History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    John Paul II: Nuclear Brinksman

    While the title is somewhat over the top, there is a strong grain of truth to that statement. Here is something I found at Global Security dot-org.

    WASHINGTON - Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the late President Ronald Reagan's plans to put nuclear missiles across Western Europe, a former U.S. representative at the Vatican said yesterday.

    Though European leaders were "weak-kneed" about confronting the Soviet nuclear empire, Reagan won the Pope's support for matching the Communists nuke for nuke along the Iron Curtain, said Jim Nicholson, who served until recently as President Bush's ambassador to the Holy See.

    The purpose of the pontiff's secret approval was to confront the Soviet Union's placement of its growing arsenal in Eastern Bloc states near free European nations, said Nicholson, now the Veterans Affairs secretary.

    Nicholson said Reagan "regularly" sent military emissaries to show the pontiff satellite imagery of Soviet missiles spreading across occupied Europe.
    This is a complete surprise to me, and to many others, I suspect. The article can be found here. Such an action is far more militant than what I would have expected of even JPII. I wonder if the Pope's opposition to the Iraq War was really as strong as some have said it to be...

    Update: The more I think on it, the more I am starting to really wonder. I don't think that the Vatican can ever again be as militant or as supportive of military conflict as we might want at certain times (the echoes of the crusades prevent this), but that doesn't mean that the Vatican is as clueless as some think. Or at least, some of the people in the Vatican. Learning this makes me much more hopeful that the new Pontiff is going to be supportive of efforts to reform the Middle East, in a hands-off kind of way.

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