This is in response to Jacques Godfrin's guest view published March 7, which was presented under the unfortunate heading "Putin getting away with it, thanks to US."
If Godfrin's short history lesson about Ukraine-Russian politics is factual, that history helps clarify for me why Putin thinks he has rights to protect Russian interests in Crimea. Citizens there, the majority of whom are described by the media as Russians, also seem to support this idea of Russian rights.
That still leaves Godfrin's question, "Is Ukraine a rebel province or a once-independent nation trying to regain its sovereignty?" Should there be a difference in how we view Russia's actions toward Crimea versus toward the whole of Ukraine?
Now back to the unfortunate heading. Godfrin presents opinions about "weak" and "incapable" democracies, none specifically named. He remarks on the lack of European military capability and lack of will. He sees the UN as powerless. He talks about "empty rhetoric" from the U.S. So in his view, there are many reasons given for lack of action, not just "thanks to the US."
I ask Godfrin what he believes the Europeans and the Americans should do, militarily or economically. Recently interviewed on CBS morning news, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated his support of President Obama's handling of the Ukraine situation. Gates said the United States should not get too far out in front of the European allies or he might find himself alone and without necessary support.

Judith Richter
Greenwood