President Biden just ordered 8,500 members of the US military on high alert in Eastern Europe. The president is sending more airplanes and warships to the area, and heavy weapons from NATO states are arriving in Ukraine today. This is the opposite of what is needed during this crisis. We should be tamping down tensions, not ratcheting them up!
Statements from President Biden himself have been unclear and dangerous. He has said an invasion of Ukraine is “imminent.” That kind of careless talk can lead to war.
Ukraine’s leaders disagree with Washington’s bleak outlook. They’re advising calm.
The Congress isn’t helping either. They’re rushing new legislation that proposes $500 million in new “security assistance” to Ukraine and threatens new sanctions on Russia. More militaristic threats will not solve this crisis. We can’t put out this fire with gasoline!
After the end of the Cold War, NATO, the counterpart to the now 30 years defunct, Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, continued to expand eastward, right up to Russia’s borders. George Kennan, the author of the United States’ Cold War containment doctrine, called this move, “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” His warning was correct.
Russia would like less weapons on its borders, a promise not to expand NATO further, and has offered to participate in negotiations moderated by Turkey, a NATO member since 1952. Ukraine’s ambassador welcomed that offer.
Russia is asking for:
- An end to NATO military activity in eastern Europe, including Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia
- No expansion of NATO membership, particularly to Ukraine
- No intermediate or shorter-range missiles deployed close enough to hit the territory of the other side
- No military exercises of more than one military brigade in an agreed border zone
- An agreement that parties do not consider each other as adversaries and will resolve disputes peacefully
- Neither Russia nor the United States can deploy nuclear weapons outside their national territories
These proposals should be considered, rationally and negotiated.