Am I the only one, or does it seem that Russia is not as formidable as we thought?
Oh, don’t get me wrong – I still believe Russia is a powerful force with which to be reckoned. If nothing else, they possess a massive nuclear arsenal which still poses a threat to all nations.
But how many of you remember the movie Red Dawn (not the remake, but the original)? Remember how Russia and Cuba were thought of, at least in Hollywood, as capable of mounting an invasion of the USA, splitting the nation in two? Scary stuff when I was young.
As a matter of fact, what is NATO but a reaction to the fear of conflict with Russia? NATO was created in order to solidify a unified defense against a monolithic existential threat which seemed unopposable on one’s own.
Yet, what do we see happening right now in Ukraine? What was supposed to be a cake walk for Putin and the well-equipped, numerically superior, immensely intimidating Russian military has turned into a classic example of “pride cometh before a fall.”
Years ago, shortly after the fall of the communist part in Romania, I visited there for about a month. One of the things I was able to do was explore much of the country via automobile, stay in Romanian homes, and talk candidly with those who had once served in the military, both Romanian and Russian.
Even then, all the way back in the early 1990’s, what became evident by what I saw and heard was that propaganda had built a much scarier enemy than what actually existed. I can still remember the exact words that came to mind as so many truths began to be exposed: “We were afraid of this?”
What Putin as done, and what the people of Ukraine have shown, is that Russia is not only completely incapable, but inherently unmotivated to conquer the West through conventional military means. In other words, despite what we have been led to believe, the Russian military is no more capable of rolling over Europe than a high school bully is able to stand up against a scrappy kid who’s decided not to run.
You know, there are spiritual parallels to this story. There are even stories in the Bible which teach us that numerically and technologically superior foes are often given more credit than deserved, especially in the face of indignant, defiant, and Spirit-led resistance.
So often the Church stands by and cowers, never moving forward and never making a stand, for fear that the Enemy is too powerful and the cost for victory is too high. Yet, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming military strength, the average citizens of Ukraine have taken up arms with a will to fight and have exposed the internal corruption already eating away at the gut of the Red Bear.
Remember what a ragtag group of rebels accomplished against what was then the most powerful military in the world, the “redcoats”? It took a change in tactics and was fueled by an undying hunger for freedom, but the American colonies eventually won their freedom from England.
My question to you is this: Is the struggle you face worth fighting for? Many times, the biggest enemy of freedom is our faulty perception of the foe.