As of this writing, March 4, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turned into a typical Russian mess. Ukraine is not dead yet. The Russian army’s logistics have broken down, as they usually do. And Russia has suffered a monumental self-inflicted defeat at the moral level of war, which is the most powerful level.
But the magnitude of the disaster is only visible if we step back a bit and look at the grand strategic effects it has on all of Christendom, the great civilization that stretches from the Western Hemisphere’s Pacific Ocean coast through Britain, Europe, and Russia, to meet the Pacific once again. Just when we thought Christendom’s civil wars had ended, allowing us to focus on the new threat from the global south, Mr. Putin has plunged us back into an east-west conflict. It is hard to imagine a worse development for Christendom’s future, short of nuclear war.
To see this picture clearly, we need to remember our civilization as it was in March, 1914. Quite simply, it ruled the world. Even in places such as China that remained independent, our culture was the model everyone aspired to. Christendom itself was full of self confidence. It knew it was the best, most productive, most morally sound culture the world had ever produced (this slighted China, an equally successful culture, but in 1914 China seemed hopelessly backward).
Then, in August of that awful year, Christendom launched itself on the first of three civil wars, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. In the course of the 20th century, Christendom devoured itself. Not only did it kill a hundred million or more of its own people and reduce much of its physical patrimony to ashes, it lost all confidence in itself. In fact, its own elites became its worst enemy, worms gnawing its vitals from within, replacing the faith that created it with an ideology, Marxism (of several varieties), that called on it to destroy itself.
Then the Cold War ended. Christendom could be reunited. But it wasn’t. The Blob, the American foreign policy establishment, made an error of vast proportions. It crowed over Russia as a victor, when it should have welcomed a non-Communist Russia back into the Concert of Powers. Not only should the U.S. and western Europe not have expanded NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries, they should have welcomed Russia into NATO. Why? To meet the threat rising from the global south.
Today, not a single Russian soldier stands on American or western European soil. But both are swamped by millions of far more dangerous invaders, immigrants from other cultures very different from our own. They are fleeing their own defective cultures, but they bring those defective cultures with them because they are all they know. At least the American picture is not too bad; most of the illegals pouring across our southern border are Christians. But many of those breaching Europe’s borders are Moslems. They are not coming to join Christendom; their intention is to Islamicize us – by whatever means necessary.
Until Russia invaded Ukraine, a “reset” was still possible. President Trump understood we needed Russia as a friend and ally, not an enemy. He grasped the fact that the real threat is south-north, not east-west. Russia could still have been invited to join NATO. After all, she holds Christendom’s vast right flank, running from the Black Sea to the Pacific.
Now, Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has killed any possibility of ending the east-west conflict to face south. The Blob and the Pentagon are of course delighted; they can go on pretending that the world is still shaped by great power rivalries, that nothing need change, that the invasion from the south is just the movement of “undocumented workers.” They forget that endless civil war is what destroyed the Roman Empire. We now face what may be the last act, the last fatal civil war, in Christendom.
Is there a way out? One, I think. President Putin could become the new Lavrentii Beria. Beria, as the head of the KGB, was in charge of Stalin’s terror machine. Shortly after Stalin’s death, he was taken out and shot. Dead, he was more useful to Russia than he was alive. Why? Because all the Blunders and horrors of Stalin’s regime could be explained with, “Oh, that was Beria’s doing.”
Mr. Putin has made an enormous blunder. He has gravely embarrassed the Russian army, never a good thing in Russian politics. Were he suddenly removed, the invasion of Ukraine could all be blamed on him – especially if he were not available to deny it.
If you pick up your paper in the morning and find a headline announcing Mr. Putin is no longer President of the Russian Federation, don’t be surprised.