Ukraine’s economic unrest closer to home than it seems

While most eyes around the world are on the geopolitical implications of developments in Ukraine, what is being lost in the discourse is just how close to home the economic situation, the very impetus that began it all, strikes. 

Corruption, inequality, disproportionate and questionable governmental influence and beneficence for the wealthy few and corporate powerful (our version of oligarchs, since the Supreme Court declared that corporations are persons) we all know pet interests are common in this country, that voters will repeatedly be trumped by lobbyists. Yet we now are considering sending aid to Ukraine to buttress its ailing finances — and buy another global “friend,” at least for a time — while our own Congress refuses to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed and cut back food stamps for the needy at home. Apparently our leaders think “it can’t happen here” and that the domestic electorate is too passive, too unconscious and too unengaged with pressing national matters to at a minimum go to the polls and “throw the bums out” in this election year; in the recent past, with the exception of the Tea Party, now a 5-year-old “disrupter,” we have been. 

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But for some of us, there is little difference between our nation’s invasion of Iraq — or machinations in Libya, Pakistan, Yemen ... going way back to Yugoslavia — directed at regime change and Vladimir Putin’s plays to make firmer followers out of Russia’s neighboring former parts of the old Soviet Union. Both are about expanding sphere of influence and disrupting the current order to impose and make a particular vision for the world. On a business, and more micro, level — and for some reason less controversial — tech companies are doing the same thing, and we all seem to be following like sheep. While gentrification widens the gap, physical and otherwise, between the haves and have-nots, it’s only a question of time before class warfare sets in. Maybe it’s just time for a change — again.

From Karen Ann DeLuca

Alexandria, Va.


Obama’s foreign policy makes mockery of US

From Timothy Bledsoe

I have read that President Obama is weak and that his actions could put the U.S. in a physical war against Russia because of his stance on Ukraine. I agree with the first point, and I hope the second point will not come true!

 I am a Democrat who voted for Obama twice. It seems every day that goes by, I see how stupid that second vote was! What is the old saying, “Fool me once; shame on you, fool me twice; shame on me!” I was fooled by the first vote, I fooled myself with the second vote, and now I feel like a bigger fool every day that goes by. 

How many countries and how many times did countries cross over Obama’s so-called “red line?” They view Obama, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party as weak and as jokes. As for Obama’s actions getting the U.S. into a war against Russia, I believe there are some actions between war and diplomacy that must be looked at, very seriously. 

Let us look at some history. Former President Kennedy took a very hard line with the U.S.S.R., when it tried to put nukes in Cuba. This situation could have easily gone into armed confrontation, but the Soviet Union did not want a war! The U.S.S.R. saw Kennedy as a very strong leader. And now Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen as a strong leader, and the U.S. is not!

The Democratic Party must choose a much stronger presidential candidate in 2016.

North Augusta, S.C.


Strong trade ties with Taiwan make sense

From Kent Wang, advisory commissioner for the Overseas Chinese Affairs Council

Kudos to The Hill for publishing a truly exceptional commentary by Leo Lee, who is beyond eloquent in reaffirming the strength of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship (“An important anniversary for US diplomacy,” March 24).

As we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), it is important to recall the significant role that the U.S.-Taiwan friendship has played not just for the United States and Taiwan but for the entire Asian region. Taiwan has historically played an important role as an ally of the United States and has significant importance as a security factor in relations between Washington and Beijing, and other nations in the Asia-Pacific region. Arms sales help secure Taiwan’s democracy, which will be of even greater strategic importance to the United States, as Washington proceeds with its pivot to Asia.

Congress should study the feasibility of establishing a commission similar to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission created by congressional mandate. The commission would review the national security and trade issues between the United States and Taiwan. A strong Taiwan confident in its relationship with the U.S. is a key to peace and security in the region, and is of profound importance to the United States. This will enable Taiwan to advance bilateral trade with U.S. and also to contribute even more to the international community and boost the prosperity and stability in the region and the world.

Potomac Falls, Va.