TIME conversation

Putin’s Way

Re “What Putin Wants” [March 17]: “President Obama preaches win-win … The Russian leader lives by a much older principle: I win, you lose.” That is a gross distortion. It is the U.S. that lives by the principle: the other side has to lose, especially if Russia or China is involved. The Russians have had enough of aggressive American policy and simply don’t trust the U.S. Besides, after trying to invade Cuba (Bay of Pigs) and successfully invading Grenada, Panama and Iraq, the U.S. government has no moral basis to criticize Russia for reclaiming its former territory Crimea.
Guenter W. and Sylvia H. Korek,
Barsbüttel, Germany

Vladimir Putin’s gamble will turn into a win-win result. Crimea remains Russian because of geopolitical and population dominance while Ukraine gets special treatment from the West. Russians can stoically bear the brunt of any pro forma Western consequences. In any case, the Ukrainians should be permitted to keep some military bases to safeguard their people in Crimea.
Alan Benson,

Today’s vocabulary word, children of the world, is anschluss. Unfortunately, everyone has forgotten what it means, so don’t concern yourselves too much.
Jeris Fasser,

Putin’s Crimean adventurism can be traced to Russia’s traditional xenophobic paranoia, heightened by NATO’s post–Cold War expansion. Western encouragement of Russia’s fledgling democracy would have been the preferred posture, rather than the ostentatious triumphalism displayed since 1989.
Robert Barnes,
Wedderburn, Australia

Clear Win
Re “Looking Back in Anger” [March 17]: Fareed Zakaria asks whether the takeover of Crimea is a victory for Putin. In our world, it is a clear victory for Putin as it is a clear humiliation of the West. In a brilliant move, Putin exposed not just the U.S.’s lack of credibility but also its international decline. He showed that our elites are composed of really bad thinkers when it comes to global strategy.
Benjamin Katz,

Minority Report
Re “Big, Unhappy Family” [March 17]: “But two ethnic groups—the Turkic-speaking Uighurs and the Tibetans—keep challenging the notion that the People’s Republic is one big happy family.” Does anyone know of any big family without some internal bickering and resentment? It can still be a big happy family. Indubitably, slaughtering dozens of unarmed people is a heinous crime of the highest degree. Whatever grievance these purported terrorists may have, this is not an acceptable way to vent their frustration. The culprits, irrespective of their ethnicity and religious affiliation, must be severely punished.
Hua Chenzi,

Chasing Liberty
“No Good Choices” raises some painful truths we face in India [March 17]. Like many Indians, I am proud of our complex, multiethnic country for its democracy, freedom of speech and secularism—all enshrined in our constitution. Now these are under threat, which represents a risk to our freedom. The coming elections may result in a fractured vote, but do not mistake the rising dissatisfaction toward the two major parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata (BJP). This is changing the established equation.
Vivek Chand,

The article appears to be a fair comment by Nikhil Kumar on the respective leaders of India’s two major parties, Congress and BJP. Liberalism is dead in India, especially when pro-Hinduism is raising its head high. Most Muslims in India are fast becoming the equivalent of the lowest caste in the social system, having little opportunities in any kind of upward mobility. They are already encapsulated, worse so if Narendra Modi were to become the next Prime Minister.
Rahman Faroud,

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