December 6, 2013

Letters to the editor: Congress should stay out of Iran talks

Authors of the government shutdown can’t teach diplomats anything about negotiations.

The West has successfully completed negotiations with Iran under which that country will stop advancing its nuclear program for the first time in nearly a decade, and will be subject to expanded inspections as well. As soon as that deal was announced, some in Congress threatened not to ratify it.

click image to enlarge

Reza Najafi, Iran’s International Atomic Energy Agency envoy, awaits a meeting of the board of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog in Vienna on Nov. 28. A nuclear deal with Tehran merits serious consideration, a reader says.

2013 File Photo/The Associated Press

Thankfully, Sen. Angus King was not among those people. In contrast, Sen. Susan Collins said she has “many concerns about whether or not this plan is in America’s best interests.” And she is far from alone in that view.

Give me a break. Congress has not even been able to negotiate within itself to move the country forward, and now some want to tell our State Department how to negotiate. Absurd.

This is all happening at a time when many are reviewing the legacy of John Kennedy. He learned in the Cuban missile crisis that when negotiating with the enemy, we need always to leave your adversary a face-saving way to back down.

Iran is being given some economic benefits that will strengthen its economy. In so doing, we are strengthening the hand of those within Iran’s governmental system that favor compromise with the West rather than making bombs. We are favorably changing the political landscape in Tehran.

Kennedy avoided nuclear war with Russia through negotiation. President Nixon’s visit to China greatly improved our role in Asia. And President Reagan’s engagement with Gorbachev led to agreements to reduce nuclear arms.

Negotiating with the enemy has been proven to work in the past, and it can work now. Congress, keep your hands off the negotiating process with Iran.

Cushman D. Anthony

Falmouth

Many families need help through Obamacare maze

In response to the story “Officials: Worst tech bugs over for Healthcare.gov but clean bill of health still eludes website” (Dec. 2), it has been seen by the public that there are glitches in the government health care website. These glitches are not just an inconvenience but a hindrance to care.

There are many working and not-working families who need health care who have fallen through the cracks of the income guidelines for MaineCare and who are told to apply on the website. This is merely a Band-Aid instead of a solution.

Many single parents do not have time to complete the steps needed to merely set up an account, then review the health care options. These options do not offer a clear nor concise way to look at what it will cost on a weekly or monthly scale. These are the important issues: “What will it cost?” and “How can I afford it?” For many families, it is a constant battle over what is more important.

A solution to this problem is free employer seminars to educate employees on their choices not only from the company but also from the health care website. What’s needed is a person-driven seminar of education and options. It seems that in a world driven by technology that the most important issues should be discussed.

Kelly Harmon

Springvale

Climate Action Plan puts focus on power plants

Usually, whenever we think of an environmental issue, usually the first thing that comes to mind is global warming. Or Al Gore. Maybe even penguins and polar bears.

Regardless, there’s a reason for that. Climate change is one of the most pressing environmental issues the world faces today. Many seem to believe that just because they do not see the effects right here and right now that there aren’t any at all.

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