Nordics, NATO, and Entangling Alliances

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The prime ministers of Sweden and Finland, Magdalena Andersson and Sanna Marin, both signaled last Wednesday that they will likely be applying for membership in NATO.

The “prospect” is most “welcome,” says the Washington Post: “Finland and Sweden Should Join NATO.”

The editorial was titled “A Way to Punish Putin.”

Before joining the rejoicing in NATO capitals, we might inspect what NATO membership for these two Nordic nations would mean for the United States.

Finland is a nation the size of Germany, but with a population only 4 percent of that of Russia and a border with Russia that is 830 miles long.

Should Finland join NATO, the United States, under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, would be obligated to go to war with the world’s largest nuclear power to retrieve Finnish lands that an enraged Russia might grab.

Moscow has already indicated that, should Sweden and Finland join NATO, Russia will introduce new nuclear weapons into the Baltic region.

Why is it wise for us to formally agree, in perpetuity, as NATO is a permanent alliance, to go to war with Russia, for Finland?

Given the war in Ukraine and concomitant crisis in Eastern Europe, it is understandable why Stockholm and Helsinki would seek greater security beneath the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

But why would we voluntarily agree to give Sweden and Finland these war guarantees? Why would we commit to go to war with Putin’s Russia, a war that could, and likely would, escalate to the use of tactical nuclear weapons, especially if Russia were losing?

Finland was neutral during the Cold War. Sweden has been neutral since the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century.

How did we suffer from their neutrality?

In Helsinki and Stockholm, the benefit of a U.S.-NATO commitment to go to war for Finland or Sweden is understandable.

But how does it benefit our country, the USA, to be obligated to go to war with a nation that commands the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons—over some quarrel in the Baltic Sea or Gulf of Finland that does not affect us?

Asked for his view on Sweden and Finland’s campaign to join NATO, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had a note of warning:

“We have repeatedly said that the (NATO) alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation and its further expansion will not bring stability to the European continent.”

Should Putin’s Russia clash with Finland or Sweden today, the U.S. is free to respond, or not to respond, as it sees fit, depending on our own assessment of risks and rewards.

Why not keep it that way? Why surrender our freedom of action in some future collision involving our main adversary?

History holds lessons for us here.

In March 1939, six months after Munich, when Czechoslovakia disintegrated into its ethnic components, Britain issued an unsolicited war guarantee to Poland, then negotiating with Germany over the port city of Danzig taken from Germany by the victorious Allies after World War I.

Collective security is said to be a good idea.

But the core of NATO security is provided by U.S. war guarantees, while …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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America’s parents aren’t ‘woke’ but they are awake to gender ideology education plans

By Virginia Gentles Children across New Jersey are struggling to read. Yet the state expects young children to master the confusing and convoluted tenets of gender ideology. …read more

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The hope of Easter eclipses the darkness of Ukraine

By Dr. Robert Jeffress For those in Ukraine, there is nothing good in what is happening to them. But I want to assure you that although God’s answer to their prayers may not come immediately, it will come ultimately. …read more

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Wake Nicodemus

By Declan Leary

Nobody ever tells you who Barabbas really was. I remember, as a child, watching cartoon depictions of Christ’s Passion (and one time—early enough for the violence and the Satan Baby to be permanently scarring—Mel Gibson’s graphic version), in which the prisoner offered by Pilate to be freed is presented as a terrifying thug. He is always muscular and bearded, usually shirtless, sometimes tattooed. In Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, his right eye is dead and glazed over, his front teeth black and jagged, his demeanor wild and manic in hyperbolic contrast to the stolid Jesus of Nazareth.

Maybe he was all of these things; I doubt I would want to run into him in a dark Jerusalem alley. But he was not, as the narrative we teach our children usually suggests, a simple murderer. His crime was political: He had committed murder during an uprising against the Roman occupiers. He was one of the Zealots, a sect whose adherents Josephus says “agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord.” He may even have been a sicarius, a dagger-wielder: a splinter group of anti-occupation terrorists who hid sicae in the folds of their cloaks to assassinate Romans quickly only to fade back into a crowd.

It was also theological. The Jews had been promised deliverance. With subjection to the Romans only the latest in a centuries-long string of oppressions and indignities, many began to tire of waiting for God’s assurance to be fulfilled. And so his name, bar-Abbas (“son of the father”), signifies a choice: between the King whose kingdom is not of this world, and a pretender who promises liberation in the here and now. Only when we understand this does the choice of the Jews make sense. It is no senseless indulgence of some random street criminal, but an option for a temporal champion, an idol, over the true Messiah. In some sources, the man’s name is recorded as Jesus Barabbas.

The freeing of Barabbas can then be understood as a warning against the zealots of our own day and age—and it is that. But we must be mindful of letting caution morph into quietism. The reality of the temptation to “immanentize the eschaton” does not give us permission, much less a mandate, to step aside and let history run its course.

To illustrate the risk of overcompensation, we might look to the man who offered the choice between Jesus and Barabbas: Pontius Pilate, the governor of the Roman province of Judea. Here again, the political quietists misunderstand the Passion’s implications. Our Lord, they say, was killed by the government; His persecution, much like that attempted by Herod decades earlier, sits at the beginning of a long tradition of Church-state animosity. But Pilate is no tyrant: He simply washes his hands and steps aside. He does, in fact, exactly what we risk doing when we are overcome by too much fear of …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Roger Scruton’s Life Against the Tide

By Paul Krause

Against the Tide: The Best of Roger Scruton’s Columns, Commentaries, and Criticism, by Roger Scruton, edited by Mark Dooley (Bloomsbury, 2022), 242 pages.

“Society depends on the saints and heroes who can once again place [music, poetry and art] before us and show us their worth.” Roger Scruton did precisely that throughout his life. And because he defended the truth and beauty of the arts, religion, and social life from the onslaught of modernity, he was ostracized from the academy, which has turned its back on the goods of existence and promoted hatred and resentment in its place. Even so, his tenacity in the defense of the important things in life—those eternal things the heavens hold—merited begrudging admiration and respect from his philistine enemies.

Against the Tide: The Best of Roger Scruton’s Columns, Commentaries, and Criticism reveals Roger through the decades of his public intellectual life. We are treated to Scruton the man, Scruton the stalwart defender of “conservatism,” Scruton the critic of the fashionable pieties of the left, Scruton the defender of the sacred and transcendent, and more. Over 40 years of Scruton’s columns and commentaries, published and unpublished, as well as diary entries are gifted to us in this remarkably concise but substantive volume.

Most of the included pieces are short columns from Scruton’s stint writing for the Times and freelancing with other British newspapers. Other short essays come from his time as editor of the Salisbury Review, the history of which we are treated to in the introductory essay published in the Spectator. Speaking of that venerable redoubt of intellectual culture and criticism, many of the longer-form critical essays included in this volume are from Scruton’s time writing for that journal. We are therefore graced with a mix of short opinion pieces from newspapers far and wide in America and England, longer critical essays in premier cultural journals, and personal diary entries that give us a window into the heart, mind, and anguish of this bardic soul.

Is there a theme that unites this seemingly disparate collection of writings? One might be inclined to say the intellect—after all, Scruton was a leading public intellectual for most of his life and certainly the entirety of his public career. While there is truth to this, I would submit another theme: love. Love, as those who have studied Scruton extensively or had the opportunity to study under him personally know, is the great theme that preoccupied his soul.

Writing of his work in the anti-communist underground in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland, Scruton described the dissident students and intellectuals yearning to claim the hearts of their national cultures that were suppressed by the Stalinist authorities in Moscow and their lackeys in the satellite capitals of the Warsaw Pact (threatened today by the soft Bolsheviks of Brussels). Young men and women, Scruton tells us, hungered for something that was theirs—something that they could affix their hearts to and gravitate towards and triumphantly and passionately shout “Mine!” while simultaneously sharing that culture, identity, and tradition …read more

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LGBT conservatives don’t buy into the woke Left’s radical view that sex and gender are meaningless

By Charles Moran We aren’t afraid to call out anyone on the Left who uses “equality” as a Trojan Horse to push a radical cultural agenda that, in reality, has nothing to do with actual LGBT rights. …read more

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Budapest: You Can’t Build Anything Down

By Bradley Devlin

Last August, Fox News host Tucker Carlson took his show on the road to Hungary after Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) invited Carlson to attend MCC Feszt in Esztergom. During his week of broadcasting, Carlson interviewed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, filmed a documentary titled Hungary vs. Soros: Fight for Civilization, and devoted segments of his nightly show to praising the Orbán government for its family and migration policies. He capped off his trip by giving a speech titled “The World According to Tucker Carlson,” which compared the current political conditions in Hungary and the West and argued that the egotism of Western elites have brought their civilization to its knees.

The 30-minute speech prompted all-too-common pearl clutching from liberal establishment media. Erik Wemple of the Washington Post claimed Hungary had “punked” Carlson, whom he called a “savvy purveyor of disinformation.” Joseph Peterson, a no-named assistant professor, also managed to get his take on Carlson’s speech—that it was “laced with White nationalist pablum”—published by the Post. Author Casey Michel, writing for NBC News, compared Carlson and Orbán to the Bad Orange Man—the worst possible insult from a left-winger.

What went unnoticed in Carlson’s speech, however, were his comments on Hungary’s aesthetic beauty and its rich, classical architecture. “I just can’t resist saying this because we’re standing in the middle of Central Europe, looking at this vista, which really moves me, looking at these buildings, which move me,” Carlson said.

“The landscape of Hungary, a few Soviet remnants notwithstanding,” Carlson simply stated, “is pretty.”

“The buildings are pretty. The architecture uplifts. So this is another third-rail in American politics: you’re not allowed to note that our buildings are grotesque and dehumanizing,” he said. “Why are they bad? Because they’re ugly, and ugly dehumanizes us. Let me be more precise about what I mean when I say dehumanizing. Dehumanizing is the act of convincing people that they don’t matter; that they are less significant than the larger whole; that they are not distinct souls; that they are not unique; that they are not created by God; that they are merely putty in the hands of some larger force; that they must obey. This is what all authoritarian movements do: ‘You don’t matter.’”

Carlson continued, “Ugly architecture, brutalist architecture, glass and steel architecture, Mies van der Rohe architecture, was designed to send that message. Not to uplift, but to oppress, and it is very noticeable. And this is never noted in the United States, which has, unfortunately, overtime has had its aesthetic sense dulled. We’ve been told it’s not important—what matters is GDP.”

“I’m not against wealth, for sure,” Carlson clarified, “but I would trade it to live in a pretty place that uplifts your spirit by looking at it.”

Whether Carlson was aware of it or not when he delivered his keynote address, he hit on a subject matter central to the Orbán government’s nation-building project. Since 2010, Hungary’s government has made a concerted effort to restore Budapest’s classical architecture, much …read more

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Easter reminds us Good Friday’s darkness always gives way to hope

By Harry Hargrave Toward the end of his life, Gib Singleton—one of the great Western and biblical bronze sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries—was bound to a wheelchair and an oxygen machine. …read more

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