NATO: `success story'

Ambassador David Abshire sees NATO as the ``greatest success story of the century'' [``US envoy to NATO: alliance working well,'' Dec. 3]. I agree. The main objective when NATO was established in 1949 was to secure the defense of Western Europe. It has achieved just that.

I would also agree with Mr. Abshire that US critics of Europe often confuse the US-European relationship and the US-NATO relationship. The US has had its problems with Europe, such as trade protectionism and Middle East policy, but at the same time NATO has secured the defense of Western Europe for over 30 years.

Because of the Soviet buildup of forces in Eastern Europe, NATO has had to keep escalating its forces in order to create a balance of power. However, the strength of NATO in Western Europe is at present sufficient to deter Soviet forces. Dean O. Carrell Seattle

The new Soviet immigration law effective Jan. 1, reported in ``Soviet emigration `reform' may be old charade in new guise,'' Dec. 19, concerns many Jews. The article did not mention, however, the other minorities who likewise seek asylum in the West. Among the Ukrainians - who make up 20 percent of the Soviet population and 60 percent of all Soviet political prisoners - are thousands of intellectuals not mentioned in the American press who are slowly being murdered in the gulag. R. K. Nachtigall Allentown, Pa.

The need for math teachers in Africa is indeed critical [``Africa needs calculus as well as cookstoves,'' Dec. 1]. Basic proficiency in math must become more widespread if African nations are going to develop technology appropriate to their own needs and resources and thereby liberate themselves from foreign aid. For 25 years the Peace Corps has been placing math teachers in third-world high schools. There are over 300 Peace Corps volunteers teaching math in Africa right now.

Peace Corps volunteers also teach sciences, English, skilled trades, and other subjects. Peace Corps goals are to provide trained manpower to developing nations, and to improve international understanding. Charles Augustine Former Peace Corps teacher in Zaire


Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address to ``Readers Write.''

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