News Aug 15, 2022 at 11:00 am

Rep. Adam Smith Has a Mandate for Peace

Smith said he thinks a Congressional movement to push Biden to lead on peace negotiations "helps." CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY



Or we could just shut down the Russian naval blockade.

That would work better.


If "Ukraine [is] able to draw the lines" the only answer at the moment is full return to pre-2014 borders, including Russia giving up illegally annexed Crimea. That is the line that Zelenskyy has drawn. Given that this is a complete non-starter in Russia, I don't see how negotiations go forward. Anything less than return of Crimea rewards Russia for its territorial expansionism. I'm normally pretty dove-ish, but this is about preventing the next war.


There will be no peace in Ukraine as long as Putin is in power. The war will end when Crimea and all the occupied territories are liberated. As part of ANY peace, Russia must agree to hand over all it's alleged war criminals for trial before the International Court, including Putin. I'm sure Adam Smith would have called for a negotiated peace with Nazi Germany, including a concession of no war crimes trials.

Slava Ukraini!


Representative Smith's "solution" is just a band-aid that postpones the resolution of the conflict. For there to be peace in Ukraine, Russia needs to withdraw from all the territory of Ukraine since the breakup of the Soviet Union. There can also be no lasting peace in Ukraine as long as Putin's corrupt regime remains in power. There can also be no lasting peace unless all of Russia's war crimes are exposed and prosecuted. Most importantly, Russia has proved that Ukraine will not be safe unless it is part of NATO.

Slava Ukraini!


What's with this strange agitprop randomly placed "exclusively" in the Stranger? If you look at the "Institute" that commissioned this poll, they're clearly a tankie/America Bad organization. They ran a weirdo blog post trying to pretend that Putin isn't a fascist (which he clearly is, rigged elections and total control of the media and all), weirdo capitulation to the CCP, and weirdo worship of North Korea.

I think Rich and the Stranger editors owe readers an explanation of this piece.

Some questions I'd like answered:

1) Why did this institute decide to place this poll in a publication that almost exclusively covers Seattle-specific issues and events?
2) What, if any, money did The Stranger or Rich Smith receive to run this story?
3) What, if any, favors are The Stranger or Rich Smith owed by this Institution in exchange for this story?


"Get this tankie agitprop back on Jacobin where it belongs."

Great comment, though I'd say 'get this pro-Putin/pro-autocrat propaganda back on Jacobin where it belongs.'


We all know that Russia has two options:

1st they can unconditionally surrender and return all seized lands, including Crimea.


2nd they can surrender unconditionally and we might let them keep a tiny portion of Crimea, like Putin's Palace, after setting it ablaze.

Those are your options.


Almost everyone wants peace to return to Ukraine. But what would a negotiated settlement entail? Do those areas that wish to re-join the former Soviet Union get a plebiscite? How can the people be sure that such elections won't be engineered? Russia has some 'splainin' to do before they can ever begin to be believed again. Rolling tanks into a non-aggressive neighboring country, as Ukraine was, and defending its action based on some made up fairy tales really is a chapter from the Third Reich playbook. So ironic that Putin claims Zelenskyy's the Nazi.

But unless Ukraine can find a way to beat back its invader, wise and careful negotiation may be the only long-term solution. I don't see Russia giving up anytime soon. Their involvement in Afghanistan went on for - what? - a decade? And Putin is hell-bent on the world seeing his country as a Big Player on the world stage.

My solution is for borders to remain where they are, If you want to be Russian, go live in Russia. If you wish to remain Ukrainian, stay put.


Why bother negotiating an agreement with Vlad? That would be like loaning money to Donald Trump.


lol I guess we learned by Rich Smith was so keen on pro-MIC Adam Smith: he wants to play at being an access journalist. Zero push-back on those interviewed, zero knowledge of past inaction leveraged against Smith, just unquestioning belief in what the quietest person in leadership among the Democratic Party will "lead". If you take a step back, the content of this article is, "The Quincy Institute did a study and then we heard from its author and a local rep, repeating their words". Maybe you'd prefer working at The Seattle Times?

Also love the unquestioning citation of Radio Free Europe, literally a CIA cutout and propaganda arm of the US government that publishes tabloid-level absurdities.

In the slim off-chance this is accidentally a pat stenography to power, Rich, you may want to spend some time reviewing the tropes and harms of this style of "journalism", starting at


As far as negotiating a peace agreement, it seems Macron is in a far better position to do this, as he has been in touch with Putin. If the Russian Federation (e.g. Lavrov) negotiated with the USA directly, it would be a huge loss of face.
And given how Ukraine now despises Russia, giving territory to them might not be a willing option.
As noted earlier, it’s much easier to start wars, than it is to end them!


@ 6 "Get this tankie agitprop back on Jacobin where it belongs."

This is fairly standard liberal journalism, the lazy kind that is mostly about getting quotes and not questioning or injecting any deeper understanding into the topic. Both Smith and The Quincy Institute are liberal, with the former hated by all socialists.

I wish you all a very "read a book about political ideology even once" day.


Re: the bloodthirsty here who think a complete defeat of Russia is in the cards: you're trying to fight to the last Ukrainian. The people bearing the cost of these decisions aren't you or even the people in power in Russia, they're everyday Ukrainians and some everyday Russians. With nearly 5 months of, "Russia will fall any second now" you'd think that the propaganda might be wearing off, but alas, we're a well-propagandized country. If it ever realizes the falsehoods, it will be after the war is well over with several territories seized and hundreds of thousands of dead Ukrainians. Ukrainians who were forced into service and died quickly due to their "throw bodies at the problem" approach, one propped up by a US-led international effort throwing unconditional support to far-right Ukrainian nationalists, weapons shipments, and zero pressure to negotiate or resolve the impasse.

Putin and Russia's leadership don't have to be "the good guys" for a rapid end to the war to be the least bad outcome. My advice: center the typical people, the typical people in Ukraine, and what would save their lives. This isn't a movie: what typical people care about is that their families and friends are a live and safe and secure, not political ideologies or nationalist abstractions.

Finally, the context of all of these events matter. Russia's invasion is a direct result of the failure to enforce the Minsk II agreements, themselves the result of the breakaway republics, themselves the result of political destabilization (with plenty of US foreign interference) that resulted in the targeting of ethnic Russians (Ukrainian citizens) with cultural genocidal (and then just plain genocidal) policies. Americans would like to pretend that this is just the result of an ambitious, revanchist Putin, a madman dictator going on whims and greed, but that is a fairy tale, a story for ignorant children. These conflicts have been ongoing for a decade, with this being a major escalation militarily, though actually representing a reprieve for the Ukrainians unlucky enough to live in the Donbas, who have been shelled for 8+ years by (supposedly) their own government. And all along the while, the US has been using its power to put pressure on the side of conflict, of death, of crossing red lines - not to find peaceful resolutions, not to promote democracy (the breakaway republics have had no say in national elections this whole time), but to do the exact opposite.

So my final recommendation: read a little history and don't form opinions about the topic of the day until you actually understand some of it. Realize that you will be lied to, just like you were lied to about Iraq, and how to reasonably digest that fact rather than latching onto a new (and still bullshit) source of truth. Do that "critical thinking" I'm sure you're always talking about. Ask yourself if you'd really oppose the Iraq War during the conditions of the time, because you're absolutely following the exact same bloodthirsty military line this time, often from the same people.


@17 Wow, you're the Knower of Truth. We finally found you!


Man, it was obvious The Stranger was sad that Stephanie Gallardo got destroyed in the primary, but who knew they were THIS sad?


I'm just reading this headline:
"New Poll Shows Majority Support in Seattle Area for Speedy Diplomatic Solution in Ukraine
"Rep. Adam Smith Has a Mandate for Peace"

By this standard, Dick Cheney had a mandate to invade Iraq.

Pleased to see the commenters here have the reasoning ability to see that it's a red herring for the United States to be pushing the Ukrainians for peace. And yet, Adam Smith apparently does not. Makes you wonder what's up with Adam Smith. What's his angle? Because I can assure you there's one person who would be pleased to see the United States push Ukraine toward "a speedy diplomatic solution." Vladimir Putin.


@19 Love the attempted burn that amounts to, "you know stuff".


@10 Most of those were already part of the Minsk II agreements:

UA was required to hold fair elections for the breakaway republics and honor their sovereignty via a more federal system. It did not.
UA was required to honor a ceasefire. It did not.
UA was required to pay all government entitlements to the breakaway republics (i.e. their social programs must continue as part of the agreements). It did not.
Create a newly-decentralized government (i.e. federalization) in UA by the end of 2015. This did not happen at all.

What did happen was the continued shelling of the Donbas, including of civilians' homes, for 7/8 years, a cultural genocide of ethnic Russians in Ukraine by its far-right elements (who have outsized power), and teasing about joining NATO, which has always been a hard red line for Russia for very understandable reasons: NATO is an aggressive military arm of the United States that has destroyed several countries, it was formed specifically to oppose the Soviets, and has continued expanding since the fall of the Soviet Union despite this. Hell, NATO was initially staffed by a combination of Americans and ex-Nazis, the people who attempted to exterminate nearly every slavic person, and carries much of that culture of hard-line destruction into today (ask the people of Libya, ask a Serb). It is not helpful to pretend that Russia is an aggressor "out of nowhere", even though any invasion like this is unjustifiable. It has clear material reasons for this, and is carrying out exactly what it said it would do under the circumstances created by UA and their American collaborators. It continually issued warnings about what would happen if these lines kept getting crossed, if agreements weren't being followed and enforced. Americans are surprised only because they don't pay attention to or read anything.

It's valuable to contrast Russia's responses to those of the US. It helps get an understanding of what is tolerated and what is not, despite their similarities and differences. Russia is responding to an active military campaign on its borders targeted at ethnic Russians and attempts by its greatest military threat to further encircle Russia. Now look at what the US did when 3000 people were killed by a terrorist campaign organized by a Saudi-derived religious movement (one funded by US interests and US partners, incidentally): launch a worldwide bombing and assassination campaign, massively amplify a rabid racist (islamophobic) culture, and destroy Iraq and Afghanistan with next to zero coherent pretense, with roughly a million deaths and many more millions displaced. Neither are justified, both reflect the interests of the powerful, particularly financial interests, but only one of them reflects direct threats at their own borders and a direct response to those threats with coherent demands. Hell, even the bombing campaigns are night and day, with the US nearly indiscriminately destroying Iraqi cities (example: Fallujah) and Russia showing relative restraint. No kudos to Russia, but the contrast is incredible, particularly given that the consensus among commenters here seems to be to add yet more American military intervention to the mix, as if that will do anything but escalate and make the situation worse for everyday Ukrainians.

Personally, I think every bloodthirsty commenter here should be getting themselves tickets to UA and volunteer for the UA forces, since they're so eager for us all to die in the name of domination. Why wait for the nuclear conflict you're pushing? Get a first-hand taste of how things really work over there.


This is disgraceful collaborationist propaganda, even for the Stranger. Perhaps someone should inform the Marxist, Rich Smith, that Russia set aside Marxism back in 1991, so there's no need for him to shill for Putin's point of view on ideological-fealty grounds. The only path to peace is the destruction of the invading Russian military forces on the battlefield, and their removal from all sovereign Ukrainian territory.


Unamused Honkey @26, I'll admit that I did not do the story justice before posting my comment, and I'm not going to do it justice now.

I sure hope you're right. It's less disturbing to me if crazy collaborationist propaganda is coming from The Stranger as opposed to a moderate Democratic member of the House of Representatives.


@17, @23: Even as many other commenters decry the agitprop headline post, you literally double down on agitprop in these two comments. Way to read the room, dude.

The longer this war lasts, the worse things will get for Russia and Russians. Post all the risibly one-sided versions of the conflict you like, declare Crimea to be a doubleplus unplace, rage about Nazi-borne NATO’s cruelty towards the ethnic-cleansing kleptocrats who ruled Belgrade in the ‘90s; none of this wins against the sheer optics of a small country bravely resisting the Tsarist-level imperialism perpetrated by a modern gangster state.

Russia should declare victory, sue for peace, and get out, but Russians have no say in their government. If this war does last, a huge Russian army might lumber to a hollow victory over the Ukrainian state, and even appoint a puppet president in Kyiv, to match the puppet governors of the breakaway republics. A long, low-intensity conflict will slowly bleed Russia and kill Russians, and eventually, Ukraine will use Russian weakness to become free again. Nobody could have predicted! (And by “nobody,” I mean you.)


@28 Disagreeing is when you don't read the room? What? I didn't know The Stranger's comment section was so fragile.

The war is also bad for everyday Russians, yes. Not all Russians. The folks at the top, both in government and business (but I repeat myself), are seeing their interests further protected and are raking in their own MIC cash. And overall, decoupling and dedollarization, triggered in a massive self-own by the United States itself, will be huge wins for the Russian state and most other states. It's likely that this trend will continue so long as the war continues.

Unfortunately, it looks like you didn't actually read what I said for comprehension. I did my fair share of both-sidesing (with the correct contextualization, which centers everyday people that have jack shit to do with the war itself), in fact. I didn't mention Crimea at all, but I guess you want to talk about it? Who knows. And who knows what kind of whataboutism the Belgrade reference is. Presumably you think the Balkans deserved to be bombed to shit, with mass civilian death and displacement by an aggressive, not defensive, US-run military outfit with its own interests at heart, and not those of the people, because Yugoslavian leaders also did bad shit. Personally, I don't play pretend about states being personified good guys and bad guys that deserve their comeuppance, let alone mass destruction of entire countries by outside forces. Over here in the real world, the Serbian grandma dead, face-down in the mud from American bombs, isn't your big bad dictator, and it's always the regular people who pay the costs of imperialist aggression.

Your last paragraph is basically the US state department's strategy, which is pretty funny given the comments on Russia's lack of say in government: your government is telling you how to feel about this and you're gobbling it up like a good piggy. Carry that water for mass death of Ukrainian civilians, it'll own the Russkies! That's all that a drawn-out conflict will ensure, but you can't put that on a commercial to re-elect the party in power, so instead they sell a fantasy of how the war is playing out and hey, guess who's buying it?


You can cry, stomp your feet all you want and your head can explode, but sometimes you have to face reality, and reality is that Russia is not going to give up any territories that they've taken. If Zelensky wants to keep what remains, negotiating for peace would be his best bet.


32 - We've been doing that now for quite a while. How's it working?


@29: If you’d actually read and understood the other comments here, you might have noticed the very small chance anyone here might actually buy what you’re selling. As you failed to understand that, I kindly did you the favor of so informing you of it. You’re welcome.

But, as you decided your skeptical audience here is actually every bit as gullible as you are, let’s have some more fun:

“And overall, decoupling and dedollarization, triggered in a massive self-own by the United States itself, will be huge wins for the Russian state and most other states. It's likely that this trend will continue so long as the war continues.”

Starting a needless quagmire, followed by an unwinnable twilight conflict on the border, just always pays such great economic dividends to the starters!

Speaking of self-owns:

“I did my fair share of both-sidesing … I didn't mention Crimea at all,”

Comedy gold! As was this:

“Ask a Serb” — no, wait, that’s whataboutism!!

“…your government is telling you how to feel about this…”

Or maybe I’ve read my share of imperial military histories, including Russian ones. (Also, if the answer is so bloody obvious, even the US State Department has it figured out, then maybe the instigators should folllow that advice.)

“That's all that a drawn-out conflict will ensure…”

There will be plenty more suffering than just that. And you might want to worry less about the US State Department, and more about the Inflation Reduction Act. It contains significant decarbonization and alternate-energy provisions. By the time the sanctions on Russia finally end, Putin or his successors might find oil and gas exports no longer pay as handsomely as before those sanctions began.


@17 Typical fucking Tankie bullshit.


35 - Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumann and Boeing would like to thank you for your support of wasting taxpayer money on war profiteers. Keep watching MSNBC and reading the Washington Post so you know which people need to be bombed in the future.


@37 - The people being bombed with weapons from those US defense contractors you name-checked are armored cavalry, artillery, infantry, and other elements of the Russian Armed Forces wreaking havoc and committing war crimes in sovereign Ukrainian territory. They are an invading army prosecuting an illegal, violent attack on a well-trained, well-motivated, and well-armed free people, and as such, they should have every expectation of facing death for their intransigence.


@29: Your easy acceptance of Russia’s justifications for Ukrainian war in 2022 contrast ludicrously with your condemnations of NATO for stopping the Balkans wars of the 1990s. The entire purpose of the Balkan wars was to exterminate or displace ethnic minorities; genocidal mass murders and refugee crises were planned and executed as matters of policy by Serbia and Croatia. After all other methods had failed to stop these aggressions, NATO had to step in and protect member states (e.g. Germany) from destabilization due to endless floods of refugees across their borders.

By contrast, the “we’re only concerned about ethnic minorities” twaddle you’ve swallowed as Russia’s excuse to invade Ukraine is one of the oldest plays in the European Imperialism book. As you’d already kindly Godwin’d this thread for us @23, we can note Hilter’s seizure of Czechoslovakia used this very trick. (To carry that parallel a little further, the breakaway regions of Ukraine had best hope it does not hold for them. In Spring of 1945, the Czechs expelled the Sudetenland Germans en masse into Germany, where they immediately became penniless refugees in a war-shattered wasteland.) Good luck getting anyone to believe a Russian regime run by an ex-spy wasn’t up to its eyeballs in instigating, planning, supporting, and possibly even executing the breakaways of those Russian-minority sections of Ukraine.


38 - Critical thinking involves dealing with facts, and knowing if they are truly facts, before you can reach conclusions. Cable TV, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR (!) and practically the entire media sold us the Weapons of Mass Destruction bullshit 20 years ago. And now we're supposed to believe what these assholes are telling us in print and on TV. The government in Ukraine tells them what the "facts" are, and our media pass it on to us. And we respond like Pavlov's rats, horrified at what those horrible people are doing to those wonderful, innocent people over there. By the way, never mind what's going on in Yemen and Palestine, they don't have to report on that, and you don't have to think about it. Never mind what happened in Libya by scumbags Hillary and Saint Obama. Never mind we are causing deaths to thousands of children in Afghanistan and all over the Middle East by our sanctions. No need to get upset over that stuff, it's crazy-man Putin we should get red in the face over.

So over the past few months the media has pushed "Ukraine is winning," while reporting how much territory Russia has gained over those same few months. Does your critical thinking see any contradiction there?


It would be easy to read this article and conclude that The Stranger is reporting on a real push toward a change in foreign policy coming from Adam Smith's office. But the whole article is a house of cards -- innuendo and thought experiments based on false premises and a poll commissioned by a think tank with its own agenda. I don't know what this is, but it's not news.

I'm old enough to remember the nakedly imperialist propaganda pushed by The Stranger in the runup to the Iraq War. Y'all are not done covering yourselves in glory, huh.


@23 stop spreading russian propaganda. russia is the sole reason for all the tensions in the Ukraine and without it nothing will be happening. Without russian influence a single person would be killed over last 18 years.

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