by Ike Thacker
[Note: this statement was written well before the invasion had commenced.]
Kyiv, capital of what used to be known as the wheat-field-laden “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, is more than 500 miles by car from Moscow. Now the two capitals are even farther apart politically. In fact, it appears that Russia may very well be about to invade Ukraine.
Should the U.S. “compromise” with the authoritarian leader of Russia, ex-KGBer Vladimir Putin? We at the Louisville chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation answer with a very reluctant and eyes-wide-open, but firm, “Yes, for the sake of peace.”
We realize that Mr. Putin is a master geo-political game-player who likely will not have his hunger for new land sated by the Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine. We realize that Ukraine’s government, albeit the more wronged party in this complicated contretemps, and mostly to all appearances as well-intentioned as one could reasonably expect, is far from perfect. And we realize that appeasing bellicose near-dictators has a dubious track record.
But we also know that NATO and its multitudinous nuclear missiles (and conventional weapons and troops) virtually encircle Russia, while Russia has never had—and does not now have, but has recently threatened to seek—anything even remotely comparable in “our” hemisphere. And we know that showing what some would call “character” in this case could be, to speak in unfortunate euphemisms in this world where the two superpowers involved have between them nearly 12,000 nuclear warheads, dangerous and disadvantageous for the U.S. and its allies. Speaking more plainly, it could be absolutely disastrous, causing many millions of human deaths.
So please, President Biden, show statesmanlike restraint and (making it clear that this is a one-time thing) do not proceed with Ukraine’s admission into NATO. Please also grant Mr. Putin’s wish and promise not to expand NATO even further into these lands, so close to Russia, where he seemingly cannot abide rivals.
It just may short-circuit the budding alliance between China and Russia—not to mention saving potentially millions of mostly young, innocent lives.
The world and its born and as-yet-unborn children will thank you for it.
Isaac Marion Thacker, IV (Ike Thacker) is a writer, activist, and high aimer seeking solutions to violence and to end racist and political repression.