Putin’s War on Ukraine: Rising Outrage

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  Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “War in Ukraine” (front page, Feb. 25):

The trajectory of the Russian move into Ukraine was obvious for weeks while the rest of the world figuratively slept. It is a luxury to think that Western countries should remain bystanders to an unfolding tragedy and not put boots on the ground to help defend Ukraine because there is no treaty obligation to do so.

Had Western military moved into Ukraine, Vladimir Putin would not have dared to launch his vanity invasion. But seeing that Ukraine would be left to fend for itself, Mr. Putin concluded that there was little price to pay. President Biden telegraphed as much by adamantly taking a response by U.S. troops off the table.

The loss of innocent life and of a country that simply wanted to be left alone should trouble our conscience. The lesson of a belligerent Germany in the 1939 invasion of Poland should have been “never again.”

Ronald Kallen
Highland Park, Ill.

To the Editor:

The overarching reason that Vladimir Putin has declared war on Ukraine boils down to this — his pride. To Mr. Putin, the collapse of the Soviet Union was a monumental tragedy. Ever since Ukraine regained its independence, its sovereignty continually reminded him of the Soviet Union’s loss of power and glory. The world moved on; Mr. Putin hasn’t.

As with all power-hungry demagogues throughout history, power — and its expansion — is the only thing that matters.

Martin Geller
Manhasset, N.Y.

To the Editor:

A major factor in Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine now has been his perception that the United States is in a weakened state. Republicans have been quick to blame President Biden for this, conveniently ignoring their own role in dividing and weakening the resolve of Americans.

Every president should have a loyal opposition, but not countering the pro-Putin statements of Donald Trump and his water carriers such as Tucker Carlson is unconscionable. The relentless efforts to undermine even those Biden policies that Republicans traditionally supported have undermined unity and supported Mr. Putin’s belief that he is dealing with a president who doesn’t have the support he needs to fight Russian aggression. Unfortunately he’s right.

Marsha Niazmand
Evanston, Ill.

To the Editor:

Vladimir Putin has a lock on nearly a quarter of the world’s gas reserves, but he can’t control the sun or the wind. The terrifying truth is that democratic nations paid for Mr. Putin’s bombing of Ukraine. Let’s learn from history: no more wars funded by oil or gas. Local clean energy for peace.

Helena Birecki
San Francisco

To the Editor:

The news includes footage of Russian protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg chanting “No to war!” as the police arrest them, shoving and herding them into vehicles. These protesters are the true spirit of Russia, their sense of justice intact despite lives lived under repression.

The U.S. government should commend these brave Russians for their heroism in recognizing and opposing Vladimir Putin’s evil. Our leaders should salute them as the true children of Pushkin, Tolstoy and Sakharov.

John Francis

To the Editor:

My theory is that Vladimir Putin had planned on invading Ukraine during the pliable Trump administration, when he could get away with it. Luckily for Europe, his plans were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. He has gone ahead, but now Joe Biden is president and NATO is united, so his success is less assured.

Winnie Boal

To the Editor:

The monstrous actions of Vladimir Putin and the lack of humanity in his rule over Russia should serve as a terrifying lesson for America. We can see what happens when an authoritarian cements his power through lies and propaganda, when the sycophants around him grovel at his feet, when the media promotes his lies, when a class of wealthy individuals lends him support to enhance their own financial status, and when he and his supporters subvert democracy and fair elections. Sound familiar?

Donald Trump builds his American version of authoritarianism on lies, his sycophants grovel in fear of offending his followers, right-wing commentators at Fox News and other far-right outlets spread propaganda and lies, and the authoritarian’s followers show an utter disdain for democracy, voting and fair elections.

Is it any surprise that people like Mr. Trump, Mike Pompeo and so many Trump followers downplay Mr. Putin’s actions or even express admiration for him? Is this what we really want for America?

David S. Elkind
Greenwich, Conn.

Justice Reform and Crime Rates

The Burger King in East Harlem where a 19-year-old employee, Kristal Bayron-Nieves, was murdered during a robbery in January.Credit…Andrew Seng for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “New York’s Efforts to Achieve Equity Are Hurting Black People,” by Jim Quinn and Hannah E. Meyers(Opinion guest essay, Feb. 18):

While all New Yorkers are concerned about rising crime, including gun-related homicides and theft, the authors present a false choice when calling for a reversal of race-related justice reforms. We don’t have to choose between the safety of New Yorkers and addressing racism in incarceration, as the authors suggest.

A recent study from University of California at Berkeley shows that New York’s bail reform has had no effect on crime rates, and research at George Mason University finds that the election of reform-minded prosecutors did not increase crime. Homicide rates did jump during the pandemic, reports the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice, but that also happened in cities that have not reformed incarceration policy.

More than anything, providing both safety and fairness isn’t just within the realm of possibility; it must be a citywide imperative.

Bruce Western
New York
The writer is co-founder of the Square One Project, which re-examines justice policy, and director of the Justice Lab at Columbia University.

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