A day after the Far Left Democrats of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to President Biden urging him to change his approach to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the group abruptly changed course amid intense pushback from Democrat leaders and Biden administration officials.
In the letter, House progressives urged Biden to push toward directly engaging diplomatically with Russia, calling on the president 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 Washington Post reported letter was signed by some of the best-known and most outspoken liberal Democrats in Congress, including Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Ro Khanna (Calif.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.).
"The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the caucus, in a statement Tuesday, reported by NPR.
The flip-flop comes after Far Left Democratic lawmakers were forced to take to social media to offer their explanation of the letter, originally drafted and signed by 30 members earlier this summer.
In the wake of the letter’s release, Biden administration officials and Ukrainian officials argued that it was unrealistic to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those officials also worried the letter could create more pressure on Biden as he tries to sustain domestic support for the war effort, at a time when the region is heading into a potentially difficult winter.
In her reversal Tuesday, Jayapal took responsibility for the letter's release, noting it was "drafted several months ago" and "unfortunately was released by staff without vetting."
Ah, the old DC blame it on staff routine.
We have a different take on exactly what was going on with the letter and what it was really about.
In the letter the liberal Democrats noted that the war’s disastrous consequences are increasingly felt far beyond Ukraine, including elevated food and gas prices in the United States and spikes in the price of wheat, fertilizer and fuel that have created global food shortages, not to mention the danger of a nuclear attack by Moscow.
And not to mention that winter heating oil is already being rationed in America’s Northeast – a stronghold of Progressive Democrats.
Far Left Democrats may be tone deaf on many issues, such as defunding the police and open borders, but they are beginning to recognize that the huge increase in the cost of living driven by food and energy prices is going to hurt them at the polls and getting ahead of those domestic policy concerns back in June or July when the letter was drafted would have been a smart move politically.
And the Far Left Democrats were right about another thing: “The alternative to diplomacy is protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks.”
Right now, the Washington establishment foreign policy consensus and Biden’s “strategy” appears to be to fund a war of attrition by pouring American and NATO equipment into a meatgrinder that is consuming our treasure and Ukrainian and Russian lives at an astonishing pace.
This might be a sensible strategy if Biden wasn’t at the same time negotiating a new nuclear deal with Iran – Russia’s only real ally and its major arms supplier.
Such a deal would put billions of dollars into Iran’s military – industrial complex and advance Vladimir Putin’s fantasy of replacing America and Western Europe with a new Eurasian centered economic and military world order dominated by Russia, Red China, and Iran. (See our article Russian Invasion of Ukraine Updated Explainer for more on that.)
The flip – flopping Democrats have no real idea what the fight in Ukraine is all about beyond “Putin bad.” But, at some point, Biden and the Democrats are going to have to justify “the war effort” and its cost in inflation and military consumables beyond excoriating Vladimir Putin as a bully. Doing so will require them to explain why we are engaged in a costly proxy war with Russia, while preparing to lift sanctions on Iran, an enemy that is motivated by radical Islam, a much more potent ideology than Putin’s Eurasian Nationalism.
Control of Congress
Ukraine Russia war
Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.)
Cori Bush (Mo.)
Ro Khanna (Calif.)
Ilhan Omar (Minn.)
global food shortages