Welcome to The Peace Action of San Mateo County Newsletter UPDATE--Fall 2022
October 23 Virtual Meeting
Sharat Lin on “The New Cold War”
On Sunday, October 23, PASMC will explore further our country’s neck-twisting approach to foreign policy, mainly with our most significant competitors. The path of “competition” that all sides seem to have chosen – as opposed to that of “comity, cooperation and collaboration” (see the article below on our September event) – has placed the world on edge in a number of ways.
From globalization and the G20, the emergence of China as a technological powerhouse and of Russia as a whipping boy have led to decoupling, a drift into a new cold war, and a global food, fuel and military crisis. Why is this happening now, and how can we achieve something closer to world peace and meeting human needs? And why is such a concept so difficult to embrace?
In his new National Security Strategy released October 12, President Biden declares that the Cold War period is “definitively over”, and does seem to highlight the need for international cooperation and diplomacy to deal with issues like climate change and food security. As we might expect, the strategy puts focus on China and Russia. These are good talking points, but what we read and hear suggest a different reality.
Dr. Sharat Lin will offer his thoughts on a continuously-complicated world situation; the path into and out of this “New Cold War”, as his talk is themed. The October 23 event will begin at 7 PM on the Zoom platform; log on to www.sanmateopeaceaction for the link, or email us at email@example.com.
Dr. Sharat Lin writes and lectures on global political economy, labor migration, and public health. He is active with Human Agenda and the Initiative for Equality. We hope you’ll join us to get his insights into our world and where it is currently (but not necessarily) going.
Summary of September 18 Video Screening
Perspectives of a Former Military Officer
Retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson is by no means the first military person whose views on U.S. policy have changed after stepping away. In a mid-August interview Wilkerson, whose 31-year career included serving as Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, and who is now a professor of Government and Public Policy at William and Mary College, offered his opinions and advice – as yet unsolicited by our government – on subjects ranging from our country’s relationship with China, Russia’s war on Ukraine, and Israel/Palestinian affairs. On September 18, PASMC screened the interview which was conducted by Zain Raza of The Source, on an online series called AcTVism.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had recently brought a Congressional delegation to Taiwan, a trip which was followed by military drills near Taiwan by China, and which Wilkerson criticized. He noted it was her call and arguably part of Congress’ role in carrying out foreign policy, but the trip, in his opinion, was “not very smart.” He questioned the role of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, including bringing in Australia, Japan and India as allies. In the region, he said, China is the “hegemon” – a potential negative there given the style of China’s President Xi Jinping. Wilkerson compared actions to establish such hegemony by the U.S. by, among other things, encircling China, to another country sending its military to the waters off of northern Mexico. How we would feel, he said, would probably mirror China’s reaction.
He called the Taiwan issue “an unsettled matter”, made more so by at least one U.S. diplomat calling for “strategic clarity”, rather than the current “strategic ambiguity” and the recognition of “one China”. This has long been the norm for our policy with Taiwan – and a hedge against military force by China against the breakaway island. He lamented the U.S. “need for a new cold war” – at least in part to support “the oligarchy of U.S. defense contractors” who make billions of dollars on the threats of hostilities.
Wilkerson invoked Ukraine to further touch on this theme, opining that we could end that conflict with some give and take by both sides. “But we won’t”, he said, “because this is very…lucrative for so many people” – weapons contractors and their political action committees whose contributions bring back, he said, a 450,000 percent return on their money. Meanwhile, a challenge is how to prevent escalation in the Indo-Pacific, with its presence of nuclear weapons – which he compared to the climate crisis as an existential threat. Here Wilkerson affirmed the importance of the climate issue. He suggested we need to recognize China as the hegemon in the region, while adopting a framework of what he called “the three C’s: comity, cooperation and collaboration”. Without that, he feels, humanity may not survive on earth. “You want to be like the dinosaurs?”, he admonished.
Turning to the war in Ukraine (for which circumstances continue to change in the present), Wilkerson’s first criticism was of western media, for blaming Russia completely for the war. He noted NATO efforts to expand to Russia’s borders, which led to military action by Putin. The U.S. response of aiding Ukraine with high-tech weaponry has resulted in Putin taking “actions that are going to haunt us later”. Wilkerson suggested a parallel with the invitation in 2008 for Georgia to join NATO, resulting in a brief but bloody war. “It was clear”, he said, that Putin would react thusly. As a great power over 11 time zones and with 6,000 nuclear warheads, “(y)ou’ve got to deal with that.” But not, he added, by regarding Russia as “a vestige of the Soviet Union”.
Wilkerson called out the NATO expansion model for its abandonment – some under then-President Bill Clinton – of requirements such as democracy and the rule of law, among other institutions. Wilkerson considered it a mistake to admit Poland, which he called “the battleground of Europe” – a possible flashpoint for conflict. He feels the same about Estonia and the Balkan countries, where the motto of “an attack on one is an attack on all” could exacerbate grievances with Russia going back hundreds of years.
Again invoking the three ‘Cs’, Wilkerson put the onus on President Biden to talk with Russia about ending the war. “We need to eat a little crow”, said Wilkerson, which seemed to entail backing away from expanding NATO. He also surmised that recent NATO applicants were likely to back off, due to the growing tension in Europe from Putin becoming a “belligerent”. Wilkerson in fact called for “a European security architecture” apart from NATO, which would include Russia as a player and the fight against climate change as an essential cause. He countered claims that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which consists of five other former Soviet states along with Russia, is “nothing but Russia”, with the thought that NATO was “nothing but the U.S.”
Wilkerson discussed the role of sanctions – which he called “in general, stupid” – in this war and other conflicts. Citing the half-million Iraqi children who died after the Persian Gulf War, he noted that they tend to hurt those not intended, and not hurt the intended. The sanctions on Russia are backfiring, he said, as they help a leader like Putin stay in power and cause economic pain to Europe. Digressing to Iran, he warned the current sanctions could appear to justify that country pulling out of the nuclear deal, since the complicated nature of those sanctions – using executive orders, Congressional mandates and statutes – would make them difficult to unwind anytime soon.
Asked for his thoughts about the Israel/Palestine matter, Wilkerson offered a historical take in which then-President George W. Bush, seeing the “road map” to peace as a failure, asked then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his recommendation. This led to a policy of disproportionate killing, exemplified by Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008. The goal, Wilkerson said, was to “teach a lesson” to the Palestinians. The result now is oppression and apartheid – including crippling blockades of Palestinian territories.
Wilkerson concluded with thoughts about a U.S. “empire” that includes 850 military bases worldwide: “It’s running out fast”, he said and we need an offramp marked by “comity, cooperation and collaboration”, with the U.S. as a “peer power” rather than a dominant one. He feels if we and the rest of the world can wake up to the climate crisis. “That’s the one thing,” he said, “that could pull the world together…pull the United States into some sensible foreign and security policy.” And perhaps a step away from provoking war around the world.
Monthly Vigil at Lockheed Martin
The Pacific Life Community has been meeting at the Silicon Valley headquarters of Lockheed Martin the 4th Friday of every month for a number of years. They gather to protest the military-industrial complex and the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Lockheed Martin is the largest weapons manufacturer in the world, hence the monthly presence to speak out in opposition to this war-facilitating company.
All are invited to gather at the Lockheed gates at Mathilda and Java Streets in Sunnyvale from 12 noon until 1 PM. The next date is October 28. Park across the street in the empty lot belonging to Google.
A Message to Rep. Speier About Ukraine
On Monday, September 12, during the National Week of Action on the war in Ukraine, PASMC members delivered the following letter to the San Mateo office of soon-to-retire Rep. Jackie Speier:
Dear Rep. Speier,
We first want to express our thanks to you for your many years of legislative service, as a Congressional aid, State Senator and Congressional Representative. We have long appreciated your straightforward and pragmatic approach to service, whether to an important civic concept or to a constituent in need.
Regarding matters that preoccupy us as a local Peace Action affiliate, we would like to share with you a statement from us about the war in Ukraine.
As we argue over such vital issues as student loan forgiveness for less than wealthy folks, there is little debate when it comes to the larding on of Pentagon bloat…and no discussion of military contractors paying back on bulging windfall profits. The war drums for Ukraine as well as reckless China policies seem to reduce the daylight in these areas between the two major political parties.
No one doubts that Putin’s catastrophic decision to invade will haunt us all for a long time, but to allow the Pentagon and its cheerleaders to run the narrative and to have members of Congress try to outdo each other in this horrific poker game is frightening.
The fact that both sides in this war have not gotten what they want presents us with the best time to stop things where they are. We call for an immediate ceasefire in place. A good way to start is the demilitarization of the threatened nuclear power plant with a pullback of hostile forces and replacement with a neutral third party. International observers acceptable to both sides could oversee a disengagement of all forces to positions a safe distance from one another, with no redeployment to other offensive positions and no resupply or introduction of weaponry by either side.
Negotiations could be implemented by all sides to the conflict – including Europeans, the U.S., China, and non-aligned nations who have not taken sides. Talk of "winning" or punishing Russia to prevent similar acts in the future just brings us to the point of fighting to the last Ukrainian. We need to stand for solutions, not victories.
Thus, we also call for as many members of Congress as possible to sign on to the letter from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, calling for an increased emphasis on and push for negotiations. Will you consider being an additional signatory to this letter?
With all that said, we all here at Peace Action wish you a healthy and well deserved beginning to your next life chapter, and we fully expect to see you again. From the entire membership of Peace Action of San Mateo County, thank you for all your service.
(Signed by several board members)
Peace Action of San Mateo County cordially welcomes new member Ram Ramayanam
And we warmly welcome back these renewing members:
Thomas Banks, Marianna Lefever, Elaine Salinger
Let's Defuse Nuclear War, Together
At this time of dire threat, we can't sit back and rely on politicians to get it right.
Kevin Martin, President of Peace Action, Common Dreams, October 13
Sixty years ago this month, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was in my mother’s womb. My young, sweet mom was terrified she’d never get to see me be born, as the world teetered on the brink of unimaginable calamity. It’s bewildering to me that nuclear crises bookend my life at this point, especially with my having worked for nuclear disarmament since 1983. But here we are, perhaps closer to nuclear catastrophe, with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thinly veiled nuclear threats in his disastrous war against Ukraine, than at any time since John Kennedy and Nikita Khruschev found a path back from the brink six decades ago.
Decades of progress in reducing the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world has recently been undercut by backsliding on nuclear weapons treaties, lack of progress on disarmament (in fact, the opposite, a new arms race with all nuclear states upgrading their arsenals), and hypocrisy on non-proliferation by the nuclear powers. There are now nine nuclear-armed states – the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea – and many more that could go nuclear if they so choose. Clearly, humanity has so far failed to deal with the existential threat of the weaponized atom.
It may be, as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock warns, perilously close to midnight, but we can help turn the clock back on nuclear catastrophe if we act together.
Moreover, the fact that a single person, the chief executive in those nine countries, on his or her own authority, could initiate a nuclear war that could wipe out all or most life on Earth is unacceptable if one has any notion of democracy or the common good. Harvard professor Elaine Scarry laid this out simply in her trenchant book, Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom. Why – in our supposedly advanced state of social development as a species – we allow such power to be invested in nine individuals, is a question worthy of intense scrutiny, and sorely needed change.
However, the current crisis brings with it the opportunity to re-engage on nuclear disarmament issues at the grassroots level, to show our government it needs to get serious about reducing, not exacerbating, the nuclear threat.
My organization, Peace Action, is part of a coalition called Defuse Nuclear War which is doing just that. This month, with the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as the current threat by Russia to use nukes in its faltering war in Ukraine, is a great time to get active. (On October 14), local events (were) organized in over 40 cities across the U.S. – including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Dallas, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and many more – to sound the alarm. Please go to www.defusenuclearwar.org…(for) helpful tools and suggestions for action including writing letters to the editor (still a great way to get our message out to the public) and social media engagement.
The demands of Defuse Nuclear War are simple and clear:
-End the policy of first use of nuclear weapons;
-Rejoin nuclear arms control and reduction treaties;
-Take U.S. weapons off hair-trigger alert;
- Eliminate land based intercontinental ballistic missiles;
- Support Congressional legislation, House Resolution 1185, backing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
- Move the money to human needs, not war.
At this time of dire threat, we can’t sit back and rely on politicians to get it right. Kennedy and his advisors almost didn’t in 1962; it was perhaps more luck than skill that averted Armageddon. Please get involved…and invite your family, friends, colleagues and social media audiences to do the same, as we need to broaden our circle. It may be, as the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock warns, perilously close to midnight, but we can help turn the clock back on nuclear catastrophe if we act together.
JOIN PEACE ACTION OF SAN MATEO COUNTY
____New Member ____Renewing Member
____ $30 Individual Membership
____ $40 Family Membership
____ $52 (“A Dollar a Week for Peace”)
____ $15 Student/Limited Income
____ Other $________
Please make checks payable to:
PEACE ACTION OF SAN MATEO COUNTY
P.O. BOX 425, San Mateo, CA 94401-0425
Because of our advocacy and political action
programs, membership is not tax deductible.
Over three-quarters of Americans support Iran nuclear talks
Reuters, October 5
Over three-quarters of Americans think the United States should pursue negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining or developing a nuclear weapon, according to a survey taken by the nonpartisan Eurasia Group Foundation last month (and) released (October 5).
The survey asked 2,002 American adults between September 2 and 8 about U.S. foreign policy and the global role of America. It found 78.8% of respondents, an increase from last year, think Washington should continue to pursue talks to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in the near future.
Broken down by party affiliation, the survey found that 88% of Democrats supported such negotiations, as did 76.9% of independents and 71.8% of Republicans after the survey informed them the United States withdrew from the original deal in 2018.
Asked last year about the nuclear deal, 62.6% overall said the Washington should revive nuclear negotiations.
“More than 70% of Republicans believe the U.S. should continue to pursue nuclear negotiations with Iran, suggesting elected leaders and candidates who vocally criticize the negotiations might be out of step with many of their voters,” said the report, which was reviewed by Reuters before its Wednesday publication.
Many Republican senators detest the nuclear pact and some of U.S. President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats oppose it.
Indirect talks to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, which limited Iran's uranium enrichment activity to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear arms in return for the lifting of economic sanctions, have stalled.
Then-U.S. President Donald Trump ditched the deal in 2018, saying it did not do enough to curb Iran's nuclear activities, ballistic missile program and regional influence, and reimposed U.S. sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.
The survey for the first time asked whether respondents were concerned about nuclear weapons, as China has grown its arsenal and Russia has threatened their use in the war with Ukraine. More than 74% said they were concerned.
Washington has expressed concern about China’s nuclear buildup, and Russian President Vladimir Putin – whose nation has the largest nuclear arsenal – has repeatedly warned the West that any attack on Russia could trigger a nuclear response.
The survey also found that:
- 39.8% think the United States responded well to Russia’s war in Ukraine while 24.9% think it did not, with 35.3% neutral;
- 76.7% think Finland and Sweden joining NATO will benefit the United States, while 23.3% think it will not;
- 69% responded negatively when asked if the United States should keep selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and 31% positively;
- 52.6% responded positively when asked if the United States should continue selling arms to Israel and 47.4% negatively.
The Eurasia Group Foundation, which developed the online survey carried out by SurveyMonkey, is legally separate from the Eurasia Group political risk consultancy.
Five nations sign and two ratify Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
With world leaders gathering in New York this week for the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly – and against the backdrop of Russia’s latest nuclear threats – five more nations have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and two more have ratified it. This brings the total number of TPNW signatories to 91 and states parties to 68.
The TPNW’s growing membership reflects the deepening concern of the international community at the existential threat that nuclear weapons pose to humanity. In June TPNW states parties declared at their first meeting in Vienna: “We will not rest until the last state has joined the treaty (and) the last warhead has been dismantled.”
By signing the treaty, the five countries – Barbados, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti and Sierra Leone – have taken a key step towards joining the treaty, while the Dominican Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have deposited their instruments of ratification with the UN secretary-general to become states parties.
The treaty actions took place at a high-level ceremony at the UN headquarters on Thursday, 22 September, officiated by Miguel de Serpa Soares, the UN under-secretary-general for legal affairs.
Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of ICAN, said at the event: “With more and more countries joining the nuclear ban treaty, we are taking significant steps towards the abolition of these weapons. As the number of countries signing and ratifying the TPNW grows, the pressure on the nine nuclear-armed states and their supporters to join the treaty grows.”
She added: “The strengthening of the treaty is particularly welcome at this time when the war in Ukraine has seen the risk of nuclear weapons use increase, and one of the world’s largest nuclear-armed states has made undisguised threats to use its arsenal with all the devastation that implies.”
The UN high representative for disarmament affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, said: “Joining the TPNW sends a powerful signal of a state’s commitment to achieving our shared goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. But it is not merely a symbolic act. The decisions taken at the first meeting of states parties reflect a commitment to implementing the treaty comprehensively and thoughtfully.”
Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said: “The comprehensive prohibition of nuclear weapons is a crucial step towards their elimination, which is a vital responsibility of the international community as a whole. I commend those states who have made the courageous choice to sign or ratify this landmark treaty today.”
U.S. calls for probe into seven-year-old Palestinian boy’s death
Rayyan Yaser Suleiman's father says his son died of heart failure while being chased by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank
Shatha Hammad, Middle East Eye, October 3
The United States called for a “thorough and immediate” investigation into the death of a seven-year-old Palestinian boy on Thursday, after his father said he had died of heart failure while being chased by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank.
Rayyan Yaser Suleiman was coming home from school with other pupils in the village of Tuqu when troops gave chase, and he “died on the spot from fear,” his father Yasser said, in an account disputed by the Israeli army.
Mohammed, the boy’s uncle, said: “He was a completely healthy boy filled with happiness, and within minutes we lost him.”
Earlier, Palestinian health officials said Rayyan had died on Thursday after falling from a significant height while running away from Israeli soldiers.
However, a medical official who inspected the boy’s body told Reuters that it bore no sign of physical trauma and that the death appeared consistent with heart failure.
Palestinian experts fear increased violence may lead to new war with Israel.
Asked in a press briefing about Rayyan’s death, deputy U.S. State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said: “The U.S. is heartbroken to learn of the death of an innocent Palestinian child.
“We support a thorough and immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the child's death” alongside an Israeli military probe, he added.
Patel also repeated a plea for calm in the West Bank made by Washington on Wednesday, before the raid that reportedly led to the boy’s death.
Israeli forces have carried out dozens of violent raids in the occupied West Bank in recent months, killing more than 80 Palestinians so far this year, and injuring hundreds.
An Israeli military spokesman said troops were in the vicinity at the time to search for Palestinians suspected of fleeing into the village after having thrown rocks at motorists.
“An initial inquiry shows no connection between the searches conducted by the Israel Defence Forces (Israeli army) in the area and the tragic death of the child,” the spokesman said.
Residents said there was no stone-throwing at the time and the Palestinian foreign ministry condemned the incident as “an ugly crime” by Israel.
The Israeli military spokesman added that “the details of the incident are under review”.
From the Twitter Storm
As war in Ukraine escalates out of control, out come the vicious, scapegoating slurs against those who speak for peace: “cronies," "puppets,” “stooges,” “agents.” Opposing the horror of war is not “anti-European,” “anti-Ukrainian” or “pro-Russian.” It's common sense.
Claire Daly, Member of the European Parliament
People Over Pentagon – The Fight Continues
During the summer, East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee and Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to cut $100 billion from the proposed Pentagon budget. Despite the $850 billion-plus proposed amount and the “low-hanging fruit” of wasteful and in some cases unusable (hello F-35 fighter jet!) items that could be easily removed from military spending, the Lee-Pocan amendment was stripped from the not-yet-passed bill. We can’t blame Rep. Jackie Speier, who voted in favor of that amendment.
Rather than give up the effort, Lee and Pocan continue to press with H.R. 8040, the People Over Pentagon Act – an independent bill that would also cut military spending by $100 billion. That number wasn’t picked out of a hat: The Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the Pentagon budget could be cut by $100 billion each year over the next decade without compromising U.S. military readiness.
It is important to also keep in mind that a Data for Progress poll in the Spring found that 63% of voters oppose the kind of increase in military spending that is now on the table for FY ’23. Some of them may or may not know that the Pentagon has failed four audits in a row, one per year. And it may certainly have occurred to them that such a monstrous military budget can leads to a lack of adequate funding of health care, infrastructure, clean energy and many other needed priorities.
H.R. 8040 currently has just 21 co-sponsors, not including Speier, who could be typically loaded down with bills as well as the input that a retiring member of Congress surely gets. A reminder and a push may be timely.
Action: Contact Rep. Speier or Anna Eshoo, or whomever represents you, to ask them again to add their name to H.R. 8040, the People Over Pentagon Act. Those calling Speier can thank her for voting for the identical amendment to the NDAA that didn’t pass, and ask that she repeat the gesture.
Weapons to the Saudis – Let Congress Weigh in
Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced a resolution in the Senate that corresponds with the House version (cosponsored by both Rep. Speier and Eshoo) – “Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” With the Biden administration considering resuming sales of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia, we need to get Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla on board.
With over 400,000 dead and millions still at risk of famine and disease, Yemen can’t wait for peace. The current truce continues – but it needs to be extended further, and include expanded comprehensive peace talks. The U.S. should support a peace initiative wholeheartedly, not hedge its bets by considering selling more weapons to Saudi Arabia. (And now there is new legislation just being introduced to restrict arms sales to the Saudis based on its manipulation of oil prices.)
Congress needs to assert its authority over matters of war and peace. It never approved U.S. participation in the Yemen Civil War, which has continued through three administrations. The War Powers Resolutions to end all U.S. support for the Saudi/UAE-led war on Yemen need to pass in both chambers, as they did when Trump was president, and Congress failed to override his veto.
Action: Contact Sens. Feinstein and Padilla and tell them to co-sponsor S.J. Res. 56, the War Powers Resolution meant to end the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe. We can also thank both Speier and Eshoo for supporting the House version.
As retired Colonel Wilkerson implies in the interview we highlight in this issue, the situation with China regarding Taiwan has shown the potential to escalate into another dangerous scenario. It was always going to be tense as long as we were receptive to the Chinese anathema of Taiwan independence. “Strategic ambiguity”, in which the U.S. avoids explicitly stating its intentions for the breakaway province, seems like a term whose validity goes only as far as we allow it.
But now both Congress and President Biden are taking steps near the line where strategic ambiguity ends and brinkmanship begins. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey brought delegations to Taiwan. Biden has said from time to time, including on television network news, that the U.S. would intervene militarily to “defend” Taiwan should China attack. And in the Senate over the summer, NJ Democrat Bob Menendez and SC Republican Lindsey Graham introduced S.4428, the Taiwan Policy Act, which would facilitate $4.5 billion in arms sales to Taiwan – along with another $2 billion in other military financing – over a 5-year period.
We have seen a form of this story – of propping up other countries militarily and watching conflict escalate – quite recently. Taiwan is not a sovereign nation (notwithstanding its ambitions), but the similarities to the Ukraine situation aside from that are conspicuous, to the point of our treating it as sovereign. The passage of the Taiwan Policy Act would make a tense situation ever more so with China, with whom we have delicate relations both militarily and economically (with $1 trillion in U.S. debt). And it would seem to relieve the “strategic ambiguity” concept of much of its credibility.
The bill recently passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (with Markey voting no), and it’s hard to say how far it will go…but Senators everywhere should be discouraged from supporting it, and Biden, who reportedly is iffy about signing it if it passes, would do well to steer clear.
Action: Contact Sens. Feinstein and Padilla, and tell them to vote no on S.4428, the Taiwan Policy Act, if it comes to a vote. Also encourage President Biden to veto the bill should it come to his desk. Suggest that we need to do whatever we can to reduce tensions with China, but sending $6.8 billion in military aid to Taiwan would do the opposite.
Compiled by Ron Zucker
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
Senator Dianne Feinstein
One Post St., Ste 2450 San Francisco, CA 94104
(202) 224-3841 fax: (202) 228-3954
(415) 393-0707 fax (415)393-0710
Senator Alex Padilla
333 Bush Street, Ste. 3225 San Francisco, CA 94104
(202) 224-3553 fax: (202) 224-2200
(415) 981-9369 fax: (202) 224-0454
Representative Jackie Speier
155 Bovet Rd., Ste 780 San Mateo, CA 94402
(202) 225-3531 fax: (202) 226-4183
(650) 342-0300 (650) 375-8270
Representative Anna Eshoo
698 Emerson Street Palo Alto, CA 94301
(202) 225-8104 fax: (202) 225-8890
(650) 323-2984 (650) 323-3498
Rep. Nancy Pelosi D-CA - Speaker of the House
President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20500 (202)456-1111: fax: (202)456-2461
Find out who your Representative is: www.house.gov
If you are not in California, identify your senators here: www.senate.gov
The Update is published quarterly by Peace Action of San Mateo County. We welcome all submissions and letters, and reserve the right to exclude or edit for content and other considerations. The views expressed within are not necessarily those of the members of Peace Action of San Mateo County or Peace Action.
It's said that “power corrupts”, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable.
-David Brin, scientist and science fiction author