Russias Soviet-style withdrawal
by Christopher A. Ferrara
Its Friday, August 22, 2008, the day Russia promised to withdraw its forces from Georgia. Except that Russian troops, tanks, artillery and short-range ballistic missile installations are still there.
As AP reported today, while Russian military convoys rolled out of three key positions in Georgia and headed toward Moscow, they did not go all the way to Moscow, but stopped at separatist regions in Georgia, including South Ossetia.
At the same time, the Russians, as noted by U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood, have established check points and buffer zones in Georgia outside of the separatist regions that are definitely not part of the agreement to withdraw under the cease-fire negotiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy, in fact, agrees that Russia is not in compliance with the agreement Sarkozy helped negotiate
The bottom line, as AP notes, is that Russia says it will keep troops it calls peacekeepers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia as well as in buffer zones stretching into Georgia proper. Funny thing about buffer zones they tend to expand quite readily. As AP further reports: Russian troops were clearly establishing a long-term presence, erecting 18 peacekeeping posts in a so-called security zone around the border with Georgia.
Two steps forward, one step back. Or more like five steps forward, one step back. The Soviet withdrawal from Georgia in 2008 is like the consecration of Russia in 1984. A withdrawal from territory in which one remains is no less nonsensical than a consecration of a place that one does not mention.
But nonsense is what the neo-Soviets and the neo-Catholic Fatima revisionists have in common. The problem is that their nonsense will have grave consequences not only for Russia, Georgia and the rest of the world, but also for the Catholic Church, which is still in the midst of the greatest crisis in her long history.
If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.
Clearly, the people of Georgia whose homes were destroyed or who lost family members during the Soviet invasion would appreciate these prophetic words. But, tragically enough, high-ranking Churchmen, including the current Vatican Secretary of State, would like to pay pious tribute to the Message of Fatima while ignoring it completely. And that is why the world and the Church are at risk.