Foreign policy experts call on Biden, US to stay course on Ukraine

Three dozen foreign policy experts have called on the Biden administration and the United States as a whole to continue its efforts in providing Ukraine the necessary resources to oppose Russia’s invasion. 

In an op-ed published Wednesday, the signers, some of whom have served in the State Department, the U.S. Army or as ambassadors, argued Western nations must continue to ensure the Russian invasion fails, forcing a withdrawal or a negotiated deal that Ukraine supports. 

The signatories recognize the U.S. government for the actions it has taken so far, including imposing sanctions on Russia, supplying Ukraine with significant military aid and supporting the expansion of NATO to include Sweden and Finland. They argue that the invasion directly threatens American interests and could impact NATO allies in the former Soviet Union if Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to expand Russia’s influence over all former Soviet territory. 

“Putin’s war on Ukraine is a direct attack on international law and the global order which enshrines sovereignty, territorial integrity and the peaceful resolution of disputes and has given the world 75 years of prosperity and the absence of great power war,” they said. 

The signers include former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker and Gen. Wesley Clark, a former NATO supreme commander.

The experts said Ukraine emerging from the conflict as a sovereign and democratic state that is “in charge of its own foreign policy, militarily strong, territorially secure and economically viable” is in U.S. national interests. They said the United States and its European allies should avoid encouraging Ukraine to negotiate a cease fire that could place millions of Ukrainian civilians under Russian control. 

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said last week that Ukraine should be willing to give up territory to Russia in exchange for its continued sovereignty, an argument that was rejected by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

The experts said Ukraine has taken part in good-faith negotiations, but Putin has not shown any interest in them, denying the legitimacy of an independent Ukraine entirely. 

“Western pressure on Kyiv to begin negotiations or accept a cease fire that the Ukrainians do not want would likely harden the Kremlin’s attitude and prolong the fighting,” they said. 

The signers said the United States should continue to lead the West in providing weapons to Ukraine, increasing sanctions on Russia and boosting NATO’s military presence on its eastern borders. They said the West should send Ukraine more advanced weapons, including anti-ship missiles and high-altitude defense systems. 

The Biden administration was reportedly considering sending Ukraine a long-range missile system before deciding against it and sending a medium-range system instead

The experts argued that Ukraine’s allies should also take additional steps to increase economic pressure on Russia, like taking measures to limit the revenue Russia receives from oil sales through a European Union embargo or EU tariffs on Russian sales. 

EU leaders agreed to place an embargo on most Russian oil imports into the region by the end of the year. 

“No one wants direct confrontation with Russia, but helping Ukraine to defend its land and freedom is in the West’s security interest,” the experts said. “While the United States and NATO must certainly take into account Russian nuclear capacity, they should respond calmly and not be intimidated.” 

Tags Biden administration Joe Biden Kurt Volker Military aid NATO Russia-Ukraine war Russian invasion of Ukraine Vladimir Putin Wesley Clark

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