Death Note

Opinion | How to Respond to Putin’s Attack on Ukraine

Opinion | How to Respond to Putin’s Attack on Ukraine
Written by publishing team

I ask, then, that we do not make this sad event yet another partisan squabble. Let us take time to see if sanctions work. Above all, let us please follow former Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s famous suggestion that “politics stops at the water’s edge.”

Peter K Frost
Williamstown, Mass.

To the Editor:

Re “Europe plans tougher sanctions on Russia but aims to protect its own interests” (, Feb. 24):

Yes, Western nations will look bad if they “dither in the face of a once-in-a-generation conflict,” seeking to avoid the hardships that sanctions against Russia require. Worse, they must be bystanders, unable to act when a democracy falls to a dictator.

Still, it is good that, in a nuclear age, Western leaders act responsibly even as Vladimir Putin does not, cruelly violating the nation and the people of Ukraine. His actions of him betray weakness, not strength. He embarrasses rather than protects the people of Russia, whose suffering does not concern him in the least.

Jamie Baldwin
Redding, Conn.

To the Editor:

Re “This Is Putin’s War. But America and NATO Aren’t Innocent Bystanders,” by Thomas L. Friedman (column, Feb. 22):

Mr. Friedman argues that the “ill-considered decision” by the United States to enlarge NATO provoked Vladimir Putin, and he has “cynically exploited NATO’s expansion” to rally the Russian people to his side.

Years before he became a Russian national figure, in the course of my official duties as a Foreign Service officer, I had the opportunity to have numerous conversations with Mr. Putin in St. Petersburg. He made it clear to me then, just as he later repeated in numerous public statements, that he desired the restoration of the Soviet Union and its empire.

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