Quincy Institute Applauds Congressional Letter In Support of Russia Diplomacy
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CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, Director of Communications, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, 202.800.4662/ [email protected]
WASHINGTON, DC — The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft welcomes the letter released today supporting President Biden’s upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and urging him to pursue substantive diplomacy on key areas of cooperation and conflict between the two countries. The letter was signed by 15 House members, including Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith.
The letter highlights in particular the issues of nuclear arms, climate change, terrorism, cyber threats, and the need to defuse tensions and maintain peace in Eastern Europe as matters which urgently demand U.S.-Russia cooperation. The full text of the letter is available here.
“Congressional efforts are important in making clear that the American people prefer substantive diplomatic efforts to solve problems to pursuing a new Cold War with rival states,” Quincy Institute Advocacy Director Marcus Stanley said. “Even during the darkest days of conflict with the Soviet Union American presidents met with Russian leaders to find areas of agreement. Continuing this tradition is important to maintaining peace and stability and making progress on issues of shared concern such as climate change, pandemics, and preventing nuclear proliferation.”
The letter notes the special importance of nuclear issues in the U.S.-Russia relationship, given that the two countries hold over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. In addition to calling for the president to engage in renewed arms control efforts with Russia, it urges the administration to review and reverse the proposed expansion and “modernization” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Another recent Congressional letter, from the chairs of a newly formed Congressional caucus on nuclear arms control, also supported the summit meeting and urged President Biden to make progress on arms control there.
While encouraging President Biden to pursue cooperation where possible, the signatories recognize “urgent and profound concerns with Russian behavior.” The letter expresses confidence that the administration will work to address these issues diplomatically in the interest of averting wider conflict.
“This is absolutely the right message for President Biden to be hearing as he prepares for his first meeting with Putin,” said Anatol Lieven, QI senior research fellow on Russia and Europe, and author of a new paper on resolving the Ukraine crisis. “The president should use this opportunity to pursue vigorous cooperation with Russia on matters where that is both possible and necessary, such as the future of Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal. But his administration must also address challenging disputes such as the conflict in Ukraine, which both carries the threat of broader war, and, if left unresolved, will ensure that relations between the two countries remain poisonous and will hinder cooperation on other issues.”