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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Place in NATO for Russia's Balancing Act

In response to " Putin Serious About NATO," a column by Pavel Felgenhauer on Nov. 29.

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Email the Opinion Page Editor

Editor,
I am sure Felgenhauer follows the prevailing views of security analysts in the United States quite closely. It is because of this that I am surprised that he speaks so glowingly of American willingness to give Russia a voice in NATO. I do not in any way mean to suggest that the United States is behaving disingenuously with regard to its relations with Russia. I believe President George W. Bush and the U.S. national security establishment genuinely want better relations with Russia. However, NATO is an alliance, and the United States intends to keep it that way.

Americans do not tend to view the word alliance in the sort of cold, calculating terms generally associated with it. There is a genuine feeling of warmth for our allies in Europe. Russia, on the other hand, views its present effort to get closer to NATO in terms of a complicated balancing act with respect to the United States, Europe and China.

There is a possibility, though remote, that in the coming decades the United States and China will clash over the issue of Taiwan. Russia has been selling warships and fighter aircraft to China and, by all accounts, intends to increase these sales. The United States intends to bring about a unification of China and Taiwan that is peaceful. This can only come about by eliminating the primacy of the Communist Party and its police-state apparatus. This will require the United States to overawe the Chinese at sea, in the air and in space. Attaining a long-term and sustainable military superiority over China, in the face of its rapid economic expansion, is the principal mission of the U.S. military in the coming years (despite what you may have heard of late).

If we are successful in this endeavor, then we can look forward to a century of peace and freedom and an eventual diminishment of the burden of armaments on mankind. It would mean that 90 percent of the world could speak freely as Felgenhauer and I can today. Does he seriously consider it a possibility that the United States would take Russia on as an ally, or that it would give up the cohesion and strength of NATO, while Russia sells armaments to China? Not a chance. We and our allies have come too far to be roped into some sort of game of triangulation. If Russia wants to be part of the free world, it is welcome. But it is not going to be given influence over Western nations while it helps to delay the introduction of liberty to China by providing them with the ability to kill American sailors and airmen.

Will McElgin
Chicago



Nukes Not Real Danger



In response to "U.S. Missiles Still on Alert," a column by Matt Bivens on Dec. 3.

Editor,
Yes, it is true that the United States' nuclear missiles, all 6,000 plus, are still maintained on high alert, ready to launch at a moment's notice. My response is, "So what, big deal and who really cares?" The United States is not the only nuclear power in the world whose missiles are on high alert.

Let's pretend for a moment that we are living in the fantasy land of the Matt Bivens and Bruce Blairs of this world. If the United States and Russia limited themselves to 2,000 missiles each, would that make the world a safer place? Four thousand nuclear missiles is more than enough to destroy the world several times over.

The sad reality of today's world is that even if Presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush were to order all nuclear missiles dismantled and destroyed by Dec. 31, as a gift to mankind, it would not make a difference. Poverty, disease, paranoia and ignorance are the real dangers of this world. Unless those issues are addressed, the world will continue to be a dangerous place; missiles are just a byproduct.

Harold Fix
Cincinnati, Ohio



Supply and Demand



In response to a letter by Robert Sharpe, published Nov. 30.

Editor,
Thank you for publishing Robert Sharpe's outstanding letter. It seems that our American politicians don't understand the basic economic laws of supply and demand. Perhaps your Russian politicians or journalists can explain to our American politicians that whenever the supply of desired products is limited, the price of those desired products increases. The mostly American war on (some) drugs is the reason easy-to-grow weeds and poppies are worth more than pure gold. The United States needs the help of Russia and other countries to help us beat our addiction to our counterproductive war on (some) drugs.

Kirk Muse
Vancouver, Washington



Eye of the Beholder



In response to "Pan-Turkic Pretty Faces Liven Up Ramadan," a column by Chloe Arnold on Dec. 4.

Editor,
How does one react to the news that that most decadent and exploitative Western tradition -- the beauty pageant -- has at long last now become a cultural ritual even in a former Soviet republic? As an American, I suppose that this should be welcome news and an affirmation that eventually all hearts can be warmed to the subtleties of capitalist seduction, particularly when lithe bodies are wrapped in skimpy and revealing swimsuit outfits and painted in mascara.

As a man who himself has a notable weakness of attraction for the softer sex, the spectacle conjures up images of a world that is beginning to reach its limits. This week it's blonde, the next brunette, after that red, and ... well, one begins to get the picture. There's absolutely no way to qualitatively judge the beauty of an individual or race based on nationality alone. Beauty is all in the eyes of the beholder -- and in the judge who's sitting three chairs from the end with a niece entered in the contest.

Scott T. Nixon
Rogers, Arkansas