In 1962, the world held its breath as the USA and the USSR came perilously close to war over the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Aside from the Abel Archer incident in 1983, it is almost certainly the closest we’ve ever come to the nuclear cataclysm.
When people are confronted with serious crisis, common sense would dictate that they would do anything to avoid the abyss.
Yet this is manifestly not the case, as history has shown us time and time again.
We know because of declassified papers and a number of excellent books (and one excellent movie, 13 Days) that there were people on both sides of the Cuban Missile Crisis who wanted to gamble with the fate of the world.
The Kennedy White House was under tremendous pressure to “show resolve” and stand firm, lest US “credibility” be undermined. Doubtless, Khrushchev was facing calls from his own side to hold firm and refuse to give an inch of ground.
At Ibrox, financial matters must be about as bleak as they’ve been since the first club there swirled down the plughole in 2012. The NewCo is in a dire state, kept alive only by IV injections of cold hard cash, funded by its directors. Everyone knows this is true.
They boast about having no external debt. Yet the club would have bled out long ago if not for the constant infusions of capital and their exchange for equity confetti. Last week when they went out of the Champions League most people thought the party was over.
Because who wants to continue to live like this? Who on their board wants to keep finding the money to continue on this ludicrous path? Bills are being shoved in drawers and deals cut with creditors. But at some point the rent comes due, and they have to be paid.
And in the meantime, they continue to spend money as if the abyss were not there, as if the disaster wasn’t looming. The insanity of it is not unusual. It’s all too recognisable in the modern world, and in particular in relation to the climate crisis. We know what it will cost us to do nothing, but we continue to push the day of reckoning further down the road, and we all understand, as we do so, that we’re only making things more dangerous.
Change takes courage. To pull back from the brink takes resolve. It means fronting up with people who don’t want to hear the message you need to convey; the world as it we know it is changing in a way that will drastically alter our lives. We can ignore that and the consequences will be appalling. Or we can face up to it now and start making sacrifices.
Ibrox’s fans do not believe that the crisis is real, because no-one’s ever bothered to tell them truth on that score. The media has been pushed out of the press room because those running the club don’t want to be asked questions about who’s going to pay the bills. The fans lap this up as a supremacist gesture. To outsiders it all seems quite mad.
But those running things know exactly what they are doing. They know they should hit the brakes, but nobody wants to have to go in front of the fans and explain this to them, far less implement that policy with all that it would involve.
Their supporters do not want to be shook out of this fever-dream they are in, that theirs is the biggest club in the country, that they are “back.”
If forced to live according to their means they would be spending, on transfers, what Aberdeen does. That’s the reality of it. But nobody inside Ibrox wants to actually say that, far less to have to do it. So they carry on with the madness, they play chicken with fate, not caring that the whole game could be upended again by another lockdown, having not learned that football itself is unpredictable and that nothing can be taken for granted.
I wrote yesterday about how the sale of Odsonne Edouard wouldn’t just give us the money to finish Ange’s rebuild, but that it would give us a new surplus to hold in reserve in case of an emergency or crisis. It is good to have a plan in place for a rainy day.
At Ibrox they never believe the rain will come, not even when the thunder rolls across skies filled with the dark clouds of a gathering tempest.
Whilst everyone else runs for cover, they cavort as if the sun were splitting the trees, as though stormy weather was something that only happened to other people. All because nobody will face reality and have the courage to change course.
What fools they are … and such hubris always leads to disaster.