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Democracy Better Served by Old Virtues

The author of the opinion-page article "Cheap Shots at Diplomacy," Sept. 27, states, "It is difficult to believe that serious and responsible members of Congress ... want US ambassadors to drive their own low-priced cars on diplomatic business, lining up behind chauffeur-driven Mercedes and Cadillacs of smaller nations." The author's service in the Department of State seems to have put him out of touch with reality. The sight of a United States ambassador driving his own low-priced car - like John Adams's refusal to wear fancy clothes to the Court of St. James - would be a useful reminder that democracy is better served by the old virtues than by showy ostentation. President Carter tried to make the same point with his cashmere sweater. Had he worn plain wool, he might have been more successful.

Rene Himel


Russia and NATO should join forces

The sharply conflicting reactions to NATO's recent steps toward expansion into Eastern Europe need to be viewed with more historical perspective than the authors, President Clinton's three special assistants, offer in the opinion-page article "US Offers Moscow an Alliance With an Expanding NATO," Oct. 4.

Mere assurances from Mr. Clinton that NATO poses no threat to Russia cannot erase Russian memories of two major invasions from the West in this century alone.

I would like to suggest a possible solution to this dilemma:

Simultaneously, with NATO's admission of Poland (or any other states bordering Russia or the former Soviet Union), a treaty (or treaties) should be signed between NATO (and all of its member states) and Russia guaranteeing that military units from the present NATO countries will not enter the new NATO countries in peacetime, and that joint NATO maneuvers will not be conducted on the territories of new members. That should alleviate the fears of Russia's neighbors, while also allaying Russian fears of an attack from the West.

Allen F. Chew

Colorado Springs, Colo.

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