UCRAINA: HA UN GROTTESCO NOBEL PER LA PACE IL PIU’ GUERRAFONDAIO DI TUTTI

Con una parte delle sue azioni l’Urss meritò ampiamente di sfasciarsi alla fine del comunismo. Da quel momento l’Occidente vittorioso  fu di fatto legittimato a impadronirsi di pezzi dell’eredità sovietica. Hanno fatto così tutti gli imperi della storia.

Tuttavia c’è un carattere sinistro,  e al tempo stesso grossolano, nel tentativo di Obama di tenersi l’Ucraina, la preda più recente, grazie all’inverosimile minaccia della  terza guerra mondiale.  Washington può fare molte cose terribilmente pericolose. Non una spedizione contro la Russia. Si sa che fallirebbe come fallirono Bonaparte e Hitler. E’ finita male ogni  guerra di conquista statunitense dal conflitto di Corea in poi. Per affrontare le armate e l’arsenale nucleare di Mosca la nazione americana dovrebbe possedere lo sprezzo della vita dei kamikaze nipponici, il sinistro eroismo di quelli islamici estremi.

All’occorrenza gli americani sterminano: cominciarono a farlo in grande in Vietnam, Laos e Cambogia. Ma non sono veri duri. Nel 2013 si sono suicidati 259 militari americani in servizio. Non sono felici: un quarto dei detenuti del mondo sono nelle carceri degli USA (che fanno solo il 5% della popolazione del pianeta). E oltre certi limiti stanno attenti al loro denaro (le imprese irakena e afghana sono loro già costate 6 trilioni di dollari). Le loro installazioni atomiche hanno divorato 40.544 kmq, ma il congegno di gestione dell’Armageddon finale è temerario: per autorizzare un attacco nucleare statunitense sono sufficienti due persone.

Stando così le cose, Obama sta solo bluffando sull’Ucraina. Però non sembra avere la saggezza di dare ascolto al vecchio Henry Kissinger, che da segretario di Stato sapeva essere falco. Kissinger giudicò una scempiaggine circondare di rampe di lancio i confini europei della Russia (la scempiaggine Obama la fa, ma non l’ha avviata lui). E’ che, essendosi volontariamente condannata a caricarsi di un apparato bellico mostruoso, dimensionato sulle evenienze più inverosimili, l’America è stabilmente condizionata a cercare qualche utilizzazione per le sue forze armate. E poiché la creazione artificiale di necessità militari risulta spesso controproducente, Washington ricorre più spesso di prima alle covert operations  e alla sobillazione politica.

Ecco nello scacchiere est-europeo il susseguirsi delle Color Revolutions “per amore della libertà” (e del consumismo), tutte suscitate o fomentate da centrali quali la CIA. Hanno portato al potere numerosi fautori dell’allineamento agli USA e alla Nato. La prima di queste rivoluzioni ‘color’ abbatté in Serbia, nel 2000,  Slobodan Milosevic (per la verità non uno stinco di santo). Tre anni dopo fu la volta della rivoluzione “delle Rose” in Georgia; nel 2005 quella delle Arance in Kirghisistan (il nome si confonde con quella Arancione, tanto più importante in quanto ha dilaniato l’Ucraina).

Nella logica della nuova Guerra Fredda, tutto ciò è naturale. Ma è una logica canagliesca, sfrontatamente provocatoria. Sembrava che oltre mezzo secolo di distensione Est-Ovest avesse prodotto un gentlemen’s agreement: ciascuna superpotenza non doveva invadere la sfera storica dell’altra. Quindi, p.es. l’antica Urss non doveva seminare mine di sovversione comunista in Messico. Invece Washington,  dopo avere satellizzato gli Stati ex socialisti d’Europa e varie repubbliche asiatiche che avevano fatto parte dell’Urss, ha intrapreso la conquista dell’Ucraina, che è culla e madre della nazione russa: quanto meno dal 988, quando Vladimir il santo, ‘gran principe’ sovrano di Kiev, si fece cristiano e presto Kiev si confermò capitale di tutti i principati dell’area russo-meridionale. Vladimir fu canonizzato nel XIII secolo, ma da pagano aveva avuto varie mogli e concubine.

Washington sta semplicemente cercando di sventare il sogno di molti, di una rinascita della Russia dopo le umiliazioni di venticinque anni fa. Non che meritino ammirazione e solidarietà tutti i secoli dell’egemonia russa sugli Slavi. Una delle decisioni più criminali della storia universale fu, nel 1914, l’ordine dello zar Nicola II, plagiato dal ministro degli Esteri Sazonov, di mobilitazione generale contro Vienna e Berlino. Provocò -soprattutto in conbutta col revanscismo del francese Poincaré- due conflitti mondiali concatenati, molte decine di milioni di morti, varie grandi rivoluzioni, un susseguirsi di sismi sociali (e lo sterminio della famiglia imperiale, cominciando da Nicola).

Tuttavia la Russia è troppo centrale alla storia e alla civiltà di due continenti per non avere diritto ad asserirsi di nuovo, a 98 anni dall’avvio della fosca esperienza leninista-stalinista.

Anthony Cobeinsy

LETTERA DA SAN PIETROBURGO

L’Europa non capisce la Russia. Mercato contro patriottismo

Trovarsi in Russia in un momento come questo, pur da studente squattrinato, è, per certi aspetti, un privilegio. Non tanto perché è molto conveniente fare la spesa e andare a teatro, grazie al tasso di cambio dell’Euro che, in questi giorni, si aggira intorno a quota 67 rubli; molto più interessante è osservare l’effetto economico e soprattutto politico delle sanzioni di UE e USA.

Le sanzioni sono uno strumento squisitamente occidentale, diciamo Americano, per rimettere i riga gli “stati canaglia». Sono un’arma spesso inefficace, ma che si sta affilando sempre di più. Se decenni di sanzioni non sono riusciti a rovesciare i regimi di Cuba e Nord Corea, è possibile che Putin, se non trova mercati e fonti di sviluppo e di credito alterativi all’Occidente, possa perdere molta della popolarità che ha ottenuto con il suo quindicennio d’incredibile crescita economica. Tanto più che le sanzioni colpiscono la Russia in un momento difficile: il prezzo del petrolio è sceso intorno ai 60 dollari al barile, i prezzi salgono a vista d’occhio e l’ economia russa è ufficialmente in recessione.

Ma al cittadino russo importa poco dei numeri. Ciò che più ferisce i Russi, popolo molto suscettibile, è che l’Europa si sia messa a fare da pappagallo all’America e abbia, a propria volta, imposto sanzioni. Più volte, giovani e meno giovani, da studenti a baristi, mi hanno espresso il loro sincero dispiacere per questa situazione, che loro prendono sul personale, e si sono molto rasserenati quando garantivo loro che io, al posto dell’UE, non avrei imposto questo tipo di sanzioni. I Russi amano gli europei e vogliono i prodotti europei. E’ divertente aggirarsi per i supermercati e contare la quantità di riferimenti all’Europa. Ne ho appuntati alcuni. Sul latte in polvere ed il caffe spesso si trova scritto« qualità europea». Il caffè istantaneo, tipo Nescafé, ma russo, richiama «le mattine a Parigi». La passata di pomodoro è «buonissima», e la marca locale di pasta annuncia che è proprio cosi che mangia « la vera Italia».

Sembrerebbe, dunque, semplice: vietare ai russi i prodotti europei e peggiorare gli indicatori macroeconomici è sufficiente per causare una rivolta anti Putin e, quindi, un riallineamento alla visione del mondo di Washington. Forse sarà cosi e non sarebbe, forse, un male per la Russia trovare un nuovo leader, ma l’Europa e l’ America non capiscono fino in fondo che la Russia, prima di essere un Mercato, è una Patria.

C’è un fattore storico. La Russia per quanto si avvicini all’Europa, resta sempre Russia. Si pensi alla campagna militare di Napoleone. La classe dirigente russa e gli alti ranghi dell’esercito erano talmente esposti all’influenza della Francia che non solo parlavano francese meglio del russo, ma addirittura, durante la guerra, gli ufficiali russi erano vestiti come gli ufficiali francesi. Questo creava non pochi problemi, e succedeva che ufficiali russi finissero crivellati dai colpi dei propri soldati. I generali e ufficiali russi allora non trovarono altra soluzione che smettere di radersi. Con la barba tornò a poco a poco la lingua russa e l’idea del popolo russo come popolo eletto, benedetto da Dio. E, quando Napoleone entrò a Mosca, i generali russi ordinarono di appiccare il fuoco alla città per non farla cadere nelle mani di un francese, per quanto straordinario.

Il popolo russo, se vuole, può soffrire pene indicibili, e non c’è argomento più convincente per lui che farlo in nome della terra russa. Nessuna sanzione eguaglierà mai la carestia indotta dall’assedio di Leningrado, protrattosi per 900 giorni ad opera dei tedeschi, assedio ancora fresco nelle menti e nell’identità di Pietroburgo, definita “citta eroe” dal governo Russo.

Oggi, peraltro, non c’è bisogno di autodistruggersi, né di soffrire la fame, per salvaguardare la propria identità. Il mondo non è solo l’America e l’Europa. Se le altre nazioni BRICS, dotatesi da luglio di una propria banca di investimento, la New Development Bank, riusciranno a fornire il credito necessario, forse le cose possono cambiare. In un mondo multipolare, le fonti di sviluppo e di credito devono essere tante e non solo l’occidente. Un occidente che fatica sempre più a capire la Russia, e quindi a dialogare sullo stesso piano. Turchia, Cina e India, al contrario, hanno firmato o negoziato negli ultimi mesi contratti da favola col governo russo, ottenendo chi sconti sul gas, chi promesse di ulteriore cooperazione in termini di energia, sicurezza e sviluppo.

La Russia, come diceva Churchill, è un indovinello racchiuso in un enigma avvolto in un mistero. Ma oggi, a differenza di allora, non c’è solo l’occidente a cercare di risolverlo. Se i cinesi, gli indiani o i turchi arrivassero alla soluzione prima di noi?

Raimondo Lanza di Trabia

EVIL UNOPPOSED

Europe today is experiencing déjà vu: a frightful reliving of the accommodation to evil of the 1930’s, when France, England, and Italy permitted Hitler’s seizing of the outer rim of Czechoslovakia  which bordered  on Germany, called the Sudetenland, and   home to Czechoslovakia’s approximately three million ethnic Germans. The Sudetenland was an important industrial and banking area; it also formed Czechoslovakia’s formidable defense perimeter—a perimeter so heavily fortified that Hitler himself acknowledged that had he been forced to attack it, his troops would have suffered very heavy losses. But he didn’t have to worry: for Europe handed it to him, gratis.

Hitler’s pretext for wanting to absorb the Sudetenland was the skillfully managed propaganda campaign of public discontent among Czechoslovakia’s three million Germans. Putin has surely read his history, for he accomplished the same feat in Crimea. This manufacturing of discontent today among Russian-speaking peoples, in the Ukraine and in other nations, is Putin’s rationale for seizing the former territories of the Soviet Union. This is the same pretext for intervention that Putin used earlier when he invaded Georgia. And just as Hitler counted on a muted response from the West to his annexation of the Sudetenland—and was not disappointed—so Putin harbors similar expectations: If he invades eastern Ukraine, as now seems a real possibility with the buildup of tens of thousands of heavily armed Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, buttressed by tanks, artillery, missiles, and other heavy weaponry—Putin is counting on NATO being too timid to engage Russia’s upgraded, well-trained modern military.  In this he is undoubtedly prescient. Europeans have so far evidenced no stomach for war, least of all on European soil. To the world’s shame, it appears that Ukraine must stand or fall by her own efforts. The European powers in the 30’s sacrificed Czechoslovakia to Hitler’s ever-growing geo-political ambitions, through its policy of appeasement, hoping that his libido dominandi would soon be sated…but it wasn’t. Churchill said at the time to the appeasers, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Is it déjà-vu in Europe?

It is always surprising to see, in every age, how many people either turn a blind eye towards evil, or rationalize it, or else sanction it by adverting to the Bible, in their bid to clothe their complicity in the garb of righteousness. France is adamant about honoring her military  contract  with Russia for the sale of two Mistral-class amphibious assault warships, which will undoubtedly be used in the future against other former Soviet Block countries as Putin proceeds step-by-step with his plan of Russian Empire-reconstruction. France is selling these powerful ships in spite of Russia’s dishonorable direct support, and now open leadership, of the Ukrainian Separatists, the downing of the Malaysian airliner with a Russian missile causing 300 deaths (which the UN says may well be a war crime),  evidence tampering at the crash site so that no direct evidence can  link Russia to the passenger jet, the looting of personal possessions from the bodies of the dead, the Separatists’ refusal to collect all of the bodies strewn helter-skelter around the crash site, and an unending stream of bald-faced lies and childish, pathetic  responses from Moscow.

The British, too, until now, have refused to allow any broad economic sanctions against Russia, fearing that they might hurt London’s commercial banking/investment business; and in Germany, arms manufacturers are anxious to finalize their quarter of a billion arms sales to Russia, which includes an important battle simulator, since not to do so would result in lower earnings for the arms sector. For the modern corporation, to its shame, it is always profit before honor: Profit ueber Alles!

We are on earth, at our longest measure, for 6 or 7 fully productive decades, then comes The Final Wait, when our life-journey’s trajectory shall, upon death, be  scrutinized in the harsh light of eternal principles. Yet there are many who nevertheless prize these few decades above all law and morality. Putin is one of them. U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden brazenly told Putin that when he looked into his eyes, he could find no evidence of a soul. “Then we understand each other precisely,” replied Putin, agreeing completely with Biden’s psychical diagnosis.

Long association with evil, as has been true with Putin, does indeed destroy one’s soul. But so too does accommodation to evil. The West has yet to stand up fully to Putin, fearful of suffering either economic or military consequences. But by not doing so they stand with Putin, not against him.  There is now talk of real economic sanctions being levied against Russia after the downing of the aircraft. If true, they come none too soon. Like it or not, righteousness is a strict Either/Or. We either oppose Putin in unity, sure of our just cause, come-what-may, or else we join hands with him in aiding and abetting his unjust cause. But we can’t do both.

Len Sive Jr.

THE PUTIN GAMBIT—CHECK!

There are some people for whom the most elementary truths are just beyond their ken. Putin is one of these. He just doesn’t get it. People—nations—want to be free. It is just that simple. His KGB background, which depended ultimately on coercion, has saturated his soul so that it is impossible for him to think otherwise. Evil is blind.That’s its fatal weakness. Putin doesn’t get it because he has used force, intimidation, or coercion his entire adult life, with impunity. That’s his vision of reality as well as his personal modus operandi. But people inherently want and need freedom and self-determination. Man was born to be free. If the power of the Soviet Union should miraculously come to life again, so would its fatally coercive nature. Such affects the entire society top to toe, from foreign and domestic policy to academia to personal freedoms and human rights to economics. This many former Soviet Block countries understand only too well and so want nothing to do with Putin’s play for power. Putin blames the West for this, when in reality he has no one to blame but himself.

It is pathetic, yet comical, to watch this ex-spy at work—threatening and bullying (Putin’s a classic bully) to try to keep the West from encroaching on the territory of the former Soviet Union. What is beyond his understanding—and this then makes him a tyrant (and God’s enemy) –is that in foreign policy as in life, threats and bullying are self-defeating. Christ’s “Love your neighbor as well as your enemy” is something Putin, like all tyrants, just can’t understand—because they don’t want to. Had Putin showed the same kind of helping spirit that the EU has shown, earlier to Georgia and Moldova, he might then have got his Ukraine at no extra cost. But to ask a tyrant to become a saint is, of course, impossible. When Putin meets his Maker to receive his judgment, as we all must one day, he will hear this ringing in his ears: “What you did to the least of these, you did unto me.” Only then will tyrants like Putin begin to understand the power and the glory, but also the judgment, of Love—but then it will be too late.

All tyrants and dictators, but also the very wealthy, fail to understand that ALL power, earthly or otherwise, belongs strictly to Almighty God. In imitation of God, all power is meant to be a path to helping others, beginning with the weakest and most vulnerable. Power is never meant to increase one’s wealth or privileges. The powerful on earth stand “in loco parentis,” in place of God the Father. The shepherd uses his position, not to slaughter his sheep but to feed and care for them, and to keep wolves at bay.

God rules with love, our duty (and joy) is to emulate that rule. Such alone satisfies the soul’s hunger for ultimate meaning, and covers all despair, loneliness, and fear—as well as makes life the wonderful gift it is, and ought to be. But to seek earthly power for power’s sake, to glory in it, to use it to dominate and intimidate, to get rich by it—these all go against the grain of God’s Law of Universal Love. Compared to force and violence, threats and intimidation, Love seems out of its league. So the foolish always, in every era, think and believe. “Only the strong survive.” But that inescapable day of judgment skulks all of us, catching us, some sooner, some later, but in the end—everyone. Then shall we see that true power is Love.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Mt. 7:13-14.)

Len Sive Jr.

REFLECTIONS ON A WORLD GONE MAD (Issue no. 1)

1. Now that Obama has hit Russia with sanctions, we can see how “free enterprise” works in Russia’s  so-called democracy: If you are fortunate to be a friend of Putin’s, then you will find yourself owning, or the CEO, of one of Russia’s financial/banking sectors or of one of its  industrial, mining, or gas/oil  sectors. Putin’s multi-billionaire friends are everywhere to be found, his enemies, impoverished, cowed and/or jailed by Putin,  are nowhere to be found—at least not owning or heading any important parts of Russia’s economy, or wielding any significant political opposition to Putin himself. In Russia, Putin is all in all. He reigns over a comradeship of thieves, stealing the wealth of Russia and concentrating it in his own hands as well as those of his closest friends and allies.

This authoritarian government, run by and for Putin and his friends as if they themselves held land-title to all of Russia, was run the same way under Communism. Then, communist leaders and their friends, and other important officials, all became exceedingly rich, while the average (proletarian) Russian suffered the indignities of a cruel, unpredictable dictatorship heaped upon bone-chilling poverty and inadequate health care. These Communist leaders of the Proletariat were regal in all but name—just as now under (Czar) Putin.  Forget free enterprise, forget democracy, forget human rights. Putin, like Stalin, has in his political vocabulary only three (five-letter) words, whether in affairs at home or abroad: might, power, and force. That’s his escutcheon, which is also a summation of his personality. He’s an insecure, egocentric psychopath, hence he brooks no opposition, no contrary views. Ice-water runs in his veins. He’s a little man with a big swagger, rough talking and rough acting. He believes in, exalts, and worships violence. Reason, debate, inquiry are for him dead letters. Faith as the true guide to practical living he utterly rejects. Such is the present leader of Russia, a great country but ever in tears of sorrow and anguish, from Peter the Great up to the present day. For in Russia, there exists no clock: the past is the present, and the present is the past, and both are prologue to the future.

2. In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a six-grader saved a fellow student from serious injury when she saw him cutting his wrist with a razor and rushed over to him, grabbing the razor and throwing it away. For her swift, meritorious conduct—for the love of her fellow human being—what reward did she get?—suspension from school, and possible termination!

But the one person who clearly needs to be terminated is not our young heroine but the principalherself, for such an egregious decision of the first order. Since when do we punish noble acts? Where are our values? our commonsense? our fellow-feeling?  our kindness? Are we become so vicious, so right-wing a nation, so dumb of heart and mind that this little girl’s courageous, noble, and Christian act brings only official reprisals, and condemnation heaped upon her head? O America, America, for thee I do weep.

Len Sive Jr.

ECONOMICS TRUMPS POLITICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Great Britain and Germany both refuse to isolate Russia or to boycott her exports: Germany needs her gas and oil, and German companies have invested 22 billion in Russia; and England wants her cash for its financial markets. Putin sees this economic opening and, utilizing it, is now pushing for a referendum in Crimea in 10 days’ time with which to cement his grip on power there and, with Russian troops still in Crimea, to continue pressuring the Ukrainians to abandon their drive for closer ties with the EU and US. Despite Kerry’s refusal to believe it, this is indeed a zero-sum game.

Interestingly, perhaps now the NSA’s interception of the German Chancellor’s phone calls, and the monitoring of Russia’s, wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Certainly Snowden’s aiding Russia by disclosing the reach of the NSA has made the world, as we have seen in the Crimea, a much less safer place now than before. And Snowden’s new friends (Russia and China) have revealed themselves to be far less concerned about human rights than the country which he forsook, indeed, to be eminently authoritarian and militaristic, with no respect for human rights. (China seized Tibet and committed, and still commits, grave human rights violations there; and both China and Russia freely commit abuses daily against ethnic minorities and political opponents.) The only country able to stand up to them, the US, Snowden has irrevocably weakened, making the world after his disclosures a much more dangerous place indeed. Edward’s vainglory and hubris blinded him as to who the real enemies are. Does he really believe that the US is a greater threat to world peace than either China or Russia? Edward forgot something very elementary about life: without prudence, one finds “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Again we see in world history how economics trumps politics: what ought to be done by the EU isn’t being done; and as a result Putin knows there is a breach in the wall of diplomatic sanctions for him to escape through. What might have forced him to withdraw due to the unyielding unanimity of the EU, he can now more safely afford to ignore given the disunity within EU’s ranks, and hence the lower level of sanctions threatened. The West has lost this crucial battle with a dictator who is no respecter of nations or of laws; and that will only embolden him further, and give sustenance to China’s hegemonic desires as well.

The world thinks in enlightenment terms; that is, that man’s sinfulness is an outmoded concept, a leftover of a bygone theological era; that one need only tie countries closer together economically, and eternal peace and prosperity must and will be the inevitable result. No: a leopard can wear a Brooks Brothers suit, but underneath, like it or not, it remains a leopard still. Russia has (and has always had) an authoritarian leader.  To appease such usually ushers in greater trouble later. Putin wants the power of the former Soviet Union redivivus. Great Britain and Germany have unwittingly aided him in his power quest, and in the process sacrificed the territorial integrity of The Ukraine—and shown Putin all too clearly that, so far at least, he has nothing to fear from the EU, which up till now has shown itself to be a weak and vacillatory body with no stomach for confrontation when and where it counts.

 Len Sive Jr.