Stupidity and hubris: Western companies cancel parts shipments for Russian commercial planes
The ages of man are well documented and appositely named: the Stone Age, during which Homo habilis fashioned stone tools and got about the business of clubbing his fellows; the Bronze Age, during which the indigenous peoples of Southwest Asia learned to smelt metals and got about the business of slicing and stabbing their fellows; and the Iron Age, which saw the surviving Southwest Asians mass-produce iron implements — plowshares and swords, primarily — and in so doing, lay the foundation of the modern world.
A great many subsequent ages came to pass: the Middle Ages; the Age of Exploration; the Age of Enlightenment; the Elizabethan, Victorian, and Edwardian Ages; the Jet, Space, and Digital Ages; and, most recently, the age of unbridled idiocy and terminal hubris.
Boeing and Airbus this week have each suspended their maintenance support for their Russian customers in compliance with European and U.S. sanctions imposed in reaction to the country's invasion of Ukraine.
It is a sad state of affairs when the disapprobation of the (ostensibly) free world — that great, self-proclaimed bastion of egalitarian ideals and human rights — manifests in the purposeful endangerment of civilian lives.
By denying Russian air-carriers the parts and expertise required to keep their fleets airworthy, U.S. and European leaders assert a willingness to spell out their position in the blood of air travelers — innocent, non-combatants of all nations, creeds, and political persuasions. How many human lives are politicians and oligarchs prepared to snuff out for purpose of decrying the loss of human life in Ukraine? It's like protesting obesity with a bake sale. What's next? Are Western hospitals to begin refusing treatment to Russian patients?
War is a brutal business and the antithesis of civilization. Ergo, it is incumbent upon civilized nations to avoid war — or, short of that, work vigorously to preclude its spread. By rendering Aeroflot's fleet of 120 Airbus and 59 Boeing aircraft unsafe, Western leaders recklessly bait a beast that's lain slumbering since the end of the Cold War.
The spirit of an age shines in the sparks by which its conflicts arise. The First World War was touched off by nationalistic fervor. World War Two owed to the want for revenge, resources, and living space. The Korean and Vietnam wars were manifestations of competing capitalist and communist ideologies. The Gulf War derived from greed and egomania, and the War on Terror arose from the bizarre confluence of nihilism and religious extremism.
The Russo-Ukraine war differs from the aforementioned in that it is the first modern conflict attributable primarily to rampant idiocy and unchecked hubris. At every turn, men of power — by whose hands peace could be fashioned — chose instead to foment hostility and extol their own might — like dogs snarling at the ends of their leads.
The decision to imperil civilian lives by withholding aircraft parts and service is an achievement of stupidity and obstinacy that historians will synonymize with Xerxes scourging the Hellespont and Icarus disregarding Daedalus's instructions.
Doc Solammen is a pen name.
Image via Public Domain Pictures.