President Bush is pushing Poland and the Czech Republic to permit the United States to install anti-missile defense systems in their countries. Both countries have common boundaries with Russia. This action has reasonably angered Prime Minister Putin and the new president of Russia, Mr. Medvedev.

When the Berlin Wall was reduced to rubble in 1989, Russia saw its republics, one after the other, break away from what had been the USSR. Then NATO approved membership to many of these newly freed states. Consequently Russia lost considerable political and economic power with reduced military might and world influence. These two circumstances made Russia sensitive to any new inroads of American power so close to its borders.

Our wonderful American tradition has always been to seek peaceful solutions to world problems, not to alienate members of the family of nations, as we have in the Middle East.

Melvin E. Thayne

Salt Lake City