This morning I had an idea for a Church of the Churchless blog post. I jotted down the topic: Embrace what's real, not an ideal.
It had struck me that many, if not most, of our personal problems stem from expecting too much from life. We think, "Ideally, I wouldn't be ______" (fill in the blank).
Having so much pain. Failing to enjoy my job. Arguing with my teenage child. Wondering why I'm not happier. So many possible ideals that reality doesn't match up with.
Probably I'll revisit this subject later.
Right now, I find it hard to concentrate on anything except the breaking news that Russia has invaded Ukraine, with explosions, reportedly from missile strikes, being reported in various parts of the country.
I don't believe in religious hell. I do believe that war is hell.
Especially in cases like this one, where Vladimir Putin, who I'm reluctant to call President of Russia because Russia isn't a democracy, is engaged in a war of brute force against a neighboring smaller country.
It almost makes me nostalgic for the Cold War days I remember so vividly.
Back then the battle was between two ideologies: Communism, exemplified by the Soviet Union and Red China, versus Capitalism, exemplified by the United States and our allies.
Because this was a Cold War, not a Hot War (though arguably the Vietnam War was cold becoming hot), mostly the ideologies took center stage, not armies. Marxism-Leninism was a coherent political philosophy, as was Liberal Capitalism.
But Putin is especially scary because he stands for nothing except his own self-interest and those of his fellow billionaire oligarchs.
Putin is invading Ukraine primarily because he fears democracy and secondarily because he wants to reconstitute the Soviet Union to the greatest extent possible by bringing previous portions of the USSR back under Russian control.
At the moment it's unclear whether Putin intends to occupy all of Ukraine, just the Eastern portion, or something in between. Regardless, I feel terrible for the people of Ukraine, whose lives are about to be turned upside down.
For most of us, life is quite predictable and dependable. This allows me to write about spirituality, religion, politics, and my personal life -- such as wearing a purple jacket yesterday.
All of that becomes largely irrelevant for people living in a war zone. When bombs are falling nearby, staying alive is Job #1. Also, Job #2-100. We've all seen photos of the devastation in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and other places where fighting is going on.
Those situations are highly disturbing. I don't mean to discount their importance. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is especially worrisome, because if Putin persists with his madness, this will be the first conquest of a European country since World War II.
And we all know how that worked out, following Hitler's false claim that all he wanted was a little more room for the German people, so he needed part of Czechoslovakia. Which eventually became almost all of Europe, and the murder of six million Jews.
Putin murders his enemies. He jails journalists. He tolerates no dissent among the Russian people. He lies incessantly.
The people of Ukraine have good reason to be afraid tonight. It's extremely unlikely that Putin amassed 190,000 troops and a huge amount of supporting materiel just to solidify Russia's hold on the separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine -- which have languished economically since falling under Russian control.
Maybe the entirety of Ukraine is too large a military bite for Putin's forces to swallow. Even if this is so, it sure looks like war has come to Ukraine, since Putin has said that his goal is to demilitarize the country.
Absent an abject surrender by Ukraine, which I doubt the proud people of that country would go along with, this means that Russia will have to destroy Ukraine's military capability. Thousands of deaths likely would result, maybe tens of thousands.
So like I said, I'm having trouble concentrating on anything but Ukraine right now. Soon I'll be back to regular posts on this blog. I just feel so bad for Ukraine, and so much anger at Putin, there's no space in my mind to write about anything else at the moment.
Yes indeed Brian, it's a very sad and grave situation. Putin has been very crafty (and dishonest) in the way he used the separatist movement in the two areas bordering Russia, to launch his attack. Lets hope his invasion does not go further.
Incredibly, I see the delusional Donald Trump supports Putin's invasion, calling his actions 'genius'.
Posted by: Ron E. | February 24, 2022 at 06:19 AM
@ Brian : [ Putin murders his enemies. He jails journalists. He tolerates no dissent among the Russian people. He lies incessantly. ]
I'm always comforted though seeing evidence of a resistance movement in
Russia. Thousands have protested on the streets in support of Navalny in
recent years. I salute the immeasurable courage of he and his supporters.
p.s. Navalny by the way took time at a court hearing recently (they want
add 15 years to his prison sentence) to denounce the Ukraine invasion.
Posted by: Dungeness | February 24, 2022 at 09:56 AM
Neither the content nor the expression of Trump's blathering is at all surprising, not after having been compelled to see and hear him for so long. It's very clear by now that the man is literally crazy, but with a controlled craziness that always looks out, narcissistically, for one thing and one thing only, namely his own loathsome person. And this IQ- challenged ignoramus's vocabulary is clearly limited to meaningless catchphrases like "genius", and "amazing", and "awesome". The man's singlehandedly made America, and Americans, as well as Americanisms, the laughingstock of the world.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine war. Bloodshed and mass killings inch somewhat closer to "here" than the nameless "there". Death and destruction creep somewhat closer to becoming something that might befall "us", as opposed to the nameless "them". Worrisome, indeed.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 24, 2022 at 07:51 PM
Jesus Christ folks, how about facing up to reality as it is rather than the demons in your own heads?
Trump is no longer President, he is no longer relevant - other than in your heads, apparently.
There is a grave threat to peace (in the west) and this is no time for playing petty and entirely irrelevant politics.
Biden is President of the USA - what action is HE taking?
He has already made an almighty mess and tragedy of the Afghanistan withdrawal, arguably a far greater global mess than anything Trump did in his entire presidency.
What is BIDEN....the ACTUAL PRESIDENT of USA doing to help alleviate this crises?
Personally, I find the above focus on Trump to be obscene, and playing petty (and irrelevant) politics at it's worst and in the worst possible context.
Time to stop wringing hands and face up to YOUR (American voters who voted from Biden) duty, and stop trying to deflect responsibility from your "chosen one".
The ability of humans to justify irrational behavior and revel in self-righteousness when there is nothing of the sort in their actual behavior is astonishing to behold.
Posted by: manjit | February 25, 2022 at 03:16 AM
"Jesus Christ folks, how about facing up to reality as it is rather than the demons in your own heads?"
.......Wrong diagnosis, Dr. manjit. That isn't what's happening here. :---)
"Trump is no longer President, he is no longer relevant - other than in your heads, apparently."
.......He remains a horror and a clown. He remains a figure of fun. He remains a legitimate target for being laughed at.
"There is a grave threat to peace (in the west) and this is no time for playing petty and entirely irrelevant politics."
.......True, there's a grave threat to peace. But I don't see why the fact that the threat is now poised to engulf "the West" --- pardon the pun! --- means that one should hold one's collective breath and focus on this and this alone, to the exclusion of anything and everything else. I mean, as opposed to when thousands were being killed at other parts of the world, with those savages well insulated from "the West". I mean, it was fine to talk about other things with those uncivilized ragheads getting their silly asses blown off; but now, suddenly, everyone must solemnly focus on this one single thing, even those who've nothing directly to do with it, because war is beginning to "engulf", or at least to touch, Europe, amirite?
Ease up, man. (God help me, the puns, they're coming in of their own accord, I've nothing to do with it, promise!) We're all aghast, and we all realize the seriousness of the situation.
"Biden is President of the USA - what action is HE taking?"
.......Agreed, his handling of the situation does leave a lot to be desired. He hasn't exactly shone here.
But even here, imagine the horror had Trump been in place instead. His comments are a reminder of how close a shave that was, that he's not the guy in charge. I mean, a cross-eyed monkey, with a history of mental problems, sittng in a cage, would make for a safer President than the orange horror. Let no one forget what the US of A had let itself in for, because there's no guarantee that won't happen again.
"The ability of humans to ... revel in self-righteousness ... is astonishing to behold."
.......Pot, Kettle? :-----)
Peace. Just messing with you a bit, is all. Kind of amusing to see the philosophical manjit, with head and thoughts firmly in the clouds and above and beyond the mundane, suddenly getting all flustered when the battle drums start beating in the same continent as opposed to some shithole in some other corner of the world.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 25, 2022 at 05:28 AM
Hehehe.......this comment was remarkably amusing, thanks for this Appreciative Reader!
Reading the blogs and comments here, one becomes accustomed to a baseline level of absurd double-standards, cognitive dissonance, psychological projection and/or transference etc - but your comment here is such a spectacular example of this that it is worthy of commenting on, and indeed praising because it is so darn amusing, to me at least!
Let's look a little closer at your total break from reality shall we? :)
".......He remains a horror and a clown. He remains a figure of fun. He remains a legitimate target for being laughed at."
There was not a scintilla of humour or fun or laughter in your comments about Trump. It was an angry rant about an irrelevancy in response to a very real world crises. As I made clear, it is absurd to shift focus onto Trump in this context whilst Biden messes up another global crises. Absolutely absurd, and smacks of the kind of desperation that Trumps followers used to embody when they ranted and raved at everyone except their own glorious leader. In this case, it's actually worse - because Trump is an irrelevancy and this is a very real world crises and Biden is........well, WHAT IS Biden doing exactly folks? Wait, don't answer that, let's take cheap pot shots at some dude who doesn't even have a twitter account, let alone influence over this crises, and pretend it's "laughter"......;)
You then wrote, incredibly: ".......True, there's a grave threat to peace. But I don't see why the fact that the threat is now poised to engulf "the West"....... means that one should hold one's collective breath and focus on this and this alone, to the exclusion of anything and everything else. I mean, as opposed to when thousands were being killed at other parts of the world, with those savages well insulated from "the West". I mean, it was fine to talk about other things with those uncivilized ragheads getting their silly asses blown off; but now, suddenly, everyone must solemnly focus on this one single thing, even those who've nothing directly to do with it, because war is beginning to "engulf", or at least to touch, Europe, amirite?
Ease up, man......... We're all aghast, and we all realize the seriousness of the situation."
Seriously Appreciative Reader, I cannot express how amusing and transparent in it's psychological under-pinnings this wildly disconnected from reality & staggeringly inaccurate projection and transference onto my person is! I actually find it to be genuinely hilarious!
I mean, it is crystal clear your ranting here should be directed at Brian, your intellectual hero (? :o), than me because I did not even remotely share the sentiments you accuse me of whilst Brian ACTUALLY did, somewhat at least. Your entire comment should be used as an example in Freudian projection and transference Class 101!
Dude, yesterday I didn't even mention this crises despite Brian's post. Today, I again am not focusing on the crises itself but the inherent absurdity and inanity of folks criticizing Trump when he is a complete irrelevancy. Perhaps ponder over the meaning of this story, for a while?:
Indeed, I even highlighted the words "in the West" to contextualise this isn't as big an issue in global human terms as some white westerners may imagine it to be. I didn't bang on about it because I have compassion for those, like Brian, your intellectual hero whom you didn't even remotely share these kind of criticisms with despite ACTUALLY seemingly having the view which you are projecting onto me, because I feel compassion for THEIR fears and insecurities, whilst being incredibly aware this is nothing so special, nothing so big, nothing so unusual.
I have already heard 2 different people imply this is world ending stuff in the past few days. I find this highly amusing, albeit sad on a human level. Because I personally feel this IS what reality IS and always has been, and it is stability, safety etc which is the fleeting illusion.
So, as to your ""Kind of amusing to see the philosophical manjit, with head and thoughts firmly in the clouds and above and beyond the mundane, suddenly getting all flustered when the battle drums start beating in the same continent as opposed to some shithole in some other corner of the world."" comment.
You really cannot begin to comprehend how certain must be your projection and transference to me, and how transparent the psychological motivations for these comments towards me, but not towards Brian, who ACTUALLY shared the sentiments you desperately wish to project onto me.
Absolutely priceless :)
Posted by: manjit | February 25, 2022 at 06:37 AM
"Hehehe.......this comment was remarkably amusing, thanks for this Appreciative Reader!"
.......Pleasure's mine. Cheers.
(It was a lighthearted comment, is all. As no doubt is yours as well. Right? )
"There was not a scintilla of humour or fun or laughter in your comments about Trump. It was an angry rant about an irrelevancy in response to a very real world crises."
.......I defer to your mind-reading skills. Clearly you know my thoughts and feelings better than I myself do.
Yes it was a rant, kind of. But it wasn't "angry". Or so I'd imagined. But what the heck do I know, about my thoughts and feelings? Thanks for clearing this up, by putting your telepathy to good use.
(And in the process also proving that telepathy is fact! :----))
" As I made clear, it is absurd to shift focus onto Trump in this context whilst Biden messes up another global crises."
.......Not a "shifting of focus". You can think of two things, or event twenty things, at the same time. Doesn't have to be either-or. Certainly so with people who aren't directly involved with the war effort, or with the diplomatic effort, in any shape or form.
" Absolutely absurd, and smacks of the kind of desperation that Trumps followers used to embody when they ranted and raved at everyone except their own glorious leader."
.......I hadn't realized I was "desperate". Again, I defer to your mind-reading skills, and thank you for alerting me to my state of mind, that I'd myself been unaware of.
"WHAT IS Biden doing exactly folks?"
.......I agree, he hasn't exactly shone here. I've said as much, already.
"Wait, don't answer that, let's take cheap pot shots at some dude who doesn't even have a twitter account, let alone influence over this crises, and pretend it's "laughter"......;)
.......Laughter, smiles, smileys, winks, can it be they're feigned? Can it be that it's desperation actually, underneath it all? My my, who would've known? :---))
"I mean, it is crystal clear your ranting here should be directed at Brian"
.......In my simplicity, and until the time you corrected me with your telepathic skills, I hadn't realized it was a desperate rant without the slightest hint of humor.
I admire Brian, and his thoughts have helped me, to no little extent, in arriving at my own worldview. But it isn't as if my thoughts are a reflection of his. I've disagreed with him on many issues in the past. And my comment, made here before you posted in this thread, was made ironically, the latter half of it.
But my "disagreement" with Brian, or rather the mild difference in focus, was merely incidental, and cause for no more than mildly ironical difference of opinion. Most certainly not rant. Or so I'd imagined, until your mind-reading made me realize I was desperate and ranting.
"Today, I again am not focusing on the crises itself but the inherent absurdity and inanity of folks criticizing Trump when he is a complete irrelevancy."
.......And I was laughing at you --- gently, actually, and my smiley in my comment was actually a smile, not a snarl --- for complaining about others' self-righteousness, while apparently unmindful of the irony of your frantic virtue-signalling.
" Perhaps ponder over the meaning of this story, for a while?:
.......You're the one who's written this lengthy comment to me. (To be fair, I haven't been able to resist the impulse to now write this equally long rejoinder.) So what is the moral of the story? We're both obsessed with sex, and need to get laid pronto?
"Indeed, I even highlighted the words "in the West" to contextualise this isn't as big an issue in global human terms as some white westerners may imagine it to be."
.......I know. I know, from our past discussions, that yours isn't a blinkered West-centric worldview. Like I said, I was just messing with you, a bit. (Given that, I mustn't complain, now, at the resultant mess, right? :---))
"You really cannot begin to comprehend how certain must be your projection and transference to me"
.......manjit, you do need to lighten up. I was just kidding. I said as much. Like to hand it out, but can't take it when it comes your way, not even playfully, hm?
Peace, manjit. No more from me on this after this comment of mine, because I can see how any further exchanges might devolve to something very different than what I'd intended my comment as.
Cheers, old friend. :-----)
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 25, 2022 at 07:13 AM
Ahh, Appreciative Reader, I think the actual content of the posts reveals who is pretending, who is feigning, who is absent of humour, who is projecting, who has double standards etc.
Reality is what reality is, and no amount of pretence, projections, self-delusion etc can change it.
Posted by: manjit | February 25, 2022 at 07:39 AM
And as for "mind reading" - perhaps re-read your original post, Then re-read my post.
Then ponder over how astonishing your repeated projection, and lack of understanding of your own mind, is.
My "mind reading" occurred purely as a result of your factually and unquestioningly mistaken "mind reading" of my original comment, which contained no mind reading at all. My act of "mind-reading" is based on a factual basis - your wildly inaccurate reading of my state of mind re this Ukraine crises, which despite your gleeful and wishful thinking, doesn't worry me personally in the slightest. Your inability to acknowledge or deal with this and instead AGAIN engage in staggering psychological projection by repeatedly suggesting I am the one attempting to mind read is breath-takingly revealing.
As is, again, the psychological frustrations underpinning it :)
PS - all those smiley faces are genuine.......;)
Posted by: manjit | February 25, 2022 at 07:48 AM
Is there anything any of us can do to help Ukraine (short of military involvement, which means World War III) ?
Well I think there is, given some sort of political leadership (leadership ?).
If the politicians, and do gooders, and all these wonderful charities, and eco movements, and anyone with a platform and a voice (this could include you too Brian) could set out the case that if all of us in western countries are prepared to tighten our belts a bit in the form of paying more for food, energy, and petrol/diesel, by refusing all trade with Russia, and (importantly) blocking Russia from the Swift International Money Transaction system, then Russia’s economy would be severely crippled, which might be enough to make this madman think again…. (Wouldn’t affect the USA as much as European countries, especially Germany and Italy…(they have blocked a proposal by UK and others to enable such a blockage, they rely heavily on Russian oil and gas)
Trouble is there’s a lot of money existing in the pipeline which would be lost.
But the cost of not stopping this madman is a threat to our own democratic way of living…are we savvy enough to realise this ?
Putin will sense a weakness and get in there. He sees the West as weak, and especially so with the cancel culture stuff and all the super ‘liberalism’ and bending over backwards..
Or maybe the forces of nature want it to play out this way in order for ‘evolution’ to proceed ?
(Meaning for mankind (this includes women of course, in fact if a woman was in charge in Russia it wouldn’t have come to this… hopefully)…. Meaning it’s happening because we have to prove to such as Putin that being tolerant of others does NOT mean weakness, does NOT mean we won’t fight….
(I fully realise the severe danger of inter continental ballistic nuclear weapons… speed 4 miles a second some of them, when they get up to full speed after 10 minutes in flight)
Perhaps we have been here before (Cuban missile crisis)…
If you are weak you will be trampled on. If you are strong you risk annihilation.
It HAS to be worth that risk…
(As one general said to his dithering troops on the eve of a battle: get in there and fight, do you think you’re going to live forever )
And besides… for those who do a bit of meditation, is not the meditation dying daily ???
Posted by: Eric Robinson | February 25, 2022 at 02:31 PM
The cheapest and easiest solution is simply unilateral withdrawal. Nato has expanded military operations over the years, with new bases, more soldiers and more weapons. And Russia has done the same. Each side claims they are merely responding to the other
And this drives up the orders for weapons and troops. And the cost to nations grows. And the profits to the military industrial complex, which is more prevalent now than at any time in world history.
You need an enemy to drive up fear, anger and a weapons invoice. So Putin is right when he says Russia was played. And his reactivity is part of that.
The solution is not to point fingers at who is the most corrupt, or to destabilize Russia 's economy to the benefit of the military industrial complex. Or to turn Ukraine, with a weak leadership, into another American supported Viet Nam. Been there done that.
The solution is big-lateral withdrawal.
That's what Putin has been asking for for years. Let's call his bluff. If in fact we can stop the war machine in our own system.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | February 25, 2022 at 03:50 PM
The solution is bi-lateral withdrawal.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | February 25, 2022 at 03:52 PM
If Putin is angry to the point of insanity about anything, it is what he must spend of his fragile but stable economy on weapons and troops to keep us with Nato's expansion.
Let's not keep pouring gasoline on a fire.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | February 25, 2022 at 03:56 PM
OK...Vlad, here's the offer.
Leave Ukraine alone... Including the new states you have certified as independent.
You are free to offer eastern economic alliances. It's your market place. We will only get involved in markets you are not trying to protect.
NATO will dismantle the expensive missile platforms we have been building over the last five years on your boader, to trigger another stupid arms race, and withdraw.
America will stop bolstering corrupt politicians behind the scenes, so long as you stop meddling in other nation's elections too (hint hint... We've been doing it all along, just like you).
We want stability also, Vlad. But you have a part to play.
Open elections will be held in all states and Russia and UN will be there to confirm. Ukraine is a young country and will need that accountability.
Ukraine is new nation. They will at some point want to form alliances. They will need to. We won't undermine your efforts to offer deals to them, so long as they are free to choose to go it on their own.
But we won't invest military or political support there anymore, and we won't offer favorable trade agreements that hurt your own.
It's not our market place. We won't make Ukraine a profit center or another Western State. We won't compete with you, threatening your own economy.
Ukraine is a new nation. They may have some stupid and corrupt leaders for a while.
We won't be involved in doing business there, won't make it worse. You will need to do the same.
Let their turmoil be internal. They may have to go through a few nasty leaders to find a decent one. Haven't we all? If you want their alliance, offer support with solid accountability for justice, freedom of the vote, and equality.
But don't expect it to go any better than it does in your country or ours.
Just don't compound the problem with violence. Contain it within Ukraine 's boarders as a Ukrainian issue.
We forgot our lesson of Viet Nam, but your escalation into violence has reminded us of our own role in the escalation of arms here. We are going home, taking our toys with us, if you will too.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | February 25, 2022 at 04:35 PM
"Putin is invading Ukraine primarily because he fears democracy and secondarily because he wants to reconstitute the Soviet Union to the greatest extent possible by bringing previous portions of the USSR back under Russian control."
And you know this how?
Ukraine is not a democracy in any real way.
Ukraine's economy and standard of living are the same as Russia's.
Putin has never declared that he wants to reconstitute the entire USSR.
What Putin has said, for many years now, is that he considers Ukraine a part of Russia. Whether one agrees with him on that or not, Putin also has stated that he considers the NATO encroachment on Russia's west to be illegitimate and feels betrayed by the West's expansion of NATO.
Putin is certainly a bad actor, but for Americans to moralize about his designs on Ukraine is absurd. We are the nation that invaded and shelled Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, We felt free to invade Iraq. We felt free to invade Afghanistan. We invade whoever we wish to invade, and we feel justified in taking "our land" throughout our history.
It amazes me how both the left and right are repeating the same neocon talking points about Russia.
Posted by: TENDZIN | February 25, 2022 at 05:13 PM
Whatever we may think of Putin, he is no Stalin. He has not murdered millions or created a gulag archipelago.
Nor is he “irrational,” as some pundits rail. He does not want a war with us, which would be worse than ruinous to us both.
Putin is a Russian nationalist, patriot, traditionalist and a cold and ruthless realist looking out to preserve Russia as the great and respected power it once was and he believes it can be again.
But it cannot be that if NATO expansion does not stop or if its sister state of Ukraine becomes part of a military alliance whose proudest boast is that it won the Cold War against the nation Putin has served all his life.
President Joe Biden almost hourly promises, “We are not going to war in Ukraine.” Why would he then not readily rule out NATO membership for Ukraine, which would require us to do something Biden himself says we Americans, for our own survival, should never do: go to war with Russia?
From the beginning of this episode, I fear that Biden will end up sending U.S. troops into Ukraine. I don't believe for a second that our president or our government has ruled out direct troop involvement. On the contrary, I think this is what many in the State Dept. and defense industry want to see happen. I also haven't forgotten the flimsy excuses we've used to justify our wars on the other side of the planet.
To be blunt, I don't to see one American die for the sake of Ukraine.
Posted by: TENDZIN | February 25, 2022 at 05:45 PM
@ tendzin : [ To be blunt, I don't to see one American die for the sake of Ukraine. ]
Me either. Neither do I want Ukraine's President Zelensky and others
to be martyred if rumors of a Russian "hit list" are true.
We all should feel the imperative to save life and rid ourselves of our
own violent tendencies. The specter of violent criminality planned
against others may tip the scale however and force us to try and
intervene... as it did for v. Stauffenberg et al for instance.
Posted by: Dungeness | February 25, 2022 at 09:48 PM
The POV you suggest, Spence, and Tendzin, and Dungeness, seems reasonable. Sure, Putin is your typical crazy dictator cardboard villain, but one can see where he's coming from. The US wouldn't take kindly to Russian influence moving in right next door, so why would Russia? De-escalation may actually be the best course of action. (Assuming Putin doesn't afterwards do a Hitler, which is doubtful. And which is not a great solution if the Ukrainians themselves don't want the Russkies lording it over them, but I don't know what that solution to that might be. Certainly a reasonable solution cannot be WW3.)
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 25, 2022 at 10:59 PM
Dungeness, I"m sorry, I think I'd misread your position, and misrepresented in my comment. On rereading, I see you'd advocated for exactly the opposite approach. And absolutely, it's clear that yours is the approach that is the prevalent view with the administration/s. We've already seen how far the crazy B-grade-movie-cardboard-villain dictator is willing to go; let's so how far "our" side goes, and where that takes "us" and the world.
You're right, a hands-off policy does involve callously looking for our own collective butts, and for "appeasement", and for peace except to those poor buggers over at Ukraine. It does involve throwing Ukraine under the bus. Which is ...not good. On the other hand, potentially moving to a situation where everyone blows everyone else up isn't very good either. Difficult times, these.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 26, 2022 at 05:04 AM
AR you wrote: [ You're right, a hands-off policy does involve callously looking for our own collective butts, and for "appeasement", and for peace except to those poor buggers over at Ukraine. It does involve throwing Ukraine under the bus. Which is ...not good. On the other hand, potentially moving to a situation where everyone blows everyone else up isn't very good either. Difficult times, these. ]
Quite. But, to many the decision has to be made to "save every life you can".
First those in the most peril who are at your doorstep... even though there's
risk of potentially endangering even more later, including yourself.
"Whoever saves one life, saves humanity entire." --From the Talmud
Posted by: Dungeness | February 26, 2022 at 06:24 AM
No, I see where you're coming from, Dungeness. Can't disagree with a principled position. A hands-off position is more a cop-out than anything else, essentially turning tail in the face of a bully. But sometimes it is prudent to do that, even if you know that if you did go one-on-one with the bully you could put them out of business. Difficult times, difficult choices.
In any case, the WW2 parallel, that one hoped wouldn't come too close, is unfortunately seeming more and more real: Apparently Putin takes exception not just to Ukraine joining the Nato, but to Finland and Sweden as well. (Link: https://www.newsweek.com/russia-threatens-finland-sweden-nato-ukraine-invasion-1682715)
You'd mentioned Stauffenberg. I'm not sure what your point was, but if you did mean what I'm thinking you might have meant, then that might be one way out of the mess. This does look like one single megalomaniac's work, as opposed to some near-unanimous view of Russians at large, as is clear from such protests as are taking place there despite the police clampdowns there.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | February 26, 2022 at 06:54 AM
Von Stauffenberg was a German who tried to assassinate Hitler, and though (in the famous moral question) that's an act that most people would vote to do themselves had they had the chance, it doesn't point to a moral justification of sending U.S. soldiers to fight and die in Ukraine.
I'm not a veteran, and so by my lights, I feel I have absolutely zero moral justification for even offering an opinion for sending U.S. soldiers to foreign wars. Especially one in which no U.S. interests are at stake. This is not our war.
Posted by: TENDZIN | February 26, 2022 at 08:51 AM
@ AR [ You'd mentioned Stauffenberg... ]
Sorry, my explanation wasn't clear at all.
Actually, I was agreeing with Tendzin that no American lives should be
lost for the sake of Ukraine but I also didn't want Zelensky to be killed
if, as rumoured, he was on Putin's "kill" list.
I suggested that this clear threat to Zelensky's life might motivate some
to intervene to rather than remain unwavering in the belief America
shouldn't be involved at all. Just as Stauffenberg set aside his loyalty
to Germany when presented with evidence of mass murder.
Posted by: Dungeness | February 26, 2022 at 09:13 AM
How is the Orthodox Church different from Roman Catholic and Protestant? How do Orthodox branches relate to each other?
"In its first thousand years, the Eastern Orthodox Church coexisted with the Rome-based Catholic Church, although relations between the two were always fraught by both theological and political differences.
These differences ultimately led to the East-West Schism, also known as the Great Schism, in 1054 A.D., in which Rome and Constantinople broke with one another. Each side blamed the other for the rupture, sometimes even accusing the other of heresy."
"On October 15 of this year (2021), these challenges culminated in the decision by the Moscow Patriarchate to break with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, after Bartholomew I acceded to a request by Orthodox clerics in Ukraine for independence from Moscow.
Dr Ralph Lee, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge told DW that: "Moscow sometimes refers to itself as the ‘Third Rome’ because the ruler in Moscow saw himself as the supreme sovereign of Christian Orthodox nations."
Many comment that Mr Putin has gone suddenly from playing chess to playing poker. Something changed, and I suspect he's beginning to worry about his mortality. He turns 70 in October after all. In the back of his mind he might hope to save his soul by asserting supremacy of the Russian Church, and he has deluded himself into thinking God will back him in the project no matter how cruel, bloody and destructive.
Posted by: umami | February 27, 2022 at 09:17 PM
I'm not knocking religiosity per se, but conflate it with personal or political ends, and it can go wildly off the rails. It's funny how in some ways we're still playing out the division of the Roman Empire into Western and Eastern halves.
Posted by: umami | February 28, 2022 at 08:22 AM