Thursday, February 29, 2024

Are We Ready For War?

Vladimir Putin gave a speech today. He mocked the West’s lack of resolve. Is he right? 

I'm sure the entire Duma applauded loudly and long. When Stalin used to address the Politburo, no one wanted to be the first person to stop clapping. The story was that the first person to stop clapping would be arrested and never seen again.

Someone was arrested yesterday in Moscow because she had donated 50 rubles to an anti-Putin organization. And yet, in a few weeks the world will witness the outrageous charade of Putin's "reelection" for six more years as "President" of the Russian Federation.

Everyone knows this is a fake election.

The frozen blood of Alexei Navalny cries out to heaven from the ice of northern Siberia against all the lies of Putinism. As does the blood of Ukrainian women and children, victims of war crimes, and the blood of the poor Russian conscripts used as human weapons thrown recklessly at Ukrainian positions by a nihilistic military that has no regard for theirs or anyone else's lives. And Ukrainian soldiers who are running out of ammunition to defend themselves... who can account for that?

The Western world—in particular my own nation—is constituted by the most materially wealthy, powerful, and physically comfortable people in the history of the human race. Does this entail no responsibilities in regard to the rest of the world?

Western Europe and the United States of America are already effectively "co-belligerents" with Ukraine: ironically, Putin is right about this. In a 21st century war, money, weapons, and training are more than "virtual boots" on the ground. But the West's contribution to this war is weak and cowardly. Eastern Europe—Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia—cannot afford to be weak. They are preparing for war. As Russia shifts to a "war economy," it will need to continue fighting wars. The ex-KGB clique that has effectively centralized the Russian Federation will find plenty of pretexts to visit destruction upon its other neighbors if it succeeds in Ukraine.

It has been verified that North Korean weapons are being used by the Russian military in Ukraine. North Korea can only do what China permits it to do. China defines itself by politics, and unlike Russia's mafia-state, the Chinese Communist Party is pervasive and continues to refine methods and systems for managing a materialist consumer society. They are constructing the ideals and methodological “tools” that will look more and more like “political wisdom” to those who want to live in a technocratic society that ignores the existence of God.

China is sharing its "methods" on every continent in the world. They take material risks and sometimes fail but they seem to "learn" (according to their own criteria) and keep going. Their influence will continue to grow.

In the West (in the United States) we expect to "win" without really risking anything. Both parties and several American Presidents have played different kinds of games since 2014, when Putin first seized and annexed Ukrainian territory and threw down the gauntlet at the structures of international law. 

Ours is the strategy of a decadent civilization. Our political leaders are reckless, narrow, and ignorant—and the ones who claim to represent morality (especially on points that I myself believe are necessary to human dignity) bring disgrace to the advocacy of human dignity by pretending to champion it. They trivialize these sacred things by their craven political ambition and slavish adherence to an irresponsible and vindictive partisan leader. 

Do we really want to foster awareness in our society of the dignity of every human person created in the image of God? Or do we just want our side to “win” ugly political battles shaped by a vulgar will for power? If we think these people can fix our society, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

I don't advocate war. I hate war. Initiating and sustaining dialogue on every possible level—not capitulation, not surrender, but dialogue even in the midst of a fight—is essential for moving beyond conflicts and overcoming the perpetuation of the cycle of violence. Meanwhile, self-defense is also necessary, and the Ukrainian people are fighting against the ongoing invasion, occupation, and oppression of their country by a ruthless enemy force that has effectively trampled on the basic structures of international law and has thereby constituted itself a Rogue State

Certainly, the world needs better ways of restraining and containing these “Rogue States” that are controlled by lawless political cults (like the neo-Stalinist cult in Putinist Russia and the war-mongering, obtuse, idolatrous Kim-Dynasty cult in North Korea). Right at the present moment, however, the Ukrainians are alone in this effort, depending on fickle and feckless Western “aid.” They are running out of bullets, while the American Congress has adjourned itself for a “vacation”—a shameless ploy by its leading party to “extend the chaos” for the political benefit of a profoundly disturbed man who admires Putin, and has a fetish about becoming President of the United States again. This Fall, both parties (in what some have called America’s “Duopoly”) will once again present voters with two ridiculous candidates for President. There is nothing surprising about this, and in itself it doesn’t mean we should give in to cynicism. What we need is patience: the work of building up the USA’s dysfunctional politics is going to be long, laborious, and lacking in the glamor to which we are presently addicted.

But there is a more immediate problem. We have been (more than) helping the Ukrainian military in a here-and-now real-live-action “shooting-war,” and at the present moment they need more help. Perhaps there are better ways to help Ukraine defend itself and eventually rebuild its ravaged nation. We should find better ways. But right now, they depend on the pattern of assistance we have been giving them, and to cut them off in the midst of their need would be a betrayal. It would be dishonorable

Is there any sense of honor left in the USA? Have we sold it all to satisfy our greed, our lusts, our grasping cupidity, our aimless curiosity, our insatiable urge for comforts and living-standards the likes of which the world has never known before, and our endless anxiety about our own security?

I rarely speak about my country's politics, but many reasonable voices are speaking these days (i.e. voices other than the usual ones of the spectacle-chasing, flattering-and-condemning, entertainment-driven American mainstream media). So I'm not entirely a fool here.

And I cannot be silent as G.U.L.A.G. opens its horrible jaws once again…in 2024! How is this possible? In 2024, Stalin’s GULAG is back, and it has not even a semblance of shame, operating right out in public view with cynical incompetence—arresting, imprisoning, torturing, and killing (in one way or another) people condemned not only for their dissenting opinions, but for speaking the truth

I cannot remain silent as the frozen skeletal remains of Alexei Navalny's body are (finally) buried in the earth tomorrow.