While I do my best to only scan the daily news, and not let it consume me, the events on the Poland- Belarus border are hard to gloss over. First, the intent behind it all is quite clear, as reported even by U.S. news agencies- essentially regional destabilisation and distraction of the European Union and its allies.  The BBC and Aljazeera give good background on the crisis, and yesterday I began hearing how the term “hybrid warfare” best describes what is now playing out in the region. Hybrid warfare, in case you are unfamiliar, encompasses all possible forms of confrontation- asymmetric warfare, cyber warfare, “lawfare”, economic warfare, regular and irregular warfare including psychological operations and the extensive use of propaganda. The final items in the list are some of the easiest to use in our day and age, with the “democratic” internet and social media at everyone’s fingertips, especially governments, and more important to most people than the oxygen they breathe. What we are seeing currently goes well beyond that, using living humans as fodder, battering rams, and Trojan horses on a new kind of front line.

Now a word about background. First we have a resurgent-minded Russia- Vladimir Putin’s clearly expressed goal in life is to reclaim and rebuild greater Russia. His ally is Belarus and its dictator Alexander Lukashenko (a reminder to A.L. in case he should read this- be careful! If Putin succeeds your country will no longer be an ally, but a satellite, and you will become expendable.) Their aim again, or I should say Putin’s, is disruption and distraction of Europe, the European Union, and its allies. I am sure Putin would be perfectly happy if bullets started flying; proxy warfare is one of the best kind- why use your own troops when you can use those of others to die for your cause? All very straight-forward.

Finally, something that seems to be forgotten by most observers and news reports is the fact that Syria is also an ally of Russia, and that with Russia’s support, the pathological, megalomaniacal, murdering dictator, Bashar al-Assad is largely behind the crisis.  Remember where many of these migrants have come from- Syria, as well as other, similarly dysfunctional countries (if we can still call them countries… when does a country just become a battleground? ) throughout the region.

What to do about it all? Good question. One of the most important things we can do for the entire world is to address climate change. Which is clearly not at the top of Putin’s agenda. Why? If we were really serious about stopping global warming, fossil fuels would have to become obsolete, and soon. This would put Russia in a very precarious position- the power behind its riches in oil and gas would fall away, and its would-be super-power status would be at risk. That is not going to happen! The world will continue to heat up, we will become a world full of refugees, and sic transit gloria mundi.

End of Monday afternoon rant.