Letter to the editor: Perspectives on Ukraine


President Trump was impeached over a phone call to President Zelensky and President Biden has been accused of orchestrating a corrupt pay-for-play scheme with one of Ukraine’s largest energy companies, Burisma. I recommend people listen to the full Trump-Zelenky phone call and also show some curiosity about the alleged Biden-Burisma corruption. Our biased political opinions on either of these issues shouldn’t matter for the moment and neither of them needs to be true for what I am saying to have an impact. These history-making scandals are enough for everyone to be able to admit that there are US-Ukraine relationships that are suspect from our own partisan vantage points. We’re already involved and maybe we should quantify how much we’ve already messed up before we get more involved.  In here I will make no argument to persuade anyone to like Biden, hate Trump, or vice versa.

Edmonds is mostly left leaning. Left and right disagree on wedge issues, but war is bipartisan and John McCain is an American hero. The late George Carlin said that [when Republicans and Democrats agree on something it’s usually war and all of us are about to really get screwed]. Rick Steves is boycotting Russian tours over their invasion of Ukraine. This sounds anti-war. The sanctions, even in small part by Rick Steves, are a tool of warfare. “When goods don’t cross borders, Soldiers will.” (Bastiat). I remember no boycott or political activism in Edmonds when Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department toppled Libya, which was arguably the most wealthy and progressive country in Africa. Libya is decimated and torn apart by feuding generals; not forgetting to mention a new robust open-air slave-trading industry. Rick Steves is a world traveler, and has even traveled to Iran to give us perspective on a would-be adversary. I Googled “Rick Steves Libya” hoping to find equal activism regarding what happened to that country, but was only able to find comments on his travel forum relating to people worried that the “Libyan Conflict” could disrupt Mediterranean vacation cruises. Generally speaking, Edmonds is happy about war, but we hate fireworks. We are NIMBY about explosions.

What about the neo-Nazis? The Azov fighters have been fighting in the Donbass region (eastern Ukraine) since around 2014. These are self-proclaimed, unashamed, neo-national-socialists; the same kind our grandfathers fought – not the kinds that we want to punch should we ever be able to find one outside a Starbucks. Most of the fighting has been by several hardline ethnic nationalist groups, who are ethnically against Russians [and Jews]. The Intercept this week had an article wondering how groups formally banned by social media for being anti-Semetic are now lauded as freedom fighters and have hashtags. Some profess that Putin is secretly Jewish. I’ve read some have named their children Adolf. Ethnic nationalists are terrible, but in this case they are also the official Ukrainian National Guard. Stalin was our ally and also terrible. All of us are able to hold in our heads conflicting thoughts that require reconciliation and nuance. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, if you support him, you may also know he made wearing blackface a sport. Vladimir Putin might a terrible person, but he is legitimately citing Nazi extremism on his way back into Ukraine. Germany is underpaying for NATO hoping the United States will foot the bill for a conflict between them and Russia — again. We were somehow able to ignore the ethnic/separatist violence in the Donbass region for the last 10 years. Now that Germany needs a Nordic pipeline (seeing how the pipeline planned through Syria didn’t pan out because Russia prevented a war we wanted in Syria), we now care about the Ukrainians?  Hopefully Russia doesn’t stabilize this region too (rightly or wrongly, we could just ask Muammar Gaddafi about the morality of stable regions run by dictators).

Let’s get to the bottom of our own Ukraine-related scandals, provide humanitarian aid only, and show peace through domestic strength.

Matt Richardson

  1. As usual, you didn’t persuade me to believe anything. Trump lost and non-democratic dictatorships are a bad thing.

  2. It would be SO helpful if all people in a democratic country were kind, honest, generous, thoughtful and helpful, but unfortunately that will never be. We have our White Supremacists, so why are we surprised that Ukraine has their bad guys? Russian people aren’t the invaders, Putin is.

    We can step up to help the many, many in Ukraine being invaded by power greedy leaders, and yes, we have those in our country as well. Cheers to anyone boycotting the invasion and finding ways to help those suffering, many of whom are children, and cheers to men and women putting their life on the line to save their country from a greedy neighbor.

  3. Matt Richardson, Do you set out to be provocative and create tension and arguments? I think it shows poor judgement to go down the path you set out in your letter to the editor. Reading between your lines, I cannot agree with much of your sentiment. The world is at a precipitous place and the people of Ukraine have had their lives turned upside down and inside out by a vicious brutal dictator who cares only about his wants and needs. Putin has shown us who he is time and time again but for most of the world, this time it is a bridge too far.

    1. Susan, I can’t defend Putin or NATO expansion. JFK had a similar response in Cuba to a similar threat. We paid Mubarak, but we’re supposed to sanction Putin? Why are we choosing which dictator to hate? If not for Putin’s negotiation with Asad, this whole thing might of touched off in Syria instead of Ukraine. Look at our warmaking. Libya is completely destroyed. Iraq was decimated. Oil for Food under Albright killed millions of people via starvation (a half million children). The WHO has categorized it as “democide”, said that the genetic viability of Iraqi people destroyed by depleted Uranium. Question to anyone, Is what Putin has done to Ukraine worse than what Hilary Clinton did to Libya? I am able to hate both people for the same reasons.

      The killing is worth it.

  4. God bless you Teresa. You are a better person than I am. I’d have tossed this one in the waste basket and told Matt to send his views to a publisher who is interested, like maybe the Herald or Seattle Times. I admit I go off the rails here too much myself but, Putin and Trump saving the world from Neo Nazis? Not on their best days. They are both anti-democratic, right wing nut jobs who shouldn’t be allowed to be in charge of anything let alone a country. The rank and file Ukrainians who are standing up to tanks and fighter jets just don’t want the killer Putin running their government and they are willing to die to stop him. I say good on Mr. Steves for his actions regarding this event and passive resistance like Rick’s actions are not a tool of warfare as asserted above. Orwellian doublespeak is alive and well I’m afraid.

  5. This is hardly an unbiased look at the issue as you seemed to promise. Why are so many Trump-wing Republicans willing to support a foreign autocrat over an independent nation which is striving toward democracy?
    Forget the “whataboutism.” Do you actually think Putin’s Imperial Russia has a legitimate right to take over Ukraine, or do you just admire Putin’s strength and “savvy”?

  6. I guess we are supposed to think that Putin and Trump are trying to bring about a more perfect society in their respective areas of influence and the U.S. and Ukraine are somehow totally corrupt nations that need to be corrected in their actions. No broad brushing, generalizations, or insinuations of that view presented in the letter, wink, wink. If you are going to carry water for dictators and would be dictators you could at least be honest and open about it.

    I suppose you also think Britain was right in calling the Colonists traitors and rebels, and Santa Anna had the righteous cause at the Alamo. Man, I’m getting more scared of the right wing in this country everyday. Suggest everyone take a look at what Mitt Romney and Liz Chaney just said about the Trump and Putin lovers in their midst. Even very Conservative thinking Republicans are scared and fighting back now. And I say good on them!

  7. Hats off to the thoughtful responses. I’m still scratching my head at the tapestry of observations patched together to get this started.

  8. Mr. Richardson’s screed seems to be all over the place. Rather like the Stephen Leacock character who jumped on his horse and rode off in all directions.

    1. Anyone want to address Libya or the prevalence of Nazis in Ukraine? I cited all left-leaning papers as sources. Just google “Ukraine Nazis”. It’s funny that this was all common knowledge prior to the run-up for another war.

      You are all pro-War. Its a valid stance, but as a liberal I just dont share that worldview. Generals gathered in their masses, Like Witches at black masses.

  9. No, I wasn’t persuaded by the gobbeldygoop that was this letter to the editor. Perhaps you thought it was going to be a thought-provoking piece, but it fell short. Your personal right wing leanings are just too evident. Putin invented a reason to invade and thought no one would give a damn. Putin was wrong.

  10. Publishing this letter is, in my opinion, irresponsible! It’s only purpose seems to be to provoke further alienation, certainly NOT to be accurately informative.

  11. Having to say something is not the same as having something to say, as so often proven by the author of this incomprehensible rant.

  12. Anyone want to address Libya or the pervailance of Nazis in Ukraine? I cited all left-leaning papers as sources. Just google “Ukraine Nazis”. It’s funny that this was all common knowledge prior to the run-up for another war.

    You are all pro-War. Its a valid stance, but as a liberal I just dont share that worldview. Generals gathered in their masses, Like Witches at black masses.

  13. Have to defend Teresa a bit here then I’ll shut up. She believes in freedom of the press and that’s an important unstated part of this whole conversation. I don’t agree with Matt but It’s important he wasn’t moderated for what he thinks. Suspect his is a minority view from reading comments so far. Separating fact from propaganda in a free society is up to the individual. It took more courage to print this letter than it would have to moderate it in my view.

  14. What is the point of these disgusting lies? Some of us watched the full impeachment trial, heard the actual phone call, heard testimony from witnesses, and know that people can only try to rewrite history but will not succeed. Trump tried to bribe Ukraine to help him win his election, failed, harmed Ukraine in the process and Biden has done a great job uniting NATO, providing Ukraine with intel and defense support, sanctions and humanitarian aid. Read some real news sites for a change.

  15. I am a lifelong Republican (although who knows what that means these days), but this letter is unintelligible garbage that should offend any actual traditional conservatives. Reagan would be rolling over in his grave. I will also say if it’s not obvious by name that my family comes from that part of the world and I have had family members in my family tree killed by real Nazis. Repeating Russian propaganda in any setting in the US around this subject is truly appalling. Next, please!

    1. Tom, Mr Republican disagrees with you. I am in good Republican company.

      “… the treaty is a part of a much larger program by which we arm all these nations against Russia… A joint military program has already been made… It thus becomes an offensive and defensive military alliance against Russia. I believe our foreign policy should be aimed primarily at security and peace, and I believe such an alliance is more likely to produce war than peace. […] If we undertake to arm all the nations around Russia…and Russia sees itself ringed about gradually by so-called defensive arms from Norway and Denmark to Turkey and Greece, it may form a different opinion. It may decide that the arming of western Europe, regardless of its present purpose, looks to an attack upon Russia. Its view may be unreasonable, and I think it is. But from the Russian standpoint it may not seem unreasonable. They may well decide that if war is the certain result, that war might better occur now rather than after the arming of Europe is completed…”
      -Robert Taft

      Obviouly Taft wasnt repeating Putins propoganda. Reagan gave a blank check to the military. The wall fell for economic reasons not military reason. The wall went up for mitary reasons. Taft > Reagan. Someone please explain how I am wrong about the Azov Batallion.

      1. Well, Matt – there are Nazis in America. There are ethnic Russians in America. Perhaps then with your logic, we should be fine with Russians invading America too.

        My argument above is so nonsensical that it fits perfectly on this thread and on this page.

        After seeing Matt’s comments on so many different issues here over the years, I applaud Theresa for posting this and allowing the comments to come in. It just goes to show how sad the state of affairs have become when people are so easily influenced by conspiracy theories, even when the person clearly is learned and aims to bombard people with accurate historical facts used in defense of nonsense.

        1. Gaslighting = A person who presents a false narrative to another group or person which leads them to doubt their perceptions and become misled, disoriented or distressed.

        2. Tom, US Nazis? There are no parallels between the US National Guard (whose biggest controversy as of late was Oklahoma’s refusal to take the CV-19) and Ukraine’s National Guard who literally adopts SS batalion logo’s. Nazis are the heros of the Orange Revolution. Who in this thread has clicked on the Azov Batallion wiki page? Anyone?

          There was a revolution and they installed a government in this image:

        3. Great points, Tom and Annon. There are Nazis in the Ukrainian military just like there are white supremacists in the US military, small minorities that don’t control or even influence public policy. Three years ago, the people of Ukraine elected a Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, by a margin of 73%. Their Prime Minister is also Jewish. Anti-semitism was obviously a non-issue in that election.

          Putin’s war on the Ukrainian people has nothing to do with “de-Nazification” and everything to do with rebuilding a Russian empire with tentacles into neighboring states.

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