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Obama Urged to Show Restraint on Ukraine

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Today, Russia is capable of protecting its interests in the areas it calls its "near frontier." It will not accept the incorporation of Ukraine into NATO. Attempts to force that issue will not make Europe more secure; rather, it will increase the danger of war.

There is an important step you can take, Mr. President. We recommend that you ask NATO to formally rescind the following part of the declaration agreed to by the NATO heads of state in Bucharest on April 3, 2008: "NATO welcomes Ukraine's and Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO."

Meanwhile, let cooler heads prevail. Sending significant numbers of military forces into countries bordering Ukraine amounts to pouring gasoline on what are now relatively isolated and limited outbreaks of fire, mostly in eastern Ukraine. The fragile accord reached in Geneva on April 17 can still provide the basis for discussion among mature leaders and prevent the kind of provocation, machismo, and escalation that 100 years ago launched the war that was supposed to end all wars. Two short decades later came the Second World War.

In the wake of that carnage, Winston Churchill made an observation that is equally applicable to our 21st Century: "To jaw, jaw, jaw, is better than to war, war, war."

Respectfully submitted for the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical and Military Analysis; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Thomas Drake, former Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, NSA

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

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Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

David MacMichael, former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former chief of CIA's Soviet Foreign Policy Branch & presidential briefer (ret.)

Tom Maertens, former Foreign Service Officer and National Security Council Director for Non-Proliferation

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

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Todd E. Pierce, US Army Judge Advocate General Corps (ret.)

Coleen Rowley, former Chief Division Counsel & FBI Special Agent (ret.)

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