Discover more from Evening Post and Mail
On the Peloponnesian League, demographic doom loops, and why Sweden's entry into NATO is a stroke for peace
The history of military alliances is long -- the Peloponnesian League, for instance, one might hazily recollect from a high-school class on ancient history as having formed some 2,600 years ago. So the future probably won't give much detailed notice to the imminent accession of Sweden into NATO. It is significant news today, but it probably won't merit a great deal of attention a few hundred years from now.
■ The chain of events surrounding Sweden's admission, though, could very well hold its own for quite some time to come. An independent analysis has estimated that Russia's government has sacrificed the lives of about 50,000 of its own soldiers in pursuit of a mad war of aggression against Ukraine. 50,000 lives in a country of 144 million that is already in a demographic doom loop -- wasted for insane cause.
■ Russia is fairly close to Sweden -- just 200 miles away by the Baltic Sea, or about 165 miles away across Finland. To see the Kremlin go to such incomprehensible lengths to attempt a takeover of Ukraine, a country that has shown no signs of backing down even after 500 days of war, has pushed Sweden to join the defensive NATO alliance, an act it didn't even formally undertake during the Cold War.
■ Wishful thinkers may dream of a day when defensive alliances are only a thing of the past, but that isn't human nature. We need the help of rules, treaties, and agreements to bind ourselves to good behavior, particularly from generation to generation. They are the tools by which we moderate the impulses that come to us out of humanity's animalistic side. Monsters remain forever among us.
■ NATO isn't perfect, nor should we expect it to be. But in the broadest of terms, it is a mutual agreement among decent nations to try to avoid wasteful violent conflict through self-discipline and deterrence. That it is proving itself attractive long after the obvious turning point of the fall of the Soviet Union speaks to just how vital military alliances will perpetually be -- for the purpose of peace.