War in Ukraine, it is central to ask what the final geopolitical goal is
In the third month of the war in Ukraine Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis present themselves as the “pole” that wants to work more clearly to close the conflict. The French president guarantees the continuation of arms supplies to Ukraine, but the aim of his policy is, admittedly, to get to a table quickly. negotiated. And the emphasis is significant: without inflicting humiliation on Russia, without seeking revenge and revenge.
Francis has already clarified – and his position is shared by a large part of public opinion – that there is no sense in triggering a continuous race for rearmament, it makes no sense to trigger a dangerous escalation of the conflict, and that the solution consists in going out of the box. of political-military blocs, working for an architecture of multipolar coexistence on a global level. A global Helsinki pact. The pontiff kissing the Ukrainian flag of bushing condemned the havoc committed by Russian units and at the same time argues that peace also requires compromises.
On the opposite side are the Baltic countries and Poland, which they see in the defeats already recorded by Putin (failed conquest of Kyiv, failed collapse of Ukraine, disappointing troop results on the ground) the historic opportunity to inflict a final blow, which does not allow it “never again” military adventures. It is the option that rides a part of the Biden administration and, in an ostentatious manner. British Prime Minister Johnson.
In between (between the two “poles” France and the Vatican on one side and the hawks of Eastern Europe plus Great Britain on the other), in addition to Italy, which has just presented a project for a peaceful path to the UN, also Germania e Spain, pushing for a ceasefire. Moreover, Italian public opinion is much more determined and closer to the positions of the Argentine pontiff. The latest Demopolis poll indicates that 68 percent of Italians want the European Union to engage in mediation between Russia and Ukraine to “reach a truce as soon as possible”.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has sent his Foreign Minister, Msgr. Paul Gallagher, for a political survey, to better understand the intentions of the Kyiv government and the positions of the Ukrainian Catholic and Greek-Catholic hierarchy. The idea aired by the Ukrainian leadership of a total withdrawal of the Russians to their pre-2014 positions is fully considered in the Vatican unrealistic. For the Holy See it is one thing to face Putin in legitimate defense against the invasion, a concept repeatedly evoked by Cardinal Parolin, one thing is the pursuit of a “victory”, destabilizing due to the uncontrollable and irresponsible spiral of escalation that would ensue.
There are no holy wars for Francis. He told Patriarch Kirill in the famous video interview in March and the same message also applies to Kyiv. “The leaders of the nations – is his thought – must not lose the nose of the people, who want peace and know very well that they never carry arms”. On this line, in the Catholic Church troubled for years by opposing trends, a large transversal majority supports Pope Bergogliofrom reformists to conservatives, from the veteran of the conciliar and post-conciliar season Raniero La Valle to the traditionalist circles that find themselves on the social networks of Rosso Porpora.
Zelensky does not seem to have much sympathy for the Pope in his geopolitical version. In the interview with Porta a Porta, you have confined Francis to a harmless niche as a producer of prayers. “When the Pope prays for Ukraine – he said – he does what a person of faith can do: pray for God to help us”. In short, the pontiff in Rome is fine if he is in his place, to pray, and at the most, he takes care of organizing humanitarian corridors. It is not the role to which the great popes of the decades between these two centuries limited themselves: John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and today Francis. The Ukrainian president also reiterated his aversion to The Way of the Cross organized by the Vatican with the presence of two women, one Ukrainian and one Russian, holding the cross. They showed up, he declared, “two people carrying two flags, the Russian and the Ukrainian as if there were friendship. We couldn’t accept it, I’m sorry. That flag is the one under which they are killing us… ”. The story of the flags is fake. There was never any flag to the Via Crucis. The two women held only the cross and the Russian woman, on the day of the invasion, had cried for forgiveness from her Ukrainian friend.
But the story is instructive for the total control that the government of Kyiv intends to exercise on every narrative and information. Only one TV information channel is allowed since the beginning of the conflict. And if Zelensky doesn’t want to, no one can see Francis’ Via Crucis on television. As indeed happened in Ukraine. The Cross that overcomes evil, death, and hatred, prefiguring a peace to be built between two peoples who will be free and brothers tomorrow, had to be erased from the screen.
There is another point on which the Vatican and the government of Kiev are very distant. The Ukrainian vice-premier on Italian television Iryna Vereshchuk he reiterated that “all Russians” are responsible for the ongoing war and therefore for its consequences. All. Extremist nationalism is something that repulses the Vatican. We have already seen in the Balkan wars, in the space of the former Yugoslavia, how many disasters the unbridled fanaticism of inter-ethnic hatred has brought. In the Vatican, you don’t want to see such a replay.
And yet in Kyiv, where he met the Ukrainian foreign minister Drunk, Msgr. Paul Gallagher acknowledged that the wounds inflicted by the Russian invasion are profound: “It is difficult to speak of peace, of reconciliation now because, in the hearts of the people the suffering, the wounds are so deep that time must be given”. In any case, underlines Gallagher, it remains necessary to arrive at an “authentic negotiation process … the right way to a fair and permanent resolution”.
Il Cardinal Bassettioutgoing president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, very close to the pontiff, sums up the Future: the ongoing conflict is madness, one cannot think of building peace with the arms race, “we are next to the Ukrainian people attacked by Russian troops”, but it is time for the Church and society to start a peace crusade to get to the negotiation.
A veil of hypocrisy. When it is argued that it is up to Kyiv alone to decide the terms of peace, it seems to be a way of not discovering the cards on the objectives of the ongoing war. A war that is no longer the clash between the Russian invader Goliath and the attacked Ukrainian David, but has now turned into a conflict between the United States (with NATO) and Russia, in which Ukraine is the ring. It then becomes central to ask what is the final geopolitical goal of the conflict. A great recession is knocking at the door: inflation, stagnation, unemployment for hundreds of thousands of people, food crisis for millions, migration crisis in large numbers. The “intuition of the people”, Francis would say, demands to know exactly what they would be called to pay such a high price for. For the Crimea?