The Ukrainian Weekly welcomes letters to the editor and commentaries on a variety of topics of concern to the Ukrainian American and Ukrainian Canadian communities. Opinions expressed by columnists, commentators and letter-writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either The Weekly editorial staff or its publisher, the Ukrainian National Association. Letters should be typed (doublespaced) and signed (anonymous letters are not published). Letters are accepted also via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The daytime phone number and complete mailing address of the letterwriter must be given for verification purposes. (A daytime phone number is essential in order for editors to contact letterwriters regarding clarifications or questions.) Please note: The length of letters can- not exceed 500 words. Letters may be edited or abridged.
It was heartwarming to see the photo in The Weekly (January 8) where U.S. Sens. John McCain, Amy Klobuchar and Lindsey Graham posed with Ukrainian troops. The senators pledged there would be “no Faustian bargain” between the U.S. and Russia that might abandon Ukraine. Unfortunately, these senators’ optimism runs diametrically counter to the agenda of the president-elect. Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump stated his fondness for Vladimir Putin.
When I was a child growing up in Ohio, the Christmas Eve service at my mother’s church was always the best part of Christmas – I loved the Christmas Carols. Ever since then I have searched every year for a special choir to bring back that childhood memory. I think I have found that memory once more in the choir at the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Miami. It doesn’t matter if I don’t speak Ukrainian – the beauty of the a cappella harmonies was so uplifting that I didn’t need to understand all of the words. The sweet soprano of the ladies contrasting with the resonant bass and baritone of the men, the blending of voices, the powerful swelling of meaningful moments, the softness of the spiritual – it was all so spellbinding to me.
“In assessing Donald Trump’s presidential victory, Americans continue to look away from this election’s most alarming story: the successful effort by a hostile foreign power to manipulate public opinion before the vote,” Eric Chenoweth, co-director of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe, wrote in his Washington Post op-ed on November 25. “Most significantly, U.S. intelligence agencies have affirmed that the Russian government directed the illegal hacking of private e-mail accounts of the Democratic National Committee and prominent individuals. The e-mails were then released by WikiLeaks, which has benefited financially from a Russian state propaganda arm, used Russian operatives for security and made clear an intent to harm the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
“On October 7, WikiLeaks began near daily dumps from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s e-mail account, generating a month of largely negative reporting on Clinton, her campaign staff, her husband and their foundation,” Mr. Chenoweth noted. ”With some exceptions, there was little news in the e-mail beyond political gossip and things the media had covered before, now revisited from a seemingly ‘hidden’ viewpoint.”
It is particularly disturbing that among those who choose to look away from the Russian government’s active interference in our elections are Americans of Ukrainian descent. Some, like Myron Kuropas (“Lesia Got it Right,” November 20), seem to have accepted indiscriminately the flood of negative reporting on Mrs. Clinton, to suppress their impression that Mr. Trump is “a narcissistic, vulgar oaf, hardly a person to serve as president of the greatest country in the world” and help justify their support of the GOP presidential candidate.
While much attention has been focused in recent months on Russian aggression in Syria and the greater Middle East, it is important to note that members of Congress have not forgotten Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and his annexation of Crimea. Russia’s continuing violent behavior against Ukraine’s sovereign territory, and its people, must be considered a serious threat to the West. As such, we need to ensure that the United States continues to provide significant financial and military assistance to Ukraine and our European partners. Unfortunately, this support for Ukraine has not always been shared by the Obama administration. The House of Representatives recently passed HR 5094, the Stability and Democracy (STAND) for Ukraine Act.
Let’s cut through the hysteria and examine the facts. Long before Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump exchanged compliments, Bill Clinton received a phone call from Mr. Putin in 2010 thanking him personally for delivering a speech for $500,000, paid by a Russian investment bank that was promoting shares in a company that controlled 20 percent of America’s supply of uranium, a critical component in nuclear weapons. The State Department, led by Hillary Clinton, signed off on the deal just two months after her husband’s speech, enabling the Russian state nuclear agency to not only acquire 20 percent of America’s uranium but also own the land in which the deposits are located. She was also secretary of state when $145 million in donations reached the Clinton Foundation from the shareholders of the company that sold America’s uranium. Yet that wasn’t the only money the Clintons raised from the Russians that resulted in the exchange for sensitive materials.
On October 2, I was fortunate to take part in a teleconference of ethnic leaders with former President Bill Clinton. I posed the following question: “Mr. President, I have found Donald Trump’s praise of Putin to be particularly outrageous and disturbing. Many in the Ukrainian American community are alarmed by this rhetoric. But, there are others that think Trump may soften his rhetoric once in office. Do you think Trump will continue to align with Russia and use anti-NATO rhetoric if he were elected president?”
In answering the question, President Clinton stated, “History shows that most candidates do what they say, you can’t vote for someone assuming they won’t do something.” The former president continued with an expanded answer that took into account the political environment that surrounds the current presidential elections.
In his attack piece on Hillary Clinton (letters, September 18), Volodymyr Kurylo has displayed startling ignorance not only of U.S. export control laws but also of the danger Donald Trump’s election would pose to Ukraine and the U.S.
First, export of sensitive technology from the U.S. requires an export license and U.S. government review. Contrary to what Mr. Kurylo believes, such acquisitions most likely can take place via espionage not foundation activities. Second, surely Mr. Kurylo must have read the papers and is aware of Mr. Trump’s pro-Putin stance. Is there any doubt that Mr. Trump’s policies could end Ukraine’s independence and lead to attacks on NATO countries? It is absurd to reminisce about 1953 and ignore the threats of 2016.
For people who care about the future of Ukraine and the United States, there is reason to be worried. Indeed, terrified. After years of Republican leadership against a potential Soviet and later Russian threat to Western liberty, the current nominee for president is a man who has openly, repeatedly and emphatically expressed his admiration for Vladimir Putin. Donald J. Trump admires an unrepentant Stalinist whose dream is to restore the Russian Empire and to crush Ukraine’s independence. In a statement that sent even many Republican diehards for the exits, Mr. Trump suggested that he might not honor America’s pledge to defend a NATO member that came under attack.
Wow! Someone is doing something right in Ukraine – one Ukrainian program is definitely succeeding. It is fantastic and astounding what Ukrainian Paralympians accomplished in Rio. Out of the 76 countries winning medals, Ukrainian Paralympians won 117, coming in third place, while beating such powerhouses as Germany, France, Italy and the U.S.A. Back in 2012, Paralympians from Ukraine won 84 medals, attaining sixth place among 76 countries. It takes trainers, facilities, dedicated participants, funds and especially determination to achieve such outstanding results on the international stage.
In March 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov with a mock “reset” button. “Was it right?” Hillary asked with a smile. Mr. Lavrov responded, “You got it wrong!” “Peregruzka” means “overloaded” or “overcharged.” The red and yellow prop had been stolen from a Jacuzzi or swimming pool. Hillary’s State Department couldn’t correctly translate “reset.”
In 2009, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. The stated goal: “identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international stability, economic well-being and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.” Hillary aggressively recruited U.S. tech giants Google, Cisco and Intel to “help” with the Skolkovo Project, a Soviet-style, “innovation city” of 30,000 workers near Moscow.