The outburst of patriotic fervor by our Congressional delegation at the sighting of a Russian vessel off the coast of New London is a frightening display of lack of leadership and understanding of the current threat to peace.
In a calm, reflective consideration, without the appeals to hysteria that befits an elected leadership that is empowered to vote on war and peace, life and death, destruction or construction, normal diplomatic relations or bitter dangerous hostility, it is imperative that the delegation examine the present relationship between Russia and the United States, appreciating the dangers of the present path.
We have been warning that NATO/U.S. troops are stationed in every country bordering Russia. Any sovereign nation would consider this a threat. It would produce countermeasures. Missiles installed in Poland and Romania are aimed at Russia. This would produce further reaction. U.S. vessels are patrolling the Black and Red seas. If we consider, with apprehension, Russian vessels in the international waters off Connecticut, how do we expect the Russians to react to our vessels?
The anti-Russian hysteria, promoted, in this instance, by the Democratic Party, totally ignores that Russia, like the United States, is a major nuclear power. The slightest misstep can set off a catastrophe of imaginable proportions.
The issue isn’t whether we approve or disapprove of the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. That’s an issue for the Russian people. The issue isn’t to charge any voice that even hints for better relations with Russia as advocating treason. We must encourage every move toward diplomatic negotiations.
Our concern is to prevent the present atmosphere from spiraling into World War III with untold consequences. We, through our elected officials, must demand diplomacy that will create the preconditions for easing the tensions and resolving the outstanding issues. We must insist that we withdraw NATO/U.S. forces from positions that can be conceived as threatening.
The voices of protests swelling throughout our country must include the demand for peace, a reduction to the military budget that devours the nation of our treasure, enriching the military-industrial complex and frightening the rest of the world.
— Alfred L. Marder
President, U.S. Peace Council
Letter published by the New Haven Register, Feb. 23, 2017