Monday, August 11, 2014

An open letter to Vladimir Putin

Dear Mr. Putin:

What you have been doing in Ukraine moves Russia further away from The West, which will continue to view you as untrustworthy as long as you interfere in a sovereign nation. I know Russia hasn’t trusted The West for centuries, but whether you like it or not, Russia needs The West and The West needs Russia.

This is not the first time Russia has needed us. During the Great Patriotic War (known as World War II in The West), the Soviet Union needed us in order to push the Nazis out of your land. We sent thousands of trucks (made by Studebaker), some tanks, plus food and other supplies. Together we beat the Nazis.

Who or what is our mutual enemy now? Terrorism, of course. Russia has been hit by terrorist attacks. They even attacked a school full of innocent children in Russia. They have gotten into the heart of Moscow, just as they got into the heart of New York on 9/11.

Had we been divided during World War II, it would have taken a lot longer to defeat the Nazis. Working together, Russia and the West can more effectively battle terrorism and work for peaceful resolution of other conflicts around the world. If you stop your military activities in Ukraine, Russia can once again take its place among the leading nations of the world, and you can stand proud for what you will be doing to defeat terrorism. We can’t go back to the days when nations coveted the land and resources of other countries, resulting in terrible wars, death, and destruction.

Russia already has significant trade with The West. That trade can grow and Russia can prosper once the punitive actions are lifted. So I ask you to give up your military activities in Ukraine. We in The West desire your help and cooperation in the battle against terrorism, solving problems in the Middle East, and resolving issues in other areas. Working together there is much we can accomplish.

I know you take your Orthodox faith seriously, so I ask you to put into action the message of peace that Jesus brought to the world. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9, NRSV) We know that true peace will only come when Jesus returns. But in the meantime, we are called to be peacemakers and to make the world a better place, to God’s glory.

The Rev. Tony Beck

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