Two Letters to President Biden
Truth be told, I wrote these to vent my frustration with foreign affairs. The first one I actually sent. The reply was very unsatisfying. I needed to send it anyway, so I could tell myself I did something. In case, well, I was going to say in case the worst happens. Of course, in that scenario, none of this matters because none of it will survive. Anyway, if you haven’t already listened to John Mearscheimer, professor of international relations or some such title at University of Chicago, find his recent and not so recent talks on YouTube. Very clear in presentation, interesting and educational.
Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result. I think the quote is attributed to Alfred Einstein. To me, it seems that’s what the U.S. is doing. I admit my knowledge of foreign affairs is at best, limited. However, I don’t think I need to be Einstein to see that we are not helping the march towards a global civilization crisis.
I originally wrote the first letter as an adolescent. I thought they would be more likely to read it. I changed it before I sent it. I sent it from me, a somewhat quasi-adult. This is the original version. The second letter I didn’t send. I guess I figure, what’s the point. It at least helps me reduce my anxiety about the world a smidgeon.
Dear President Biden,
Maybe you will listen to me because I am twelve, and if you don’t listen now, it might be too late.
I want to grow up. I don’t want my world traumatized any more than it has been already.
So, let me get to the point of this letter.
I appreciate your wanting to appear strong to Vladimir Putin but I think calling for him to be removed from his position, although a perfectly okay thought in private, is making things worse by saying it publicly.
Do you want to increase tensions, or find a solution? Doing more of the same, the same things that most likely won’t work in the long run, such as sanctions and big talk, is not the answer. I don’t know the answer, but more harsh talk only makes each side dig in their heels further.
What do I think? I think you need to talk to Mr. Putin. Okay, first have your ambassador or Secretary of State talk to his Russian equivalent. Look, Finland’s neutrality came about because the U.S. and Russia talked out an agreement. Why not now with Ukraine? Finland seems to have done exceptionally well.
Maybe some proposals – so Mr. Putin can find a way exit Ukraine and return his troops and weaponry back to Russian soil without feeling defeated and without destroying Ukraine any further.
You are not going to change the regime in Russia. Our track record with regime changes, well, you get the point.
Please just stop. Take a time out and breathe. Your Russian adversary has nuclear weapons. I all too clearly know the drills we practice for active shooters in school. I’ve been told about similar drills years ago during the cold War. I don’t want any of us to have to live with that fear in our lives.
You have the power to do something. Make an overture, make a phone call, and stop calling Mr. Putin names, saying, “He cannot remain in power.” It’s not helping. You have the power to make a move toward peace.
I don’t like autocrats or autocratic regimes but I think you have the power to talk to him and find a solution. Before Ukraine is completely destroyed. Before things get any worse than they are. Before the unspeakable is spoken.
Please. Do something different. Find a way.
An Anxious Adolescent
Two Months Later
You are leading us down a path of destruction.
In my mind a true leader would be
tirelessly promoting peace, no matter what it takes. Stop the war in Ukraine.
With a fearless intensity advocating disarmament, start demonstrating peace.
And, start focusing on national issues – of improving our education system, universal health care, phasing out all fossil fuels and conversion to renewable energy; and global issues of climate, energy, worldwide hunger, etc.
That is how a leader would spend money for now and the future we want to build. Not on arms.
Instead, like a person with tunnel vision, you Mr. President are sending more armaments to Europe and Ukraine, further provoking Putin, and totally oblivious to the mistakes we made that got us to this point in the first place.
It is insanity. More armaments does not equal greater safety. If you only took a step back, looked at what you are doing and saying, you would see your cold war mentality is going to march us down a path of destruction.
You need to be bold enough to risk being more vulnerable in striving for a more ethical world. You can’t impose more honorable values on others. You have to demonstrate them.
So far, you are failing miserably in modeling peace for the rest of the world. You still believe “might is right” just because Putin has used aggression. You are doing the same.
You are choosing to feed the ever-hungry military industrial complex instead of the mouths that need food.
Ukraine needs to be neutral. You tried shoving NATO down Putin’s throat. Seeing the result, you continue to shove.
You promised to move away from fossil fuels. Incredibly, you are breaking that promise. There is no good reason.
You are missing an opportunity to be the advocate for peace, and to shift to renewable energy. Instead, you are fueling the fire. What a pity.
You are so caught up in one way of thinking that you are refusing to make a cognitive shift in spite of Putin’s actions.
The world will suffer because you failed to truly be a global leader for peace and think outside the box.
I am so disappointed.
You forgot to listen
Even when you didn’t want to
Even when it was hardest to do so
You forgot Putin is to be heard and taken seriously
But you thought you are bigger,
Bigger and more important
And time and again when
you could have stopped pushing,
you pushed harder.
You are still pushing,
And if you don’t stop
You will push us all over the edge.
Stop pushing. Remove the blinders.
Start leading us to a bold new place, make peace the initiative. There are too many other important issues at home and globally to be distracted once again by an armed conflict that is diverting attention away from our real competitor, China.
You need to sit down with professor John Mearscheimer. Although it’s probably too late.
Still, late would be better and smarter than never.
Dying of disappointment, hungry for hope.