Letter #79, 2022, Thursday, June 30: Again, World War III…

    Today marks the end of the first half of 2022.

    I begin with a couple of “news notes,” then return to sending out articles and essays I find of interest, as I announced in the last two emails ago, in helping to create a kind of “historical archive” of differing voices on the Ukraine war, its causes and consequences, in this mid-summer of 2022, before the arrival of the changes that seem destined to come upon us in the second half of this year, and next year…—RM


    News Note #1: Pelosi in Rome

    The first news note (as many of you may have heard): U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is Catholic but, because of her public support for abortion, has been advised by her hometown bishop, Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, that she ought not to come forward for communion in his archdiocese (see his letter here), flew to Rome this week and was in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Mass yesterday (June 29, Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, always a major celebration in Rome because both apostles died in the Eternal City), and… according to witnesses present in the basilica… received communion. (Here is a link to a story on this.)

    However, Pelosi did not receive communion from the Pope himself.

    One longtime reader, a Catholic lawyer from the Bay area (San Francisco) just wrote to me:

    “She did not receive from the Holy Father. The Pope did not give Nancy Pelosi Holy Communion. But that’s what she was shooting for. She wanted to receive Holy Communion from Pope Francis himself but fell short… Nancy went to Rome to present a Congressional gift to the American Consulate and to attend Mass the following day at St. Peter’s which was to be presided over by his Holiness Pope Francis. Before that Mass began when the Pope first came in, Nancy went forward to meet the Pope who greeted her cordially for a few minutes while the cameras filmed the whole thing, which was actually nothing. Nancy was in the House but so what! She wasn’t going to receive Holy Communion from the Holy Father which is what she wanted. Another priest would to do that… Pope Francis only played along so far. He wouldn’t do the deal himself. He knows Nancy thinks of herself as being very devout. But he also knows she has no self reflection. It’s all politics and money. Nothing is moral because it’s all politics. Thats how she was raised in Baltimore when her Dad was the Mayor and the Italians went to St. Leo the Great Catholic Church. There was morality then but not now. It’s all gone. This is Nancy’s contribution to American society. Politics is first… Amen!”

    News Note #2: Another papal letter on the liturgy, released June 29, yesterday

    The second news note is the release yesterday in Rome of an Apostolic Letter, Desiderio desideravi, in which Pope Francis reflects on the Church’s liturgy, and re-emphasizes his belief, set forth last July 16 in his motu proprio Traditionis custodes, that the new rite of the Mass is the sole rite in the Latin Church, placing severe restrictions on the celebration of the old rite, the Tridentine rite, used for 400 years from 1570 to 1970, and having its roots in the Mass of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604), and even earlier, back to the beginnings of the Church.

    “The Pope’s Apostolic Letter reaffirms the importance of ecclesial communion around the rite that emerged from the post-conciliar liturgical reform,” Vatican News writes in its report on the letter (link). “It is not a new instruction or a directive with specific norms, but rather a meditation on understanding the beauty of liturgical celebration and its role in evangelization. It concludes with an in appeal: ‘Let us abandon our polemics to listen together to what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Let us safeguard our communion. Let us continue to be astonished at the beauty of the Liturgy’ (65).”

    American Catholic liturgist Peter Kwasniewski, a defender of the old liturgy, had this to say about the new papal letter (link):

    “It seems, in keeping with the old saying ‘a bishop never has a bad meal and never hears the truth,’ that some well-meaning servitors in the Vatican have been hiding from the Pope and his entourage a truth that is known to millions of others: this belief in the Novus Ordo as the fruit of Vatican II is simply false and can be easily known to be false,” Kwasniewski writes.

    “Universal literacy and the internet have tidily seen to that.”

    “The actual story,” Kwasniewski continues, “is told rather well in the recent Episode II of Mass of the Ages, which appeared only a month ago and already has (as of this writing) one million and three hundred thousand views…” [Note: Some of you may wish to watch this video, a documentary on the new liturgy.]

    “Those who lament the dire condition of the Church’s public worship and who long for its restoration in harmony with sound tradition have long known about the massive disjunct between the provisions of the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium as approved by the vast majority of the Council Fathers and the actual Bugnini-Montini liturgical rites, mendaciously promulgated in the name of that Council. This is why the near-unanimous approval of Sacrosanctum Concilium turned into a bitter dispute among the bishops when they were shown the 1967 Novus Ordo at the Synod of Bishops, as depicted in the film with their actual quotations. This shows quite clearly that, when the Pope actually listened to the bishops of Vatican II and encouraged them to speak candidly, they did not give their approval to the Novus Ordo.”


    In essence, Kwasniewski is arguing that the central point of the Pope’s letter — that the Novus Ordo that was issued after the Second Vatican Council was approved of by the Council bishops — is not historically true.

    Rather, Kwasniewski argues, the bishops even in 1967 felt that there had been a sort of “bait and switch” trick played, in which the claim was made that what was presented was precisely what the Council called for, while, in fact, what was presented was not what the Council had called for, and the bishops at the time, in 1967, two years after the end of the Council, tried, unsuccessfully, to make their view known to Pope Paul VI.


    Kwasniewski then quotes Pope Benedict XVI to drive his point home:

    “In a 1976 letter to Prof. Wolfgang Waldstein, (Fr. Joseph) Ratzingerexpressed himself quite clearly:

    “The way in which the new Missal was introduced departs from previous ecclesiastical legal customs, such as those observed by Pius V in his missal reform…. The problem of the new Missal lies in the fact that it breaks away from this continuous history, which has always gone on before and after Pius V, and creates a thoroughly new book (albeit from old material), the appearance of which is accompanied by a type of prohibition of what has gone before that is quite unheard-of in the history of ecclesiastical law and liturgy. I can say with certainty from my knowledge of the Council debate and from rereading the speeches of the Council Fathers delivered at that time that this was not intended [by them].”

    “Ratzinger reiterated this point in his 1986 book Feast of Faith:

    “In part it is simply a fact that the Council was pushed aside. For instance, it had said that the language of the Latin Rite was to remain Latin, although suitable scope might be given to the vernacular. Today we might ask: Is there a Latin Rite at all any more? Certainly there is no awareness of it.

    “Yet, with all its advantages, the new Missal was published as if it were a book put together by professors, not a phase in a continual growth process. Such a thing has never happened before. It is absolutely contrary to the laws of liturgical growth, and it has resulted in the nonsensical notion that Trent and Pius V had ‘produced’ a Missal four hundred years ago. The Catholic liturgy was thus reduced to the level of a mere product of modern times. This loss of perspective is really disturbing. Although very few of those who express their uneasiness have a clear picture of these interrelated factors, there is an instinctive grasp of the fact that liturgy cannot be the result of Church regulations, let alone professional erudition, but, to be true to itself, must be the fruit of the Church’s life and vitality.”

    “In 1990, Ratzinger wrote this strikingly honest assessment:

    “The liturgical reform, in its concrete execution, has moved further and further away from this origin [in the best of the Liturgical Movement]. The result has not been reinvigoration but devastation…. [I]n place of the liturgy that had developed, one has put a liturgy that has been made. One has deserted the vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. One no longer wanted to continue the organic developing and maturing of that which has been living through the centuries, but instead, one replaced it, in the manner of technical production, with a fabrication, the banal product of the moment.”


    Kwasniewski notes that Pope Benedict is not cited even once in Pope Francis‘ new letter.


    Though this new June 29 letter from Pope Francis calls for an end to debate over the liturgy, and the acceptance of the Novus Ordo as the sole liturgy of the Latin Church and so the effective “burial” of the old liturgy, it still seems that there remain so many questions about the process that led to the promulgation of the new liturgy that the debate will likely continue for some time yet…


    The Warning of Pope Francis: “World War III has been declared”

    As I noted in my previous two letters, on May 19, Pope Francis hosted a meeting of editors of Jesuit magazines in Rome, and during the lengthy conversation he told the editors he believed “World War III has been declared,” evidently referring to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, but also, it seems clear, setting that invasion in a larger context. (See this June 14 summary article by Gerald O’Connell in America magazine, link).    

    “The world is at war,” Francis said. “For me, today, World War III has been declared. This is something that should give us pause for thought. What is happening to humanity that we have had three world wars in a century?”

    Pope Francis added: “I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys without reasoning about roots and interests, which are complex.”

    He continued: “The danger is that we… do not see the whole drama unfolding behind this war…”

    I repeat the key point that Francis was at pains to make: “The danger is that we… do not see the whole drama that is unfolding behind this war.”


    These words of Pope Francis express an interpretation of the conflict in Ukraine as a central, and very brutal, part of a conflict that is larger, indeed, “worldwide,” or “global” — a conflict that involves much more than Ukraine itself.

    I then sent out a text by an author on The Vineyard of the Saker website — with the not very elegant title “World War 3 for dummies.”

    This prompted one reader to write back the following email to me:

    “Dr. Moynihan,

    “I am disappointed to see that you would publish this blog post that more properly belongs in a trashy supermarket tabloid.

    “1. Thou shalt not kill. Russia cannot be condoned for an offensive attack. As a former officer who has participated in NATO exercises, I can tell you that in every way, it [NATO] was and is a purely defensive structure.

    “2. But let’s address the absurd sentence in which the author describes Russia and China as conservative and religious. The author is obviously deluded at a minimum, or worse, a propagandist trained in counter intelligence. I have spent enough time working for Russians and traveling in China, that if I were to make those assertions to coworkers they would think I was on drugs.

    “3. And defending their territorial integrity? Is the author oblivious to the over $100+ billion spent on Chinese Belt and Road Initiative in 142 countries to effectively colonize parts of those countries? And the interference with those nations elections and governance?

    “I could go on and dissect the rest of the post but will refrain. It is obviously pure propaganda — part of my military training was to both recognize it and utilize it for counter insurgency. That it is.

    “Sir, I hope and trust that this will give you pause to reconsider publishing this type of material. You do your Letters and the magazine a huge disservice by destroying your credibility.

    “And worse, exposing the faithful to wild speculation and obvious lies is an attack on the integrity of their faith and their souls, causing them to doubt.

    “Stick to the matters of faith on which you built your enterprise.



    I wrote back:

    “Dear Dave,

    “I am an American with a great love for my country, but with a sense that some of the decisions our leaders have taken have, in differing ways, been unwise. (…) The country has less to fear from external enemies than from ‘the enemy within’ — including the enemy within each one of us, meaning: desire for ease, and money, profit, power, and a forgetfulness of hard work, honor, morality.

    “Moreover, I have personal reasons for hoping a ‘World War III’ may be avoided, not by any submission to evil, but by some sort of discussion and negotiation, which might, possibly, avoid a brutal conflict leading perhaps even to the use of nuclear weapons: my sons (…)

    “The essence of the matter is that — as Pope Francis has now said three or four times — there are more things at stake here than at first meet the eye, otherwise this would not be so important, and dangerous. But what are these things?

    “I would say that no one really has all of the information to make a sound judgment, and that offering different viewpoints may be useful in allowing some new information, or new ways of looking at the matter, to help us to form wise judgments. (…)

    All best wishes.



    Hence, I proceed with a plan to send out articles which may help to put the present conflict into context.

    Among the articles I still would like to send out — in the hope of casting further light on the present tragic situation, which has so disturbed Catholic leaders ranging from Pope Francis to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò — is one by a thoughtful American Catholic scholar named Daniel J. Mahoney, a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute in California and professor emeritus at Assumption University in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has written widely on French politics and political thought. His latest book, The Statesman as Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation, was published by Encounter Books.

    Here is an article he published a few days ago.

    His main point, a fundamental one: that it is not correct to speak of the “Soviet Union” and “Russia” as the same thing.

    “The Soviet Union” was something different from “Russia,” and “Russia” is something different from the “The Soviet Union.”

    Red Tears

    The Russian people were the foremost victims of the Soviet regime.

    By Daniel J. Mahoney

    Published in The American Mind, A Publication of the Claremont Institute (link)

    June 23, 2022

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was undoubtedly the greatest anti-totalitarian writer and moral witness of the twentieth century, a passionate yet moderate and humane Russian patriot who saw his own people as the principal victim of the grave threat to humanity that was Communist totalitarianism.

    In The Gulag Archipelago, first published in the West in the final days of 1973, Solzhenitsyn took aim at an implacable ideology, Marxist-Leninism, that justified tyranny and terror in a truly unprecedented way.

    Ideology, as Solzhenitsyn called it, attacked the non-negotiable pediments of free and civilized life: private property within proper moral and legal limits, the family as the bosom of human affections, religion and the moral constraints that accompany it, and the nation as an essential part of God’s providential design.

    It was far worse than an ordinary, non-ideological authoritarian regime (of the kind Russia has seen for much of its history) since totalitarianism’s war on human nature necessitated violence and lies on a massive scale.

    Solzhenitsyn, the Russian patriot par excellence, saw Communism as both anti-Russian and anti-human, destructive of elementary liberties and at odds with humane national loyalty and with the distinctions between truth and falsehood, and good and evil, that define the life of the soul and true moral integrity.

    The great Russian writer repeatedly lambasted the false identification of love of country with the zealous and counterproductive quest for imperial domination, whether Tsarist or Communist.

    His program, if he had a program for post-Communist Russia, centered around repentance for the crimes of Communism, self-limitation, the gradual development of self-government from the bottom up (“the democracy of small spaces” as he called it), and a patient rekindling of Russia’s best and most salutary spiritual traditions.

    Solzhenitsyn asked for no special privileges for the Orthodox religion but hoped it would play a crucial role in the healing of the Russian soul.

    Alas, this admirable and eminently sensible call for Russian national and spiritual renewal was castigated as autocratic and imperialistic by those mendacious critics, Western and Russian alike, intent on disparaging Solzhenitsyn as some kind of Russian ayatollah. They accused Solzhenitsyn of advocating positions he had emphatically repudiated.

    When Solzhenitsyn was first exiled to the West in February 1974, he longed for a grand alliance between Russian patriotism properly understood—moderate, humane, and anti-totalitarian—and a West that was still insufficiently sensitive to the dangers posed by Communist totalitarianism in all its forms.

    But, as he put it in Between Two Millstones, his instructive and artfully composed two-volume account of his twenty years of Western exile (eighteen of them spent in small town Vermont), he was soon struck by the inability of even anti-communists to adequately distinguish between things Russian and things Soviet.

    For far too many, historic Russia, the so-called “Russian bear,” was the enduring enemy of the West. Western intellectuals and influential Russia-area specialists, aided and abetted by secular and left-liberal Russian emigres, attacked Solzhenitsyn for “messianic pretensions” as if love of country was coextensive with imperial pretensions and political oppression.

    More fundamentally, elites in the West, on the Left but also many on the Right, too, confused the “Communist plague” with “a Russian plague,” as Solzhenitsyn strikingly put it in Between Two Millstones.

    As the Russian people continued to suffer “under the Soviet boot,” Russia became indistinguishable in the Western mind from its Communist oppressors.

    In this crude historical and moral reversal, Solzhenitsyn saw something “extremely dangerous” for both Russia and the West.

    Self-hating Russian emigres and the dominant opinion in the Western world alike had succeeded in “sticking all the Soviet abominations onto the face of Russia.”

    In a lengthy, thoughtful, and passionate essay that appeared in the April 1980 issue of Foreign Affairs, entitled “The Mortal Danger,” Solzhenitsyn took aim at this “error of the West,” beginning with the omnipresent linguistic identification of Russia with the Soviet Union.

    And the Russian Nobel laureate reiterated his opposition to the identification of Russian patriotism with Soviet empire as well as his call for national self-restraint as the first step in genuine national renewal.

    After sixty years of communism Russia was “gravely ill.”

    Hovering over an unprecedented moral, cultural, spiritual, political, and economic abyss, the Russian people desperately needed to turn inward and begin the long, hard descent from the “icy peaks” of totalitarianism.

    There would be no easy path back to normal life, and no ready formulas for doing so.

    The rule of law, intellectual and religious liberty, and the repudiation of the murderous ideological Lie were the first indispensable steps.

    Democracy, if it came, would come later.

    Readers of The Gulag Archipelago, at least those who made it to the third volume of that massive work, will remember Solzhenitsyn’s remarkably judicious approach to the “Ukrainian question.”

    Solzhenitsyn, half-Ukrainian himself, had always hoped that Russia and Ukraine could remain bound to each other in light of their millennial-old historical and spiritual ties.

    But as he recounts in this discussion near the beginning of the third volume of The Gulag Archipelago, he had already discovered in the camps how bitter Ukrainians were about their continuing association with historic Russia.

    “Russia and the Ukraine” were “united in {Solzhenitsyn’s} “blood…heart…thoughts.”

    But in light of imperial Russian heavy-handedness and the much worse cruelties of Soviet rule, Ukrainian nationalism had grown fiercer and more aggressively anti-Russian. “The feelings of the whole people are now at white heat.’”

    Solzhenitsyn did not believe that Ukraine’s problems would all be “solved by succession.” But the choice must be left to Ukrainians, whether federalists or separatists. That was the path of moral realism and political good sense.

    As we all know, Ukraine went its separate way in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

    But Ukrainian nationalists did not take into account the crucial caveat made by Solzhenitsyn in both The Gulag Archipelago (completed in 1968) and 1990’s Rebuilding Russia: the capricious “Leninist” borders inherited from the Soviet Union must not be taken for granted. To do so was to invite more acrimony and deadly future conflicts.

    Many Ukrainians identified as Russians and lived in regions that had been ceded arbitrarily to Ukraine by the Soviet state at a time when borders hardly mattered (that includes Crimea and much of the Donbas region).

    Solzhenitsyn astutely remarked: “a plebiscite in each province, and afterwards a helpful and considerate attitude to those who wish to move, may be necessary. Not all of the Ukraine in its present official borders is really Ukrainian. Some of the left-bank provinces undoubtedly feel drawn to Russia.”

    To reiterate, this judicious analysis comes from 1968.

    Today, Ukraine remains bereft of the federal principle and has become a unitary ethnic state.

    President Zelensky, the “peace candidate” in the 2019 election, almost immediately reneged on his campaign promises to implement the Minsk I and II agreements, which had committed Ukraine to give greater autonomy and self-government to the eastern part of the country, a step that might have avoided disaster.

    Zelensky was obviously under immense pressure from the extreme nationalist camp in Ukraine, the camp that has dominated Ukrainian political life since the Maidan Revolution of 2014. In a West increasingly gripped by anti-Russian fervor, especially since the deeply troubling and ill-advised Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, all this has been driven down the memory hole.

    An ethnic Manicheism increasingly prevails, accompanied by a great deal of indiscriminate Russophobia.

    Russia is once again coextensive with the Soviet Union, the dark and implacable enemy of civilization and the West.

    To vigorously challenge this presupposition is to risk condemnation and even cancellation.

    Since the outbreak of the war, the crimes of Communism are now almost uniformly attributed to Russian barbarism.

    Russians are always seen as executioners and never as victims, even of the Communism that destroyed the flower of the nation.

    In the aforementioned Rebuilding Russia, Solzhenitsyn already noted that, while in the West, he came across many Ukrainian nationalists who argued “that Communism is a myth.”

    In their view, it was “Russians who are seeking world domination.”

    Solzhenitsyn also lamented the misguided “Captive Nations” Resolution passed by the American Congress in 1959.

    It blamed the crimes and misdeeds of Communism on Russia, not the Soviet Union, and even held “the Russians” responsible for the seizure of China and Tibet.

    Solzhenitsyn was flabbergasted by such historical ignorance and disdain for a prostrate Russia.

    In contrast, Solzhenitsyn insists in Rebuilding Russia that Communism was anything but a “myth”: Russians and Ukrainians alike “got a firsthand taste” of applied ideology in the “torture chambers of the Cheka from 1918 onward.”

    Solzhenitsyn adds that twenty-nine “drought-ridden” Russian provinces succumbed to “murderous famine” in 1921 and 1922 after the forcible requisition of grain that characterized the punitive and cruel policies of “War Communism.”

    This famine took over five million lives, and, unlike the disaster of 1932-1933, is all but unknown in the contemporary West.

    And with his characteristically sardonic voice, Solzhenitsyn concludes by suggesting that this was “the same myth that later thrust the Ukraine into the similarly pitiless famine of 1932-1933.”

    It should be noted that one-third of the population of Kazakhstan died in the same famine.

    This massive assault on life and liberty was caused by what Solzhenitsyn calls “communist-imposed collectivization forced upon us all by whip and bullet.”

    The Bolsheviks’ goal was thoroughly ideological: to eliminate the independent property-owning peasantry whom they pitilessly derided as “kulaks” or exploiters.

    Today, next to nobody recalls the Russians and Russian Cossacks who similarly perished during the same collectivization-induced famine in the north Caucasus, the Kuban region, and parts of the Volga region.

    Ukrainians are absolutely right to honor the victims of the Holodomor, one of the worst crimes in human history.

    But for many today, this crime has falsely transmogrified into ethnic genocide and not the ideological democide that it was and remains.

    Solzhenitsyn’s hope that that Russians and Ukrainians would be “bonded by this common bloody suffering” has come to naught and Communism seemingly gets a free pass.

    Anti-Communists in the West should think twice before endorsing such a tendentious narrative.

    Contrary to legend, Vladimir Putin (whatever his other demerits) is not a Marxist-Leninist, as a well-intentioned but misguided article in National Review recently claimed.

    Putin is far more a “White” than a “Red.”

    Nor is the fascist ideologue Alexander Dugin his inspiration in matters of politics or strategy.

    In his speeches and addresses, Putin regularly invokes White or anti-Communist thinkers and heroes such as Stolypin, Solvoviev, Il’yin, and Berdyaev, rather than Marx or Lenin.

    The Gulag Archipelago remains required reading in Russian high schools.

    But there is no doubt that many in Putin’s nationalist coalition, and increasingly Putin himself, see Western criticism of Soviet crimes as really aimed at “diabolizing” Russia herself, as Putin put it in a 2017 interview with Oliver Stone (I am indebted to the French Russianist Nicolas Werth for many of these details).

    Moreover, the omnipresent cult of the “Great Patriotic War” discourages any sustained criticism of Stalin’s calamitous conduct of the Russian Second World War.

    The Vozhd cruelly sent millions of ordinary Ivans to their deaths with little or no concern for lives lost.

    And Stain’s murderous assault on the officer corps in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of the Second World War (as well as the infamous and misguided Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939) are barely alluded to in the most recent Russian history manuals.

    Solzhenitsyn, to his credit, stood out in the Russian patriotic camp in his forthright rejection of the premises underlying the myth of the Great Patriotic War.

    He freely compared the Soviet and Nazi regimes and saw Hitler as a “pupil” in decisive respects of the world’s first experiment in totalitarianism.

    He refused to give Stalin undeserved credit for the heroism displayed by the oppressed Soviet peoples between June 1941 and May 1945, even as the gulags continued to grind down the bodies and souls of millions of Soviet citizens.

    After the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of Soviet prisoners of war, who barely survived the depravities of confinement in German prisoner of war camps, were sent to the gulag for the crime of having been captured in the first place.

    There is indeed something too residually Soviet about this myth of the Great Patriotic War which grounds and legitimizes Russian patriotism in the era of Putin.

    We can add to this the recent dissolution of the human rights organization Memorial, the great chronicler of the crimes of the Soviet period, a dissolution confirmed by Russia’s highest court on December 29, 2021.

    This was an assault on truth, and the cause of Russian anti-totalitarianism.

    It was strongly, and appropriately, denounced by Solzhenitsyn’s widow Natalya Solzhenitsyna.

    To be sure, Putin hardly defends the crimes of the Soviet period and does not ignore them or justify them.

    But Memorial received funds from the West and was thus suspected of “diabolizing” eternal Russia.

    It had also forcefully condemned Russian human rights abuses which did not win it any favors in government circles.

    Today, Russia, Ukraine, and the West are increasingly united in a unilateral identification of things Russian and Soviet.

    We are back to square one.

    This grave “error,” as Solzhenitsyn called it, risks giving Communist ideology a free pass, and retards Russia’s political development while poisoning East-West relations.

    It is time to reconsider Solzhenitsyn’s strikingly prescient warnings about the dangers of blaming Russia for the Red plague.

    That is the beginning of wisdom in returning Western reflection about Russia to a semblance of sanity and moderation.

    And such a path would demand honest soul-searching on the part of Russians, too, a willingness to reject lies however reassuring they may be.

    [End, essay by Daniel Mahoney]

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