Trump’s isolationism

concerns reader

Editor, Times-Dispatch

There could not have been a more diametrically opposing sharing of ideas than those displayed at the recent U.N. General Assembly session.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres communicated like a visionary leader of hope, with respect for others and dignity. As quoted in The Times-Dispatch article, “At U.N., two leaders offer differing views of global risk,” Guterres spoke of maintaining “a universal economy with universal respect for international law; a multipolar world with strong multilateral institutions.”

In speaking about the Middle East, Guterres said, “In a context where a minor miscalculation can lead to a major confrontation, we must do everything possible to push for reason and restraint.”

Contrast that with President Donald Trump, who spoke in the tired and exhausted banalities of the past. “Love of our nations makes the world better for all nations,” he said. “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots,” Trump added. Instead of using the U.N. as a platform to express to the world the values — rule of law, mutual respect, equality and justice — that have served our country so well, Trump resorted to his usual isolationist rhetoric while turning his back on the growing environmental threat looming larger and larger each day.

I suspect Trump had no intention of acting in the statesmanlike manner of Guterres. I imagine he was fronting his tough guy image to the world for the benefit of his base. The few concerns Trump brought up are real — China, Iran and Venezuela — but should be handled in diplomatic negotiations, not in a tirade on the world stage. We once had presidents with the skill, knowledge and compassion to lead the world — but not today.

William P. Cawley.

West Point.

Pressuring of Zelensky

a tipping point

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I am no fan of President Donald Trump, but until this week I did not want Congress to pursue an impeachment inquiry against him. An impeachment inquiry will distract Congress from governing and threaten to further divide Americans. Also, a partisan impeachment of Trump in an epidemic of Republican moral cowardice might squander any chance the electorate has to remove Trump from office in the 2020 election.

I no longer hold that opinion. After reading the summary of Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, it is clear that Trump feels entitled to use the power of the presidency for unlimited personal gain. He knows there will be no check on his behavior as long as Republicans control the Senate. He misinterprets the flattery and deference of world leaders as personal approval, not understanding it is respect for the influential power of the United States. He has a narcissistic view of every interaction and is incapable of appreciating the leader of a nation at war with Russia will agree to anything to ensure foreign aid from the U.S.

No one should find this most recent event surprising and no one should be surprised Republicans are insisting an impeachment inquiry is an overreaction. The incremental acceptance of increasingly egregious behavior makes extortion of a foreign leader seem not all that different from earlier behavior. One way to understand the partisan response to Trump’s actions is to consider the slow boil of a frog in a pot of room-temperature water. I don’t know about you, but I am uncomfortably hot in this pot.

I want every American to turn off the television and read the summary of the phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky. With no one telling you what to think, what is your interpretation of the conversation in the context of the power differential between the president of the United States and an inexperienced incoming leader of a country defending an invasion by Russia?

Christa Riley.

Midlothian.

Bipartisanship only way

to save the country

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As a moderate conservative, having just watched President Donald Trump’s most recent press conference, I have to believe he truly is egotistical enough to believe he really is the greatest president we’ve ever had and the country really is in the greatest condition ever. All of this while our country is $22 trillion in debt and has many, many more trillions of dollars of unfunded promises over the next 30 or so years. We are destroying the future of our children and grandchildren.

To all politicians I say: A house divided against itself cannot stand. Our country is about as divided as I have seen it in 76 years.

We all need to realize that no human being is perfect or infallible. We all need to abandon the idea that “I” am absolutely right and “you” are absolutely wrong, stupid and probably to some degree evil.

I think we all need to come together in good faith to talk and listen to people with views different from our own, and we must try to work together for the good of our country and the country of future generations.

What I say of President Trump, I could pretty much say of all politicians, Democrats and Republicans.

Herman Birdsong.

Powhatan.

Reader pleads for Trump

to act in presidential way

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I long for the days when President Donald Trump will act presidential as the leader of these United States of America and will concentrate on the fundamental laws of our Constitution, instead of being distracted by tweets that are designed to do just that: distract us from what’s valuable and important in this world.

Ellen Betzhold.

Richmond.

Medicare influences

supplemental policies

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Both recent Letters to the Editor about Medicare were correct. Private insurers do offer supplemental Medicare policies, but these policies are good only because their costs and benefits are strictly regulated by Medicare.

Steve Carrington.

Rockville.

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