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TALK ABOUT WAR

An obsolete NATO should be dismantled

THE WRITER of the May 10 editorial, ''WWII Lessons for Bush," may be too young to be familiar with WWII-related history. But the statement that ''the Baltic states, now absorbed inside the European Union, cannot be construed as a geopolitical threat to the Russian Federation," is, from the Russian perspective, utterly and dangerously false.

NATO, the anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) military alliance, was organized after World War II, ostensibly to ensure that the USSR would not take advantage of the strong Communist Party movements (and electoral representation) in Western Europe. It was also a means of ensuring the continuation of the US wartime military occupation of Europe. In much of Europe, NATO is now considered obsolete because a Russian military attack is considered highly unlikely, and the European Union is trying to build its own independent military capability to get out from under US control. This is adamantly opposed, of course, by our cold warriors.

Contrary to general belief, the Cold War never really ended with the 1991-92 breakup of the Soviet Union. Since then, and more actively since Sept. 11, the United States has been establishing military bases around Russia's western and southern borders, and actively aiding anti-Russian ''electoral coups" in former Soviet republics, like the Baltics, Ukraine, and Georgia. During the recent Ukraine election struggle, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he had no objection to Ukraine associating itself more closely with the European Union. But he was adamantly against any of Russia's immediate neighbors joining the anti-Russian NATO military alliance.

For perspective, remember that Russia suffered more than 20 million dead and the destruction of most of its cities and industry in Hitler's WWII invasion. From the Russian perspective this was actually encouraged by the West by the 1937 anticommunist Munich agreement.

And, again through Russian eyes, remember the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the United States threatened nuclear war in response to the genuinely defensive military alliance between the USSR and Castro Cuba after the unsuccessful CIA-organized 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. President Bush, with his contempt for the United Nations and international law, and his policy of preemptive military attacks on other countries wherever his personal intuition (and orders from his God) say it will promote US interests, does not inspire Putin's confidence in a peaceful future.

Russia's response to the NATO expansion right to its borders has been to renew its dormant military alliance with China, setting the world up for a future nuclear World War III.

For the best chance of avoiding that, the first step should be the dismantlement of NATO. This would minimize Russia's very understandable fear of yet another attack from the West. And when dispensing so much free advice (and warnings) to other countries, Bush should remember the old adage, ''People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

JOHN ATLEE
Cambridge


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