In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich after negotiating with Hitler, declaring that he and the Fuhrer had arranged for “peace for our time.” Chamberlain had thrown Czechoslovakia, a liberal democracy, under the proverbial bus to appease Hitler. Germany was allowed to annex part of Czechoslovakia in exchange for a promise that Hitler would not engage in further aggression. Today, Chamberlain’s deal is simply known to Czechs and Slovaks as the Munich Betrayal.
As of Tuesday, South Koreans have their own Singapore Betrayal, much like Czechoslovakia before them (“First face-to-face: Trump meets N. Korea’s despot in Singapore,” June 12).
Peace for our time, indeed.
Coleman Drake, Minneapolis
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For the Star Tribune to use the word “despot” in reference to North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, especially in its front-page headline about the summit, is absolutely appalling and unacceptable to me, to say the least. Are you, Star Tribune journalists and proofreaders, et al., of the same mentality? Yes, he is a despot, and you most likely want to emphasize that regarding his humanism; yet as the leader of a nation he is apparently “reaching out” for some (good?) resolution to a serious situation.
I, as a conservative, find your choice of words as a reputably accepted newspaper in this instance inappropriate. Might this also be a related reflection on your views of President Donald Trump in some way? Rather disgusting of you! Note: Under “disgust” in the Random House College Dictionary, see item No. 2.
Kenneth A. Hanauska, Rogers
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Trump to end “war games,” the preferred term of North Korea and China for our joint military preparedness exercises. Calling them “provocative” and “inappropriate” — also China and DPRK terms.
And we got what? A vain photo op elevating one of the world’s most brutal tinpot dictator-tyrants to global status recognition as a nuclear power and a statement more vague and with less substance than agreements negotiated by previous administrations.
This, days after referring to our largest trading partner, good neighbor and dependable ally Canada as “indignant,” “weak,” “dishonest,” “backstabbing” and having a “special place in hell.”
Winning? Making America Great Again? You decide.
David Pederson, Minnetrista
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After President Barack Obama’s first two years, the conservatives/Tea Partiers came to power, and they didn’t give him credit for anything, not an inch on anything — judgeships, reasonable gun regulations, net neutrality, lifesaving health insurance, immigration — the list goes on. And on. And on.
Today, I heard on the radio, “Liberals would rather have nuclear war than give credit to Donald Trump for stopping it.” We will never know what Trump did Tuesday. The only witness can’t say without being accused of leaking, even if it were in this country’s best interests to do so.
Trump gave away the farm to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Jerusalem, without asking for even a simple thing like fair access to water for the Palestinians. God knows what he gave away to “Rocket Man,” a man he apparently now admires, who happens to also be a ruthless dictator known to assassinate political enemies, even family foes, to hold and allow innocent American hostages to die, who does not allow free press of any kind and who oppresses millions of his own people, even to the point of starvation.
With people like National Security Adviser John Bolton at the president’s side, it will either be an excuse for nuclear war or another one of Trump’s hotels. Only time will tell.
Elizabeth Streiff, Minneapolis
TRADE AND TARIFFS
Greetings from Canada. We need veracity — and each other.
President Donald Trump seems to ignore a few facts surrounding Canada-U.S. trade (“Trump throws G-7 into disarray,” June 10). According to a 2016 Census Bureau report, 32 states list Canada as their largest export partner, countering the claim Trump makes that his country is unfairly treated when it comes to trade. And just for further clarification, every state bordering Canada (except Washington) is included in this group. The recent tariffs applied by the U.S. on our steel and aluminum were imposed because the Trump administration deemed Canada a potential threat to national security. That stance is beyond insulting. No place in this world is more like the U.S. than Canada. We have so many common ties and history that Trump is either ignorant of or is choosing to dismiss to suit himself. While there will always be mild irritants between the U.S. and Canada, let us all choose to cherish our very unique friendship forever. We need each other — do not let your current president destroy our relationship.
John R. Davies, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Tiny apartments in the sky won’t solve issue of affordable housing
Lisa Albrecht’s commentary on metro developers elicited the usual outraged comments from pro-development folks, replete with shrill accusations of “NIMBY-ism” (is this the new “N” word?) and collateral accusations about denying access to affordable housing to those in need (“An open letter to elected officials, planners and developers,” June 9, and Readers Write, June 12). A few points of truth need to be made to ground this discussion in fact.
Lower-income citizens have clearly explained to us that they have little use for tiny market-rate apartments in the sky, certainly not if they must wait until 2040 to move into them! (“Growth plan for Minneapolis gets skeptical reaction on North Side,” April 1.) They would prefer that the derelict homes on their blocks be made habitable now rather than being held by developers for future investment.
Building endless ranks of mid- and high-elevation, high-density apartments that bring developers considerably more profit than single-family and small multiplexes is rewarding only a very small group of very wealthy people. When these are not filled in the long-standing tradition of the Twin Cities (see high-rise developments that were hot in the ’80s and are now condos, not affordable housing, in Uptown, the lakes, downtown St. Paul), those requiring affordable housing will still be underhoused. The taxpaying public will still be paying astronomical taxes to offset the Twin Cities’ losses to the developers who are no longer around, and nothing will have changed.
Howard J. Miller, St. Paul
NICOLLET MALL TREES
How to make downtown leafier
I’m pleased the Star Tribune highlighted the importance and challenges of growing trees downtown (“Greening of Nicollet Mall turns out to be not so easy,” June 7). Trees have been an afterthought in our downtown streetscape — often considered an inconvenience and in the way of transit, development, commerce and snowplows. But with jobs, residents and visitors increasing downtown, the importance of trees is coming into focus. Street trees cool our sidewalks, filter air pollutants, capture stormwater and increase property values. They make streets more welcoming, enticing people out of cars and skyways to get some air and exercise, improving street-level commerce, safety and community engagement along the way.
Growing trees downtown is hard — it costs 10 times more to grow a tree downtown compared with on a residential street. Underground utilities, infertile soils, heat, drought, salt, invasive species — and, yes, errant snowplows — make it rare to see a mature tree downtown. And we don’t consistently use the expertise available to choose the right trees, plant them properly and maintain them so they thrive.
It is time to launch a tree initiative that in five years could transform downtown from a concrete jungle to a welcoming, healthier, leafy district. Cities like Chicago have done it and benefit from the investment with increased commerce, tourism and residents. To get this done, Minneapolis needs policies that prioritize street trees, investments in “tree infrastructure” just as we invest in transit and skyway infrastructure, and a public-private partnership working together to grow our downtown’s green future.
David A. Wilson, Minneapolis
The writer is the board chair of Green Minneapolis.