Marianne williamson for president.

Substack

Update On Ukraine

FADEL SENNA / AFP)

For those of us who have spent years opposing the influence of the military industrial complex on U.S. foreign policy, the war in Ukraine poses a peculiar challenge. It’s possible to believe the undue influence of the U.S. war machine is very real, and at the same time believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a criminal venture that cannot be tolerated by the world.

The United States has perpetrated its own imperialistic ventures, to be sure. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions have died because of our own misguided actions. But a position of anti-imperialism should be consistent, whether it be ours or anyone else’s. Did American foreign policy contribute to the germination of the war in Ukraine? Yes. Did our actions regarding NATO, and putting Aegis missiles in Poland, only exacerbate the situation? Yes. But that does not mean we are ultimately responsible for Putin’s atrocious invasion, nor does it mean that our larger interests, the interests of the people of Ukraine or the interests of the rest of the world, are best served by our withholding support from Ukraine now.

The people of Ukraine are putting up a heroic battle for the survival of their country, and many Americans are divided here in the United States over how much, if any, support they should receive from the United States. I have heard it said that support for them at this time is “pro-war,” as though withdrawing such support is somehow “pro-peace.” But such a notion is disingenuous. A withdrawal of US support from Ukraine at this point would not lead to peace; it would lead to the most horrifying climax of the war. Russia would simply deliver its final brutal blow to Ukraine, pummeling it to the point where it would no longer exist as a separate nation.

With the Battle of Bakhmut raging, both Russia and Ukraine are intent on winning this war. Diplomatic options are severely limited until the war begins to break one way or the other. Regardless how we got here, our only choice at this point is to either support Ukraine or to not. While the United States should do everything possible to support a negotiated settlement, our goal should also be a negotiated settlement in which Ukraine still has a chance to exist.

Denmark has offered to host peace talks in July, insisting that for such talks to be effective they must include more than Ukraine’s allies; China, Brazil and India must participate as well. The United States should enthusiastically embrace any such overtures for diplomatic efforts to end the war.

The best way to solve conflicts is to prevent them from occurring to begin with, and if I had had the choice, I would have made very different foreign policy decisions related to Russia over the last 40 years. We must set an entirely new and different trajectory of military involvement in the world, one in which we are not the world’s policeman but rather the world’s collaborator in creating a world in which war is no more.

In the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “We must end the beginnings of all wars.” And I would seek to do that.

The United States needs to be on a decidedly different path when it comes to our military posture, a subject I will be talking about in some detail over the next few months. America has over 800 military installations in over 80 countries; as president, I would exercise my unilateral authority to close those which represent nothing more than a continuation of the excessive militarization of American foreign policy. The military industrial complex has led to an obscenely bloated military budget, more of a cash cow for the defense industry than a righteous, appropriate, and sober arm of American foreign policy. I support a serious reduction of our military budget, plus I would audit every penny of the Pentagon in response to recent revelations of serious price gauging by defense contractors. I would also establish a U.S. Department of Peace to lift peace-building to the front of our foreign policy agenda. We must do more than know how to wage war. As a country, and as a species, we must learn to wage peace.

In the meantime, as in World War 2, humanitarian values are not always an argument for pacifism Should Ukraine be given a blank check by the United States? Absolutely not. But neither should we turn our back on them in this hour of their need.