By Jake Johnson
More than 100 advocacy organizations representing millions of people across the U.S. demanded Tuesday that the Biden administration take immediate steps to defuse tensions with Russia as the two nuclear-armed powers remain perilously close to war over Ukraine.
“We call upon President Biden to end the U.S. role in escalating the extremely dangerous tensions with Russia,” the progressive groups said in a joint statement spearheaded by CodePink and RootsAction.org. “It is gravely irresponsible for the president to participate in brinkmanship between two nations that possess 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.”
The statement—signed by 105 organizations, including Physicians for Social Responsibility, Just Foreign Policy, and Peace Action—came hours after a sharp verbal back-and-forth between U.S. and Russian representatives at a United Nations Security Council meeting, which did little to abate fears of a looming military conflict.
During her remarks at the U.N. gathering, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of “attempting, without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a pretext for attack.”
Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya responded by alleging that the U.S. is the one “provoking escalation” with false claims about Russia’s intentions in Ukraine, which has ambitions of joining NATO—something Russia views as a severe security threat.
Nebenzya also accused the U.S. of elevating “nationalists, radicals, Russophobes, and pure Nazis” to power in Kyiv by backing the 2014 overthrow of Ukraine’s government.
Thus far, the U.S. has rejected Russia’s demand for a guarantee of no “further eastward expansion” of NATO. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are set to speak by phone Tuesday after the two countries exchanged written proposals that did not appear to presage a diplomatic breakthrough.
In their joint statement on Tuesday, the 105 anti-war groups argued that the roots of the present crisis are “entangled in the failure of the U.S. government to live up to its promise made in 1990 by then-Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would expand not ‘one inch to the East.'”
“Since 1999, NATO has expanded to include numerous countries, including some that border Russia,” the groups noted. “Rather than dismissing out of hand the Russian government’s current insistence on a written guarantee that Ukraine will not become part of NATO, the U.S. government should agree to a long-term moratorium on any NATO expansion.”
While the Biden administration has publicly said it is committed to pursuing dialogue and diplomacy with Russia, it has simultaneously continued pouring arms into Ukraine and placed thousands of U.S. troops on standby for possible deployment to Eastern Europe.
Norman Solomon, national director of RootsAction.org, told Common Dreams on Tuesday that “the emergency that we now face is literally putting humanity’s survival at risk,” given the thousands of nuclear weapons the U.S. and Russia possess.
“It’s not enough for officials in Washington to say that they hope diplomacy will find a solution—we’ve heard that many times just before the U.S. plunged into one new war after another,” said Solomon. “The major cause of this conflict is that the United States has pushed NATO up to Russia’s borders and now is continuing to ship very large quantities of weapons to Ukraine, a situation that the U.S. government would never tolerate if Russia were doing the same near the USA’s borders.”
“Whatever you think about the current Ukraine conflict, we all have the most profound possible interest in de-escalating it to prevent a clash between the world’s two nuclear-weapons superpowers,” Solomon continued. “Polling shows that most Americans want the U.S. government to compromise with Russia in this terribly dangerous conflict—yet the mainstream media and vast majority of Congress members are whipping up a frenzy of uncompromising jingoistic fervor. They might as well be telling the ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse’ to giddyup.”
Source: Common Dreams
Image: Anti-war protesters gather in front of the White House to demonstrate against escalating tensions between the United States and Russia on January 27, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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