We Must Reject Putin and Trump’s False Peace

We Must Reject Putin and Trump’s False Peace February 14, 2024

Kremlin.ru: Putin and Trump / Wikimedia Commons

Christians are called to work for and promote peace, for Christ is the Prince of Peace (cf. Isa. 9:6). True peace is established in and through the elimination of every evil so that we can then find ourselves advancing towards the greatest good. This is why, as St. Albert the Great explained, it is established by Christ: “To the next, one must reply that peace consists in the removal of evil, and this is caused by the Passion. And there is peace in advancing toward the God who glorifies, and this is caused by the Resurrection.”[1] The full realization of this will be experienced in the eschatological kingdom of God, where, indeed, every evil will have been rejected, and all the harm which it has caused has been healed. Christians can and should experience a part of that kingdom now, to realize not only that they have a share in it, but they that have a  role promoting its realization. They are to do this by acting on their experience and using it as they act in history, working, as much as they can, to have eschatological peace realized in history itself. Certainly, they should know that there will be no lasting, perfect peace, no utopia, until the end of time, which is why they should not embrace some false peace trying to make it as if it were something other than it is. Nonetheless, having such an understanding of history, they should not use it to excuse themselves from their duty;  rather, it should serve as the basis by which they continue to work for peace in every generation, even as they should be working for and promoting the needs of the poor until the end of the world.

To promote peace, Christians must promote what brings it about, truth and justice. They must not confuse the lack of temporal conflict with peace, especially since such lack of conflict often comes through appeasement with evil, allowing evil to thrive and do whatever it wants. We cannot sacrifice justice for the sake of a false peace. We cannot help warmongers build up their power and resources, calling the lull between conflicts, a time of peace, when it is clear, with the build up to war, and the injustices committed by such warmongers, evil thrives. There can be and will be many ways to resist evil, to resist warmongers, and each must be done in relation to the circumstances at hand. If they can be weakened and contained, and the people they would hurt, given help, so that the warmonger can be taken out without bloodshed, and replaced by someone who will help heal the damage they have done, we should support and promote that. But if they are gaining strength, if they are actively involved in conflicts, if not outright wars, all geared for their own private benefit, hurting and killing countless numbers of people in the process, all while threatening to do even more if they are not stopped, doing nothing, cannot be seen as working for peace. For, the result of such inactivity will be more, and worse war, with more death and destruction which could have been and should have been prevented. This is why calling such inaction peace is a lie, and it is the kind of lie which God, in Scripture, spoke against, when false prophets were encouraging a similar kind of false peace:

My hand will be against the prophets who see delusive visions and who give lying divinations; they shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.  Because, yea, because they have misled my people, saying, `Peace,’ when there is no peace; and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets daub it with whitewash;  say to those who daub it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, great hailstones will fall, and a stormy wind break out; (Ezek. 13:9-11 RSV).

Micah, similarly says:

Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.  Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down upon the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God.  But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin (Micah. 3:5-8 RSV).

In Jeremiah, we find some of the false prophets promoting a false peace by saying it will help bring healing to the world, but in actuality, as the perquisites for peace are denied, so there will be no peace, and no lasting healing:  “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, `Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11 RSV).

This is why we must be careful when we hear people speak about how things were peaceful during Trump’s administration. Such a claim is based upon a lie. Not only did Trump circumvent the justice needed for peace, conflicts continued to exist in the world, including ones which the United States took part. Similarly, this is why we must reject as utterly ridiculous the claim that if Russia is allowed to take over Ukraine, that is, if Ukraine is made to surrender, there would be peace. Russia is not only interested in Ukraine, but in the building up of a great empire, and that will require it to invade many more countries in the future. Trump, in his constant appeasement and support of Putin, helped Putin’s war efforts, giving Russia the time it needed to prepare to invade Ukraine. Getting ready to invade other countries is far from peaceful, which is why the time in which such preparation is going on is not a time of peace. And now, Trump has made it clear, if he were president, he would be encouraging Putin’s war efforts, not only approving his takeover of Ukraine, but outright invasion of other countries, including those in NATO, as Tom Nichols reported in The Atlantic:

Trump issued this unhinged threat while telling one of his “sir” stories, a rhetorical device in which some unnamed interlocutor shows Trump great deference while humbly seeking his advice. He described a meeting, ostensibly when he was in office, in which he responded to an ally about NATO funding.

One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, “Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?” I said, “You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?” He said, “Yes, let’s say that happened.” “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.”[2]

Trump is not interested in peace. He is not interested in protecting the allies of the United States, allies who helped the United States when the United States was attacked on 9-11. He is interested in protecting and supporting Putin, using whatever excuse he can muster to justify his support. This led him to give the insane statement which reads as if he wanted to turn NATO into a protection racket where, if he does not get what he wants from them, he will encourage Russia to invade them and do what it wants with them.  Putin, likewise, gave up the game when talking to Tucker Carlson by saying he was justified for invading Ukraine similar to the way he deemed Hitler was justified in invading Poland. It led Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski to denounce Putin, as Aila Slisco indicated in Newsweek:

During Putin’s controversial interview with conservative U.S. pundit Tucker Carlson, which was released online Thursday, the Russian president argued that Poland was to blame for Hitler’s decision to invade, claiming the Warsaw “went too far” by balking at the annexation of part of its territory.

Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski suggested in a post to X, formerly Twitter, on Friday that Putin was “paranoid” and called it “shocking” that Carlson “enabled” the Russian president by giving him a platform to spread his false claims and rhetoric.

Sikorski said that it was “not the first time” that “dictator” Putin had made the claim about World War II, while also noting that Hitler was joined in invading Poland by the Soviet Union, which was an ally to Nazi Germany for nearly the first two years of the war.[3]

It is clear, Putin was trying to represent himself as a man of peace forced into action, hoping to have Tucker Carlson’s listeners take in and accept the propaganda he was offering. It is clear, moreover, that he knows many of them are ready to believe it, as many Republicans have made it clear, they think Putin should be appeased instead of resisted. They want to create a picture of Putin which ignores what he has said and done. They want us to ignore his clear indication that he plans to takeover of many independent countries. Like Hitler, it seems, he thinks he can fool people in thinking those he invades are the ones at fault. His response is the same as that of a bully, and bullies blame their victims, telling them, “You made me do it.” This is who Trump wants to back and support. Putin does not intend to stop his war effort, but rather, hopes he can have Ukraine surrender so he can start his next invasion. There will be no peace if Ukraine surrenders; there will be a slaughter in the Ukraine, as Putin will punish those who resisted him, and there will be more, and worse wars, wars which Trump has made it clear that he will support and encourage. And, while it might appear far-fetched, Russian television, which is often used to seed ideas and prepare Russians for Putin’s future efforts, have suggested America is also a target in those future invasions, with not only Alaska, but California being on Russia’s radar, as Aleks Phillips explained in Newsweek:

According to a translation by Anton Gerashchenko, a former Ukrainian internal affairs minister, in a television program on Monday evening, Tigran Keosayan—who is married to state broadcaster Russia Today’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan—said during a discussion of the issue: “By the way, part of the California coastline was once Russian too. Yes. Are we going to get it?”[4]

Christians must promote peace, but to do that, they must promote a true peace, one founded upon justice and mercy. Settling for injustice, giving in to warmongers, letting warmongers take what they want and do whatever they want to the people they conquer without resistance, does nothing to establish true peace. It only promotes its false simulacra, one which leads to great devastation in the world. Proclaiming those who promote injustice and terror, or those who would turn peace into a protection racket, as peacemakers are doing the same thing as the false prophets God denounced did in pre-Christian times. They are promoting peace by appeasement, and have no problems with the injustices such appeasement brings. What comes next, as what came next in times of old, will demonstrate the falsehood of such peace, as multitudes will be sacrificed in order to have the illusion of a lack of conflict in the world. Neither Putin nor Trump represents peace, even if they claim do to so, for, they represent the kind of person Ficino wrote about: “Secondly, they look forward to being masters, and men of peace, only when they are engaged in controlling great numbers of men and events.” [5] The peace they want is the peace of the iron rod, the peace in which their every whim is fulfilled by the people; they promise they will bring peace, but they only promise it, again, if people abandon justice and are willing to sacrifice the greater good, and countless people, to bring it about. Whatever the people receive for such a sacrifice will be short lived, as the one they tried to appease will not find themselves satisfied for long, and then, they will make new demands and use them to justify whatever actions they choose to take to get what they want. This is exactly what Putin has already done with Ukraine – he breached the peace because he did not get what he wanted, though the peace was not really there, as he was working up and establishing the means by which he could begin his invasion. Giving up Ukraine now will not stop him. It will embolden him.  Right now, he can be stopped. But if the United States puts into power someone who will support and help him in his war efforts, that might no longer be the case.

[1] St. Albert the Great, On Resurrection. Trans. Irven M. Resnick and Franklin T. Harkins (Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2020), 138.

[2] Tom Nichols, “Trump Encourages Putin To Attack NATO Members” in The Atlantic (2-10-2024).

[3] Aila Slisco, “Poland Angrily Responds to Putin’s Claims About Hitler and World War II” in Newsweek (2-9-2024).

[4]  Aleks Phillips, “Russian TV Eyes California After Alaska Claim” in Newsweek (1-30-2024).

[5] Marsilio Ficino, The Letters of Marsilio Ficino. Volume 5 (Liber VI). trans. by members of the Language Department of the School of Economic Science, London (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1994), 57 [Letter 36: To Francesco Soderini].


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