Monday, March 23, 2015

Congress Gets Tired of Warmongering Toward Iran, Votes 348-48 to Trigger War with Russia

Congress is tired of all this talk of war with Iran and has a new target: war with Russia.
Earlier today, Congress passed a resolution calling on Obama to provide Ukraine with military assistance.

Last month, the editorial board of The Nation had a sharp editorial on why this would be a disastrous idea:
Arming the Ukrainian military is not in the best interest of either the United States or Ukraine. It will only worsen a bloody crisis that has already killed more than 5,000, with more than 1.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons. There is no military solution to this conflict, only a political one. Supplying US arms to Kiev will only provide ammunition for Russian leaders who believe, fairly or not, that the United States is attempting to turn Ukraine into a Western military base near Russia’s borders. Indeed, as Jeremy Shapiro of the Brookings Institution writes, “If U.S.-provided weapons fail to induce a Russian retreat in Ukraine and instead cause an escalation of the war, the net result will not be peace and compromise.” Arms transfers to Kiev are not likely to induce Russian retreat; for both historical and geographical reasons, Ukraine will always be a vital strategic interest for Russia in ways that it cannot be for the United States. Military brinkmanship on Washington’s part is thus doomed to fail; Russia will always hold the stronger military hand on this issue.

The likely result of arming Kiev will be not only more lives lost but the very real possibility of another arms race between the United States and Russia. It could also end the last remnants of cooperation between the two on containing the spread of nuclear weapons. That’s why some of those most familiar with this threat are sounding the alarm….

At nearly every critical juncture over the past year, military escalation, by both Russia and the West, has inflicted immense trauma on the Ukrainian people and threatened its government’s survival. Ukraine is now on the verge of financial and military collapse, with the currency falling by more than a third in just one week and with foreign exchange reserves almost tapped out. (It is estimated that in order to survive, Ukraine needs more than $50 billion, which it will be largely up to Europe to provide.) Kiev knows the only way it can win is by drawing NATO into the fight—with the likely result being a long, bloody civil war.
You can read the Brookings post cited here
The resolution passed 348 to 48. 214 Republicans an 134 Democrats voted for it. 38 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 38 Democrats:

Don Beyer (VA-08)
Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
Judy Chu (CA-32)
Katherine Clark (MA-05)
Yvette Clarke (NY-09)
John Conyers (MI-13)
Donna Edwards (MD-04)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Sam Farr (CA-20)
Lois Frankel (FL-22)
Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)
Janice Hahn (CA-44)
Mike Honda (CA-17)
Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Eddie B. Johnson (TX-30)
Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
John Lewis (GA-05)
David Loebsack (IA-02)
Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
Jim McGovern (MA-02)
Gregory Meeks (NY-05)
Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
Rick Nolan (MN-08)
Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)
Mark Pocan (WI-02)
Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Jackie Speier (CA-14)
Mark Takano (CA-41)
Niki Tsongas (MA-03)
Maxine Waters (CA-43)
Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
Pete Welch (VT-AL)

Here are the 10 Republicans who voted against it:

Justin Amash (MI-03)
Curt Clawson (FL-19)
Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)
John Duncan (TN-02)
Tim Huelskamp (KS-01)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
Bill Posey (FL-08)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48)

36 members of Congress simply were not in attendance. I thought I would highlight the 16 Democrats who were not in attendance (and thus voted neither for nor against the resolution):

Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Brendan Boyle (PA-13)
Corinne Brown (FL-05)
Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Mike Doyle (PA-14)
John Garamendi (CA-03)
Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
Dan Lipinski (IL-3)
Donald Payne (NJ-10)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Tim Ryan (OH-13)
Adam Smith (WA-09)

Whenever I see warmongering around Russia, I always think of how so many of these people grew up during the Cold War and how the Cold War was a dominant geopolitical reality during much of their professional life. And, as the saying goes, there's no war like the first.....

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