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Rolla Peace News

May 13, 2022
Dear Friends:
Editor's notes:

As promised: Rolla Peace News will continue to publish on an occasional basis. I'll try to continue with a once a month schedule, but no promises.

The next Vigil for Peace will be Noon to 1pm, Monday, May 16 at the Rolla Post Office. We'll try to continue vigils on a once a month basis too.

Webperson's note:

If you are having trouble reading this, it is posted at
In this newsletter is:

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Climate Catastrophe Updated
          b) Suggested Reading
          c) Russo-Ukrainian War: Winners and Losers



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS MONDAY, MAY 16, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM. Please join us in saying END THE WAR IN UKRAINE AND ALL OTHER WARS — LET PEACE PREVAIL. The temperature is predicted to be in the 70s. If you do not feel comfortable joining us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

Note 1: Please consider writing for our newsletter. It's always very exciting to be able to publish submissions from our readers.

Note 2: In case of inclement weather, vigils may be canceled or terminated early.

2. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Climate Catastrophe Updated
          b) Suggested Reading
          c) Russo-Ukrainian War: Winners and Losers

Climate Catastrophe Updated

The April update to my Climate Catastrophe essay has been posted. Most notable among the April highlights is the brutal heat wave in Pakistan and parts of India. In humid locations, like the Indus Valley, this heat wave is pushing the climate toward the limit of human survivability.

Suggested Reading

I found extremely thought-provoking this article by Michael Marshall in the Guardian about the Little Ice Age and what we can learn from it. Give it a try.

Russo-Ukrainian War: Winners and Losers

The big winners seem to be certain oil companies and weapons manufacturers. For example: from February 23 (the day before the invasion) to May 12 (closing time, yesterday), Chevron stock gained 22% and Lockheed Martin stock gained 12%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index fell by 7%. “Follow the Money”

The big losers are Ukrainians: Thousands have died. Over 6 million have left the Ukraine, millions more are internally displaced, and hundreds of billions of dollars of damage has been done to Ukrainian infrastructure. However, if one only listens to the mainstream Western media, one might be tempted to conclude that The Ukraine is winning the war.

Still, things could be worse. The UN, under the leadership of the United States, levied brutal comprehensive sanctions on Iraq which caused an excess of 5,000 children, no older than five, to die each month, mostly from lack of drinkable water. Sanctions continued from 1990 until the invasion in 2003 by the US and its “Coalition of the Willing.”

By contrast, Ukraine is reported to have lost no more than a few hundred children in 11 weeks of fighting. However, the most important difference between Ukraine today and Iraq in the 1990s may be that Ukraine has the backing of some of the world's most powerful states, Iraq had no significant backing at all. One need only look at the ongoing devastation in Yemen (from Saudi atrocities) and Palestine (from Israeli atrocities) to see what can happen to a small country that lacks backing from a powerful state.

How about Russia? I think they have accomplished their main goal: To punish Ukraine so brutally that others will think twice before allowing themselves to be used as proxies for a NATO that doesn't care to risk itself in a war with Russia. This, however, is a double-edged sword. Rather than risking being hung out to dry like the Ukraine, Finland and Sweden appear ready to give up on neutrality and join NATO.

According to The Economist, the much touted Western sanctions seem to have hurt Russia little, if at all. Sure, Russia has sustained losses; but Russia is a huge country; they can probably handle their losses. And on the reverse side of the ledger, they appear to have gained some valuable real estate in the South and East of the Ukraine.

However, gains won through excessive brutality tend to be short lived. No one likes a bully. And no one likes to be subject to the whims of a bully. I suspect that Russia's gains will prove unsustainable. (Keep in mind that the Soviet Empire lasted a mere 70 years, 28% of the average lifespan of empires, according to John Glubb.)

And how about NATO? The NATO countries have risked little, letting Ukrainians do their fighting for them. While they certainly are hoping for a weakened Russia, to date, that has not happened. Russia does not appear to be running out of weapons, or hurting economically, no matter what the Western media might say.

And the rest of the world seems to have smartened up. As Jeffrey Sachs points out, except for close allies of NATO, other states aren't buying into the anti-Russian trope. The majority of the world's population remains pro-peace, pro-diplomacy and pro-neutrality. The majority of countries have not sanctioned Russia.

Do not lose sight of the fact that if the Ukraine had remained neutral, this war would have been avoided. But, wars are easy to start — and difficult to stop.

There's a moral here: If you are a small country, stay out of big-power rivalries. (Note: It helps to have nuclear weapons, like North Korea, to avoid the necessity of seeking the protection of one big power against another.)

And the future? Here's a video of Russia threatening to annihilate the British Isles with one thermo-nuclear bomb. Could they do it? Of course they could. Would it lead to all-out nuclear war? Very likely. Will they do it? The Western media says, “No;” but I wouldn't place any bets.

Indeed, as war spreads and formerly neutral states get involved, the chances of nuclear war increase dramatically. The doomsday clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight. But, if I controlled the hands of the clock, I would set them at a few seconds to midnight, maybe even a few nanoseconds to midnight. In any case, I think Boris Johnson and Ben Wallace would be wise to stop goading Russia.

Perhaps, the most horrific aspect of the Russo-Ukrainian War is that it has become an excuse for governments to renege on their inadequate climate commitments and burn more fossil fuels. As the warming climate makes the world more and more hostile to human “civilization,” victory in the Ukraine would be the most Pyrrhic of victories.

Again, what is so sad is that this could have been avoided so easily. But wars are easy to start — and difficult to stop.

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