NATO must regroup to provide effective leverage
In response to Andrew J. Bacevich's Aug. 15 Opinion piece, "Russia's payback": I must respectfully take issue with the contention that the United States and NATO are presently unable to pose an effective military deterrence to nations such as Russia because of extensive deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While it cannot be refuted that both of these deployments have consumed exceedingly large amounts of combat resources, the technological, resource, and tactical advantages of the US and many of its NATO allies should not be overlooked. The US's air and naval supremacy alone, as well as the West's extensive arsenal and latent potential, are far beyond the capabilities of post-Soviet Russia. Therefore, while Russia and other more belligerent states can potentially pose a significant threat to the US and NATO, I believe it is erroneous to contend that the West is too overextended to provide an effective tactical response and, therefore, diplomatic leverage.
Regarding the recent Opinion piece on Russia's invasion of Georgia: President George Bush condemned Russia's incursion into Georgia, saying "bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century," and elsewhere, "Russia's government must respect Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty." Who is he kidding? The aggression toward and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by our United States government are notable exemplars of our blatant disrespect for the territorial integrity of sovereign countries. We should not forget about the crimes, cruelties, and torture perpetrated by our armed forces and hired agents in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.
With such an inhuman and shameful record, how dare President Bush, et al., lecture others about respect for peaceful democratic principles and for preservation of territorial integrity of sovereign states?
Ifat A. Shah
Regarding the recent article on Russia's reasons for invading Georgia: Vladimir Putin isn't interested in "nationalism," he is interested in building his own Russian empire. And his intent is to use oil to achieve his dream of unchallenged power and control of the Russian people and the old USSR countries around it.
Like a bear, Mr. Putin will only retreat in the face of overwhelming force. That force has to be the restructuring of NATO. The organization needs to revisit its military objective and long-range strategy. And all of the countries of the old USSR need to be invited into NATO, if not as full-fledged members, then as probationary members.
Can communities bar sex offenders?
In response to C. Alexander Evans's Aug. 14 Opinion piece, "Protecting our kids - or jeopardizing everyone's freedom?"Increasing police presence at centers where children play creates fear as well as a false sense of security.
The suggestion that preventing sexual predators from living in areas with children's schools and day-care centers somehow infringes on constitutional rights presents a false entitlement of adults to harm children.
Regarding the recent piece on residency laws for child sex offenders: Thank you for the article. It's about time. More and more people are seeing and speaking up for the loss of simple civil and human rights of some people in our society – namely, those accused and not necessarily guilty, but convicted anyway.
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