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Letters From the May 16/23, 2022, Issue

War in Ukraine

Re “Putin’s Invasion,” by Katrina vanden Heuvel [March 21/28]: At multiple decision points, the United States had the opportunity to stop this march toward war. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, besides the original sin of NATO expansion, despite being warned at the time of the possible consequences, the US began working toward regime change in Ukraine, once again sticking its nose in the affairs of another country. Then, in the Euromaidan uprising in 2013-14, Victoria Nuland, the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, openly supported the ouster of a democratically elected president—a coup—making it clear that the State Department’s ultimate goal was to bring Ukraine into NATO. Since then, the Ukraine government has shown that it has no intent to follow the protocols of the Minsk II agreement and provide autonomy for the Russian-speaking Donbas. It continued to pressure the Donbas with the ultimate goal of folding it into the central Kyiv government, which would pave the way for NATO.

The US could have put pressure on Ukraine to adhere to Minsk II, but it did not, another failure to avert this crisis. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has essentially ruled out concessions on NATO in any talks with Russia. How do you avert a war when you will not even consider your adversary’s concerns as possibly legitimate?

Michael Robertson

What about encouraging and supporting the bold anti-war movement evolving in Russia? It could also play a role in helping to bring about an end to the war in Ukraine.
Steve Ladd

The Other Existential Threat

Michael T. Klare’s sensible editorial “A New March of Folly in Europe” [Feb. 21/28] omits one thing the United States should do immediately regarding the crisis in Ukraine: Declare a “no first use” policy on all nuclear weapons. This overdue action would cost us nothing and would reduce the possibility of the ultimate disaster—a major nuclear war.
John Lamperti
norwich, vt.

Ellen Willis on Desire

In her review of Amia Srinivasan’s The Right to Sex, Maggie Doherty (like Srinivasan, I infer) mischaracterizes Ellen Willis as the exemplar of a simpleminded “pro-sex” feminism that asked only whether sex is wanted or unwanted, without exploring the political and social roots of desire [“The Contours of Desire,” March 21/28]. In fact, Willis rejected the “pro-sex”/”anti-porn” dichotomy; in “Lust Horizons: Is the Women’s Movement Pro-Sex?” (1981), she asked why sexual tastes, unlike everything else, should be immune to influence by cultures of masculine domination and the punitive nuclear family, or exempt from politics or critique. Willis interrogated desire with her usual subtlety and depth—and in precisely the way Doherty praises Srinivasan as doing.
Judith Levine
brooklyn, n.y.

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