Putin, Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, Iraq, war and peace

It is time to end the killing and carnage. It is time for Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop all of his arms shipments to killers and thugs who operate on his behalf in eastern Ukraine and to pull out any and all Russian special ops he has covertly sent into Ukraine. It is time for Hamas to stop aiming rockets aimed at killing Israelis and it is time for Israelis to stop indiscriminate attacks that have killed far too many innocent Palestinians. It is time for Iraq to establish a government that fairly reflects the interests of Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds. It is time for Iran, the United States and Europe to reach agreements that combine Iran accepting verifiable guarantees to renounce nuclear weapons and the West, in return, lifting sanctions, which would lift the economic well-being of the Iranian people. The alternative is more sanctions, more hardship and more war.

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What we need is what I call a "T.E. Lawrence policy." Known as "Lawrence of Arabia," Lawrence sought to appeal to the people of the Arab world, and to protect them from the pillaging of great powers. Lawrence won the battle but lost the war; that continues today. It is time for great nations to appeal to the majority of good and decent people throughout the region to end this lunatic killing and carnage that will doom Muslims, Christians and Jews alike to lives that should be much better, but are not, and never will be without dramatic new thinking.

The murder of more than 300 innocent people on a Malaysian Airlines plane, almost certainly shot down by Russian-supported killers using Russian-supplied weapons, will be a major inflection point that turns Europe towards far stronger sanctions against Russia until Putin changes course and stops his double game of phony diplomacy and duplicitous subversion causing continuing death.

When it comes to Israel and Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry was right, is right and will be right that the only solution to the endless carnage is a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians live in peace, side by side, in mutually recognized independent states.

My hope is that at this point, the U.S. publishes a comprehensive proposal for peace through a two-state solution and the people of Israel and the people of Palestine both have an opportunity to vote "yes" or "no" on this plan in a public referendum. It is time for normal people on all sides to take back this debate from extremists on all sides. Let the people decide. Let the extremists be exposed, and defeated.

On Ukraine, Putin should stop acting like his dictatorial Soviet forebears and stop trying to recreate any version of the discredited and defeated former Soviet empire. Absent this, it is time, today, for Europe and the U.S. to impose full and total sectoral sanctions against Russia and to go to the U.N. Security Council, as President Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis, then publicly disclose and detail all Russian arms shipments and special forces infiltrations into Ukraine.

Throughout the Middle East, it is time for the Arab League to step forward and play a leading diplomatic, political and economic role to end these sectarian wars and repeated cycles where women and children and the poor are beaten, raped, abused and murdered by madmen often operating with state support.

Events are dark and depressing in the nations described here, but there will soon be a backlash against the misery that the status quo will continue to impose unless the people come first and the killers — whoever they are and wherever they reside — are stopped.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.