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On Truculence

Once Peter Seeger (popularly known as Pete Seeger; May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014), the noted American musician-songwriter-composer-singer, had reminisced about his famous song ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone‘. Seeger revealed that he had thought of the catchy lyrics of the song, first released in 1955, from a novel. According to the singer, the author of that novel, while describing the Cossack soldiers, penned those lines: “Where have all the flowers gone? Young girls pick them every one. Where have all the young girls gone? Gone to young men every one. Where have all the young men gone? They are all in uniform.” The Cossacks (Kazaks in Russian; from Turkic Kazak, adventurer or free man) inhabited sparsely populated areas in basins of the River Don in 19th Century Russia. Those lines inspired Seeger to create his famous anti-war humanitarian song, with an universal appeal.

The Napoleonic war of Russia had changed the course of history in Europe. It may be said that the war continued even after the fall of the Tsarist Empire, and the erstwhile Soviet Union. People, living in that region, have been experiencing war for more than two centuries. Those devastated people might have thought that time would change after the Second World War. After witnessing crises and conflicts in the next few decades, they rightly realised at the beginning of the 21st Century that the scenario would remain the same. In fact, the most unexpected and terrible war started on February 24, 2022, with Russia invading neighbouring Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in attacks and counter-attacks for the past one year.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, defence experts of various countries expressed hope that there would not be a big war, even if the Ukraine crisis escalated. In the third week of February (2022), the US, British and German intelligence agencies had reported that Russia would not attack its neighbour. The world was shocked to see that Russia, defying all forecasts, launched airstrikes in Ukraine, on February 24. The destruction of a beautiful country in 2022 reminded the global community that jealousy is common among people even in the 21st Century.

All wars are written in blood, but not writings of all the wars are the same. Few wars have left a deep and pervasive impact on Human Civilisation. The world has seen a number of conflicts since the Second World War; however, the scars that the Ukraine War would leave on the entire world are rare. Many are skeptical about whether this war will actually be over at all. The year 2023 has begun amidst fears that an eternal wound would continue to bleed, infecting the rest of the world.

Preparations are going on elsewhere in the world for many more conflicts. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently shocked everyone with a nuclear threat. The US, Germany, Israel and some other countries have increased their defence spending after monitoring the pace of the Russia-Ukraine War in the last one year, ringing an alarm for the rest of the world. In other words, these countries, too, are getting prepared to attack others, if necessary.
Such incidents hardly happened after the Second World War.

The ongoing war between the two former Soviet Republics has already rocked the World Economy. The closure of Russia’s oil and gas supply has triggered an energy crisis across Europe, apart from skyrocketing the petroleum prices around the world. Since the Second World War, Europeans are experiencing such a dangerous winter for the first time. There is also a danger of social instability and rapid growth of Right-Wing Politics as a result of this. Defence research, too, has gained momentum after the mid-20th Century.

A refugee crisis loomed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Europe is currently reeling under chaos with the influx of Syrian refugees on one side and Ukrainian refugees on the other. In a rare first, Europeans are dealing with White Christian refugees. They feel particularly vulnerable, as it is easier to alienate non-White refugees as enemies, but not refugees like themselves. Perhaps, they are trying hard to find a synonym of Otherisation. It seems that a war will break out between two races – Whites and Non-Whites – in near future.

In a nutshell, the international community is experiencing a completely different Global Geopolitical Landscape in the year 2023. Now, the scent of war is all around, but is it possible to remove that scent by merely exchanging New Year wishes?

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