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Obama's foreign policy is rational, not indecisive

Thursday, July 10, 2014
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Obama's foreign policy is rational, not indecisive

Republican critics of President Obama's foreign policy have been quite vocal: "We have a weak and indecisive president who invites aggression," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recently.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the annual gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that President Obama has "a feckless foreign policy where nobody believes in America's strength anymore."

These criticisms are vague and offer no concrete suggestions for dealing with current problems regarding Iran, Syria, Ukraine and now again, Iraq. There are four general options for dealing with military conflicts: boots on the ground; targeted bombing; military aid; and diplomacy coupled with sanctions or incentives. No critic has yet suggested boots on the ground -- our country does not want to see another Iraq War.

Targeted bombing leads to collateral damage and strengthens the will of the opponent -- this is what happened in Vietnam. Military aid to one side escalates the conflict and often falls into the wrong hands -- our weapons sent to Afghanistan during the Russian presence there were later used against us.

President Obama has generally favored diplomacy coupled with sanctions or incentives. It is my opinion that the president's approach is the most rational option and the one most likely to succeed in the long term. His approach is neither weak nor feckless.

Don Steiner

Niskayuna

Time to think about our impact on nature

World Population Day is Friday, July 11. It's time to talk.

Two hundred, twenty-two thousand people. More than the combined populations of Schenectady, Albany and Troy. That is how many people are added to the global population of more than 7 billion each day. Can you envision that?

But we don 't talk enough about the effects our exploding numbers have on wildlife, the planet and our own future. World Population Day is a good time to start.

As we face unprecedented drought, extreme weather driven by climate change, ocean acidification and wildlife extinctions, we need to be frank about our role in it all and look for ways to shift course before it's too late.

The toll on wildlife, for example, is devastating: Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the historical rate, as forests are cleared, wetlands drained and waters polluted. Natural ecosystems around the globe can't sustain such losses and are under great stress as a result.

Here in the United States, there are about twice as many people as when I was a youngster, and every eight seconds another person is born.

We can stabilize our population growth and save wildlife with common-sense solutions, such as universal access to family planning and reproductive health care, and education for women and girls everywhere. But will we?

I think future generations ought to know what it's like to live in a world with wild grizzly bears, wolves and all the other creatures, big and small, in the web of life. And I believe that we humans need contact with nature for our own well-being. But I fear that at the rate we're growing and using up our limited resources, we'll be passing on a diminished future.

What do you think?

Wally Elton

Saratoga Springs

World Cup a window to create adult teams

Why is there no professional or semi-pro or even adult inter-city soccer in this area? How can there be pro soccer in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and, starting in 2015, two Major League Soccer (MLS) teams in New York City, and nothing in between?

There are a couple of casual programs and they are very nice. But how about Amsterdam vs. Schenectady or Montgomery County vs. Fulton County?

It just seems strange that we have such strong youth programs but nothing at the adult level. Herkimer College is a major force, winning national titles almost every year. We should be able to leverage that into something that generates tourism money. Especially now, with the current focus on the world's biggest sport.

Richard J. Cirtwell

Sprakers

Atlantic City casino situation a bad sign

I just visited New Jersey, my state of birth, specifically Atlantic City. This article in the Atlantic City Press, I passed on to Mayor Gary McCarthy of Schenectady.

"Casino Revel needs $25 million loan to stay open or will have to file for bankruptcy. It's $500 million in debt."

So do we need a casino in Schenectady? No. That was the second casino to file for bankruptcy in Atlantic City this year.

Doesn't anyone get the message? No casino in Schenectady. Wake up, people.

Herbert Thorne

Schenectady

Certain bear controls should remain illegal

I am writing concerning the black bear population in New York state. I am very alarmed about the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Black Bear management Plan for New York State 2014-2024.

These are the proposed hunting regulation changes contained on page 22, Strategy 2.1.6. It states as follows: "Assess the potential benefits and concerns associated with bear hunting practices currently prohibited by the environmental conservation laws, (e.g. hunting with the aid of bait or dogs, trapping with cable restraints, taking bears less than one year of age), and consider other options (e.g., spring season) that may increase bear management capacity at some future date."

The DEC says "the controversial use of traps, dogs and bait all currently outlawed should be reconsidered to spur interest in bear hunting." They feel that there is not enough bear hunting in New York state. I believe hunters have a right to hunt bear, but to consider allowing these proposed practices at some future date is not only unsportsmanlike (as hunters have told me), but also morally and ethically wrong.

Please ask your readers to contact their legislators and Gov. Cuomo. Tell them that these currently outlawed practices should remain outlawed.

We have to be the voice for these beautiful creatures. Please speak up.

Shirley Merriam Cornish

Old Forge

Thanks to woman who paid lunch tab

Several friends and I were having lunch recently celebrating a friend's birthday.

When the waitress came with what we expected was the check, we were absolutely stunned to learn that a "good Samaritan" woman had paid our check to the tune of $50.

She insisted on remaining anonymous. But if she reads this letter, I want her to know how much we appreciated her kind thoughtfulness. We will certainly "pay if forward." God bless.

Shirley Goodman

Schenectady

Expand insurance to speed up vets' care

I am responding to the recent articles regarding the long wait times to get treated by the Veterans Administration clinics.

What if Congress passed legislation that allowed any vet to use his/her insurance at any hospital, clinic or doctor's office in the nation, get services immediately, and bill the VA for those services until it can get its act together?

Simple.

Carol Carelli

Amsterdam

 

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