Monday, July 21, 2014

Dear Tabloids...

If it's not too much trouble could you please, please stop trying to talk us into a war with Russia? At present the situation in Ukraine looks really bad, and it's certainly very tense all around, but there's far more that we don't know than that we do. The last thing we need is people pouring large amounts of oil on it.

I should probably make clear at this point that I'm not defending Vladimir Putin. By all accounts, he's not a particularly nice person, in charge of a not-particularly-nice government. But there are three things to be considered:

  1. He's not a modern-day Hitler or Stalin. He's just not. Behave.
  2. It's fair to say that our own leaders aren't particularly nice either. For instance, I'm not entirely convinced that Russia's anti-gay agenda is really worse than telling terminally ill people that they're fit to work. And, of course, after Iraq we don't really have any moral high ground on the issue of invading other countries.
  3. Probably most important, though: nice or not, Vladimir Putin is smart. In fact, he appears to be a good bit more intelligent than our leaders. So if he is indeed the mastermind behind the shooting down of this plane, it's because he's trying to start a war, and that because his forces are ready. That's something rather important to consider before rushing in.

Military action against Russia may now be inevitable. It may even be the right thing to do. But it also goes beyond being something we don't want to do unless we absolutely must - it's something we don't want to do even if we absolutely must. Because even if we 'win', we'd end up vastly the worse off for it having been done.

So, yeah, rather than the daily set of headlines designed to out-outrage your rivals in order to sell copy, with the by-product of talking us into a war we really don't want to fight, could you please STFU and let cooler heads prevail? I'm sure Jordan has some tasty revelations about her private life you could cover instead. (And, incidentally, that goes for the BBC and, especially, Sky News as well.)

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