27 June 2018

RUSSIA and Lord Houghton

At least three times people have been killed in our towns in circumstances in which it is very easy to suspect some elements somewhere in the Russian machine of awareness or even collusion (the Bulgarian Umbrella; the Polonium Tea; the Novichok). It is difficult not to feel aggrieved about what happened in Salisbury. Even if, in a crude way, the Russians might feel that they have a right to deal with their own people on our streets, they need to understand that when others, including one of our policeman, suffer, we can hardly smile and do nothing. Mutatis mutandis, they jolly well wouldn't.

You're right; there's a BUT coming. After the Fall of Communism, the first thought of many in the West was to move the borders of NATO and the EU right up to the borders of the Russian Federation. There was no recollection that Russia had been invaded by both Napoleon and Hitler, with disastrous cost to the Russian people. Russia, despite the phobias of the Cold War period, has never invaded the West.

In our Meejah and government circles, there appear no signs of proper respect for the Russian people. The best Russia can exspect, apparently, is lectures about 'Human Rights' and the iniquity of locking up the feminists who behaved blasphemously in a Cathedral; and the overwhelming importance of  "Gay Rights". (In my view, each day it becomes clearer that Western "Human Rights" are a facade for something diabolically nasty.)

There are arguments that Russian policy in Syria is at least less culpable than the behaviour of those Western powers including my own which aided and abetted the "Arab Spring", that radix malorum. The continuing disorders in Afghanistan remind us that the Taliban are still fighting with the weapons given them by the CIA in order to destabilise a legitimate Russian sphere of influence in that area.

I really do believe that the time has come for a new start, in which there will be recognition that Russia and we do have common interests. And that mutual respect might pay better dividends than disdain and 'sanctions'.

Curiously, I drafted this some time ago, and yesterday morning Nick Houghton said a lot of the same stuff in an interview on the Beeb. Nick used to be Chief of the Defence Staff (what we once called Chief of the Imperial General Staff before our cousins across the water explained to us that we were not allowed to have an Empire any more). Upon retirement he was given a life peerage, because over here we have a ridiculous and almost powerless institution called the House of Lords, which is really simply a very grand national debating chamber. The convention is that retired persons who have been eminent in different walks of life join it after retirement. Thus their experience is retained in the service of the Kingdom. It is a totally lunatic system which works remarkably well.

There are times when I wonder if we would have a more peaceful world if decisions concerning War and Peace were made by admirals and generals rather than by politicians.

22 comments:

Grant Milburn said...

So who are you backing when Russia meet Spain this Sunday? :)

Victor said...

I partially agree, Fr. BUT as a grandchild of a woman born in Estonia, as a friend of many Ukrainians, and as a German whose father was forced to leave his home seven decades ago, perhaps I have a more nuanced point of view.

Nicolas Bellord said...

" Russia, despite the phobias of the Cold War period, has never invaded the West." I think the Poles might not agree with that.

J Tempest said...

The incident in Salisbury was far too close to Porton Down for me to believe that it was sent from Russia with love. Whilst Russia may be responsible for many things, it does not follow that it is responsible for everything that it is accused of. I do not believe the British Government in this matter.

There is much talk by the democrats in the US of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign with no supporting evidence. There is actual evidence that the Obama administration really did collude with the Russians by selling them twenty percent of US uranium.

Ann said...

I sometimes wonder if instead of priests doing priestly things we wouldn’t be better off if we left that sort of thing up to bartenders.
Have you ever heard of the expression “useful idiot,” Father? Politicans in the West do not deal with the Russian people, they deal with Putin, who regards his legitimate sphere of influence as any place he can put his oar in.

Andrew Malton said...

It's true that Russia never invaded *Germany*. Is that where the West starts?

Polonia semper fidelis!

Woody said...

Danish journalist Iben Thranholm pretty much says what a lot of us are thinking: that despite its many defects, Russia is moving toward a vibrant reChristianization, while we in the West are moving in the opposite direction, and not slowly, either.

http://orthochristian.com/89592.html

Therefore, in any conflict with the US/EU versus Russia, the question will be asked, which people has chosen to fight under the banner of the Lord, and which is fighting under the banner of the devil.

Woody said...

Further to my previous message, see the following:

http://orthochristian.com/114013.html

http://orthochristian.com/113922.html

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

I really do believe that the time has come for a new start, in which there will be recognition that Russia and we do have common interests. And that mutual respect might pay better dividends than disdain and 'sanctions'.

Dear Father. You can safely make such suggestions because you have wisdom but no power.

When JFK gave his famous address at American University in the midst of the Cold War and said he desired friendship with Russia and wanted both sides to stop testing nukes and then rid the world of them, Christians cheered; and then The Deep State iced him because Puritanism (Yankees were chosen by God to spread American style "democracy" and save the world) and the Military Industry which was growing powerful and wealthy.

The Neo-Cons (the Council of the Malignant) will not be amused

John Nolan said...

Actually, Russian foreign policy and the manner in which it is conducted has been remarkably consistent since the early nineteenth century. British Foreign Secretaries realized that the most effective way of containing Russian aggrandizement was to work with her.

However, we are talking about the likes of Castlereagh, Canning and Palmerston, not the 'virtue-signalling' machine politicians of the present day.

And it's important to argue from a position of strength. Putin's Russia is no superpower, and its economy can hardly sustain its present level of defence expenditure, modest as it is by Soviet standards. We should not be paring our own defences in order to waste money on overseas aid and throw yet more billions at the bloated and chronically inefficient NHS.

Ignatius, Cornwall said...

One small reflection, Father: due to the recent dishonesty of our politicians and press, (MPs expenses fiddles and Brexit lies) we KNOW beyond doubt their untruthfulness and casuistry. However, although we may have our suspicions, few of us in the UK have DIRECT first-hand KNOWLEDGE of Mr Putin's honesty, probity or Russian politics. LIKEWISE: Mr Assad's honesty, probity in Syria. It seems to me likely that we are told what our governments want us to believe.

Ignatius, Cornwall said...

You say, Father, "There are times when I wonder if we would have a more peaceful world if decisions concerning War and Peace were made by admirals and generals rather than by politicians." Sounds reasonable as they're likely to be far more honest than politicians - probably more intelligent, too, going on our politicians' record of found-out cheating, lying, general nastiness (welfare unkindness, Windrush, etc) and amazing levels of idiocy unknown in the armed services. Would any of us buy a used car from May or Boris?

mar said...

Father, I've been following your writing with admiration for years. However, I can't help but remind you that Poland's being in Russia's legitimate sphere of influence is a direct consequence of her abandonment by the Great Powers. Surely, after the fall of communism, the US moved NATO's Eastern flank irritatingly up to the Soviet borders of Russia, and that without a whiff of hesitation from an average Pole. It's the word "legitimate" that got my attention in your post.

Fr. Michael LaRue said...

You might find Prof. Steven Kotkin’s perspective on Russia and geopolitics of interest. He has a number of video lectures on YouTube. I would start here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RnWp_kr4tfc

Thomas said...

@Nicolas Bellord said...
" 'Russia, despite the phobias of the Cold War period, has never invaded the West.' I think the Poles might not agree with that"

Neither would the Czechs and Slovaks who still remember The Prague Spring of 1968. But I think the general point is well made that Russia should not be regarded as the arch-enemy of Europe. There are many faults and abuses, and her leaders certainly have blood on their hands, but the Western European powers are really no better, and in some ways worse. No worldly powers are perfect and politics is the art of the possible. Cultivating careful détente with post-Soviet Russia makes even more sense than pursuing dialogue with North Korea. It ought to be a whole lot easier too as, on the face of it, we have far more in common with the former than the latter.

Arthur Gallagher said...

There is something to what Fr. says. I believe that Poland should not have been made a member of NATO, but encouraged to be pro-western, just as I believe that Ukraine being friendly to Russia is unavoidable for a stable Europe. By meddling in Ukraine, and expanding NATO, the neocons have diminished Western influence. No surprise there.

History and geography dictate that Poland is both Western, and not fully integrated. When an alliance, like NATO contains all significant opponents of one country, it ceases to be merely defensive, and becomes a menace to its adversary.

From the Russian viewpoint, cooperation between the U.S. and Russia is essential. They believed that even during the Cold War, just as they believed it during the 19th Century. Selling Alaska to the U.S. was a way to limit British power, and build ties between Russia and the U.S. Sending the Russian navy to enforce the Union Blockade during the Civil War was part of a long term strategy by Russia to break out of their comparative disadvantages in European politics. How many people today know that there was a Russian fleet operating out of New York City during the 1860s?

Sending Orthodox missionaries to the U.S.to spread discontent among Eastern Rite Catholics, and getting the Patriarch of Constantinople to come out against Slavery in the U.S. were also in aid of Russian foreign policy and influence.

There is a long history there, much of it obscure.

Grant Milburn said...

“There are times when I wonder if we would have a more peaceful world if decisions concerning War and Peace were made by admirals and generals rather than by politicians.”

I'm not sure... wasn't Japan in the 30’s and 40’s effectively run by admirals and generals?

Daniel Hayes said...

Not too long ago Putin stated that there was only one superpower and that it was the US. That is the statement of a man steeped in geopolitical reality realizing that it would be sheer madness to engage in World War III against the superpower. Nevertheless it is remarkable how adroitly Putin has played the weak geopolitical hand he has been dealt with. Russia has been engaged in efforts to preserve its interests whereas the US has needlessly gone throughout the world tilting at windmills and in the process destroying weak states such as Libya and Iraq. Russian intervention at the last moment in Syria saved that country from the depredations of Moslem fundamentalism. Putin appears to be engaged in nurturing religiosity in Russia whereas the western powers appear to be engaged in its throttling.

Don Henri said...

"Russia never invaded the West"?
Well, if the West is countries of Latin christianity, it sure did! What about the commonwealth of Poland Lithuania? What about the cossacks camping on the Champs Elysées in 1870? And ask any Czech, Hungarian, Romanian... who will answer you that the "liberation" of central Europe by russians tanks was perceived there as an invasion, followed by an occupation. What about Gdansk, what about Budapest in 1956? Russia invaded repeatedly half of Europe! Of course, they never set foot in Canterbury, and it seems you adhere to the peculiar English notion that "the West" starts in Suffolk and ends in Cornwall!

Filemonas said...

The Holy Mother thought it important enough to intervene in human history to ask for the consecration of Russian to stop her from spreading her "errors" throughout the world. I must have missed the part where she said anything about "American errors" being spread throughout the world. After meeting you on one of your US visits, I became a faithful reader of your blog. Since so many of my relatives in the Baltic states have been oppressed, tortured, and killed by Russia exercising her "legitimate sphere of influence" on her neighbors, I have no words other than to say that I'm saying a final prayer for you and never reading your repellent blog again. Before I go, I would recommend that you at read Juozas Luksa's memoir "Forest Brothers" describing what it was like to be a Lithuanian post-WWII. You might also want to watch the movie "the Invisible Front." Of course, you could spend what remains of your life reading about Russian atrocities (tsarist,communist, and post-communist) committed over the centuries, but why bother? Your moral compass is already more subtly calibrated than that of Holy Mother. The poor woman must be just another CIA stooge.

Jonathan Dandridge said...

Arthur Gallagher noted "Sending Orthodox missionaries to the U.S.to spread discontent among Eastern Rite Catholics, and getting the Patriarch of Constantinople to come out against Slavery in the U.S. were also in aid of Russian foreign policy and influence."

Of course the sending of Orthodox missionaries happened after the Catholic Church in the US decided to shoot itself in the foot by insisting that Eastern Catholic immigrants could not bring in their married priests from the Old Country thereby insuring they would fall into the arms of the Orthodox having no such issue with married clergy.

Banshee said...

Putin might say there's only one superpower... but that's in pursuit of the good ol' Russian "Third Rome" theory. (The US has gotten elevated to a Rome, recently, so we are now destined to fall. So that Russia can become the new Rome. Sort of a Fourth Rome extension of the Third Rome thing.)

I wish I were kidding about this, but I'm not.