Join us to attend the lecture, "War: Close-Up and Big Picture" by internationally acclaimed journalist, historian, and author Gwynne Dyer at the Library. Registration required.
Join us to attend the lecture, "War: Close-Up and Big Picture" by internationally acclaimed journalist, historian, and author Gwynne Dyer at the Library.
Registration required. Payment can be made via credit cards, or in person to pay at the Help Desk. Tickets are $12 per person.
Please click 'Register' to proceed the payment. Tickets will be available in early May. Door opens at 6:30 pm. Event starts at 7 pm.
The war in Ukraine came as a shock because it was so stupid. How could the Russians think they could just drive some tanks down the freeway to Kyiv, fly in some troops to a local airport, and capture or kill the whole government – when the Ukrainians had had eight years to prepare since the previous invasion? The ‘special military operation’ was almost certain to fail.
The Russian invasion made no sense because Ukraine posed no threat to Russia, and even conquering it would not enhance Russia’s prosperity or its security. Yet Russia did invade. That sort of thing, generalised around the world and throughout history, is why every country feels compelled to prepare for war, although the vast majority of them don’t want war.
This lecture will address the specific strategies, tactics and politics of the war in Ukraine, including the potential nuclear dimension of the conflict, but it will also consider the evolving nature and role of war as an institution. Is it unique to human beings, or just the human expression of a more widespread and deeply rooted behaviour? How did it evolve into the different kinds of war people fight nowadays? Have nuclear weapons really “changed everything except the way we think,” as Einstein said. And will we ever be able to stop?
The good news is that we have stopped the traditional wars between the great powers, because they can now kill in the millions. It may not be a permanent halt, but no two great powers have fought each other directly for the past 77 years. They sometimes back proxies, but the fear of stumbling into a nuclear war makes them very cautious about escalation (like the US and Russia in Ukraine).
Any nuclear war would be awful, and even a ‘small’ one like India vs. Pakistan could cause worldwide famine. Yet nuclear weapons deserve a lot of the credit for staving off bloodbaths like the First and Second World Wars: the global death toll from war has fallen almost every year since 1945.
The deeper effect of the two world wars was to demolish the age-old belief that war is ‘glorious’ and redefine it as a ‘problem’. The first attempts to stop war came after 1918; after 1945 ‘aggressive war’ was made an actual crime, and the effort intensified.
Ending war is at least a hundred-year project. It’s not looking that healthy at the moment, but you could have said the same about the anti-slavery movement in 1800 or the campaign for gender equality right now. It’s a long road, but it may take us somewhere better in the end.
In the meantime, Ukraine. On the one hand, naked imperialist aggression must be resisted. Even the UN rules say so, although they also give the five ‘permanent members’, including Russia, an exemption. On the other hand, a nuclear war must be avoided.
There is no good answer, but we certainly need to discuss it.
GWYNNE DYER has worked as a freelance journalist, columnist, broadcaster and lecturer on international affairs for most of his adult life, but he was originally trained as an historian. He was born in Newfoundland and received degrees from Canadian, American and British universities, finishing with a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He served in three navies and held academic appointments at the Canadian Forces College, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Oxford University before launching his twice-weekly column on international affairs, which is published in more than 20 countries.
His first television series, the 7-part documentary 'War', was aired in 45 countries. One episode, 'The Profession of Arms', was nominated for an Academy Award. His more recent television works include the 4-part series 'The Human Race'.
Dyer's books include ‘War’ (1983), ‘Ignorant Armies: Sliding into War in Iraq’ (2003), ‘Future: Tense’ (2005) and ‘The Mess They Made: The Middle East After Iraq’ (2007). More recent works include ‘Climate Wars’ (2010), ‘Don’t Panic: Islamic State, Terrorism and the Middle East’ (2015), and 'Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and Work)' (2018). ‘The Shortest History of War’ is out now, and ‘Intervention Earth’ next spring
Dr. Dyer lives in London. In 2010, he was made an officer of the Order of Canada.
For inquiries, please contact Shirley at email@example.com.
AGE GROUP: | Adults (18+) |
EVENT TYPE: | Adult Program |
TAGS: | War, Close-Up and Big Picture | Gwynne Dyer |
|Mon, May 29||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Tue, May 30||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Wed, May 31||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Thu, Jun 01||9:00AM to 9:00PM|
|Fri, Jun 02||9:00AM to 5:00PM|
|Sat, Jun 03||10:00AM to 5:00PM|
|Sun, Jun 04||10:00AM to 5:00PM|
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