|Dear Friend —
After last week’s whirlwind visit to Paris for the COP21 UN Climate Summit, I headed straight to Moscow (where they’re experiencing winter temperatures about 30 degrees warmer than usual) on a mission for international diplomacy and peace.
My mission was to discuss our Green foreign policy ideas with leading peace and civil liberties advocates, as well as sitting leaders of a major power – and the outcome was very encouraging indeed!
I was invited to the 10th anniversary gala of the TV news network RT, where I spoke on a panel of politicians including Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, and Willy Wimmer, former Vice President of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
I spoke about the need for a “peace offensive” as a badly needed alternative to another US military intervention, this time in Syria, as part of the catastrophic “war on terror”. We can do this by enacting an arms embargo on the Middle East, freezing funds of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other countries funding terrorist groups, and asking our NATO ally Turkey to close its border to jihadi militias and stop buying oil from ISIS on the black market, for starters.
I also called on both the US and Russia to stop wasting enormous sums on weapons while critical human needs go unmet. For example, the US is now embarking on a program to spend $1 trillion updating its nuclear weaponry, while slashing programs to fight hunger, address homelessness, and provide economic security for our people.
You can read more of my remarks from the RT forum here.
At dinner the evening of the gala, I sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who gave a short talk after dinner. While he mostly focused on commemorating RT’s 10th anniversary, one thing he said jumped right out at me:
“Something very unexpected… When I was listening to politicians from other countries, you know what I caught myself thinking? I agree with them on many issues.”
I should note that my panel was the only one with politicians from other countries – and I was the only active politician in the group!
That moment – and many others like it – perfectly illustrated why we came to Moscow, and Paris, in the first place: to demonstrate that Green foreign policy is not only realistic, but urgently needed in today’s world.
In both Paris and Moscow, it was amazing to see the international community welcoming our campaign as the voice of reason from the US on the most critical issues of the day – climate, security, peace, terrorism, refugees and more.
On that note, I’d like to quickly mention a couple more highlights from Moscow. I met with Aleksei Pushkov, head of foreign affairs for the Russian parliament, who was very receptive to our ideas for greater US-Russia collaboration to bring peace to the Middle East and to resume a nuclear disarmament process, including an end to the provocative placement of US missiles and nuclear weapons near Russia’s borders.
I also spoke with a number of ex-CIA security experts at the RT gala, including legendary ex-CIA activist Ray McGovern; they all agreed that my Green approach to the current crisis in the Middle East made far more sense than the saber-rattling coming from Washington.
Everywhere we went, it seemed that everyone agreed about the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of US politics as usual, and there was enormous support for our campaign as the change that our world truly needs.
I returned to the US this week more determined than ever to work together with you building the movement for people, planet and peace like our lives depend on it.
It’s in our hands!
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“Luxury is more ruthless than war.”- Juvenal, poet of the Roman Empire.
The Big American Way of Life–including big luxury vehicles (perhaps any motor vehicle is luxurious to the billions of people who depend on bicycles or carts pulled by animals or themselves) and air conditioning (the 310 million US Americans use more electricity for air conditioning than the 1. 2 billion Africans use in total electricity usage)–dwarf greenhouse gas emissions of the U.S. military. The U.S. military, as an entity not a country, is the largest user of oil and largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the world, which turns out to be ~3-4% of the U.S. economy’s emissions, or about the percentage of the U.S. economy spent on the military.
If wars are fought over oil, that hasn’t caused the peace movement to do anything significant about it–such as state Initiatives (available in about half the states) putting the sales tax and annual vehicle license tax for new non-commercial vehicles on sliding scales based on fuel efficiency: 2-14% sales tax, $20/year to $5000/year VLT for the life of the vehicle.
Roland, I agree. We need to focus on alternative energy instead of fighting wars over oil.