LETTER: We never know when we’ll need foreign help

To the editor:

Long time sports fans understand the concept of “bulletin board material.” A team is publicly disrespected, or “trashed,” by an opponent. Coaches consider this as manna from Heaven. The offended coach tacks the article to his team’s bulletin board in advance of a game against the offender then — voila! — those elbows to the mouth under the basket, or poked eyes along the line of scrimmage, become much harder.

President Trump’s intemperate, vulgar remarks describing select third-world nations on Jan. 11 just placed America upon those diplomatic bulletin boards.

I know, those nations probably won’t soon decline our foreign aid — although Mr. Trump will continue efforts to reduce it.

But you can bet our president’s ugly condescension will live long on those foreign bulletin boards. Long enough for an extradition request to be ignored. Long enough to deny a flyover request in a critical military situation. Long enough that appeals for help with an important U.N. vote may be shunned. Nevermind our access being compromised to, say, a rare mineral source waiting to be unearthed in one of those (expletive) countries. How about the talented engineer or scientist being courted to the West from one of those nations?

In December 1981, U.S. Army Gen. James Dozier was kidnapped from his Verona, Italy, apartment by Italian “Red Brigades” terrorists. Happily, Dozier was rescued six weeks later by an elite Italian security force. Fortunately, President Ronald Reagan had not publicly “dumped” on our Italian friends. President Trump should note: We never know when we will need a little help in foreign places.

Mr. Trump, conversely, bemoans low numbers of Norwegians emigrating to the US. Perhaps he should import ideas from their national health care that features, for example, typical (general) doctor’s visits at around $35, and annual health premiums around $330.

A U.N. agency that examines quality of life among citizens in the world’s nations, including statistics and individual self-assessments, recently rated Norway as “the happiest place on earth;” indeed, it consistently stays in the ranked top five. Sure, their taxes are higher, but they are compensated in health, education and public safety. Little wonder they aren’t flocking our way.

Douglas Smith