Musings and misadventures of an expat enterpreneur

Letter to my US Senators regarding Ukraine

anelson March 03, 2022 #politics #ukraine

Both of my US Senators, Scott and Rubio, do not allow their constituents to write messages longer than 3000 character (for Rubio) or 2000 characters (for Scott). Presumably it’s not a good use of staffer time sifting through long missives from bothersome constituents. If either of them have a regular email address one can write to, I haven’t found it. So I have no choice but to post the full letter here, and cut it down to a size that is more convenient for Senate staffers to digest.

The full text of the letter follows:

Senator: I have temporarily resided in Kyiv, Ukraine for the last three and a half years, although my home is in Miami. I was lucky to get out of Ukraine days before the war escalated. I’m now safe in Tbilisi trying to arrange accommodations for the women and children we’re able to get out of the country. I left behind 48 colleagues with whom I have worked for the last four years, some of whom are now serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces or Territorial Defense fighting desperately to save their homeland.

I’m glad that this war has finally served as a wake-up call to the slumbering European and US defense establishment, and that military aid to Ukraine is flowing. But I’m writing to you today to tell you, we are not doing enough for Ukraine, and if we allow Ukraine to fall to Putin the consequences to the US and to Europe will be dire.

As of today, as far as I am aware, we are not providing anti-missile systems to the Ukrainian forces, nor anti-ship missiles, and the Europeans have inexplicably declined to provide surplus Soviet-era fighter aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force. NATO has categorically refused to impose a no-fly zone anywhere over Ukraine, and is doing nothing to deter Belarus from sending forces into Ukraine other than a sternly worded letter and the promise of export restrictions. Even the removal of Russian banks from SWIFT hasn’t fully taken effect and will not until mid-March. All of this while Ukrainian cities burn and the Russian aggressor advances.

The fear of “escalation” seems ridiculous. What is this full-scale invasion of Ukraine but an escalation? Will we be afraid to escalate when Putin has taken Ukraine, consolidated his forces, and moves next onto the Baltics? Because he will by then be stronger, will have learned from his many mistakes in this invasion, and will be that much more of a threat to Europe. Are we so afraid of escalation that a nuclear-armed madman can do what he likes, prey on whomever he likes, while we refuse to do that which is well within our power but might upset him further?

The United States will decide in the next few days, whether there will be an independent and democratic Ukraine on NATO’s border, or a militarized vassal state of Putin’s providing a base for operations against Europe. Already my colleagues are writing me from their basements and bomb shelters, asking me why won’t NATO close the skies to the Russian invader? Why won’t the US provide anti-missile defenses? Why won’t Europe provide fighter aircraft? What is this “escalation” you are so afraid of, while we are being bombed today?

How am I to answer their pleas? How can I explain that the United States of America, which promised Ukraine territorial integrity in exchange for surrendering her nuclear arsenal in the Budapest Memorandum, won’t save Ukraine against the aggressor she has always feared, because is might make Putin angry and he might hurt us next? What do I tell my Ukrainian fiance as her countrymen are dying on the battlefield and in churches and kindergartens and hospitals and their own homes?

Are we going to repeat the mistakes of the past, yet again? Will we again ignore a conflict in Europe because it doesn’t threaten our borders, only to see it metastasize into a world war which this time around could very likely be a nuclear war? If we do, history will judge us harshly, but not so harsh as the Ukrainian people we would be abandoning in their hour of greatest need.

I urge you to take immediate action to exert as much pressure as you can on the Biden administration to do what needs to be done and do it now. I can think of no higher priority for the long-term well-being of Floridians, our nation, and indeed the free world.

I and my Ukrainian colleagues eagerly await your response.

Sincerely,

Adam Nelson

It’s a testament to the feelings of despair and helplessness I am feeling in this moment that I would even bother to write to my senators. I may as well sacrifice a chicken to Gaia or light a candle in a chapel. I suppose I just don’t want to live with myself knowing I did absolutely nothing, so instead I make an entirely symbolic gesture.

As much as it sucks to feel this helpless, at least I’m feeling helpless from the safety and comfort of Tbilisi, and not huddled in a basement in Kyiv waiting for the shelling to stop…

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