Parishes bore the brunt of uncontrolled Church bureaucracy

The resurgence of Russia

SIR – Much of what Michael Pelly (“Russia and the West”, Letters, December 29) writes is indisputable, but the idea that we need to understand Russian neuroses better, derived from a crisis of national confidence in Weimar and a fear of NATO expansionism, comes dangerously close to the appeasement of the 1930s, which triggered a world war.

When, in the face of apathetic democratic nations, Hitler seized the Sudetenland, this could only lead to the complete invasion of Czechoslovakia. With its strong fortifications and critically important defense industries, the Sudetenland was the bulwark against Nazi aggression. Once lost, Hitler could move whenever he wanted.

Vladimir Putin’s demands that Ukraine and Georgia be forever banned from NATO membership, and that NATO withdraw all troops deployed in front of the Baltic states, are the same: they reduce those nations independent to vassal states which, without any realistic defense, must appease Russia until they are absorbed after a propaganda campaign that uses ethnic Russians as a pretext – just as Hitler used ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia.

As for NATO’s “aggression”, only a pro-Russian “useful idiot” could describe NATO’s advanced deployment of “trigger troops” as such. Even if they were tripled, they would be far from sufficient for action against Russia. The necessary forces would take months to build up and be impossible to hide, as the Gulf War – fought against a much lesser enemy – demonstrated, and as Putin knows. The only nation with the capacity for sudden territorial aggression in Europe (and a proven record of it) is Russia.

Putin should not be misinterpreted; he, like Xi Jingping, is not in the game for himself, and therefore human appeals are always likely to fail. He believes in a bigger and world dominant Russia, just as Xi believes in a bigger China.

Freed from the moral self-flagellation that weakens Western democracies from within, both take a multilateral approach, undermining the West’s ability to act economically – Russia through gas blackmail, China through “gas blackmail” policy. of the belt and the road ”which puts the wealth of Africa in its hands without a single shot being fired. The two are strengthening their military at home while creating parallel weaknesses in Ukraine’s border regions, the Baltic states and the South China Sea.

These men don’t expect all of their dreams to come true, but if they leave behind the beginnings of their thousand-year-old empires, they will die happily. The weak sanctions undermined by countries like Germany are not dissuasive. The West must wake up – and quickly.

Victor Launert
Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

Post-Brexit mothballs

SIR – I have long suspected that the EU’s ban on old-fashioned, naphtha-smelling mothballs is behind the moth proliferation (Letters, January 3). The Prime Minister has pledged to sweep away unnecessary regulations, so I urge him to bring the mothballs back.

Jan Alcock
Whalley, Lancashire

Lost in redaction

SIR – I studied frogs by Aristophanes for Greek A-level in 1978, with the help of a bowdlerised leather-bound Victorian translation that cut the “offensive” pieces.

Unsurprisingly, having missed key parts, I got an E grade. Students at Reading, Take Note (“The Misogyny of an Ancient Poem Cut Out by College,” report, January 3).

Marc roberts
Kineton, Warwickshire

Secession, not slavery, started the American Civil War

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