It was an unexpected and chilling moment. As is my wont, as I made supper Monday night I had on in the background the Japanese international television station, NHK. The program was about learning the Japanese language by reading the news.
After seven months of horrifying war, the last few weeks have been inspiring as the Ukrainian Army, with the help of western weapons and local courage that no weapons could provide, have reclaimed swaths of occupied land. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is not one to give in, though, and his speech today makes that point, if anyone was in doubt.
It is accurately said that pride goeth before a fall. Please make no mistake: What follows is not written out of pride, nor some desire to say, “See? I told you so.” Quite the opposite. I possess no special gift of prophecy. I have no access to inside information. I guess I have wits enough to survive — made it this far, anyway — but nothing much beyond that. Yet somehow I was able to predict a lot of what has happened in the last year or so.
The Boys are back with talk of the continued political tensions around the Russo-Ukrainian War, the coming SCOTUS decisions, violent political rhetoric in the coming midterm elections, Shakespeare and hope in Psalm 136.
The Zippy Boys are back with an episode packed with March Madness musings, analysis of the Russian war against Ukraine, living life with a disability and hope we find in God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is said that those who can’t, teach. To which I’d add that those who can’t, and who also can’t teach, become bureaucrats. If they clean up well, their path to the loftiest halls of government is clear.
As Vladimir Putin continues his best attempt to impersonate a schoolyard bully albeit with unimaginably horrible weapons at his disposal, the reason for staying back and watching is clear enough. Clear, but wrong. The time has come: we cannot be spectators or a mere supply chain: we must use the weight of NATO to stop by force the humanitarian disaster that is Russia’s unnecessary war.
The scene is a familiar one. Vladimir Putin is at the desk whence he has uttered his increasingly deranged speeches over the last few weeks. An off-camera voice is heard. “Vladimir Vladimirovich, it has been determined that you are impaired in your thinking. You are psikh. Given your advanced age and the unlikelihood of cure, the remedy is to be one with which you are familiar.” Does a flash of panic appear in the former KGB lieutenant colonel’s eyes?
It’s 3 a.m. and I’m on Twitter impatiently refreshing, looking for news from Ukraine. I check over on Ukrainian President Zelensky’s account, too, looking for signs he’s still alive and Russia hasn’t managed to find him yet. Probably a lot of you reading this are doing the same. Death looms large this Ash Wednesday, situated amidst the first global-level conflict of the Internet era.
Anyone familiar with the history of the last 100 years or so should be terrified, because they’ll remember that this is how it began last time. We’re not far from saying “if we’d only acted back then.” Right now is the “back then” we’ll be talking about.