[guest post by JVW]
Our friends in the progressive caucus raised a lot of eyebrows yesterday evening when they released a letter calling upon President Biden “to pursue direct diplomacy for a negotiated settlement to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.” While acknowledging this is a war of Russian aggression and affirming Ukraine’s right to defend itself and its territory, the letter seems to suggest that Ukraine ought to surrender the territory annexed by the Russian military in return for the rest of Ukraine securing its newly reduced borders by joining NATO. It goes without saying that a negotiated settlement would not see Vladimir Putin or any of his deputies tried for war crimes, and in the interests of international harmony most sanctions on Russia would be lifted so that Western Europe could once again purchase energy from the oligarchs. In other words, in service of peace Vladimir Putin would be allowed to snatch a pretty comprehensive victory from the jaws of defeat, which would no doubt warm the heart of Xi Jinping as he looks longingly towards Taiwan.
This letter was signed by thirty members of the Progressive Caucus (all Democrats naturally) including the Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, the tiresome Castroite Marxist Barbara Lee of Oakland, noted comedian Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, the ethically challenged Jamie Raskin of (naturally) the DC suburbs, and our dear nieces and nephews from The Squad. As you might imagine, the letter’s release last night caused some consternation within Washington, not only among warmongering Republicans (though, to be sure, some libertarian Republicans welcomed it) but also among Establishment Democrats who undoubtedly see our support for Ukraine’s war efforts (tepid though it sometimes is) as about the only bright spot in the first 21 months of the Joe Biden Administration, and resent the childish naïveté in believing that Putin could be a reliable partner in negotiations.
The backlash was swift and severe, to the degree that earlier today the Progressive Caucus formally retracted the letter, implausibly claiming that despite bearing the signatures of two-and-one-half dozen leftist Democrats, it was merely an unfinalized draft which had mistakenly been released and then promoted via the caucus’s Twitter account. Because all of us have been a part of a large group to affix our signatures to a draft letter at one time or other in our lives, haven’t we? Some diehards, like the indefatigable lefty peace creep Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley, refused to recant the position staked out in the letter and took to his personal Twitter account to defend it. So, irrespective of the caucus’s pretty blatant lies about the letter’s release being a mistake, it looks like it will still serve the purpose of driving a wedge between the party’s left-wing activists and its panicking establishment who is desperately trying to avoid a complete ballot bloodbath two weeks from today.
This whole imbroglio brought back warm memories from nearly four years ago, when freshman Progressive Caucus susperstar Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, our Adorably Ornery Clueless neice, released a blueprint for her Green New Deal which included a helpful FAQ that would have made Kim Il-sung shudder with envy of its bureaucratic totalitarianism, only to suddenly declare that — here comes the coincidence! — it was only a draft plan, had not yet been finalized, and should not have been released. It’s great to see a beloved trick from a playbook of yore brought out to rescue a disastrous sally into complex foreign entanglements by a crew with the general foreign policy sophistication of the average high school sophomore.
All in a day’s work for a party which has conclusively proven they can’t be trusted to govern on their own.