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The Fundamental Ideological Question at Stake in Ukraine

Since the Russian incursion into Ukraine on February 24, the American and Western European media have been almost unanimous in pushing the template which they wish us to believe and the agenda which they wish us to follow. In the US Congress, as in most deliberative bodies in Western Europe and in such international entities as the United Nations (UN) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), the refrain has been almost identically the same: that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s heroic and noble “liberal democratic” Ukrainian government stands for and defends “our liberal democratic values,” and that it has been brutally attacked in an unprovoked assault by the evil Russians under their evil president—the new “reincarnation of Hitler”—Vladimir Putin, who, of course, wishes to re-establish the old Soviet Empire which expired thirty-one years ago.

It’s as if nothing has changed since 1991—thirty-one years ago—when Russian Communism perished in an ignominious death, scorned and despised by the Russian people. It’s as if no history has elapsed since then, and that somehow the spectre of Soviet Communism, or some newfangled form thereof, still critically threatens “the West.” And thus, we must engage in a new and very dangerous “cold war,” which now in Ukraine turns increasingly “hot.”

Among establishment “conservatives”—in particular, those we denominate Neo-conservatives—this refrain finds strong resonance, as well as among Republican members of the US Congress. It is fascinating, to say the least, to see a Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell joined at the hip—no daylight between them—to a Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, as one, zealously advocating a rapid escalation in American involvement in Ukraine, no matter whether such offensive actions (e.g., no fly zones, US troops on the ground) might bring on nuclear Armageddon. Graham and other political leaders seem to welcome such tactical nuclear exchanges with “acceptable levels of civilian and combat casualties,” oblivious to what actually would happen.

Most recently this position, intellectually, was presented by a denizen of Claremont McKenna College (a western outpost of Neoconservatism), who proceeded to repeat once more all the standard interventionist arguments about a “democratic Ukraine,” “Russian world aggression (neo-Communism?),” and the “American mission” as global guardian (and enforcer) of “liberal democracy.”

While there has been some dissent from this perspective in the West (e.g., Tucker Carlson. Colonel Douglas MacGregor, Professor John Mearsheimer, Jacques Baud, Scott Ritter), the fact remains that almost the entirety of major news reporting on the Ukrainian conflict comes from reporters who hang on—and then repeat as undoubted and non-debatable—every word telegraphed by the Ukrainian government and military information services. While dozens of Western reporters are embedded with the Ukrainian military, no representatives of major media facilitate similar reporting from the Russian perspective. Indeed, both the US and Western European countries have attempted to stifle or interdict opposing perspectives. Only through either non-Western media or smaller independent services can any balance usually be obtained.

Thus, in the United States and Western Europe we are bombarded ceaselessly by lurid tales of “Russian war crimes” and now of “Russian terrorism,” such that Republican Senator Graham is pushing for Russia to be labeled a “terror state,” assuredly with “consequences” to follow. Yet, a closer and deeper investigation into those charges and accusations should cause concerned Americans to question not only the accounts but the bona fides of those reporting such purported events.

I have written about the so-called “Russian war crimes” in MariupolBucha, and Kramatorsk earlier this year, and I urge readers to go back and read those articles and check, again, the sources. Most recently (August 3), Amnesty International, in a revealing and perhaps surprising moment of truthful reporting, designated Ukraine and the Ukrainian military as responsible for war crimes and terror, using civilians as human shields, including forcing civilians to become specific targets of the Russian military, something which they did at the steel plant in Mariupol, although most Western media sources ignore the truth and still blame the Russians. With a pliant and enthusiastic Western press corps, the continual flow of Ukrainian propaganda inundates American households at all hours of the day…and that includes the news branch of Fox News, which may well be the worst offender.

But prescinding from the geo-political and strategic debate, the question of war crimes, and the course of military campaigns—whether the Ukrainians are advancing beyond Kharkov or the Russians successfully defending Kherson—we need to step back and focus on a more fundamental and ideological question, which, I submit, must necessarily frame this conflict and how we see it.

Just recently both the traditionalist Catholic journal The Remnant as well as The Saker published what may be the most concise and accessible-to-general-readers summary of the conflict in Ukraine, what it actually means globally and ideologically. The war in Ukraine is indeed a proxy war for the United States and Western Europe; but its more profound meaning must be understood and fathomed. For its implications affect the history and the very foundations of what we have called Western Christian civilization.

The article is titled: “The Conflict Between the West and Russia is a Religious One,” and the author is Emmet Sweeney, a published historian and author.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.