Op-Ed: The conditions are ripe for talking peace. Biden should seize the moment

Dressed in his green military T-shirt, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ended his live-streamed speech to Congress on Wednesday with a direct appeal to President Joe Biden: “Today it’s not enough to be the leader of the nation … being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.” It was not a throwaway line — it was a deliberate plea that Biden should take seriously.

A ceasefire or peace deal in the coming weeks could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives and untold injuries and suffering. It would reduce the dangerous risk of further escalation and the potential of open conflict between NATO and Russia. And it might be the best option to preserve Ukrainian sovereignty and independence.

Russia and Ukraine have been talking, but negotiations, which are still in the early stages, would benefit from a leader like Biden facilitating the process. Having worked as the director for European affairs at the National Security Council in the Clinton White House, I saw firsthand how essential presidential leadership can be in the cause of peace.

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