Russia’s February 24 invasion was an unnecessary, criminal war.
But so was America’s 14 year campaign to weaken Russia through proxy war.
How? By encouraging NATO membership for Ukraine since back in 2008. Worse, by helping Ukrainian ultranationalists depose Russian friendly Ukraine president Victor Yanukovych in 2014. The latter crime ignited a civil war in the Donbas against Russian speaking Ukrainians. 14,000 lay dead with thousands of Ukraine’s best soldiers ready to finish off the Donbas this spring before Russia said enough and attacked. Doesn’t justify Russia’s war…just explains it.
After 215 days and upwards of a hundred thousand casualties, there is no end in view. That is because the US and its NATO followers are obsessed with continuing the war till Russia is vanquished, regardless of how many Ukrainians, but nary an American, must die in the quest. $60 billion in US treasure continues the war indefinitely when negotiations between Russia and Ukraine brokered by NATO member Turkey had potential to end the war in the first month. US and UK emissaries hurried to Kyiv in April to disabuse Ukraine president Zelensky of any notion to settle. And he didn’t.
While the current US proxy war against Russia is horrifying, progressive support in Congress to continue the war is perplexing as well as horrifying. The entire Democratic congressional delegation remains in lockstep with Biden to not only weaponize Ukraine, but provide intelligence and logistical support for endless war. Even peace loving Bernie Sanders caved to the war party. The only pushback is from a minority of Republicans whose political interest appears solely to oppose Biden in what should be bipartisan opposition. Republicans cast all 68 votes for the recent $40 billion in weapons for Ukraine. Had a Republican president been pushing this senseless proxy war, they would be all in.
Democrats in Congress know the truth but are too weak; indeed cowardly, to break ranks, fearing they might weaken Democratic chances to retain the Congress November 8. But they are out of step with a growing number of Americans who recognize the Russo Ukraine war as possibly the next trillion dollar squandering of US treasure on an unnecessary and unwinnable war.
That brings me to my progressive Democratic colleagues, many of whom swallow whole US pro war propaganda which has falsely pitched the war as do or die for rules bases world order versus tyranny. They either refuse to do the research required to know the truth, or simply dismiss it to remain loyal to the Democratic agenda in foreign policy which promotes endless war in the Middle East, Africa and now Europe. Even the specter of nuclear confrontation with Russia does not persuade them to promote a negotiated settlement, the only way this war may end without either or both sides resorting to nukes.
Promoting peace over war in Ukraine is a winning strategy for the upcoming election. Increasing numbers of Americans and Western Europeans want out of endless war jeopardizing their economic future.
More importantly, promoting negotiations over weapons to achieve peace will save Ukrainian and Russian lives…and possibly avert nuclear war. Every progressive Democrat should support this goal in Ukraine and around the world.
Supporting progressive causes and casting progressive votes on domestic issues while promoting peaceful solutions to horrendous wars or potential new wars are not mutually exclusive. When will progressive Democrats learn to do both?
Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at www.heartlandprogressive.blogspot.com.