February 16, 2017
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
I write to invite you to address the World Affairs Councils of America, the country's largest nonprofit nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to informing the American public about U.S. foreign policy and national security affairs.
In your Inauguration Day speech, you proclaimed that the arrival of your administration signals that you are "transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to the people.... To all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: you will never be ignored again."
We, the World Affairs Councils of America, appreciate those words. We represent more than 90 member organizations nationwide. And the people, in small and large communities served by our Councils, want and need to hear from you. Specifically, we would like to understand your comprehensive policy toward Russia.
Now, as your administration enters its second month in office, we think the time is propitious for a major public address on this critical topic. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, who has been supportive of you, this week warned that the Russia issue risks destabilizing your broader agenda on foreign affairs and domestic priorities like healthcare and tax policy.
After attempts by the previous two administrations to reset relations with Russia foundered, the American public is keen to know how your approach - the rationale and policy details - would succeed in improving ties with an erstwhile rival power, whose leader you've expressed admiration for.
We would like your assessment of the damage from Russian violations of European security and international law over Ukraine (where fighting has picked up), with a view to defining clearly U.S. security goals in Central and Eastern Europe. The security questions include reports that Russia's military is developing a new missile in violation of the U.S.-Soviet Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty negotiated by Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev.
While Americans support policies to destroy the Islamic State and eradicate terrorism, less clear is the notion of cooperating with President Putin toward those goals in Syria, where evidence is mounting of Russian bombing of civilians and a hospital in Aleppo.
The threat posed by Moscow's alleged interference in the democratic process in America and European democracies, through cyber operations and other means, calls for clear answers and a robust remedy for U.S. vulnerabilities.
The World Affairs Councils of America and any of our Councils from Portland, Maine to Hawaii, and from Alaska to Palm Beach, Florida, would be pleased to host you. Thank you for your consideration.
President and CEO