Monday, March 10, 2014


When Egypt’s military ousted their democratically elected government a couple years ago, there was a giant ho-hum from Washington, and our media pundits.  We continued to give billions to the generals of the coup.  It’s all just Realpolitik in the Middle East.  

Now the people in the streets [and East-West agitation – see Gagnon’s somewhat opinionated but factual article] of the Ukraine have chased out an overbearing President Yanukovych, and Russia moves troops into the Crimean part of the country they used to own.  Somehow this is tantamount to an act of war against the USA, if our media is to be believed.

here has been a toppling of a democratically elected [yet perhaps not really representative] government in the Ukraine.   Their president flees to Russia which had been his supporter.   Now Russia wants to take back Crimea which they gave to Ukraine when it was part of the USSR in 1954.   Politics is fickle and sovereignty subject to all superpowers’ self-interest.  Russia still has their biggest naval base there.  Ukraine is the conduit for massive amounts of oil and gas to the West.

A quick glance at the map above shows once again that policy is driven by the money politics of oil-gas markets controlled by the threat of war.  Dick Cheney’s observation, before the Afghan and Iraq wars, is the rule of this deadly game—It’s not always important who own the oil, “it’s who controls the spigot.”

This is what the New York Times reports on the recent history of the sovereignty vs. Realpolitik situation [leaving out our Afghan, Iraq involvements].

“The Kosovars’ secession from Serbia in 1999 drove a deep wedge between the United States and Russia that soured relations for years. Washington supported Kosovo’s bid for independence, culminating in 2008, while Moscow saw it as an infringement of Serbia’s sovereignty.
Now 15 years later, the former Cold War rivals again find themselves at odds, but this time they have effectively switched sides: Russia loudly proclaims Crimea’s right to break off from Ukraine while the United States calls it illegitimate.”

“Consider the different American views of recent bids for independence.
Chechnya? No.
East Timor? Yes.
Abkhazia? [and S. Ossetia] No.
South Sudan? Yes.
Palestine? It’s complicated.
It is an acutely delicate subject in the West, where Britain wants to keep Scotland and Spain wants to keep Catalonia.”   [Canada’s Quebec also a recurring question.]

Does anybody remember yesterday’s international crisis of Syria - Iran [and Iraq and Afghanistan]?  Pax Christi USA has a prayerstudy—action reflection to help keep us focused on these still open wounds—ongoing elements of the problem of universal soldiers made to protect international financial interests.

Here is their prayer ---

This is the fast that pleases me:

to break unjust fetters,
to let the oppressed go free,
and shelter the homeless poor.
If you do away with the yoke,
the clenched fist, the wicked word,
if you give your bread to the hungry
and relief to the oppressed,
your light will rise in the darkness. (Isaiah 58:6-7, 10)

All praise be yours, God our Creator,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the flowering of justice
and the fullness of peace.
All praise for this day, this season.
By our weekly fasting and prayer
cast out the spirit of war, of fear and mistrust,
and make us grow hungry for human kindness,

thirsty for solidarity with all the people of your dear earth.
May all our prayer, our fasting and our deeds
be done in the name of Jesus. Amen.

--- From the Archdiocese of Chicago (1983)
Our country needs to find ways to enter a permanent partial fast from oil and gas.  Lets return to a simpler smarter use of our energy resources that includes some of our own physical labor, and devise new renewable energy methods—better stewardship of God’s good earth.

References --
[especially revealing is his video link to a Dec. 2013 State Dept briefing on Ukraine for oil executives]

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

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