Why are all wars stupid but this one even more so?

>>> 3 minutos

Before I make a more cold and material analysis, let me start with a truth like a temple: the suffering generated by a war is not quantifiable, it cannot be measured. No one can count the unseen wounds, which also tend to be the ones that weigh the heaviest over time, the most incurable. Therefore, imagine, there is no yardstick to measure the pain that could be caused by a war affecting the whole world, as some seem to demand now for the conflict in Ukraine.

Cursed be the wars and the scoundrels who wage them, as that good and wise man said when he had to go out to give a talk, and just then, he learned of the death of his son, an innocent journalist, in the last war in Iraq.

Having said that, a clarification: this is not a text about geopolitical reasons or about which side has committed more barbarities. Among other things because the answer is obvious: in the short term, it is Putin's tyrant, who is the invader and who must be stopped. In the long term, it is NATO. Whoever dares to deny it should provide half a proof. He will not be able to. Just look at the list of invasions "to guarantee peace" of one and the others. No one can beat us westerners as Orwellians.

Once the positions are clear at the outset, let us move on to the heart of the text. I want to answer the question in the title: all wars are stupid, but this one is even more so .

In the Faculty of Economics, in the first year, they teach you -at least when I studied- a concept that for whatever reason remains in my head: the Production Possibilities Frontier (PPF, from now on). The PPF reflects the maximum quantities of goods and services that a society is capable of producing in a given period and from specific factors of production and technological knowledge. Good. You probably already follow me, reader, you know where I'm going.

We are in a situation of global energy crisis that began years before the pandemic, which it aggravated, and now - as I write these lines, the reference barrel of Brent oil is already over 114$- is giving us another push towards the abyss of escalating prices.

In addition, the fertilizers with which we produce our food depend to a large extent on the price of gas. This gas has become brutally expensive -it has quadrupled in price over the last year- and there is no sign that it will cease to do so, considering how strategic Ukraine is as a route for gas pipelines. And what it would mean for Europe to run out of Russian fossil gas. Europe currently imports more than 40% of its total from there. Few people are unaware that control of the gas market is one of the main reasons for this conflict.

And if that were not enough, we have a problem of biblical magnitude with climate change. Another devastating report has just been published by the IPCC -the UN body in charge of compiling cutting-edge scientific knowledge for 7 years-, and the conclusions, summarized, are as follows:

-Half of the world's population lives in areas highly vulnerable to climate chaos. 3.6 billion people.

-Food and water shortages. And crops at risk. From 2ºC increase, chaos.

-No region safe from climate change.

-More extreme events and irreversible impacts with every tenth of an increase.

-Extinction in progress: from trees to corals. The Sixth Mass Extinction.

In short, there are people who insist on not understanding it, but hey, the planet has limits. Material, atmospheric, thermodynamic. That's all. What seems not to have them, as another wise man said, is human stupidity.

How easy it would be to understand that we cannot win if we continue fighting among ourselves. That global problems can only be solved by all of us, or there is no way. Welcome to the global prisoner's dilemma in which we are all inserted.

At this defining moment for the future of our societies, it could be very useful to understand that nuclear bombs only serve one purpose: to make us realize that we have gone beyond the limit of what is tolerable and that the time has come to slow down the arms race as much as we can. It is a race to nowhere that squanders resources, energy and talent. It makes it impossible for us to take advantage of the possibilities of our PPF. There are so many things we could do with all the materials, energy and man-hours it takes to make all the weapons.

The U.S. military pollutes more than 140 entire countries. The energy expenditure of the world's war industry would be enough to make a significant part of the energy transition. When we do not have so much energy available, what will we think of these crazy times we have had to live in? What will the generations to come think? They will think that we were blind, that borders and small cultural differences did not allow us to see that deep down we were in the same ocean, the one that is capable of swallowing a good part of our civilization if we do not put the brakes, and fast, to "development" and "growth". Growth leads you to expand, and that, on a finite planet, to collide.

Does that mean that all wars are bad and stupid? Yes, no doubt. Does that mean that all wars should be avoided? Unfortunately, no. If there is an enemy that wants to destroy and conquer you, you are not going to be at peace all the time. At some point you will not be able to defend yourself. Hitler had to be stopped. But let's not compare that with this, please.

This war can only be understood from imperialist positions. The anachronistic and obsolete positions that have continually led us to clash between peoples and cultures that are not so different. It was understandable that these were the positions that brought us to this point, to the edge of a multiple precipice. But it is high time we abandoned the mentality of sides and empires. Let's stop playing dangerous games before they leave us behind.

About the Author

Juan Bordera

Journalist and content creator.

March 04, 2022 — Juan Bordera

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