Activists and writers including Noam Chomsky, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Alice Walker, and Daniel Ellsberg have signed the Open Letter on this page -- to call for secure elections in the United States and steps to ease tensions between the United States and Russia in order to prevent a catastrophic conflict between the nuclear superpowers. If you agree, join them by signing below!
The Nation: “Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security”
Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security
Many Americans remain deeply concerned about reports of Russian interference with the 2016 election. Meanwhile, relations between the United States and Russia are at their lowest and most dangerous point in several decades. For the sake of democracy at home and true national security, we must reach common ground to safeguard common interests -- taking steps to protect the nation’s elections and to prevent war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.
Whatever the truth of varied charges that Russia interfered with the election, there should be no doubt that America’s digital-age infrastructure for the electoral process is in urgent need of protection. The overarching fact remains that the system is vulnerable to would-be hackers based anywhere. Solutions will require a much higher level of security for everything from voter-registration records to tabulation of ballots with verifiable paper trails. As a nation, we must fortify our election system against unlawful intrusions as well as official policies of voter suppression.
At the same time, the U.S. and Russian governments show numerous signs of being on a collision course. Diplomacy has given way to hostility and reciprocal consular expulsions, along with dozens of near-miss military encounters in Syria and in skies above Europe. Both sides are plunging ahead with major new weapons development programs. In contrast to prior eras, there is now an alarming lack of standard procedures to keep the armed forces of both countries in sufficient communication to prevent an escalation that could lead to conventional or even nuclear attack. These tensions are festering between two nations with large quantities of nuclear weapons on virtual hair-trigger alert; yet the current partisan fixations in Washington are ignoring the dangers to global stability and, ultimately, human survival.
The United States should implement a pronounced shift in approach toward Russia. No political advantage, real or imagined, could possibly compensate for the consequences if even a fraction of U.S. and Russian arsenals were to be utilized in a thermonuclear exchange. The tacit pretense that the worsening of U.S.-Russian relations does not worsen the odds of survival for the next generations is profoundly false. Concrete steps can and must be taken to ease tensions between the nuclear superpowers.
Signed by: Andrew Bacevich, Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Phyllis Bennis, Noam Chomsky, Stephen F. Cohen, John Dean, Phil Donahue, Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Ambassador Jack F. Matlock Jr., Michael Moore, Walter Mosley, Viet Thanh Nguyen, John Nichols, Frances Fox Piven, Valerie Plame, Adolph Reed Jr., Governor Bill Richardson, Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, Norman Solomon, Gloria Steinem, Senator Adlai Stevenson III, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Alice Walker, Jody Williams, James Zogby
(Signers have endorsed this Open Letter as individuals and not on behalf of any organization.)