May, Smith, Trident and the Continuing Relevance of 80s Pop

In the debate over Trident the other day, both Theresa May and Owen Smith showed their utter willingness to incinerate hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people in a nuclear war. Michelle, one of the great commenters on this blog, was particularly chilled by their readiness to do so without any apparent qualms or pangs of conscience. She wrote

It would seem there’s something dangerous in the water at Westminster! I couldn’t sleep after seeing the clip when May said “yes” without hesitation to the question of whether she would be willing to kill 100,000’s of INNOCENT men women and children! If anyone hasn’t seen this:

Then there is Owen willing to do so even if the count is in the millions and with a small smile on his face:

It would seem the cackle of madness is drumming out most rational thought in the power house.

Absolutely. After he and Kennedy nearly destroyed the world in the Cuban missile crisis, the Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushchev was very serious about the threat posed by nuclear Armageddon. On his goodwill visit to the West afterwards, someone made a joke about it. They were told by Khrushchev that the destruction of humanity was ‘no laughing matter’. The Soviet president also didn’t get on with Chairman Mao. Some of this was due to differences over geopolitical strategies, and attitudes to Communist doctrine. But Khrushchev was also appalled by Mao’s attitude to the nuclear stand-off. Mao really couldn’t understand why Khrushchev had pulled back, and felt that he should have nuked America when he had the chance. It’s an attitude to the extermination of the human race, or at least a sizable part of it, which shows what a genocidal maniac Mao was.

May’s and Smith’s comments are particularly frightening in the present climate, when prominent NATO generals are claiming that by May next year, Putin will have invaded Latvia and the Atlantic Alliance and Russia will be at war. I can remember the threat of nuclear incineration in the New Cold War of the early ’80s. That was terrifying, but it also called forth some of the greatest and most beautiful pop songs of that period, as our musicians added their voices to the call for peace and sanity.

One of them was Sting, and his piece ‘Russians’. Based on a piece by the great Russian composer Prokofiev, it has the lines ‘Do the Russians love their children too?’ and is a condemnation of the militaristic posturing by both America and the Soviet Union, and an eloquent plea for peace. The Soviet Union has passed, but unfortunately the song and its message still remain very relevant. I found this piece on YouTube of the great man singing it on Russian TV. The fact that the Fall of Communism has led to a thaw between the West and the former Soviet bloc is, to my mind, one of the greatest and most optimistic events of the post-War era. The fact that British bands were able to travel to Russia and perform, beginning with groups like the Clash and UB40, shows that military confrontation, sabre-rattling and posturing is far from the only foreign policy option. East and West can and do still meet in peace and friendship. Let’s hope our leaders don’t waste this situation, and annihilate humanity for the sake of military status. Here’s the video.

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8 Responses to “May, Smith, Trident and the Continuing Relevance of 80s Pop”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Thanks Beastie, I saw an Artsnight programme (BBC) last month with Paul Mason who was at the Hay Literature Festival talking with General Sir Richard Shirreff about his new book ‘2017 War with Russia an urgent warning from senior military command’ that promoted the narrative that the next nasty enemy was Russia and he and his NATO pals were on the case, they had to prepare for war, but Mason during the interview didn’t question that narrative!

    However, reassuring that you have mentioned people who creatively spoke out about ‘peace and sanity’ and Sting, great choice! Sting was born in Wallsend and I grew up in that area too, so some of his music and theatre scores mean a lot, let’s hope a non militaristic outlook prevails!

  2. beastrabban Says:

    Very glad to put the post up, Michelle. Sting’s ‘Russians’ was one of the great pieces I remember from the ’80s. Listening to it this evening, I still found a profoundly moving piece. Mike over at Vox Political was a fan of Sting and the Police, to the point where he bought the sheet music of several of their pieces, if memory serves me right.

    It’s quite disturbing that Shirreff’s interviewer didn’t question the underlying assumption of an aggressive and hostile Russia. And I don’t know why this should be. I realise that Eastern Europe is a region that probably very few British people have any real in-depth knowledge about, and particularly the Baltic states. But there are experts on the area, who I’m very sure could make reasonable queries about the book’s assumptions. I can remember hearing Misha Glenny talk about his book, ‘The Balkans’, for example, at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, and way back in the 1990s there was a book published on Ukraine, which was actually far more optimistic than many others at the time. It recognised the immense ethnic diversity and possible frictions in the country, but was impressed by the way the country had held together against these forces driving its peoples apart.

    You don’t have to be blind to the realities of Putin’s brutal rule in Russia to be sceptical about books like Shirreff’s. You just have to believe that any proposition suggesting a military confrontation between us and Russia should be very well founded, for the sake of the hundreds of millions of people across Europe, and indeed for the peoples of all the world.

    • Michelle Says:

      And it’s not just the Trident system that promotes the idea of conflict rather than peace, there’s also the associated military intelligence gathering and monitoring. Take for example Menwith Hill near Harrogate which is supposed to be an RAF establishment but is actually the largest NSA US intelligence gathering site outside of the States, here’s more info about the compound with peace campaigners who regularly demonstrate outside the camp just after the Trident vote:

  3. Michelle Says:

    As the Nato narrative is warning that Russia is the new thug on the block, here is an example of the military/intelligence industry in perpetual motion and the ease with which funds can be used to bolster the ‘other side’.. until of course the other side becomes the new arch baddie.

    The link is from the WSJ:

    ‘The Clinton Foundation, State and Kremlin Connections

    Why did Hillary’s State Department urge U.S. investors to fund Russian research for military uses? ‘
    By Peter Schweizer,July 31, 2016 4:33 p.m. ET


    The article may only reveal the first couple of paragraphs as it is on subscription, but I was allowed to read it the first time I accessed the info, however, the embedded video may be viewable:

    If not, here’s the info but please with all copyright to the wsj:

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for this, Michelle. I really am not surprised. Way back in the 1990s I heard from a friend of mine that the borther of someone we both knew had been contracted to create some software for a company. The guy then found out that he was writing the software for the next twenty years of the Russia biotech research programmes. I’ve got a feeling that some of Shrillary’s supporters are deeply suspicious. There’s a little piece on YouTube from the atheist news programme, Secular Talk, about how one of the companies sponsoring her operates a cement factory in Syria, for which they pay money to al-Qaeda, even to the extent of buying the terrorist group’s oil.

  4. Michelle Says:

    Hi Beastie, just an FYI some more relevant articles on the industrial military complex:

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks, Michelle. This should be very useful. I found a very relevant piece about using the arms industry to stimulate the economy in Lucien Laurat’s Marxism and Democracy, where he discusses the Fascist states and shows that stimulating the economy that way inevitably leads to war. It’s only too relevant today, when America’s military-industrial sector is growing, and Hillary is set to expand their wars further.

  5. Michelle Says:

    Relevant info Beastie – Stopping the drum beat of war in Washington

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