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The Only Kind of “Political Violence” All U.S. Politicians Oppose

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NATASHA LENNARD, natasha.lennard@gmail.com, @natashalennard
Lennard is a columnist for The Intercept and author of Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life.

She just wrote the piece “The Only Kind of ‘Political Violence’ All U.S. Politicians Oppose.” She writes: “A bipartisan sampling of the world’s greatest perpetrators and enablers of political violence has rushed to condemn political violence following the shooting attempt on former President Donald Trump on Saturday.

“Politicians swiftly coalesced around the language of ‘political violence,’ rather than terrorism, to describe the assassination attempt, carried out by Thomas Matthew Crooks, who was shot dead at the Western Pennsylvania rally. Taken together, the outpourings of condemnations betray a clear agreement on what constitutes political violence, and in whose hands the monopoly on violence should remain.

“‘The idea that there’s political violence … in America like this, is just unheard of, it’s just not appropriate,’ said President Joe Biden, the backer of Israel’s genocidal war against Palestine, with a death toll that researchers believe could reach 186,000 Palestinians. Biden’s narrower point was correct, though: Deadly attacks on the American ruling class are vanishingly rare these days. Political violence that is not ‘like this’ — the political violence of organized abandonment, poverty, militarized borders, police brutality, incarceration, and deportation — is commonplace.

“’Everybody must condemn it,’ Biden said of the assassination attempt.

“And condemn it, most everyone in the Democratic political establishment has: ‘Political violence is absolutely unacceptable,’ wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on X. ‘There is absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy,’ tweeted former President Barack Obama, who oversaw war efforts and military strikes against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan with massive civilian death tolls; Obama added that we should ‘use this moment to recommit ourselves to civility and respect in our politics.’ ‘There is no place for political violence, including the horrific incident we just witnessed in Pennsylvania,’ wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

“The chorus of condemnation was predictable and not in itself a problem: There’s nothing wrong with desiring a world without stochastic assassination attempts, even against political opponents. But when you have Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Israel Katz of the fascistic ruling Likud Party, tweeting, ‘Violence can never ever be part of politics,’ the very concept of ‘political violence’ is evacuated of meaning.

“The problem is not so much one of hypocrisy or insincerity — vices so common in politics that they hardly merit mention. The issue, rather, is what picture of ‘political violence’ this messaging serves: To say that ‘political violence’ has ‘no place’ in a society organized by political violence at home and abroad is to acquiesce to the normalization of that violence, so long as it is state and capitalist monopolized.

“As author Ben Ehrenreich noted on X, ‘There is no place for political violence against rich, white men. It is antithetical to everything America stands for.'”

Election Denialism as a National Security Issue

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A recent Ipsos/Reuters poll reported that “two out of three Americans say they are concerned that political violence could follow the Nov. 5 election.” According to election integrity experts, the public fears multiple kinds of election-related violence: pre-election, election day, and post-election. 

KAREN GREENBERG; kgreenberg3@law.fordham.edu 
    Greenberg is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law. She is the co-editor of Our Nation at Risk: Election Integrity as a National Security Issue

Greenberg told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “A number of things come under the rubric of election violence when you talk about what people are worried about and what state, local, and federal agencies are worried about. There are pre-election, election day, and post-election worries. It’s a big basket. The thing that comes to mind most quickly is threats to poll workers… [as well as] threats to people who might show up at the polls in certain localities. The threats to election workers are both pre-election and day-of.” One Brennan Center survey found that since 2020, “38 percent of local election officials experienced threats, harassment, or abuse for doing their jobs.”

Some workers have chosen not to continue working the polls because they “don’t want to subject themselves to that treatment, [such as] threats or misbehavior or their families being threatened,” Greenberg said. Free and fair elections are in danger “when election workers are getting threats and don’t want to do election work for legitimate reasons… Is there a mechanism by which to calm election workers, to give them a sense that they will be protected?” Since 2021, the Department of Justice has attempted to create such a mechanism via the Election Threat Task Force, which aims to address threats to election workers. To date, the task force has prosecuted 17 cases. 

Greenberg suggests that there is reason to believe the election will be more safe and secure than past elections. “There is a full-throated effort to take care of this, and I think we’ll be better prepared.” In a recent piece for TomDispatch, Greenberg and Julian Zelizer wrote about the history of the electoral system and reforms to it. “We’ve known about vulnerabilities in the electoral system since the founding of the country,” Greenberg told the Institute for Public Accuracy. “Incrementally, we’ve tried to fix them––usually after there’s been some sort of crisis,” such as after the 1876 contested presidential election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden. 

In recent years, increased federal funds have been directed toward reforms. Since 2020, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and Congress have allocated an extra $205 million for election protection. Congress has passed the Electoral Count Reform Act, which attempts to improve the process of certifying the vote and ensure a smooth transition of power. Congress also passed legislation in 2022 to establish a Foreign Malign Influence Center to counter foreign disinformation. These reforms address the problems of election denialism and claims of fraud. “No matter how much integrity the election has,” Greenberg added, “it’s important that the messaging around this election is clear [and] that the processes are clear.”

Greenberg noted that experts are still calling for more state funding for election protection. “The proof will be in the pudding,” Greenberg said. “We’ll find out [how much extra protection is being offered] as we go forward… We know the names of a variety of [initiatives] throughout the government that are attending to this,” including the Electoral Count Reform Act and Election Threat Task Force, “but we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.” 

Greenberg also noted the importance of the courts and Congress in shoring up election integrity. “The role of the Supreme Court is important,” Greenberg added. “In 2000, in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court decided the election. Prior to that, the Supreme Court had been reluctant to get involved in presidential elections. That was a big threshold… After Bush v. Gore, after the gutting of the heart of the Voting Rights Act, after 2020, we’ve seen that this electoral system has been under tremendous attack. Our Nation at Risk talks about what can change that isn’t just one-liners: not just ‘get rid of the Electoral College’… It’s the citizenry, the Supreme Court, and Congress. They’re all addressable. It’s not just chaos versus a perfect system.”

Israel’s Famine, Ethnic Cleansing and Settlement Plans Proceeding

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Democracy Now reports: “U.N. Experts Declare Israel’s ‘Targeted Starvation Campaign’ Has Led to Famine and Genocide” and “Their Goal Is Total Ethnic Cleansing: Mustafa Barghouti on Israel’s Expulsion Order for Gaza City.”

JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN, sarinj111@gmail.com
Loewenstein is former Associate Director of Middle Eastern Studies and Senior Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has lived and reported from Gaza and Beirut. She highlights a series of critical recent reports:

Haaretz reports in “Road to Redemption: How Israel’s War Against Hamas Turned Into a Springboard for Jewish Settlement in Gaza” that: The army’s activities in the occupied areas are diverse: expanding military bases, building infrastructure and even paving roads, all while under persistent Hamas fire. Based on satellite imagery analysis and other open sources, Haaretz calculates that the Israeli army now controls about 26 percent of Gaza. … After nine months of war, the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Gazans to the southern part of the Strip is becoming permanent. The IDF has occupied strategic areas from which Gazans fled, flattened them and turned them into positions used to control the Strip.” Haaretz reports that Israel has a plan in place which includes surrounding the Gaza strip and cutting it in half.

AP reports: “The Israeli military urged all Palestinians to leave Gaza City and head south Wednesday, pressing ahead with a fresh offensive across the north, south and center of the embattled territory that has killed dozens of people over the past 48 hours. The stepped-up military activity came as U.S., Egyptian and Qatari mediators met with Israeli officials in the Qatari capital, Doha, for talks seeking a long-elusive cease-fire deal with Gaza’s Hamas group in exchange for the release of dozens of Israeli hostages it is holding. …

“Israel informed people in Gaza of the evacuation order by dropping leaflets urging ‘all those in Gaza City’ to take two ‘safe routes’ south to the area around the central town of Deir al-Balah. Gaza City, it said, will ‘remain a dangerous combat zone.’ … Israeli troops have pushed into parts of Gaza City in recent days, triggering the flight of thousands of Palestinians trying to escape shelling and airstrikes. This past week, the military ordered Palestinians to evacuate from eastern and central parts of the city. …

“Israeli bombardment early Wednesday hit four houses in Deir al-Balah and the nearby Nuseirat refugee camp, killing 20 Palestinians. Among the dead were six children and three women, according to officials at al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where the casualties were taken. An Associated Press reporter counted the bodies. The house hit in Deir al-Balah was inside the ‘humanitarian safe zone’ where Israel has told Palestinians to flee for refuge.

“Israel’s new ground assault in Gaza’s largest city has prompted what the U.N. called a ‘dangerously chaotic’ exodus of people scattering in multiple directions, unsure where to go. Some have fled to other parts of the north. The new Israeli military leaflets encouraged a mass movement south to the purported ‘humanitarian zone,’ promising that people leaving Gaza City on the defined routes would not be stopped at Israeli checkpoints.”

What Does the Chevron Doctrine’s Overruling Mean for Disabled People?

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The future of public agencies is uncertain after the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Relentless Inc. v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, which overruled the Chevron doctrine. Experts say that disabled Americans will be disproportionately impacted by the decision. 

MARISSA DITKOWSKY; to schedule an interview, email press@nationalpartnership.org  
    Ditkowsky is a disabled activist and attorney who serves as the Disability Economic Justice Counsel at the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Ditkowsky told the Institute for Public Accuracy: “This decision could impact the regulations and work of all public agencies––from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Public agency regulations protect the environment; clarify prohibitions on discrimination in employment, health care and other settings; hold banks and lenders accountable; and so much more. Everyone is at risk––except for the special interests that stand to benefit and profit. 

“We don’t know how courts will evaluate regulations after Loper Bright/Relentless, and it’s not clear what changes will be made on the agency level. But one thing we do expect to see in the very near term is a floodgate of lawsuits attacking public agency regulations that have protected the American people for decades. In the long-term, these attacks could have devastating effects on our environment; health; the number of quality job opportunities; the availability of safe, accessible and affordable housing; and more.”

Ditwkosky stressed that disabled people are going to be disproportionately affected by the ruling. “While disabled workers are struggling to make ends meet,” she said, “ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices have made it easier for employers to steal wages from hard working Americans. While disabled people of color contend with the health impacts of environmental racism, this decision makes it easier for major polluters to let carcinogens into the ground and water. While disabled people are doing everything they can to keep their communities free from violence, neglect and abuse, this decision endangers those in assisted living settings by undermining the rules that keep them safe.

“The Supreme Court’s extreme decision puts the strong rules that protect the health and economic security of disabled consumers and workers in jeopardy, including:

  • HHS’ new 504 and 1557 regulations, which stand to protect millions of disabled Americans who may otherwise be unable to access life-saving health care;
  • The EEOC’s Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) regulations, which support disabled pregnant people whose conditions are exacerbated or caused by pregnancy; 
  • Rules that strengthen website accessibility requirements for state and local governments, allowing disabled people to access critical services and information; 
  • The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) historic regulations requiring airlines to improve the accessibility of bathrooms on airplanes, and threatening the possibility of finalizing DOT’s proposed rules allowing wheelchair users to fly safely; 
  • Rules that prohibit landlords and mortgage lenders from discriminating against applicants based on their disability;
  • Department of Education regulations that made it easier for disabled borrowers to apply for Total and Permanent Disability Discharge and other types of federal student loan discharge. 

“The PWFA and 1557 regulations, for example, are in active litigation, meaning the impact of this decision may soon be realized. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Public agencies enforce many laws, and run a great number of programs that protect and support the physical, emotional and economic health of disabled people. All of these activities are at risk. 

“This topic can be a difficult one to discuss in layman’s terms. No one, except the lawyers who create and apply these legal doctrines, really knows or cares what the Chevron doctrine is… Media coverage has been missing the real impact on marginalized communities, particularly disabled people, people of color, women, and LGBTQI+ folks.”

Ditkowsky emphasized that the public should “pay attention to who really benefits from this power grab. Instead of deferring to public agencies’ expertise on topics like the environment, civil rights, housing and health care, ultra-conservative justices have granted themselves, and their allies on lower courts, even more authority to rewrite the rules in favor of special interests and major corporations at the expense of the American people, our health and our economic security. 

“The only thing that is clear about this result is that current regulations that protect the American people are in danger, leaving public agencies open to lawsuits simply for doing their jobs. This could have a chilling effect on public agencies and their ability to finalize new regulations to protect our health and economic security. We must be ready to defend public servants and the regulations they’ve worked so hard to implement, which place the interests of the American people above corporate and special interests. 

“While this decision is devastating, it does not completely remove agencies’ legal authority to protect the public through rulemaking. Agencies still have a responsibility to the American people. Agencies should employ best practices for any rulemaking process, including ensuring: thoroughness of evidence considered; quality of legal reasoning; consistency with other agency actions and regulatory antecedents; clarity on statutory authorization and delegation from Congress; and that agency expertise is utilized.”

U.S. and NATO Give Canada “Marching Orders”

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TAMARA LORINCZ, [now in D.C.] tlorincz@dal.ca, @tamaralorincz
Lorincz is a member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International-Canada and the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. She has done extensive work on the effects of NATO militarization on the environment. See her recent article “Canada’s militarization of the Arctic threatens Indigenous communities and the climate.

While major media have recently run story after story about Canada not paying “its fair share” to NATO, Lorincz tells a very different story.

She said today: “NATO has militarized Canadian foreign policy. Canada no longer does peacekeeping. Canada is at its lowest level in 30 years for peacekeeping with only 49 Canadian soldiers on United Nations peace support operations. Instead, Canada has over 1,000 soldiers leading a NATO battle group in Latvia. Over the 25 years, Canada has participated in aggressive NATO operations against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Canada is in the NATO Ukraine group supplying weapons to Ukraine and refusing to use diplomacy to end the war. Canada is joining the U.S. militarization of the Asia Pacific and provoking war with China.” See her 2022 piece in the Toronto Star: “NATO’s new Strategic Concept is a dangerous plan to preserve western power through global militarism.”

“The Canadian government has not consulted Canadians on a new foreign policy statement in 20 years. The government gets its ‘marching orders’ from Washington and Brussels and follows the dictates of the U.S. and NATO, which has led to the militarization of Canada’s role in the world.

“NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance, has also militarized the Canadian budget. To meet NATO’s 2 percent GDP target, Canada has increased military spending 100 percent over the past decade from $20 billion to $41 billion this year. The federal government is buying F-35 fighter jets, attack helicopters and armed drones and spending less on social programs. More Canadians are using food banks.

“In Canada, peace and anti-war groups are calling for the federal government to withdraw from NATO because of NATO’s demand to increase military spending and its promotion of weapons, war and militarism over diplomacy and peace. Canadians have a parliamentary petition calling on the government of Canada to withdraw from NATO and to work cooperatively with all countries on peace and development.”

Lorincz is a PhD candidate in global governance at the Balsillie School for International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University.

German Parliamentarian: “Global NATO: Expansion and Escalation”

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SEVIM DAGDELEN, [now in D.C.] sevim.dagdelen@bundestag.de, @SevimDagdelen
Dagdelen is a member of the German parliament, the Bundestag, and is on the foreign affairs committee. She speaks tonight at Busboys and Poets in D.C. She is the author of a book on NATO.

She spoke at a rally outside the White House on Monday. She said: “At its Washington summit, NATO intends to make its strategy of escalation and expansion global. Ever more weapons deliveries to Ukraine are planned; the danger of direct involvement in the war is rising; and the NATO-isation of Asia is now getting underway officially.” See speech: “Popular Sovereignty instead of Vassal Loyalty to the U.S.!”

She also gave the keynote speech “Global NATO: Expansion and Escalation” at the No to NATO, Yes to Peace summit this past weekend.

She said: “Never accept a person’s or an organization’s self-image at face value. … First is the central myth of a NATO organized as a defense community committed to international law: a NATO that is a community of constitutional states upholding the law, allowing international law to rule its actions so that it exists for no other purpose but to defend the territory of its members.

“Yet if we interrogate NATO’s actual policies, what do we find?

“In 1999, NATO itself conducted a war of aggression, in breach of international law, against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. NATO’s war crimes included the bombing of a television station in Belgrade and an allegedly accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy which killed three Chinese journalists.

In 2011, NATO attacked Libya. It misused a UN Security Council resolution to fight a war for regime change, one result of which was that part of the country came under the rule of Islamists; Libya on the whole was plunged into a state of appalling misery, and even suffered the return of slavery.

“In Afghanistan, NATO involved itself from 2003 in a war far from Alliance territory, only to hand power, 20 years later, to the Taliban — whose overthrow had been the invasion’s stated objective. That 20-year war in Afghanistan was marked by numerous war crimes — such as the October 2015 U.S. airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz — which, needless to say, went unpunished.

“NATO has assumed the musketeers’ motto: all for one and one for all. This means in practice that the deeds of individual NATO members must also be ascribed to the organization itself. Brown University puts the death toll of U.S. wars in the Middle East over the last 20 years alone at 4.5 million people — wars, like that in Iraq, based on lies and which were nothing but egregious violations of international law.

“NATO’s self-image as a community for defense in adherence to international law simply does not match reality. We must rather draw the opposite conclusion.

“NATO is a community of illegality and of the violators of international law who, either separately or as an organization, conduct wars of aggression on a politically opportunistic basis.”

NATO, Israel and Militarization

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NATO member heads of state begin meeting in Washington, D.C. today. See prior news releases.

MOATAZ SALIM, moatazs97@gmail.com, Instagram: @tazsdc
Salim is a Palestinian graduate student at George Washington University with family in Gaza. He has lost over 100 members of his extended family. He was a speaker at the recent No to NATO, Yes to Peace summit. He said today: “Israel is one of several partners of NATO. It can be seen as the ‘tip of the spear’ of the wider colonial project, with NATO projecting power around the world, especially in Africa and increasingly in Asia.” [See from Reuters: “Episcopal Church protests closure of its Gaza hospital by Israeli evacuation orders,” and from Jeremy Scahill in the new platform Drop Site: “On the Record with Hamas.”]

TARAK KAUFF, takauff@gmail.com, @VFPNational
ELLEN BARFIELD, [in the D.C. area] ellene4pj@yahoo.com
Kauff and Barfield are members of Veterans For Peace, which just completed a peace walk from Maine to Washington, D.C. See stories on the march from Maine Public Radio and the Baltimore Fox affiliate.

Kauff said: “As the genocide in Gaza continues with children being killed and starved, it’s more important than ever to dramatically say that violence and war is not the way.”

Barfield was stationed in South Korea while in the U.S. military and recently took part in protests there.

Walk organizer Ellen Davidson, a VFP director said: “We are walking to expose the undemocratic power of corporations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and the other Madmen Arsonists who are setting fires around the globe.”

* French Election * Hannibal * Lancet: Estimated 186,000 Dead in Gaza

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The Guardian reports: “France election: surprise win for leftwing alliance keeps Le Pen’s far right from power.

JEAN BRICMONT, [in Paris] jean.bricmont@uclouvain.be, @JeanBricmont
A noted author, academic and political commentator, Bricmont has been following the French election. He splits his time between Paris and Brussels. He can also talk about the NATO summit which starts Tuesday in Washington, D.C. His books include Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War.

Haaretz reports: “IDF Ordered Hannibal Directive on October 7 to Prevent Hamas Taking Soldiers Captive.” See summary. Last month, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller claimed: “I am not familiar in any way” with “that supposed directive.” See: “VIDEO: State Dept. Claims to Be Ignorant of Hannibal Directive.

An article in the Lancet, “Counting the dead in Gaza: difficult but essential,” states: “Armed conflicts have indirect health implications beyond the direct harm from violence. Even if the conflict ends immediately, there will continue to be many indirect deaths in the coming months and years from causes such as reproductive, communicable, and non-communicable diseases. The total death toll is expected to be large given the intensity of this conflict; destroyed health-care infrastructure; severe shortages of food, water, and shelter; the population’s inability to flee to safe places; and the loss of funding to UNRWA, one of the very few humanitarian organizations still active in the Gaza Strip.

“In recent conflicts, such indirect deaths range from three to 15 times the number of direct deaths. Applying a conservative estimate of four indirect deaths per one direct death to the 37,396 deaths reported, it is not implausible to estimate that up to 186,000 or even more deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza.”

Available for interviews:

RICHARD SILVERSTEIN, richards1052@gmail.com, @richards1052
Silverstein writes at Tikun Olam. He has written extensively about the Hannibal Directive. His recent pieces include “Growing U.S. Complicity in Gaza Genocide” and “Mossad Mafia Threatens ICC Prosecutors, Journalists.

“No to NATO, Yes to Peace”

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DAVID SWANSON, david@davidswanson.org, @davidcnswanson
Swanson is executive director of World Beyond War and campaign coordinator for RootsAction. He will be speaking at a summit and rally this weekend, No to NATO, Yes to Peace, in Washington, D.C.

This comes just ahead of meetings early next week with heads of state that are members of the 75 year-old military alliance. Swanson’s books include the recently-released NATO: What You Need To Know co-authored with Medea Benjamin.

ANN WRIGHT, annw1946@gmail.com, @AnnWright46
Wright will also be speaking at the summit. She is a retired colonel who resigned from her position at the State Department over the invasion of Iraq. She recently wrote the piece “Is NATO Taking Over the Pacific?” for Covert Action Magazine. She writes: “As the United States increases its military confrontation with China through new military bases on Guam and the Philippines and more land, sea and air exercises with countries in the Asia-Pacific, the world’s largest naval war exercises are going to be held in the mid-Pacific from June 26 to August 2, 2024 — and NATO is in the middle of it. … Thirty percent of Rim of the Pacific [RIMPAC] naval forces are from NATO Europe.”

Other speakers at the summit include German Bundestag member Sevim Dagdelen, Sean Conner, executive director of the International Peace Bureau and Sheen Kim, co-chair of the Asia-Oceania subcommittee of the Democratic Socialist of America’s International Committee.

A host of resources are available on the summit’s website, including Swanson’s piece “Does NATO Promote Global Stability? No.” He also recently wrote the piece “What Does NATO Have to Do with the Genocide in GAZA?” In the piece “NATO Spreads Nuclear Weapons, Energy, and Risk,” Swanson writes: “Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty declares that NATO members will assist another member if attacked by ‘taking action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force.’ But the UN Charter does not say anywhere that warmaking is authorized for whoever jumps in on the appropriate side.”

In the piece “Confronting NATO’s War Summit in Washington,” Medea Benjamin writes: “The details of NATO’s agenda for the Washington summit were revealed at a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Prague at the end of May. NATO will drag its members into the U.S. Cold War with China by accusing it of supplying dual-use weapons technology to Russia, and it will unveil new NATO initiatives to spend our tax dollars on a mysterious ‘drone wall’ in the Baltics and an expensive-sounding “integrated air defense system” across Europe. … While President Biden and NATO leaders hold endless debates over different ways to escalate the war, they have repeatedly rejected peace negotiations, notably in April 2022, November 2022 and January 2024, even as their failed war plans leave Ukraine in an ever worsening negotiating position.”

NATO “Increased Rather than Decreased Instability”

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The State Department says the U.S. government is “proud to host the next NATO Summit, July 9-11, 2024, where we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the most successful and enduring alliance in history. … NATO maintains the stability, peace, and security that enable our economies to grow and our societies to flourish.”

DAVID GIBBS, dgibbs@email.arizona.edu
Gibbs is professor of history at the University of Arizona and has written extensively about NATO.

He said today: “NATO was originally created to defend Europe from the Soviet Union. But instead of declaring victory when the USSR collapsed in 1991, it expanded over the next three decades. It did so in violation of a promise, made by both U.S. and European officials, that NATO would not expand eastward. This relentless expansion increased rather than decreased regional instability, helping ensure the rise of militarists like Vladimir Putin. There is no doubt that NATO expansion played a significant role in producing the horrific war that has been taking place in Ukraine.”

Gibbs added: “It is evident that neither Joseph Biden nor Donald Trump have any solution to the terrible war in Ukraine, now in its third year. Neither candidate presented anything like a credible strategy for bringing the war to an end, in terms of either a military or a political resolution. During the Cold War, American presidents were not ashamed to negotiate with the Soviet Union and at least consider compromise settlements of conflicts. Even Ronald Reagan was willing to do this. Whoever wins the presidency in November should take note of this history and begin direct talks with the Russian government. We do not have to like or trust Putin, but we have no choice but to negotiate with him.”

Gibbs is author of the book First Do No Harm: Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia. His latest book is Revolt of the Rich: How the Politics of the 1970s Widened America’s Class Divide. See his recent essay “Oil and the Energy Crisis of the 1970s: A Reanalysis.”

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