Do wars ever end?
These days I see myself as a soldier in a war. Which war? The war on smoking and tobacco.
There are a lot of these sorts of wars under way. There’s also a war on alcohol. And a war on cannabis. And a war on opium. And these small wars are part of a larger War on Drugs. And none of these wars ever ends.
The war on tobacco broke out in about 1500 when Columbus brought back tobacco plants from the newly discovered New World. Some people loved the stuff, and some people hated it, and they’ve been at war ever since. And the tides of this war have been ebbing and flowing for 500 years, with neither side actually winning.
Did WW1 and WW2 ever end? I’m not sure that they did. After all, shortly after the end of WW2, the Cold War started. And the war on smoking and tobacco started at almost exactly the same time. It’s almost as if the soldiers who fought in those wars laid down their weapons, took off their uniforms, and started fighting new “cold” wars which were only slight variants of the hot wars they’d just been fighting. The wars ended in the sense that people stopped shooting at each other, but the convictions and beliefs that underlay those wars remained, and found expression elsewhere.
In fact it may be that “hot” wars are simply what happens when “cold” wars start to boil over. Because the cold wars heat up from time to time. And right now seems to be a time when a lot of cold wars are coming to a boil.
After all, the war on smoking and tobacco has never been more intense than it has been over the past ten years or so. It has seen hundreds of millions of smokers all over the world being exiled to the outdoors, in ways that have quite simply never happened before. The antismokers have been on a roll.
But the war on smoking is, in part, just one element of of a wider War on Carbon Dioxide. It’s part of an entirely new sort of war: a climate war.
And there are wars on obesity. And wars on sugar. And wars on salt. And wars on chocolate. There are small cold wars being fought over absolutely everything.
And today the war on Donald Trump has arrived in Britain. And this is a bizarre new American civil war which sees the USA almost as equally divided as it was during its hot civil war some 150 years ago. What is it that some Americans can’t stand about Donald Trump? That he’s from the Wrong Side Of Town, and he wants to “Make America Great Again.” And the last thing that his enemies want is to make America great again. They’re doing their level best to diminish and destroy America.
And, since all these small wars bleed into each other, the war on smoking and tobacco also happens to be part of the war on America. As I’ve often remarked, antismoking is anti-American. It’s anti-American because tobacco was America’s first gift to the world, and the original source of its great wealth. If you can’t stand tobacco, you can’t stand America, and vice versa.
And this is one sense in which the war on smoking and tobacco is the continuation of WW1 and WW2, which were both wars against America, or wars waged by America (depending from which side they are viewed).
And post-war European history is also a cold continuation of WW1 and WW2. The growth and expansion of the European Union has been another bloodless cold war which has seen one country after another getting consumed by this new monster. Unlike in WW1 and WW2, Britain was successfully invaded by the EU in 1975 or so, and is now trying to escape (which is why Donald Trump is in Britain, to try to help it escape).
In addition to all these various cold wars, there are also multiple trade wars under way, most notably between the USA and China, and the USA and Iran, and now the USA and Mexico (and several other places as well).
And all these various cold wars seem to only be getting hotter. At what point does a cold war become a hot war? There are already hot wars being fought in Syria and Afghanistan (is there ever not some hot war being fought in Afghanistan?)
For example, Trump’s pledge to Build A Wall on the US southern border with Mexico is part of a cold war against illegal immigration, which is seeing armies of migrants entering the USA from Mexico. But the proposed, partly-built wall on the Mexican border is over 2000 km long. Wouldn’t it be simpler to just invade Mexico, and establish a new southern US border in Guatemala or Panama? Then the southern US border would only be about 250 km long, and far more easily defensible. After all, the US states of Texas and New Mexico and Arizona were once part of Mexico.
Mexican Texas is the historiographical name used to refer to the era of Texan history between 1821 and 1836, when it was part of Mexico.
But an invasion of Mexico would entail a hot war. Maybe this is how cold wars turn into hot wars. If it is a matter of urgency for the USA to protect its southern border, what is the easiest and quickest way to do it? The more urgent the matter becomes, the more likely the USA is likely to look for a military solution to the problem.
I’m not predicting a US invasion of Mexico. I’m just using it to illustrate how a cold war can turn into a hot war. And how armies of immigrants can become armies of soldiers.