Politics Russia-Ukraine

Democrats: Don’t Give Peace a Chance

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks at a Congressional Progressive Caucus news conference, Aug. 12, 2022, in Washington. With Jayapal from left are Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis. [VOA News]

By Katherine Gypson | VOA News

Note from SP: This piece ran earlier today but since the time of publication, the letter from the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been rescinded. Citing claims that negotiating with Vladimir Putin is unrealistic, Democrats and Ukrainian officials reprimanded the letter and Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has taken responsibility for the release of the letter. Jayapal says the letter was signed months ago, was not vetted and reaffirmed the Dems’ support for the war, calling the push against support for Ukraine an alignment with Republicans.

WASHINGTON — Progressive Democratic lawmakers urged U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday to shift the U.S. approach to the war in Ukraine by directly negotiating with Russia.

A letter signed by 30 House Democrats in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Representative Pramila Jayapal, said they appreciated Biden’s commitment “to Ukraine’s legitimate struggle against Russia’s war of aggression” and acknowledged U.S. economic, military and humanitarian aid has been critical to Ukraine’s success in fighting off Russia.

But the lawmakers said, in the letter first reported by the Washington Post, that diplomatic efforts should also be a part of the U.S. approach to ending the war that has had a catastrophic toll on the Ukrainian people as well as threatening global food and poverty crises through rising fuel and grain costs.

“As legislators responsible for the expenditure of tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in military assistance in the conflict, we believe such involvement in this war also creates a responsibility for the United States to seriously explore all possible avenues, including direct engagement with Russia, to reduce harm and support Ukraine in achieving a peaceful settlement,” the lawmakers wrote.

In a June 2022 press conference, Biden acknowledged that possibility when asked if Ukraine would have to cede territory to Russia to put an end to the conflict.

“It appears to me that, at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here. And what that entails, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows at the time,” Biden told reporters.

The lawmakers specified it was not the place of the U.S. to pressure Ukraine into accepting a settlement, writing that any “framework would presumably include incentives to end hostilities, including some form of sanctions relief, and bring together the international community to establish security guarantees for a free and independent Ukraine that are acceptable for all parties, particularly Ukrainians.”

The U.S. has sent nearly $60 billion in humanitarian, economic and military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s unprovoked invasion in February. In the Monday letter, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus said they are still in favor of continued aid.

But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — who is poised to become Speaker of the House if Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November midterm elections — said continuing U.S. aid to Ukraine is not assured, given domestic economic concerns.

“I think people are going to be sitting in a recession, and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy told U.S. political news outlet Punchbowl News last week.

Not all Republican leaders agree. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called for more U.S. aid to Ukraine in a statement last Friday, saying “The Biden Administration and our allies need to do more to supply the tools Ukraine needs to thwart Russian aggression. It is obvious this must include additional air defenses, long-range fires, and humanitarian and economic support to help this war-torn country endure the coming winter.”

Progressive Democrats did praise Biden’s approach, saying the administration’s policy was critical in preventing an all-out nuclear conflict.

“We are under no illusions regarding the difficulties involved in engaging Russia given its outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine and its decision to make additional illegal annexations of Ukrainian territory. However, 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,” the letter said.

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  1. You persist in saying this war was unprovoked. I and others who are cognisant of the history of this, a history that continues to be whitewashed, know only too well that it was provoked all along by the USA and NATO. This “unprovoked” narrative is the cold lie upon which all this imperial misconduct has been executed. When the lies of the mass media infect these so called alternative platforms, then we are even further away from resolving these problems. The truth of this will eventually come out and the liars on both sides of the media will be exposed

    1. Thank you Bernie Holland for posting. If Scheerpost is willing to publish this stuff, maybe they should add an addendum that corrects the misinformation.
      Thank you sir, take good care.

  2. They are all fakes and full of shit. They are going to continue to vote for the military aid. They are worried because actual progressives are figuring out they are just another part of the Washington con game. They should all send for Azov Battalion pins they can wear to the office.

    1. Oh wow Baba Yaga. Excellent comment. Christopher Hitchens incarnate. That was a complement by the way. I hope you keep posting as you see fit.

  3. It’s a little too late for this kind of talk. It should have been sounded many months ago. Now, with billions of dollars having been spent from the public coffers, Germany and the rest of Western Europe facing freezing in the winter, the global South near starvation, and only a minority of leaders coming out with reason seems a little like a peep in a snow storm.

  4. Russia’s “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”…? Really? Is that the line you’re sticking to? Because anyone with half a brain can very easily see ample evidence of NATO/US activity, which several respected individuals warned about at the time, including the current Director of the CIA, was a huge provocation to Russia who saw it as an existential threat. Not only those close to Putin either, but these feelings run throughout Russian society from top military officers down to the lowliest workers. Recognising the role played by the US/NATO in provoking Russia doesn’t in any way absolve Putin of responsibility for the illegal invasion and war crimes, but we have to put all our cards on the table if lessons are ever to be learned. What you said is not only disingenuous it’s wholly dishonest also, because you’d need to be deaf & blind to have missed all the information out there that provide facts rather than the State Department propaganda you are spreading.
    Google Prof John Mearsheimer @ University of Chigaco.

  5. To confirm what Baba Yaga wrote, the fake progressives have withdrawn the letter. Spinelessly blaming staffers for its release.

  6. “Ukraine’s legitimate struggle against Russia’s war of aggression” HAHA!
    Decades of CIA interference, refusal at any time by Ukraine to follow the GERMAN-sponsored Minsk plan from 2015, constant murderous attacks on the Donbass since 2014, laws against Russian language and removal of all opposition Parties by Poroshenko then Zelenskyy. Refusal by NATO/ US to consider Russia’s security, goading of Russia for months to invade, with troop buildups harassing Donbass, and this is normal, democratic behavior???

    1. Rosemary your comment is a good summary.
      As for giving peace a chance ; that must be some cruel joke by this people.They are funded by the War Machine
      WAR IS GOOD. $$$$$$$$$$. More broken bones for the hungry Dow Jones.
      As for Russia They know that Russians will never be beaten.
      When the going gets tough in Europe Uncle Sam wont be there.

  7. Thank you to all the respondents who commented and called out this hypocrisy and utter stupidity of an unprovoked war! While nothing excuses Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, to expect that he will come begging to the table because America suddenly wants to negotiate is naive just short of stupidity. Consider that the US has armed Ukraine to the tune of billions of dollars, given intelligence that killed close to 10 generals, intelligence that severely damaged the Russian navy’s flagship, munitions responsible for the deaths of possibly thousands of Russian soldiers, has helped blow up a pipeline that would have provided heating fuel to virtually all of Europe. Scott Ritter’s scenario is now far more likely a full scale war unleashed on Ukraine to utterly destroy its military might and NATO’s ability to wage war on the borders of Russia. The fact that Biden has deployed the 101st Airborne within miles of Russia’s border does not sound like a plan for good faith negotiations. These fools are hell bent on full scale war and Biden is in over his head. Only good luck will keep this from spreading and I doubt that is on our side we have spent any good will the Russians might have had towards us long ago. Goodbye America and your policy of Full Spectrum Dominance your days running the show are numbered and good riddance!

  8. again SP lies—these fakes support NATO and vote for all military spending–this is “progressive” for SP—despicable

  9. Serious exploration of diplomatic possibilities? Sure. I’m all for it.

    Someone has to ask Russia what it will take for it to stop their illegal occupation of Ukraine, pay for all the damage they did, cooperate in prosecuting the scores of Russian war criminals whose grisly work is uncovered with every town the Russians are kicked out of, withdraw their military to within their own borders, and reconfirm the Ukraine’s borders as they are recognised by the UN (including the Crimea). That ought to do it, I think.

    It will take serious diplomatic effort of course, but it just might pay off. Right after Russia’s collective mind has been focused on the reality that it’s losing the war in the Ukraine.

    1. reintegration of 4 regions entirely legal and moral—golodf immoral nazi position despicable….nothing impotent NATO and the failed USA immoral nation can do except worship money and love your oppression….Russia is winning the imperialist US war in Ukraine—-when 300,000 more troops mobilized ukropistan will be entirely denazified….golodny immoral efforts amusing but expected from CIA agent living in a failed state

    2. Russia’s losing, eh? Crimea is part of Russia, and that is NOT going to change. Do you really not get that?

    3. this belongs in r/unselfawarewolves. let’s ask the russians to do all of the above as soon as america has stopped its illegal occupations in afghanistan and iraq (don’t kid yourself, we’re still there), syria, somalia, central america, etc., ad nauseam, the scores of our very own war criminals are in the docks at the Hague, we’ve paid to reconstruct every nation we’ve destroyed (we need to clean up all the depleted uranium, too), and have promised to keep our military within our borders. close all the foreign bases (and bio-labs)! that oughta do it.

  10. All of the above may be true – but the fact remains that several US officials have made it clear that their real aim is to “weaken” Russia – with hopefully a “regime change” – between sanctions, blowing up pipelines (making sure Russia and the EU have no “common interests “) etc., causing enough pain to induce an internal revolt or “coup” in Russia – this is indeed a “proxy” war with Ukraine and its people considered disposable – the longer this war goes on the more of Ukraine will be destroyed, the more Ukrainians killed and displaced …

    Early on Zelensky showed a willingness to negotiate – until the US stepped in and said “Don’t, we will give you enough weapons and support so you can win” and that is still our message – Zelensky, et.al. refused to implement the Minsk accords to end what started out as a civil war – with Kiev beating the tar out of Eastern Ukraine for objecting to a post (US sponsored) coup government that was oppressing the ethnic Russians there for objecting – those accords could have left Ukraine intact (Crimea being a special case) with semi-autonomy for the Donbass. But the US saw this as a golden opportunity to “weaken” Russia, and apparently is willing to do it to the last Ukrainian. Even if they “beat” Russia it will be a Pyrrhic victory – leaving Ukraine in tatters – just as we did in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Haiti, etc.

    When you have a Sec Defense fresh out of the Raytheon Bd of Dir., what do you expect …

    I am so ashamed of my country, but this is not the first time, and with the duopoly in power, no doubt it won’t be the last ….

  11. after reading this tripe (then picking my jaw up off the floor) I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer, and scrolled to the comments. the vast majority restored the glimmer of hope I try to keep alive. wtf has happened to scheerpost?!? Hedges must be re-thinking his life right about now (and his heart is surely breaking)…

  12. Biden needs to be impeached, if his role in the destruction of Nordstream 1 & 2 is ever discovered. The progressive Democrats are cowards through and through. I’m trying desperately to find a reason to vote for a shit lib Dem on Nov 8.

  13. No wonder the piece is so slanted against Russia: it comes from Voice of America, a US govt-run “news” outlet.

  14. In its unmitigated arrogance, the U.S., assuming it could plunder the global south with impunity forever, failed to notice as it centered its imperial architecture on a gargantuan military, that with a few well-placed sanctions of their own on it by a wide swath of the 63% of countries that see through the U.S. fantasy of dominating the world militarily and do not support it, that the U.S. empire can be crippled economically and thrown into utter chaos internally as it so richly deserves.

    Consider U.S. sanctions on Russian oil, which boomeranged as the worst inflation the U.S. has seen in 40 years, or its trade war with China, which so far has been a one-way street.

    The U.S. economy is a financialization joke. It cannibalizes itself to fatten oligarchs who do not know how to do anything but steal money. The U.S. trades pieces of paper for commodities extracted and consumer goods manufactured in dozens of countries around the world.

    World war does not necessarily mean nuclear war. It can, and it very well might be time for it to, mean everybody on this planet sick of being brutalized and stolen from by the U.S. to stop doing business with it. Who does the U.S. bomb then? Everyone?

  15. I gave up on the mainstream of the Democratic Party after they trashed Bernie and imposed Biden. I gave up on Bernie, AOC and the rest of the squad when they, without even a peep, voted for the $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, betraying everything they ever claimed to stand for and all the reasons I donated early and often to them starting in 2014. After 50+ years of voting in nearly every congressional and presidential election cycle, almost exclusively for Democrats, I no longer have any faith in the two-party electoral system in America. Zero. It’s worse than a sham. It makes actual democracy impossible. Any political donations I make now go not to individual candidates of either party but only to strictly independent, non-partisan, community-based activist organizations, such as CodePink, that operate outside the money-soaked careerist and corrupted two-party system which will never produce any meaningful or positive change and will always work to prevent it. I also support and subscribe to individual journalists and writers on Substack, Medium, ScheerPost, YouTube and other platforms, that seek to challenge and overthrow the dominant corporatist American narrative that has captured so much of our media, political life and culture. These include, among others, Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Caitlin Johnstone, Aaron Mate, The Duran, Matt Orfalea, Medea Benjamin, Scott Ritter, Noam Chomsky, Jeffrey Sachs, Chris Hedges, Garland Nixon, Breaking Points, Katie Halper, Alexander Mercouris, Roland S. Martin, Ralph Nader, Brian Berletic, Tulsi Gabbard, Ray Dalio, Richard Medhurst, Kim Iversen, The Grayzone, Gonzalo Lira, Patrick Lancaster and George Galloway. Despite the “Progressive” debacle in Congress over this letter, the corporate narrative is crumbling and the elite’s ability to manufacture our consent is weakening further every day.

  16. What commenters trying to whitewash Russia and trying to somehow portray the US as carrying guilt in this conflict is teh following:

    “Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to reject the idea of Ukrainian sovereignty in a way that is fundamentally incompatible with serious negotiations. Putin continued to reject Ukrainian sovereignty during a speech at the Valdai Discussion Club on October 27. Putin stated that the “single real guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty” can only be Russia, which “created” Ukraine.[1] Putin reiterated that it is a “historical fact” that Ukrainians and Russians are fundamentally “one people” that were wrongly separated into “different states.”[2] Putin stated on October 26 that Ukraine has “lost its sovereignty” and become a NATO vassal.[3]”

    Source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-october-27

    That clearly illustrates that no negotiations with Russia are possible until (a) Russia admits the Ukraine’s sovereignty and withdraws all of its troops from all of Ukraine’s territory (including the Crimea and the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts) or (b) Russian forces are kicked out of the Ukraine.

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