The Ukraine Crisis: Will Sanctions Against Russia Work?

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  • Dr. Paul Farmer’s Selflessness
  • The Benefits of Early Breast Cancer Detection
  • U.S. Should Not Pay Funeral Expenses for the Unvaccinated
  • The Trump Republican Party

  Credit…By The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Condemning Russia, Biden Issues Sanctions” (front page, Feb. 23):

We have lost our moral compass by standing idly by, watching a Russian madman with a penchant to rewrite history and swallow up his democratic neighbor — because he can. President Biden’s “tough” sanctions on the regime and its oligarchs are laughable. Vladimir Putin has a rainy-day fund of billions, and if that dries up, China will come to the rescue.

We in America sit thousands of miles away from Ukraine, a country that just wants to live freely with the rights that we enjoy. And yet, the U.S. and other “allies” of Ukraine sit back and their leaders deliver speeches, words that have no effect other than to assuage their guilt for not taking more forceful actions to help Ukraine defend itself.

I pray that Mr. Biden and our allies will find the courage to back up their words with stronger actions that will make a difference.

(Rabbi) Reuven H. Taff

To the Editor:

Re “China and Russia Strengthen Their Bonds, Raising Alarms in U.S. and Europe” (news article, Feb. 21):

The Biden administration needs to show that China can’t have its cake and eat it, too, regarding the Ukraine crisis by publicly calling on China to impose economic sanctions against Russia, despite Beijing’s criticism of their effectiveness.

China recently adjusted its tone to better align with the United States with respect to upholding Ukraine’s territorial integrity. However, this comes on the heels of strong support by President Xi Jinping for a continued Chinese-Russian partnership during President Vladimir Putin’s most recent visit to China. In short, China wants it both ways.

Publicly requesting that China join the United States and its allies in sanctioning Russia forces Mr. Xi to pick a side. Does China want to stand by its belligerent Russian ally or support the United States in upholding the principles of national sovereignty?

Time to find out where Beijing truly stands.

Alexander Stewart
Newport Beach, Calif.

Dr. Paul Farmer’s Selflessness

Dr. Farmer writing a prescription for a starving child.Credit…Angel Franco/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Dr. Paul Farmer, Who Traveled the Globe to Aid the Poor, Dies at 62” (obituary, Feb. 22):

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s tears over Dr. Farmer’s untimely death in Rwanda express the feelings of all those who knew him, as I did, or his work. Never has there been so selfless or dedicated a physician.

Not satisfied with healing the poor, he fought to eliminate the root causes that made them poor. He was the polar opposite of the powerful who ask, “What’s in it for me?”

Tom Miller
Oakland, Calif.

The Benefits of Early Breast Cancer Detection

President Biden called on the National Cancer Institute to coordinate with cancer treatment centers to offer screenings around the country.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

To the Editor:

In “President Aims to Cut the Cancer Death Rate in Half Over 25 Years” (news article, Feb. 3), a biostatistician, Donald A. Berry, claimed that “everyone loves early detection, but it comes with harms” so “the benefits of screening are very uncertain.”

As physicians who care for breast cancer patients, we respectfully dispute this allegation. Despite different cancers, grades and subtypes having different survival rates, early detection through screening and appropriate treatment offers the best chance to save lives.

Overtreatment, not overdiagnosis, leads to potential harm for patients. The goal should not be to limit detection, but rather to provide the earliest and most accurate information to inform whether treatments are warranted.

Women whose breast cancer is detected between stages 0 and 2 have a 93 percent or higher survival rate in the first five years. Mammographic screening is largely responsible for the decline in mortality, together with improved therapies.

A relaunched cancer moonshot can benefit society through earlier detection and better survival rates.

Regina Hooley
Susan Harvey
Dr. Hooley is a professor of radiology and biomedical imaging at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Harvey is vice president of global medical affairs for Hologic Inc.

U.S. Should Not Pay Funeral Expenses for the Unvaccinated

To the Editor:

As a critical care physician who has written “Covid-19” on numerous death certificates, I was well aware of the FEMA funeral benefits of up to $9,000 per individual described in “Chasing a Covid Benefit Nobody Really Wants to Use” (Business, Feb. 16). However, I was disappointed that the article failed to include any discussion of vaccination status.

Now that vaccines are widely available and prevent death in most patients, I see no reason that the government should continue to pay funeral expenses for those choosing to remain unvaccinated. Those applying for benefits should be required to show proof of vaccination for the deceased.

I empathize with anyone who dies regardless of their vaccine status, but many Americans die daily of injury and diseases such as H.I.V. that do not have an effective vaccine, and their burial expenses are not reimbursed.

Our country allows people to choose whether or not to be vaccinated and offers maximum medical therapy when they fall ill with Covid-19. We should not also be funding the known consequences of these choices.

Katharine L. Modisett
Arlington, Va.

The Trump Republican Party

To the Editor:

Re “Can Anyone Save the G.O.P.?,” by Gail Collins and Bret Stephens (The Conversation, Feb. 8):

There is an old joke about how to create a statue of an elephant: Start with a block of marble and cut away anything that is not an elephant. The Trump Republicans, with their own “cancel culture,” are cutting away anyone in their party who does not embrace their conspiracy and antidemocratic beliefs. What remains will be a pure, but small, elephant.

Simon Aronin
White Plains, N.Y.

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