A pathway to peace in Ukraine
Unless one is a peace activist, or works for the Pentagon or a weapons contractor, they are likely unaware Congress is about to take up the National Defense Authorization Act, the massive policy bill on Pentagon spending and related military and foreign policy functions. It will likely get nearly $900 billion this year.
An amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (OH) could offer a way out of the disastrous war in Ukraine, for the Biden Administration, Russia and Ukraine itself.
The amendment is relatively modest and straight-forward, requiring the Biden Administration to report to Congress on its strategy, objectives, projected costs and perhaps most importantly, its diplomatic engagement (or lack thereof) to hasten the end of the war.
The timing of Davidson’s amendment may be fortuitous, coming on the heels of a July 6 NBC News report on previously secret, “track two” talks between former U.S. government officials and Russians, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. It is also very likely official, “track one” government-to-government talks are also ongoing but not publicly acknowledged. At the least, the amendment is a good governance, Congressional oversight, checks and balances measure on the Executive Branch, which wields enormous power over military and foreign policy.
It could be more than that, if it passes Congress, becomes law, and gets the attention it deserves. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is illegal, and a calamity for both countries.
The U.S. and other outside powers, while they are far from neutral, disinterested parties, may be needed to bring their influence to bear on ending the war. Over the last several decades, Congress, representing the American people, has become entirely too deferential to presidential power on war and peace issues. This amendment would add to a growing trend to correct that imbalance.
Every day, people dying on both sides is a needless tragedy. The Davidson Amendment could be a turning point to end this madness. It deserves strong, bipartisan support.
Kevin Martin is president of Peace Action Education Fund, the country’s largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization.