Abdulai Mansaray: Rashmi Leone Telegraph: 3 April 2022:
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” (George Orwell). In the world that we live in today, people like Donald Trump have perfected the art of the deal…sorry, the art of lying and deceit so well that it is near impossible to tell lies from the truth. “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”-Walter Langer.
In a world, that is experiencing information glut, and with the war in Ukraine…sorry military exercise, the world has never seen the impact of information like this before. Russia is notoriously known for its grip on the information that seeps out of the country, as much of it is largely controlled by the Kremlin. The internet and social media have been largely restricted during this war.
It is not surprising that although victory on the battlefield can be decisive, information wars (info-wars) has become the most precious weapon of mass destruction in recent times; proof that all warfare is based on deception. Churchill once said that in wartime, truth is so precious that a bodyguard of lies should attend it.
In light of the media blackout and the relatively unverifiable news items coming from the battlefields, it is inevitable that most of the news received is shrouded in scepticism, suspicion, spin and a plethora of lies and deceit; thanks to the race for the approval of public opinion. Given the backdrop of info-wars against this universal world of deceit, it is conceivable that telling the truth is often seen as a revolutionary, if not a treasonable act. Such an atmosphere has been generated by the ever-increasing emergence of the “cancel culture”, in its ever-growing potential to replace political correctness. The acceptance of political correctness is slowly being replaced by the “cancel culture”, creating an environment whereby “Nothing is acceptable” and “everything is no longer acceptable”; irrespective of their merits.
We have seen President Biden take the mantle to repel or address President Putin’s war in Ukraine. We all know that President Biden is an emotional person and tends to wear his heart on his sleeve. It was during one of those moments, while visiting refugees in Warsaw that he remarked “for God’s sake, this man (sic Putin) cannot remain in power”.
Judging by the reaction of the society for the preservation of world peace, you would be forgiven to think that President Biden had just launched the nuclear code. Many described his remarks as a major gaffe, which saw President Biden and The White House scrambling to walk back his remarks.
What happened to President Biden in Poland was what many psychoanalysts would call an “emotional hijack”. An emotional hijack refers to a situation in which the amygdala, the part of the brain that serves as our emotional processor, hijacks or bypasses your normal reasoning process. He was having an emotional reaction when he met Ukrainian refugees in Poland, just like my cousin meeting Chris Rock at the Oscars. In political parlance, Biden made a gaffe.
So, what is a gaffe?
The consensus is that, a gaffe is a social or diplomatic blunder. If this is anything to go by, it is not surprising then, that President Biden’s ““for God’s sake, this man (sic Putin) cannot remain in power” was greeted with consternation by the desktop monitors. In reality, the meaning of a gaffe depends on individual interpretation. If truth were to be told, and as we often realise, “a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth; some obvious truth that he/she isn’t supposed to say”. That is exactly the kind of “gaffe”, if we can call it that President Biden made in Warsaw. His comment received a blanket condemnation, with some accusing President Biden of suggesting regime change in Russia. Regime change is the vocabulary reserved for lesser and poorer nations, whose political and foreign policies are deemed unpalatable to the political anatomy of Western countries. During the Arab spring, we saw how the Middle East gained monopoly on that term.
Therefore, if President Biden spoke out of turn and was not telling the truth, hands up all those who would want Putin to remain in power. Hands up all those who would not want Putin to remain in power. There you have it, and that is your definition of a “gaffe” right there; stating an obvious truth, that is not supposed to be said. All Biden was trying to do was buttress the West’s determination to resist Putin’s aggression.
Nevertheless, thanks to the cancel culture, his remark was judged as playing into the hands of Putin. No prizes for guessing the lead choristers questioning Biden’s sanity and castigating him as senile. Check your MAGA account and hear many of them shouting, “crucify him”. You may wonder how many of these same people would call Biden a prophet if they woke up morning to the news next week, that Putin has been deposed.
Many would invoke Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar; that Biden was the modern-day soothsayer who told Putin “Beware the Ides of March”. Again, is Biden launching a psychological warfare that may generate paranoia among Putin’s ranks? Well, some military personnel have been sacked recently. In the near future, Putin might just refuse to eat the food from his chef, and like his cheerleader in America settle for KFC or McDonalds.
From a diplomatic standpoint, many would resent the idea of publicly preaching regime change in Russia for obvious reasons. When President Macron was interviewed, he categorically said, “I wouldn’t use this kind of words”; a clear disapproval of Biden’s “gaffe”. The politburo would have you believe that it is up to the Russian people to make such changes – fat chance. Judging by records of accomplishment of that process, you wonder if the country has ever experienced democracy.
Putin’s war in Ukraine has left the rest of the world guessing his every next move. There is no doubt that Russia is militarily superior to Ukraine. However, with NATO and Western backing, Ukraine seems to hold its own in the war with Russia. Recent developments have seen Russia change tactics, including withdrawing from areas it once controlled. The irony is, Ukraine’s recapture of some territories is erroneously seen as a victory. If someone demolishes your house to the ground, and you come back and reclaim that plot, I wonder how that can be victory. Perhaps, thwarting Russia’s goal to annexe Ukraine is victory in itself, within the context of a David and Goliath scenario.
President Putin’s army has made tactical and surprising changes to their war plot recently. The goals and the goalposts have kept changing with new conditions as prerequisites to end the war. Is the Russian army adopting a slash and burn tactic, retreating after destroying the cities? Is Putin’s army meeting unexpected resistance from Ukrainians? Is it true that the morale in the Russian army is waning? Does Putin need an excuse to end this war? If so, does the West need to give Putin a face-saving excuse and a get-out of jail card to end this war? If so, what should it be?
President Joe Biden and the west are determined to face and resist Putin’s aggression. In the battlefields, they face it by proxy; thanks to its stepchild Ukraine. With sanctions seemingly gnawing into the Russian economy, President Putin has resorted to blackmail and threats to turn off the pipes.
On this political chessboard, Putin and the West have continued to move their rooks, bishops, and knights with each passing day. When Putin threatened to change the currency of exchange for his gas and oil, President Biden moved his Queen and ordered the release of over one million barrels of crude oil a day from America’s reserve. The diplomatic chessboard rumbles on while Ukraine remains the pawn in this case.
While Putin continues to pummel Ukraine, requests from President Zelenskyy for a no fly zone continues to fall on deaf years. The argument is that, it will put NATO on the path of direct war with Russia. The world is in unison, that such a scenario is unthinkable. That is down to the fact that Mr Putin has that thing with buttons and codes. There lies the irony of possessing such weapons.
There are a select number of countries, which possess this weapon. I do not recall any of those countries ever try to use it. However, it has served as a deterrent, as we see in this case, for an escalation of war. So, is it illogically logical to say that the world would be more peaceful if everyone had some? Hey. I am just asking and it’s not a wish.
Please give Putin a get-out-of jail card and give peace a chance. Don’t forget to turn the lights out when you leave the room.