Bob Sweigert

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March 27, 2014
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Guest Column: What exactly is war good for?

Is Vladimir Putin a good guy or a bad guy, or is he just doing what comes naturally?

The law of entropy states that the physical universe is evolving into complete randomness, chaos and, ultimately, total destruction. Entropy is supported by the laws of thermodynamics and gravity. Fortunately for us, this process will take hundreds of trillions of years, but, our ultimate decline is underway at this very moment.

The question is, do these unavoidable laws apply to the moral universe as well, and, more specifically, current events in Crimea and Ukraine? If so, does it even matter?

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have both tried to advance the idea that the 21st century is the magic number, the silver bullet, the great panacea or the convenient placebo, the obvious deadline for all humans, especially Putin, to start behaving themselves.

Somebody is clearly not on schedule, and trying to ignore entropy. Maybe someone is using the Mayan calendar.

Is the magic date for ending violence as a solution to international affairs written in the stars, or is it just wishful thinking, and the most naive idea ever conceived?

Maybe the United States should send in the Amish Mafia and a few thousand horse drawn carriages to head off Putin. Who knows, it’s the 21st century. It might work.

The reality is that human history involves conflict. The bad guys will always try to kill the good guys unless the good guys fight back. That sounds simplistic because it is, but it is very real.

If America and it’s allies think Putin is doing something wrong, words will not deter him. If they try to stop him with military force and American boots on the ground, that will either stop him or make matters worse. If you kill one snake, there’s always another one right around the corner.

Life is full of contradictions. War is hell. The conundrum of war is that, except for putting an end to slavery, fascism, Naziism and communism (allegedly), war never solved anything. It seems to be a necessary evil that we are stuck with.

In what century will domestic violence end? In what century will people stop killing one another because of their religious beliefs? In what century will human trafficking end? In what century will families all stay together? What year will mass murders end? When will all politicians become honest and consistent in their beliefs? In what century will the Jerry Springer show run out of audience members and guest combatants?

To quote Bob Dylan, “The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.” Or maybe the answer is entropy.

Bob Sweigert is a Tahoe City resident and former “Grasshopper Soup” columnist for the Sierra Sun.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Mar 27, 2014 04:50PM Published Mar 27, 2014 11:52AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.