The Guardian, February 1, 2007
UNILATERAL FORCE HAS NOTHING
TO DO WITH GLOBAL DEMOCRACY
By Vladimir Putin
The US has overstepped its borders in every way. We must build a new world order to ensure security and prosperity for all. The universal, indivisible character of security can be expressed as the basic principle that "security for one is security for all". As Franklin D Roosevelt said at the onset of the Second World War: "When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries is in danger."
US Dangerous Course
These words remain relevant today. only two decades ago the world was ideologically and economically divided and it was the huge strategic potential of two superpowers that ensured global security. This global standoff pushed the sharpest economic and social problems to the margins of the world's agenda. And, just like any war, the cold war left behind live ammunition, figuratively speaking. It left ideological stereotypes, double standards and other remnants of cold war thinking.
What then is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it describes a scenario in which there is one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making. It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And this is pernicious, not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within. And this, certainly, has nothing in common with democracy. Because democracy is the power of the majority in the light of the interests and opinions of the minority.
We, Russia, are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves. I believe that unipolarity is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today's world.
The model itself is flawed: at its root it provides no moral foundations for modern civilization. But witnessed in today's world is a tendency to introduce precisely this concept into international affairs, the concept of a unipolar world. And with what results? Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centers of tension. Judge for yourselves: wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. And even many more are dying than before.
Today we are witnessing an almost unrestrained hyper-use of force - military force - in international relations, a force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible. We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. one country, the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations.
Acquisition of Weapons of Mass Destruction
This force's dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, threats such as terrorism have now taken on a global character. I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue. Especially since the international landscape is so varied and is changing so quickly.
The need for principles such as openness, transparency and predictability in politics is uncontested and the use of force should be a truly exceptional measure, comparable to using the death penalty in the judicial systems of certain states. However, today we are witnessing the opposite tendency, namely a situation in which countries that forbid the death penalty even for murderers and other dangerous criminals are airily participating in military operations that are difficult to consider legitimate. And yet the fact is that these conflicts are killing people - civilians - in their hundreds and thousands. At the same time we face the question of whether we should remain unmoved by various internal conflicts inside countries, authoritarian regimes, tyrants, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Can we be indifferent observers? Of course not. But I am convinced that the only mechanism that can make decisions about using military force as a last resort is the charter of the United Nations. The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN. Another important theme that directly affects global security is the struggle against poverty. on the one hand, financial resources are allocated for programmes to help the world's poorest countries - sometimes substantial financial resources (which tend to be linked with the development of that same donor country's companies). And on the other hand, developed countries simultaneously retain their agricultural subsidies while limiting some countries' access to hi-tech products.
And let's say things as they are - one hand distributes charitable help and the other hand not only preserves economic backwardness, but also reaps the profits thereof. The increasing social tension in depressed regions inevitably results in the growth of radicalism, extremism, feeds terrorism and local conflicts. And if all this happens in, say, a region such as the Middle East, where there is increasingly the sense that the world at large is unfair, then there is the risk of global destabilization.
US Bent of World Dominance
It is obvious that the world's leading countries should see this threat. And that they should therefore build a more democratic, fairer system of global economic relations, a system that would give everyone the chance and the possibility to develop. Russia is a country with a history that spans more than a thousand years and has practically always exercised its prerogative to carry out an independent foreign policy. We are not going to change this tradition today.
At the same time, we are well aware of how the world has changed and we have a realistic sense of our own opportunities and potential. And of course we would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.
This is an edited extract from a speech delivered on Saturday by the Russian president at the 43rd Munich conference on security policy securityconference.de
World Net Daily [WND], February 13, 2007
DOES PUTIN NOT HAVE A POINT?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
"A soft answer turneth away wrath,” teaches Proverbs 1:15.
Our new secretary of defense, Roberts Gates, seems familiar with the verse, for his handling of Saturday's wintry blast from Vladimir Putin at the Munich security conference was masterful.
"As an old Cold Warrior, one of yesterday's speeches almost filled me with nostalgia for a less complex time," said Gates, adding, "Almost." A former director of the CIA, Gates went on to identify with Putin: "I have, like your second speaker yesterday ... a career in the spy business. And I guess old spies have a habit of blunt speaking.
Antagonizing & Demoralizing Russia
"However, I have been to re-education camp, spending the last four and a half years as a university president and dealing with faculty. And as more than a few university presidents have learned in recent years, when it comes to faculty it is either 'be nice' or 'be gone.'" Gates added he would be going to Moscow to talk with the old KGB hand, who will be retiring as Russia's president around the time President Bush goes home to Crawford. Excellent.
For one of the historic blunders of this administration has been to antagonize and alienate Russia, the winning of whose friendship was a signal achievement of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. And one of the foreign policy imperatives of this nation is for statesmanship to repair the damage. What did we do to antagonize Russia? When the Cold War ended, we seized upon our "unipolar moment" as the lone superpower to seek geopolitical advantage at Russia's expense.
Though the Red Army had picked up and gone home from Eastern Europe voluntarily, and Moscow felt it had an understanding we would not move NATO eastward, we exploited our moment. Not only did we bring Poland into NATO, we brought in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and virtually the whole Warsaw Pact, planting NATO right on Mother Russia's front porch. Now, there is a scheme afoot to bring in Ukraine and Georgia in the Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin.
Second, America backed a pipeline to deliver Caspian Sea oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey, to bypass Russia.
Third, though Putin gave us a green light to use bases in the old Soviet republics for the liberation of Afghanistan, we now seem hell-bent on making those bases in Central Asia permanent.
Fourth, though Bush sold missile defense as directed at rogue states like North Korea, we now learn we are going to put anti-missile systems into Eastern Europe. And against whom are they directed?
Fifth, through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations and "human rights" institutes such as Freedom House, headed by ex-CIA director James Woolsey, we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics and Russia herself. U.S.-backed revolutions have succeeded in Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia, but failed in Belarus. Moscow has now legislated restrictions on the foreign agencies that it sees, not without justification, as subversive of pro-Moscow regimes.
Sixth, America conducted 78 days of bombing of Serbia for the crime of fighting to hold on to her rebellious province, Kosovo, and for refusing to grant NATO marching rights through her territory to take over that province. Mother Russia has always had a maternal interest in the Orthodox states of the Balkans.
These are Putin's grievances. Does he not have a small point? Joe Lieberman denounced Putin's "Cold War rhetoric." But have we not been taking what cannot unfairly be labeled Cold War actions? How would we react if China today brought Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela into a military alliance, convinced Mexico to sell oil to Beijing and bypass the United States, and began meddling in the affairs of Central America and Caribbean countries to affect the electoral defeat of regimes friendly to the United States? How would we react to a Russian move to put anti-missile missiles on Greenland?
Gates says we have been through one Cold War and do not want another. But it is not Moscow moving a military alliance right up to our borders or building bases and planting anti-missile systems in our front and back yards. Why are we doing this? This country is not going to go to war with Russia over Estonia. With our Army "breaking" from two insurgencies, how would we fight? By bombing Moscow and St. Petersburg?
Just as we deluded ourselves into believing this war would be a "cakewalk," that democracy would break out across the Middle East, that we would be beloved in Baghdad, so America today has undertaken commitments, dating to the Cold War and since, we do not remotely have the resources or will to fulfill. We are living in a world of self-delusion. Somewhere in this presidential campaign, someone has to bring us back to earth. The halcyon days of American Empire are over.
Pat Buchanan was twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the Reform Party’s candidate in 2000. He is also a founder and editor of The American Conservative. Now a political analyst for MSNBC and a syndicated columnist, he served three presidents in the White House, was a founding panelist of three national TV shows, and is the author of seven books.
Religious Persecution in
Russia Takes New Form
Charles Mercieca, Ph.D.
International Association of Educators for World Peace
Dedicated to United Nations Goals of Peace Education,
Environmental Protection, Human Rights & Disarmament
Professor Emeritus, Alabama A&M University
During the seventy year period of communist control in Russia (1917-87), religious persecution always stemmed from the government. Some of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church even cooperated with the government by submitting names to the police of people who went to church to pray and to participate in religious services. By the process of time, many Russians who suspected this kind of spying, ceased going to church any longer to the extent that all Russian churches became virtually empty.
Communist Collapse and Spiritual Revival
Needless to say, when communism collapsed all of a sudden during the latter part of the decade of the eighties, there was an immediate spiritual revival. Many religious groups came into the open to practice their faith with pride and joy. They consisted mostly of various Christian denominations that included Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists besides Jews and Moslems along with numerous others. The Russian people quickly woke up from their spiritual hibernation and began to join these various groups with enthusiasm.
Some of these were described as churches of the catacombs because they kept on functioning under the communist regime underground. one of such churches was the Catholic Russian Orthodox Church which then became officially registered as Orthodox Mother of God Church Derjevnaya. While this Church kept the beautiful liturgical functions of the traditional Russian Orthodox Church, it also incorporated some of the liturgy found in the Roman Catholic Latin Rite. This included the insertion of statues, especially of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in addition to the traditional icons.
Within a short period many Russians began to participate in the weekly liturgical functions of this resurrected Church that was put under the full protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They also established the celebration of the Sobor which consisted of two to three days of a Marian congress that would focus in a unique way on genuine filial love for the Blessed Mother.
As time rolled on, participants in the Sobor events came not only from all over Russia but also from former Soviet Republics especially Ukraine. They also came from other countries like Japan, the United States, and Canada in addition to a few others. The Sobor has been viewed as a heavenly event during which participants would have an out-of-time experience where minutes pass like second and hours like minutes. Each celebration usually lasted from eight to eleven hours. The uniqueness of this experience consisted of the fact that the participants would not feel hungry or thirsty. Not only so, but they would not feel tired. Instead, toward the end they all feel invigorated and full of energy.
Spiritual Enrichment of the Mother of God Church
This Mother of God Church has created new families where the children are raised very spiritually oriented. They are trained from early childhood to practice several virtues like patience, tolerance, meekness, prudence, love, and humility. Besides they develop in them a great sense of duty to be constantly at the service of others. In other words, this Church was contributing to the Russian nation spiritually strong families that would one day create the kind of nation where everyone would want and love to live.
They started their own schools and built their own monasteries. Most importantly was the fact that they developed the habit of communicating on a daily basis with the Blessed Virgin Mary like their own flesh and blood mother. Being with the members of this inspiring Church was viewed as a gift from heaven. For the first time people everywhere began to see that the practice of spirituality is something that comes natural, something that is vital in the fulfillments of one’s total needs in life.
Needless to say, the devil was not pleased with this Mother of God Church, as it has been referred for brief. In fact, he began to find ways how to create obstacles that came this time not from governmental sources but mostly from members of other religious groups, above all the Russian Orthodox Church. It is not clear as to what instigated such groups to create stories about this lively and holy Church of the Blessed Mother. Some suspected that they might have been somewhat disturbed to see so much laity seeking participation in the liturgical function of this Church over that of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The visible persecution of the Mother of God Church dates back to the start of the 21st century, which was supposedly to be the Century of Mary, as the Blessed Mother told the six children in Medjugorje during the decade of the eighties. Needless to say other good religious groups have also been persecuted.
We will now focus on this religious persecution in Russia in its new form.
For all practical purposes, we will proceed here to outline a chronological list of events to demonstrate the de facto religious persecution in Russia that is going on. As already stated, this persecution has taken a new form in the sense that it is not coming directly from governmental sources. once more, let us keep in mind that such a persecution against a religious group, such as the Mother of God Church, is being instigated without any valid reason whatsoever.
Comeback of Religious Persecution
In the year 2000, on the feast that is known as the Holy Orthodoxy, Father Nickolay of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ozeretskoe Village led a procession of his congregation to the Mother of God Church. The purpose was to pray for the condemnation of the priests, brothers and sister of the Mother of God Church and they asked God to send them an epidemic that would terminate their lives! This event was repeated a year later.
In the year 2003, a young girl from Glazovo village, where the Mother of God Church was in operation, threatened the members of the Mother of God Church with bodily harm. Then the same priest mentioned earlier urged adolescents who were camping in the vicinity to burn and destroy the facilities of the Mother of God Church.
In the year 2004, Father Vikentiy Davydov of the Mother of God Church was assaulted by a resident before the eyes of police officers who simply watched and did nothing. The battered priest was even threatened with death and the burning of his Church. This same year, a group of adolescents of Babaikha village got some rifles and threatened to kill two children of the Mother of God Church priest Father Leontiy. They were 8 and 12 years old. The children were branded as “sectarians who needed to be killed!”
In the year 2005, there were constant threats in Novorossiysk City against Father Joseph Gorshkov of the Mother of God Church. His entire family was also threatened. These threats were made by phone that belonged to a Russian Orthodox priest. Then two newspapers in the same city published articles that were full of lies and slanders against this Marian Church.
This same year, the Mother of God Church made an exhibition in Apatity City on Kola Peninsula. A Russian Orthodox priest went to visit the exhibition who quickly denounced it in the local press and as a result the exhibition billboard was destroyed. To turn an insult into injury, the City authorities closed the exhibition without explanation. They justify such persecutions on ground that the members of the Mother of God Church are sectarians, which is not true!
Still in the year 2005, in Moscow an assault was committed on one of the residences of the Mother of God Church. Five men broke into the premises with cries of “Sectarians, get out!” Then they caused a lot of damages to the premises. They hit a visiting professor on the chest with a heavy wood for no reason at all. This incident was reported to the police, but the authorities refused to intervene. They said there was no evidence of any crime!
Continuation of Religious Assaults
In the year 2006, a second assault on the same premises was tried but this time they could not get inside. So they broke the billboard and yard street lamps. They damaged the doors and in red paint they put plenty of graffiti with repeated warnings of “Dangerous sect!” The residents who lived nearby who were friends of the Mother of God Church stopped communicating with this Church’s members. They were afraid that they too might be branded as criminals! Needless to say, the Mother of God Church had several options to react to such brutal assaults, to such an unwarranted persecution. They chose, instead, to keep calm while they prayed to the Blessed Mother for the repentance and conversation of these notorious persecutors.
It is good to keep in mind here that the Church of the catacombs, once it came from underground it had no churches except for the several residences and monasteries the members build everywhere afterwards. For the week end celebration of the liturgy, the Mother of God Church rents cinema halls which are transformed to look like real churches. Since this persecution started, the owners of the cinema halls began to refuse renting their facilities to the Mother of God Church any longer. They said they were forbidden by the Federal Security Service officers. These owners even threatened the Mother of God Church members that if they use any longer a cinema hall for their liturgical services they would plant illegitimate drugs as to have them “falsely” all arrested!
Throughout this presentation we were trying to demonstrate that religious persecution in Russia has taken a new form. In view of what has been stated, we may perhaps start giving a second thought. Russian authorities are becoming involved more as accomplices of criminal assaults rather than as administrators of justice. Democracy and freedom seem to be eroding faster than anticipated. To quote an instance, on December 1, 2006, Security people from the firm Rodon illegally seized the assets of the Mother of God Church. This happened in a rented movie theatre that was changed into a church on a week end to carry out the usual weekly liturgical services. This was done during the public worship itself, while people were praying with great devotion to the Blessed Mother. This certainly constituted an act of theft, an act of organized robbery.
Among other things confiscated we had good audio-video equipment in addition to other costly items. The police acted with arrogance same way as they acted during the time of Lenin and Stalin with perhaps the absence of added physical brutality. All the belongings of the Mother of God Church that were taken by the police were never given back. A week later there was another provocation against the Mother of God Church, this time it came from the public prosecutor’s office and a special military groups of emergency forces.
Bringing Persecution to an End
Armed button men in body armors and with masks broke into the exhibition premises with cries of “Stand still!” Then they arrested and detained nine people consisting of the organizers of the exhibition. Among these there were Bishop Afanasiy Kalinkin, Emanakov E.A., and Malykhina R.I. These good and holy men who spend hours daily in prayer and meditation were totally humiliated as they were filmed on several video cameras while they were ransacked and interrogated. When they asked with simplicity what was their crime, and why was this happening, they didn’t get any answer. The elderly ones who still remember the years of communist horror were under shock.
During the next several days, the main television stations and mass media, NTV (HTB), ORT (OPT), RTR (PTP) broadcasted and disseminated malicious calumnies against the Mother of God Church whose only thing it ever did since it resurrected from the catacombs was to instill genuine love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. Ironically, the Russians have a tradition of love and devotion for the Blessed Mother! Millions of copies of combined public journals and magazines were distributed almost everywhere defaming this pious and decent religious group. In brief, the Mother of God Church was depicted as a criminal organization!
Events of this nature are outrageous. All those responsible for such a demonic-inspired persecution must be brought to justice. They surely own an apology to the Mother of God Church which has a right to exist under the present Russian constitution. This holy church of the Blessed Mother is registered officially and legally. It has attracted a large number of Russians to attend its weekly liturgical services because of the deep spirituality it had to offer to all of those present.
This Church has created very stable families where parents are thoroughly devoted to raising up their children in an atmosphere that is free of violence and hatred. It is obvious that the satanic persecution that developed against this holy religious group did not have any justification whatsoever.
The leading accusation was that this Church was a sect, which is absolutely false. In a sect we always find the founder-leader of the sect put on a high pedestal and treated like he was their God or Messiah in a number of ways. Here the focus of attention has been always the Blessed Virgin Mary. The liturgical function of the Mass is very similar to that of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Wouldn’t be incomprehensive and foolish if someone were serious in accusing the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church as being sects?
Provision of Remedial Remedies
It looks like in Russia we are now being faced by a growing group of fundamentalists that have emerged to be very dangerous. They are shaming the New Holy Russia that came into being following the collapse of communism in the late eighties. They are also disgracing the government of President Vladimir Putin that has enjoyed a high degree of respect by the world at large. They are also reviving the brutalities and lack of freedom that was so visible during the time of Lenin and Stalin.
This persecution against the Orthodox Mother of God Church Derjevnaya must stop abruptly as well as other similar persecutions against religious groups that share similar spiritual objectives. It would be highly appropriate if anyone that hears about this new religious persecution that is going on in Russia were to write to President Vladimir Putin and to ask him to intervene and have this disgraceful abuse to come to an end. After all he is ultimately responsible for the good name of Russia.
Those who become aware of this type of religious persecution that is going on in Russia in a very ruthless way against the Mother of God Church should drop a few lines to their nearest Russian embassy expressing amazement and disapproval of this needless renewal of religious persecution. We should all demand from the government of the Russian Federation an apology and an adequate compensation for the needless and brutal harassment of such holy religious group of the Blessed Mother.
The Mother of God Church in Russia will eventually resurrect from its present moribund state, following the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth. Russia has always been dear to the heart of the Virgin Mary. Going back to Fatima in 1917, the Blessed Mother expressed her desire to see Russia being consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. It is obvious that the Mother of God Church is bound to become in due time a great asset to the entire Russian Federation in particular and the world at large. 23/02/07