Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH HANN

TWO mainstays of newspaper cartoon pages used to be a forlorn bloke stranded on a desert island slightly larger than a postage stamp, and a caveman imaginatively called Ugg. When he wasn't busy hilariously inventing the wheel, Ugg used to go on the pull by whacking a woman over the head with a large club, then dragging her home by her hair.

Happily, it's been a few decades since we stopped seeing the funny side of violence against women, even in a cartoon Stone Age.

But one possibility we surely never considered was that impressionable young women might look at the images and think, "Hmm, that Ugg looks just the guy for me!".

Because, to be honest, I can see little difference between his treatment of women and that awaiting "jihadi brides" in Syria, which is apparently proving such a potent draw for teenagers from Bethnal Green.

Our mistake - and it is one of which I have been guilty myself - is believing in progress, in imagining we only need to have the one holocaust, because humanity will absorb the lesson and draw a simple line: "Never again."

We only have to look at recent events in Paris and Copenhagen, and the horrors unfolding across the Middle East, to see this is total rubbish. And there's no point wringing our hands saying "something must be done", because it was the impulse for outsiders to do something that created much of the mess in the first place.

Interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have all managed to make bad situations worse, as cynical observers warned they would.

Similarly, in Ukraine, we thought that the urge to conquer territory to place compatriots under our flag had gone out with Hitler, Sudetenland and the Austrian Anschluss.

We won the Cold War, the Berlin Wall came down, the USSR was dismantled and we could all look forward to a new era of peace, prosperity and liberal democracy.

Talk of "the end of history" looks particularly laughable a quarter century on, as we watch President Putin expertly playing the old, old game.

Still, it could be worse. As of 1991, Ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, inherited from the Soviet Union. …

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