The threshold of caring
Not all conflicts are created equal. Probably because I’m a racist. To be fair there is some level of revulsion I feel towards all armed conflict, but I cannot deny that I rank in them in some sort of hierarchy in my brain. Ukraine at the top. Yemen somewhere near the bottom.
I’ve been told that its because Ukrainians are white and the Yemeni are brown. But, having thought about this for a while (I think) I would likely be equally incensed by North Korea attacking South Korea. Or China invading Taiwan. So maybe its more of a case that, like CBS’s senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata so ‘eloquently’ put it, ‘the war in Ukraine is particularly shocking because the country is relatively civilized and European compared to Iraq and Afghanistan’. Way to vocalize the zeitgeist there Charlie, but no one really wants to hear uncomfortable truths, especially when it underscores that we are not the exemplars we thought we were.
I circle this for further introspection… because maybe, subconsciously, I really do think that ‘civilized sapiens’ are worth more of my (very limited) headspace.
I have never (or would ever) entertain the thought of crushing the Saudi Riyal and annihilating the Saudi economy because they’re bombing Yemeni civilians with drones. (Mohammed bin Salman, like Vladimir Putin, is a garbage human being and the world would probably be much better off without him) I just don’t care enough about it though. BUT bomb some Ukrainians and I’m on my soapbox venting that it is unconscionable that Russians can still drink Coke Cola! (a human-right, I see is now FINALLY, being denied to them)1
 As a point of non-sardonicism, I don’t actually believe sanctions (and tariffs) solve anything other than hurting the ordinary plebeians. Those, whom we somehow we want to blame (and hurt) for the repressive governments they are born into, because you know, they’re not rising up fast enough to cast off the yoke of… whatever -ism they happen to fall under. Easy to cast aspersions on others and hold them to ethical standards we don’t follow ourselves.
So there’s an uncomfortable realization. (that I will push to the back of my brain somewhere and cover with an old tarp)
In all fairness the Ukrainian marketing is just better. And really, its probably all about the marketing. Frame something as the Heroic underdog versus an Evil empire, and that will get the blood pumping and the interest dialed up to ten. Something the Palestinians have never be able to do (because Hamas are a bunch of idiots and are likely past the point of no-return when it comes to being able to re-brand itself, although my people, the Germans, arguable one of the evilest of empires thus far managed, so its not impossible)
Which is also why no one really cared about the implosion of Yugoslavia (back in the day). There was no Han Solo, no Imperial Storm troopers, no Death Star. Ergo, no real interest. All the protagonists in that particular conflict were bad guys (in my mind at least).
Controlling the narrative is so important. Why didn’t the world really care that the United States (and friends) attacked Iraq and Afghanistan? Because there was a narrative behind it. A story we tell that gets told to adherents of the ‘Western’ mindset that keeps us sane and compliant, ‘We’ (the western world) are the good guys… we are ‘liberating’ the Iraqi’s… Afghani’s, Vietnamese… whoever… that story (even if its not true) is so important.
So if the Ukrainians had just rolled over, and taken the ‘L’, would I have cared… AT ALL? Probably not. In fact, definitely not. Which illustrates the importance of those first 48hrs… and also having something marketable from the battle-field (‘Russian-warship, go fuck yourself’)… and being able to combine that with a charismatic leader (Volodymyr Zelenskyy) and suddenly you get a insane morale bump and people waking up from the slumber, perking up and saying, ‘I want to see more of that’… and then ‘hey I want those guys to win’.
We love a Rebel Alliance.
Well, I do. To be fair, by the end of the last set of Star Wars movies I wanted the Empire to win again. So swings and roundabouts. Lets stick with the original trilogy in order to make this analogy work.
That probably still doesn’t quite cover me in terms of being hypocritical in terms of which conflicts I care about. But… you know what, I’m (probably) okay with that. I reality In only have so many ‘fucks’ to give, and I suppose while I could spread them around, I like to save them… for the conflicts that… eh… hurt my stock portfolio the most. Which, this past week, is reelin’ from the feelin’. (oinkin’ from the boinkin’).
In any event, I hope the Ukrainians make it. And because I lean towards a libertarian utopian-ism I can only hope that the Russian people rise up and depose the Tsar (and his sycophant underlings). And then instead of some bullshit Bolshevik gobbledegook dissolve the federation in favor of city states and tiny self governed principalities. Of course it would be nice (and perhaps even prudent) to adopt crypto-currency as their means of transaction, dismember their nuclear arsenal and scrap their war-machines. Give up this imperialism lark and get busy thriving.
Or you know… burn the world down. I guess that’s also a thing… again.
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