The UN must do all it can to prevent a war

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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UKRAINE

The UN must do all it can to prevent a war

In 1938, Neville Chamberlain returned from a meeting with Adolf Hitler holding a signed agreement which he called “peace for our time”. Joe Biden plans to meet Vladimir Putin to establish peace for our time. It is not Putin’s or Biden’s family who will be killed but a war (which according to some reports has been raging for some time) will kill thousands, if not millions, of people – and for what?

There are no victors in war, only destroyed families, people, infrastructure and economies. The world is finding it hard enough to defeat COVID-19 and this madman in Russia wants to be remembered as the modern day Peter the Great. Where is the United Nations in this crisis?
Nathan Feld, Glen Iris

In the end, the West will have to sacrifice Ukraine

As an ageing pessimist, I guess that the worst possible outcome of this debacle will be all-out war between Russia and the West in a nuclear age. Western leaders know that a nuclear holocaust is in no one’s interest. Vladimir Putin knows it too and he will cop all the sanctions that the West throws at him, knowing that a shooting war will not happen.

The horrible truth is that in the end, the West will have no choice but to sacrifice Ukraine in order to prevent a bigger war. Then there will be Moldova and Georgia and so on until the Soviet Union is back in the guise of the Russian Empire. And meanwhile, keep an eye on Taiwan.
Damien Ryan, Berwick

Russia’s anger at NATO expansion is justified

Russia is accused of imperialist action in Ukraine. This should be of no surprise. Russia has always been an empire: you cannot escape the conclusion if you are going to claim sovereignty over Vladivostok from Moscow as it did during Tsarist times. However, what Vladimir Putin is countering now is neo-imperialism.

Every time NATO expands eastward, the power and de facto territory of the US empire draws closer to that of the Russian empire. This has always been a bugbear of the Russians, and rightly so. The Americans were not happy when missiles were placed in Cuba at a similar range to the plethora they had around the USSR.

All-out war can be averted, but this is a clash of empires; there must be a demilitarised buffer between them. NATO has expanded too far to the east. All a hornet wants is to be left alone.
Michael Puck, Thornbury

Are we protecting Ukraine to protect its minerals?

The allies invaded Iraq based on a lie of weapons of mass destruction. They went into a 20-year war in Afghanistan to punish those who bombed the Twin Towers in New York. The Americans tried to invade Cuba (for what?) and governments and newspapers applauded. However, Russia moves into what it considers to be its territory in Ukraine and we froth at the mouth. Could the reason we want an “independent” Ukraine have anything to do with its vast mineral wealth?
Marion Harper, Reservoir

Putin, following in the footsteps of Stalin

I expect the Russian ambassador will tell us how noble, righteous, peace-loving and humanitarian are Vladimir Putin’s military aggressions into Ukraine. They are very like the “protection” steps that were taken by the Nazis, the Italian fascists and the Japanese in the 1930s. Belief will be impossible, now as it was then, as Vladimir Putin continues on his Stalin-type path of destruction.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale

Resource-rich Australia must build up its defences

The Ukraine conflict is a warning to all Australians. As the world runs out of resources, the strong countries will take the weak. Ukraine is rich in resources. So is Australia, and our defence force is weak. We should be demanding defence training for all of us so we can defend our families and our country. Immediately.
Joan Smith, Rye

THE FORUM

Vladimir Putin pines for the glory days of the Soviet Union with half of Europe in its grasp. However, he believes that through intimidation and brutality, he can weaken the resolve of NATO to defend some of its members. The world hopes that NATO will stand up to him.
Noel Howard, Heathmont

Relying on ourselves

With the tense situation in Ukraine, and Chinese warships transiting Australia’s exclusive economic zone, is it not time for the federal government to reduce our reliance on imported fuels? This would have the added benefits of reducing our emissions and improving our balance of trade while enhancing our self-reliance.
David Robertson, Wheatsheaf

West’s double standard

So it was OK for the United States and its allies to invade and bomb Iraq, but not OK for Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. Both actions are an affront to humanity, illegal and morally reprehensible. What hypocrisy.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn

Our not so great record

Have I heard this correctly? The Australian government is offering expertise in training Ukrainians to be protected from cyber attacks launched by Russia. We wish them good luck and hope the results are better than have been achieved here against the intrusion into our systems managed by our government bodies.
Geoff Treloar, Foster

Take balanced approach

Your correspondent (Letters, 22/2) has the wrong football analogy for teaching reading. Strict “phonics first” direct instruction is like expecting kids to practise precise kicking for years on the sidelines before they are ever allowed to play a game.

Of course kids would find this off putting and counter-productive. A “balanced approach” to footy – and reading – involves structured practice of constituent skills like kicking, or phonics – alongside immersion in the excitement of a real game, or a real text.
Dr Miriam Faine, affiliate, faculty of education, Monash University

Spend our money wisely

The Victorian government will distribute $100 million worth of dining, wining and travel vouchers to locals and visitors to help kick-start the hospitality and other sectors in the wake of the Omicron variant (The Age, 23/2).

Why is the government wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned money on subsidised gluttony when we are still tripping over homeless, rough sleepers on our streets?

Didn’t it bother to check the Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics that show that since lockdowns ended, Victorians have lifted their spending on meals and drinks by 38per cent, representing the largest increase of any state or territory? It is our money, Daniel Andrews. Please direct it where it is needed most.
Jan Kendall, Mount Martha

Why insist on online only?

Restaurants, we are told, are crying out for customers. However, last week we tried to make a booking at one by phone and were told, politely, that they were only permitted to take bookings online. In terms of short-sighted policies, this must be one of the most myopic. A booking is a booking, and many elderly customers are not happy with doing this online. Some do not even have mobile phones.
Peter Valder, Toorak

A culinary confusion

After reading the Good Food section (The Age, 22/2), I realise I am in serious need of help. I don’t know my furikake from my freekeh and I have no idea where to buy pork jowl, let alone conchiglie.
Ros Shennan, Mentone

Take a broader approach

Everywhere I go in the seat of Kooyong, I see advertisements of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg beaming about “securing our recovery”. Yet the government favours overseas suppliers to replenish the national medical stockpile. This typifies its short-term, narrow outlook on governing and its inability to learn from past mistakes.

Cheap purchases from overseas do not help local manufacturing or “secure our recovery”. They also ignore the supply chain issues that plagued Australia throughout the pandemic. Not to mention future supply chain issues in an era of rising tensions with China.

Further, securing our recovery means meaningful climate action. Shoring up our democracy with a proper integrity commission. Dignified care for our elders and opportunities for our special needs family and friends. Ignoring these things damages our environment, our institutions, our community and – oh, yes – our recovery.
Jennie Irving, Camberwell

Try making it in Australia

We used to be the clever country. We designed and manufactured everything from cars and aircraft to shirts, skirts and footwear. This is no longer the case. It is a challenge to search through any clothing store and find an item that does not come from China.
Aussies are far too dependant on cheap, overseas imports to support our lifestyle. Making things here again might cost us more but the boost in jobs and know-how would far outweigh any negative aspects.
At the moment, our “can-do” capitalism is bowing down to Chinese coercion. I wonder how many international ports in China are leased to Australia.
Peter Dodds, Montmorency

How much will it hurt?

The federal government will present its budget in March. I am looking forward to finding out how much it will cost us to renege on the French submarine contract. Josh Frydenberg and all have been very very quiet on this.
Kerryn Taylor, Wangaratta

Refreshing new approach

Re Megan Herbert’s cartoon (Letters, 21/2). It is heartening that women are so actively embracing the campaigns being run by independent candidates.

How refreshing that independents are placing an emphasis upon positive values and neglected issues rather than adding to the squabbling, point-scoring “gotcha moments” and scare-mongering of the main parties. However, many good men also yearn for, and need, change and fresh air. Independents can offer this to everyone.
Jennifer Quigley, Balwyn

The challenge of words…

Well done, Age correspondents. I had been sustained by the word “Kafkaesque” for many months since it appeared in the letters page. Now, the word “suzerainty” (Letters, 23/2) has got me to reach for my dictionary. I still prefer a hard copy over online as it gives me the opportunity to see adjacent words. Who knows, one of these discovered words might find its way into the letters pages.
Dave Barter, Hawthorn

…including in Wordle

Those who think Wordle is getting harder (The Age, 22/2) should know that, according to the archive website, words such as wooed, parry, biome, golem, abyss, fjord and agate featured in the game’s first 100 days.
Lisa James, Lalor

Rewards for vaccination

The uptake of vaccination in the five to 11 age cohort (The Age, 23/2) is disappointing and will possibly prolong the mask mandate for primary school kids. An incentive, such as a family ticket to Luna Park, for those getting fully vaccinated, plus entry in a weekly draw for a family trip to Disneyland for four families may induce an immediate response. There is nothing more potent than a nagging child to get things done.
Peter Barry, Marysville

Let the kids be maskless

Were masks in primary schools to create 100 per cent protection from COVID-19 for children , their families and their contacts, the downsides may be acceptable. However, the evidence says otherwise, with many experts suggesting there is little to no impact on Omicron transmission in primary schools using masks.
Yet Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, says he “struggles to imagine the harms that people seem to project onto kids in the requirement to wear masks”. These harms include a barrier to interpersonal connection and reduced efficacy of teaching due to impediments to communication.
No primary student needed a mask in 2020 during periods of community transmission, and indeed, no other state outside of Victoria requires them now. To suggest we must wait for higher vaccination rates is little more than saving face.
Dougal Macpherson, Traralgon

What’s not to love?

As we approach the end of a mild summer, along with the clean air after the gentle rains, isn’t it time to look forward to going out into those beautiful autumn days? Days only broken by the raised dirt, dust and thousands of autumn leaves being blown directly and noisily into the traffic: the cars, cyclists and the pedestrians’ maskless faces. Never mind. I might wait until the serenity of winter.
Rosaleen O’Brien, Toorak

Such shocking vandalism

When my parents sold their old, brick house in Mont Albert in 2011, having lived there for over 50 years, and where my sister and I grew up, there was a heritage overlay on the front part.

The purchaser upgraded the garden, including improving the drainage, while enhancing the heritage character of the house. The Japanese maple tree which my father had planted, grown from a seed taken from his father’s maple in Albury, was kept and nurtured.

Several years ago the house was sold again but it has been demolished and the garden destroyed, with a new house to be built on the block.

Sadly, it seems that “heritage overlay” has no meaning, even for buildings of historical significance, such as the John Curtin Hotel. Many other large heritage homes that have been demolished in recent years. I guess it is all just about money, not preserving places of historical value.
Joy Hayman, Blackburn North

AND ANOTHER THING…

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Ukraine

Many Russians have financial assets and properties in the West. Freeze the funds and seize the property until Russia withdraws.
Michael Louey, Newcomb

I’m sure the US would support Russia’s invasion if it showed pictures of Ukraine’s WMDs.
Patrick Alilovic, Pascoe Vale South

It’s sad that Russia lied repeatedly – and sadder that no one was surprised.
John Hughes, Mentone

Sanctions against Russia are a waste of time.
Barry Revill, Moorabbin

Politics

Clive Palmer might have earned some respect if he’d donated his $31million to charity instead of spending it on “attack ads”. What an obscene waste of money.
Lisa Bishop, Macleod

Did Morrison have Cannon-Brookes’ audacious bid for AGL in mind when he said “can-do” capitalism would save the day?
Mick Cahill, Fitzroy North

We need more people like Mike Cannon-Brookes to shake the climate tree into action and put the power companies on notice
Tony Danino, Wheelers Hill

Cannon-Brookes has a plan and Morrison has a glossy brochure.
Ian Maddison, Parkdale

To engender fear about national safety is the action of someone who should not be leading their country.
Jenni King, Camberwell

Our new bumper sticker: Is that the truth or is it a ScoMo?
David Kitchen, Violet Town

Furthermore

Hurray. Things are back to normal. I saw my first parking inspector in over two years booking a car in Carlton.
Eugene Schlusser, Carlton

“Excluding female trans athletes” (23/2) sounds punitive. However, “giving female athletes a fair go” doesn’t sound punitive and isn’t. So how do we resolve the dilemma?
Judy Lockwood, Eaglemont

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