Monday, 3 March 2014

Ukraine and historical perspective

A good post here from Cranmer. What those who are now advocating Western intervention in Ukraine ( as if we hadn't intervened enough already) are not saying is how many kids (British soldiers, that is) largely from deprived backgrounds in the 'sink estates' and back streets of our cities, they want to send off to die in order to defend their own elitist,  'liberal' values: the last Crimean war wasn't exactly a spectacular triumph for either side, even if we British have a long-established genius for backing the wrong horse.... having said that, Constantinople in Soviet hands would have been another story during the Cold War ... 

But it would be interesting to observe the Western reaction to a display of Chinese aggression in what it perceives as in its sphere of interest (the People's Republic of China - a regime which is no less antipathetic to 'western culture' than contemporary Russia ) - ah, but that's a matter of raw economic self-interest, isn't it?
"....While we view the current conflict through the distorted prism of secular European enlightenment and the primacy of economics, millions in the Ukraine are asserting their cultural and religious identities. On the one hand are the Western-inclined pro-EU reformists who are seeking liberation from oppression and corruption; on the other, the Eastern-facing pro-Russian conservatives are battling once again to preserve their way of life. And these are by no means the only hands: the region is fraught with complexities. But when priests sprinkle holy water over the troops, it is because they believe they are defending Christian orthodoxy and traditional morality against social liberal secularism and moral relativity. For many millions of ethnic Russians, this isn't simply a question of gay rights and wrongs, but of good versus evil. It is about the spiritual and moral foundation of civilisation itself.
So when we read the Daily Mail or listen to the BBC, we are understanding nothing of this crisis, for it is not a conflict of flesh and blood, but of principalities and powers. It is not about politics and opportunism, but morality and mission. Obama and Cameron can issue their warnings and demands that Putin respect 'equality' and ‘democratic values’, but when you believe you are called by God to do His holy work, a pesky liberal president and a devalued prime minister are of very little significance at all.
It was Russia which led the way to aid the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. It is Russia that defends 'family values' and confronts the secular zeitgeist of moral relativity with an appeal to conservatism. Putin is on a crusade. If millions of your anti-Western co-religionists appeal to you for spiritual liberty, you don't ignore their cries: their salvation is your vocation.
We may not like this Damascene conversion from KGB Communism to Christian conservatism: it may, indeed, be a dark spiritual cloak to effect a global political coup. We may feel very great sympathy for all those Ukrainians yearning for liberal values whose dissent is censored and suppressed. We may be horrified by news reports of beheaded protestors and stabbed policemen, and appalled by the spectre of wider bloodshed and another Crimean war. We are right to feel pain and share in the suffering.
But neither Brussels nor Washington can act beyond edicts of condemnation.
And London is mired in sound-bites and spin.
The US and EU are not going to war against Russia over the Ukraine, so, for God's sake, let's talk and pray and pray and talk while we spy and survey and tap and record. Either and both and all are preferable to invasion and war.
Especially if it turns out that God is on the other side...."

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