Friday, October 21, 2016

Cold War games

So  we won the Cold War, right? Godless international communism was dealt a serious blow when the Soviet Union’s puppet states, Poland, Hungary, Romania in 1989, and Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and East Germany in 1990, caved in, and one by one the Soviet republics themselves started breaking away, leaving a massive rump, Russia alone, as the ‘Soviet Union.’ Then that resolved itself into a new, non-communist entity, the Russian Federation. We won the Cold War, right? Think again.

Communism is not, and never was, an exclusive property of the Soviet Union, even though from 1917 to the end of World War II, only the former Russian Empire, and the Great Khanate of Outer Mongolia (and for a short period a lesser Khanate of Tannu Tuva) were communist states. There always was a ‘spectre,’ as The Communist Manifesto of 1848 calls it, behind the visible communism that takes over countries. As it was losing its hold on Russia, it was increasing its hold on America and Western Europe.

The world we have now is not the Cold War world, divided between the Soviet Union, Red China, and their allies on the left, and the United States, Western Europe and their allies on the right. No, something amazing has happened. The spectre of communism is a notorious shape shifter. It is also very much a social climber. Run-down Russia and its sovietized satellites were not a rich enough prize. Glittering America, the land whose streets were paved with gold, and its rehabilitated allies were better.

So while the Cold War was going on at the surface, enemy states facing each other and threatening each other’s very existence, the spectre of communism was quietly subverting the social, the educational, and finally the political infrastructures of America, Canada, Western Europe, and their allies all over the world. The spectre has given us the slip, you might say, and the tables have been turned. ‘Who’s communist now?’ never mind the dictionary and schoolbook definitions of communism, but really.

In the grossly un-American, un-Canadian, un-British, and un-European governments that are running those countries into the ground culturally, socially, and even economically, we have the seeds of those countries’ destruction. Meanwhile, Russia, and many of the states of the former Soviet Union, are poised to regain their national identities and their historic dignity. We in the West who are ignorant of the history and culture of Russia are unable to see what is happening in a positive light.

From the frontispiece
of the book Catacomb Saints
We were caught for so long in the Cold War mentality that we seem to be unable to give it up. Growing up in that era, we always felt that the reason we opposed and contained Russia, the Soviet Union, was precisely because it was communist, because it wanted to take over the entire world and make communists out of all of us. That’s what we were told, anyhow. So, what is now the reason we are making ourselves Russia’s enemy? Their communism is over. They’re free. Ours is just beginning.

We should be rejoicing with Russia in that they are now free to be themselves, to be Russia, not some monster mega-nation whose goal is to gobble up the rest of the world. Instead, we oppose them on every front. Without understanding the history of the Russias—yes, it’s a plural—we cannot properly assess their recent moves, in Crimea, for example. Ukraine, a Soviet-era construct predicated on a linguistic basis, is one of the Russias. Crimea is a Tatar homeland mostly inhabited by ‘Great’ Russians.

Ukraine, formerly called ‘Little Russia’ is the spiritual center and the bread basket of the Russias. Though ‘little’ it is what makes ‘Great Russia’ great, in much the same way as Scotland is the ‘great’ in Great Britain. It’s hard for us in North America to even imagine the British Empire without the Scots, a distinct people and culture which has contributed more to the Anglosphere than its size would expect. The same is true of the Russian Empire. It’s hard to imagine it without Ukraine and its plenteous contributions.

Maybe it’s part of the ignorance of America and the West about the history of Russia. Maybe it’s the fact that we feel we have won the Cold War and now have everyone, including Russia, deservedly under our thumb. Maybe it’s because our leaders really are the slaves of the spectre of communism, even though they are not its legal heirs. But we are clearly on the wrong side in almost every struggle for safety, liberty and justice in the world. And why wouldn’t we be? We’re on the wrong side even to ourselves!

Face facts, spectre-haunted houses of Congress and Parliament, and White House, and less guarded commanderies of (false) European Union. Russia is not the enemy. It doesn’t need your land, your people, or your resources. You are on the wrong side in Syria. Stop trying to revive the Cold War. Stop trying to shift the blame for your failures onto somebody else. You have no one but yourselves to blame if you open your doors to your real enemies, while closing them on your potential allies and friends.

No, we didn’t exactly win the Cold War. A generation ago we had leaders who knew what Truth is, what Freedom is, what Conscience is, yes, even who God is, and in the face of those leaders and the people they mustered, the spectre of communism was revealed even to its dupes how powerless it is, powerless to bring positive change, powerless to produce anything real, and so its prison gates were busted open, and the prisoners released. Where have we seen this pattern of liberation before?

Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death, 
and to those in the tombs bestowing life.

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