From Russia With Love (or maybe not)

Putin

Frank Weathers has the story. 

It seems that President Vladimir Putin is breaking new ice for Russian heads of state. He is now an op-ed author for the New York Times. Frank has nothing but praise for President Putin’s prose. I, on the other hand, look at it a bit differently. 

President Putin wrote an op-ed piece in which he discussed America’s recent foreign policy. He accurately said that we’ve gotten into too many random military encounters lately, and that we are turning too often to force in our international engagements. 

He also said that America’s way of dealing with other countries has become a matter of “relying on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.’” I think he may have been talking about things like the obvious bullying that President Obama engaged in to coerce foreign nations to refuse sanctuary to whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

It is interesting indeed that this particular strategy backfired with President Putin, who, alone of all the heads of state in the world, took Mr Snowden in. President Obama was so miffed by this that he canceled a pre-G20 meeting with the Russian President, an action that, honestly folks, sounded personal and grade school to me. 

President Putin goes on in his op-ed to remark about something that is quite serious: Nuclear proliferation. He evidently sees this growing push to develop the bomb by impoverished countries who cannot feed their own people as a defensive measure on their part. He is right again when he says, “If you have the bomb, they can’t touch you.” 

In other words, nobody talks about randomly lobbing Tomahawk missiles at nations who have the bomb, no matter how egregious we find their behavior in other matters. 

This raises an important question: Is America’s international policy, with its bully-boy tactics and constant deployment of force against small nations who can’t fight back, actually pushing smaller nations to follow a policy of developing nuclear weapons? 

That is a discussion for another day, but it is certainly one worth having. 

Obama

Having said all this, there is one thing I want Public Catholic readers to understand about President Putin’s op-ed piece. That one thing is that President Putin is using the op-ed to side-step our president and lobby the American people directly. 

I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. 

After all, he’s not paying a bunch of lobbyists to slime their way around the Capitol greasing campaign accounts and non-campaign pacs with their donations in order to convince our elected officials to vote against us. He is going out there in the court of public opinion and making his case in a straight-forward and direct way. We know where he’s coming from and what he’s saying. We do not have to listen to hours of lies from bought and paid for cable news talking heads interviewing bought and paid for think-tankers and bought and paid for politicians while they try to propagandize us. 

We don’t have to sort through what President Putin is saying to decide what he really thinks. It’s all there, for the reading. 

But we should be aware and never forget that he ain’t us. 

He is the President of Russia and the interests he’s promoting are the interests of Russia. That doesn’t make what he’s saying wrong, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to him. Quite the contrary. That makes what he’s saying important and worthy of our thoughtful analysis. 

Odd as this sounds, I have a higher opinion of his motives than I do our cable news people. He, at least, is working for his country. 

Why Do Photos of Aborted Babies Upset Pro Choice Advocates?

A picture is worth a thousand words. 

This is a photo of a baby who was murdered in an abortion.

“It’s surprising how human they look.”

When I wrote the post Real Men Don’t kill Their Children, I decided to illustrate it with this photo.

I did this because it seemed to fit the brazen indifference to human life and suffering evidenced by Toure Neblett, the news commentator. Mr Neblett gave a commentary supporting Roe v Wade in which he discussed the abortion death of his first child. In it, he took narcissism and selfishness to new lows.

He made the statement that seeing his second child on an ultrasound had bothered him a little because “it’s surprising how human they look.”

I didn’t and I don’t think any other photo would do justice to this attitude.

It didn’t surprise me at all when pro abortion people clocked in with their usual anger over the photo. It was, they said, an attempt to “shock” people.

No. It was not.

It was a factual presentation of what babies look like after a late-term abortion. Of course, that is shocking to people who base their entire flimsy arguments in favor of this killing on the preposterous idea that these babies are “not human.”

Photos like this put that nonsense to the lie that it is.

I believe that the stripping away of the lie, not some misplaced sense of propriety, is why this photo makes them so angry.

Photos have a way of blasting right through carefully constructed lies and showing the truth of things in a way that anyone who looks at them can understand. I don’t enjoy making people uncomfortable, but there are truths we need to see because seeing them is the only thing that will blast through the carefully constructed facade of lies we use to shield ourselves from the reality of what we are doing.

For instance, this:

And this:

And this:

I don’t often put shocking photos on this blog, but there are times when I think they serve a purpose. The photo of that dead baby, juxtaposed against Mr Neblett’s words, said a lot.

The angry reaction of pro abortion and pro choice people told me quite plainly that for them, the photo said too much. There are truths we do not want to know, photos we do not want to see, because if we acknowledge what they are saying to us, we will have to change.

Photos like that one force us to make a choice. We will either have to give up our illusions about what we are doing to other people, or we will have to give up our illusions about ourselves as kind, loving and compassionate persons.

This is more than most people who define themselves and their morality by the lies our society tells us can handle. Of course those photos are shocking. But the fact that they are shocking is not the reason for posting them. The reason for putting them in the public eye is that they are true. In the words of Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men, some people “can’t handle the truth.”

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