March 6

Regarding Stephen J. Hadley and Damon Wilson’s March 4 op-ed, “Putin’s long game”:

The notion that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin seeks to re-create the Soviet Union without the Soviet moniker is apt, especially when citing the example of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. My family fled during that invasion (I was a baby) and came to the United States.

What is especially important to remember about that event — the most significant armed insurrection against the Soviet Union in its history — was that the United States encouraged the revolutionaries, who thought they had won when the Soviets withdrew from the country on Oct. 28, 1956. When, a few days later, it became clear that the United States was “only kidding” and did not intend to actually do anything to ensure the freedom of Hungary, the Soviets promptly returned in force, swallowing Hungary in another 30 years of darkness. We Americans need to be careful about raising expectations we cannot meet.

Steven Koltai, Washington

George F. Will sees Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Ukrainian territory as “an expression of disdain” for President Obama and as “symmetrical” with the disdain Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev showed toward Jimmy Carter when he invaded Afghanistan late in Mr. Carter’s presidency [“Approaching Carter territory,” op-ed, March 4]. If there really is symmetry in these events, it is Mr. Putin who should be worried. Brezhnev’s Afghan venture was a disaster for the Soviet Union, and it no doubt accelerated the demise of what Ronald Reagan famously called an “evil empire.”

Howard T. Anderson, Chevy Chase