Saturday, March 14, 2015

Seeking Agreement in Compromise

"If I am made to walk the plank by a pirate, it is vain for me to offer, as a common-sense compromise, to walk along the plank for a reasonable distance. It is exactly about the reasonable distance that the pirate and I differ. There is an exquisite mathematical split second at which the plank tips up. My common-sense ends just before that instant; the pirate's common-sense begins just beyond it. But the point itself is as hard as any geometrical diagram; as abstract as any theological dogma." [Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). What's Wrong with the World (pp. 14-15). Kindle Edition.]

 It seems for all my life long, when the season changes, I manage to go through my fair share of cough remedies and paper handkerchiefs. It being Lent, I can wax eloquent on the contingency of this our human existence and set my heart on the world to come, where not only will every tear be wiped away, but wheezing and hacking and sniffling will be banished forever... please, God! Even so, it would be nice to be out and about, enjoying the tenuous rays of a pre-spring sunshine, filled with promise. Alas, prudence condemns one to a certain seclusion so as not to terrorize those others also highly susceptible to bronchial ailments and colds. Though not a good substitute for physical exercise and outdoor camaraderie, Chesterton is freeing and brings me a measure of light-hearted consolation, not without intellectual stimulation.

Putin's withdrawal from the public eye for over a week now has many here in Ukraine hoping for real peace and the possibility of finally getting to the work of nation building. Radical change in Moscow as that something which would grant Russians permission to back down from the cruel adventure of invasion and conquest which has obsessed them now for more than a year would be the best possible scenario for Ukraine. It certainly beats "Minsk 2" anyway, which is what came to my mind reading the little Chesterton quote about being forced to walk the plank.

If it all were not so deathly earnest or tragic, one could almost smile at those Europeans who express impatience over Ukrainian resignation in the face of the Minsk deal which was imposed upon them, as an alternative to slaughter. Why argue with a pirate? Inch out there in hopes of a Hollywood rescue? Let's just say, I hope nobody in the West feels offended if I can't feel too impressed by their efforts which seem to facilitate things for the pirate, coaxing poor Ukraine bound out onto the gang plank.

For a time, people tried to rouse the West from its lethargy with menacing words about who'll be next on the plank. It all becomes too contentious, however, and scorns certain truths and principles partly enshrined in law. Why should I have to find extraneous motivations to coax the guarantors of 1994 to live up to their obligations to defend Ukraine's sovereignty? Pacta sunt servanda! Sorry, I'm just saying.

Back to Chesterton!

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