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Redefining NATO

January 20, 1994

* The Jan. 13 Commentary page had yes and no articles on opening NATO membership to Eastern European countries. However, neither addressed the fundamental question of the role of NATO in the total system of global governance.

The purpose of NATO should be the security of Europe, including the prevention or stopping of wars like that in (former) Yugoslavia. To emphasize the change in purpose, Russia should be the first to join. Russian cooperation in maintaining the security of Europe would preclude Russian aggression.

The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe is now trying to stop the Armenian war. That task would be much easier if they had the military support of NATO. These ethnic wars will stop only when the oppression of minorities is stopped.

CSCE has adopted human rights rules to protect minorities but has no effective way to enforce them. NATO and CSCE should be combined into one organization to impose security and cooperation in Europe. There are 25 million Russians living in the countries surrounding Russia. CSCE-NATO, not Russia, should protect them.

Not too long ago, federal military forces were used in this country to protect minorities against segregation. We should anticipate that NATO forces will be used to do the same in Europe. Instead of deciding who should join NATO, we must establish what system of global governance we want and change our institutions accordingly.

EDWARD C. PERRY II

Palm Springs

* It is in the interest of the United States and Western Europe that NATO should begin proceedings to incorporate the Central European countries of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising, it is disconcerting to hear President Clinton waffling about membership of Poland in NATO.

It was virtually 50 years ago that President Roosevelt abandoned Poland and its neighbors to Stalin and the Soviet Union for political expediency. We are beginning to see a repeat of this historical ignominious treachery with the No. 2 State Department official making Neville Chamberlain-type deals in Moscow.

RAY KULVICKI

Glendale

* Re advancing NATO to the Russian border: Cold War moves are no longer appropriate. Advancing NATO is a Cold War move.

G. DE WITT

Seal Beach

* In order to get a true perspective on what NATO will look like by the year 2000 (Opinion, Jan. 16), I feel that we must first ask what its charter now represents. I assume that we are to understand that the challenges to the Western alliance are now the collective reshaping of Eastern Europe and its integration into a common security structure. And that a military alliance provides its members with a greater sense purpose than does an economic alliance. Where does this common security now focus? As Richard Perle and Raymond Garthoff suggest, maybe it is to enforce security concerns outside the immediate region or to supplement U.N. peacekeeping efforts in areas that are of specific political interest to its members.

Regardless of speculation, it is clear that the survival of NATO depends on the redefining of its charter and in its success in adjusting to the many demands of the post-Soviet environment. This adjustment will require NATO to address concerns beyond the scope of its military origins and to assume greater responsibility for the political and economic factors necessary to maintaining regional stability.

JOHN F. STAMPFLI

Mission Viejo

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