War Is Not The Answer! Peace Talks Must Begin Now!

This issue of Ukraine is dividing everyone; people who are pacifists, nonviolent, and even Quakers are divided on Ukraine.

“We must come from a place of trying to stop the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people and the soldiers from both sides. The U.S., European Union (EU), Ukraine, and Russia must start talking to one another. Negotiations and peace talks must begin now,” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink and Global Exchange, said to those at the Quaker House in Decatur, Georgia.

Benjamin is on a nationwide tour for her new book, “War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict.” 

While in Atlanta, Medea visited the Weelaunee Forest and said, “This issue relates to how we deal with conflict and militarism, whether how the police deal with communities or how our government deals with foreign policy.”

“What Russia is doing is unjustifiable.  It is illegal to invade a sovereign nation, but the invasion was provoked,” Benjamin said.

 “I don’t expect that we will all agree on the analysis I provide,” Benjamin said as she gave background information leading up to the war that goes back to the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union when promises were made to Gorbachev in 1990 that the US would not move one inch eastward with NATO.

This agreement was violated by President Clinton and by President Bush as more countries were incorporated into NATO, and it started to surround Russia.

The U.S., NATO, and Russia all desire more influence and control over Ukraine.  The U.S. government began to move Ukraine into the Western alliance and away from Russia. No one comes out looking good in this war.

Viktor Yanukovych 2010 to 2014

Yanukovych was born in the Donbas area and, as president, demonstrated his pro-Russian leaning.

He often walked a tightrope between all the fighting parties inside and outside Ukraine. The US and Russia both promised money to Ukraine to get an advantage.

Putin won that round when he promised a loan the same size as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stop Ukraine’s shift to the West. This decision by Yanukovych sparked protests that toppled him from power.  

Northern and central Ukraine are Euro-friendly, and eastern Ukraine is pro-Russia.

In February 2014, the Maidan Revolution, also called the Revolution of Dignity, started. The Ukraine people were fed up with the nepotism and corruption that pervaded Ukrainian society and Yanukovych’s increasingly authoritarian nature and close ties to Russia.

US officials backed and exploited the revolution for their own ends. In 2013 the U.S. put $5 billion into Ukraine to create pro-Western organizations that would be anti-Russian.

Yanukovych’s response to the revolution was a brutal crackdown with police violence and oppressive anti-protest laws. 

The popular uprising started as a revolution for democracy. Still, the movement was manipulated and taken over by right-wing and neo-Nazi forces that turned the movement into a violent rebellion.

The well-meaning Ukrainians who helped drive Yanukovych out got neither peace, stability, nor democracy. Almost all of their demands have yet to be fulfilled.

The Ukrainian Maidan Revolution sent Yanukovych fleeing for his life to Russia.

Petro Poroshenko, 2014 to 2019

In May 2014, Petro Poroshenko, the seventh richest man in Ukraine with a history of corruption, became president. He pledged to work toward membership in NATO.

After Yanukovych’s exit, Putin secured the Crimean naval base from NATO control using the Russian military and annexed most of the Russian-speaking area shortly after Yanukovych’s departure. 

Pro-Russian separatists mobilized in the country’s east region. Ukraine sent armed forces to put down the rebellion, and Moscow sent troops in, and the entire region has been a deadly powder keg ever since.

The Ukrainian government forces fought Russian-backed separatists to control Donetsk and Luhansk’s two heavily industrialized regions, known as Donbas.

Negotiations called the Minsk agreements sought to end the Donbas war, but it failed when separatist forces began a new offensive on Ukrainian-controlled areas.   

Volodymyr Zelensky 2019 to Present 

In 2019 Volodymyr Zelensky, a professional actor, and comedian, was elected president. He also has been embroiled in personal enrichment scandals and accused of corruption.  

Since the Maidan uprising, Ukraine has been embroiled in a mini-civil war in the Donbas. 

There were supposed to be elections in the Donbas to decide on constitutional changes, giving them autonomy within the state of Ukraine, but that never happened. The right-wing nationalist said no way, and they threatened Zelensky would be hanged from a tree if he tried to give autonomy to the Donbas region.

Germany and France said they never intended for those agreements to be implemented. They wanted to buy time to send weapons to Ukraine.

In December 2021, Russia asked the US and NATO to negotiate a plan because the situation was getting desperate, but the US and NATO said no.

So Russia kept adding troops along the border and made the horrible mistake of invading.  Russia thought they could come in and take over the country, but they had too many defeats. They still control 20% of the country. 

British prime minister Boris Johnson met with Zelensky and said, “We don’t want you to have a peace plan with Russia, don’t comprise. The generals want to use this opportunity to weaken Russia. We want you to fight to victory.”

But what is victory?

Victory, according to Zelensky, is to get back Crimea and all of the Donbas.

Victory, according to Russia, is to control four regions (Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson) that have had sham referendums that now belong to Russia and to keep Crimea.

These are polar opposite things, but they are points for negotiations. There have been negotiations on many issues for years between nations. It is time to stop the slaughter of civilians and children and give negotiations a chance.

There are many issues they need to talk about. The US, EU, Ukraine, and Russia need to talk about arms treaties, US bases surrounding Russia and US nuclear weapons in five European countries, and what Russia needs to do to get the sanction lifted.

 Ukraine and Russia need to talk about how to get grain out of Ukraine and fertilizers out of Russia.  People are going hungry in many countries because of this war. The price of food is going up because of this war. This war impacts the globe, increasing food prices, energy, and inflation.

A new poll by Associated Press showed that only 48 percent of Americans were in favor of giving more weapons to Ukraine. Fifty-two percent of Americans are saying we have to start negotiations.

There are disagreements at the national level, where we have two hawkish parties. They want to keep this war going. 

“Negotiations are the only rational way to go.  We must stop the slaughter of civilians and children in Ukraine. We must start peace talks. We do not want to join this war; we want to end this war. War is not the Answer; it is the problem,” Benjamin concluded.

Written and photo by Gloria Tatum

3 thoughts on “War Is Not The Answer! Peace Talks Must Begin Now!

  1. Thanks for writing this Gloria. Listen/watch DN today for a story on Cop City. One of the reporters from the newspaper that she mentions INDYPENDENT talked to me for about an hour and then called the other day to confirm the quotes. She says that she has enough information to write a book. Very nice person and great politics.Amba Guerguerian is her name. Did you meet her? I never saw her in person. She was led off by the cops from the meadow. She was very surprised about the actions of the cops. Did you hear about the idea that SRWA is floating to do a city wide referendum? S


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Gloria, for writing about Medea’s visit to Atlanta and her presentation at the Friends Meetinghouse! Yes….War Is Not the Answer! Negotiations Now! Ann



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s