Letters to the editor: Biden’s hawkish comments regarding

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The final hawkish elements of Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this week must be challenged. He said Putin’s war was “totally unprovoked”. It’s not true. While Putin’s brutal invasion is certainly unwarranted, it can be said to be the result of 30 years of failed diplomacy and NATO goading.

He also said Putin “rejects repeated efforts at diplomacy.” It is not clear, even completely false. The problem lies as much in the failure of Western governments to recognize Russia’s genuine security interests as in Putin’s irredentist ambitions. It is clear that some Western leaders want a war with Putin.

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Joe Biden also said that the US administration “countered Russia’s lies with the truth”. There is no doubt that Putin has a tendency to lie – most leaders do, especially totalitarians – but the US government can hardly claim to be a model of virtue on the truth front.

They have told continuous lies that have condemned multitudes to their deaths, as witnessed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and currently in Yemen.

His last statement was the most disturbing. After the usual “God bless our troops, thank you”, he shouts somewhat triumphantly “Go get him! “.

This is not in the official transcript of his speech and could therefore be considered a Trumpian-like slip, which is all the more worrying. Assuming the “him” in question is Putin, the question arises as to who exactly is doing the starting and getting.

Taking inspiration from the courageous Russian anti-war protesters, we must counter this American warmongering by calling instead for a ceasefire, diplomacy and meaningful peace talks. This is the only way to avoid a mass massacre and a descent into barbarism.

The Ukrainian people deserve peace and security, not this proxy war.

jim roche

PRO Irish Anti-War Movement

Box 9260

Dublin 1

The Paralympics ban one step too far

Banning Paralympians from the most important international sporting competition of their lives is an act of base and abject cruelty. It won’t hurt Putin; it will just give the Russians an excuse to hate us. These athletes have been training and dreaming of performing at the Paralympic Games for most of their difficult lives. Banning them is wrong and shows a flaw in democracy; in doing so, he suggests that democracy itself is ultimately “a tyranny of the majority”.

Bill Griffin

allies

Beara

Co Cork

NATO a Pandora’s box

Marc Antoine said it so well: “O judgement, you fled to the brute beasts and men lost their minds”. Politicians and the media constantly stir the pot, in which the unfortunate Ukrainians must suffer alone and “save the world for democracy”.

We Irish are not left behind in this toxic unanimity that ignores the consequences for Ukrainians, and provokes a terrible response from the Russians.

More seriously, we seem blissfully unaware that as Ukraine becomes a wasteland, its 15 Soviet-era reactors and (certified unsafe) are sustained by barely functioning infrastructure. Is it really necessary to point out the consequences not only for Ukraine but for all of Western Europe?

The Europe of Willi Brandt and Realpolitik is dead, and the echoes of the “better dead than red” trope of the 60s and 70s are stronger. Is Ireland so deaf that it refuses to listen to the peace movement in Ukraine and Russia, and so cowardly that its politicians and diplomats do not fuss in Europe to vigorously support the tenuous Belarusian border talks?

With an upsurge in Irish neutrality snipers by the usual suspects, and the ‘let’s join NATO’ choir at the top of their voices, we must confront those who would seduce us into opening this Pandora’s box.

Dr Eugene Egan

school avenue

Glasheen

Cork

Solve the Putin problem

There is not much we can do at this point to ameliorate the inexpressible suffering inflicted on the Ukrainian people in the war between Putin and the West (this is absolutely not a war between Russia and Ukraine). There are many reasons why we cannot do more than we are doing, but the most relevant is that we are unable to assess Putin’s sanity and that he is in control of nuclear warheads. We already know from photos of his encounters with other statesmen that he is paranoid.

He insists on being separated by a table or a mat the length of a small football field. It may be a fear of Covid, but more likely a terror of his favorite tool of assassination – poison.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

To help with our own discouragement, we have to imagine what happens when Putin declares his Pyrrhic victory.

The sanctions will bite and his propaganda will stop working properly because ordinary Russians and Ukrainians are too interconnected for his lies and hatred to succeed. Worse still, he’ll be heading for a long summer of guerrilla warfare with an enraged enemy. Ukrainian freedom fighters, as the world will know them, who can get arms freely and who can retreat across an endless border and be protected by NATO until they are ready for the fray.

Its own population will become increasingly dissatisfied with scarcity and deprivation, and will welcome into their homes the dead or wounded of a useless and outdated war. Even the Russian army may be unhappy. Whatever victory Putin might think he won, he is unlikely to have another restful and secure year again.

Putin’s problem ultimately lies with the Russian people. Hopefully, this selfish war, and the pain it will cause them, may be enough for them to overcome the fear its ruthlessness and brutality engenders.

Frank Kennan

Montrath

Co Laois

Pathetic response

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine without just cause is at least illegal, and genocide in the extreme. As an alumnus of UCD, I am extremely disappointed that my former university issued a weak and pathetic response to this global crisis.

Irene McCormick

Shepton Mallet

Somerset

England

The insightful perspective of the podcast

I recently listened with interest to Mick Clifford’s podcast “From Russia with Love”, where he spoke with Irish journalist Bryan McDonald, who now lives in Russia, about that country’s perspective on the US withdrawal of Afghanistan and life in Russia.

It was a very interesting interview, and I had no idea when I listened to how events were going to unfold in Ukraine.

I would love to hear Bryan McDonald’s perspective on his adopted homeland now in light of the devastating and horrific crimes perpetrated against the people of Ukraine by President Putin.

Thanks to Mick Clifford for his extremely insightful podcasts every week.

Anne Lynch

Bushy Park Path

Dublin 6

Sorry Atheists – You Can Never Stop Being Catholic

There are about 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures.

In the last Irish census, 78.3% of the population identified themselves as Catholic, or about 3.7 million people.

This time around, we’ve just been told that the new April census form will have the “No religion” option, above all the others on the list!

I hate to remind all hopeful agnostics and atheists, but according to the Church, if you were baptized as a Roman Catholic, you will always be a Roman Catholic and you can never reverse that.

At the end of August 2010, I was shocked to read that the religious publication “Holy See” confirmed that it was no longer possible to formally leave the Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Dublin said on October 12, 2010 that it intended to keep a register of those who have expressed a wish to defect. Just their wish to leave.

Checking “No religion” in the next census makes no difference, as far as I know, but I am ready to be enlightened.

David O’Reilly

Eyre Square

Galway

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