Why some progressive Democrats are urging Biden to rethink his Ukraine strategy
Just yesterday, 30 left-wing House Democrats, led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Washington), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, sent a letter to Joe Biden requesting that he pursue a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine. The letter was signed by the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Ro Khanna (Calif.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), and Jamie Raskin (Md.)
They called for economic and military support to Ukraine to be coupled with a diplomatic push and a direct engagement with Russia to find a solution "that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine."
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (YouTube screen grab, cropped).
Such a 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.
They warned about the perils of increased nuclear threats.
The alternative to diplomacy is a protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks.
There is mention of spending on the war.
As legislators responsible for the expenditure of tens of billions of US 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.
Since the beginning of the war, the U.S. has sent over $60 billion in aid to Ukraine.
These aid packages have received rare, almost unprecedented bipartisan support.
Only a small contingent within the GOP — i.e., 57 of 212 House Republicans and 11 of 50 Senate Republicans — voted against the aid packages. Among them was Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who proposed essential transparency and accountability, but that idea was summarily rejected.
Quite often, when asked how long the U.S. can be expected to spend billions on the war effort, Biden and his top aides respond with "as long as it takes."
Back to the letter.
The signatories made it clear that they still support Ukraine aid packages and "agree with the administration's perspective that it is not America's place to pressure Ukraine’s government regarding sovereign decisions."
But dissent is abhorred in D.C.
Hence, war-ravenous Democrats issued scorching rebuttals to the letter.
Some responded on social media.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) responded as follows:
There is moral and strategic peril in sitting down with Putin too early. It risks legitimizing his crimes and handing over parts of Ukraine to Russia in an agreement that Putin won’t even honor. Sometimes, a bully must be shown the limits of his power before diplomacy can work.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 24, 2022
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) responded as follows:
The way to end a war? Win it quickly.— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) October 24, 2022
How is it won quickly? By giving Ukraine the weapons to defeat Russia. https://t.co/EJEwif3VJj
The backlash prompted Jayapal to release the following statement:
We are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion.
She then meekly added, "Diplomacy is an important tool that can save lives."
Such is the appetite for a war that the likes of Trump, Tucker, and Tulsi were branded Russian propagandists for merely demanding a peaceful solution via diplomacy and an end to unconditional aid.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently said that a GOP-led House would oppose more aid to Ukraine. McCarthy was called pro-Putin for his position by Rep. Liz Cheney.
Make no mistake: the support for war doesn't emanate from the concern for the Ukrainian people.
It is more about quid-pro-quo deals that D.C. politicians have with cronies and donors such as arms dealers and others. This is why D.C. stands together in unconditional support of the war. This also explains their unhinged reaction whenever anybody mentions ending the conflict. Some probably stand to make a considerable fortune that will leave them rich enough to retire prematurely.
CBS News revealed that of the billions in military aid that the U.S. dispatches to Ukraine, merely 30% of it reaches its final destination. CBS then deleted the report and tweets linked to the report after their Democrat bosses probably walloped them with a metaphorical stick for telling the truth.
The letter excluded the obvious serious security concerns about sending unlimited and unaccounted arms to a war zone.
The war in Ukraine has attracted over twenty thousand foreign fighters. The advanced weaponry sent there could be sold on the black market, ending up with terrorists. Perhaps some of the unvetted foreign fighters are terrorists. In both cases, the U.S. could have unknowingly funded terrorism.
The letter also deliberately excludes mention of corruption and cronyism in Ukraine under President Zelensky, which increases the likelihood of the aid being misused.
That time Trump called out the corruption in Ukraine with Zelensky sitting next to him...— Stephiereine28 (@stephiereine) March 17, 2022
The look on his face is priceless.
I can't wait for this to unravel... pic.twitter.com/DZmGRWHpXZ
There is also no mention of the tyranny under Zelensky. Zelensky banned several opposition political parties and dissenting media outlets. Zelensky branded his dissenting colleagues as pro-Putin.
Corruption, tyranny, and an aversion to dissent — Zelensky is sounding like a modern Democrat. Perhaps that is why this was excluded from the letter.
So what prompted this letter?
A Pew Research poll revealed that the share of Americans who are extremely concerned about Ukraine fell from 55 percent in May to 38 percent in September.
Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 32 percent say the United States is providing too much support for the war, up from 9 percent in March.
Clearly, the Democrats realize that their constituents are more focused on inflation, high gas prices, crime, the fentanyl crisis, and other domestic problems that are a result of Biden's misgovernance. A war in a faraway country is the least of their worries since they themselves are struggling.
AOC was recently confronted about her support for the war:
AOC humiliated at a Town Hall:— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) October 13, 2022
"You ran as an outsider yet you voted to start this war in Ukraine. You're voting to start a nuclear war with Russia and China" pic.twitter.com/dSldpyKVLT
It seems strange that the signatories of the letter, who previously supported the war unconditionally for such a prolonged period of time, would suddenly change their minds and become peaceniks.
The wide coverage in the liberal news media, which is staunchly for war, is definitely suspicious. They never amplify messages they disapprove of.
We must hence regard the letter as a campaign stunt. Perhaps their internal polls show THAT the re-election prospects of some of the signatories are at risk due to their support for the conflict in Ukraine. They needed overtly to distance themselves from the war.
It is possible that these 30 liberal House members worked with the Democrat leadership to concoct, plan, and conduct this rather inexpensive P.R. exercise to con their voters.
Apart from distancing themselves from the war, the letter also enables them to distance themselves from a deeply unpopular Joe Biden. AOC famously refused to endorse Biden's re-election in 2024.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the White House was warned in advance about the letter.
Perhaps Zelensky was also informed about the letter with an assurance that the money won't ever stop.
Upon being re-elected, the signatories will most likely continue to support the war. The letter is most likely to be tossed into the White House paper-shredder.
But it could achieve its purpose of deceiving voters into thinking the signatories are indeed serious about defunding and ending the conflict if re-elected.