Is Russia about to walk into a trap in Ukraine? What are the forces that may want it to invade? Should Russia’s insistence on protecting its sphere of influence be compared to Hitler’s claims on Europe or America’s Monroe Doctrine? And what the consequences of an invasion might be? Could it lead to war? Could the resulting sanctions cripple Russia’s economy?
Something about this time reminds you of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, the fateful strategic mistake that led him and his country to ruin.
But I think I can do one better. When we want to look for an explanation regarding the rise of the far-right in the west and elsewhere we try to study the second world war. But that was more a consequence of a previous one that broke our world. The first world war known to its contemporaries as the great war unhinged the world, paved the way for the Third Reich and WWII. And if you notice the triggers were quite similar. Back in those days, major armies took a year in mobilising and the war could have been stopped at any time but a copious amount of misunderstandings and miscalculations would give you a war that would break the seals of hell.
You are often told that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Serb terrorists led to the war. But his death was not of that much significance. Owing to his choice in marriage he was a marginalised figure within the royal family. As for the two leaders of the war, Russia and Germany, many still do not pay attention to the fact that their monarchs were cousins and best friends. In fact, their letters written mainly in English addressing each other as Nicky (Czar Nicholas II) and Willy (Kaiser Wilhelm II) are part of the public record. To top it all one must mention another of their cousins, Georgie (British King George V). With that kind of familiarity, the three cousins led Europe to war and its ruin.
The Czar gave up power as a result of unrest and his country would soon withdraw from the war as a result of the Bolshevik revolution. The Kaiser had to abdicate in 1918 and the country remained rudderless until the Nazis took over. Conspiracy theories about the causes of the great war abound. In fact, a 900-page report about the munition industry’s role in starting the war called the Nye Report was presented in the US Congress in 1936.
Wars have consequences. Great wars doubly so. If you look at the annexation of Crimea you will notice that it too was not without consequences. That was more or less the time when far-right politics exploded in Europe, led to Brexit in a year and Trump in two.
This time if an invasion of Ukraine does take place there are clear signs that regardless of the reaction it will lead to a further rise of the far-right all over the world. In fact, if you look at how the far-right pundits like Tucker Carlson are framing the conflict and how it is being misinterpreted by the mainstream pundits. Carlson’s job is not the avoidance of war but only that right-leaning America does not take part. Why you ask? Because when the liberals and moderates have exhausted their energies and their goodwill in an avoidable conflict, the far-right can pick up the pieces and shape America and Europe after its own image. Liberal pundits call Tucker a Russian stooge. But he might be much more than that. And the habit of the western intelligence community of blaming Putin for everything wrong speaks more to their flawed programming that has its roots in the war on terror and Huntington’s clash of civilisations thesis.
If you haven’t noticed it yet the far right is playing four-dimensional chess with the established institutions of the world. The resources needed for such a grand campaign go beyond anything that Russia’s economy could furnish. There are richer countries that could do that. Countries that are allies of the west have unfettered access to western resources. And now a Nazi bent of mind. And allegedly a spiritual connection with the west’s closed spiritual cultures.
Only a couple of days before India’s republic day its government did something unthinkable. It extinguished the eternal flame commemorating India’s unknown soldiers and replaced it with the statue of Subash Chandra Bose, an Indian freedom fighter who raised his own army, allied with the Axis powers, contributed Indian legion to the Nazi forces, and died an untimely death. This statue was a signal that India now was what the RSS-BJP wanted it to become — a Hindu Rashtra and not a modern republic. India’s war heroes would later be referred to by a retired Gen Bakshi as mercenaries. When people pointed to Bose’s tragic choices they were told that he was bigger than these choices. That might be true. People are more complicated than their choices. But the reason why a BJP government chose his statue is down to the exact same choices. There is a pattern of the BJP lionising such individuals in history. For example, Sardar Patel’s tall statue is there because of his Islamophobia. Godse is celebrated because he killed Gandhi. And on.
In my previous pieces I have already highlighted the contributions one Maximianaximiani Julia Portas known to India and western Neo-Nazis as Savitri Devi Mukherji through her links to Savarkar and the Hindutva thought. Recently she has been called Hitler’s Priestess because she believed that Hitler was an avatar of Vishnu. Her works are now contributing to the esoteric Nazism. She came to India because she thought that all humans should not be treated equally and India’s casteism had the world figured out. Through various linkages like these, the upper caste Hindutva Indians believe that they can find their place in a Nazi world capitalising on the Aryan myth. Putin and his detractors are all being egged on by their vessels like Aleksander Dugin and Steve Bannon. Fourth Reich then is just waiting to be born.
Another tell. You can see India’s shadow in the anti-vax campaign around the world as well. For a while, it sought suspension of vaccine patents. When that was not to be anti-vax propaganda exploded in the world. India’s current government also came to power in 2014.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2022.