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Opinion

Readers React: Is Ukraine worth fighting World War III over?

Before we get too excited about a “new purpose” for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, let’s not forget that any direct American military engagement with Russia could very easily escalate into nuclear war. (“Ukraine crisis may solve NATO’s ‘identity crisis,’” Sept. 1)

Have our leaders forgotten? In the 1980s, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the risk of horrific nuclear war with that country was a major concern of most Americans. It was well understood that once direct war started we could rapidly slip into an irreversible slide ending in nuclear catastrophe.

I hope NATO members remember the risk of nuclear war with Russia. I, for one, do not want us to be in the position of guaranteeing territorial boundaries at the potential cost of hundreds of millions of deaths and the destruction of large portions of our civilization.

Wesley B. Mason, Claremont

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To the editor: Russian President Putin compared the situation in eastern Ukraine to what happened in Nazi Germany around the time of World War II.

Putin’s comparison does sort of make sense.

First, use your nation’s frustration over years of setbacks to build power in a strongman and his apparatus. Then, use propaganda and control national media to further rally the people.

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Host an Olympic Games to show a good face to the world. Then accuse a smaller neighboring country of treating your ethnic brothers poorly, and annex part of that country. Warn western countries to stay out of it.

So far, Putin is right: He’s following the Nazi game plan pretty well.

David Lynn, Agoura Hill

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To the editor: President Obama says Russia’s actions are uncivilized behavior that has no place in the 21st century.

Whatever you call it, Putin is at it again. Having digested Crimea without a hint of dyspepsia, he is hungry for eastern Ukraine, a larger meal that would provide a land corridor to his Crimean caper, thereby easing access.

I do not know if Putin plays poker, but he should give it a thought and not at the penny ante table either, for he is playing a high-stakes game against Western dreamers unequal to the task. He knows that a Western response will likely be characterized by clenched teeth, foot stamping and meaningless declarations of how uncouth his behavior is, but no real consequences.

Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati

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