In a strange, rare moment of agreement with some on the right, the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to the White House encouraging the President to look for a diplomatic path to peace between Ukraine and Russia.
Seems reasonable, right? Particularly for progressives to fall on the less militant side of things?
The blowback was fierce, culminating in an all-out panic and surrender from all the progressives involved with the innocuous letter – including caucus chair Pramila Jayapal.
It shouldn’t surprise us that nobody is allowed to pose any other option for Ukraine’s support other than more hefty checks from battered taxpayers and more weapons.
What perhaps shocks me the most is that I am about to write an article that lays out the logic behind a letter signed by 30 members of the Progressive Caucus.
Perhaps Hell has frozen over; maybe it is the end of days because, dare I say it, they have some actual solid points in this letter. But, on the other hand, it’s a shame that they completely crumbled and subsequently humiliated themselves under pressure from their own party.
The letter, allegedly written in July but for whatever reason was delivered to the White House Monday, was a measured plea for President Biden to consider utilizing diplomacy in addition to the economic and military support already provided to Ukraine.
“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.”
Note that this line implies explicitly that they think continuing military and economic aid is warranted; they just dared to state that maybe we should also start utilizing that little thing called diplomacy. After all, Russia has enough firepower to end all life on the planet.
The letter also touched on what they believe is our role as an international superpower, stating:
“…if there is a way to end the war while preserving a free and independent Ukraine it is America’s responsibility to pursue every diplomatic avenue to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine.”
This was a carefully worded letter; this wasn’t some slapdash attention-grabbing rhetoric often seen from this group of legislators. But that didn’t stop the wrath from befalling the group of progressives.
It didn’t take long for the walk back and apology to come forth. Congresswoman Jayapal bent the knee on Tuesday:
“Let me be clear. We are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in the fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion, and nothing in the letter advocates for a change in that support.”
Interestingly there isn’t verbiage from what I can see that says they still don’t think diplomacy might be an excellent tool to utilize. However, one of the signers of the letter, Congressman Ro Khanna, rightly proclaims:
“It should not be controversial to say we need to explore every diplomatic avenue to seek a just peace and to end the war, including the engagement of our allies to help with that.”
Again, someone check me for a fever because I have to say the Democratic, progressive Congressman from California is correct. But these days, if you ask any questions that might be critical of how we manage our foreign policy and aid to Ukraine, that’ll get you labeled a Putin apologist.
I’m impressed with one particular part of their letter, the one where they highlight that we have an inherent responsibility to try to find a path to peace in this conflict. But, unfortunately, a common theme by literally everyone else in power is that Ukraine is the only one who can dictate what peace looks like.
Former Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said:
“Mr. Zelensky gets to determine – because it’s his country – what success looks like and when to negotiate.”
President Biden said the same:
“Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. It’s their territory. I’m not going t tell them what they should and shouldn’t do.”
I agree in principle. We shouldn’t be dictating what other countries want to do. But saying we shouldn’t discuss possible future outcomes is a bit naive.
So far, we have invested around $60 billion into Ukraine, we are shareholders in this war, and shareholders get to advise and discuss the outcomes of their investments.
The reality is, it is strange that we aren’t pushing for diplomacy at all. An unnamed senior military source told the Financial Times:
“Military action is ineffective on its own. It’s only truly effective when it’s combined with economic and diplomatic efforts. And we’re not seeing enough diplomacy.”
This unnamed soldier is not wrong; the military is merely one of the four main instruments of national power. Ideally, countries should utilize all four instruments, including economic, informational, and diplomatic.
But for some reason, we appear only to be using military and economic. Financial Times writer Gideon Rachman points out:
“With the dangers of escalation mounting – alongside the death toll – the absence of serious diplomatic efforts to end the conflict is both striking and worrying.”
And given that one of the players in this war is a nuclear power, you’d think the desire to include diplomacy with military and economic might would be the desire of everyone literally on this planet.
What is perhaps the most frustrating is that it was the President himself who said that eventually, this war would have to end with some negotiated end state:
“…it appears to me that, at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here.”
He followed up with the following:
“And what that entails, I don’t know.”
And there’s the rub. We have yet to define what ‘victory’ looks like and how far we are willing to support said ideal state.
Although President Biden doesn’t know a lot, we shouldn’t be too shocked that he doesn’t have an answer on what ‘good’ looks like from our standpoint.
You know who doesn’t have a problem articulating what ‘victory’ looks like; President Zelensky.
He boldly states that the liberation of Crimea is part of that victory, and anybody who knows Russian foreign policy knows it will come at a hefty price.
An unnamed senior U.S. official told the New York Times that there are “new troubling developments” involving Russia’s nuclear arsenal. It’s past time we start clearly defining what we are and aren’t willing to do and acting accordingly because all indications show that our military and society at large are not at all prepared for a World War, certainly not a nuclear one.
Perhaps the progressives should take a page from former Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, who left the party. One of her main reasons; the party is controlled by:
“…an elite cabal of warmongers. Any Dem who opposes their warmongering agenda is beat into submission.”
Careful progressives, you might find yourself no longer the wild cards in the party but merely puppets of the cabal.
But don’t worry, I heard that the President is at least willing to discuss a negotiated release of Brittney Griner with Mr. Putin, just not peace.
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