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People gather to listen a speech by US president Joe Biden at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, on March 26. Photo: EPA-EFE

Letters | Ask not why Nato is expanding, but why it is showing so much restraint

  • Readers discuss arguments against Nato’s expansion, and the need to reflect on the destruction caused by war as Armistice Day approaches
Ukraine war
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I cannot but disagree with the letter, “What does Nato gain from its eastward expansion?”( October 19).

Why do countries like Poland join Nato?

Well, in the case of Poland, it had been erased from the map of Europe by neighbouring empires and vowed never to let that happen again. It was not that long ago, when Polish troops surrendered to the Soviet Union after it carved up Poland in 1939, that the communist secret police shot dead over 20,000 military officers, clerics, professors, government officials and anyone of authority in the forest of Katyn near Smolensk.

Was it not the Russian troops who stopped short of the gates of Warsaw in 1944 during the uprising to ensure that a communist regime would take over for more than 40 years?

Why would Nato want countries to join? Eastern Europeans, including all Baltic states, prefer to fight than to yield; they are fiercely independent, as displayed by Ukrainian forces fighting against Russian troops.

To answer the question of why Nato was in Afghanistan, the World Trade Centre in New York was attacked and hence Nato responded.

What does Poland contribute to Nato? Well, it is one of the largest military forces in Europe and a Nato member that maintains military spending above 2 per cent of annual gross domestic product, unlike many other members.

Has Nato really moved eastward? Well if you look at the maps of Europe before 1939 compared to after 1945, you will notice the following: Poland has moved westwards into Germany, Ukraine moved westwards into Poland, the Baltic states shrank after the Soviet takeover.

The question your correspondent should be asking is: why is Nato restraining itself so much?

Jan Bochenski, Mid-Levels

Ukraine war should have been avoided

The war between Russia and Ukraine was totally avoidable if the Ukrainian leadership hadn’t pushed forward with plans to join Nato despite strong and clear objections from Russia over decades.

Russia had every reason to fear an aggressive Nato since the 2019 report by Rand Corporation, which is largely funded by US government agencies, outlined options the US and its allies could adopt to overextend and unbalance Russia’s economy and military. The current war has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers, more wounded for life, millions of Ukrainians fleeing their nation, uncontrolled world inflation, and food insecurity. While the poor are hardest hit, the war and oil industries are profiting by the trillions.

As Armistice Day approaches, we should honour the dead by teaching young people that wars throughout history are invariably destructive to all living systems and the environment, are often initiated by unpredictable, immoral and mindless leaders of nations and that humans are the only animal on Earth that pursues such insane and self-destroying activities.

Morris Givner, Halifax, Canada