Sun | Dec 3, 2023

A brave new world

Published:Saturday | June 25, 2022 | 12:07 AM


At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Henry Kissinger suggested that by supplying Ukraine with weaponry, the countries of NATO and the EU were prolonging the war with Russia. His suggestion that Ukraine should surrender those disputed territories that precipitated Russia’s March invasion went over like a pregnant pole-vaulter in many quarters. In fact, several world leaders implied that the former US secretary of state made as much sense as having an ashtray on a motorcycle. However, the renowned 99-year old negotiator may have provided some much-needed forethought – a commodity that is as rare as rocking-horse manure these days among political leadership. Mr Kissinger advised that, without Ukraine as the traditional bridge to Europe, Russia is dangerously isolated and will turn to other allies.

That is already happening with China and India importing Russian oil and gas in huge quantities since Western sanctions were imposed. Strangely, and perhaps as Rudyard Kipling predicted, “East is East and West Is West, and never the twain shall meet”. Many countries trying to return to pre-pandemic living are reeling from inflation breaking 40-year old records. Expectations of a ‘new normal’, expressed so often during the last two years, are now coming to fruition with many large and small businesses struggling to find and train new workers, causing chaos in sectors like transportation where airports experience huge delays. A huge kink in the supply chain is exacerbated by the world’s largest port of Shanghai having been closed for several weeks because of COVID-19 protocols.

Atrocities are reported from the armies of both Ukraine and Russia. An oft-used expression is “all’s fair in love and war”, but nobody should forget English pacifist and philosopher Aldous Huxley’s words on the eve of World War II: “What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood”. Mr Huxley never looked at the world through rose-coloured glasses, but through a darker lens. His most famous publication 90 years ago was a bleak look into the future, and many of his predictions have come true already. He could have used ‘a new normal’ for his title, but instead chose ‘A brave new world’.


Parksville, BC