The Feast of Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo
What is going on in the Baltic? A story this week about the Russian ambassador to Denmark’s outburst over his host country’s participation in the NATO missile defense shield brought this to my attention. Last August Denmark, being a NATO member, agreed to have radar for NATO’s new missile defense system installed on one of its frigates. The Russian ambassador to that country Mikhail Vanin decided to make it known last week decided to make it known in one of the country’s largest newspapers that Russia was not happy with that decision. He declared that Denmark did not seem to be “fully aware of the consequences” of that decision, and that Denmark was now “part of the threat to Russia.” And just in case the Danes did not get his point he baldly stated that “Danish warships will now be targets for Russia’s nuclear weapons.”
And then there is this other story emanating from Sweden that has received precisely zero attention in the Western media. The chief analyst for the Swedish security police Wilhelm Unge, addressing a news conference on the topic of increased Russian intelligence activity in his country, made the astonishing claim that “we see Russian intelligence operations in Sweden – we can’t interpret this in any other way – as preparation for military operations against Sweden.” Huh? Russian military operations against Sweden? Is this 2015 or 1618?
Mr. Unge gave reasons for his assessment that included increased Russian military activity in the Baltic including exercises that seemed to be rehearsing bomb runs on Swedish cities, the mysterious submarine incident in November, and the alarming estimate that one third of Russian diplomats operating in Sweden were believed to be intelligence officers.
So what to make of this? The world is changing. We all know that. Russia feels worried and threatened. And Russia is a big power. The Russian leadership and a decent sized segment of the Russian populace seem to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Maidan demonstrations that started in Kiev in November, 2013 that led to the ouster of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych one year ago were an attempt to rip Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and make Kiev, the birthplace of the Russian state and people a millennium ago, a full fledged member and advance base for the anti-Russian North Atlantic alliance. Whether you share that opinion or not the Russians seem to believe this wholeheartedly and that would seem to put all options on the table for them.
If Russia were ever able to put its troops on Swedish and/or Finnish territory (one would seem to go with the other), however that would come about, the world as we have known it would be over. Russia would own the Baltic and its bombers would be in short range of most major European capitals. Neither Sweden nor Finland are members of NATO so in theory, and if the political circumstances were agreeable, Russia could launch military action against either of them without triggering the mutual self defense clause. I suspect that Russia would only ever do something like this if it were desperate and felt that an attempt to overthrow the world order was its only way out. But on the other hand Europe is so weak militarily that it is now relies on the American nuclear deterrent as its sole defense against a Russian onslaught, if Russian ever determined to make that move. Pray. Pray the Rosary. Write a letter to Pope Francis and beg him to join with the bishops of the world to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
And pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples. And join the Rosary Confraternity.