Zelensky’s Appeal for More U.S. Support

More from our inbox:

  • Gene Editing Can Save Lives. But Are There Risks?
  • Israel’s Unsettled Future
  • Looking Beyond Our Carbon Footprint

“Your money is not charity,” President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told Congress on Wednesday, but rather an investment in “global security and democracy.”Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Aid Isn’t ‘Charity,’ Zelensky Asserts Before Congress” (front page, Dec. 22):

Anne Frank once observed that “a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” It is only fitting that President Volodymyr Zelensky, in all his shining glory, came to visit Washington on the winter solstice.

Mr. Zelensky’s speech was the most inspiring address I have heard from Capitol Hill in my 28 years of life as a proud American. With a combination of brilliant timing that only a comedian can muster, the honesty of a world-class statesman and the bravery of a true warrior, Mr. Zelensky spoke of triumph over tyranny and victory in the new year.

Mr. Zelensky reminds us that the United States and Ukraine must continue to stand against dictatorship. As Ukraine has shown us, we must not lose our love of life and liberty when the lights go out. We must ramp up our resolve and arm Ukraine.

Mr. Zelensky has not lost his energy and resolve in the face of evil, and neither shall America.

Henry J. Wilson

To the Editor:

If only we and Europe had acted more quickly to stop Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine, so many lives could have been saved and other suffering might have been avoided. Alas, we are where we are, and we should do all that we can now to defeat Russia.

The Ukrainian people have been nothing short of remarkable in fighting the Russians as they have. But, of course, modern wars require modern weaponry. We should keep that and other aid flowing in more than sufficient amounts to turn back the invasion.

And while we may fear the threat of nuclear weapons being introduced by the Russians, wars are never won by being afraid. We have to make the other side more afraid.

That the world is still threatened by aggressive dictators is depressing. But we should be grateful that we have the resources and in this case such a strong-willed people on the front lines to fight this one. We should not lose the will to do so.

Bruce Neuman
Water Mill, N.Y.

To the Editor:

The possible diminution of support for Ukraine is unsettling. The current situation is as if the democracies of the world were willing to have Ukraine fight World War III by itself.

Suppose Russia were attacking Britain in a similar fashion, disregarding for this example the NATO agreements. Would there only be, as we see now, a measured, gradual increase in armament trying to offset Russian atrocities amounting to war crimes? Or would there be an all-in military commitment of arms and forces?

Vladimir Putin is a threat to Europe’s democracies not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and he should be squashed. Russian citizens may not have a true view of the war, but they clearly are not zealots in favor of it. Ukraine should not be bearing the burden of saving democracy in Europe and beyond alone.

Kent Rhodes
Charlotte, N.C.

Gene Editing Can Save Lives. But Are There Risks?

Credit…Daniel Forero

To the Editor:

Re “We Can Edit a Person’s DNA. So Why Don’t We?,” by Fyodor Urnov (Opinion guest essay, Dec. 11):

Dr. Urnov weaves a beautiful story about the power of gene-editing technology. And he details the terrible conundrum we scientists face, knowing that we have the ability — right now — to improve the lives of the patients who walk in our hospital’s hallways hoping for lifesaving support, but we cannot deliver because the regulatory process simply can’t keep up.

While essential, clinical trial planning and regulatory approval take months that patients don’t have. As Dr. Urnov describes, so many of us should be further down the pike in this race.

My lab is one example, working hard to advance a lung cancer trial with CRISPR, the technology used to edit genes, since our animal studies tell us we’re on the right track.

If we were able to safely and effectively approve a Covid vaccine in a year, we must do the same by pooling public and private funds and seeking ways to speed up science.

Why can’t we support the most promising solutions to some of the longest running and most intractable of cancers or rare diseases?

Eric Kmiec
Newark, Del.
The writer is the executive director and chief scientific officer of the ChristianaCare Gene Editing Institute.

To the Editor:

There is an ethical and moral problem to the issue of gene editing that Fyodor Urnov fails to address: the possibility for abuse, which is ever-present regardless of imposed regulations.

While the gene-editing process might help people with heart disease, chronic pain and Alzheimer’s disease, it could also alter a person’s physical makeup. Should human beings have such ability to alter natural development?

Dr. Urnov sees the glass as half full, and notes only the legal, financial and organizational impediments facing this technology. Yet it is the moral and ethical potential problems that are most worrisome.

He rightly states that the “biomedical community needs to start with regulation,” since the temptation to transgress will be great.

Altering the genetic makeup of human beings is a road fraught with danger. The idea of human beings produced with physical and mental advantages is a nightmare of Frankenstein proportions!

Larry Hoffner
New York

Israel’s Unsettled Future

Billboards in Tel Aviv of Prime Minister Yair Lapid promoting his political party.Credit…Amit Elkayam for The New York Times

To the Editor:

I found Thomas L. Friedman’s column on the dilemma facing Israel (“What in the World Is Happening in Israel?,” Dec. 18) an informative, compelling and difficult read.

Informative because, once again, Mr. Friedman writes concisely and convincingly about complex issues affecting Israel’s domestic politics.

Difficult because the assembled evidence fully supports his prediction about Israel’s unsettled future as a multiethnic, religiously diverse and democratic state.

My parents, second-generation Americans, taught me well the central place that Israel occupies in the psyche of American Jews. The nation never wanders far from my thoughts.

In my view, Israelis have a responsibility — some would say a sacred responsibility — to oversee their nation’s survival, yet over the past few years I have too often observed strength rather than savvy employed to fulfill that responsibility. The results too often leave observers, whether Jewish or not, unnerved.

Mr. Friedman reminds us with references to simple demographics that preferring force to shrewdness and practicality turns survival into a chancy bet.

Even as we acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances that Israelis find themselves living in, we can ask whether they are squandering a sacred responsibility.

Jeffrey J. Cymrot
Newton, Mass.

Looking Beyond Our Carbon Footprint

To the Editor:

“Quiz: What’s the Best Way to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint?,” by Santer van der Linden (Opinion,, Dec. 15), identifies the errors that we all make in trying to lessen our carbon footprint. But in doing so, he falls into the trap that the fossil fuel industry has laid: focusing on individual actions rather than systemic change.

The climatologist Michael Mann identifies this as the industry’s new strategy: getting us to focus on driving an electric vehicle or eating less meat. But the only way to save the planet is to push for changes in laws, policies and regulations — which the industry dreads.

So drive an E.V., but get out in the streets, too.

Susan Donaldson
Northampton, Mass.

Related Articles

Back to top button