From Russia with Kalashnikov

The Kremlin’s policies vis-à-vis its immediate neighbors in the last 25 years have been troubling.

In March 2014, Moscow illegally annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and instigated a pro-Russia separatist conflict in Ukraine. This is not the first time Russian leaders have destabilized post-Soviet countries. Kremlin operatives sanctioned other separatist movements in the 1990s by supporting pro-Russian rebels in Moldova’s Transnistria region, the Armenian army during its occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, and South Ossetian and Abkhazian separatists in their war against sovereign Georgia.


Despite the U.N. and the international community being tasked with conflict resolution and prevention since the ceasefire in South Ossetia (1992) and Abkhazia (1993), the two breakaway regions of Georgia, no lasting peace has been implemented. Furthermore, Russia aggressively invaded Georgia in a full-scale offensive in August 2008, subsequently taking the breakaway regions under its protection. This occupation of Georgia’s territories and violation of international borders has not so far been condemned the way it needs to be. To this day, the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions of Georgia remain under Russian military occupation.

The U.S. must provide political and diplomatic support to help our allies Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia restore their territorial integrity and denounce any occupation and violability of international borders. We must reassure our allies that we stand firm in protecting them as Russia protects its own allies.

From Yusif Babanly, Arlington, Va.

Liberals hiding in socialist closet

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE said at the Democratic Party presidential primary debate, “It is our job to rein in the excesses of capitalism.” This theme was echoed by the four other candidates. Missing was any discussion about reining in government excesses in the areas of taxation, regulations, deficit spending, excessive borrowing, waste, fraud and abuse of federal expenditures, all of which impact both our economic and civil liberties. 

Only Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan Briahna Joy Gray: Proposals favored by Black voters 'first at the chopping block' in spending talks MORE (I-Vt.) was honest enough to admit he is a “democratic socialist” in the Scandinavian European model. The others shared his views on most issues but would not come out of the closet, hiding behind the liberal and progressive labels. There is no longer any room in the Democratic Party for those who followed more moderate mainstream Democrats, such as the late Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York or Scoop Jackson of Washington.

Just as conservatives have captured the GOP, Democratic socialists or those who prefer the liberal label have control of the Democratic Party. A majority of Americans who consider themselves moderates or independents have no party representing them.

From Larry Penner, Great Neck, New York

Dems prove to be genteel giants

I watched the Democratic presidential debate, just like I did the first two Republican debates. As far as this voter is concerned, the winners from Las Vegas were President Obama and the Democratic Party. 

Unlike their GOP counterparts, none of the five hopefuls attacked each other in a vicious or mean-spirited way. Did they have differences? Yes. Did they explain them? Yes. Were they respectful? Yes. Were they hopeful? Yes. In short, they showed the American people  how to debate in a thoughtful and civilized way.

I have seen a lot of candidates come and go over the years. The current crop of Republican wannabes should take a page from the Democrats’ playbook. It’s time they pivot from the party of no. I’ll be watching to see if this happens the next time they debate.

From Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach, Calif.