A few years ago, Francis indicated that the world was in the midst of a third world war. He recalls this in an interview: “A few years ago it occurred to me that we were going through a third world war that would be fought piecemeal. World War III broke out for me today. That should make us think.”
The Catholic leader lamented: “What happened to humanity that has experienced three world wars in one century?” This is “a catastrophe”. Add to that all the “arms trade”.
Although the actions of Russian troops are outrageous, one should not see the drama behind them that triggered the war in the first place. “What we are seeing is the brutality and cruelty with which this war is being waged by the troops, usually mercenaries, used by the Russians. In reality, the Russians prefer to send Chechens, Syrians and mercenaries forward. But the danger is that we only see what is egregious and overlook the full drama that is unfolding behind this war, which perhaps somehow was either provoked or not prevented.”
One often thinks in terms of good and evil, as in fairy tales: “Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was the bad guy. There is no metaphysical good and bad in the abstract here. Something global is emerging, with elements that are closely interwoven.”
Some might now say: “You are for Putin! No, that’s not me. To say such a thing would be simplistic and wrong. I’m simply opposed to turning a complex situation into a distinction between good and bad without considering the roots and self-interest, which are very complex. While observing the cruelty and cruelty of the Russian troops, we should not forget about the problems and try to solve them.”
It’s also true that the Russians thought it would all be over in a week. “But they miscalculated. You have found a brave people, a people struggling to survive and with a history of conflict.”
A few months before the start of the war, Francis met a head of state, “a wise man”, who had already warned him before the invasion: “He was very concerned about the behavior of NATO. I asked him why and he said: ‘They are barking at the gates of Russia. And they do not understand that the Russians are imperial and do not allow any foreign power to approach them.’ He concluded: ‘The situation could lead to a war.’” That head of state “saw the signs of the times”.