CODEPINK Says Stop the War in Ukraine. Russian Troops Out. No NATO Expansion

Yves here. Sadly this suggestion for a resolution to the Ukraine conflict is too sensible, and too far from what the US would entertain, to ever get done. Sadly the West has gone into retribution mode, which means unless/until Russia established conclusive facts on the ground, coming to terms will be seen as being weak.

CODEPINK and other peace organizations are planning a global day of action for Sunday, March 6. See
By Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran

CODEPINK strongly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where over 350,000 civilians have fled the country in fear of explosive weapons and missile attacks, while remaining residents from eastern to western Ukraine seek refuge in underground subways and bomb shelters. As an international peace organization, we call for an immediate ceasefire, negotiations without preconditions, withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, an end to NATO expansion and a return to the negotiating table to address the security interests of all stakeholders. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people under vicious attack and with the thousands of courageous Russian anti-war activists risking arrest and imprisonment to protest in the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

There is no military solution to the conflict over Ukraine, a country caught in the crossfire between the United States and Russia, the world’s two most heavily armed nuclear nations. While we denounce Putin’s reckless veiled threat to launch nuclear weapons against NATO countries, we also recognize the United States government is culpable in the proliferation and deployment of nuclear weapons, and must reverse course on its decision to pursue nuclear rearmament and instead advance verifiable agreements for global nuclear disarmament.

In condemning Putin’s invasion of a sovereign country, the shelling of a Ukrainian hospital, the tanks closing in on kyiv, we understand the U.S. has played a major role in exacerbating this conflict, facilitating a 2014 coup to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Ukraine and breaking promises not to expand NATO into Eastern Europe, where offensive missiles in Romania and Poland could reach Russia in minutes.

Though some will argue NATO is a defensive alliance of 30 countries, we view NATO as a threat to world peace with its military encirclement of Russia and support for U.S. military aggression in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where an estimated million died under a rain of bombs and millions more were displaced. NATO’s aggressive stance on China, another nuclear-armed nation, also threatens world peace and efforts to unite in the face of existential climate catastrophe.

In advance of the NATO summit in June, CODEPINK calls for an international security agreement to protect the interests of all Europeans to remain free from war and occupation. Such an agreement should have been forged after the fall of the Soviet Union and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact; instead the U.S. and NATO sought further militarization in a continuance of the Cold War that spawned multiple hot wars, from Korea to Vietnam.

To prevent further fighting in Ukraine, to stop the loss of life, bloodshed and grave environmental degradation from the bombing of munitions plants, let us return to the 2015 Minsk II agreement that established a blueprint for peace and an end to the civil war rocking eastern Ukraine. Ukraine should be a neutral country; its incorporation into NATO should be off the table as a starting point for diplomacy.

During this perilous time, when further military escalation could trigger a Chernobyl radioactive meltdown or push us to the brink of nuclear annihilation, we urge President Biden and Congress to stop the flow of weapons to Ukraine, offer humanitarian assistance and safe refuge instead, renew lapsed arms control treaties (Anti-Ballistic Missile, Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces, Open Skies) the U.S. abandoned with Russia, and reject the imposition of massive sanctions that will harm the Russian people who, like us, want peace and security.

Blanket sanctions on the entire Russian economy could spread economic and environmental hardship to Europe and potentially the global community with energy price hikes that may reduce energy consumption in the short term but prompt more oil drilling and lethal burning of fossil fuels in the long term.

In solidarity with anti-war protesters in Russia and across Europe, we call on the world’s peace-loving people, including conscripted front-line soldiers, to join us in a massive unified response to say:

No to War in Ukraine; Yes to Negotiations and Peace.

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  1. Pat

    Blimey I haven’t agreed with Code Pink in years. Good on them for seeing the big picture.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      They’ve been around, but then 2009 happened, code pink kept at it instead of praising the great one.

  2. Sardonia

    As I read that, I can almost hear Putin saying “Da. We agree. Minsk 2. No NATO expansion. Ukraine neutral, and Russians in Donbas safe. Da. We agree. Now, how many divisions do you have to bring that about? Oh, none? Ok. Then we do it. Nice hat.”

  3. Synoia

    Biden Heads Into State of the Union Address With 37 Percent Approval Rating.

    This is why Biden needs the war in Ukraine, because nothing else can rescue his presidency after the failures of his domestic programs and very clear parsimony..

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s why he thought that. Psaki and Rufio used similar lines about why no fly zones would be a bad idea. My guess is the brass had to explain wars actually have to be fought and where this war actually is.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      Ukraine is by far his biggest failure. However, too many Americans don’t realize this yet.

    3. lance ringquist

      and on top of that, the nafta democrats did something that has never been done before, they turned a first world nation, into a third world nation.

      and they are doubling down on nafta billy clintons disastrous policies just as the empty suit hollowman obama did.

      a barrel of oil hit $105 dollars plus change today. i am betting that at the pump, you will not hear much “free iraq”, err, i meant free ukraine out of the mouths of the deplorable, who can barely eat, heat, and have a home, that is if they are that lucky.

      the nafta democrats are bound and determined to be a small regional party for years to come, as america votes back in donald trump.

      in actuality right now, russia and china are pulling a shock doctrine on us right now, but the nafta democrats are to “STUUUUPID” to know it.

      YA GOT DUMB!

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      With a partial /strong tag caught inside as well. All the comments are bolded at the moment.

  4. David

    Must have been a difficult article to write, somehow appeasing the anti-Russia lobby while also blaming the US.
    It’s worth pointing out that the Russian force is largely (if not entirely) professional, so the conscript soldiers who will be demonstrating for peace will very largely be Ukrainians.

    Otherwise “there is no military solution to the conflict over Ukraine.” But of course there is. It would be truer to say there is no practicable political solution, because there is now no chance of negotiations that will lead to a stable conclusion. It would require massive concessions by the West, sizeable concessions by Ukraine and some concessions by Russia. That’s not going to happen, so a military solution is the only one. And in that part of the world solutions have usually been military, and have usually lasted.

    The military solution is to destroy Ukraine’s military capability, which will then secure the Donbass area from future attacks. After that, political negotiations can start.

    1. Sardonia

      Perhaps a sticking point in the political negotiations will be when Miss Ukraine refuses to give up her new gun.

    2. Martin Davis

      What do you think David? My conclusion is that the military solution (Russian control of all of the Ukraine – as anything else would lead to further trouble) leads to a determinate political corollary; political control through a puppet state. Something similar to Belarus, perhaps, now that the latter appears to be firmly under Russian influence. And would that be a potentially stable long term solution? The poster child for the military solution in Eastern Europe was Poland, moved west by Stalin. Its geopolitical consequences have stuck. But it engendered problems for the expanded Ukraine.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I believe it was Prof. Mearsheimer who said, in a more coded manner, that there are puppet states and there are puppet states. Russia does not want to control Ukraine. Occupations are costly and demoralizing. It wants to capture Ukraine, leaving it as intact as possible ex most of the neo-Nazis and its military capability, and have a friendly government. It would even be happy with a merely neutral government but the US wouldn’t stand for that.

        Recall that 75% of Ukraine voted for Zelensky, who promised better relations with Ukraine.

        So the sort of “puppet” that Mearsheimer ws alluding to was one that the Ukrainians wouldn’t mind. That is why Putin in his Feb 24 speech said we don’t want to force anything on Ukraine. They would want elections and want them to be perceived to be fair by Ukrainians (the West will howl otherwise, what matters is domestic perceptions).

        The West is also working to create the perception that the war is bogged down when Russian progress has been fast despite constraining itself in all sorts of ways, like not taking out the cell and internet networks, not taking down the electrical grid, trying to avoid civilian targets (which Ukraine has now made hard by moving heavy munitions into residential neighborhoods).

        The Russian can circle holdouts and just wait but that works against trying not to run the place and getting out.

        1. David

          I’m inclined to agree. In this part of the world, after all, foot tends to meet face quite often, and people just learn to live with it. The Russians want a state which is not a threat to ethnic Russians in the East, and can’t be used as a forward base by western forces. Apart from that, it can pretty much do what it likes, bearing in mind that a demilitarised Ukraine will, paradoxically, be dependent on Russia for its security.

          1. The Rev Kev

            But would it? Austria and Finland seemed to have done fine since WW2 but I could be wrong about this if other factors played a role in their defenses.

            1. David

              Austria was left neutral by common agreement after 1945, because it was useful to both sides as a neutral venue, and it was too small to be a threat to anyone. Finland (which of course fought with the Germans in WW2) was on probation the whole time, and was extremely careful what it said and did with regard to Russia. I think the Russians would happily accept Ukraine as Finland 2.0

        2. Michaelmas

          Yves S.: Russian progress has been fast despite constraining itself in all sorts of ways, like not taking out the cell and internet networks, not taking down the electrical grid, trying to avoid civilian targets (which Ukraine has now made hard by moving heavy munitions into residential neighborhoods).

          All true. But in 2022 the Ukrainians have Stingers, Javelins, and — interestingly — Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drones.

          With the fog of war and propaganda from all sides, one resists playing armchair general. But this, with the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020, may have been another inflection point in military affairs. As forex when —

          In 1982: the Falklands war showed the vulnerability of big platforms — capital ships like aircraft carriers, battle cruisers — against precision missiles, like Exocets. The UK had to stand them off beyond range, till Thatcher had begged or threatened in order to get the control codes for those missiles from France’s President Mitterand. (Scuttlebutt has always been that she told Mitterand she had a RN nuclear sub — as she did — in Argentian waters, with nuclear missiles aimed at Buenos Aires that she would order fired if he didn’t give up those codes.)

          In 1990-91: during Gulf One, when the US brought in ‘smart ordnance’ by putting computer guidance control systems on almost everything, in line with Andy Marshall’s RMA thesis.

          In 2006: the Israel-Lebanon war, which made clear that missile technology had been truly democratized as Hezbollah, supplied by Iran, effectively ran rings around the IDF and knocked out Merkava tanks.

          And in 2020: with the Nagorno-Karabakh war and now in Ukraine, there’s the democratization of drones of all sizes on the battlefield —

          So, yes, the Russians were initially using a light hand — no electronic warfare, no initial precision missile flattening of infrastructure near cities, etc. But they’ve seen their tank forces prove particularly vulnerable to those drones.

          Sure, the endgame remains almost certainly a Russian win on the ground. But the harder they have to hit to get there, the more of a propaganda and commercial win also for the “rules-based international order” of the US, as Michael Hudson’s post lays out.

          So we can expect these weapons to be continually fed into the Ukraine and the “rules-based international order” to fight to the last Ukrainian, if it can.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Russia is believed to have knocked out the Ukrainian army communications early on:


            If so, its units can’t communicate with each other. Drones less useful if they can only be deployed near their unit and not sent to other units in the area. And Russian tanks are rolling in and I have yet to see claims that the Javelins have taken any out. A whole bunch were being shipped in at the end of Jan. I doubt they can be used to full or even much without proper training. You can’t even use a weapon as simple as a gun without reasonable training. So there may be a small cohort that can use them….but I’d doubt the number of trained operators is in line with the #s of new launchers.

            And I have yet to see claims that drones are taking out Russian tanks. Please provide some. The Western media would most assuredly make a lot of noise about that.

            1. Michaelmas

              Yves S. And I have yet to see claims that drones are taking out Russian tanks. Please provide some. The Western media would most assuredly make a lot of noise about that..

              Oh, it’s all noise and fog at this point, nothing reliable. But there’s plenty out there, forex —



              And so on. The Turkish drones did effect the equation in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, which is why I’m curious here. But we won’t know to what extent, if any, they changed things in the Ukraine till the postwar analysis, and they’re not going to change the endgame.

          2. OnceWereVirologist

            I have my doubts about claims that Bayraktar drones are game-changers on the battlefield. Each drone is when all is said and done a very low-performance aircraft : 220 km/h max. speed, 8,000 m ceiling, 150 kg max. payload, non-stealthed. Once detected they are going to be pretty easy to shoot down which seems to have been the case in Libya where Bayraktar drones came up against Russian Pantsir-S.

            1. OnceWereVirologist

              I also wonder how vulnerable the ground control station is to detection and air attack, but can’t find any good information on how long they take to set up and tear down, from how far can they control a drone, or what kind of electronic emissions they give off ?

        1. Otis B Driftwood

          Thanks. He also has a recent interview with Katie Halper on YT that I haven’t viewed yet.

  5. Werther

    An understandable and rare impartial initiative.
    On the ground:
    The Saker had a video on a strike on Achakkov. Out of an interest in geography I felt compelled to have a go on Gmaps where that would be. Unknown. A short eyeballing over part of the video revealed a coastline, ships and shipyards, a broad water up to the horizon. Had to be Sea of Azov or Black Sea coast. Back on Gmaps, within some minutes the right name showed up as Otsjakiv, a small harbour town on the mouth of the Dnjepr estuary.
    What also showed up on the surf-engine was an article in a Dutch newspaper dating November ’20.
    It openly reports, through dialogue with different people from the town, how the port was being ‘restored’ with American and English help. To facilitate a freshly built-up Ukrainian naval force.
    Two aspects in my humble opinion. One: a no-brainer as to why this installation would be taken out on the first day of an operation. Two: I had no clue of what exactly was going on in detail during the last couple of years, just the broad spectre. This was a detailed illustration. A possible perspective on this sort of ‘help’ is that this is ‘de facto’ incorporation of Ukraine in a sort of stealth NATO membership…
    The local interlocutors expressed their appreciation for the fact that the ‘help’ brought some new activity and money in town… A sort of ‘collateral aid’ in a project with a quite different purpose?

        1. JohnA

          A bit like Kiev and Kyiv. How it is spelled in reports is a good indicator of which side of the fence the author/publication stands.

    1. Felix_47

      It has to do with the Treaty of Montreaux signed back in the 1920s. There is a tonnage limit on warships in the Black Sea that do not belong to countries sitting on the Black Sea. If we can get Ukraine in NATO then we can reflag our ships temporarily and get a carrier battle group into the Black Sea. Mearsheimer really has the best analysis. I wonder if he will lose his post at University of Chicago. The conductor of the Munich symphony was just fired because he refused to condemn Putin and Russia. My Ukrainian friends are horrified at the propaganda. If I said what I thought I am sure I would lose my job. Who would have thought that it would come to this 40 years ago? One thing is certain and that is that Biden will do what is politically expedient to his supporters, big insurance, war, health care and plaintiff attorneys. I could see the Russian reserves impounded and then distributed to the litigants de jour in New York…..

    2. Cat Burglar

      Putin singled out Ochakov in his long speech as a site he contended was being prepared for NATO forces. No surprise it was attacked.

  6. Martin Davis

    That’s the trouble with all such anti-war groups, Like Stop the War here in Britain. They are ineffectual bystanders, principally because there is little or no public consciousness of, or support for, the issues they raise. In any case, we are in the house of war: Putin has rolled the dice and is maximally committed to a military solution allowing the imposition of his solutions to the problems as defined by him. The only thing which could hold him back would be a military impasse. Not a likely outcome I would think. And, thinking in terms of the possible consequences (doubling-down, for example), not one to be actively desired.

  7. Winston S

    The most sensible I’ve seen anyone write on the war. And the only thing that might stop it. Unfortunately, it will not be heard. I’ve never seen so many people drunk off of war propaganda.

    And it’s decidedly Russia, the supposed masters of propaganda, that is losing the propaganda war. Completely surreal to witness the western mass delusion of what is going on. Even people who normally are quite reasonable have completely lost their minds.

    PS: the whole text is a big hyperlink to the authors book referenced, assume this is a slight sleight of hand rather than the intention.

      1. Solideco

        There is still a split <em> tag at the beginning. Specifically in the block of text starting with “By Medea Benjamin, cofounder”. The issue is with the closing </em> tag.

    1. Basil Pesto

      And it’s decidedly Russia, the supposed masters of propaganda, that is losing the propaganda war. Completely surreal to witness the western mass delusion of what is going on. Even people who normally are quite reasonable have completely lost their minds.

      Yes, there is a certain wry irony to that

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Losing? As if this isn’t just an escalation of a well established mainstream political and press narrative? Putin has been trying to get the West to listen since at least 2007. Obama put sanctions on. Hillary’s loss brought Russiagate. The demonization has been going on for a decade and has gotten louder over time. The war just turned up was already going on to fever pitch.

        1. Basil Pesto

          it wasn’t so much that that I was thinking of but some of the more transparently silly and facile yet successful Ukrainian/western propaganda including, but not limited to – and I wish I was making this up – the “hot chicks of the Ukrainian army”/“hot Ukrainian soldiers with cats” subgenres, not to mention all the ‘symbol manipulation’ stuff so ably featured in links the past couple of days, and so uncritically and credulously shared by normies on social media, allowing them to become self-sowing sunflower seeds of propaganda all by themselves. It’s a big, ugly and embarrassing mess as I see it. It seems Russian war prop hasn’t come anywhere close to this level of efficacy, perhaps in part for the reasons David lays out – but this is despite us being told for years now that the Russian propaganda apparatus is relentless and without equal.

          Of course, this is the ‘western’ theatre of the propaganda war I’m speaking of – what’s happening in UA itself or how the people feel all across the country from east to west, I haven’t the faintest idea.

      2. David

        I think this is going to be a test to destruction of the currently fashionable thesis that warfare is now effectively virtual, cyber, media etc. or what you will. I think the Russians have calculated that there is no way that their invasion can be presented with any objectivity by the western media, so why bother? Instead, they have concentrated on doing actual things on the ground. They could have tried to bring down the Ukrainian C2 system with a virus, but in fact they just blew it to bits, which is a lot harder to come back from. In the end, the Russians know that all the hysterical hand-waving in the world can’t change the brute reality of the situation on the ground.

    2. Werther

      On the complete loss of minds… well, the origins might be traceable f.i. in the sort of newsreport I quoted from in my post above.
      For a reader, it looks completely normal and fine that all this (military) help would be provided to lift ‘the ukrainian people’ out of collective (minus russian speakers…) low employment and poverty…

    3. Thuto

      The west winning the propaganga war and dispensing wholesale with its supposed “values” is setting precedents that will be difficult to unwind when the dust settles:

      1. It’s easy to win the (dis)info’ war when you impose a blanket ban on Russian media channels and websites, something tantamount to an assault on media freedom and free speech. Dictators everywhere are watching the hypocrisy and no amount of preaching by western media watchdogs will stop censorship becoming the new game in town.

      2. Blanket ban on Russian athletes and teams by so-called international sporting institutions like FIFA, the IOC, Formula 1 et al that have just outed themselves as instruments of western foreign policy. When Israel engages in its next assault on Palestine, how will they rein in athletes and fans who display banners in support of Palestinians under the guise of “not mixing politics and sports”? When the neocons inevitably find another country to put in the crosshairs of US military adventurism, how will these institutions justify not banning US athletes from international competition?

      3. Wanton seizure of western assets of anyone labelled a “russian oligarch” with no regard for due process, a precedent that flies in the face of property rights being supposedly sacrosanct

      4. Russophobia, something that is usually bubbling just under the surface in the west, has broken out into the open and is being gleefully cheered and incited by everyone from politicians to news anchors. I saw a video of the democratic party rep in California calling for all Russian students in the US to be expelled.

      With this “rules for thee and not for us” spectacle that we are seeing, so-called Western values will be a hard-sell after this. They may win the propaganda war, but they’ve conceded the moral high ground which for decades has been the source of western soft power.

      1. Glossolalia

        Regarding “Russophobia”, I can’t help but think that one of the reasons that the NPR crowd, who is supposed to be appalled at military aggression in all forms, is so forceful in demanding we confront Russia is because they still haven’t recovered from Hillary’s loss.

        1. Jeff

          MANY self identified Democrats have lost the ability to self assess. Trump rotted their minds and to your point, Russia-gate convinced them of a story arc with few facts but lots of angry tv voices (see MSNBC).

          This is the same group of people that thought it was a death sentence if you got Covid. It’s ignorance, fear, effective propaganda and arrogance because they know best and know the science. And don’t you dare question that 99 cent cloth mask they got at The Gap.

  8. Glossolalia

    It’s frightening and depressing to me how many people can’t fathom that Putin can perhaps be a illiberal strong-man but that the situation in Ukraine is also brought to us by the same people who’ve brought us Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and dozens of other smaller but disastrous adventures. As I read somewhere else, how did Tony Blair and George Bush manage to not have their assets frozen and their banks cut off from SWIFT?

  9. Pookah Harvey

    This might be an example of how extreme the thought police have gotten. A few days ago I linked to a 2001 AP story from Deseret News in a comment. I tried to get it again 2 days later and it was deleted.
    The story: “Putin wants NATO to let Russia join” Associated Press Jul 18, 2001
    The first line in the story : -Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his country should be allowed to join NATO or the alliance should be disbanded and replaced by a new body that includes all of Europe and Russia.-

    Luckily someone in a thread had copied the entire article, but it is the only place I can find it or any mention of Putin’s request.

  10. Gulag

    Macro-Issues related to the War in Ukraine:

    The realist theory of international relations is a way of seeing and being in the world.

    Its key concepts–national interest/power politics/sphere of influence/ each have long conceptual histories.

    Is such a way of seeing also a representation of a will-to-power impulse which seems to be a part of all current political ideologies across the political spectrum?

    Did Dostoevsky see this apparent will to power impulse in the Grand Inquisitor?

    Did Nietzsche see this apparent will to power impulse when he stated: “Where has God Gone? (the madman asked) I shall tell you. We have killed him–you and I. We are his murders.”

    Do all of us need to see ourselves as finally benevolent rather than aggressive?

    Are good intentions (whether from the left, right or middle) also a will-to-power?

    Is there any chance of re-establishing some type impulse control hierarchy or does its collapse culminate in some type of uncontrollable rage which destroys us all?

  11. ChrisPacific

    Where is fresno dan when you need him? His hotline to Putin on the bunny slipper antennae would come in really handy right about now.

  12. Andrea Casalotti

    “Ukraine should be a neutral country” says CodePink.

    Should that not be a decision for the Ukrainians?

    1. guesswhat

      yes and if Mexico decides to set up Chinese bases on our border would you say that too?
      even if you would, you know for a fact that Washington would not.

      1. Andrea Casalotti

        There is an ocean between Mexico and China. Ukraine neighbours Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Why is CodePink suggesting that Ukrainians should not be able to make the same decisions their neighbours took?

    2. Dwight

      It’s not about what Ukraine wants, it’s about how our governments treat it. We have no obligation to arm Ukraine or accept it in NATO.

      1. Andrea Casalotti

        Isn’t it more a case of what a violent ultra – nationalist despot thinks?
        When did Europeans accept Ukraine into Nato?

        1. Charles Martel

          Better to ask what is NATO for in 2022? The smoldering wrecks of various resource rich countries, political, economic and otherwise, set an example for any nation thinking it can deal independently in good faith with any one it chooses. The only surprise is Russia stepping into the trap that NATO set called Ukraine.

  13. Keith McClary

    ” let us return to the 2015 Minsk II agreement that established a blueprint for peace and an end to the civil war rocking eastern Ukraine. Ukraine should be a neutral country; its incorporation into NATO should be off the table as a starting point for diplomacy.”
    Those were Russia’s pre-invasion requests, which the US refused to negotiate. Besides stop the shelling, etc.

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