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  • Writer's pictureThe Paladins

Fragments from a War Diary, Part #236

I admit it’s all getting quite tiring. Yesterday morning I had to have a shower in brown water that came out of the taps. There was a power cut in most of the city centre here in frozen Saigon, although it didn’t affect me. However Kyivstar data still isn’t restored in the centre of town, and I have no idea how to make the “eSIM” I have just bought online work so I am reliant on some friendly young soul to help me with this somehow. People are just hopping from one WiFi hotspot to another until mobile data coverage is fully restored. It’s taking time. I tramped into the local Kyivstar store yesterday evening and the wonderful young lady just told me that restoration of the network is taking place in phases. Central Saigon is taking more time than the suburbs. I just need to learn a sense of flexibility and patience.

I still have a western streak in me, that makes me think everything should be perfect like this and perfect like that. And it just isn’t so in a war zone. The Russians are engaged in cyber-attacks, and God knows how they work - scrambling the dynamic RAM of some massive set of computers somewhere in Kyiv or something or other - I don’t really understand it - but it takes time to solve and there’s nothing I can do.

I’m so bogged down in paperwork. More and more of my life is this sort of paperwork and that sort of paperwork. I want to raise money and that means I need terms and conditions and consultations and agreements and all this sort of crazy legal stuff whereas I had been trying to get this kind of nonsense out of my life because here we are fighting World War III and we’re all bogged down in paperwork. This ominous sense of a hard-edged clash with the real world once I return to my native country is becoming ever more imminent and frankly I am quite scared of it all. I’m here to defend western values and there’s all these strange sorts of people in western bureaucracies with forms and rules and forms and rules. Yes okay I understand they have to maintain legal standards but also they need to give way to the fact that there is a war underway and we are here to maintain the standards of western civilisation and pieces of paper and messy political debates and all this other nonsense can’t be allowed to get in the way.

This is an existential and ideological crisis and you are either with us or you are against us. Everyone understands this who has any sense, from US Senators to British politicians to Brussels bureaucrats. Each and every one of you who considers yourselves European citizens of any calibre or integrity is going to have to give up a substantial proportion of your quality of life to resist Russian imperialism which is really just Soviet-communist attempts at European and global hegemony dressed up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. People who think anything else are short-sighted and deluded. There are a series of choices, and each one is more expensive than the last and right now we are headed down the slippery slope.

The first and best choice that is slipping away through our fingers is that the people of the West voluntarily and willingly come to the realisation that they should by their own initiatives support the heroic and extraordinary volunteers and soldiers in Ukraine to fight and resist the Russian aggression. The second is that they are forced to do so by increased taxpayer revenues imposed by their own governments as the Russian aggression becomes ever more realistic and tangible. And the third is that we all pay in blood, with full mobilisation of NATO armed forces and conscription across NATO countries because we are in full armed conflict with Russia. You may think this is mad, but I don't exclude it as an outcome. If Ukraine were to fall, we would have no choice because Vladimir Putin wouldn't stop at the borders of Ukraine. He would carry on until he meets irresistible force pushing in the opposite direction.

NATO prides itself on saying that it has 3.5 million personnel at its disposal. But this includes reserve personnel from every member state. Including reserves, the Russian Armed Forces have about the same number. If you want yourself to be fighting to resist a Russian invasion of Europe, and you are in a NATO member state, then do nothing now. I hope my words aren't falling on deaf ears. I always fear that they might be.

I have a theory about how to end this war. NATO needs to take the plunge and put troops into Ukraine and send them up to the front line where they form a “de-militarized zone” in the style of Korea, opposite Russian positions, and then we agree an armistice with Russia but we never agree a peace because we can never sign an international legal instrument legitimising the Russian annexation of territory through military force. The opportunity for Ukraine to reclaim the occupied territories might come one day but right now we aren’t giving the Ukrainians enough to push over the hard front line that has emerged and therefore we need to stabilise the situation until such time as Russia collapses internally. This will stop the fighting and the bloodshed because Russia really isn’t ready to take on NATO. Russia will respect the show of force and there will be a ceasefire but no peace. That is the best outcome we can forge in the short to medium term.

If we don’t do this soon then I fear we will slide from one level of crisis to the next to the next and on it will go until we take the decisive and determinative steps necessary fully to resist Russian imperialism. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. The longer you delay it, the higher the price, in terms of blood and treasure, will be.

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