He added: “We would all like to see this war end today, and frankly, it could end today if Mr Putin did the right thing and withdrew his troops.”
Lawmakers are doing everything they can to differentiate themselves from Republicans who are also challenging Biden’s approach to Ukraine. Some conservatives are now questioning US aid to Ukraine because of the cost and, in some cases, have shown sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We are under no illusions about the difficulties in involving Russia, given the excessive and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” the Democrats’ letter said. “If there is a way to end the war while preserving a free and independent Ukraine, it is America’s responsibility to follow every diplomatic course to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine.”
The letter was signed by some of the best known and most outspoken liberal Democrats in Congress, including Jamie Raskin, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Ro Khanna and Ilhan Omar.
For now, their position remains a minority in the Democratic Party, which has overwhelmingly supported Biden’s denunciations of Russia and his spearheading a global coalition to channel massive aid to Ukraine. Biden has framed the conflict as part of his broader view that the world is witnessing a historic confrontation between authoritarianism and democracy.
Not even every member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus joined Monday’s call for a change in strategy. Ruben Gallego indicated that he supported Ukraine with enough aid and weapons to win the war outright.
The liberals’ call for a shift in strategy comes amid one of the most significant US-Russian diplomatic engagements for some time, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently spoke to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, for the first time in months. The two spoke by phone on Friday and again on Sunday at Shoigu’s request, Austin wrote on Twitter.
Despite Biden’s success so far in rallying support for Ukraine, he now faces the prospect of cracks in the coalition as Europe faces a difficult winter, domestic gas prices remain high, Putin threatens nuclear strikes and both. parties seem to be digging in for the long, bloody journey.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking at an international summit on Monday about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, downplayed the possibility that US aid to Ukraine would end if Republicans take over the House.
“I believe the support for Ukraine and the people of Ukraine. . . will not stop,” Pelosi said, adding that “support for Ukraine is twofold, it is bicameral.”
But the Liberals’ letter suggests that pressure from the left may now also come – albeit for various reasons – creating a political pincer movement that would make it harder for the president to turn opposition to his Ukraine policy exclusively to Republicans. to slide.
When asked how long the United States is expected to spend billions in the war effort, Biden and his top officials often say, “as long as it takes.” But personally, US officials say neither Russia nor Ukraine is capable of winning the war outright, suggesting a fundamental change in dynamics would be needed if the conflict is to end in the near future.
For now, Biden’s aides have ruled out the idea of pushing or even pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, as it is a matter of principle that nations determine their own destiny. They say they do not know what the end of the war looks like or when it could happen, stressing that it is up to Kiev.
But a growing number of lawmakers and foreign policy experts are challenging that stance, arguing that Russia will not take negotiations seriously unless the United States is at the table, given its leadership of the West and its investment in Ukraine’s war effort.
“The risk of the strategy is that it has no idea of an endgame,” said George Beebe, director of grand strategy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, adding: “It’s a recipe for continuing this war. .” The Quincy Institute, which advocates for diplomatic solutions to international conflicts, is one of several groups that endorsed the letter from liberal lawmakers after seeing an early draft.
Behind the liberals’ concerns is the reality that the war only seems to be escalating. Russia illegally annexed four Ukrainian territories last month, an action condemned by more than 140 countries at the United Nations. Putin has also repeatedly threatened the use of nuclear weapons, prompting Biden to warn that the world is facing its most dire “armageddon prospect in 60 years.”
“President Biden said very accurately that if current trends continue, we could be headed for the most dangerous crisis we have experienced since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The question then is: what do we do about it?” said Beebe, who served as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis team and special adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. “By simply saying that it is up to Ukraine to decide, it abdicates the responsibility that American leaders have to ensure security in all of this.”
Congress has so far provided the White House with nearly all the money and weapons it has asked for for Ukraine, but investigations suggest public support for the war effort is dwindling. A Pew Research poll found that the proportion of Americans extremely or very concerned about a Ukrainian defeat fell from 55 percent in May to 38 percent in September.
Of Republicans and Republican independents, 32 percent say the United States is over-supporting the war, up from 9 percent in March.
In total, the United States has authorized more than $60 billion ($94.8 billion) in aid to Ukraine. The Senate voted in May to finalize more than $40 billion in new military and humanitarian aid, the largest investment in Ukraine to date.
All Democrats in both chambers supported that package, but signs of a small but notable GOP dissent were evident as 57 of the 212 House Republicans and 11 of the 50 Senate Republicans voted against the support.
Richard Haass, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, said neither Russian nor Ukrainian leaders agree to negotiated compromises at this time. The United States has argued that Russia has flagrantly violated the United Nations Charter by invading its neighbor, complicating negotiations because it would burden Washington to explain how a compromise respects the UN Charter.
Still, Haass, who has held several high-level diplomatic positions in the U.S. government, said it’s up to the United States to define what success might look like and outline acceptable outcomes.
“One of the norms at stake is that territory should not be acquired through the use of force. For those who support the United States’ pursuit of a deal, it is up to them to explain how the United States is doing it in a way that is consistent with that principle,” Haass said. “Ultimately, the United States cannot outsource its foreign policy to Ukraine or anyone else. We never do that.”
The letter’s signatories said they will continue to support aid packages for Ukraine for now, but it remains unclear whether they will continue to do so unless Biden follows a diplomatic path soon.
“We agree with the government’s position that it is not America’s place to pressure the Ukrainian government over sovereign decisions,” the letter said. “But as lawmakers responsible for spending tens of billions of US taxpayers on military aid in the conflict, we believe that such involvement in this war also creates a responsibility for the United States to seriously explore every avenue possible.”