Recently, Susan Rice, a former Obama administration national security adviser, assessed Russian President Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine as “the most brazen violation of another country's sovereignty that's occurred in recent years.”

Well, hold on there. I remember another recent violation of a country's sovereignty, when the United States, without sanction of the United Nations or any other recognized arbiter of international law, invaded Iraq with its list of “willing” co-participants — all on the basis of phony weapons-of-mass-destruction intel.

Once the gossamer barrier of international norms is riven, any actor is free to step through the opening, regardless of their stated or real purposes.

I can't agree with President Trump that Putin is entitled to Crimea because he stole it from under President Obama's nose, like a middle-schooler's sack lunch. No, the real issue is that the second Bush administration, in its buckaroo-style, freewheeling approach to international justice, destroyed the international norm the community of nations relies upon to protect itself from the rash criminality of aggressors. Putin was outraged by Bush's invasion of Iraq, and he has used the precedent to wreak havoc on his neighbors and international security. Thanks, Mr. Bush.

Steven Bidlake, Reedsport