In the course of my personal Christmas introspection which deals with both my Christian and Ukrainian sour, I recalled an interview with the then just elected new Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Mike Johnson. He stated that in his political life as well as his personal, he is guided by the Bible. He probably should have made some reference to the United States Constitution as well. Be that as it may, over the first almost two months of his activities as speaker I am convinced that the Bible to which Mike Johnson referred is the Donald Trump version, meaning the one, if any, on Donald Trump’s nightstand. That version does not include many of the subjects commonly found in the regular Bible, including the parable about the Good Samaritan. Love for one’s neighbour, manifested through tangible assistance is the focus of Christianity. Discerning between right and wrong, good and evil is its essence.
There remains much hope that with or without the support of Speaker Johnson, military aid to Ukraine will be worked out. Unfortunately, much damage has accrued to date. The war in Ukraine is an existential one for Ukrainians. Ukrainian are defined as all residents of Ukraine as well as those residing abroad who consider themselves Ukrainian. Optimism is a factor in any war and very much a part of human nature as much as legitimate cause for concern when that optimism is wounded. Ammunition is beginning to lack and the current war is at best a stalemate as seen by the Ukrainian military. One Ukrainian soldier pointed out that there are more Russian soldiers than Ukrainian bullets.
There is at least one billion dollars available and some four billion more in draw down supplies as per the Pentagon, but the message received in Ukraine has been very much concerning. The European Union’s decision to beginning Ukraine membership talks is being highlighted in Ukraine to support optimism, but the more tangible Hungarian veto of military and humanitarian aid has been put on the back pages.
The people of Ukraine, military, volunteers and the general civilian population have been heroic. Ukrainians abroad have been predominantly lethargic. Russia has been buoyed by the apparent indifference of Western support and has increased its barbaric behaviour even boasting of the use of chemical weapons, and continuing to shell civilian targets including residences, health facilities, schools, indiscriminately killing women and children. Mike Johnson’s Bible, however, does not consider these facts. In any event it is anticipated hopefully that aid to Ukraine will be revisited in both the United States and Europe this coming January.
If politics is an art of accomplishing sometimes creatively what is possible then there are some alternatives to overcome or circumvent Speaker Johnson’s “religious convictions”. This includes other MAGAs in Congress, including such blind or simply dishonest politicians as Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene in the House and a self identified hillbilly such as J.D. Vance in the Senate.
Some ideas have come forward and are supported apparently by our allies: using frozen Russian assets throughout the world estimated at some three hundred billion dollars, suspending EU and NATO support for Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Hungary which requires support from our European allies, transferring “Patriot” defence systems manufactured at Mitsubishi in Japan and to be sold at great discount or even simply given to the United States. Japan has agreed to do so, the only remaining issue would be the compensation Russian assets seized in the United States might require an act of Congress but the lions share of seized Russian assets are in Europe. Our allies in Europe certainly are guided by a different Bible than Mike Johnson or Donald Trump for that matter even if only because of proximity.
Anyone or all of these creative solutions would not only be a valuable temporary substitute for what Ukraine has been promised, but would serve to encourage the Ukrainians who a willing to die for their own existence and to rid the world of the Russian imperialistic threat. The war against Russian aggression must be a global effort. President Biden has often referred to American assistance as an investment in a peaceful global community which is cost effective. Apparently, Speaker Johnson and his fellow MAGA’s not only rely upon an abridged if not bizarre version of the Bible but suffer from political shortsightedness. Merry Christmas, Speaker Johnson. This is a good time to pick up a real Bible.
December 24, 2023
Askold S. Lozynskyj