Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting in Moscow… (ALEXEY DRUZHININ, AFPGetty…)
Re "Putin's back, unfortunately," Editorial, Sept. 28
Vladimir Putin's right to run for a third term as president of Russia is highly questionable.
Such an idea would have never visited Bill Clinton, since the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says: "No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice." When a group of legal scholars was preparing a draft of the Russian Constitution adopted in 1993, they were looking at the 22nd Amendment as an example. As a result, Russia's Constitution reads: "One and the same person may not be elected president of the Russian Federation for more than two terms running."
There was no doubt among the drafters that the provision had the same meaning as the 22nd Amendment, and that was later confirmed by Russia's Constitutional Court.
Now, no one dares remind Putin that he is going to run for a third term in violation of the Constitution.
The writer was Russia's assistant minister of justice from 1987-92.
While Czar Putin was mysteriously taking down many of his dissenters and enemies, President Dmitry Medvedev sought to assert his independence by firing Putin's ally, Finance Minister Aleksei L. Kudrin.
Now Putin says that he will run for president next year.
We cannot afford to lose another ally in Medvedev, and now it seems that Putin will use the same Constitution that freed the Russians from the bonds of communism to put the shackles back on his
Mikhail Gorbachev, a reasonable reformer, was the last Soviet leader. If he sees Putin as a threat, then we know Russia is in for a long, dark winter. It is a shame that 20 years of Russian freedom are coming undone.
Howard J. Meyer
Settlements as a stumbling block
Re "Israel defies U.S. on housing," Sept. 28
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calls the Israeli government's approval of 1,100 new housing units in East Jerusalem counterproductive. I would say this is part of Israel's repeated, unmitigated and arrogant slaps in the face to the United States, the United Nations and to the entire Arab world. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acts with impunity.
What I have the most trouble accepting is why our nation continues to stand with Netanyahu — and how we can consider the Palestinians' attempts at self-determination to be less valuable than those
of Egypt's, Tunisia's or Libya's.
Netanyahu ignores the fact that building new settlements, whether in the West Bank or in East Jerusalem, violates international law. Is Israel above the law?
Israel defies the U.S.? How would The Times describe the actions of the Palestinians, who for the last 30 months have refused to engage in peace talks, choosing instead to seek statehood through the U.N. in direct defiance of repeated U.S. requests to return to the bargaining table?
It's time to reject the claim that Israeli settlements are the main obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. That myth was shattered when Israel pulled all of its settlements out of the Gaza Strip, only to be followed by an unending barrage of rocket attacks into southern Israel.
What more will it take for the U.S. to cut off aid to the rogue Israeli government? It is essentially saying: We are happy to take your billions of dollars, but we don't care if you ask us to uphold the rule of law.
The article states, "The Gilo project will expand the development to the south by several hundred yards, absorbing additional land claimed by Palestinians." This is theft.
The high cost of healthcare
Re "Healthcare's rising costs," Editorial, Sept. 29
The Times succinctly states that "Americans can't afford to wait long for relief" from rising healthcare costs.
I recently had my carotid arteries scanned. The contractor who performed the procedure said he no longer performs diagnostic procedures outside Orange County because the insurance companies are paying him half of what they used to. In the meantime, my premiums have increased 38% over the last three years, my office co-pays have risen and my deductible has climbed to $1,000. You don't need an MBA to figure out who is receiving the difference.
What amazes me is how many average Americans who, like me, continue to be fleeced by private insurers, are adamantly opposed to a public option for healthcare delivery. Medicare's overhead is a far smaller share of costs than private insurers'. If putting everyone on Medicare is socialized medicine, sign me up.
Healthcare costs are definitely a severe problem, and the more subtle results are disturbing.