November Fifth

And look – the Brits are really on our side, feeling deeply the pain of the war in Ukraine. That’s because it speaks to their most important national trauma: World War II. They were wounded but fought gloriously and stood up to the enemy. Like Ukrainians. So it’s easy for the Brits to get on the same wavelength. They have nothing to be ashamed of in their memory of WWII, so they react to the war in Ukraine with sincere, open support.

Germans, on the other hand, are much more ambivalent. Since they became a nation, they’ve never been invaded without provocation. They never stood up to invaders because they didn’t have to. Instead, they have invaded, and they don’t like to be reminded of that.

The French have been invaded but in the most recent invasion they rolled over fast and agreed to peace on humiliating terms. Have you noticed how Macron keeps trying to persuade Ukrainians to agree to their own Vichy? Subconsciously, the idea that everybody ultimately rolls over for General Guderian is pleasing because it speaks to the biggest national trauma. If Ukraine agrees to a humiliating “peace,” it means there wasn’t anything that shameful in the Vichy regime.

Spaniards are supportive of Ukraine but not passionately so. They understand that Ukraine’s cause is rightful but the whole thing bores them. The Spanish nation-state was, indeed, created in response to an invasion from the closest neighbor. It was a moment of high national glory. Spaniards fought ferociously and beat back the much stronger enemy by the sheer force of patriotism and willpower. The only problem is that this all happened in 1808. Today, only faint echoes of all this remain in the national psyche. Spain has had bigger traumas since then, and, like always happens in Hispanic countries, those problems were entirely home-made.

Of course, this all works only for the countries with a fully realized, mature nation-state whose most recent major wound to the body of the nation comes from an invasion or something like it. Mexico, for example, was invaded in the 19th century but it’s biggest national trauma is the more recent Mexican revolution and the ensuing civil war. So Mexicans have no interest in what’s happening in Ukraine. It doesn’t speak to them because it’s unfamiliar.

I just came up with this theory today, and I think there’s something to it.

Happy Daylight Savings Time, everybody! It’s my second favorite night of the year after New Year’s Eve.

10 thoughts on “November Fifth

  1. Makes a lot of sense, however I think the British also are vehement about stopping Putin because they see this as like when Hitler started his crap back in the late 1930s, and they tried to let it slide, and it led to a world War. So this time they understand that you’ve got to nip this kind of behavior in the bud.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Spain committed genocide and atrocities in Latin America that are on par or worse than Russia is comitting in Ukraine. We’re talking about total annihilation of entire cultures, ethnic groups, rape, forced subjugation to a foreign religion and culture, slavery.

    In that regard Ukrainians and Latin Ameicans do have a lot more in common than you think. It’s just vastly separated in time.


    1. It wasn’t Latin America before Spain came. It was a land of bloodthirsty empires and equally bloodthirsty indigenous groups. Today’s Latin Americans do not identify much with the indigenous civilizations. They identify much more with the culture that gave them their language, their names, etc.

      There was violence in the conquest of the New World by Spain but most of the destruction was done by the viruses. Much of the rest of it was done by the indigenous groups to each other. For instance, when Hernan Cortes took Tenochtitlan, he only had 500 Spaniards with him. The rest of his troop of many thousand ferocious warriors consisted of the indigenous groups whom Aztecs had conquered and were brutally dominating.

      Spaniards never enslaved the indigenous. Slavery thrived in the New World before Spain came. Slaves built the famous pyramids, and slaves turned the pyramids red as they were sacrificed on them, their hearts ripped out in life.

      All imperialism is bad but between the imperialism of Spain and that of the Aztecs who ate children and developed the most complicated gastronomy around human flesh in existence and Incas who were heavily into human sacrifices, too, it’s strange to side with the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe this is why my Peruvian-born husband doesn’t care about Ukraine. He immigrated young (5), but often tells me he doesn’t feel American or Peruvian. I’m glad he immigrated because it led to us meeting, of course, but I’ve heard a lot of stories about how difficult things were for him, immigrating as a child seems like his big trauma.

    I think regarding 9/11, a lot of people I know who don’t support Ukraine also consider 9/11 a complete inside job, and view it as an internal attack by their own people.

    I like this theory, I’m going to test it myself!


  4. “works only for the countries with a fully realized, mature nation-state whose most recent major wound to the body of the nation comes from an invasion or something like it”

    Hmmm Hungary’s major post WWII trauma was the soviet invasion of 1956… but the treaty of Trianon* is still a bigger source of national trauma (though the trauma of never quite becoming a great power and being relegated to small country status predates that).

    Basically the Hungarian instinct is to align itself with the bigger more aggressive side in a conflict in hopes of undoing, even a little bit, Trianon. Orban was transparently hoping that Ukraine would be cut up like a turkey so that the little sliver with a lot of Hungarians would go to it….



  5. “Happy Daylight Savings Time, everybody!”

    One day of the year, everyone’s supposed to sew an hour on their “time blanket” and then remember later in the year to cut it off …

    What a horrible idea!

    This is just an interest-free loan of my time.

    It’s actually evil, but people get so accustomed to it that they think this should be normal.

    That slippery slope toward higher income taxes, eminent domain, and so on … and you’re just throwing grease on it.

    Horrible! Evil! HOW DARE YOU?! 🙂

    BTW, know what’s great about staying on Atlantic Standard Time?

    Staying on Atlantic Standard Time, that’s what’s great about it. 🙂

    So when we left Florida, we were on Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-0400), and then when we arrived in [LOCATION REDACTED], we were on Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-0400).

    As we’ve moved around, staying in Atlantic Standard Time, we haven’t had to change any clocks.

    Which to me is all kinds of awesome that you simply don’t appreciate. 🙂


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