News Release

Biden-Putin Summit

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet in Geneva on Wednesday.

The American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord has released a letter signed by a group of scholars and former diplomats including Jack F. Matlock, former U.S. ambassador to the USSR.

The letter states: “The dangerous and in many ways unprecedented deterioration in relations between the United States and the Russian Federation must come to an end if we are to leave a safer world for future generations.

“For many years now, relations between the U.S. and Russia have been marked by sanctions and counter-sanctions; the passage of ‘foreign agents’ designations on media outlets and NGO’s; the curtailing of people-to-people exchange programs; and the end of cooperation in areas of mutual interest such as counter-terrorism, drug interdiction, and the environment.”

The following signers and ACURA board members are available for a limited number of interviews:

NICOLAI N. PETRO, [currently in Ukraine] npetro@uri.edu
Professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island.

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, kat@thenation.com@KatrinaNation
Publisher and editorial director of The Nation.

The letter also states: “The Trump era and Russiagate brought about an unprecedented credulity among the media and the Washington punditry — or perhaps more, a willingness to assign blame to Russia for the outcome of the 2016 election [this has now been discredited]. It has now in turn given birth to two much more dangerous phenomena: an escalating militarism reminiscent of the darkest days of the Cold War; and a dangerous erosion of the decades-long bilateral arms control regime negotiated even during that Great Power standoff.”

The letter offers concrete suggestions:

i. “We urge the Biden administration to reopen the Consulates and reverse its recent decision to halt visa services for most Russians.

ii. “President Biden should invite President Putin to join him in reaffirming the declaration first made by President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev at their 1985 summit in Geneva that ‘A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’ This went a long way during the Cold War to reassure the peoples of the two countries and the world that even though we had deep differences we were committed to never fighting a nuclear war. It would go a long way to do the same today.

iii. “Reengage with Russia. Restore wide contacts, scientific, medical, educational, cultural and environmental exchanges. Expand people-to-people citizen diplomacy, Track II, Track 1.5 and governmental diplomatic initiatives.”