Never alone to follow the prevailing discourse – just like its former leader – Chuck StephensExecutive Director of the Desmond Tutu Center for Leadership, has a whole new twist on Russia-Ukraine crisis. The West has taken on the morally high ground in this conflict when their blatant expansionist policy in NATO is largely to blame for having created the conditions that put Putin on the brink of collapse. irrational invasion. Not only that: Hypocrisy is high. Just as the “bow” held the current ruling party accountable when it blamed separatism for everything while not acting for the benefit of the people it liberated, Western powers have done exactly what they are accusing Putin of; bombings of hospitals in Yemen and Syria for many years through their allies. Yet we have acres of media that assist and promote this specific “moral scandal”. Stephens, who writes in person, has some realistic answers to put an end to this current threat to world peace… all well worth reading. – Chris Bateman
Makes Russia great again
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The last few weeks have been confusing, less so for those connected to the West. Because there has been widespread condemnation of Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. However, I live in South Africa, which is a card-bearing member BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). So my condemnation of Russia was met with silence, not amens.
This week our president, Cyril Ramaphosa – a very close client of Nelson Mandela – spoke to Putin through Zoom. He offered to act as an intermediary and sought a negotiated solution. At the UN, South Africa was not one of the 141 nations condemning the ‘invasion’. (Russia does not call it that.) I found this confusing, after all the decades we have been opposed to South Africa being named “Bantustan” as an autonomous state. Wasn’t this a setback?
But slowly voices have been heard from the West, voices in the wilderness of hostile public opinion. It started with voices saying that the “Russians” in Russia actually came from a medieval state based in Kyiv. Then came Ghengis Khan, radiant from Asia. He abolished Kyiv, which was the center of that civilization at that time. It took centuries to recover, and when it did, it was in Moscow, not Kyiv. Some voices say that Russia and Ukraine are really one, so Putin’s aggression does not come as a surprise.
Then there are voices saying that Ukrainians are not angels, who spend all their time painting Easter eggs and eating perogies. It is a hot tub of international corruption and crime, among others neo-Nazism and mafia. Worse, they say Ukraine is not well aware of ethnic minorities; including Russia but not only. Many Russians live near the border with Russia, where two new enclaves have been cut out. to go with Crimea, which was already taken a few years ago. Some voices see this as liberation, not as arrest.
On the other hand, no Christian can confess to violence. This is where it gets interesting. They claim that Putin is a Christian (Eastern Orthodox) and that he is the defense force against anti-Christian policies called “awakening”. For one thing, the Russian Orthodox Church views the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a prodigal son in need of rescue.
Some voices also ask why hospital bombings have received so many columns in the media, when the same thing has been going on in Yemen and Syria for years, funded by the West through its allies in the Middle East.
The deepest noise from Western opposition voices is that Putin is opposed to WEF’s internationalism and simply does not intend to accept NATO at his doorstep. The Monroe Doctrine in the Western Hemisphere was implemented in the Cuban Missile Crisis and Russia wants Ukraine to be neutral, or even sympathetic to Russia. Some say that NATO’s offer to expand to Eastern Europe is one bridge too far for Russia’s security. The West in general and the EU in particular should take a break and give Russia some room for grace.
So my views have evolved since the Russian invasion began. I am very skeptical of vigilant and WEF-induced internationalism. There is no need to close the United Nations to put more emphasis on national interests. This is a matter of proportions, not either / or. Just as Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” was popular in a leading democracy, so too can Putin’s invasion in the light of “Make Russia Great Again”.
I do not mean that he wants to restore the union of Soviet socialist republics. I do not even see Putin as a communist, perhaps he is a “National Socialist”. Remember. That’s what ‘Nazi’ stands for. Putin is a dictator who seems to be more loyal to Russian civilization than the Bolshevik revolution. Russia is more oligopolistic today than the Soviet Union and certainly not a democracy.
What can Christians do?
Well, the first answer is to pray above all for peace to break out in Ukraine. Second, create a space for the refugees in your home and promote non-violent assistance. Consider taking in orphaned war children, as they could become numerous in the coming months.
Third, let’s try to create space for dialogue and agreement. I often quote Rev. Jesse Jackson, who put it this way: “A leader has a harder job working than choosing sides. It has to work side by side. “
Frankly, the Western government sounds like it’s tackling another truck barrier. Their answer was: it’s my way or the highway. The Russian military is not a truck train, these are tanks, not trucks! Russia is a nuclear power.
Ask for a solution that works. Battlefields rarely find this; armies struggle to find a solution to the gains and losses.
Pray for Zelensky, who has shown a lot of spunk. Pray for Putin that he will remember what Gandhi once said: “If we follow the principle of ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, the whole world will end up blind and toothless.”
Pray for a little humility among Western leaders so that they, like Ramaphosa, see that they are partly to blame for this misunderstanding. NATO enlargement got out of hand. Russia has repeatedly warned against Putin’s theory. There needs to be a buffer in between NATO and Russiaevery peacemaker can see it.
Pray for more dialogue and less conflict. Ask Putin to accept South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for his mediation offer. As a member of BRICS, this might work.
At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK sent a secret message to Khrushchev, which read something like this: “We are like two men pulling a rope. The harder we pull, the tighter the knot becomes. Let’s go and pull another rope. “
Ramaphosa offers a new rope for Putin and Zelensky to pull on. God help him. Blessed are the peacemakers.
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Refreshing grip on Ukraine – Chuck Stephens
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