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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The days of Soviet gamesmanship are here again. The neo-Stalinist dictator of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is invading Georgia at the same time his puppet President, Dmitry Medvedev, has signed a “cease fire” agreement.

Under this “cease fire” Russian troops will supposedly “withdraw” from Georgia, but not from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two “breakaway regions” that Moscow now claims for Russia. Medvedev announced that “it’s ‘unlikely’ the two breakaway regions… will be able to stay in one state with Georgia,” whereas Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that “Georgia could ‘forget about’ getting back those provinces.” (Fox News, August 16, 2008)

Moreover, under the “cease fire” Russia has acquired the right to take “security measures” throughout Georgian territory: a loophole big enough to drive a Russian tank column through. Hence, as Fox News reported on August 16: “Russian troops were deployed in large numbers west of Igoeti, in and around the strategic city of Gori,” and Foreign Minister Lavrov “said Russian troops would not withdraw until Moscow is satisfied that security measures its forces are allowed to take under the agreement are effective.”

This is the old Soviet game of “two steps forward, one step back.” While making a big show of its “retreat,” the Kremlin has actually gained ground — ground from which to launch the next two-step maneuver.

Meanwhile, President Bush is reduced to issuing “stern warnings” and airlifting CARE packages into Georgia on US military transports — a move that creates the potential for an incident between Russian and American soldiers, while doing nothing to roll back the net Soviet advance.

What’s next? Look for Putin to make a move of some kind on the Ukraine and Poland, the latter having been threatened by Medvedev with “retaliatory steps” for signing the anti-missile defense shield agreement with the Bush administration.

As the Cold War resumes I wonder if anyone in the Fatima revisionist camp is reconsidering the “interpretation” of the Third Secret by that wizard of ecclesiastical diplomacy Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. I cannot think of a better example of why the title “Vatican Secretary of State” does not belong to the divine constitution of the Church. Yet the Church remains in thrall to the program of a mere bureaucrat, while the warnings of the Mother of God continue to go unheeded.

We can only pray that the tableau depicted in the Third Secret vision — that of a Pope being executed by soldiers (Russians?) outside a half-ruined city (Rome?) — can be averted by a timely performance of the simple act Our Lady of Fatima requested ninety-one years ago.

On June 17, 1789, one hundred years to the day after Our Lord commanded that the King of France consecrate that nation to His Sacred Heart, Louis XVI — the last in a line of French kings who had failed to obey the command — was stripped of his kingly power by the Third Estate, which declared itself the National Assembly. Less than four years later, King Louis was guillotined after a show trial orchestrated by Robespierre and the Jacobins.

In 2017 we will have reached the 100th anniversary of the request of Our Lady of Fatima for the Consecration of Russia, a request unfulfilled by a succession of Popes. The parallel is chilling indeed.