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Bipartisan Organizations Write Open Letter to Biden: A Stark Choice To Avoid a Catastrophic War

Jan. 9, 2022 (EIRNS)—The American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord posted an open letter to President Joe Biden, which the Jan. 8 press release states was led by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Just Foreign Policy: “Mr. President, you face a profound and starkly consequential choice”—deepen negotiation efforts and avoid all provocative behavior. Their letter to Biden, “Ahead of U.S.-Russia Talks, Coalition Urges Biden To Further Strengthen Diplomatic Efforts and Avert War,” was signed by a bipartisan coalition of 15 “U.S. foreign policy, veteran, religious, non-profit, and advocacy organizations.” The letter, with copies to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Charles Schumer, couched matters in terms of dealing with the Russian threat, but urged Biden forward in his modest attempts at diplomacy.

“Continuing engagement is necessary to avert a military conflict that will harm the interests of the United States, harm innocent civilians in Ukraine, and risk spiraling into a potentially catastrophic war between the world’s two leading nuclear powers. We greatly appreciate your decision to respond to the substantial Russian military deployment near Ukraine by engaging in direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and arranging broader talks next week between Russia, the United States, and our NATO allies.”

However, they state their agreement with Blinken’s characterization of the Minsk accords, saying: “The United States should press both Ukraine and Russia to implement a workable version of the Minsk accords,” and “We share his view that the ‘most promising avenue for diplomacy is for Russia and Ukraine to return to dialogue in the context of the Minsk II agreements.’ ” They do state that “We also welcome your rejection of calls to station U.S. troops in or around Ukraine to protect against a potential Russian incursion, stating that such an effort is ‘not on the table.’ ”

“As President Obama has noted, Ukraine is a core national security interest for Russia in a way that it is not for the United States, particularly considering that it is directly on the Russian border but geographically distant from the United States....

“Diplomacy is the only reasonable path forward for U.S.-Russia relations. We echo the call by over 100 former U.S. officials and leading scholars who stated that, in addition to addressing urgent security challenges, we must engage in a serious and sustained strategic dialogue with Russia ‘that addresses the deeper sources of mistrust and hostility’.... These dialogues must engage with President Putin’s explicit pursuit of ‘reliable and long-term security guarantees’ that would ‘exclude any further NATO moves eastward and the deployment of weapons systems that threaten us in close vicinity to Russian territory.’

“Russia perceives NATO expansion as a threat, stemming from the nature of NATO security guarantees and a longstanding Russian perception that Western leaders violated past assurances regarding NATO expansion. It is in the interests of the United States, the region, and the world to address these and other root causes of tension....

“Mr. President, you face a stark and profoundly consequential choice. We urge you to maintain and deepen your diplomatic and realistic approach towards Russia and Ukraine, including by continuing to refrain from provocative actions that could raise tensions.”

Signers include: Beyond the Bomb, Common Defense, Concerned Veterans for America, Defense Priorities, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Global Zero, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, The American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord, RootsAction, Veterans Global Peace Network, and Veterans for Peace.

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