Opinion | Different Views of Biden’s State of the Union Address

To the Editor:

Re “Russia Batters Key Cities in Wider Attack; Biden Seeks to Rally World Against Putin” (front page, March 2):

President Biden’s State of the Union address was just what the country and the world needed to hear. A profoundly beautiful tribute to the Ukrainian people. A message of support for them and a defiant stance against Vladimir Putin. Strong words declaring our role as a leader of the world in the fight against tyranny. The waving of blue and yellow flags. Yes, it made me so proud.

And then, Mr. Biden spoke to the soul of the nation. To those recovering from Covid, and to those who have the empty chair at the dining table. He spoke to the rising cost to put food on the table and to fill the gas tank, to women’s rights, to the long and distinguished career of Justice Stephen Breyer, and the woman he chose to take his seat, to a cure for cancer and to the wonderful young boy fighting childhood diabetes and the cost of his drugs.

He expounded on the infrastructure plans that hold hope for a better and safer America. He promised help for our veterans and their debilitating and often fatal diseases. He spoke to the essence of what America is and what we can become.

Yes, it was a wonderful address, a wonderful accounting of the state of the union, with the hopes and plans that can improve the lives of us all. He was genuine Biden, honest and filled with the spirit and conviction that make one believe in a better tomorrow. If only …

Doris Fenig
Boca Raton, Fla.

To the Editor:

While President Biden should be commended for his success in bringing together the Western alliance in its response to Russian aggression, I thought the tone of his remarks during the State of the Union address was regrettable.

While we all feel inspired to applaud the heroic spirit of the Ukrainians, this is no time to taunt an adversary who has threatened the use of nuclear weapons and may in fact be mentally unstable.

The fundamental danger is that Mr. Biden’s statements will feed into Vladimir Putin’s pathological sense of victimhood in the face of a hostile West. This war is utterly tragic for both the Russians and the Ukrainians; it is not a football game.

It would be much more appropriate to recognize the suffering of ordinary Russians in the face of economic sanctions, and of young Russian soldiers who had no wish to participate — and die — in this conflict.

The U.S. should also remind Mr. Putin that we are willing to negotiate any serious security concerns on the part of Russia, once the aggression has been brought to an end. Mr. Biden may have enjoyed the standing ovations, but we may find that there is little to celebrate in the coming days and weeks.

James Culnan
La Crescenta, Calif.

To the Editor:

The Feb. 26 front-page photograph of a Russian soldier lying dead in the snow in Ukraine is very sad. True, he was threatening the lives of peaceful people in a sovereign country. But he was also a son, a grandson, perhaps a father or a brother. This young man is as much a victim of Vladimir Putin’s deranged mind as are the hundreds (perhaps soon to be thousands) of Ukrainian dead.

John Israel
Decatur, Ga.

To the Editor:

In the United States we have Americans of Russian descent, we have students from Russia, we have Russian Americans playing professional sports.

When Covid first hit, people were blaming Chinese students, businesses and Americans of Chinese descent for Covid — even though they had nothing to do with it. We did the same with the Japanese living in America when Pearl Harbor happened, and now we are going to do it with the Russians living in America.

Anti-Russian sentiment is growing in America. Some Americans are starting to treat them as if they are responsible for the war in Ukraine. Americans need to remember that there are good Russians out there who are standing up to Mr. Putin, who are sending aid to Ukraine.

We must stand united with Ukraine and do whatever we can to help. I encourage others to get involved and remember that not all Russians are bad people, especially those who are speaking out against the war.

Russell Taub
Wyckoff, N.J.
The writer is a policy and political strategist.

To the Editor:

Re “Switzerland Says It Will Freeze Russian Assets, Setting Aside a Tradition of Neutrality” (news article, nytimes.com, Feb. 28):

As a U.S. expat now living in Switzerland, I was genuinely surprised by President Ignazio Cassis’s decision to freeze the assets of Vladimir Putin, his oligarchs and other Russians in this country’s banks, a move that breaks a long tradition of Swiss military and financial neutrality in other nations’ conflicts. Surprised and absolutely elated.

There should be no safe or neutral haven for wealth amassed by such evil actors at the expense of so many, especially now, as Russian missiles rain down on independent Ukraine.

Susan Wunder
Therwil, Switzerland

To the Editor:

Re “Abbott Wants Medical Care for Trans Youth Called ‘Abuse’” (news article, Feb. 24):

As the mother of a trans daughter, all I can say is Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas should mind his own business. We might not understand these issues, but if we love and accept our children there will be fewer of them living under bridges and taking their own lives.

Jane Warden
Malibu, Calif.