China’s embracing of Russia is still largely verbal. It may not remain that way. A support of words is a diplomatic way of avoiding further physical conflict. The world wants the Russia-Ukraine war to end. Increasingly, the humanitarian, financial and inflationary pressures are creating voter resistance to it. Leaders on all sides are, however, aware that capitulation to any aggressor or provocateur will lead down a road that inevitably ends in war. We have already passed such a stage in Ukraine and it is now likely that weapons with some nuclear element in them will be used. If they are, the retaliation will probably be catastrophic. 

Without such weapons, it is somewhat like fighting WWIII with WWII resources. 

In many democratic countries what’s best for politicians has taken over from what’s best for the country. As communications have got faster, this means, in effect, that voters have a say about every issue regardless of its real importance. So a whole continent may be held to ransom over where the EuroSong Contest is to be held while small nuclear weaponry can be made and shipped with little more noise than a mid-page byline in Gardener’s Cabbage World. In non-democratic countries what’s best for the ideology has taken over from what’s best for the citizens. So the people must bottle up their resentment until it becomes racking, at which point they may revolt and possibly even get crushed.

The world has turned its politics into tactics at a time when politicians ought to be paying attention to strategy. Humanity’s development and the planet’s survival are not going to be resolved by diplomatic niceties. Whether you can vote or not, the present situation has made you very uncomfortable. It has also reduced the expansion and development we might have achieved if we had been free of extraordinary costs – costs that increase significantly into an arms race as the war of threats expands. Good people everywhere want to see peace, not only in Ukraine / Russia but in the other conflicts that are taking place. 

What a silly business it is when a distraught, disarrayed United States forces China to adopt Russia as some sort of counterbalance. How wicked is the widespread proliferation of malnourishment and starvation because the breadbasket of much of the world is defending itself. Isn’t it absurdly dangerous to utter words about more killing when there is so much already? Is the ego of any nation – or any person – worth widespread hatred?

Failure to bring sensible solutions to the problems is down to the way in which we have treated international relationships as a hard-wired process. While the powers of absolute monarchy have been modified to rituals of ceremony and gala, the exercise of inter-country relations is as primitive as in 55BC, when the Romans invaded England. Indeed, many Brits think that an invasion of sorts is still in progress. East and West are each aligning their sympathisers to battle out the differences in their ideologies. It would be sensible to behave as though a hostile planet were threatening to invade earth. Joint survival would then seem more rational than competitive wrangling.

We may not yet have such a distant enemy in the universe but we do have one within, equally dangerous and more malignant. The enemy is possessive greed. “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine’s my own.” More insidious than Covid, more rapacious than conquest, it is at its worst because there is no measurable way of controlling it. The more meticulously the rights attaching to property and personality are spelt out, the greater becomes the difficulty of enforcement of any proposed solution.

Without prescription, judgement of what is and what is not acceptable must be down to each individual whose preparation for it must be more than an occasional lesson in morals. It requires a radical new definition of personal responsibility, of education and of enforcement. And that demands our much better understanding of, and ability to contribute to, creativity.

Sir Ken Robinson is not whistling in the wind. He is thinking strategically. 

So should we be. Before we all get CHRUSHIAD. 

Good morning

John Bittleston 

If you have not seen Sir Ken’s TED talk please do so: 

And please share your strategic views – 

03 April 2023