The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Weigel: The next 24-48 hours are crucial for Kyiv

“UGCC priests have been heroic in ministering to congregations under attack, and while many have families to care for and perhaps move to safety, the priests themselves are staying in place.”

A general view shows central Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 25, 2022. Ukrainians in the capital Kyiv huddled in air raid shelters in the morning of Feb. 25, as a battle for the city raged overhead and Ukrainian forces sought to hold back rapidly advancing Russian troops by blowing up a key bridge. (CNS Photo/Valentyn Ogirenko, Reuters)

Following up on yesterday’s exclusive interview, CWR corresponded again today with George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, about the many developments in Ukraine.

CWR: What are some of the most noteworthy developments in Ukraine since we spoke on February 24th?

Weigel: It now seems clear that Vladimir Putin is pursuing a decapitation strategy aimed at replacing the democratically elected Ukrainian government with some sort of puppet regime under his thumb — a regime that would control all or a good part of Ukraine. That Putin himself may be coming further unhinged was suggested by his appeal to Ukrainian soldiers to turn against their own government, which was led by “Nazis and drug addicts.”

It also seems clear that Putin and his military seriously underestimated the will and capacity of both the Ukrainian people  and the Ukrainian armed forces, which have been fighting valiantly and with effect, even against overwhelming force. The defiance of Ukrainians defending a small island in the Black Sea before they were annihilated by a Russian naval vessel whose personnel demanded the Ukrainians’ surrender has inspired many Ukrainians, and ought to inspire everyone who cherishes freedom.

If Putin believed his own manic lies about Ukraine not being a real country, and therefore expected the Ukrainians to roll over, he has surely been disabused of that notion. As more than one Ukrainian has said, Putin’s main accomplishment thus far has been to unify Ukraine and Ukrainians as never before. That includes Ukrainians whose primary language is Russian: men and women who know the difference between the imperfect democracy of Ukraine and the pluperfect tyranny of Putin’s Russia, and have no desire to live in a Putin-led kleptocracy with a per capita GDP half that of Lithuania and some of the world’s worst public health problems.

Recruiting stations in Ukrainian cities over the past twenty-four hours have been swamped with volunteers for the territorial defense forces being raised to supplement the regular Ukrainian army; those forces are having some success, especially when Russian troops attack their neighborhoods. Ukrainian friends also tell me that the young Russian soldiers captured by Ukrainian forces seem numbed, dazed, and confused. Evidently they were told by their commanders that they would be participating in training exercises, and then suddenly found themselves on a live-fire battlefield. There have also been significant Russian casualties. Needless to say, none of this is being reported in Russia by the state media, which is churning out the most toxic propaganda and disinformation the world has seen since Dr. Goebbels.

So the picture that has emerged from the fog of war is that of unmotivated and confused young Russian soldiers, supported by air, sea, and armor, contending against highly motivated Ukrainian armed forces, both regulars and the territorial defense forces. At the very least Putin’s hope for a blitzkrieg victory has been thwarted. And it may well be the case that, throughout the West, there has been, in general, a tendency to overestimate Russian power while underestimating Ukrainian will.

As for the sanctions announced yesterday by the United States, Great Britain, and the EU, my Ukrainian friends and colleagues uniformly find them insufficient, however welcome. As I noted in our previous conversation, what would bring serious internal pressure on Mr. Putin to change his present course of action would be immediately cutting Russia and Russians out of the SWIFT network of international financial exchange. I’m told that the countries balking at that are Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Cyprus. Some robust arm-twisting with those countries’ leaders would seem to be in order if the stated Western determination to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence is going to be taken seriously.

CWR: There are reports that the Russian invasion is going more slowly than anticipated, but it’s also clear that Putin is determined to get to Kyiv. How do you see that going?

Weigel: Russian special forces, I’m told, were pre-positioned in Kyiv, and there is great concern about their carrying out targeted assassinations and attempting to take over the governmental center of the city tonight. The next 24-48 hours will thus be critical in Kyiv. But Kyiv is not the only battleground in Ukraine and the more that pictures of Russian attacks on civilian targets on Kyiv and elsewhere reach the world outside Ukraine, the greater the pressure on Russia to cease and desist will be. Whatever happens in Kyiv over the weekend, however, will not determine the final outcome of this struggle, which will continue.

It is imperative that the West not lose its nerve now. In addition to providing munitions like the Javelin missiles that have proven very effective against Russian armor, the West should go on the moral offensive against Putin, turning him into an international pariah. This is where the West has leverage that Putin cannot blunt.

Some Ukrainian friends have spoken of an international effort to arraign the Russian autocrat for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. There would be a lengthy bill of indictment going back years, and including Putin’s depredations in Russia itself, and in places like Syria, Moldova, and Georgia.

It is also far past time for the United States and other Western countries with detailed intelligence on how Putin has become one of the world’s wealthiest men by stealing billions from his own country to release that data, including pictures of Putin’s luxury properties. Adlai Stevenson dramatically unveiling the photographic evidence of Soviet missile emplacements in Cuba helped turn the tide of world opinion against the USSR during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis; a worldwide campaign to expose Putin’s greed and corruption could have a similar, salutary effect. So the war in the global information space is critical, too, and should be fought vigorously with the weapon of truth.

CWR: You’ve been in contact with various folks in Ukraine? What are you hearing from them?

Weigel: My friends are both sober and resolute. They are living through their worst nightmare, but they are strong and they are determined not to bow to evil. As my friend Myroslav Marynovych, vice-president for mission at the Ukrainian Catholic University and a former “guest” of the Soviet gulag put it, “Evil doesn’t stop itself; it has to be stopped.”

That lesson applies to the West as well as to Myroslav’s fellow-Ukrainians. The notion that Putin will be satisfied with a neutralized and compliant Ukraine is as fatuous as Neville Chamberlain’s fantasy that Hitler would be satisfied with carving the Sudetenland out of Czechoslovakia in 1938. A Putin who has successfully defied the West over Ukraine will be a Putin further emboldened to continue to try to rollback the verdict of history in the Cold War. He wants NATO to return to its pre-1989 configuration, and after breaking Ukraine he would pursue that by various means.

CWR: How has the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church been affected so far?

Weigel: The Church’s bishops decided as a group to remain in place to serve their people and to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees. UGCC priests have been heroic in ministering to congregations under attack, and while many have families to care for and perhaps move to safety, the priests themselves are staying in place. The Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv is hosting refugees, even as it continues its educational work and mounted a very impressive international consultation on the situation by Zoom today. What the Church in Ukraine and in the countries bordering Ukraine need now is help from western Catholics in providing supplies to aid refugees.

I think the UGCC’s leaders were grateful that the leaders of the two Orthodox Church jurisdictions in Ukraine, including the community closely affiliated with the Russian Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow, have both publicly condemned the Russian aggression. Everyone, of course, waits for a similar word of condemnation from the Moscow patriarchate, but without any serious expectation that it will come. My own view is that the Vatican should make clear to the Russian Orthodox leadership that all ecumenical contacts between the Holy See and the Moscow patriarchate are suspended until the latter demonstrates, by condemning Putin’s aggression, that it is not an instrument of Russian state power.

Pope Francis’s visit to the Russian embassy in Rome today, when he spoke by phone with Mr. Putin and asked him to stop the killing, was of course appreciated by Ukrainian Greek Catholics — especially given the Pope’s ill health, which led him to cancel all public engagements for the next week at least. What I have not seen reported yet is that Putin refused to have a phone conversation in which the Pope would participate from the Vatican, insisting that any such conversation be conducted from the Russian embassy. That tells you many things, not least about Putin’s character and his mania for secure communications.

CWR: What do you anticipate for the next few days?

Weigel: A lot of fighting, to be sure, and, I hope, an even more stringent sanctions regime being imposed by the West. What is at stake here is nothing less than the future security of all of Europe. The time to stop Putin, who has made his aims clear for decades, is now. And that means stopping not only his military aggression, but what one Ukrainian friend described as “Russia’s main export, which is not oil and gas but corruption.”

The West has to face its own vulnerability to Putin’s thuggery, which it has facilitated by its own unwillingness to face Putin’s financial corruption and that of his cronies, and the effects of that corruption on internal Western decision-making. Mr. Putin counted on Ukraine rolling over; brave Ukrainians have demonstrated that that’s not going to happen. If Putin has made a similar miscalculation regarding Western resolve, he should be disabused of that, too. If he isn’t, the future is going to be very unpleasant for the entire West.


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About Carl E. Olson 1197 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.

18 Comments

  1. Prayers are ascending to the heavens now from little parishes like our own St. Anne’s Church here in Mattawa for the Ukrainian people. Joined with those of many others, particularly invoking the aid of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, can only serve the cause of good in this tragic war. Let’s all storm the gates of heaven with rosaries, devotion time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and other acts of piety and prayer in support of the swift and just end to this sinful and criminal invasion.

    Fr. Tim Moyle, p.p.
    St. Anne’s Parish – Mattawa, Ontario
    Diocese of Pembroke

  2. I found Mr. Weigel’s statement about the West, “unwillingness to face Putin’s financial corruption and that of his cronies” interesting. Has he heard of Hunter Biden and 10% going to the Big Guy? It does not seem that which countries leaders are corrupt and which ones are not corrupt, but rather which has the greatest degree of corruption.

    • No. For all neocons like Weigel, Putin is evil and corrupt, while Zelensky is magnanimous and heroic. Now switch the names: Putin for Saddam and GWB for Zelensky. It’s the same nonsense. The reality is much more akin to Putin, Saddam, GWB, and Zelensky are all corrupt villains. Is Putin a worse villain? Probably. But no time for nuance, war has come so time to pretend the US hasn’t been funding Putin through petrol and nuclear sales, or that the West has also propped up Ukraine as a Petrol/trafficking state in which Western leaders got huge kickbacks while transforming Ukraine into a western gay friendly version of the middle East.

      But none of that. Only- Putin is evil.

  3. Queer and twisted policies coming from the Obama-Biden nexus/vision, have both a foregrounded identifiable face to them plus a backgrounded face that can’t be easily uncovered. They act together to aid the acceleration of their momentum.

    I am quite satisfied that queer and twisted thinking is driving new NATO gambits and “forward tactical manoeuvering” – all out of line with natural law, international convention, just war and the common good.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55080344

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/02/07/president-biden-announces-key-appointees/

    https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/new-biden-dept-energy-appointee-part-time-drag-queen-queer-activists-145352610.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea_Manning

    https://c-fam.org/friday_fax/biden-funds-program-to-block-foreign-religious-leaders-who-oppose-lgbt/

  4. Why lament about this invasion? Isn’t Putin making Biden look weak with this war? Look at Trump, he is all praise for Putin. Forget about Reagan’s Anti-Russia stance, it’s a conservative world turned upside down now, including a good number of Catholics who have turned into so-called Nationalist Catholics or Patriot Catholics. Read and think about this sampling of thoughts of celebrity conservative influencers (which you can google easily for verification): “In 20 years, Russia will be the only country that is recognizably European.” (Ann Coulter); “Putin is the leader of the free world…” (Matt Drudge); “Russia is the key to white survival.” (David Duke).

    • This analysis by Volodymyr is, I think, misconceived. What is in the reality, now, is what matters and what determines the issues.

      What went before in terms of social theory, like Trump’s alleged supporters of whatever shade, intending to do this and that in favour of “white advancement” -if it is impacting anything, only then it might count.

      The simple reality is that Zelensky himself has been enabling the fascist / neo-nazi element so that they are part and parcel with the co-ordination in the Ukraine army and security forces. Porochenko has been charged for whatever crimes but Zelensky let the fascists roam as a group.

      This is the present condition that already marks out his future legitimacy. His own current alignment and the expressed actions, being carried out, determine the result.

      His own involvement with the past will make it worse for him. Maybe this needs more exposure thus! Zelensky has progressively been eroding the footings established for the working out of Ukraine’s internal disunity and its regional maverick-renegade inclinations.

      Using delaying tactics, he drew it out over time, now cancelling a point in the Minsk Protocols, now waiting for a new US President, now claiming that the intransigence is in the eastern province, now hailing the west to confront Russia at last, now appeasing Russia, now adding a few more lethal weapons into the armory, now disrupting moves for federalism or resolution at home, now charging Russia with intrigue, etc.

      The demonstrated intention amounts to crimes of a war criminal. It’s called war-mongering.

  5. A good article showing the struggle of the people of Ukraine. Ukraine truly needs more decisive steps on the part of the West to punish Moscow for this appaling act of aggresion. It is clear form several prounacement of Vladimir Puting that he and his circle cannot come to grips with the fall of the Soviet Union, and growing relations between Ukraine and the West. The war launch by Russia is motivated clearly by Kremlin decision to change the current status of Ukraine. Ukraine had only very short period of independence after the First World War and then after the fall of the Soviet Union. History of independent Ukraine is not a success story. Since its independence in 1991, Ukraine economically underperformed due to large scale corruption, detrimental role of oligarchs, thirty-year record of bad governance, covert or open interference of Moscow in Ukraine. Comparisons of Ukraine’s economy since 1992 with neighboring Poland and Russia illustrate this problem. In 1992, GDP per capita in Poland was USD 2,459. By 2019, this had grown to USD 15,695. The corresponding figures for Ukraine are USD 1,418 in 1992 and USD 3,659 in 2019 (see reasonably good article on that https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/ukraines-choice-corruption-or-growth/). Putin is questioning since many years the very fact of existance of Ukraine, as a accident or error in the history as Ukraine following his imperial thougts was always part of Russia which is not true. His aggresive and imperial tone is quite clear in his speech. See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-02-24/full-transcript-vladimir-putin-s-televised-address-to-russia-on-ukraine-feb-24

    Comparisons of Ukraine’s economy since 1992 with neighboring Poland and Russia illustrate this problem. In 1992, GDP per capita in Poland was USD 2,459. By 2019, this had grown to USD 15,695. The corresponding figures for Ukraine are USD 1,418 in 1992 and USD 3,659 in 2019.I have been a few time to Kiev and Lviv and have regular contacts with Ukrainians. This country is in almost constant crisis for last several years. Normal citizens There are many reasons which

  6. I also recommend Gary Kasparov op-ed in the NY Daily News on how to stop Putin, and why he must be stopped.
    https://www.nydailynews.com/…/ny-oped-putins-war-on…
    Early Thursday morning, Germany invaded Ukraine. So did the Netherlands, Italy, France, Great Britain and every other country that has supported Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s war machine for the past decade. The missiles that slammed into Kharkiv, the helicopters attacking an airport near the capital Kyiv, every bullet in every Russian paratrooper’s gun — all were built or bought largely with money from the free world. That same free world now stands in shock that these weapons are being used to do what they were designed to do.
    Europe bought Russian gas and oil and welcomed Putin’s oligarch cronies’ looted billions in IPOs, real estate purchases, and political donations legal and illegal. Even after Putin invaded Ukraine in 2014 and annexed Crimea, Europe tried to keep business as usual separate from Russia’s assault on European security and the global world order.
    On Thursday, Putin repaid them in full for their years of appeasement. After weeks of posturing and dramatic calls for summits and negotiations made headlines around the world, he sent his massed forces into Ukraine on the schedule he set months ago. The preening shuttle diplomacy by France’s Emanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz was revealed to have been a waste of time for everyone but Putin, who used it to ready his forces for the attack.
    That time could have been used to arm Ukraine with the weapons it badly needs to fend off Russia’s overwhelming military superiority. It could have been used to level sanctions to demonstrate that this time, for once, the West was serious about deterrence. Instead, Ukraine was treated like a beggar and sanctions were kept in reserve, as a threat Putin had little reason to expect was serious. After all, goes his thinking, if you have the power to stop me and choose not to use it, aren’t you giving me the green light?
    It’s not as if Putin tried to hide what he was doing. Spies and satellites weren’t necessary to tease out that Russia was investing record sums in its military capacity and security forces; it was right there in the national budget for years. Russia may be falling apart and falling behind, but there was always plenty of cash for security forces and propaganda, the budget of a dictator.
    Putin was so confident of his potential rivals’ obliviousness and cowardice that he brought nearly every mobile element of the Russian military to Ukraine’s border over the course of two months. There were barely any of the usual pretexts about “exercises,” even when Russia took the unusual step of moving a large force into Belarus, where they were poised just a couple hours from Kyiv as the tank drives.
    Of course, this is far from the first time that the world has ignored Putin’s warnings, let alone mine. Five years into his rule in Russia, Putin infamously stated that “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” Few took it seriously or understood it to mean that Putin would try to reverse that catastrophe should he have the chance. Much the way Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was considered little more than hateful ranting when it was published in 1925, a clear warning was ignored.
    Now a war of conquest has erupted in Europe, the greatest ever threat to the post-World War II order of borders and laws. Tanks are rolling, ballistic missiles are flying and jets are dogfighting above major cities. Putin has followed through on his promise to try to crush Ukraine, which he first invaded in 2014. My Daily News op-ed on Putin at the time was bluntly titled “Stop This Man.” Needless to say, Putin has not been stopped.
    Eight years later, Putin and his war machine are much stronger. Instead of being politically isolated and economically cut off, his regime has profited from record gas and oil exports. Most profits are siphoned off into the private accounts that make Putin and his cronies the richest people in the world. Much of the rest has gone into a literal war chest, expanding and improving Russia’s military and internal security forces and filling a reserve fund to help them weather sanctions.
    Time has made Putin’s grip on power in Russia stronger as well, with every significant critic dead, jailed or exiled. The last major protests, in 2020 on behalf of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were met by an army of well-equipped riot police. Their shiny new helmets and batons were also paid for by the same European nations whose leaders meekly protested the brutality.
    Putin is not invulnerable, nor is his army. Ukraine is fighting hard, and if the initial onslaught is repulsed, and aid arrives in time, Putin could find himself in a difficult position. He will have to either retreat or choose total war against an urban population, which could shock even sleepy NATO into action.
    Russians came out to protest this war in the largest numbers since 2020, with over 1,700 arrests across the country on the first day. Most Russians get their news from state-controlled television, unfortunately, where they are told this is a war of self-defense against the “Nazis” in Ukraine and their masters in America. (Really.) But the longer the war goes on, the more obvious it will be that Putin’s needless war on Ukraine is also part of Putin’s war on Russians.
    Russia has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and Putin invokes it regularly, but there is much that can be done to constrain him and save lives now. After years of my warnings and proposals being ignored, and now hearing “You were right, Garry!” all day, I’ll repeat what I said in 2014: Stop telling me I was right and start listening now. My recommendations:
    • Support Ukraine militarily, immediately. Everything but boots on the ground, meaning every advanced weapon, intelligence and cyber-capabilities. It has to be now. If Ukraine falls, Putin will bleed it dry to compensate for sanctions and dig in, as he has in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Victory in Ukraine is also the only way to avoid doing this all again and again when Putin needs new targets to distract from the disastrous state of Russia.
    • Bankrupt Putin’s war machine by freezing and seizing Russian assets and access to markets. Kick Russia out of SWIFT and other financial networks, and every international institution.
    • Expose and seize the assets of Putin’s cronies and their companies and families in the free world. Take away their visas and send them back to live in the dictatorship they helped build.
    • Recall all ambassadors from Russia. There is no point in diplomacy or communications with a rogue dictatorship making war. Send the message that isolation will be total until all aggression ceases and Ukraine is made whole.
    • Turn off, shut down and send home every element of Putin’s global propaganda machine. Russia Today and other platforms beam lies and hate into millions of homes in the free world, while Putin maintains total control of the media in Russia.
    • Call out Putin’s lackeys in the free world. The lobbyists, the law firms, the former politicians like German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who chairs two of Putin’s strategically important energy companies. This includes the fifth columnists of all political stripes who side with a dictator for ideology or Russian cash. Why do executives and advertisers tolerate the likes of Tucker Carlson braying Putin propaganda in prime time? Trump and his acolytes in Congress still can’t find a discouraging word for Putin and repeat Russian propaganda blaming NATO and Biden even as Russian bombs fall on Ukraine. I’ve bashed every U.S. president since Reagan over Russia policy, but praising a bloodthirsty dictator to score partisan points is disgusting and un-American.
    • Replace Russian energy exports by increasing production and opening new sources, from fracking to nuclear to renewables. Giving authoritarians so much leverage for extortion is unacceptable. There’s no point in saving the planet if you don’t save the people on it.
    Joe Biden’s Cold War background has prepared him better than most of his European peers. His grave tone and announcement of serious sanctions were a welcome start. Most EU leaders, even the ones in the East who grasp the danger Putin represents, are a generation removed from confrontation and conflict. But now they must help Ukraine fight against the monster they helped create.
    This is war, a hot war, no longer deterrence, and time is of the essence to get weapons to Ukraine so it can fight the war for freedom that the rest of the world has preferred to pretend isn’t real.
    We must acknowledge that there will be sacrifices involved. The price of stopping Putin has gone up since 2008, when he invaded Georgia, and since 2014, when he first invaded Ukraine, but it will only get higher if he isn’t stopped now. Failing to fight will only postpone the inevitable to another time and place.
    Defending Ukraine from Putin is the defense of the free world. Defending Ukrainian lives is the defense of Western values. America used to care about such things, I recall from my life in the Soviet Union that Putin misses so much. It’s time to do what is needed and to do what is right. It’s time to fight.
    Kasparov is chairman of the Renew Democracy Initiative.

  7. Putin’s rhetoric about Nazis in Ukraine is clearly for PR purposes, but let’s be real. The Ukrainian army has been using literal neo-Nazi militias (the Azov Battalion). These neo-Nazis have been funded and armed not just by the Ukrainian government, by by Israel (lol). Why is Israel and Ukraine using neo-Nazi troops against ethnic Russian who are ostensibly Ukrainian citizens? What about this conflict makes any sense at all? Most importantly, why does Weigel always shill for the same “defense” apparatus whenever there’s some people somewhere that need democracy bombed into them?

    • It’s because Weigel is a neo-conservative who thinks America should be leading the global world order. Yes, I agree there are neo-Nazi factions in Ukraine and one the faction leaders even sits in the Ukrainian parliament. Is the entire Ukrainian government a neo-Nazi regime? No. But the factions do harass, discriminate, and even assault the Russians in Ukraine. Personally based on what I’ve read I believe there is some level of ethnic cleansing going on against Russians in Ukraine, but it is not a “genocide” as Putin exaggerates. Nevertheless it still a legitimate grievance for Russia against Ukraine. But you will have a VERY difficult time finding any of this info online because (ironically just like the liberal news media and Trump) it is ALL one-sided against Russia.

      The bigger issue in my opinion is NATO. Now 30 countries strong and 30 years of encroaching further and further east, Russia is effectively hemmed-in by NATO. Former Soviet bloc countries just on the doorsteps of Russia now have NATO troops, airbases, and military hardware all aimed at Russia. The U.S. has evaporated any remaining hint of goodwill towards Russia by running NATO drills and military exercises in Ukraine even though Ukraine is not a yet a member. And more than that, the U.S. has given offensive weapons to Ukraine (Tomahawk cruise missiles) that can strike Moscow in 35 minutes. NATO is supposed to be defensive only. This too violates previous treaties and agreements that Russia and the West had secured.

      There is racism and discrimination against Russians in Ukraine. There is the shelling of the Donbass Russian peoples by the Ukrainian Army inside Ukraine– and all of this ongoing for many years prior to the 2022 Russian invasion. And let’s not forget there is NATO whom without Russia, would have absolutely no purpose for existing…they need a boogeyman.

      I hope to write this so that some Catholics here might know that the situation this is much more complicated than the good ‘ol USA fightin’ evil. I wish Russia had not invaded. I now hope the war ends as soon as possible.

  8. What is baffling is that Weigel’s rhetoric doesn’t line up with the chronology of events. First, Dr John Meerscheimer made he credible case in 2015, at a University of Chicago lecture, that admission of Ukraine to NATO was a red line for Russia. This was known since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Czech Republic isn’t the Ukraine.

    Out of nowhere, Weigel had adopted this Wilsonian and very idealistic view of foreign policy that we shouldn’t negotiate with “bad people” who are crazy, pathological liars, and bullies.

    Typically, the “realist” school of foreign policy would argue that Russia’s military is too significant to ignore: the second or third largest armored land army in the world, with known special forces capabilities and rapid deployment capabilities at the divisional level, at least on paper.

    Who knew, two weeks ago, that Russia couldn’t fight night battles. The answer is: no one.

    The ethics of driving Russia to the brink of war, by rejecting their demand that the Ukraine not join NATO, are mind-boggling. As I said, the United States foreign policy establishment has known for forty years that this was a red line, as the University of Chicago lecturer so clearly articulates.

    Suddenly, we have amnesia. We don’t have to provide a security guarantee to Russia (imagine if Canada had agreed to join the Warsaw Pact in 1960, or Mexico).

    Suddenly, according to the “philosopher” Dr. Weigel, seventy years of diplomatic convention no longer applies. Security guarantees are nonsense, we can insult foreign leaders – something that was unthinkable forty years ago, except on the rarest of occasions.

    Ronald Reagan was ridiculed for calling the Soviet Union the “evil empire,” but then again, history is the judge, not CNN.

    The thought of two major land powers in Europe going to war is unthinkable. Yet here we are, and we are being told that our refusal to offer security guarantees with regard to the Ukraine not joining NATO was worth it.

    Let’s assume Russia withdraws. Was this worth it? How many lives were lost? How much economic damage already? What would the relationship between the Ukraine and Russia look like?

    Let’s assume this war drags out for two months. How many more lost lives? How much more economic damage? A humanitarian catastrophe in Europe’s eastern reaches.

    This is insane.

    One has to ask – why not just grant Russia the security guarantee?

    Why ask the Ukrainians to front their lives, their economic livelihood, their country, just to stick it to the Russians?

    Just insane.

    • The answer is that NATO will not budge one inch on anything. It’s combined force is 3x that of Russia and total affiliated nations amount to 52 countries (30 member, 3 in process and 19 “partners in peace”).

      The U.S. controls roughly 3/4 of NATO, and NATO bends to whatever the U.S. dictates. NATO drills in Ukraine, the U.S. supplies billions of weaponry to Ukraine, even offensive missiles (against NATO’s own charter).

      Yes, seems clear to me Russia is at war with the U.S. right now. Or would it be more accurate to say, the U.S. has been planning for a war against Russia for decades. Ukraine is only the show stage.

  9. I’m sorry, CWR, but this neocon propaganda from Weigel et al is nauseating. We all know (or should know) why Putin got on the Western elites’ s___list: He cracked down on the LGBTQ+?etc.’s in 2013.
    If NATO and the Germans really wanted to do something “geopolitical” to get the Russians’ attention, they’d send a column of panzers into what’s left of East Prussia.

  10. Hopefully Putin will succeed in the next two days. Hopefully he will be able to decapitate the puppet regime installed in 2014 after a coup d’etat that overthrew the previously democratically-elected government. And the people of the East will be freed. And the people of the West will obtain an independent but neutral nation.

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  12. Vatican Cardinal Parolin: ‘There is still room for negotiation’ to end Ukraine conflict | Catholic News Agency
  13. Pope Francis sends cardinals to Ukraine, where ‘rivers of blood and tears flow’ – Via Nova Media
  14. Pope Francis sends cardinals to Ukraine, where ‘rivers of blood and tears flow’ - Catholic Recruitment
  15. Pope Francis sends cardinals to Ukraine, where ‘rivers of blood and tears flow’ - Christianity News
  16. Pope Francis sends cardinals to Ukraine, where ‘rivers of blood and tears flow’ — Catholic News Agency – Romulan News Channel
  17. Pope’s Sunday Angelus: ‘Rivers of Blood and Tears Are Flowing in Ukraine’... - Salvation & Prosperity
  18. Pope Francis sends cardinals to Ukraine, where ‘rivers of blood and tears flow’ - LiCAS.news | Light for the Voiceless
  19. Ukraine 'genocide' represents 'David and Goliath' battle, say ambassador, archbishop - Christianity News
  20. Ukraine ‘genocide’ represents ‘David and Goliath’ battle, say ambassador, archbishop – Via Nova Media
  21. Ukraine ‘Genocide’ Represents ‘David and Goliath’ Battle, Say Ambassador, Archbishop - JP2 Catholic Radio

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