The Ukraine War: Negotiate or Fight?

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  • China and Taiwan? Look at Russia and Ukraine.
  • The Costs of Climate Change
  • Thanking the Jan. 6 Committee
  • Your Neighbors Can Enrich Your Life

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “I’m Ukraine’s Foreign Minister. Putin Must Be Stopped,” by Dmytro Kuleba (Opinion guest essay,, July 29):

The government of Ukraine urges us not to negotiate, but to fight. This is a recipe for the destruction of Ukraine and the possible escalation to a nuclear war.

From the start, the United States has refused to acknowledge a critical and valid issue for negotiation with Russia: NATO’s planned enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia, a bad and provocative idea launched by the U.S. in 2008.

We should instead follow John F. Kennedy’s enduring wisdom: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

Jeffrey D. Sachs
New York
The writer is a university professor at Columbia.

To the Editor:

Re “The U.S. and Russia Need to Start Talking,” by Samuel Charap and Jeremy Shapiro (Opinion guest essay, July 28):

I see Neville Chamberlain as he returned to London from meeting Hitler in Munich in 1938, promising “peace for our time.”

Does anyone entertain the belief that Vladimir Putin is open to anything but the realization of his own ambition? Any kind of settlement that entails his withdrawal from the occupied parts of Ukraine is anathema to him. And any U.S. agreement for President Volodymyr Zelensky to surrender a part of Ukraine to a gluttonous dictator would do exactly what Chamberlain did at Munich, which inevitably led to a world war.

The very idea of the U.S. talking with Mr. Putin implies the myopic vision of satisfying a voracious appetite for self-aggrandizement. Such a settlement would not be possible without a betrayal of all that the Ukrainians have suffered to defend.

Robert F. Patterson
Midland Park, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re “Kremlin Is Laying the Groundwork for Annexation” (front page, July 31):

Ukraine and its allies expect that Russia will hold sham referendums in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, and then quickly absorb these regions as territory of Russia, “protected by Russian nuclear weapons,” as your article puts it.

Vladimir Putin’s avarice will never stop there. And how will he ever be stopped if his every move could spark a nuclear offensive?

It is past time for the United States to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, notwithstanding other issues of national interest.

Ted Gallagher
New York

To the Editor:

Re “Blinken Resists Broad Pressure to Call Russia a Terrorist State” (front page, July 30):

If Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken can keep the ship of state on an even keel during this and other storms and President Biden agrees with him, then the foolish idea of designating Russia a terrorist state can be put on the trash heap of diplomatic and world history.

Why play with terrible unknown consequences that can backfire? Hubris in the 21st century against such a nuclear power is perhaps passé. Let better heads prevail.

Emzy Veazy III

China and Taiwan? Look at Russia and Ukraine.

Demonstrating a rocket launcher during military exercises in southern Taiwan, in an undated photo released by the Defense Ministry.Credit…Taiwan’s Defence Ministry, Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

To the Editor:

Of course China will move to take over Taiwan. Why should it not? The world is watching attentively while Ukraine is systematically destroyed by Russia.

Yes, the West is arming Ukraine, but just to the point of achieving a stalemate. We will not permit it to prevail over the aggressor. Heaven forbid that Vladimir Putin might be rubbed the wrong way and become angry.

What kind of a world do we live in? I thought that the major function of the United Nations is to prevent one nation from taking over another nation.

Michael S. Sachs
Westport, Conn.

The Costs of Climate Change

A flooded church in Fleming-Neon, Ky., on Monday. Search-and-rescue efforts in eastern Kentucky were hampered by impassable roads and washed-out bridges.Credit…Jon Cherry for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “‘We Keep Getting Hit’: Kentucky Grows Weary From String of Disasters” (news article, July 31):

The flooding in Kentucky is awful, and it is good that federal and state assistance is being directed, with a great deal of urgency, to the areas most badly hit. As has often been pointed out, tragic scenes such as the ones we have seen in Appalachia are becoming increasingly common, and it is generally accepted now that such occurrences are linked to climate change as a result of the human use of fossil fuels.

Although much mention is made of the scale and frequency of such events, what does not seem to get mentioned is how the funding we are committing to recovery efforts is adding significantly to federal and state budgets. Those costs are directly increasing the size of government and leading to a future tax burden for our children and grandchildren.

Is this not a good time for Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who both believe in smaller government, to experience a Manchin-like Damascene conversion and join with Senator Chuck Schumer, fully embracing his climate change legislation?

Nicholas T. Fickling
Edwards, Colo.

Thanking the Jan. 6 Committee

Witnesses like Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide, made up a universe of recurring characters.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

To the Editor:

In “The Jan. 6 Hearings Did a Great Service, by Making Great TV” (Critic’s Notebook, July 23), James Poniewozik was right to praise the Jan. 6 committee for the deft presentation of its case that President Trump himself controlled the planning of the Jan. 6 insurrection, summoned and riled up the crowd, sent armed protesters toward the Capitol, resisted pleas to lessen the violence for 187 minutes, and continues even now to spread lies about the election.

But there is another important service that the committee has rendered to the country. It has given faces and voices to federal, state and local officials, security officers and ordinary citizens who did their jobs and followed their oaths. It has provided an official, public forum for recognizing and thanking all those who put country ahead of personal gain and duty ahead of physical and emotional safety.

That many of these witnesses are people I probably disagree with on many political issues gives me hope that Americans can overcome our divisions.

Davida Charney
Austin, Texas
The writer is a professor in the department of rhetoric and writing at the University of Texas at Austin.

Your Neighbors Can Enrich Your Life

Credit…Moritz Wienert

To the Editor:

Re “Text Your Friends. It Really Matters” (Science Times, July 26):

Eight years ago, in my seventh year of retirement, I wrote a short note that invited 12 women of similar circumstances in my building — whom I had never met — to come together to become friends. Our goal was to socialize and be available to help each other, especially during any late-night emergencies.

Today, we range in age from 75 to 90. I can’t count how many times I have heard them say how happy they are to be part of this group that got us through the shutdown, medical emergencies, birthday parties, illnesses and lonely Saturday nights.

I wish I had contacted them earlier, and I urge anyone thinking about doing the same to act. You will be amazed how many people will welcome your idea and enrich your life.

Colleen Katz
New York

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