Last week, I praised Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other Democratic members of the Progressive Caucus for sending a letter to the White House calling for diplomacy with Russia over the Ukraine conflict. The signatories specifically mentioned the specter of nuclear war as a primary reason for seeking communication with Russian officials.
In less than 24 hours, after Democrats and some hawkish Republicans attacked these progressive Democrats for supposedly undermining the Ukraine effort and even of being treasonous by supposedly siding with the enemy, the Progressive Caucus retracted the letter.
That was on Monday and Tuesday.
A disgusting regurgitation of russian talking points and propaganda and an endorsement of genocide. These are not American values, this is outright appeasement bordering on treason given that russia has been trying to destabilize the US for years. pic.twitter.com/xiCjXUuRio
— Adrian P 🇷🇴🇺🇦 (@AdrianP_doc) October 24, 2022
By the end of the week, a segment of an interview with Barack Obama was shared on social media showing that the former president was concerned that there was not enough communication at the moment with Russia.
President Obama sort of agrees with the Progressive Caucus before they retracted the letter to the WH: "The thing I am most concerned about is that lines of communications between the Kremlin and the White House..are probably as weak as they've in a very longtime." pic.twitter.com/NKlm1UwlQl
— HalalFlow (@halalflow) October 28, 2022
Obama was essentially echoing the initial concerns of the Progressive Caucus. As independent journalist Glenn Greenwald observed:
This is the best of Obama: the side that is realist, who knows the limits of US power, and who always said the US shouldn't confront Russia over Ukraine.
What he's lamenting here – no US/Russian channels – is due to Russiagate, which, by design, all but criminalized contacts. https://t.co/sMqn64yjTn
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 28, 2022
In a sense, this is not new coming from Obama, who has long said Ukraine is of no vital interest to the U.S., but will always be to Russia.
All of this is over who will govern provinces in Eastern Ukraine which former President Obama, in 2016, said are not and never will be of "vital interest" to the US, but are and always will be of "vital interest" to Russia given it's right over their border but far from ours. pic.twitter.com/Ne7mzkVZs2
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 17, 2022
Calling Obama a “traitor” for daring to suggest that diplomacy might be preferable to prolonging an unwinnable war hasn’t happened yet to my knowledge. Maybe this is due to his stature within the Democratic Party.
Maybe Democrats might actually listen to him?
Or maybe he falls in line and retracts too. Let’s hope not.
Wow, Obama wants to open lines of communication with Putin over Ukraine. Hope he’s prepared to withdraw this. https://t.co/apd7NKK6PA
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) October 28, 2022