Friday, October 23, 2020
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

An Open Letter to H.E. Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

December 19, 2019 --

Dear President Zelensky:

Permit me, first, to congratulate you on your successful start to resolve the Donbas problem.   The headline in The New York Times, December 10, on your December 9 Paris meeting with President Putin, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel declared, "Zelensky Holds His Own in Meeting With Putin."     There had been reports of concern in Ukraine that you would be too conciliatory, but the Times report said that there was relief in Kiev that  the Paris meeting did not result  "'in the 'capitulation' that some people feared.  The Times report also quoted you in expressing confidence that the matter "'will definitely'" be solved.  It is to be regretted, however, that the Times account called you "a political neophyte."   Clearly, the paper ignores your preparation as a fictional president of Ukraine on "Servant of the People."  Indeed, it is not difficult to imagine your wondering, as you contemplate dealing with issues, what  would Vasyl Petrovych Holoborodko do in this situation!   The paper did acknowledge your "landslide victory" in the presidential election, last April.   Equally significant, and not mentioned by the Times, was your great victory in the parliamentary elections in July, with your party winning the first majority in nearly 30 years.   A "neophyte" does not win such victories.

Permit me, now, to wonder if you might send a letter to The New York Times to comment on the hysterical December 11 column from Thomas L. Friedman, that distorted, I believe, the nature of your July 25 phone conversation with President Trump.    Here is what Mr. Friedman wrote, in significant part:  "Trump held up congressionally directed taxpayer funding to strengthen Ukraine's military against Russia until the new Ukrainian president agreed to do what Trump called a 'favor' --announce that Ukraine was investigating Trump's most likely opponent in the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden, and his son, who was involved with a Ukrainian gas company. Trump apparently thought that just the announcement of such an investigation would kill Biden's campaign in its crib."   According to my reading of the transcript of your July 25 phone conversation with Mr. Trump, he simply asked "you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it."    Later in your conversation with President Trump, he asked you to "look into" the Biden matter.  There is no indication, as I read the phone transcript, that the president demanded that you agree to doing any "favor"  as  a condition of  anything you might want from the Trump administration.   

If you agree that Mr. Friedman has misstated the July 25 phone conversation, not to mention your relationship with President Trump, it might be useful if you set the record straight.   All we grass roots in America read in our "mainstream press," lately,  is how Mr. Trump must be removed from office or the United States will become a dictatorship -- or come apart.   Mr. Friedman clearly envisioned the end of America as we know it when he wrote that President Trump "must" be impeached if America's democracy is to remain intact."     He went on to predict the shattering of our elections and "permanent political chaos" in the United States.  It seems to me that this Times columnist has gone from political hyperbole to shrill hysteria.

Your phone conversation with the president, July 25, indicated that you are fond of America and look forward to bilateral cooperation between our countries.   

Now that you have spoken with Mr. Trump and met him at the United Nations in New York, would it be possible, in the spirit of amicable cooperation, to inform the Times that you have spoken and met with President Trump, and can assure the Times that Mr. Trump is no dictator, no bully, and certainly not a president who would cause the end of American democracy or the dissolution of the United States?

Before concluding,  I wish  you the Nobel Peace Prize after you settle the Donbas question and normalize relations with Moscow.

Happy Chanukah and please, Excellency, accept assurances of my highest consideration,

David R. Zukerman,
just a grass root in Bronx, N.Y.