You’re right, I didn’t do my usual Saturday blog. But it wasn’t because of the floods in South East Queensland. That has happened further south of Hervey Bay. We had about 75mm (3″) over several days, which is no big deal here. The biggest impact on Hervey Bay is that the roads to Brisbane are cut off. That means the shops are running out of supplies. But it’s okay. Pete and I have plenty of toilet paper.
It’s a different story further south. A large low pressure system is dumping rain on already sodden ground. Gympie and Maryborough on the Mary River are (as usual) flooded. Parts of Brisbane are under water and the major dams are well over capacity, which will lead to water releases into already swollen rivers. This rain event will rival the floods of 2011. It’s a tragic time for many Australians who will watch their homes and businesses disappear beneath the dirty water. They’ll be facing yet another massive clean-up and a fight with the insurance companies.
As it happens, Pete and I weren’t even home. After months of doing not much at all we headed off on a short road trip up the coast to Airlie Beach. I’ll write about that in other blogs. So, we were on the road when the flooding started to happen.
And when Putin started his invasion.
You’ve all watched the footage, listened to the commentary. World leaders shook their fingers at Mister Putin very angrily and condemned his actions while putting in place financial sanctions. What really got to me, made me very angry, was how surprised they all seemed to be. I sure as hell wasn’t. Putin has been telegraphing in capital letters what he intended to do. All he needed was the non-aggression pact with Xi Jinping and the way was clear. (For those who don’t know, Hitler did not attack Poland until he’d signed a non-aggression pact with Josef Stalin.) As for the sanctions – some of them will hurt, no doubt, but Putin’s agreement with China will mean they won’t hurt anything like as much as they might have.
The only thing that could stop Putin now – and he’s sure it won’t happen – is military force. He’s a bully and knows no other way. And anybody who thinks he’s going to stop at Ukraine is firmly in fantasy land. I’ll bet the military in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland are ramping up their defences.
Back in a previous life my partner was Ukrainian. He was born in Bayreuth, Germany, in 1944. With the Red Army approaching, his father gathered up his pregnant wife and his little girl and escaped across the Carpathian Mountains in winter. They were moved to Australia after the war ended. Yuri’s father had been a lawyer in Ukraine and he’d fought fiercely for his country’s independence. The notion that Ukraine is a natural part of Russia is nonsense. Yuri’s father never forgot the millions of Ukrainians who died in Stalin’s manufactured famine. (Read that story here.) He loathed and abhorred Uncle Joe’s communist regime even more that Hitler’s Nazis. He told me stories of wartime atrocities that would make your hair curl.
Putin’s claims to Ukraine are on a par with the Italians dredging up the Roman Empire to want France and half of Britain back.
And now this KGB thug is threatening nuclear weapons because the Ukrainians have had the temerity to resist. All power to President Zelensky, who is showing leadership and courage. Some of the European ‘leaders’ might learn a lesson.
Meanwhile, Xi is watching the action, no doubt rubbing his hands in glee as Europe does bugger all to stop the aggression. This is Europe’s battle. I never expected the Americans to intercede, although I hope they will when Taiwan is attacked. (Note I said ‘when’.)
Welcome to World War III.