27. Feb, 2022

noah-harari-argues-that-whats-at-stake-in-ukraine-is-the-direction-of-human-history

Can humans change the way they behave, or does history repeat itself endlessly, with humans forever condemned to re-enact past tragedies without changing anything except the décor? Is . Hitler in 1938 did something similar to what Putin is doing with Sudeti where, as in Ukrain according to the dicator opinion, a minority of German population was oppressed by the majority of Czechoslovaks. Hitler, as now Putin, promised that, if the Society of Nations would have allowed him to annex Sudeti to Germany no further expansion would have happened, nor war. In the movie “Munich, the edge of war”, the story is well described. The UK prime minister allowed Sudeti’s annex, in the following year Poland was invaded and we all know how it went.

The lesson learnt after WW2 led all the nations, Harari says, to avoid war as an expansion tool :” In recent decades “peace” has come to mean “the implausibility of war”. For many countries, being invaded and conquered by the neighbours has become almost inconceivable. I live in the Middle East, so I know perfectly well that there are exceptions to these trends. But recognising the trends is at least as important as being able to point out the exceptions. The “new peace” hasn’t been a statistical fluke or hippie fantasy. It has been reflected most clearly in coldly-calculated budgets. In recent decades governments around the world have felt safe enough to spend an average of only about 6.5% of their budgets on their armed forces, while spending far more on education, health care and welfare.

Putin’s aggression has reopened the Pandora box of History, letting the evil reappear on Hearth, after 7 decades of peace. Differently with what the Society of Nations did, if we want to close the box again, a strong cohesive democratic reaction to the aggression has to happen to, in Harari’s words, stop the “law of the jungle” not allowing any leader who chooses to conquer a neighbour to  get a special place in humanity’s memory. Putin will go down in history as the man who ruined our greatest achievement. Just when we thought we were out of the jungle, he pulled us back in.