'Mr. President, take a breath of fresh air and do whatever it takes to make your Nobel Peace Prize count'
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
The author is the President of the Russia & America Good Will Association , RAGA.org
On October 3, 2016 Sharon Tennison of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCISF.org) issued an alert:
"We need to flood our Congressional representatives, President Obama and any authority to whom we have access with demands to back off of this insane policy to pursue a war with Russia. Call and email daily! Call the White House: 202-456-1111 (9 thru 5 EST). Email the President: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/"
I responded to Sharon's call by emailing to President Obama the following:
Dear Mr. President:
As your presidential duties will soon expire, I want you make sure your Nobel Peace Prize is deserved: Please instruct your officials to return to the path of bilateral talks with Russia, be it the Syrian crisis, the lapse of the plutonium nuclear arms control deal or Ukraine. Above all, keep the Hot Line to the Kremlin always ready for dialog.
By so doing, you will bequeath to your successor—whomever it might be—a solid foundation on which to build a healthier and more peaceful Planet Earth. The United States should re-commit to the policy of non-interference that our Founding Fathers consistently proclaimed and adhered to. Instead of imposing our cherished values of “free-market” and “democracy” abroad, let us rely on the wisdom of a man who risked the reputation of a “traitor” when he opposed King George’s war on American colonies.
I am talking about Edmund Burke, the British philosopher and father of modern conservatism. Like ancient Greeks, he argued that each country is entitled to its own form of government, be it democracy, republic, monarchy, oligarchy, tyranny or despotism, each of which tend to evolve into its opposite. Therefore, the colonies did not have to bow to the King. Burke’s monument now graces Washington DC.
In respect to Russia, remember that Empress Catherine the Great refused King George’s request to send Russian Cossacks help him quell George Washington’s rebellion. During the Civil War, while Europe’s great powers-- England, France, and Spain—tried to take advantage of President Lincoln’s problems with the South, Tsar Alexander II who had just abolished serfdom in Russia, sent Russian Navy to the harbors of New York and San Francisco as a gesture of Good Will. In our days, in spite of the USSR’s unconcealed bellicosity to “Capitalist” America, the two countries were able to co-operate in the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan, and then managed to keep the bitterness of Cold War in check.
Since 1991 Communists don’t rule in Russia. The New Russia has been espousing the same values of private property, free enterprise, multi-party elections, secular government, and freedom of speech and religion—as we do. To be sure, the post-1991 Russian road has been rocky, partially due to US meddling in favor of the oligarchs, but mainly because it takes years and decades to cultivate free enterprise and democracy in a country that had none for 73 years.
In 1990, when I was writing Russia Beyond Communism: A Chronicle of National Rebirth (Westview Press, 1991), Soviet soldiers were forbidden to wear a crucifix, much less read the Scriptures. 25 years later, thousands of churches, destroyed and desecrated under Soviet rule, are restored. Hundreds more are built each year. General Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s Defense Minister, would not enter the Red Square without crossing himself. President Vladimir Putin has been seen praying in a church. He also addressed Russian Muslims in a mosque and Jews in a synagogue. None of the Western leaders can match the degree of popular support that Putin enjoys in Russia. This tectonic shift in global correlation of forces the United States can ill afford to ignore.
Therefore, I say, Mr. President, take a breath of fresh air and do whatever it takes to make your Nobel Peace Prize count: Leave the legacy of peace-seeking dialog with Russia from which your successor will not deviate lest he or she is called an abominable warmonger. More than any other two countries, Russia and the United States are called upon to jointly safeguard Peace, Freedom and Commerce not just from San Francisco to Vladivostok, but on the entire Planet Earth. So help us God!
W George Krasnow, Ph.D.
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