Brooklyn For Peace Statement on Russia, Ukraine, and NATO
Brooklyn For Peace unconditionally condemns Russia’s brutal, illegal, and unjustified war against Ukraine, its independence and its people. The suffering and death, and the targeting of the civilian population, are most certainly crimes against humanity.
We also reject the one-sided narrative that has bombarded our airwaves that the United States and NATO are somehow innocent players and guarantors of democracy in this conflict. We cannot ignore history. Despite promises made to Mikhail Gorbachev, at the time of German reunification, the US has relentlessly promoted the expansion of NATO to include the countries of Eastern Europe, and former republics of the Soviet Union.
The promise of eventual NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia, in conjunction with US withdrawal from the ABM and INF arms control agreements, has posed an obvious threat to Russian security. As George Kennan explained years ago, the eastward expansion of NATO was “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-war era” and could produce catastrophic results.
We demand peace now! We, along with peace protestors all over the world, including tens of thousands in Russia, want an immediate cessation of the hostilities, an end to the Russian bombing and shelling of cities, and safe harbor for refugees trying to flee the violence. We stand in solidarity with the brave Russian peace activists who are speaking out against Putin’s brutal invasion of their neighbors in Ukraine.
Brooklyn For Peace believes that Ukrainian as well as all other refugees from war-torn countries are entitled to humanitarian aid and safe accommodations. We deplore the racist policies of those European countries, as well as the United States, which have treated refugees of color with contempt and have turned them away. We also condemn the discriminatory treatment of Africans and people of color by police and soldiers in Ukraine.
We also note that the stocks of weapons manufacturers have increased exponentially in recent weeks, that the military-industrial complex is the largest and most powerful lobbyist in Washington, and that our government’s policy is mightily influenced by their pressures. That is why those of us who value peace have a special role to play. The danger of a wider, more devastating war is very real, and the specter of that developing into nuclear conflict has ceased to be a remote possibility. That is why we are compelled to demand PEACE NOW.
We urge the US government:
- De-escalate now. Call for a ceasefire, and support an end to this conflict by negotiations that guarantee the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine and answer Russia’s legitimate concern for its national security.
- Stop sending thousands of advanced missiles and other weapons into the conflict. Stop dispatching more US troops into the area.
- Limit sanctions to those which punish the Russian leadership. As experienced in Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela, broad-based sanctions have been a disaster for ordinary people but have not achieved their stated aim of changing governments or policies. We oppose broad-based sanctions that would have a collective punishment effect on the Russian people and their economy.
- End our dependence on fossil fuels which drive these wars and conflicts. Ukraine is very much a war about oil and gas and pipelines, despite what our media would tell us. By turning to green energy, we can reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- Revive the arms control process. Renegotiate the INF Treaty and make the elimination of nuclear weapons a national priority. The dangers of the present crisis make all too clear the dangers of a world in which nuclear weapons remain an important instrument of national policy.
- Move the money from war to our communities. The invasion of Ukraine should not be used as the excuse for increasing an already bloated military budget. It’s unacceptable that our government is spending trillions on weapons and endless wars, while programs that tackle the Climate Crisis, help Americans recover from the pandemic and prepare for future public health crises languish in Congress with objections that they are too “costly.”
Brooklyn For Peace Board of Directors,
March 24, 2022