Research: Commentary

Putin’s Threats: How Should the U.S. React?

NY Times, April 18, 2015 | Letter

By Melvin A. Goodman

To the Editor:

President Putin’s Dangerous Moves” (editorial, April 16), about nuclear threats by Vladimir V. Putin, argues that the “Europeans and the United States have to stay united in maintaining sanctions on Russia and in continuing air patrols and training exercises, as it becomes increasingly difficult to predict Mr. Putin’s next move.”

Isn’t it possible that his next move will be a response to such maneuvers, particularly those activities that take place in former Warsaw Pact countries and former Soviet republics? Isn’t it possible that the current crisis in relations between the United States and Russia requires a temporary halt to these activities in order to encourage a diplomatic dialogue between the two countries?

Isn’t it time to recognize the “existential” importance of Ukraine to Russia to prevent a worsening of the crisis and to assure continued cooperation in the arms control arena as well as conflicts in the third world?

Isn’t it time to find ways to reduce the mistrust that now exists between the two nations and their leaders?

If the United States merely continues its air patrols and military exercises, Moscow will predictably continue the actions that NATO countries find provocative.

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