with a Whimper or a Bang?


So, what will become the next, and most dangerous, stage III of the war?

By: Victor Davis Hanson

American Greatness

September 14, 2022

Russia started the war with Ukraine in late February with a shock-and-awe effort to grab Kyiv. It failed both to decapitate the government and absorb half the country in one fell swoop. 

Soon the conflict descended into a war of attrition in Eastern Ukraine over the occupied majority of Russian-speaking borderlands. 

That deadlock was eventually going to be resolved by relative morale, manpower, and supply.

Would the high-tech weaponry and money of the United States and Europe allow heroic Ukrainian forces to be better equipped than a larger Russian force—drawing on an economy 10 times greater and a population nearly four times larger than Ukraine’s?

After the latest sudden Ukrainian territorial gains and embarrassing Russian retreats, we now know the answer. 

Russia may be bigger and richer than Ukraine, but it is not up to the combined resources of the United States, along with the nations of NATO and the European Union. 

Most are now in a de facto proxy war with an increasingly overwhelmed Russia. And so far, a circumspect China has not stepped in to try to remedy the Russian dilemma. 

So, what will become the next, and most dangerous, stage III of the war? 

A heady Ukraine believes it now has the wherewithal to clear out the entire occupied Donbas and turn southward to free Crimea. To complete that agenda of rolling back all Russian aggression since 2014, it may step up hitting strategic targets across the Russian border and on the Black Sea.

Again, what will a nuclear Russia—run by an ailing, desperate autocrat—do when a far smaller Ukraine finally and deservedly humiliates her before a global audience?

Will Putin cut off all European energy supplies to force a European end to supplying Ukraine? 

Russia has all but done that. But so far Putin has gained little strategic advantage on the battlefield, despite current European fears of an impending bitter winter.

Will Putin go fully medieval on Ukraine, like the carnage in Chechnya when he leveled Grozny in 2000? 

But a European Ukraine is vast compared to tiny Chechnya. And the Chechens even without allies still withstood a decade of savage Russian brutality.

So how will Putin survive his self-created disaster that may have cost him nearly 100,000 casualties, and now risks losing him all the territorial advances from 2014? 

Will Russia mobilize its entire army, drop its silly euphemism “special military operation,” and finally try to crush Ukraine with a full Soviet-style assault? 

But that escalation might push an already restive Russian population into open and angry defiance. 

Can he just admit defeat, slink back home, and stop the massive Russian hemorrhaging? 

Yet can Putin take his chances that sacked generals, money-losing oligarchs, and the embarrassed Russian street will fear his bloodstained reach too much to neuter or remove him?

Will Putin instead keep declaring that Russia is not losing to Ukraine, but to the United States and NATO—even though the West is only doing to him what an opportunistic Russia once did to America in both its Vietnam and Afghanistan fiascos

Putin would then keep portraying himself and Russia as the victim of this conflict. He would drone on that the United States, by supplying the Ukrainians weapons, is now the “aggressor”—as our new proxy keeps hitting more targets inside Mother Russia, sinks more ships of the Black fleet, and assassinates more Russian generals. 

Putin’s only way to keep his cred, back up his dangerous brinkmanship, and retain power is apparently to play defender of Mother Russia and continue threatening the use of a tactical nuclear weapon—perhaps against the Ukrainian nuclear power complex or Kyiv itself.

That final gambit of an updated version of the Cuban missile crisis is something the American people need to stop simply discounting. Do our leaders know for certain that the man Joe Biden once dubbed a “killer” is merely yesterday’s empty bluffer?

Of course, Putin deserves all he is suffering. And the Ukrainians warrant the world’s thanks for repelling a brutal aggressor. 

But that moral and strategic victory is still a very different story from America sliding into a nuclear confrontation with a desperate autocrat. Do the American people support offering up their nuclear umbrella to a non-NATO, former Russian republic?

And not so long ago, the United States advantageously saw Russia as a useful triangulation to the greater threat of Chinese aggression.

Western agendas is that so far they in toto appear mutually exclusive.

Consequently, the question remains: How exactly does the United States all at once avoid the resumption of a Verdun-like, endless bloodbath on the Ukrainian-Russian border, reject any negotiated settlement until Ukraine unambiguously wins the war and expels every Russian from all its territory, prevent a wounded Putin from using a tactical nuclear weapon—and circumvent a head-to-head showdown with Russia and its 7,000 nukes?

Modern-Day Pharisees

By: Judd Garrett

Objectivity is the Objective

September 14, 2022

The two groups in America that are the most often and pervasively mischaracterized by our culture and by mainstream media are Christians and Conservatives. These two groups are not merely presented as caricatures of themselves, but as mirror opposites of their very nature and essence. And it is all done to discredit and even destroy these groups. 

Christians are continually mischaracterized as judgmental people who want to throw anyone who does not agree with their beliefs or who engages in behavior that they disapprove of, into the fires of hell for eternity. When in reality, Christianity is possibly the least judgmental and most forgiving religion there is. The entire Christian belief is centered around forgiveness of sins. Jesus came to earth and allowed himself to be tortured, crucified, and killed, as the ultimate sacrifice for us, to forgive us of our sins, and to offer us redemption as a sinner. That is the crux of the entire religion, forgiveness of sins and redemption, not by our own actions but by the grace of God. 

Non-judgmental forgiveness is embedded throughout Jesus’ teachings. He taught, “do unto others as you would have done unto you.” He warned, “judge not lest ye be judged.” He commanded, “he, who is without sin, may cast the first stone.” Jesus told the parable of the prodigal son – the story of the young man, who after squandering his inheritance on reckless, extravagant living, was welcomed back into his father’s home with open arms. 

Forgiveness, non-judgment, and redemption are integral parts of Christian philosophy. This is not to say that there is not a standard behavior that is expected for Christians to strive to uphold, and if we deviate from it, it is considered a sin. But there is a general belief and understanding among Christians that we are all sinners, saved only by the grace of God. But time and again, the people who want to destroy Christianity, continually tell the world that Christians are unforgiving and judgmental – the exact opposite of what and who we are. 

They are projecting their own judgementalism onto us. They are the ones who are unforgiving. They are the ones who promote cancel culture, who do not allow a person to redeem himself for his sins. They are the most judgmental group of people in our society, yet they will claim that Christians are. In their ideology, there is no room for forgiveness, there is no room for redemption. They judge people and deem them either worthy or unworthy.

The very people who are constantly trying to disrupt the binary way of thinking – right and wrong, good and evil, male and female, black and white, have created a very self-serving binary. If you agree with them, then you are a good person, and if you don’t agree with them, then you are evil. There’s no nuance in their approach. If you’re thinking anyway deviates from their orthodoxy, then you deserve to be canceled, and erased from society. Cancel culture is the ultimate and most destructive binary. If you put something up on social media that goes against their way of thinking, it is taken down. There’s no room for a gray area in their mindset, you are either in or you’re out.

It is the same thing for Conservatives. Conservatives are continually mischaracterized by the left and the mainstream media as being the opposite of who they really are. Conservatives are the ones who believe in our Constitution, who believe in our democracy, and who want to protect our election system from fraud. Conservatives are the ones who love America, who are the real patriots. Conservatives are the ones who will defend America from all attacks both foreign and domestic. Conservatives believe in law and order. 

The people who are claiming that Conservatives are against our Constitution are the ones who want to destroy our Constitution. They are the ones who are undercutting the first amendment with their government-induced big tech censorship, who want to repeal the second amendment, and who are trampling upon our fourth amendment rights. They are the ones who want to Pack the Supreme Court so the Justices will twist the Constitution to fit their wants and needs. 

The people who are claiming that Republicans are against law and order, are the ones who have opened our southern border and allowed tens of thousands of criminal aliens to come into our country. They are the ones who have empowered the drug cartels to control our border and ship tons of fentanyl into this country, killing over a hundred thousand Americans every year. They are the ones who set up sanctuary cities where laws are not enforced against criminal aliens. They are the ones who encouraged five straight months of rioting in our cities. They are the ones who defunded the police and are doing away with cash bail so violent criminals are let back onto the street to commit more violence. 

They call Conservatives racist when they are the ones who judge people based solely on the color of their skin. They warn against violent extremists on the right while they support violent leftist extreme groups like Antifa and BLM. They claim the one riot at the Capital was an existential threat to America but stated that the 500 riots which destroyed many of our major cities were necessary and “peaceful protests”. They are the ones who want to hold people today accountable for sins other people of their same skin color committed 155 years ago. 

They will tell us that Conservatives are against democracy when they are the ones who have challenged the results of every major election they have lost over the last 20 years. They are the ones who are implementing universal mail-in ballots, unsecured drop boxes, no voter ID, and no signature match, all of which make our elections extremely vulnerable to fraud. They claim that Conservatives are not patriotic and don’t love America whereas the Democrats are actively trying to destroy America. They are the ones who want to erase our history, denigrate our founders, and claim our founding was illegitimate. They are the ones that are trying to destroy the principles and ideals which are the foundation of this country. They are the ones who are tearing down statues of our founders, and publicly disrespecting the American flag and our National Anthem.

As always, they are accusing us of what they’re doing. The devil mixes the truth with his lies. They are masters of that. They live in the world of half-truths. They are trying to turn us against ourselves. That is what they are doing to Christians, and what they are doing to Conservatives. The calling card of the Democrats, the people trying to destroy Conservatives is hypocrisy. But the good news is that Jesus continually called out the hypocrites who were trying to destroy him, and we must stand up to and call out the liars and hypocrites who are trying to destroy us. Hypocrisy is not a new phenomenon. Hypocrisy is fundamental to humanity. Christians have been fighting hypocrites since the days Jesus was walking this planet. And all we can do is continually point out their hypocrisy.

The problem is that these people have no shame of their hypocrisy, no embarrassment of their willful disingenuousness. They only care about the money and power they receive from their hypocrisy. Even though they may appear to be winning, they are not. When Jesus was crucified, at the time, the Pharisees thought they had won, but they had not. Jesus won. Jesus became that much greater in death than in life. The Pharisees were standing in the presence of the living truth, and not only couldn’t recognize the truth, but they also tried to discredit the truth and ultimately killed the truth. Who wants to be that person, the liar, the hypocrite, the weak, who lied to and misrepresented Jesus to take him down to preserve their fleeting power and position? No one wants to go down in history as a Pharisee regardless of what the history books say. And those forces who are deceitfully trying to destroy Christians and Conservatives, are the modern-day Pharisees. And who wants to be a pharisee?

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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