|By Damien Hirst
Nobody cries like a bully.
One moment they’re standing over some sprawled victim, fists doubled, hurling abuse. The next they’re waving a hand in the air, weeping over the boo-boo on their knuckle.
It’s a disgusting display, seen the world round. The truth — you’re beating up the weaker kid, because you can, and because doing so makes you feel good — can’t be recognized. So a pretext must be found.
At times there is almost a ritual aspect to it. Haters and despots clutch at their chests and pretend their aggression has a reason, that they are the victims.
This curious ceremony was seen again in the days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A flutter of official indignation as the Russian army massed around its neighbor.
“Stop this hysteria about the intentions of Russia in the region,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin demanded.
If there was any push for war, he said, it comes from the Ukrainians, or the Americans.
“I believe in diplomacy,” Vershinin said.
He could have been sincere. Shelling cities might be considered an extension of diplomacy, in a Clausewitzian sense (“War,” the Prussian general once wrote, “is merely the continuation of policy by other means.”)
At least the people invading their neighbor have a reason to lie. What excuse does the Red State hallelujah chorus have? Beyond craven envy of a leader unconstrained by law or conscience.
Me, I saw the invasion and gave thanks for Donald Trump’s first impeachment.
What? Forgotten already? Let me remind you. The House of Representatives impeached Trump in December 2019.
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