Ford Focus and Punching Bags

In response to "A Draw for Ford but a Victory for All," a column by Boris Kagarlitsky on Dec. 20.

Editor,

The author stated that vehicles produced at the Ford St. Petersburg plant in early December "might not meet all of the technical standards." This is completely wrong, as were other less-serious inaccuracies in the story, which were not checked. We can assure you and all of our customers that all cars built during the dispute fully meet Ford Motor Company's stringent quality control standards. Indeed, we have consistently praised the Vsevolozhsk team for equaling the quality of our plants in Germany and Spain, where the Focus model is also built. This is one of the reasons why the Ford Focus is the best-selling foreign-badged car in Russia.

Ian S. Slater
Vice President
Communications and Public Affairs
Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group



In response to "Saving the Relationship," a column by Rose Gottemoeller on Dec. 18.

Editor,

The United States has long ceased to rely on nuclear armaments as a frontline defense since early 1991. Although the United States still holds possession of a more than enough usable, extremely accurate nukes, they are held in reserve to give nationalistic states a heads-up and a pause for thoughtful reflection regarding the development, deployment or usage of the same types of weapons.

We are seeing in Russia a diminishing free press and right to free speech, as well as a rise in the hate-teaching of an entire generation of children that the United States is Russia's true enemy. We also see total rearming under the guise of "broken" treaties and saber-rattling against Russia's neighbors. This area of the world is again becoming bleak.

One should never undervalue or underestimate what the United States is capable of responding to. And the one item President Vladimir Putin actually has correct is that, since Sept.11, 2001, the United States is no longer anyone's punching bag. If necessary, Washington is not only capable of throwing the first punch in a fight, it is entirely capable of throwing -- and will throw -- the last punch in that fight.

Dr. A.T. Coe
Beaverton, Oregon