My feed on X has filled with posts from officials of Ukraine, Romania and the Netherlands touting the opening of the European F-16 Training Center in Romania. Highlighting this was a video of Ukrainian pilots showing off their newly acquired skills in piloting said aircraft. The word “resolve” comes to mind given that I can write that sentence at all — for a long time, the West refused the beleaguered nation access to advanced jets. “Resolve” also speaks to the dangerous test ahead hinted at in that hesitancy.
Have you ever re-watched a sad movie, hoping that this time the outcome will be different? Welcome to the world today. Only it’s not a movie.
The worsening of our global situation, including two sparks that appear more volatile than an unfortunate duke meeting a bullet ever could have been, should be a wake-up call. Our politicians have driven us to the brink of a world war by their myopic plans forged by reelection efforts and not our (or the world’s) good.
Babies. They beheaded babies. They are proud of it. It is particularly troubling when acts are so horrific that people of good will are sad that they are not there to personally kill the offenders. But that was my instant, immutable response to a video I saw on Saturday.
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.
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.
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.