Towards World War

This British newspaper gives a full, detailed account of what Russia is doing to Georgia, including some agonizing photos: Georgia ‘overrun’ by Russian troops as full-scale ground invasion begin.

With reference to one of the comments on the related post yesterday, the only ones hungering for war are the Russians. The question should be, how to prevent war. Is there a way besides meaningful deterrence? Now that Europe has adopted pacificism, as far as I can see, and the USA is tied down in Iraq, I don’t see anyone checking Russia.

There ARE some non-military options in dealing with Russia: the West could recall its ambassadors; freeze Russian assets and bank accounts (which are considerable); stop trade, including buying Russian oil (which would send our prices soaring).

But we are now in very dangerous territory with old-fashioned war possibly on the horizon.

Consider this: The Baltic states are members of NATO. By the terms of that treaty, an attack against one member is an attack against all, and all other members are obliged to go to war to defend each signatory. If Russia, emboldened by its action against Georgia and the West’s inaction, now decides to invade Estonia, a NATO member, do you really think the rest of NATO would come to its defense and go to war with Russia? Would the USA? But to abandon treaty obligations would be illegal and immoral. NATO was designed precisely to contain Russia, and soon it–and we–may be faced with fulfilling its purpose.

Yes, I know we all isolationists now, fearing foreign entanglements as the father of our country advised, but are we not obliged to fulfill our NATO commitments? What do you think we should do if Russia invades Estonia?

At least he didn’t love her

What really galled me about John Edwards acknowledging that his affair with a woman while his wife was struggling with cancer was his protestation that he didn’t love his mistress, as if that someone made it better. I was glad to find Richard Miniter explaining why saying such a thing is so contemptible. I mean, I would also find it despicable if he said he DID love her and used that as an excuse. But still.

(Now it appears that, contrary to what Edwards says, he may have begun the affair BEFORE paying the woman $114,000 of campaign money to be his photographer.)

Literary courage vs. literary cowardice

Diana West writes a telling contrast between the courage of the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the cowardice of today’s literary establishment, as evidenced by Random House withdrawing at the last minute a book about Muhammad’s 9 year old bride due to fears Muslims will not approve. From Free Speech Jilted by Muhammad Romance Novel ‘Warpath’:

Reading about the late Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, we are reminded of his epic force of will — despite the threat to life and limb posed by the Soviet police state — to bear witness, to document, to record everything he could about totalitarianism in the USSR.

Then, reading about Random House Publishing Group, which called off the publication of a romance novel about Muhammad “for fear of a possible terrorist threat from extremist Muslims,” we should be reminded of something else: How apt was Solzhenitsyn’s much-maligned critique of the West, which he excoriated for, among other things, a decline in “civil courage” that was “particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elites.”

Read the whole account, which details both what Solzhenitsyn went through to write about Communism (including the KGB’s murder of his typist), and the skittish, politically-correct, Islamophilic behavior of the Random House editors. The column closes with another quote from the great Russian novelist:

“Should one point out,” he asked, “that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end”?

Russia goes to war

So Russia invades Georgia, our staunch ally. Its president plantively says,

“It’s not about Georgia any more,” Saakashvili said. “It’s about America, its values: we are a freedom-loving nation that is right now under attack.”

What if George had been admitted to NATO recently, as per its application, instead of being given a preliminary status? Would the NATO nations have come to its defense? I doubt it. Nor will the USA. Once again, as we did with Hungary, we may watch an Eastern European nation get swallowed up as it begs for help.

How far do you think we’ll let Putin go in reestablishing Russian hegemony in Eastern Europe? Who do you think will deal more effectively with resurgent Russia, Obama or McCain? Any ideas about what we should do?

Watching the Olympics

OK, I find myself watching the Olympics, though I hadn’t really planned to. It gets absorbing. On the opening ceremony, of course it was spectacular. It was also a model of totalitarian, collectivist art. Notice how individuals were subsumed into vast patterns of mass identity.

And are those Chinese women gymnasts really 16, as the rules require? Some of them look more like 11 or younger. Contrast them with the teenagers on the American team. Little girls can do things with their bodies that post-pubescent teenagers cannot or can do with only extreme difficulty. Lots of questions are being asked about this, but I suspect no one will formally accuse the Chinese of cheating.

Any other thoughts, observations, or dramas that you picked up on?

Blood & Water

We feasted on God’s Word yesterday. My son-in-law was the guest Bible Study leader. We explored “the blood of the covenant,” working through Exodus, Leviticus, Hebrews, and Christ’s words of institution of the sacrament. We saw how the Old Testament sacrifices, centering on the application of blood, gave access to the presence of God, granted forgiveness of sin, and bestowed holiness. All of that was fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice and is communicated to us in the blood of the Lord’s Supper. It was amazing to consider the unity of Scripture and the way the Old Testament illuminates the New.

Then, the sermon was about Peter’s failed attempt to walk on water. That passage shows us much about faith. We are usually too quick to criticize Peter’s failure, which led to the faith that really mattered. “If Peter did not sink,” said Pastor Douthwaite, “he would not have cried out”: “‘Lord, save me.’” Then followed a connection to our own sinking in Baptism. (Read the whole sermon here. FW, you will love it.)