March 4

Regarding the March 2 editorial “Spelling out the consequences”:

The consequences for Russia invading Ukraine, as suggested by The Post, are all reasonable. Spelling out consequences isn’t always the best way to make them effective, however.

Vladimir Putin is our enemy, just as Stalin and the mini-Stalins of the old Soviet Union were our enemies. In the 1980s, we defeated them by overwhelming their economy, and that should be our strategy now. We should be pushing for a European boycott of Russian natural gas and oil products and moving as quickly as possible to replace them with more exports from either the Middle East or, even better, the United States.

An additional consequence that would also start remedying the Obama administration’s other great policy failure would be to blockade Syria’s ports. Pull the chemical weapons inspectors out, bring in submarine-based cruise missiles and start eliminating Syrian airfields, helicopters and planes until Syrian President Bashar al-Assad complies with the chemical weapons agreement and moves his stockpiles to port, where they can be removed.

Mr. Putin has no qualms about acting against U.S. interests on one issue to gain leverage on another, and he has handed the United States a plausible cause for escalating pressure in Syria. We should take advantage of the favor.

Kevin DeGroat, Manassas

The March 2 editorial warned that the “United States now faces a naked act of armed aggression in the center of Europe.” No, it doesn’t. Ukraine is facing armed aggression, not us. Why should it fall on U.S. shoulders to caution or sanction or otherwise take action against Russia for its brazen transgression? Let the European Union and NATO take the lead in handling this situation. We should stand firmly with our allies in whatever course of action they decide. But we don’t have to make the decision for them.

David Sarokin, Washington

The March 3 editorial “The risks of wishful thinking,” which said that “the world is not behaving as President Obama hoped,” was well-written but didn’t consider some similar phenomena. The economy has not behaved as the president hoped. The health insurance market has not behaved as the president hoped. Congress has not behaved as the president hoped.

Apparently “hope and change” is not a viable governing strategy when the hopes are naive, unrealistic and poorly reasoned. 

John Stewart, Manassas

Why urge President Obama to draw yet another line in the sand? By what right do Americans have any reason to interfere with the standoff between Russia and Ukraine? Would we be upset if Russia got involved with our own military activities in other countries, such as Afghanistan and Iraq? Let them fight their own battles. We should not assume that we are the world’s police force.

James Reeve, Waterford, Va.

Bad luck for Andrew J. Bacevich that his Outlook commentary “Hagel wants a smaller Army. Good idea,” which asked: “Do we need even a few hundred tanks? And for what?,” appeared in the March 2 issue of The Post — the front page of which led with the banner headline “Russian troops seize Crimea.”

Lewis Sorley, Potomac