The political reaction to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s letter to the American people [“U.S.-Russia talks on Syria are off to a tense start,” front page, Sept. 13] seems wrong. Mr. Putin has provided the United States with an open door to respond, point by point.

Mr. Putin’s letter was a well-crafted, carefully worded piece of propaganda making many valid points. President Obama can respond with valid points of his own. I suggest: 1. If Russia is concerned about the United Nations maintaining orderly conduct among nations, why has Russia vetoed proposals submitted about Syria? 2. Will Russia allow this response to be openly published in a respectable Russian newspaper for consumption by the general public, as Mr. Putin’s was in the United States? 3. Yes, the United States is exceptional in at least one area: the openness of our society. Our elections, while not pretty, do allow people freedom of expression without fear of imprisonment or reprisal. When will Russia allow this?

These are only a few suggestions. Mr. Putin’s document provides many points for rebuttal. I’m sure our talented politicians can generate a suitable response to Mr. Putin. We should thank Mr. Putin for the opportunity he has provided for a meaningful dialogue at the highest level. Many problems could be resolved with greater ease through continued open and frank discussions.

William C. Watts, Leonardtown

Politicians and pundits who are arguing that diplomacy will work only if the threat of a U.S. attack remains credible are ignoring Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s motivations. His diplomatic push has immeasurably raised his stature on the world stage; he is demonstrating that Russia, not the United States, is the exceptional country, able to bring Syria in line and make it give up its chemical weapons without firing a shot.

It is clearly in Mr. Putin’s interest to close this deal to enhance his and Russia’s stature, with or without a credible U.S. threat of force.

Sue Udry, Silver Spring