The lamps are going out.
War dawn in Ukraine.
Armas readers, this is a late send here in Texas, but it is an early one in Kyiv. As I write this, it is nearly 0400hrs in the Ukrainian capital. Sunrise there today will be at 0650hrs. If there is to be a dawn attack, it comes soon. Judging from the scattered reports of shelling in Mariupol plus the phony Donbas “republic” requests for Russian intervention in the putative whole of their territories, it is coming. The whole dreadful wait reminds one of Sir Edward Grey’s famous quote: "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” He uttered it on August 3rd, 1914.
We wait for the curtain to descend and the new era to be born. It is the return of great-power war in Europe, the very specter our grandfathers thought they ended, not petty squabbles in erstwhile Yugoslavia but tanks on the steppe, whole divisions overrunning whole countries. We are transported from the thoughtless idyll in which we grew up, stupidly ungrateful for the privilege of driving from the English Channel to the Black Sea without a single visa shown, without a suspicious glance from an armed gendarme, back into the world chronicled by AJP Taylor and BH Liddell Hart. The long peace was by no means an unalloyed good, to be sure. It facilitated dissolution, decay, and forgetting alongside prosperity and utopian fantasizing. But it had one signal virtue: it was peace.