For Peace With Putin, End America’s Pointless Wars

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Above Photo: Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit. Credit: Creative Commons/

Ignore the establishment: Trump has a huge opportunity at his upcoming summit.


The upcoming summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is an overdue opportunity for the American president’s next bold peace initiative. It is time for the U.S. to stop its wasteful wars, and Russia can be a constructive partner to this end.

The mainstream press on both sides of the Atlantic will howl against any agreement between Trump and Putin—no matter what’s in it. So why not take steps that the American public will instinctively understand and that will provide the support for Trump to end America’s failed interventions? Besides what are his opponents going to do? Vilify him for seeking peace and starting the process of healing the many wounds of the wars? The American people are not fooled by false claims that Trump is soft on terrorism; they are aware that U.S. military interventions oftentimes can—and do—fuel terrorism.

President Trump should propose a drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan in exchange for a drawdown of Russian troops in Syria (along with a pledge that America has no interest in reengaging in the Syrian Civil War). This would be consistent with Trump’s oft-stated observation that America’s wars (declared and undeclared) in the Middle East have been a waste.

Trump need not “recognize” the Russian annexation of Crimea but he should assert that a resolution to the situation on the ground in Ukraine is a European matter—to be settled by bilateral negotiations between Russia and Europe.

Understanding of this magnitude would obviate the main pretext for the senseless escalation of pecuniary diplomatic sanctions—the defenestration of embassy and consulate staff—on the parts of both Russia and the United States. The return of the possibility of civilian travel between the two nations would do wonders to lower tensions. (Remember, even at the height of the Cold War, President Eisenhower argued that populations denied contact with each other would tend to be suspicious of each other—and prone to minor conflicts that could escalate into larger wars.)

The American public is not interested in diplomatic and media theater. They know two things to be true: the failing “Trump-Russia collusion” hysteria is proving baseless (and distracting from concerns over economic growth and jobs); and whatever America’s international security interests are in the Middle East, we are all better protected with allies that face similar threats.

Russia has more reason to be concerned over Islamic terrorism than America. Their southern border touches on several Islamic countries: Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan. The instability created by America’s misguided military adventures has, for years, been unsettling to Russia. According to a friend who has long studied Russia, America’s post-Cold War military aggression, starting in the Balkans, began the ascension to power of Russian military hardliners who were skeptical of America’s intentions for peace.

Russia has a significantly better understanding of and influence over most of those countries, including Iran. America’s relationship with Iran has long been hostile due to years of interference and mistreatment. The relationship was seriously complicated in 1953 when our CIA and British intelligence overthrew their democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, and placed the brutal Shah in power. The Washington keyboard warriors never mention this sad chapter in our history. Imagine how we would feel towards a country that interfered with us to that extent.

How much smarter would it be for Russia to work with its neighbor Iran to limit the civil war in Yemen, than for America to continue to provide military support to Saudi Arabia to perpetuate a colossal human tragedy?

The naysayers ridiculed Trump’s peace initiative with North Korea, and yet his denuclearization and pacification of the Korean Peninsula advances (in contrast to the efforts of four previous American presidential administrations). Given that Trump and Kim could sit together, what stands in the way of progress with Putin?

The past year and a half of Russophobia have been driven by the “bitter clingers” of Hillary’s failed national political ambitions, the military-industrial complex, corporate interests, corporate media, the Washington/New York/Hollywood commentariat, and foreign lobbyists. Too many of them profit from an endless state of war—throughout the world and, in particular, with Russia.

Washington and its clients are terrified that the war gravy train will be slowed or stopped. Our NATO clients are afraid of carrying their own national defense burdens. Washington neocons are perfectly willing to continue to waste the lives of our devoted military to protect both their funding and a world order that the West’s victory in the Cold War has rendered moot.

Again, the American people share no such delusions and are overwhelmingly tired of the wars they cannot explain or even locate on a globe. These wars have damaged and destroyed American families. War proponents’ repeated incantations about “supporting the troops” instead of keeping them home to protect their families and our country has worn thin.

We hear stories about parents being separated from their children at our borders, but not a peep about the American children being separated from their soldier parents and parents being separated from their soldier sons and daughters abroad.

The July 16 Trump-Putin summit is an opportunity for the president to act boldly in the face of near-total establishment opposition and work to bring peace to a war-weary world. If he works to reduce America’s involvement in its wars, the Russo-American disagreements will fade.

  • PeterPaget

    This a foolish position expressed by Mr. O’Neill, Jr. Let Putin first show he is acting in good faith. He could turn the Crimea back to the Ukraine and stop the fighting in Eastern Ukraine as a first step in normalizing relations.

  • rgaura

    Crimea voted overwhelmingly in a free and fair election to join the Russian Federation, at a time when neo nazi roughs were beating and murdering Russian speaking people, or those who demonstrated in support of their legitimate President. Under international law, this is legal and binding. The US is funding a dangerous resurgence of violent nazi nationalists in Ukraine.

  • kevinzeese

    Why should Putin turn his back on Crimea? The coup government of the United States, aligned with neo-Nazis from west Ukraine threatened Russian speakers. Russia has a long term port there going back to when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. They became independent under Khrushchev, who was from Ukraine.

    The first step should be for the US to get out and let Ukraine return to an independent democracy. The US conducted the coup, Putin acted in defense of Crimea and their port.

  • PeterPaget

    From what I have read I do not think the recitation of your facts are entirely correct. It gives a decidedly one-sided story line. The fact that Russia had a port in the Crimea, under an agreement with the Ukrainian nation does not give Russia any right to effectively take over the sovereign land of Ukraine under military strong-arming and then a dubious vote under occupation.

    I keep reading the rest of your justification with astonishment. Your anti-war position is admirable, but leave it at that and not use faulty thinking and spin to make your points.

  • kevinzeese

    Are you saying you do not believe there was a US coup in Ukraine of a democratically elected leader?

  • PeterPaget

    There is no fair answer to your question as there are different meanings of the word “coup.”

    I would say from what I had read that the US government encouraged Ukrainians dissatisfied with the prior administration in that country and its then president, apparently a dishonorable man, who was looting the national treasury for personal greed and benefit and who may have been bought of by Putin, to act. I would not call that a US coup.

  • kevinzeese

    So when Assistant Secty of State Nuland said the US spent $5 billion to take Ukraine, when the new President after the coup was in CIA cables described as Our Man In Ukraine, when the Prime Minister Yatz was described by Nuland to the US Ambassador in an overheard cell phone call saying he was who they wanted as prime minister and then he became prime minister, when the Finance Minister was a former State Dept official (for decades) and was made a Ukrainian citizen the day Our Man In Ukraine appointed her, when Joe Biden’s son was put on the board of the largest Ukrainian gas company, and John Kerry’s long time friend and financier was also put on that board, when Monsanto was allowed to GMO their agriculture — all of that was not a coup? The head of the corporate CIA StratFor called the coup of Ukraine the most blatant coup he has seen – he was seeing things?

    Wake up to reality. Just search this website for Ukraine and you will get a lot of facts you need to learn. We have followed Ukraine very closely for years with dozens of reports on what occurred there. You are living in a fantasy world if you do not see this coup for what it was – a US takeover of a country that borders Russia. They also wanted to take away Russia’s warm water port in Crimea. This is all part of encircling Russia militarily. I’m amazed that you do not see this as a coup! It is shockingly ignorant. Do some reading.

  • chetdude

    Since the number one purveyor of conflicts and the tools for conflict is the number one terrorist nation on the Planet, USAmerica, I’d say that USAmerica has an obligation to show to the leaders of more peaceful, pragmatic and rational nations that they’re “acting in good faith”…

    Gee, I’d suggest that USAmerica shut down their torture chambers and give Guantanamo back to the Cubans as a preliminary show of faith… Or help the Puerto Rican citizens of U.S. recover from the hurricane…

    Or stop supplying the Suadis and various Al Qaeda factions with arms…

    Or quit mindlessly supporting the Apartheid nation of Israel…

    Or dissolve NATO – the marketing arm for the USAmerican MIC…

    All good first steps in normalizing relations…

  • chetdude

    You’re quite a bit behind the class, Peter.

    There’s been no “fighting in Eastern Ukraine” for over a year… And what there was was protecting the majority Russian speakers there from the neo-Nazi govt of Ukraine installed by USAmerica…

  • PeterPaget

    Hey bud, don’t think you knowing it all makes you right. I do not think Putin is to be trusted and certainly not in making deals with a liar like trump. Maybe you should stick with your better angels and
    keep working to prevent wars and not take political sides.

    Ignorant, well there you go.

  • PeterPaget

    How about you running for Congress so you can do something about those items you complain about. All good points BTW. I just do not see in the real competitive world America should let it’s competitors do a walk over. Especially when America is dealing with a known thug through a known liar.

    Let me ask you if you have any confidence that trump will make a good long-term deal for America with Kim Jung Un or even will with Putin that does not line his pockets?

  • kevinzeese

    The best thing people can do is build a mass movement. Electoral politics are a sham in the United States. Voters are manipulated into voting against their interests, for Wall Street candidate A and Wall Street candidate B. I have no confidence in Trump, Kim or Putin. Their interests are not my interests. My only confidence in them is if the people create a political culture that makes it essential to do the right thing.

  • kevinzeese

    Well, being ignorant and not even recognizing an obvious US coup certainly makes you wrong. Read about it, get educated and we can talk. See this series of articles

    We will keep working to build the antiwar movement but we will also encourage nations to communicate and negotiate as that is the only path to avoiding wars. I am not a fan of either Trump or Putin but am glad they are talking. They could do a lot of positive things together on nuclear weapons, ending wars in Syria, peace negotiations in North Korea, avoiding conflict in Ukraine, stopping threats to Iran, Venezuela and Nicaragua. These are a few among many positives that could come out of negotiations. And, if they do not talk, each could blow up into another major war.

  • PeterPaget

    Good luck with trying to change the world. I would say with your snotty attitude you will offend more people than convince any of the merits of your quest. You have just stopped me from caring about your crusade. Other, more rational people are trying to do the same thing where I can spend my time and not be insulted by some holier than thou character.

  • kevinzeese

    I still urge you to read about the situation in Ukraine so you understand reality.

    The US is now arming Kiev so the threat of violence if growing. I hope you are right and that it does not occur.

    Again, you have the facts wrong on what occurred in Eastern Ukraine. Please read and learn. I’m sorry you are offended by my pointing out the factual inaccuracy of your statements.

  • PeterPaget

    Dude. I am not in anybody’s class I am also not so narrow minded as to think there are is only one side of that story. For the russians in the Donbass to start killing and taking territory by force and killing with the help of the Russian military (Russian soldiers on vacation trooping into sovereign Ukrainian territory) occupy the land with force of arms I call fighting. I do not think your “protection racket” claim has any force of law behind it. Just moe criminal acts by Putin’s Russia to act like a “big man.” Baloney!!!!!

  • kevinzeese

    I am not your “dude” or “bud” or even your teacher. Your bias and ignorance were evident from your first comment which forced me to respond. We do not want ignorance and prejudice to spend. I’m sorry you do not appreciate it being pointed out and even more sorry when you are directed to articles that could inform you, you choose to remain ignorant. But, at least by responding to you others who read this will know where they can go to get the full story.

  • PeterPaget

    Here is something you should worry more about; that ignorant, traitorous trump. Can you believe trump supports Putin over our government agencies? Yes, I think you would or do. What is your take on the shoot down of the Dutch airliner over Ukraine. I suppose you will say it was not Russia or its surrogates in Ukraine.

    Just to get a more complete view your belief system,would you be surprised that someone will take a shot at trump, sooner than later?

    Oh yea, unless you have first hand knowledge of the facts the events in the largely approved change of government of Ukraine you don’t need to lecture me on what the true facts are.

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Kevin Zeese has not once, ever, “offended” me. You’re free to move on; not many on this platform will miss you, given your somehow-slimy refusal to connect dots to include (e.g.) acknowledging Nuland’s (wife of a Zionist/Israel-first neocon) machinations vis-à-vis Ukraine.

    You did provide a bit of comic relief in a separate comment: “…the US government encouraged Ukrainians….” Well, hey, bud: could “encourage(ment)” possibly be a code word for “meddling” or “interfering” in the affairs of a foreign nation when the concept applies to the pure-at-heart-and-in-intention USA? Are you CIA or another sort of troll?