is it just me?

Recent events in Ukraine have reminded me of my teenage years in the midst of the cold war, with regular tit for tat diplomatic expulsions by the various members of the security council, political gamesmanship and populations routinely suffering low levels of fear for the future.

The current media circus in Kiev with the USA ramping up the political rhetoric, visits by Kerry and Hague in as many days, and the equally obtuse behaviour of Putin wouldn't look out of place on a 1970s newsfeed.  How odd that Russia tried and somehow failed with a charm offensive that was the Winter Olympics, and is now on a less than charming offensive winding up elements in Ukraine that are sensitive to their own political leanings.

This political nationalistic posturing is of course reminiscent of the Middle East in many ways, where lasting peace has proved to be somewhat elusive, partly admittedly due to the artificial nature of the creation of the state of Israel in the first place, and the use of the middle east as a pawn by the global super powers.  Consider the current state of trauma that is engulfing Syria, where behind the scenes there is the US on one side and Russia stubbornly protecting their long term ally on the other.

What idea can rise above this never ending impasse that exists in the world that is ruled by national interests.

I think the only way out of this is to subsume our own individual thoughts and feelings, and consider that the teachings of an itinerant Jewish teacher some 2000 years ago have more merit than they are sometimes given.  We are all each others neighbour.  We need therefore to love one another, including our so called enemy - who is our neighbour - otherwise we will hate them and in the end wish to kill them.

It is only by love, that the lie of national interests can by overcome.  It is only by love that ethnic tensions in Ukraine, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, the middle East, central Europe, even the UK (with the longstanding antagonism between Scots and English) can be overcome.

It is only love that can truly conquer all.

May God grant us the grace we need to forgive and love our neighbour, just as He has forgiven and loved us.

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