EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

May 4, 2014

Column: Let's consider an urgent letter to the Russians

“We are writing this open letter to you, the citizens of Russia, to offer you our perspectives, as leaders of European Union, the United States, Canada and Japan. We are addressing you in the hope that you and your leaders will return to the mutually profitable policies that we had hoped would make you our partner in the global economy. …”

This is the letter that should have been written weeks ago. Indeed, the world’s economic leaders must write it immediately -- if they expect to have even a chance of heading off the prospect that war will soon erupt on Europe’s eastern front, in eastern Ukraine.

The writing of it doesn’t require an act of penmanship -- but leadership. And just this once, the leadership must come from Europe, not the U.S. president alone. But don’t hold your breath while waiting. Europe’s leaders, from Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, have shrunk before our eyes and shirked their responsibility to lead in a time of extreme crisis. (Neville Chamberlain, call your office.)

With Russia’s troops massed at the Ukraine border, Europe’s leaders must now tell Russia’s citizens what they urgently need to hear -- in the hope that it may not be too late to do any good.

“… We hope you and your leaders will urgently return to the insightful policies you were pursuing as this year began. Your path seemed destined to bring to you, your children and ultimately your grandchildren the long-term prosperity that comes with the responsibilities of long-term global partnership. It is not too late -- if Russia returns to the leadership path that produced Sochi’s successful Winter Olympics and had many of us, the leaders of the G-8 nations, looking forward to returning to Sochi at your president’s invitation. …”

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