Notebook

Revolution

Trying to understand the background for the war in Ukraine, we are brought up against deeply troubling realisations. I have been salutarily provoked by the analyses of Professor John Mearsheimer, much cited in recent weeks in a variety of media. It is uncanny to revisit now this lecture, which he gave seven years ago at the university of Chicago, where he occupied a distinguished chair. What strikes me most is his emphasis on the fact that, to a certain way of thinking, it will seem expedient to ‘wreck’ an entire nation to ensure one’s own strategic advantage. James Meek made much the same point in a carefully argued 1 March podcast for the LRB. An agenda that coolly envisages destruction for destruction’s sake is surgically dehumanised. All the more powerful is Archbishop’s Shevchuk’s repeated pleas (here, for instance) for a focus on personhood. What is a Christian response to iniquitous violence? ‘We should do everything possible to express our respect for the dignity of the human person.’ The archbishop calls, not only for Christians’ obedience to Gospel standard. He calls for a revolution of politics.