War. War Never Changes.

“War. War never changes…

The romans waged war to gather slaves and wealth. Spain built an empire from its lust for gold and territory. Hiltler shaped a battered Germany into an economic superpower.

But war never changes.”

Erickson, Gregory, and Santana, Richard W.. Religion and Popular Culture: Rescripting the Sacred, 2d Ed.. United States, McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers, 2016.

Today, I’m going to begin by discussing a popular piece of pop culture that has stayed with me since I was a child. Its profound simplicity and relevancy are tragically true and relevant today. Around three months ago, it was common knowledge in news outlets and internet forums that the current US president had made a strong prediction that Russia would invade Ukraine.

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“Biden said Putin “will be held accountable” and has “never have seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed” if Russia makes further moves against Ukraine.”


Bold affirmations of “accountability” were strongly promoted in this mentioned source, as well as many others. Perhaps a way to deter hostility, however, the tactic did not result in prevention. Today, the world’s second-largest country—now its entire nation—is subjected to terrible atrocities, openly visible war crimes in an era of unprecedented documentation. Every Ukrainian citizen and soldier with a smartphone may now share the horrors they are experiencing firsthand at the hands of the Russian government. There is no spin, no propaganda campaign that will be able to protect the assaulting countries from the growing evidence of truth.

This latest invasion has, by all accounts, generated the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, in the massive escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war that began eight years ago. With so much to say and discuss in this relevant government crisis, I wanted to focus on a single observation, possibly at a very human moment, that I found both compelling and haunting.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time as part of the 2019 Paris summit program. At the time, the leaders were trying to find a way to resolve the associated struggle, which had been going on for about five years. A battle that might quickly escalate into a full-fledged invasion, leading to what could be known as WWIII.

With a topic that is essentially unfolding every day, one that is so vast and complicated in scope, I wanted to wrap up the conversation with some very human levels of involvement. In the news media video coverage of President Zelensky meeting Putin in person, there is almost an eager thrill that can be seen as he meets Putin for the first time. This author imagines that there was so much hope but also perhaps some kind of “star-struck” atmosphere. This was due to the fact that at the time, the new Ukrainian president was sitting across from a former intelligence officer and a long-standing Russian President.

In all, it seemed hopeful, and perhaps Zelensky was a bit enamored with the situation. In what I feel is unsettling with the power of hindsight today, there is a moment where Putin gives himself to Zelensky at that same summit. In all the horror occurring today in the invasion of Ukraine, the destruction of the country, the literal murder of its people, this interview held years ago is incredibly haunting to me. It highlights the secrecy, the unknown motives, and perhaps evil that can occur beneath the guise of pleasant behaving government leaders meeting to discuss the future of millions of lives. Had it been successful, perhaps it could have been a powerful example of human diplomacy at a government level.

As it stands today, it is a haunting example of failed hope in the face of unspeakable evil.

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