RPT - US Pacifists Say Appeal For Better Ties With Russia Prompted By Biden's Attacks On Putin


RPT - US Pacifists Say Appeal for Better Ties With Russia Prompted by Biden's Attacks on Putin

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 01st April, 2021) An appeal of 27 US pacifist groups for constructive relations with Russia came as a reaction to President Joe Biden's verbal attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced by the signatories as a reckless escalation that has made a global conflict more likely, activists told Sputnik.

The signatories vow more action to raise public awareness, but admit they are outnumbered and underrepresented in the United States, where, as they put it, political party divisions dictate which major foreign country, Russia or China, would be to blame and hate amid an increasing complacency in the face of a possible nuclear confrontation.

"I think it's incredibly dangerous for the leader of one of the two countries that have 90 percent of the nuclear weapons - enough to destroy the world many times over - to be recklessly demonizing, denouncing the leader of the other country. It's a step backwards, it's a step down even from recent behavior in the US government," David Swanson from the organization World Beyond War said.

The United States and Russia reached a new low in their relations after Biden answered affirmatively to a question during an interview if he believes that Putin is a killer and threatened the Russian leader by saying he will "pay a price." Russia recalled its ambassador from Washington for consultations in a rare diplomatic gesture.

"On the one hand, it seems trivial - name calling... but it's provocative. Here we are without any buffer in Eastern Europe anymore with NATO expanded right up to Russia with missiles, troops, arms in place. To be making such statements, which most US Presidents during Cold War would not have made... Why? Why risk provoking a war with a nuclear government in order to get applause from a few people for calling someone a name. It just seems incredibly dangerous," Swanson said.

World Beyond War joined 26 like-minded groups in urging the Biden administration via a statement to "stop participating in such reckless rhetorical exchanges and to instead vigorously pursue nuclear-arms negotiations with the Russian government." The statement was published on Tuesday.

"We signed this statement along with other groups because we are outraged at Joe Biden's and Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken's comments to the Chinese and directly to Vladimir Putin. The idea of Biden calling Vladimir Putin soulless and a killer while the United States has unleashed war after war during my lifetime... is just unbelievable," Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

Gagnon said he heard Putin's answer to Biden in which the Russian president said, "When we were kids, we would say what you say is what you are."

"I think it's very true. Martin Luther King said famously that United States' soul was in deep trouble because of its endless wars... And we are still out there spending more money than the world combined for these wars," Gagnon said.

Ganon noted that the White House is yet to respond to the initiative and said he doubted if it will ever do. He also promised "more action" and called for increasing the level of Americans' understanding about the growing US aggressiveness toward China, Russia and Iran.

"I think that the fact that there were 27 groups who really stood out is a very important sign in a good direction," Ganon said. "What we have in common hopefully is greater understanding about the dangers of this unrestrained US aggressiveness today as it begins to lose its dominance globally as we see more of the multipolar world developing where many countries are saying they want to be included in the process of making decisions."

Swanson lamented the failure of the US public in general to recognize the peril of nuclear war.

"I think people have lived with the nuclear risk for so long that they think it was fake news, a scam. Look, we have lived 0.0001 percent of human history without being destroyed by the nuclear weapons, it must have been a joke, they must have been kidding us, we are going to survive just fine. And the nuclear risk is greater than ever," he said.

Swanson criticized the Democratic and Republican parties for pursuing either anti-Russian or anti-Chinese policies and indoctrinating their followers accordingly.

"At this point you have a large percentage of people, who identify with the Democratic Party, believing that Russia is to blame for everything bad in the world and a significant percentage of those, who identify with the Republican Party, believing the same thing about China. Depending which party you identify with you have to pick which foreign country to hate," he said. "And it's very, very dangerous. These are countries with nuclear weapons."

Swanson added the majority of Congress members who take any sort of steps at all in the direction of peace are Democrats, but they are handful compared to the entire Congress.

The Russian Embassy in Washington said it continues to receive "dozens" of letters from Americans regretting Biden's statements and supporting better relations between the countries.