Brett Wilkins Forever Wars Military Ukraine

Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Packages

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."
Thousands turned out to march for peace in Ukraine on February 6, 2022 in central London. (Photo: Kristian Buus/In Pictures via Getty Images)

By Brett Wilkins / Common Dreams

The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to approve $40 billion in emergency military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine amid both Russia’s ongoing invasion and warnings from peace advocates that prolonging the war makes the world a more dangerous, not safer, place.

The Senate voted 86-11 in favor of H.R. 7619, a supplemental appropriations bill authorizing $7 billion more aid than requested by President Joe Biden. The package now goes to the president’s desk for what is expected to be his swift approval.

Mirroring the measure’s May 10 House vote—a 368-57affair in which every dissenter was a Republican—all 11 “no” votes were cast by GOP senators.

Every member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus—99 House lawmakers plus Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—voted in favor of a measure that critics claim will not only prolong the war, but also dangerously provoke the world’s other nuclear superpower and divert funds that could be better spent on programs of social uplift.

After U.S. officials last month pledged $700 million in military aid for Ukraine—less than 2% of the new package—Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat accused NATO countries of “pouring oil on the fire” in Ukraine by “in essence, going to war with Russia through a proxy.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov—ignoring his country’s brutal invasion of its sovereign neighbor—added that the risk of nuclear war is “serious” and “should not be underestimated,” adding that “under no circumstances should a Third World War be allowed to happen.”

Writing for Common Dreams after the House vote, Massachusetts Peace Action executive director Cole Harrison warned that “the danger of nuclear war has risen substantially during the Ukraine crisis, and escalations on the U.S. side are pushing us closer to the brink.”

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must be condemned. But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine,” Harrison continued. “President Biden said that President Putin cannot remain in power. Secretary of Defense Austin said the U.S. seeks to weaken Russia. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that we are fighting until ‘victory.'”

Cameron University political science instructor Stuart J. Hooper acknowledged in a Common Dreams opinion piece this week that “Russia should not have invaded Ukraine, and immediately lost any moral high ground it may have had upon doing so, and the Ukrainians had a right to defend themselves and seek help.”

“But this situation is qualitatively different with its potential to ignite World War III,” he cautioned. “With Russian forces clearly on the ropes after weeks in a stalemate, why was there not a significant effort to push for a peaceful withdrawal and resolution to the conflict?”

Hooper added: “Where was the Western attempt to seek compromise? Putin was willing to talk with French President Emmanuel Macron, why not use that line of communication to broker a way out? This is what an ethical hegemon, concerned with peace and stability, would do.”

Noting that “in the face of war’s atrocities, the tyranny of the immediate can be overwhelming and, for groups that have long opposed America’s wars (and sometimes war in general), confusing,” journalist Nan Levinson wrote this week that she hopes “there’s more diplomacy going on behind the scenes than is now being reported and that realistic compromises on all sides, even hard-to-swallow ones, which will satisfy nobody, are being considered.”

As Harrison stressed, “This war must be settled at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield!”

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

22 comments

  1. Start catching on already. There are no “progressive Democrats.” Period. The party took a solid turn to the right as far back as the 1990s. Learn the differences between the political left and the political right.

  2. The ignorant and foolish “American people” fall for another fraudulent US war of aggression. This time there is a strong possibility of nuclear war. In fact, that is a probability unless the US does what it should do (and what it should have done before starting this war), which is agree to the reasonable Russian demands and get the hell out of Ukraine. I do not think the fools in Washington are capable of admitting that they are wrong, so I would bet against any such reasonable decision being made. Closing time may be near. Perhaps that is the best possible outcome from the nightmare created by the Empire of Lies.

    1. “the people” gave got nothing to with it.
      pay attention

      1. To he/she/it-ratio,

        Is that an anagram or is there a coherent thought hidden in those words? I have no idea what you are trying to say.

      2. To he, etc.,
        “the people”are the ones who put these goons in office …

      3. To SH –
        The people also support the theft of their own money by the thieves by supporting these endless wars of aggression, as they are now doing with the war in Ukraine. Money which is desperately needed for the needs of the people in this Country (health care, infrastructure, education, etc.) is being stolen by the arms merchants, Congress and all the other thieves who live in the militarism sewer. Instead of waving their Ukrainian flags, the people should be in the streets angrily protesting the theft of the billions being spent on this US war of aggression. Not one Democrat in the House voted against the latest round of theft, this time a whopping $40 billion. So much for the party which falsely claims to be the “progressive” party. Oh, yes, that includes the phony progressives. AOC as progressive? What a bad joke.

  3. The top 100 Ukrainian oligarchs are reportedly worth $44.5B in 2021. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_oligarch

    Almost to the penny, this hoarded wealth is equal to the U.S. war commitment to Ukraine in 2022. I don’t see much effort on anyone’s part to get the top 100 Ukrainians to pay their fair share. Kind of like how the U.S. coddles it’s own oligarchs.

    1. Yep, wars are always fantastic for our economy, our M I complex and weapons manufacturers.
      We are spending far more than on Covid-19’s disaster, so, are the $44 billions To be recovered as debt, eventually???
      Or USA taxpayers in the frying pan again??

      But we are mostly all war enthusiasts, there has never been a war we do not love, only 11 GOP voted against the spending and it must be noted they are Trump’s guys.
      This war is no different than the Cuban missile crisis and
      Aiding Ukraine could explode into a nuclear war.

      If Trump was in the WH, he would not have let the war start as he would have agreed that Ukraine should not be in Nato.
      Imagine that all this destruction, death, and pain could have been avoided easily., as Zelensky now concedes to no Nato.
      But we love war, are we not always at war?

  4. There cannot be any debate if words we are using have different meaning for different people.

    As we are living in Orwellian times of newspeak, doublespeak and brutal censorship it is important that we insist on correct terminology used for describing reality on the ground.

    In such context and for sake of accuracy in communication we should stop using term Russian invasion and change it to Russian intervention nominally and de facto on a side of Russian ally LDPR (created in compliance with UN charter articles of rights to self determination including right to armed struggle for independence) being de facto in state of war with Kiev regime for eight years.

    As Ukraine has every right to defend herself by calling on her allies to intervene (they did call for NATO boots on the ground, water and in the skies but they were effectively abandoned) so LDPR has unalienable right to call upon allies like Russia (also Abkhazia and South Ossetia) to intervene according to Russia-LDPR mutual security and treaty of collective selfdefense.

    While the UN Charter prohibits unilateral acts of war, it also provides, in Article 51, that “..nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense… ”  The principle of NATO and the right of (collective) self-defense is understood by many UN members (including US) as to permit countries to respond, not only to actual armed attacks (against themselves or their allies) , but also to mere threat of imminent attack.  

    It was not only imminent threat of attack but according to OSCE records of cease fire monitoring actual armed attack on Russia’s ally LDPR by AFU on February 16, 2022 that triggered lawful unimpairable by UN charter right of RF to intervene to uphold military treaty obligation of collective security.

    For definition of invasion check Iraq Invasion 2003 that encompassed total regime change, hanging country leadership, destruction of civil society, inciting social strive, dismantling governmental and social institutions etc., when neither US nor its allies were ever threatened
    by Iraq which was at that point devastated by a decade of heavy sanctions that alone created humanitarian disaster .

    Those leftist activists for peace must realize that without correct terminology no recognition of reality and hence no real peace talks, they supposedly push for, are ever possible.

    What we have instead is intellectual schizophrenia shared equally among so called peace activists or supporters who were blind to eight years of civilians’ slaughter in Donbas waged by Ukrainian Nazi regime and with governmental and media warmongers they claim they despise, together condemn Russian intervention aimed in big part at alleviating Donbas humanitarian disaster due to total eight year military war and economic blockade of Donbas by Kiev regime.

    Where were anti war left protesting Ukrainian embassies in the world and spilling fake blood on ambassadors of Kiev regime to stop genocide of their own brothers and sisters ethnic Russian Ukrainian citizen in Donbas. Nowhere.

    Where were they when Ukrainian Nazi stormtroopers disguised as peace activists attacked Russian culture or bullied Russians living abroad including artists burning, their condemning books and art. Such hypocrisy is simply appalling and means complete misunderstanding what social peace that leads to international peace is all about. Hatred was never path to peace however covered up by veneer of righteous indignation.

    This schizophrenia extends to dealing with real potential of nuclear WWIII amid NATO provocative one sided escalation in direct confrontation with Russia.

    On one hand more more leftists (AOC, Sanders gang) join chorus of neocons lamenting that Putin is a mad man and must be stopped at all costs (precious $60B military help so far that could have been used to help working people social programs) meaning expansion of NATO and global arms race, they used to condemn, that greatly contributed to the crisis.

    On the other hand they appeal to Putin rational mind to avoid nuclear confrontation aimed by NATO at nuclear WWIII rhetoric and actual policies of fueling Ukrainian conflict, arming NATO and refusing, preventing any meaningful diplomacy aimed at lasting peace in Ukraine as well as critical talks about indivisible collective security of entire European continent Russia was proposing for a decade including request for such talks as late as in December 2021.

    Where were those nuclear war alarmists from left and right when US blatantly refused to negotiate extensions of nuclear disarmament treaties with Russia. Again nowhere.

    Since United leftist front of opposing illegal US invasion of Iraq in 2003 western anti war movement has been corrupted or neutered, split on western interventions in Libya or Syria embracing US imperial projects.

    Unless international peace activists realize that anti war movements are tasked of condemning solely their own country aggression, warmongering, escalation and financing wars such in this case Russian antiwar activists condemning Russian policies and Ukrainian peace activists condemning Ukraine policies of ethic Russians hatred and confrontation with Russia , NATO countries anti war movements condemning EU warmongering expansionist policies that harm citizens and bring threat of nuclear WWIII, the US anti war movements must limit themselves to condemning US imperial policies. If not they become pawns,useful idiots of cruel imperial politics in their own countries.

  5. Using words such as “brutal aggression, unprovoked attack” applied to Russia in the Ukraine War is part of the problem. Words have power. Immediately, Russia is cast as the bad guy. This makes negotiation that much harder. When has modern war been anything else but brutal? The Iraq war by all accounts was several times more brutal than the Ukrainian War. Perhaps it was not so since off-white people in the Middle East were dying. And the septuagenarian Nancy Pelosi wants a win! My God, what in the world is this person talking about? And does she know herself?

  6. If the Democratic Party don’t understand how to reduce inequality in the United States and that the United States shall not wage proxy war in Ukraine, then the Democratic Party will get a break from political power until they understand it.

    1. Nope, the Dems will use the zillions of dollars received from the 1% to run its usual “lesser evil” scam on an ignorant people, who will continue to buy it, as they have for decades. That is the sad truth. The people have no influence on either party.

  7. “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov—ignoring his country’s brutal invasion of its sovereign neighbor” Come on now! Huge provocation after 8 years of patience by Russia and an organized attack on the Donbass by the Zelinskyy régime in February 2022.
    All of the Western media lap up every lie from the Ukrainians and never investigate or even consider the nonsensical claims (baby raping etc) against the Russian troops who have done their very best to avoid civilian casualties or damage. The USA tries to ruin Russia via destroying Ukraine, which is next door to Russia and should be neutral.

  8. The continual condemnation of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine as a “UNPROVOKED “War and invasion” is a typical example of the USA and its sycophantic allies & their hypocrisy. They planned, caused,sponsored and support this War. The Russians have been forced into this action and future historians will only confirm this view.This latest finance of the War by Washington is further testimony to the real investigators .
    In the big picture War is just a expression of man’s primordial nature.Our greatest deeds are celebrated by War.Our greatest heroes by deeds of War. Stop blaming Russia and moralising. War is an essential expression of man and defines who we are.

  9. Typo on William’s comment submitted ” should read “INSTIGATORS “not” investigators”

  10. at this point of “this” invasion on a sovereign Ukraine it appears that poison putin pants will stay delighted in world attempts to negotiate with him, keeping him in the purview of other world dictators and pissing off all Western based democratic others….(revenge is sweet for these maniacal murderers for wealth and fame)…….this could just be another Israel …Palestinian long lived diaspora and shoot em ups……sadly….unless Lindsay’s idea gets manifested ?

  11. It is pretty pathetic that the US ‘peace’ movement in the US passes any judgment on Russia’s decision for a military solution when it is the US that has instigated this war. Sure, war is a morally despicable event, one that we should condemn, but when your own country is forcing a proxy war, it seems judicious that you avoid passing judgment on others. We the people let our government do this, we should take self-responsibility as US citizens for the calamity and immorality. Disloyalty to the war-mongering that represents us as a country. Show contempt where it is most directly due. The US is the enemy of peace here. Loyalty to peace begins at home.

  12. Author quotes a guy:

    “With Russian forces clearly on the ropes after weeks in a stalemate, why was there not a significant effort to push for a peaceful withdrawal and and resolution to the conflict?”

    The reason why is because this guy lives in alternative reality.

    This is an example how one can be wrong many times in one sentence.

    No Russians are not on the ropes they are steadily progressing in their clearly stated goals and it is not a regime change in Kiev?

    No, There is no stalemate and god no there is no Russian defeat in cards at all since February 2022.

    Is liberating 95% of LPR territory and 60% of DPR territory in Donbas including 400,000 resident city of Mariupol fiercely and criminally (committed war crimes of taking civilians hosted) defended by 20,000+ best NATO trained and equipped Ukrainian Nazi and elite AFU troops a stalemate or strategic military progress.

    Is Taking over and full control over strategic Crimea-Russia land corridor a stalemate or success ? Is there seizing all Azov sea ports from Ukraine to eliminate risk to strategic Crimea-Russia bridge over Kerch Strait a stalemate.

    Is obliterating 100% of Ukrainian Navy and 95% of Air Force, destruction of all AFU strategic offensive capabilities as stalemate?

    Is strategic move of taking over NPP in Energodar to prevent Ukraine from obtaining enriched uranium for nukes development a stalemate?

    Is opening up water flow of Dnipro-Crimea canal, the critical source for 99% of Crimea water supplies blocked by Kiev regime since 2015 a stalemate or strategic success.

    All those facts can be taken as a stalemate or Russian defeat only in alternative reality author lives.

    Author ignorantly asks: Why (in the reality of sure defeat of AFU as Scott Ritter concluded after similar Pentagon assessment in March) there is no negotiations going with Russia a nuclear superpower to avoid nuclear WWIII?

    Simple, because NATO prohibited Kiev regime to surrender as they want to fight to the last Ukrainian to weaken Russia as it is apparently.. too strong. But don’t take my word for it, take Pentagon’s word for it.

    But in author’s alternative reality that does not exist, Russia is economically and militarily weak disorganized, vulnerable, run by unstable Putin nobody can reason with.

    The hard facts like total failure of Russia’s political isolation, futility of western sanctions and embargoes on oil nat gas and most of Russian trade is absent in the alternative reality author lives in.

    Author seems also ignorant of the fact that undeclared western war against Russia resulted in significant damage to western economies while Ruble doubling its value named best performing FX current in the world in 2022 by Bloomberg, commodity exports including oil, gas, potash and agricultural commodities increased 150-200% in last quarter while profits of supposedly sanctioned Russian oligarchs increased unprecedented 50%.

    100 countries refused to join Western sanctions or just pay lip service while maintaining trade relations. Aeroflot flies to about 70 counties in the world with no restrictions. Is that a country on its knees, on the ropes?

    Not in this reality of the world. What is in this reality is western pensioners on their last ropes choosing between eating or freezing hit by unprecedented in over thirty years rampant inflation caused by suicidal, devastating to US and EU economies aggression against Russian society and economy.

    I think is time for SP to set up some minimum intellectual development criteria before publishing such articles of kindergarten level of understanding of reality and sociopolitical sophistication.

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