Letters to the Editor: If you think NATO is the real threat, you’re falling for Russian propaganda

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks while holding up a finger
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Moscow on Feb. 15.
(Sergey Guneev / Associated Press)

To the editor: A letter writer repeats the preposterous Russian lie that North Atlantic Treaty Organization expansion to Eastern Europe after the Cold War is a manifestation of Western imperialism and a threat to Russia’s security.

NATO expanded eastward for one reason only: After the fall of the Soviet Union, the countries that were freed from being Soviet republics or satellite states were eager to be protected from the possibility that Russia would one day change its mind and seek to use military force to reinstate Russian control.

NATO is purely a defensive alliance; the member states do not seek one square inch of Russian territory, and they represent no threat to the integrity of Russia.


On the other hand, NATO is an obstacle to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal of regaining dominance of Eastern Europe, and that is why he vilifies it.

Cyril Barnert, Los Angeles


To the editor: The letter writer who takes a Russian view of NATO needs to read Putin’s essay on Ukraine from last July (available online). It reads like Adolf Hitler’s distortions regarding the Sudetenland before World War II.

Putin’s history is highly selective; it omits Josef Stalin’s practice of ethnic boxcars to populate all the “nations” of the Soviet Union.

Putin now decries the unfair treatment of “friends” in Ukraine and justifies “reuniting” with them. Paranoid Russia has done that for hundreds of years to maintain buffer states. NATO is preventing some expansion. Countries like Lithuania are integrating their ethnic Russian populations to effect a similar result.

Do not be fooled. I studied Russian language and history at West Point last century. Their technology has changed, not their goals.


George N. Giacoppe, Riverside


To the editor: Mass graves of Russians? Chopped up body parts? Babies in tiny coffins?

Russian disinformation says all this is happening in Ukraine. Have you ever met a Ukrainian? Not gonna happen. Putin is a comedian for crying out loud.

But seriously, you can’t really blame the Russian president. He did, after all, learn from the best. I’m sure he was taking notes 20 years ago as another super power justified an invasion based on a bucket of lies.

Mike Reynolds, San Diego


To the editor: The Gibraltar strategy seems to be in play in the situation involving Russia and Ukraine.

During the Franco dictatorship in Spain, whenever trouble was brewing internally, there was a sudden interest in some controversy related to the conflict over Gibraltar, which sits on the Iberian peninsula but is a British territory.


Redirecting the public’s focus from internal affairs to external events seems to be a common ploy of many governments.

Betsy Gallery, Santa Barbara