The U.S., Russia, and China must engage in serious diplomacy now. Name calling and personal insults do nothing for the peace effort. They only bring us closer to war.

by Jeffrey Sachs, LA Progressive

There has been a complete collapse of diplomacy between the US and Russia, and a near-total collapse between the US and China. Europe, which has made itself far too dependent on the US for its own good, simply follows the Washington line. The absence of diplomacy creates a dynamic of escalation that can lead to nuclear war. The highest priority for global peace is to re-establish US diplomacy with Russia and China.

The state of affairs is encapsulated by President Joe Biden’s incessant personal insults to his Russian and Chinese counterparts. Instead of focusing on policy, Biden focuses on the personal vis-à-vis President Vladimir Putin. Recently, he referred to President Putin as “a crazy SOB.” In March 2022, he stated that “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Just after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last fall, Biden called him a “dictator.”

President Joe Biden (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet during the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange on June 16, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.

This crude personalization of complex superpower relations is inimical to peace and problem solving. Moreover, the crudity of this rhetoric and absence of serious diplomacy has opened the floodgates of shocking rhetorical irresponsibility. The President of Latvia recently tweeted “Russia delenda est” (“Russia must be destroyed”), paraphrasing the ancient refrain of Cato the Elder in calling for the destruction of Carthage by Rome prior to the Third Punic War.

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