The Ukraine

We have been gripped by the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

Most of us feel helpless, largely because there is little we can do. Many folks, watching the developments in tv or on internet videos become anxious, tense, emotionally drained, outraged. I suggest that a measure of calm might be maintained by reading the news. The effect of the videos is to heighten those emotional reactions. I am not so sure that heightened emotional reactions are healthy for us, given there is little we can do.

Orthodox Christianity has asserted for eons that humans want to live. And that will to live is transmuted to a will to power. We want control over our lives. And power means money and influence. It is seemingly an insatiable desire. I find it interesting that commentators have suggested Putin is concerned with his place in history and has a desire to expand Russia. In the face of our own mortality we look to be people who are important, who are remembered. It is all a part of that will to live and will to power.

The traditional religious term for this is sin. We pursue our own self-interests, our own path to power and influence. Some of these pursuits are necessary simply to live. But we never stop there. There is never enough.

Sometimes people, through face to face meetings, can work out their interpersonal conflicts. To do so among nations, however, is a different matter. Between nations perhaps the best we can hope for is a balance of powers, one nation balancing the other. Disturb the balance and we have chaos. For years Iraq balanced the threat of Iran. Once Iraq was destabilized it fell upon the western nations to impose stricter sanctions with the hope of restoring that balance.

We should not be completely surprised by Russian aggression. It is really a manifestation of human sin. History is testimony to the truth of sin. We may be surprised, but not be completely surprised. The way forward is to re-establish a balance. Hopefully, this can be done without exacerbating the conflict.

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