June 20th, 2024

Dyer explores an evolution in the view of war


By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 12, 2022.

Lethbridge Public Library presented a night with Gwynne Dyer at the Yates Memorial Theatre Thursday night. Dyer, historian and independent journalist, spoke to audiences about war, with an examination of current global struggles in Ukraine with the Russian invasion. Considering how war has evolved in our current society, and viewed over the passage of time with global expansion.

“The question is, what do you call it? Is it a tradition, artifact, is it inherited? Did we invent it? People thought war was okay, as long as we win,” said Dyer. “About the mid first World War, 1916, something happens in the world and war is no longer glorious, war is a problem. Suddenly we think about it differently. I think that is why there was so little resistance in Canada to contributing to those wars, because we already had begun to see them as wars against war.”

Speaking to the major super powers, countries possessing nuclear weapons, Dyer notes that in today’s world those countries will avoid direct confrontation with one-another, and fight via-proxy to avoid having to use such means. “The French, the British, the Russians, the Chinese, the Americans, none of the great powers dare fight each other directly anymore. Haven’t done that for 77 years,” said Dyer. “Because if you have nuclear weapons and the other side has nuclear weapons… it’s really hard to start and stop before you have actually tried everything to avoid losing.”

Dyer notes that with conflict, like the war in Ukraine, countries will help and supply resources, but keep abreast of direct conflict to avoid escalation. “We are having a confrontation with Russia, and we are sending weapons to Ukraine, but that’s ok. That is within the bounds,” said Dyer. “There are a few unarmed visits by NATO supply officers. But there are no armed NATO forces. There has not been at any point. Because you do not want to raise even the shadow of a doubt.”

Dyer also commended Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, for his work so far in the war effort. Noting the tactics the Ukrainians have had in their efforts. “What is truly remarkable is that the Ukrainians have not made a single major military mistake in the entire war,” said Dyer. “War is normally a mixture of successes and mistakes. Because of course, you never know what the other side is going to respond with. The fact that the Ukrainians have managed to do so well, I think, is to the credit of their general staff.”

With a night on the discussion of war and how it has evolved, Dyer’s talk sparked insight to how our views have changed after many battles fought. “Collectively we are working on controlling war and rendering it obsolete,” said Dyer. “We know it is a centuries long project, but we have to do it and we are making progress.”

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