Pope Francis demolishes the Western narrative on Russia
There is something about a businessman that often allows him to tell it like it is without fear of repudiation or censure. Maybe it has to do with the intensity of his devotion, or maybe it reflects his deep understanding of morality and the difference between right and wrong.
Be that as it may, a laboriously constructed fiction surrounding the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict came crashing down on May 3, when Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, addressed a surprisingly candid Italian publication.
Without beating around the bush, the Sovereign Pontiff stated bluntly that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been forced to invade Ukraine because of “NATO barking at Russia’s gates”. To avoid any confusion or ambiguity, he repeated: “I have no way of knowing if his [Putin’s] the rage was provoked…but I suspect it may have been facilitated by the attitude of the West”.
So now the most influential religious figure in the world had openly laid the blame for the Russian-Ukrainian conflict at the feet of the West. And with that, Pope Francis shredded every moral stance that America and Europe had taken during this war, to leave the so-called nobility of the West, and their false savior complex, in complete shreds.
For months Western politicians and their shockingly nimble mainstream media have been busy crafting an elaborate narrative. By this, Joe Biden, America, the West and NATO were on the side of the angels. Ukraine was the poor lamb waiting to be rescued by them from the deadly claws of a big Russian bear. And Putin was the new monster, ready to unleash instability and carnage not only on Ukraine, but on the West as well.
They have conquered the highest moral standards through their absolute control of major social media platforms, the most popular TV channels with the widest reach, and a relentless barrage of carefully crafted print articles. It was the binary of binaries, almost Sith-like in its formulation, where anyone not with the West was against them.
swarajya didn’t buy that guts and argued from the start that America, along with Europe, was building this narrative for a very different set of reasons. Presenting Russia as an expansionist power, which deserved immediate isolation, was a cover to ensure Ukraine’s absorption into NATO. Second, it would then allow him to place a nuclear missile deterrent system in what was, by any definition, clearly Russia’s sphere of influence – if it so wished. And thirdly, America could then become Europe’s main energy supplier.
It was a nice project. All of a sudden, the American economy would begin to sizzle, Europe’s dependence on Russian oil, gas and coal would end, Russia’s wings would be firmly clipped, and America would regain some control over world energy prices.
And in the person of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the West had a perfect puppet, who let things slide into a violent conflagration that destroyed his country.
Not a word has been said about the original flashpoint – when the Americas orchestrated regime change in Ukraine in 2014 (blithely called a “color revolution” in left-liberal parlance); or, the indescribable horrors that ethnic Russians had to endure, at the hands of brutal Ukrainian militias.
Sadly, this elaborate scenario has now been torn to pieces, after Pope Francis gave his mind so freely in public and made it clear that Putin was forced to invade Ukraine because NATO was barking at the gates of Russia.
The implications are significant.
The pope’s views are fully in line with those of Putin, who too has been saying for more than eight years now that Western efforts to draw Ukraine into NATO were a series of red lines that would lead to conflict. This is exactly what happened, and .
Second, the pope is not just any ordinary commentator whose opinions can be dismissed or scorned by a violent media barrage. On the contrary, his views carry more weight in more parts of the world than most appreciate.
Third, readers should remember that the office of Pontiff is considered a post of apostolic succession, which means that it represents a direct and unbroken line of theological, spiritual and devotional continuity from the Apostles of Jesus Christ down to at present time. So politicians and their media spin-docs should think long and hard before they dare to contradict Pope Francis or, God forbid, say he is telling a lie.
Fourth, the Catholic constituency in Europe and North America is quite large. Joe Biden is Catholic. They constitute a third of Europe and Canada, a fifth of America, and are the majority in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Lithuania, all NATO members. The last thing a politician would dare to do in these circumstances is to attack the Pope; he or she can lose Ukraine, but not the vote.
Fifthly, the Pope’s statement will now challenge the multiple immoral games being played by the Americans and Europe in Ukraine, beginning with the “Euromaidan” color revolution and the blatant regime change of 2013-2014, the devastation suffered by majority Russian regions of Ukraine since then, the silence maintained by their press about it and the brazen way they pushed Russia to invade Ukraine this year.
To make matters worse, Pope Francis expanded his views beyond Ukraine and Russia to address other conflict zones in the same interview. According to him, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and parts of Africa are in the same predicament because “international interests are at stake”. [his words]. Surely no one in Washington DC or London wants the bogeyman of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq to be raked over again, or the absurdity of siding with al-Qaeda in Syria against the President Bashar al-Assad, but now it is.
Why the pope chose to speak the way he did, how politicians may react, and whether his strong words mean a possible quick end to the ongoing conflict is a play for another day. But this is clear: the credibility of NATO and the West is mud.
Perhaps the best Biden can do right now is to expect from his pope and get his government and allies to practice the most Catholic of principles: “the truth will set you free.” Otherwise, the immorality they unleashed against Russia and Ukraine will haunt them for generations.