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Profiles in Cowardice
Progressives instantly disown their letter calling for Ukraine peace talks
Thirty peace Democrats in Congress suggest America might advocate for, you know, peace — but the Washington Foreign Policy Blob starts to twitch and bubble with incoherent rage, so they frantically back down, start falling all over themselves to clarify, excuse, apologize — then finally withdraw the very suggestion.
What a farcical spectacle!
It all began on a fine Monday morning with a mild-to-obsequious public letter to President Joe Biden from the Congressional Progressive Caucus (covered here yesterday with some “better late than never” frustration).
In their timid letter, the progressive Democrats lavished praise on Biden, expressed pride in our role supporting Kyiv with money and arms, but also asked for Biden to support peace talks. By afternoon, the letter signatories were furiously backpedaling. They officially withdrew the letter entirely one day later.
Why? Because the timing is bad. Or it sounded too Republican. Or something. The important point is that it was an unapproved Thoughtcrime.
You can read more if you’re curious at The Intercept, where Ryan Grim covers it well. He also notes how the entire sorry episode illustrates “the space available for debate among congressional Democrats when it comes to … how [the war in Ukraine] might be stopped before it turns nuclear: roughly zero.”
In fact, to hear The Blob pompously tell it, only the Ukrainians and their president, Volodymyr Zelensky, get to decide if and when the world ends in darkness and starvation.
“Mr. Zelensky gets to determine when he thinks that’s the right time [for peace talks] … because it’s his country,” says John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council. “We’re not going to dictate that.”
I see. So the position of the American government is: Americans don’t have any standing to decide when they’ve had enough of an American-funded proxy war against Russia. The American president says we’re flirting with Armageddon — but Americans themselves don’t get to determine if this should go on to the point of a civilization-crashing nuclear war.
Your job: Shut up and pay for it all.
The reality of course is that Washington, and not Zelensky, has all along been dictating when we can have peace talks — and when we can’t.
Six months ago, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators meeting in Istanbul tentatively reached a peace deal — and then the White House almost certainly killed it. As discussed yesterday, they sent the British prime minister to Kyiv to explain things to Zelensky — meaning, to tell him that Washington would decide when it was time to talk about peace, and not Kyiv.
(After all, Volodya, this is an inside-the-Beltway project that just happens to be taking place in Central Europe; if it was a Hollywood movie and not an actual war, the Ukrainians would be the extras. Зрозумів?)
How I wish we had independent and curious journalists in America. Perhaps they could dig into what happened in those historic, behind-the-scenes events six months ago — when the Washington Blob burst into peace talks between Russia and Ukraine to squash them.
For now, peace in Ukraine remains as elusive as ever. It’s hard to top the concise summary of Thomas Massie, the Republican Congressman from Kentucky:
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