A Call for Cease-fire and Negotiations for Peace in Ukraine

May 16th, 2022 - by Brooklyn for Peace

A Call for Cease-fire and
Negotiations for Peace in Ukraine

Brooklyn for Peace

(May 14, 2022) — We are deeply disappointed by the recent vote in the House of Representatives to authorize $40 billion (!) for defense of Ukraine, with no significant debate, and without any expressed concern about the need for peace negotiations.

Brooklyn for Peace strongly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (see our statement below). However, we also believe the priority of the US at this time should be the encouragement of a cease-fire and energetic diplomacy, designed to create long-term peace.

We are especially alarmed by the shift in US policy from assisting Ukraine’s defense of its sovereignty to “winning” the war, by permanently weakening Russia and changing its leadership. This approach is extremely dangerous, carrying the risk that nuclear weapons might be used.  It’s also unacceptable that despite urgent unmet domestic needs resources are being poured into a military response.

Why haven’t any of our Brooklyn representatives spoken up for diplomacy? Fear of being seen as “supporting Russia” is a large factor. Brooklyn Reps need to speak up now about the urgent need for a cease-fire and diplomacy. See our statement on the dangerous escalation of the war (below). 

Join us on Saturday May 21, 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, for a Vigil at Grand Army Plaza Arch. We’ll be distributing this flyer and holding a banner and signs, urging a cease-fire and serious negotiations to end this war, which is killing thousands of people, displacing millions, and causing hunger, inflation, and increased militarism around the world. 
Check our website by 10:00 am on Saturday morning for confirmation or for updated plans; or call 718-624-5921 and leave your phone number so that we can call you back. 

What Else Can You Do?
•  Use this tool from Massachusetts Peace Action to contact your elected officials. 
•  Contact the White House! Call 202-456-1414 or email using this form. Let President Biden know that you believe that possible escalation to nuclear war is an unacceptable risk!

Brooklyn For Peace Statement
On Russia, Ukraine, and NATO

Brooklyn For Peace unconditionally condemns Russia’s brutal, illegal, and unjustified war against Ukraine, its independence and its people. The suffering and death, and the targeting of the civilian population, are most certainly crimes against humanity.

We also reject the one-sided narrative that has bombarded our airwaves that the United States and NATO are somehow innocent players and guarantors of democracy in this conflict. We cannot ignore history. Despite promises made to Mikhail Gorbachev, at the time of German reunification, the US has relentlessly promoted the expansion of NATO to include the countries of Eastern Europe, and former republics of the Soviet Union.

The promise of eventual NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia, in conjunction with US withdrawal from the ABM and INF arms control agreements, has posed an obvious threat to Russian security.  As George Kennan explained years ago, the eastward expansion of NATO was “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-war era” and could produce catastrophic results.

We demand peace now! We, along with peace protestors all over the world, including tens of thousands in Russia, want an immediate cessation of the hostilities, an end to the Russian bombing and shelling of cities, and safe harbor for refugees trying to flee the violence. We stand in solidarity with the brave Russian peace activists who are speaking out against Putin’s brutal invasion of their neighbors in Ukraine.

Brooklyn For Peace believes that Ukrainian as well as all otherrefugees from war-torn countries are entitled to humanitarian aid and safe accommodations We deplore the racist policies of those European countries, as well as the United States, which have treated refugees of color with contempt and have turned them away. We also condemn the discriminatory treatment of Africans and people of color by police and soldiers in Ukraine.

We also note that the stocks of weapons manufacturers have increased exponentially in recent weeks, that the military-industrial complex is the largest and most powerful lobbyist in Washington, and that our government’s policy is mightily influenced by their pressures.

That is why those of us who value peace have a special role to play. The danger of a wider, more devastating war is very real, and the specter of that developing into nuclear conflict has ceased to be a remote possibility. That is why we are compelled to demand PEACE NOW.

We urge the US government: 

  • De-escalate nowCall for a ceasefire, and support an end to this conflict by negotiations that guarantee the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine and answer Russia’s legitimate concern for its national security.
  • Stop sending thousands of advanced missiles and other weapons into the conflict. Stop dispatching more US troops into the area.
  • Limit sanctions to those which punish the Russian leadership. As experienced in Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela, broad-based sanctions have been a disaster for ordinary people but have not achieved their stated aim of changing governments or policies.  We oppose broad-based sanctions that would have a collective punishment effect on the Russian people and their economy.
  • End our dependence on fossil fuels which drive these wars and conflicts. Ukraine is very much a war about oil and gas and pipelines, despite what our media would tell us. By turning to green energy, we can reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Revive the arms control process. Renegotiate the INF Treaty and make the elimination of nuclear weapons a national priority. The dangers of the present crisis make all too clear the dangers of a world in which nuclear weapons remain an important instrument of national policy.
  • Move the money from war to our communities.The invasion of Ukraine should not be used as the excuse for increasing an already bloated military budget.  It’s unacceptable that our government is spending trillions on weapons and endless wars, while programs that tackle the Climate Crisis, help Americans recover from the pandemic and prepare for future public health crises languish in Congress with objections that they are too “costly.”

Brooklyn For Peace Board of Directors,  March 24, 2022

Statement on Dangerous Escalation of War in Ukraine

Brooklyn For Peace is increasingly alarmed over developments in Europe and the escalation of the war in Ukraine. We have stated our complete opposition to Russia’s illegal invasion. As a peace organization we re-state our firmly held belief that differences between nations must be settled through diplomatic means and never through war and occupation. This is never more true than in the 21st-century with the terrible development of horribly lethal weapons that inflict such devastation on the innocent civilians of countries subjected to war.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has had devastating effects on that sovereign country’s infrastructure and citizens with many thousands killed and wounded. The war has greatly exacerbated the worldwide refugee crisis and has disrupted food supplies worsening the growing hunger crisis, particularly in the Global South. We demand an immediate cease-fire, a withdrawal of Russian troops and an end to the war through urgent diplomacy and negotiations.

But we also firmly oppose the pouring of more and more weapons, each time more advanced and more powerful, into Ukraine by the United States and other Western powers. President Biden, who at first wisely resisted calls for military assistance, seems now to become its biggest champion.

The United States has already poured over $2 billion dollars into weapons to Ukraine, announcing that an additional $800 million will be sent in the weeks ahead. This will include more powerful artillery, drones and tanks. The sending of tanks, in particular, is opposed by Germany and other NATO powers as a dramatic escalation of the hostilities. And observers have noted the “strategy comes with a notable risk: antagonizing Russia so much that it ignites a wider, international conflict.”

Indeed, Russia recently sent a formal warning to the United States, saying that Western deliveries of the “most sensitive” weapons systems to Ukraine could bring “unpredictable consequences.” Instead of taking this at face value, US officials have taken this as a sign that their weapons shipments have made a difference on the battlefield, thus showing their emphasis on a military solution rather than a diplomatic and negotiated end to the war.

The long-term effect will be an extension of hostilities, leading to even more suffering and deaths for Ukrainians and Russians alike, but also the increased likelihood of an expanded war involving other countries. This, as history has shown, could lead to a full-scale World War and the exponential increase of the possibility of a nuclear conflict from which there will be no victors, only losers.

The President appears to have turned a deaf ear to calls for diplomacy. Instead, he seems to be listening to the generals and the Pentagon.  Lt. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges, the former top US Army commander in Europe, is quoted in the NY Times and has scoffed at the threats of an expanded war or a nuclear exchange:

“Seven weeks ago, they were arguing over whether to give Stinger missiles — how silly does that seem now? We have been deterred out of an exaggerated fear of what possibly could happen.”

And then the General, fanning the flames of all-out war and greater US involvement, added,

“We are still not thinking big. We are still not thinking in terms of Ukraine winning.”

Slowly but surely, as the President orders more and more weapons to be poured onto the bonfire of today’s war, we are witnessing a slow-motion drift toward a bigger war and the not-so-remote possibility of nuclear armageddon. 

We note that as a  backdrop to all this, the Pentagon has been meeting with weapons manufacturers, urging them to increase their production of advanced weapons. The CEO of Raytheon, maker of the Stinger missile being shipped by the thousands to Ukraine, was quoted before the invasion that the conflict looked very good for his company’s bottom line.

As the US and the other Western powers increase their military budgets (the US budget exceeds the world’s next eleven largest) using Ukraine as an excuse, we know that only these merchants of death will be the benefactors. The losers will be the populations of those countries who will suffer cutbacks to social spending as taxes are poured into wars and weapons.

Already, Biden’s talk of building back better with badly-needed social expenditures and a real fightback against the climate crisis, seems to have been put on indefinite hold as he calls for an $813 billion Pentagon budget for the fiscal year 2023. This is a tragedy for the American people.

We urge President Biden to change course, and going forward, to use all diplomatic tools available to enunciate an urgent call for a cease-fire and a negotiated solution. That is the only thing that can bring the war to a quick end. The opposite only leads the world to a dangerous abyss.

Brooklyn For Peace Board of Directors, April 27, 2022

Related Articles:
$40 Billion War Fever Grips Congress as US Escalates Ukraine War (Cole Harrison)
American Progressives Join the War Party 
(James Carden)
US Counting on Putin to Signal Before Using Nukes 
(Ray McGovern)
The Last Good Guys: Five Reasons Why Washington Can’t Break Its War Addiction
(William J. Astore)
Ukraine Needs a Negotiated Peace Because Everyone Will Lose This War of Attrition (Jeffrey D Sachs)
To End the Horror in Ukraine, Go Big, and Go Broad (Kevin Martin)
Dubois’ “Color Line”: When It Comes to Wars, White Lives Matter (Dr. Mohammed Nurhussein)