Ex-Prime Minister of the Ukraine Julia Tymoshenko, taken in Poland (2008)
Derived photo used under GNU Free Documentation License (original photo on Wikimedia)
Ukraine is effectively a war zone. There may be something of a ceasefire brewing, now that President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a deal reverting back to the 2004 constitution. Almost immediately, the re-empowered Ukranian parliament fired the interior minister and voted to free former Prime Minister Julia (pronounced Yulia) Tymoshenko, who was imprisoned on very disputed charges that she abused her office. The bill must be signed and then the court must be petitioned in order to free her, but some believe that Yanukovych fears her popularity enough to sign it.
What a mess! Meanwhile, various pundits and commentators are questioning the role that the US and the EU have had in pushing the Ukraine into the waiting arms of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Naturally, there are other pundits running around warning of the danger of allowing Ukraine to fall into Putin’s hands.
The real questions are: Do we care and should we? Seriously, why should we care? And, if we should, why has it taken so long before worrying about it?
We seem to be divided over what our role in the world is supposed to be. I seriously doubt that we know. We draw red lines left and right, and all we are doing is wasting marker ink. In the end, it hurts our credibility in the world. It not only makes us appear weak, it makes us weak because no one will take us seriously any longer.
If we are going to be the world’s policeman, and that is certainly a debatable goal for many reasons, then we had better figure out how we are going to do it. If not, then we’d better figure out what is important and how we will pursue it. We had better figure out where we will get the money and resources to pull it off, and whether or not it is worth the time we spend in doing it.
It seems to be common sense that picking a more narrow goal and hitting it successfully is far more advantageous than a broader goal which has no chance of success. The latter is sort of like the unreliable person who cannot say “no” to anything and so winds up not getting anything done well if at all.
So, if Ukraine is important and in our interest, the question remains: Why the interest now and not when all of this could have been prevented? Why is the media on it now and not before when it was preventable? What is the root cause of our foreign policy failures?
I believe the media is covering it now because it is clickbait, it is shocking, and it titillates. Because, you see, this whole thing illustrates the basest of human instincts. It is, IMO, what Politico in “The Day We Pretended to Care About Ukraine” as “disaster porn”.
We’ve all seen it to some extent. The car wreck along the side of the road causes people to rubberneck. “Journalists” chase ambulances for stories. People seek out movies filled with blood and gore, and those are tame compared to some of the video games that exist.
It is easy to lay the blame upon the American short attention span, but I believe it is something deeper. Bill O’Reilly seems obsessed with proclaiming the dangers of “people and their devices” at least every other week, but I notice that he hasn’t shut down his website yet. Lots of people blame Hollywood, but is Hollywood the cause or the effect? Others blame rap music, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, etc., but, again, are they the symptom or the cause?
Babylon had science, but they didn’t have iPads, yet they fell. Greece had theater, but they didn’t have Hollywood, yet they fell. Rome had music, but they didn’t have Cyrus or Bieber, and they fell.
No, even the collective short attention span is a symptom. All of these are symptoms. The root cause is everyone doing what is right is her or his own eyes. Discipline and clear thought require work. When each person gets to decide what is right and wrong for themselves, however, then discipline will lose out. It serves no purpose in a world where everyone is being told that what is right is what feels good.
Morals must be built upon a firm, objective foundation, else it is not morality. Moral relativism is actually neither moral nor relative. Ask people if it is OK to eat your young, and they would be horrified! Yet, isn’t that what guppies do? At some level, they must either accept that there are objective standards or promote nothing less than madness. IOW, the choice is between absolute standards or absolute madness.
God gave us a standard. His book to us, to tell us how to live, outlines perhaps 90% of what we need to know. However, instead of going through life learning the 10% of what is left, most people through ignorance or stubbornness end up learning 90% of the lessons that need to be learned and do so in a very painful manner.
God makes it clear that His way of life gives us sanity.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
~ 2Ti 1:7
He makes it clear that a righteous ruler is a wise ruler.
2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
~ Pr 29:2
God even made special promises to ancient Israel for obedience to His standard that would have allowed them to dictate the foreign policy they could have pursued.
7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
9 The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.
Of course, a skeptic might read this and say, “Well, that’s rather self-serving!” However, when you truly examine the Law, it is selfless. Sure, you can fake it, at least for a while, and the Pharisees certainly put on a good show, but the reality is that you cannot 100% keep the Law if you are doing it for purely selfish reasons.
However, ancient Israel rebelled, and now the United States is rebelling, and the penalty is to be humbled on the worldwide scene.