Notebook

Existential War?

In today’s audience, the Holy Father firmly condemned the massacre of Bucha, calling again for peace. In the light of what has taken place in Ukraine in the past 48 hours, Sergey Karaganov’s recent conversation with Bruno Maçães, is even more preoccupying. Karaganov, a former adviser to Putin, affirms: ‘Russia cannot afford to ‘lose’, so we need a kind of a victory. And if there is a sense that we are losing the war, then I think there is a definite possibility of escalation. This war is a kind of proxy war between the West and the rest –  Russia being, as it has been in history, the pinnacle of ‘the rest’ – for a future world order. The stakes of the Russian elite are very high – for them it is an existential war.’

I find myself thinking of a speech Otto von Habsburg made almost twenty years ago, in 2003, looking eastward and pointing presciently to Europe’s gullibility in taking its security for granted.