opinion that at every juncture in their historical past they were “just defending themselves,” against external aggression when war and conflict had broken out.
In some parts of Europe history is read at bed-time to children with such bile about past enemies, with such Manichean simplicity of Good vs. Evil, that generations of these shrunken-heads are rendered inoperative in their civil duties and their ability to think rationally is severally damaged. The level of animosity towards the antagonists of Europe’s horror-faction is so intense, that it cannot be expected to produce minds intent on anything other than seeking revenge and historical justice regardless of common sense and self-interest.
These are not, as their proponents believe, objective accounts of persecutions past, but a case of aggravated cognitive assault on the present with expectations of physical conflict into the future. They are explosives timed to detonate at the first sight of genuine opportunity. Ideologies masquerading as history, which in the name of self-defense propagate aggression and violence. They are the apotheosis of the flawless victim whose enemies are pure evil and merit oblivion.
Ukraine is a paragon of the insanity with which moralistic history engenders physical conflict, and until all Europeans begin to understand just how it is that for the last 100 years they’ve massacred themselves and others in one continental Civil War (1914-1918), one transcontinental (1939-1945) and one global (the Cold War), they are unlikely to avoid annihilating themselves in one final gory spasm of a do-gooder eschaton which will see all life on the planet wiped-out to the last cockroach.
Rather than trying to refute claims Moscow and Brussels make about Kiev belonging to the European or Eurasian Union, both are better off remembering that no such country led an independent a generation ago, and that the very fact that Europe’s borders were never stable, demands soul-searching, and not finger pointing or finger wagging.
Introspection may remind Europe and Europeans that they don’t have peace in their genes anymore than any other members of the human race might have. Europeans scapegoat, picks fights, inflame, incite, and then play dumb when lying in their own spit and blood TKOd, no less than the Arabs or Africans they’ve been desperately trying to save for the last fifty years from the evils of colonialism and vestiges of precolonial feudalism.
Wickedness and warmongering are universal to the human species, except that in the case of Europeans, they are the only members of the species to have absolved themselves of any responsibility for their own mistakes, crimes, and actions simply by lumping the blame on the shoulders of the long-deceased Hitler and Stalin.
Arabs, Asians, Africans, Latin Americans, don’t have such a fecund option when it comes to their errors and misdemeanors. They even have the dignity and maturity to admit that they are as imperfect as the next-guy. Not so the hipster and the hippies in Greenwich or Soho, who seem to believe that their only shortcoming is the failure to outright save the entire planet; not their apathy, indolence, hypocrisy, and party-obsessed narcissistic self-conceit, but the failure to defeat the Nazis and Colonialism, are why everyone on the planet, including the bobos themselves, are miserable, depressed, and angry.
Europe’s preposterous apologies for imperialism and slavery, sound sweet coming from middle classes whose bourgeois penitence has been paid with the lives of the American rubes and Russian oafs they incessantly deride and at whose belittling they obtain their own sense of self-worth. There is no other type of homo sapiens which believes itself in possession of the moral integrity and irreproachably that Global Europeans have obtained by reducing morality to mere acts of outrage and sanctioned rioting. By pouring their frustration and bile into the symbolic receptacle of Adolf and Joseph, their own responsibility for honesty, hard-work, conflict resolution, dialogue, and civic duty, is reduced to mere symbolic screaming and opposition to anything and everything assimilable to Schicklgruber and Dzhugashvili with only the slightest mental effort.
In deed, Europeans are truculent haters and notorious consumers of righteous violence. They would rather riot than vote. Rather burn than work. Rather blame and insult than take a stand, accept responsibility, and cut down on their drug-habits. Taking Europeans at their victim-hood narrative, or falling for their “He hit me first, I’m innocent” is a surefire recipe for a creeping mental disaster and incessant bar-brawls.
Sixty years of American and Russian occupation have not made things better. Domesticating hedonists meant neutralizing their capacity for action. NATO and Warsaw reduced the number of genuine European men with experience of honest and reliable conduct and encouraged a culture of free-loaders and kvetchers whose notion of masculinity is, like everything else in Europe, a front for vile opportunism and pageantry.
The result is that the European hopey-dopeys are oblivious to Ukraine being in Europe, and that Europe is once again entangled in a European war. It’s just drunkards enjoying a fisticuffs, and raucous swagger over a lager in a German or British pub. The warmongering coming from Poland, Estonia, Georgia, and indeed all of Europe’s capitals is shrugged off in alcoholic revelry. Hitting the table with fists, burping, and toasting how “those guys are tough” ends the night.
European men are boggled by the religiosity of the Americans and Russians who question abortion, try to believe in the family, and struggle with addictions refusing the cowardly cop-out of writing them off as innocent habits. Boggled because they have long ago ceased to believe in anything but pleasure, emotion, and fun. Puzzled because they’ve been castrated after Potsdam, but even as capons still yearn for a brawl at the expense of the local bobby doing the night rounds.
Nothing more than tomfoolery could be expected of fools. Zillions of war memorials and Holocaust monuments have done exactly nothing to stimulate a greater commitment to responsible approaches to conflict resolution on the part of Facebook addicted lemmings of Party-stan. Out of mind out of sight. All that is known about the Ukraine is “Putin invaded it ” and the farcical brawls in the Verkhovna Rada.
General ignorance, deliberate and self-deceptive historical narratives, are the first cause of Ukraine’s sorry state of affairs. They permeate the minds of an entire internet-addled generation incapable of finding a decent and reputable history book with which to evaluate the lies and fabrications put out by neocons of East and West. The truth is putty in the hands of Davosman who if need be, can convince the masses that the world is flat and that pigs can fly just by refining Google’s and Facebook’s algorithms.
Ignorance is the first cause of the conflict in Ukraine, ignorance which assures that grown men think and talk like teenagers, whereas peace requires a renunciation of adolescent passions and the extremism of youth. Ignorance is the fuel of a fire which risks engulfing all of Europe in the blaze that is the Ukraine, radiating hatred and division in concentric circles from the heart of the continent itself.