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Letters: A different kind of Cold War

Re "Not your father's Cold War," March 18

I agree with Jonah Goldberg that the West and talking heads are mistaken in their reactions to what's happening in Ukraine. For one, it is much more complex than any of us can see. Also, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been canny in the way he has achieved his goals. He has truly befuddled the West.

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The same goes for members of the European Union. Goldberg is right that Europe essentially dismantled its military capability after World War II. NATO (meaning the U.S., the only member with a military large enough to serve as an effective deterrent against aggression) has been mentioned once again as a tool to fight Europe's battles.

To those who would have us saddle up, grab our muskets and charge off to eliminate the Russians, I would ask whose children will they send to war? Whose pocket will pay the bill? Those who rattle the sword should be first in the saddle.

I agree with Goldberg that the economies of Europe should again bear the strain of financing their own military establishments and commit their own citizens to any front line they draw.

James S. McBride Jr.

Laguna Beach

Goldberg writes: "In Western Europe (and much of this administration), it's about moral authority, international norms and other kinds of 'soft power.'"

Really? "Soft power," like invading Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO's bombing in the Balkans and NATO's military intervention in Libya? Contrast that with the recent history of "military and economic power" shown by Beijing or even Russia, Crimea notwithstanding.

If Beijing and Moscow only respect hard power, they would be quaking in their shoes. Alas, Russia respects and fears economic power, and Western Europe and the U.S. are primed to deliver declining GDP through sanctions.

Carl Godlewski

Venice

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