Vitalii Portnikov

The Pope and the ‘White Flag’

Quotes from Pope Francis in a recent interview, where he calls for negotiations to end conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, exemplify the double standards that have become the hallmark of policies in the so-called ‘global South’ — a realm seemingly adrift of values. Here, the Pope, a figure expected to embody values, unexpectedly channels the ethos of this perplexing world, with the Argentine politician seemingly triumphing over the Roman Pontiff.

While discussing ‘the courage of the white flag,’ the Pope curiously suggests negotiations for Ukraine and Israel. He refrains from addressing the aggressors — Russia, which could terminate the war against Ukraine swiftly, enjoying the luxury of peace within its own borders while its Ukrainian neighbors endure suffering. The Pope also neglects to address Hamas, the very organization holding Israeli hostages and capable of ending the plight of Gaza civilians, yet choosing to exploit them as a ‘human shield’ for terrorist activities.

The Pope directs his words not to those who instigated conflict but to those who found themselves under attack, essentially advising them to surrender while preserving conditions for potential future strikes and destruction. Yet, the Pope is not standing alone in this perspective. It’s no coincidence that he suggests Turkey as a mediator — a nation whose president supports Hamas and maintains a specific relationship with Putin. This alignment of ideas between Erdogan and Francis mirrors concepts that historically led to World War II and could potentially provoke World War III. Capitulation to aggressors has consistently fueled their ambitions throughout history.

About the Author
Vitalii Portnikov is a Ukrainian publicist, writer, TV presenter and member of the Ukrainian PEN. He is also an author and renowned journalist working in democratic media in Central and Eastern Europe for more than three decades. He is the author of hundreds of analytical articles in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Russian, Israeli, Baltic media. He hosts television programs and his own analytical channels on YouTube. He is currently broadcasting at the office of the Espreso TV channel and continues to cooperate with the Ukrainian and Russian services of Radio Liberty.
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