I'm no expert when it comes to Eastern European political and historical wrangling. In those years I sojourned with the Orthodox Christians - many from Eastern and Southeastern Europe - I realized just how deficient our modern American understanding of the world has become. I get the impression Americans in the 1910s had a better grasp of the world than we do today.
The divisions in our country are a big reason. Among many pundits, this is all about attacking each other. To he honest, I don't even know what different pundits want to happen. All I know is that they're attacking the other ones because of course they are.
As best I can tell, non-leftists and conservatives are split into two groups. One says we must stand up to Putin, and the other says we have no business getting involved in yet another foreign conflict. The left seems content with attacking group number two as traitors and Tokyo Roses for Putin and Satan and Hitler and everything else. Whether the Left recognizes group number one is unknown to me.
Meanwhile, I have watched the Biden administration fail repeatedly to stop Putin from doing what Putin clearly intended to do. Those on the Left seem more focused on defending Biden by ignoring the obvious than they are actually helping anything. In fact, most who blast those conservatives for not wanting to get involved in Ukraine appear to offer no clear examples of what we should do while making sure blame falls anywhere but with Biden (or Mr. 'Cold War is Calling' Obama).
So zealous have they been in attacking those who don't want to get involved, in fact, they come off as fanatical warmongers of the type they've long accused conservatives of being. To hear some of them scream traitor at those who don't want to get involved in a potential land war in Europe, they come across as jockeys for war in a way that would shame the Marx Brothers:
True, they're not committing to any particular course of action, and seem more concerned about scoring points against conservatives than articulating any clear solutions to the crisis. Therefore they could always insist they don't mean war while meaning nothing else at all. That's what comes from a divided and dying nation like ours I suppose.
|True across the board|
Rod Dreher has been following these developments. His extensive interactions with those east of the Danube have likely given him insights that seem to help frame things realistically. Based on what I experienced in my few paltry years with Orthodox Christianity listening to immigrants from Eastern Europe, it's also closer to what I heard than the fictional narrative hoisted on us by many of our warring pundits. He's also honest about the hot mess the West and America is in - something those on the Left wouldn't understand since they fully support the things that are killing the West.
I abhor what Russia has done today. But this did not come from nowhere. Now Europe faces the prospect of a wider war — unlikely, but not at all unthinkable, which explains the anxiety so many Hungarians I meet have — and the opening of a new Cold War with Russia … and China. The historical period that ended last night, when Russian troops crossed the border, began with the US hoping to integrate China and Russia into a liberal democratic world order. It ended with wealthy China the world’s ascendant power; Russia — an historically Christian nation — having abandoned liberal democracy after the shambles that corrupt Russians and US advisors made of the 1990s, pivoting away from the West, and now firmly in the orbit of China; and the United States, a declining empire weakened and humiliated by twenty years of failed Mideast and Asian war, and sharply divided at home by the culture war American elites have waged on half of their own people, left to figure out what the hell to do with itself and its inheritance.
In all of this, one wonders where China, and even India, will fall. Also the Middle East. So far in news reports I've seen, those condemning Putin are either European or African reps to the UN. I've seen very few allusions to ambassadors from the Middle East or China. Perhaps I just missed it. But I can't help but think it's where those cultures and nations fall, rather than the dying West, that will make a difference. For good or ill.
Nonetheless, I don't see the rulers of the world beating a path to my door and seeking my insights into the problem. For now, I can do the one thing I can do, and that's pray for peace. What happens in the weeks and months to come is the guess of others with more insight than I have. So on behalf of my sons, and the wider world, I'll offer prayers that things can be stopped before death and suffering become the norm.