House Progressives Release — Then Walk Back — Letter Urging Biden Diplomacy in Ukraine

Thirty House progressives on Monday released a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to make more diplomatic efforts to end the war in Ukraine, The Week reports.

The letter begins by praising Biden’s policy on Ukraine and the aid that he has supported to the country but “given the destruction “created by this war for Ukraine and the world, as well as the risk of catastrophic escalation, we also believe it is in the interests of Ukraine, the United States, and the world to avoid a prolonged conflict.”

“For this reason, we urge you to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire,” the letter said.

“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 to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine. 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. The alternative to diplomacy is protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks.”


Analysts questioned the letter.

Nicholas Grossman, a University of Illinois political science professor, noted that the letter "is remarkable in that it mostly calls for what the U.S. is already doing — arming Ukraine, wanting a diplomatic solution, recognizing Russia isn't currently open to one — but presents this as if it would be a big change.”

“What's remarkable reading the letter is that the concerns expressed seem to be more about vibes than the actual policy which makes the pre-election timing particularly curious,” wrote reporter Ben Jacobs.

Talking Point Memo's Josh Marshall called the letter "completely incoherent" and "contradictory on the key points."


One of the signatories, California Rep. Mark Takano, essentially walked back his support after the letter was released.

“Only Ukrainians have the right to determine the terms by which this war ends,” he said in a statement.

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan said the letter was signed in July and he did not know why it was released this week.

House Progressive Ruben Gallego, who did not sign the letter, issued criticism.

"The way to end a war? Win it quickly,” he tweeted. “How is it won quickly? By giving Ukraine the weapons to defeat Russia."


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