A lot has been written recently about Russian President Vladimir Putin from authorizing the hacking of emails to the annexation of Crimea to his relationships with Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson. The latest is the malware code discovered on a Burlington, Vermont, electric department laptop. Developing a good working relationship with President Putin and Russia is beneficial to all for many reasons. If this is not possible, it is time to quit pussyfooting around with useless sanctions and show Putin exactly what we can do to his electronic communication system.

Over the decades we have levied sanctions against many countries: China, Iran, North Korea and Russia, to name a few. Fifty-five years of sanctions against Cuba only prevented us from getting good cigars.

Our Democratic Party bosses have chastised Russia and Putin for "interfering in our presidential election." How often have we interfered in the internal affairs of other nations? Maybe some people as old as I am remember Radio Free Europe, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the "removal" of Ngo Dinh Diem from office in South Vietnam and the Iran-Contra affair. These are just a few of the hundreds of instances of our interferences in the affairs of other nations. This is one reason so many nations hate us.

What if Russia did not do the hacking? President Obama’s briefing by the intelligence community is classified. Whoever did the hacking already knows what happened, so there is no reason to try to keep the information from them. The only reason for the classification is to keep the real information from the American people.

Putin is a man of action. His goal is to establish Russia as the premier nation in the world, and he really doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks. He cares about his own country and its future. He has accomplished a lot in his terms as president. He is probably the best thing that has happened to Russia since Katherine the Great. The annexation of Crimea is an example of his leadership.

Crimea has been a disputed territory since the days of the Greek and Roman empires. It has been controlled by Gothic Tribes, the Byzantium Empire and the Mongols. In the 1400s the Crimean Khanate was a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. Russia annexed Crimea in 1783 during the reign of Catherine the Great. In 1853 the Crimean War began. It pitted Russia against a consortium of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia. This war was immortalized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade," an event that occurred on Oct. 25, 1854. Although Russia eventually lost this war, Crimea remained part of Russia. In 1954 Nikita Krushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine, presumably as a reward for the suffering the Ukraine people endured during World War II. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia was concerned about Crimea because Sevastopol is the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet. In 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed a treaty that formally allowed Russia to keep its fleet in Crimea. With the recent political unrest in Ukraine, Russia was concerned about the future of this treaty, so President Putin took Crimea back. This is the mark of a leader who puts his own country first.

We might not like President Putin, but we had better respect him. To be successful, we must deal with him from a position of strength coupled with absolute resolve.

LAWRENCE D. WEBER

Quinby

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