Ignoring the lessons of recent past

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From: Brian Ormondroyd, Horsforth, Leeds.

What are Nato and the USA doing in Eastern Europe and in the Ukraine? Is it that recent history has been forgotten?

When Russian/Soviet forces withdrew from the GDR, Poland and so on in 1991, it was hoped, believed even, that Nato would not expand into the countries vacated by Moscow.

Instead we have had unchecked expansion not only there but in the former USSR itself, western powers supporting a coup in Kiev and now with a government with a number of fascist ministers.

We also conveniently forget the history of the Ukraine’s links with Russia. Khrushchev himself was a Ukrainian.

Now is the time to declare Nato as redundant as the Warsaw Pact. It should be replaced by an all-Europe treaty of peace and disarmament. This should then be promoted by the UN and not by the USA, which is concerned only with promoting its own interests. America has sufficient problems of its own.

From: Robert Reynolds, West Bank, Batley.

The road Putin has travelled inevitably led to legal dictatorship. His hunger for the collapsed Soviet Union has endeared him in the eyes of many Russians. Add a strong dose of nationalism and you get where we are now.

Surprisingly advocated by Solzhenitsyn, who uncovered the murder of the Soviet Gulags, Putin is putting together a Russian-speaking Empire to oppose the Capitalist West. In his eyes, the Ukraine is Russian.

Unable to watch it join the EU, and unwilling to invade, he contents himself with a policy of “burn until I get my way”.

Our politicians, as usual, fail to meet the challenge. The point is now to turn Russian nationalism in on itself.

A dictatorship is quick and focussed in its decision-making, but its prestige is vulnerable to any reverse.

In 1941 Russia declared “Comrade kill your German” against Hitler’s invasion. The West should focus on the propaganda war and target Russian nationalism with “Comrade kill your brother” on social media. Ukraine is seen as a brother nation by all Russians. They do not support using troops and are being lied to by Putin.

Only the Russians themselves can bring down Putin.

European expertise

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

Like Hilary Andrews (The Yorkshire Post, September 3) I find the proposed limits on vacuum cleaner sizes puzzling. But the idea of “having a person from Europe telling us how to live” might not be such a bad idea.

Much of our public transport is owned by mainland European companies; but it continues to be run by stereotypical UK accountants.

Why not employ a team from Germany to sort out the present sub-standard and costly shambles and then run it?

From: B Murray, Sheffield.

I FIND it unbelievable. Planes are allowed to crowd our skies and cause immense pollution and no one seems to curb them, and yet we have to watch our emissions from hairdryers, kettles and sweepers!

The art of skiving

From: Gerald Hodgson, Spennithorne, Leyburn.

I WAS interested to read Richard Vinen’s article on the effects of National Service (The Yorkshire Post, August 30). I was one of the last of the National Servicemen, being plain Sapper Hodgson for 15 months, officer cadet for three months and a commissioned officer for six months, so I saw army life from a variety of perspectives.

My overwhelming impression is that we conscripts had 
little to do in any meaningful sense.

This idle boredom was punctuated from time to time by unwelcome, and sometimes unpleasant, activity but once 
you become accustomed to 
doing nothing, doing anything becomes a great effort.

This resulted in people perfecting the art of skiving, 
for instance walking around 
with a clipboard looking purposeful, in the hope that you would not be asked to do anything.

I believe that this translated into the “I’m Alright Jack” attitude of destructive unionism rife in the 60s and 70s which destroyed the British car industry among many other negative outcomes.

A benefit of globalisation 
is that everyone now realises that such attitudes are commercially suicidal, hence the decline in union militancy and, I believe, a much stronger work ethic in the post National Service generations.

Profiting from sickness

From David Treacher, Hull

The problems people have when parking their car at a NHS hospital have been spoken about nationally.

The question is whether it is taking advantage of the sick and their carers?

They have not much choice but to pay.

Why should people profit from the upset of others?

The Government should underwrite car parking charges at NHS hospitals as an act of human kindness.