Katherine is a Christian with a particular interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, international development, peace, and social justice issues. She has a master's degree in International Affairs and lives in Canada.

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5 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    In war, it can happen that one combatant gets an advantage, and they press it. Hard. War is not a fair fight. But it is a protracted and emotionally taxing effort even for the victor with an advantage. wars in B5 seem to reach decisive points, when one side has a very dominant hand over the other. What then? How to square the attainment of power with the objective of war?

    I think of the price the Centauri paid to defeat the Narn. Conquest cost them their honor, their autonomy, the respect they formerly enjoyed. And it was not complete, for they had to constantly patrol against rebellion thereafter.

    The Minbari realized that an enlightened society cannot afford that moral cost. So they develop cultural safeguards against situations that demand paying it, and endure and thrive. The price they pay for that prosperity is ambiguity about victory when there is conflict. No caste is allowed to dominate the others. After defeating the Terrans, the Minbari back off rather than make the killing blow.

    Knowing that we are seeing all of this as points within the conflict between the Shadows and the Vorlons — between Order and Chaos — it frames the question of what victory even is. All of this is moral training for Sheridan.

    And for us the viewers. This is an argument in the real world that war has a place and a purpose, and that the rhetoric of war is not the same as its objective or its cost. If we claim our arms bring peace, are we truly prepared to use them? A tough question to ask an audience in the years immediately following the “victory” of the Cold War.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Yeah. In The Third Chimpanzee, Jared Diamond devotes a chapter to genocide, advancing the claim that it is a basic human behavior, which other chimpanzees demonstrate an inclination toward. Or at least toward similar behaviors.

      This got me thinking about why groups might do it, and I think you are touching that reason. They don’t want to live with the problem any more, they want to eliminate it. To never think about it or devote any resources to it. But rarely is something that simple. Political issues are almost never like that.Report

      • Kim in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Doctor Jay,
        yeah, genocide is something basic about humans. It competes against “steal their women and have more babies”.

        War was a thing long, long before we had the concept of peace.Report

  2. Doctor Jay says:

    I enjoy Neroon immensely. I think he is one of the best antagonists of the show.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    That “kook” was Robert Englund! The guy who played Willie in V!

    When he’s not playing Freddy, I find it exceptionally easy to mix him up with Brad Dourif. They’ve both got this “intelligent version of totally nutso” thing going on.

    Anyway, the whole parallel to the Earth-Minbari war was awesomely done. I thought that that very little thing was the thing that made the episode. I agree that the Robert Englund thing was just a device to keep Garibaldi from shooting anybody… but, if you’re going to have a silly device, one that shows that the devicee is exceptionally competent at doing his or her job is the best way to do it. So I didn’t mind the goofiness of this episode so much.Report