Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Putin Using the Old “Slice of Salami” Tactic to Gain Territory

Yaakov Kornreich is correct in his assessment of Putin’s aims in his Ukraine adventure (“Vladimir Putin Is Evil Not Crazy,” April 15). Today’s universal Western media coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all emphasize the miscalculation of Putin, and the poor performance of his army. They also laud the heroic resistance of the Ukraine army in battling the much larger and well-armed Russian invaders, and publicize the coalescence of world powers in their self-righteous support being given to Ukraine in its resistance.

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However, this is a one-sided view. The facts are not as flattering to the West’s political acumen, and the current media reports only serve to cover up the West’s own miscalculations and poor decision making during the years following the end of the Cold War. Even after Putin attacked Georgia in 2008 and “annexed” Crimea in 2014, the Western European and NATO countries did not arm themselves properly, and in fact became closer trading partners with Russia, with heavy dependence on gas, wheat, uranium, and other critical commodities.

In the face of this half-hearted opposition, Putin invaded, and is now trying to conquer, all of Ukraine. While it is still too early to tell how this will end, it is almost certain that Putin will gain at least some additional territory in Ukraine. At minimum, he will probably gain his long-coveted land link from Donbas to Crimea.

So, while Putin may not gain the quick victory he expected in conquering all of Ukraine, he can still continue his creeping conquests, until he is actually stopped. This is the old tactic called “slice of salami” where one country takes over another’s territories little bits at a time, like slices of salami.

Max Wisotsky
Highland Park, NJ

 

Another Biden Error

President Biden made a serious error in his decision to delay delivery to next year of long-range military tanker aircraft that Israel has already purchased. These planes could provide refueling to warplanes making long-distance trips, to Iran for example. This would give Israel the ability to make a conventional and surgical (non-nuclear) response to Iran’s declared threat. To the Israelis, this is a very serious danger because Iran is working feverishly to develop an atomic bomb and has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.”

This problem leaves Israel with an existential threat. It also creates horrible uncertainty for Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states, which are currently under attack by an Iranian proxy, the Houthis. While gasoline prices are high now, the threat to the vital oil-rich region could literally send oil prices through the roof if the Gulf oil fields go up in smoke.

Iranian outright aggression and support of terrorism by Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis will become much worse when backed up by an Iranian nuclear bomb. If Iran were to take over Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, its appetite for further expansion would not stop but become worse. The world faced a similar situation in 1933 with Nazi Germany. It declared an existential threat to Jews and western democracies. The Jewish nation is painfully conscious of this reality, even if much of the West has forgotten it.

Without U.S. assistance to enable Israel’s necessary conventional response, the U.S. increases the possibility of nuclear conflict. That would cause more deaths than would otherwise happen. It would put the world economic markets in disarray and halt Gulf oil deliveries. Additionally, it would show the failure in the U.S. promise to deny Iran nuclear weapon.

U.S. leadership, resolve and strength are not enhanced in refusing to prepare its allies with a serious military option that is measured, effective and supportive of any U.S. capability. President Biden’s promises will be called into question at a time when America’s resolve in Ukraine and Taiwan already make us look weak.

Charles Winfield
Princeton, NJ

 

Democracy vs. the Frankenstein Monster

The people of the State of Israel lack an understanding of what democracy actually means in this country. Israel has allowed at least two states-within-a-state to form in Israel: The charedi or Orthodox community and the Negev Bedouin. This is largely because Israelis are still figuring out how to manage their country and its varying demographics.

We in Israel don’t have 800 years of democratic thought as they have in the West. Most of our population comes from Arab countries, Middle Eastern countries or Eastern Europe. These immigrants did not come with democracy in their suitcases. The same is true for sovereignty. The Jews have not been sovereign for 2,000 years, and before that, we were sovereign in various equivocal ways. We have a lack of understanding of what sovereignty means or what it requires. In the Negev, Israel has turned a blind eye to the fact that Hamas and its Israeli non-violent affiliates established themselves in Bedouin villages and started educating children there. And it’s interesting that the Israeli-Arab part in the government, Ra’am, is a Bedouin Palestinian nationalist Islamist party. We created from Ra’am a “Frankenstein monster.”

Brian Goldenfeld
Oak Park, Ill

 

Who Pays For the Free Lunch?

I have been a teacher at the high school, adult education and college levels for over forty years and currently teach part time. Besides teaching English as a Second Language, French, and Spanish as I have over the decades, I have also tried to be a role model and throw morals and ethics into my curriculum.

The first thing I stress is the importance of staying in school. I make sure my students know that there is no “free lunch” and that they are responsible for their actions and decisions. In addition, I would call the parents of my students when I taught high school if the student were absent or even missed a homework assignment. I need the students to know that I’m interested in their future.

I also touch on the topic of personal responsibility and maturity. I tell the students that I consider my credit card as a “friend.” Since I don’t like to carry a lot of cash with me, my “friend” pays for whatever I want to buy, but once a month, as is only moral and ethical, I repay my “friend” for doing me the favor of putting out the cash.

Over the years, to my dismay, I have witnessed actions of society that go against everything in which I believe and teach.

The first was affirmative action. A hard-working student who earned good grades would be overlooked for a job in favor of a minority student who earned poorer grades. Why should that be? Should someone who does not take his studies seriously and earns poor grades be rewarded over a student who studies hard and is at the top of his class, only because he happens to be white?

More recently, there has been talk of forgiving student loans. I shake my head in disbelief. My father died when I was 13, and my mother was a babysitter to make ends meet. Although my high school grades were in the top third of my graduating class, I nevertheless chose to attend our local junior college whose tuition was a fraction of what the university charged. After junior college, I attended a State College rather than the State University for the same reason. I graduated from college by working part time and without borrowing a penny. If student loans are forgiven, the universities are still paid by us, the taxpayers, who budgeted our money to make ends meet and lived our lives frugally, but with dignity.

My wife and I have always worked hard our entire lives. My wife, frankly, has a very good head for economics and has made worthwhile decisions in the stock market. Due to her cleverness, my Medicare benefit has been reduced by 20 percent because of our income. Why are we penalized for doing research and making wise decisions? We are stopping no one from making investments. Why are we now punished?

As a Jew, my guiding phrase in life has always been and will always be: “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof” – never be silent and always seek justice!

Pesach-Yonah Malevitz
Miami Beach, FL

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