In June 1963, sixty years ago, President John F. Kennedy travelled to Berlin, almost two years after the Communists had constructed the Berlin wall separating the East from the West. He delivered a most memorable speech in which he expressed solidarity with the people of Berlin. “Today in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a Berliner)’.” For the next twenty five years the Berlin Wall was the symbol of Communist repression of its enslaved people and the hope of freedom which was represented by the other side of the wall. No one was escaping to the East.
President Kennedy went on to say, “And there are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists. Lass’sie nach Berlin kommen (Let them come to Berlin).”
These noteworthy words summed up my thoughts over the last week as Ukrainians all over the world celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the proclamation of renewed Ukrainian independence. I looked out at the dignitaries, guests and general participants at these celebrations and noted that, indeed, we were all Ukrainian at least for that day. This was a celebration, indeed, but marred in part by current events. We paid respects to more that one hundred thousand contemporary Ukrainian heroes, including civilians executed, among them women and children, yet still a celebration of the indomitable Ukrainian spirit.
When I hear of diplomatic channels to “provide an off ramp” for the Russians in the current war against Ukrainians and Ukrainian independence, I become deeply indignant and hearken back to the words of President Kennedy, “let them come to Berlin (Ukraine)”. Let them come and see the devastation, the bombed out targeted orphanages, maternity wards, hospitals and residences. Let them speak then about “working with” the Russians.
Some global leaders have not heeded the words of President Kennedy as they apply to contemporary issues, in particular the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Some like the prime minister of Hungary or little known Republican presidential aspirants can be disregarded for lack of importance. However the leader of the largest church in the world has been an embarrassment to the faithful and hierarchy of that Church. His latest glorification of the builders of the evil known as the Russian empire cannot be justified or even explained. It is the product of ignorance or a psychosis. Nevertheless, his ideological and moral perhaps age affected dysfunction needs to be addressed. Inasmuch as there is no impeachment process in the Church, nor is its hierarchy in particular, those who defied the Holy Spirit by electing him, of sufficient courage, significant prodding should ensue for him to follow the example of his predecessor. In the alternative, let him come to Ukraine to see what his “friends” have accomplished. God does work in mysterious ways.
President Biden has been a disappointment. How else can one explain the betrayal of Ukraine at the NATO Summit. Perhaps President Biden believes that Ukraine’s invitation to NATO precludes talks with Russia. Frankly where and how can such talks ensue. Vladimir Putin is a global pariah with an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court. The only solution is the reestablishment of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, compensation in hundreds of billions and the decolonization of the Russian empire. Without the last, the next Russian aggression is only a matter of time.
Frankly President Biden owes Ukraine much as Russia’s land grab of Ukraine was precipitated by Vice President Biden’s former superior’s lack of foreign policy credentials and fecklessness. It is also important to note that much of the West’s arms delivery to Ukraine is preceded often by an incongruous White House and Pentagon denial, then a period where America is proven wrong and only then is the military support granted, sometimes because of the persuasive efforts of America’s less than militarily proficient allies. The F-16’s are a striking example of Holland and Norway stepping up and acting where America was not the leader but became a follower.
In the aftermath of celebration, but on the eve of another winter of war and devastation, it is important to focus upon the good fight and the ultimate goal, as well as one’s role even if only auxiliary. Good can never reconcile with evil. Freedom cannot compromise with repression. We must recognize what the Russian empire represents and resolve to rid the world of this scourge.
August 30, 2023 Askold S. Lozynskyj