To the editor: The article "Why Putin's anti-NATO behavior makes sense to him, and many in Russia" explains why President Vladimir Putin and many other Russians believe that the West has unfairly expanded its economic and military alliances in a way that threatens Russia.
The implication is that Putin's point of view is morally equivalent to the West's, which is that each nation, from the former Soviet satellites to former components of the USSR, has the right of economic and diplomatic self-determination. Whether or not Putin believes the choice of these nations to align themselves with Europe rather than Russia has been caused by Western agents overturning the true will of the people of these nations, this assertion is simply untrue.
The U.S. would indeed not be comfortable with Mexico or Canada favoring trade agreements or military alliances with Russia or China. But would that justify military action to annex parts of Baja California or British Columbia "to protect the rights of Americans living there"?
Cyril Barnert, Los Angeles
To the editor: Everyone in Washington should read this article, which points out that understandings and promises are trumped by military, economic and political leverage.
Putin and the U.S. should heed the lessons of the Cuban missile crisis, in which opposing military forces resolved the confrontation without a major incident.
We may not be as fortunate today, with aging Russian nuclear bombers probing areas near the U.S. These are dangerous games with dire consequences.
Unless accommodation of some sort is reached, eventually Putin may resort to supporting and arming stateless terrorists in attacking the U.S.
Andrew Tyszkiewicz, Rancho Palos Verdes
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