YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO POKE THE BEAR
A storm is brewing in the teacup of British ~ Russian diplomatic relations, after Prince Charles, (The Prince of Wales and heir to the throne), allegedly likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. Angry Russian diplomats are demanding urgent face-to-face talks with the Foreign Office. All this is over the Russian President’s actions in seizing parts of Ukraine, and the similarity with Hitler’s seizure of territory in Eastern Europe in the 1930s. This has left the leaders of Britain’s political parties flailing around to find a line which both supports the second most senior royal after the Queen, while also trying to placate a country which lost at least 30 million souls in playing a major part in the defeat of Hitler in WWII.
It seems that Prince Charles’ offending remark was an off-the-cuff comment to a Canadian lady, Marianne Ferguson, who fled the then city of Danzig, (Gdansk in Poland), in the face of annexation by Hitler’s armies. Danzig turned out to be a good place to have left. The Prince is alleged to have said, ‘And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.’
Oh dear, not quite true and not very diplomatic Sir.
In some ways the remark from Prince Charles is fairly correct. There are parallels between the way the Russian Bear is acting today and the way Nazi Germany acted in the 1930s. However, saying it out loud, when you know your every remark will be picked-up by the media, may not be the smartest play in the book. The comparison may be true, (on some levels), but is it useful? There is an axiom; Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Events in Eastern Europe today have some disturbing echoes of what happened before both the First and Second World Wars. Just because something is true doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to say it aloud.
There is another axiom; It’s always best not to poke the bear. A hibernating bear is in a non-violent state, but poke it with a sharp stick and it’s going to wake-up unhappy. There isn’t much to be gained by telling a bully that they are a bully, unless you are prepared to do something forceful. Most serious people in the West think that Russia is being a bully at the present, but then most of the West does not understand Russia, never has and possibly never will. Comparing Putin to Hitler is possibly one of the greatest insults one could throw at the leader of Russia. The Great Patriotic War was brutal beyond the understanding of the rest of the allied armies, cost Russia 30 million lives, and laid waste the land between Berlin and Moscow. At the time, even Churchill had to swallow his thoughts about Stalin’s Russia, and Churchill was not known for keeping his peace in the face of self-evident truths.
Churchill had already been a lone voice in the wilderness when he warned Britain of the dangers of Hitler’s Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Churchill knew what kind of a Russia Stalin ruled. However Churchill did not coin the phrase; The Iron Curtain to describe Stalin’s annexation of Eastern Europe until 1946, after WWII had already been won. There is a time so tell the unpleasant truth, and there is a time to stand mute.
There is a third axiom to apply here; The truth is rarely pure and never simple. The truth can be stated in a myriad of different ways, and each one can be true. But the most dangerous truths are those said thoughtlessly ~ in wine, in anger, in jest, in haste…, Most of all, truths said needlessly can be dangerous. Your significant woman may have some very annoying friends, people you may hate and despise, but it is usually better not to keep telling her that. It’s usually better if you don’t point out to her friend that he is a scruffy dirt-bag sleaze with a poor command of English. It may be true, but is it useful to point it out? Probably not. The guy isn’t going to change, your woman isn’t going to dump an old friend just because you think he’s an idiot, and you are not going to make her think any better of you for being correct but cruel and tactless.
As an example, one of the worst things a man can tell his woman is that he’s been using a hooker, (especially if it’s the same hooker several times over). Most women feel betrayed, belittled, inadequate, angry and ashamed if their guy informs them that he has needed to satisfy himself elsewhere. So, even if you have been meeting with a prostitute, why would you need to tell your woman that? Being hurtful, even by telling the absolute truth, is not necessarily a good idea. So why poke that particular bear? Who are you telling this particular tale for? If it’s just to hurt your woman, in the midst of an argument, then that is not the action of a manly Renaissance Man. Behavioural scientists will tell you that arguments are not only pointless, they are also dangerous. Dragging up something nasty in an argument is a sure sign that you have sunk to the level of dirt-bag sleaze.
There are some occasions that you would have to admit to having sex with a hooker. If you have contacted a Sexually Transmitted Infection, (STI), from said lady of the evening, then you may need to inform your significant other that she should see her own doctor, and why. However, even if your using the services of a sex worker is a sign that your significant relationship is over, there is no need to shame your ex-Lady by bringing it up in the goodbyes. Be compassionate, let her walk away with pride and dignity. Be a man.
The reason a guy would hit his significant other with the prostitute cautionary tale is that it’s going to hurt her, and there will be no adverse consequences for him. His significant other is now well on the way to being an ex, and all he wants to do is make her pay, and that’s not the action of a good guy. Prince Charles will be stoutly defended by most of the British Establishment, there are few adverse consequences for him in making that particular Hitler / Putin remark, but perhaps it was not a wise action from the heir to the throne.
The hard truth is; Sometimes nothing but the truth will do. But a strong manly man knows when to stand mute and keep his thoughts to himself.