Putin’s Aggression: An Old Story

Walking this afternoon, down the hill from our house, I saw this dark cloud above the snow-covered field and noted the barbed wire fence angling along the road I was walking on.

It is depressing to witness (through the media) a militarily powerful country impose its will on a less powerful country. It is a matter of control, I thought, and the history of the barbed wire fence echoes what we’ve been seeing today.

Barbed wire was invented to control animals. It was good at that because it could hurt the animals that tried to cross the border it protected.

How do you sell a fence to animal owners who value their animals and do not want to see them injured?

You convince potential customers that they are threatened by vicious savages, by recently freed slaves, by the likes of “dudes” like Oscar Wilde (touring America at the time).

If you want to invade Ukraine, you try to convince (some of) the public that Russians in Ukraine are threatened by genocidal forces and thus the violence you are inflicting on the country is necessary.

For more on control through violence, see Lyn’s and my book The Perfect Fence: Untangling the Meanings of Barbed Wire https://doublevisionbooks.wixsite.com/the-perfect-fence

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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