Gravitas

Gravitas is a word we don’t hear much of these days. It is a Latin word that has made its way into our vocabulary. It means, “dignity, seriousness or solemnity of manner,” according to Oxford Languages.

There is a lot to be serious about these past few weeks since Russia invaded the Ukraine. Unfortunately, thanks to the twenty-four-hour news cycle, some have made comments that show a lack of gravitas or at least good sense. I have heard remarks calling for the assassination of Vladimir Putin. Do not these people remember what started World War I? In 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo. A chain of events followed and Europe was plunged into the First World War. This ended with the loss of 40 million lives and the devastation of Europe.

Many are calling for NATO to establish a No-Fly Zone over the Ukraine. If just one NATO plane is shot down by the Russians, it will invoke Article 5, the commitment clause of the Alliance, forcing all countries in the Alliance to engage in the war. War is hell, there is no doubt about that. We are no longer talking about conventional war though. Many of the nations involved have a nuclear capability and heaven forbid, we could be talking about nuclear war.

Those of us who have lived in the nuclear age know that the possibility of nuclear war is very real and we should be ever so careful to not enter into a conflict that could trigger such a war. Words matter and we need to have a certain gravitas when discussing the possibility of actions that could indeed escalate into a nuclear conflict.

Image by Boa Photo Studio, courtesy of Pixabay.