The opinion-page column ``United Germany Isn't a Threat to Its Neighbors,'' Oct. 10, states that the main reason for the existence of NATO - the Soviet threat - has largely receded. Take, for instance, the situation in Europe. Under an agreement between Chancellor Kohl and the Soviet leadership, all Soviet troops are to be withdrawn from German territory by the end of 1994. Even earlier, Soviet troops will have pulled out of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The USSR is about to begin withdrawing its troops from Poland as well. Thus, in four years there will not remain a single Soviet soldier beyond the USSR's European borders.
The future of NATO and the Warsaw Pact is to be discussed at a conference of the heads of state and government of the CSCE countries scheduled for mid-November in Paris. At a press conference on Oct. 19, Soviet Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov said that the Warsaw Pact would be restructured into a political alliance. ``We no longer need a military structure,'' he said.
According to Secretary of State James Baker, a new Europe should be created on the mutually complementary cornerstones of NATO, the European Community, and the Helsinki Process, with the emphasis on NATO. The Soviet Union feels the emphasis should be on the Helsinki Process. It is to be hoped that differences in approaches will be overcome as a result of the Paris conference.
After the important problems of disarmament in Europe are settled, the USSR and the US will have to concentrate on building their relations with the European Community, in which Germany, an economic giant, will play the main role. The author rightly points to the importance of Germany as the USSR's main trade partner in the West. It is also clear what role economic relations with Bonn play for Washington. There are grounds to talk about future cooperation on a trilateral basis, involving the USSR, Germany, and the US. Valeri Neyev, Moscow, Novosti Information Agency
Placing power in Gorbachev's hands The article ``Soviet Leader Governs by Decree,'' Oct. 9, cannot obfuscate the fact that Gorbachev is a de facto dictator whose benevolence is not ensured by law, but by his personal whim.
Gorbachev can be compared to Alexander Kerensky, but the role of ``liberal socialist leader'' does not accurately describe him.
Kerensky supported the idea of an empire and insisted on continuing the war with Germany. Gorbachev, like Kerensky, cannot abandon the idea of the Russian empire. Kerensky and Gorbachev share a common inability to overcome certain obsolete and potentially fatal prejudices.
The article ends with advice to ``place power in the hands of the president,'' followed by several reasons for submitting to Gorbachev's absolute authority. Every dictator - for instance Saddam Hussein - promotes his ``aversion to totalitarian methods,'' but another self-styled benevolent despot is not needed in Moscow. V. Racenis, Kenmore, N.Y.