As the Ukraine crisis has intensified, a confrontation between the world’s two most heavily armed nuclear powers has become an actual possibility. The Biden administration has put 8500 troops on high alert for possible deployment in Eastern Europe, and threatened to deploy 50,000 more troops and send additional airplanes and warships to the area. With many thousands of Russian and Ukrainian troops near their mutual border, the situation is already tense.
Within the US, the bi-partisan Cold War hysteria has risen to dangerous heights. Biden has said that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “imminent.” Congress is rushing through new legislation that proposes $500 million in new “security assistance” to Ukraine and is threatening to pass punishing new sanctions against Russia. The mainstream media, for the most part, has added to the turmoil by parroting false Cold War histories and narratives.
This dangerous rhetoric must stop! Instead of ratcheting up tensions, the US should work with all parties to de-escalate and pursue vigorous, sincere diplomatic paths out of the crisis. Ukraine’s leaders have advised calm and have rejected US statements that a Russian invasion is imminent.
The US has just managed to extract itself from a 20-year war in Afghanistan. Does our government seriously want to embark on another war? Since 2001, our long, bloody, fruitless interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan have cost thousands of US lives, hundreds of thousands of civilian lives in those countries, and $6.4 trillion.
These US taxpayers’ dollars could have been used instead to address vital human needs, especially during the pandemic. We need serious investment in health care, housing, environmental protection, education, civilian manufacturing jobs, and programs that address the plight of the 140 million poor and low-income people in our country. The only entities that stand to benefit from warmongering are the huge weapons manufacturers of the military industrial complex.
For any kind of peaceful settlement to be successful, all parties will need to accept the legitimate security concerns of others. Yet the US refuses to foreclose the possibility of Ukraine membership in NATO. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, officials in the George H. W. Bush Administration, along with other Western leaders, repeatedly assured Russia that NATO would not move “one inch” further east after the reunification of Germany. Those promises have been repeatedly broken. NATO has moved ever eastward, adding 14 countries, including most of the members of the former Warsaw Pact, so that it now presses up against the border of Russia. Ukraine being part of NATO would put missiles within a few minutes’ striking distance of major Russian cities. Russia has long warned that this is incompatible with its security. One need only remember the Cuban Missile Crisis to understand Russia’s attitude. The distance between Cuba and Washington D.C. is 1,250 kilometers. The distance between Ukraine’s border and Moscow is 490 kilometers.
We join with our colleagues in the “No to War / No to NATO” international network in calling for an end to further NATO expansion and the establishment of a new “Common Security” architecture in Europe, based on the principle that the security of one state is linked to the security of all others. Negotiations in regard to Ukraine need to be opened based on support for the 2015 Minsk II accord, which was signed by Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany and was endorsed by the US and the UN – but has never been implemented. The Minsk II accord includes provisions for a ceasefire, secure access for humanitarian aid, withdrawal of all foreign troops and military equipment, and Ukrainian constitutional reforms that include decentralization of political authority, respect for and protection of Russian minorities, and relative autonomy for the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Massachusetts Peace Action calls upon our members and allies to contact your US Representatives and Senators and strongly urge them to pursue peaceful diplomacy to resolve the Ukraine crisis:
No to the massive $500 million in “security assistance” for Ukraine!
No to the expansion of NATO!
Yes to negotiations and diplomacy based on the Minsk II agreement!
Turn down the heated rhetoric that could, by intent or accident, lead us into another war.
Stop demonizing Russia and start working cooperatively to establish a Common Security framework in Europe.
Without peaceful coexistence, there can be no peace.
Written by Massachusetts Peace Action’s No New Cold War Working Group; Approved by the Executive Committee January 31, 2022