That was quick.
On Monday, 30 House Democrats representing the Congressional Democratic Caucus, sent a letter to President Biden to initiate negotiations to end the Russo Ukraine war. “We urge you to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”
Finally, a tiny contingent, 13% of House Dems, got the message after 250 days of unrelenting carnage in Ukraine, with no end in sight, that only negotiations will end this war. Check that. The other way is nuclear Armageddon. It’s likely the thought of reliving the Cuban Missile Crisis 60 years ago, this time with an explosive ending, motivated their plea.
It did, however, gave those of us in the peace community, a glimmer of hope Democrats controlling Congress would begin an actual debate promoting negotiations which are the only way this war will end short of nuclear confrontation.
But within 24 hours our slim hopes were dashed when the Progressive Caucus rescinded their letter and reiterated lockstep support for no negotiations without Ukraine approval.
They wilted amid of firestorm of criticism from pro war hardliners in government and the pundit class they were abandoning Ukraine by even considering negotiations without Ukraine’s lead, input and involvement. But this maligns the carefully worded letter which promoted negotiations to achieve “a free and independent Ukraine” but that “it is America’s responsibility to pursue every diplomatic avenue to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine.”
But even fiercer pushback came from the Democratic power structure more obsessed to avoid even a hint of some Democrats aligning with Republicans who have promised to revisit the endless US spigot of billions to supply an endless war in Ukraine.
Former Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chair Mark Pocan explicitly admitted the letter appeared to have aligned the Democratic Party with the presumed Republican promise to abandon Ukraine. In a preposterous non-sequitur, Pocan argued “Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory.” It’s sorta like “We’ll negotiate peace…after we kill you.”
The letter was in complete accord with President Biden’s earlier statements that all wars end in negotiated settlement and unless this one does it could go nuclear, the closest we’ve come to that since the ’62 Cuban Missile Crisis
It is a tragic day for the cause of peace when even the mildest effort to promote negotiations to end a war with nuclear possibilities is stamped out with irrational fury.
What’s truly bizarre is the call for negotiations aligns with growing public weariness for endless billions fueling a war having virtually no connection whatsoever to Americans’ national self-interests, much less their immediate well-being.
Sixty years ago JFK, with infinitely more sense than his current successor Biden, resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis in 13 days. At the rate Biden and the Democrats are governing this crisis, the history of it, if we’re lucky enough to avoid nuclear destruction, may be titled “1,300 Days.”
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.